Thursday, 30 December 2010

Gratuitous Army Pix

Seeing as I have been working on these all year, I thought it was time to show off a bit of progress...so here is the Tunnel Fighter army so far...

Command Squad

Infantry Squad (Dark Purple)
Infantry Squad (Brown)

Infantry Squad (Orange)

Infantry Squad (Pink)

Infantry Squad (Purple)

Infantry Squad (Yellow)

Close Combat Squad (Red)

Close Combat Squad (Green)

Close Combat Squad (Blue)

Close Combat Squad (Dark Green)

Medic Unit

K9 Unit

Drone Unit

Clanker Unit (Blue)

Clanker Unit (Red)

There is still a lot more to come...I have plans to add a mech to each unit...a bit like this one:


The mech above is the only one completely finished but I have 5 more that have been base-coated, 1 that is built ready to start painting and 4 more that are still on the sprue.

Also each unit will get an APC to transport it. Once that is done, I'll be adding specialist units ...so 2011 should be quite an interesting year.

Just as an aside, I will keep updating this post with completed units as they happen.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

It has been a while but...

There are new Grymn on the way from Hasslefree Miniatures !

If you check out this FoD forum post you will not only see pix of a host of new Grymn; including snipers and Grymn with rocket launchers but you will also find news about a bunch of new stuff including grav-bikes, powered armour, new characters and more heavy infantry.

Just to whet your appetite, here's one of the new Grymn...a sniper in a ghillie suit:



The future is bright...the future is Grymn!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Stan's Journey...

It isn't always fighting that keeps the Grymn army busy...sometimes there are more mundane tasks that they have to undertake...baby-sitting is one of many...

Stan was standing, bleary eyed, in a hangar bay; gazing at the row upon row of makeshift beds that were strewn across the floor. He rubbed his eyes, looked at his watch and realised that there must be further delays to the transport schedule. He had been on the go for over eighteen hours. He had travelled by grav-carrier from his home base for over nine of those hours and had been expecting to arrive at the terminal and jump straight on the shuttle to the orbiting cruiser. Stan was feeling a little let down because the original shuttle was cancelled and his regiment had been told that there was a five hour delay…that was nine hours ago. Most of the assembled Grymn had unpacked their sleeping bags and mattresses and were chilling out waiting for further news but some were bustling about in various states of anger or despair; impatience was bound to be a problem.

“Attention” A strong female voice spoke through the loud speakers “the shuttle bound for Orin’s Dagger will be arriving in thirty minutes for a departure one hour later…end of message”.

Stan’s shoulders drooped at the prospect of another hour-and-a-half delay but he Knew he had no control over it so went to a food dispenser to grab a snack. He was now very tired and just wanted to get up to his new bunk; ready for the journey to begin properly. He was due to travel to a distant planet to help colonists defend themselves while the terra-forming could be completed and even with inter-space drives, the trip would take the convoy nearly seven months.

“And they couldn’t even get the shuttle here on time” Stan thought to himself.

After the hour-and-a-half was up and a further hour delay had passed, Stan’s regiment were loaded onto the shuttle in orderly lines of marching troops. He was in amongst them; being just a trooper and was happy to be boarding at long last. As they all filed up the boarding ramp he looked left and right as they entered the shuttle; marvelling at the size of the ramp-struts and pistons and the vast array of pipes and conduits that decorated the inside of the shuttle walls.

“EYES FRONT TROOPER!!!” Shouted Bargil; senior leader of Stan’s platoon.

Stan quickly stopped looking around and snapped his gaze forward.

Once inside the shuttle, the troops were halted and directed towards their respective seats. Once they were all seated, various vehicles, containers and pallets were loaded into the hold and the huge doors were finally closed. After a couple of minutes, the engine noise began to grow and there was a jolt as the shuttle lifted off the deck and began to ascend to the waiting cruiser.

The trip to the cruiser was uneventful. There were no windows in the cargo area where all of the troop seats were fitted so there was no chance of seeing the outside. The assembled Grymn just sat and chatted together while they waited to arrive at their new home. Fortunately, the shuttle trip was only forty minutes long so there wasn’t too much time to wait before the shuttle landed inside the waiting cruiser and began to offload all of its cargo. As soon as the Grymn were all off-loaded, they were hustled into a briefing room where they were welcomed, had a role call read and were issued with rooms and orders for the following day. Once they were all dismissed, they dispersed to their rooms to get settled and bed down for the night.

Stan found his room, went inside and found that his kit-bags were already waiting for him. He was in a four Grymn room so there was a pair of bunk beds. Each bed had a name, barcode and serial number and Stan found his and began to unpack his kit into the associated locker. He was the first to arrive so had a little time to take in his surroundings without too much interruption. It was a relatively small room but there was enough space for four lockers, the bunk beds, two small desks with chairs and a separate area with a sink. On the whole, Stan was quite impressed with the room but was holding judgement until he knew who his room-mates were. He needn’t have worried because they were three of his squad members who had been chosen for their weight and also because they had a similar psychological and social profile to Stan (in other words, the top brass asked the regiment commanders…who asked the platoon commanders…who asked the squad leaders to make a list). He was sharing with Jooks, Norm and Gunnar and they had always got on like a house on fire. When they arrived, they were all talk and the lights eventually went out at almost one in the morning…the following days briefings started at six…it was going to be a long day.

The morning brief was a general repeat of everything they had been briefed, prior to boarding the cruiser. After a few extra bits of safety and warning information had been passed on, it was time for the midday meal. Luckily, the briefs were all finished and the whole regiment were stood down for 48 hours to relax, recuperate and find their way about so after they had eaten their meals, Stan and Jooks wandered off to do a bit of investigating while Norm and Gunnar went back to their cabin.

The Cruiser was vast. The shuttle that they all flew up on was only one of a dozen in the hangar and the shuttle was big enough for a regiment! Stan thought that he could happily fit his entire settlement inside the hangar and still have space for a strike-ball stadium. As Stan and Jooks wandered around the passed biospheres that contained plants, grazing animals and even aquariums filled with various types of fish. Along other corridors were shopping areas, entertainment areas, a dentist, barbers, doctors surgery and many more interesting things to see…and there were a small number of drinking establishments that served alcohol…but in limited quantities. There was also a library, armoury, gymnasium, stores area (for uniform related equipment) and a school. The further the two Grymn walked, the more in awe of the cruiser they became.

After their brief stand-down, the Grymn troops were all required to report for duty. Once they were all in position and had been set their tasks, the cruiser began preparations for the journey ahead. After that, the engines fired and off they went…into the void of space towards the new planet they were going to settle.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Grymn Characters - Silvia and Edgar

Silvia and Edgar are two Grymn you wouldn’t expect to see together. Silvia is a picture of Grymn beauty, with stunning looks a perfect physique and eyes you could drown in. Edgar is an aging, war weary, grey-haired veteran of the Grymn armed forces. If you were to ever see them together in their civilian attire, it would not only be exceptionally rare but they would also appear completely at odds with each other. However, when they are in their military fatigues, they are as much a picture of solidarity as they are a highly effective and professional team. The reason for this is that Silvia is a natural and very gifted sniper. It was said that, during her training, Silvia could shoot the tip off a pencil at ranges in excess of 500 metres but since then her expertise has become so great that the Grymn high council decided that she needed to be protected and cosseted so they chose someone to act as her spotter and her protection. Edgar was perfect for the role. He was a veteran of many wars, had high tactical awareness, was a talented leader and also had the patience of a saint. He immediately stepped in as Silvia’s mentor, protector and spotter and since they first met they have been like a father and daughter team.

Silvia and Edgar have become a dedicated assassination unit. They have been highly trained in the use of camouflage, concealment, communications, survival techniques and the use of most weaponry. Edgar will act as Silvia’s link between the high council and the jobs she has to carry out and shadows her every move in the field. As effective a sniper Silvia is, Edgar is a bodyguard beyond compare. Once the team is in position, Edgar will spot for Silvia and keep an eye out for enemy forces while she concentrates on the assassination. When it comes to extraction, Edgar takes the lead and ensures that they escape in the required manner. They are a team beyond compare and as a result, will only be used when a specific target needs to be eliminated and it is of the utmost importance to get the job done correctly, in the right time frame and with the correct precision.

Using Silvia and Edgar in your army

Edgar and Silvia make up a single unit and must remain within two inches of each other at all times.
Silvia will have normal trooper stats and will be equipped with a Grymn pistol and sniper rifle.
Edgar will have a veteran’s stats and will be equipped with a Grymn pistol, SMG, comms and scanners/binoculars.
Both will have the ‘Camouflage and concealment’, ‘Move through cover’ and ‘Specific target’ special rules. Silvia will have the ‘Sniper beyond compare’ special rule and Edgar will have the ‘Bodyguard’ special rule:

Camouflage and concealment

When in their chosen position, Silvia and Edgar become more or less invisible. They cover themselves with camouflage netting, IR reflective material and have all manner of jamming devices that mask scanners. When deployed, you do not need to tell your opponent where they are on the table. You can deploy them anywhere on the table but you must have a map with their position marked clearly on it so that when they are revealed, you have proof of their position. Silvia and Edgar will be revealed whenever they move or fire. Once this happens, they are visible for the rest of the game.

Move Through cover

Silvia and Edgar are adept at moving through cover. They may move through wooded areas and over broken ground without any penalties for movement.

Specific Target

Silvia and Edgar are chosen to carry out specific orders and then to return safely to their designated extraction zone. They are far too valuable to be risked in ‘run of the mill’ actions. At the beginning of the game, the controlling player may choose up to two specific targets. Each of these targets can be any model on the table. If Silvia or Edgar manages to kill the target(s), they will not only receive double the victory points for doing so but must also begin to withdraw to the army deployment zone (or a pre-determined safe/extraction point). They must do this once the targets are eliminated and they must do it in a characterful manner, using cover and speed but still returning fire as they withdraw. Once in the safe zone, they will play no further part in the battle.

Sniper beyond compare (Silvia only)

Silvia is literally, a sniper beyond compare. She is able to blank out the clamour of battle and pick her targets with precision. She is able to target vulnerable spots in armour and can calculate trajectories and wind-age with the skill of a savant.
Silvia can target any model on the table without restriction. If she has a line of sight, she can target any individual model in range whether they are basic troopers or army commanders. She can also double the range of the sniper rifle she carries with no penalty. If she does this then she may NOT use the following ‘additional penetration’ rule.
Additional penetration – if Silvia scores a hit (within normal range), then role a d6. On a roll of a 5 or 6, she will get double the strength of the weapon (to represent hitting a vulnerable point on the target). If the rule set doesn’t give the rifle a strength value then this rule will give you a 5 or 6 chance of wounding in addition to the normal rules (some common sense will be required so as to not make this too powerful a rule).

Bodyguard (Edgar only)

As long as Edgar is within two inches of Silvia, he will leap in front of any shot targeted at her and will fight any opponents in hand to hand that try to attack her. Simply switch Silvia for Edgar and work out the results normally.



Footnote: I have made this unit a little bit more vague than 'Lucky' because it has the possibility of being a game winner if used in the manner it should be.

I would suggest that this unit would only be used in a game where there was a specific commander or specialist that would reasonably be considered a major target. If there isn't a major target, Silvia and Edgar wouldn't even get out of their rooms.

Once the targets are eliminated, the next objective for the team would be to get to their extraction point. It may be necessary to either reward them for getting there or penalise them for not getting there. How about making them lose the 'double victory points' if they don't reach their extraction point...or even removing all of the victory points? It is characterful for these two to act in a professional manner and once they had carried out their duty, they would move to the extraction point straight away...it is their next objective after all.

Again...it is all food for thought and any comments are welcomed.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Grymn Character - 'Lucky' Lund Thorsen

Trooper Lund, Thorsen was a soldier in the Grymn army. He was a fairly run of the mill soldier who went through training in an un-extraordinary way; only just achieving the results that enabled him to join the infantry when he graduated. In fact, you could almost have said that he was completely average in every way; almost. You see, Lund started out his time in the Grymn army with a shiny metal hand.

When he was a child, he had been playing with his friends when he was involved in a car accident that saw him dragged down the street for a hundred metres...only coming to rest when his hand was ripped from his wrist. It took him many months to get back to his full strength but his hand couldn’t be saved so he had a bionic one grafted on in its place. All who knew him, said that he should have been killed and that it was a miracle he survived; let alone returned to full strength.

Once Lund had finished his military training, he was deployed on operations in the desert regions where he saw lots of action fighting Bohkin infiltrators. Many times he fought and many times he was injured but no matter how bad his injuries, he was patched up and sent back to duty after ‘miraculously’ surviving wounds that would have seen other Grymn dead.

Over time, he gained a number of extra bionics, including an eye, an arm (the opposite one to his metal hand) and a foot but still he survived and returned to his unit. After a while Lund’s unit began to see him as a bit of a mascot and gave themselves the nickname of ‘Lucky-Lund’s Lads’ because every time they managed to rescue Lund, they managed to win victory, achieve their objectives or escape where there should have been no escape.

You may have thought that Lund was destined for greater things but all through his career, he showed absolutely no aptitude for leadership and had no wish for it either. He was happy doing his duty as an ordinary foot-soldier and completed his 20 year service as trooper ‘Lucky’ Lund, Thorsen.

Using ‘Lucky’ Lund, Thorsen in your army

Any single, normal trooper in your army may be replaced as ‘Lucky’. When you do this, he gains the normal stats for that trooper, keeps the same weapons and gets the same equipment that the trooper would normally get. In addition, the following rules apply:

Lucky

While ‘Lucky’ is still alive and able, the unit he has joined will receive a bonus to their leadership. This will add one level to the leadership of the whole unit (depending on the rules system)

Rescue the muppet!

If ‘Lucky’ falls, he is considered wounded and not killed. He has miraculously survived but plays no further part in the battle. Any member of his unit will be responsible for rescuing the poor chap and must move into base contact with him. The rescuer will not be able to shoot for the remainder of the game but will be able to defend himself during hand-to-hand-combat, if he is attacked. The whole of the unit will become immune to leadership tests and will gain an extra level of weapon skill and shooting skill while ‘Lucky’ is being rescued but they will no longer be able to advance towards the enemy. They may remain where they are or retreat but they place keeping ‘Lucky’ safe, above their normal objective. If they return to their deployment area and drop him off then the unit returns to the fight with their basic stats as if ‘Lucky’ was just a normal member of their squad who has fallen. Of course, lucky will end up being healed and will be able to return in future battles to fight as normal.

If by the end of the game, 'Lucky' has not been returned to his deployment area, the unit he is with is counted as destroyed for the sake of victory points or objective reasons. If 'Lucky' is injured, the unit he is with may not claim objectives...unless they have already returned him to the deployment area and dropped him off.

Extra Equipment

‘Lucky’ gains bionics as extra equipment for no extra cost. He has a Bionic eye, hand, arm and foot and this will need to be taken into account depending on which rule-set you are using (with the relevant bonuses applied if applicable).



Footnote: You can see from this example how easy it is to add a lot of flavour to your army by just adding a bit of narrative to a normal soldier.

When 'Lucky' is injured, you have the big decision of standing in place and getting all of the extra bonuses (risking his life in the process) or returning him to the deployment area and ending up with the basic stats again...

...that means risky, power-gaming or fighting with a narrative...

The choice is yours.

Characters.

In all stories and legends, there are great heroes, villains and leaders; those who fight beyond the call of duty and beyond the boundaries of normal endurance. These heroes instil courage and fervour in their followers; leading them to great victories and on to greater glory than they could have possibly achieved through their own endeavours.

These are the characters that add colour and a little bit of bite to any army and the Grymn armies should be no exception.

Where to start

The starting point should always be at the bottom. Why? Because there is always the tendency to have characters and leaders that are super powerful and indestructible. That is completely inappropriate and can also completely unbalance the army that the character has been created to join.

Of course; once you have started building characters, you can build up to the more powerful ones but you will do so after understanding the strengths and weaknesses of those lesser characters and that will help you build a better, higher level character that will not unbalance your army but will enhance it.

When building characters there is a need to set them apart from the normal, run of the mill NCOs and officers of the army. These characters will have unusual characteristics or be able to do unusual things that a normal leader won't be able to. Just think of the British leader, Winston Churchill. He was just a man...but put him in front of a mass of people and he could turn them into an unstoppable army just by talking to them and inspiring them to greater things. Storming Norman Schwartzkopf instilled pride in his men by being in the field and leading from the front. Montgomery, Rommel, Colonel H. Jones and many more, inspired their troops to great deeds...but they were just men. They weren't super heroes and they weren't wearing powered armour or being protected by force fields...

...but the men who followed them would follow them to the sun and fight on its searing surface as a result of the pride they held in their inspirational leaders...

Private Baharry...an inspiration to the country. He was just doing his duty but had such drive that he fought off wounds that would ground a normal man and rescued members of his unit before succumbing to unconsciousness. He was just a man...but in a word, he is a hero and would make an excellent basis for a character in an army.

I have posted this as a forward to some character ideas that will follow on. They will range from the lowly leader to the Grymn who originally escaped from the Sleiti and led his people to freedom in the stars. There will be great generals, powerful orators and strategists beyond compare.

Watch this space...

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Fi-Fi-Fo-Fum!

Yes, today I am going to talk about the models and miniatures available for robotic walkers in your Grymn armies. This is not going to be a big debate as to whether they are practical or not...I like the idea of big robots on the battlefield and as a result I feel the need to share a few ideas on the subject.

Starting at the beginning, we have the small, powered-armour style, walkers. The first one I have here is a Grizzly suit from the now extinct range of Starship Troopers miniatures that Mongoose Games used to make:


The miniature is designed to be used as a powered suit for miniatures that would be about 32mm tall so the thought of a Grymn filling the suit in the way it was designed is a bit daft. I would suggest that the Grymn pilot would be sat in a seat in the torso of the suit and would drive it rather than walk around in it. There is plenty of room in the torso for this so it isn't infeasible.

Following on from the Grizzly are my Vulkan battle-suits. They are from another extinct range of miniatures; the Warzone range from Target Games. These would operate in the same way as the Grizzlies with the Grymn pilot sitting in the torso:


Next we have the driven robot style of walker. These are no longer powered armour but armoured vehicles that have a pilot who sits in a cockpit and controls the walker. The walkers below are from the Japanese Anime 'Armoured Trooper Votoms'. The ones pictured are very old 1/60 scale, die-cast toys depicting 'Scopedog'; one of the characters from the show:


In order to make the toy look more Grymn-like, I have shortened the one on the left and started to paint it in a more reasonable scheme.

...and so we progress onto my favourite line of walkers...the Macross range. The following walkers are from the old 1/200 scale Nichimo range of kits. The Nichimo kits were great because each of the boxes contained two kits. It was necessary to convert these quite heavily so that there was conceivably the space to house a Grymn in the cockpit. First are the converted Defenders:



Next we have some converted Tomahawks:


Moving on from the 1/200 scale kits, we progress onto the slightly large 1/100 scale kits. These are from Arai and Bandai and are joined by the smaller walkers to show off their size difference:


Just for a bit more information, the grey and white walkers are Regult pods and the un-painted green and brown ones are Spartans. The bigger walkers are the Tomahawk but with the arms off the Defender:


...and a pair of Defenders with the arms off Tomahawks:



The great thing about the Macross kits is that they tie in together nicely. The following Phalanx walkers use similar legs to the Tomahawks and Defenders so don't look out of place at all. The Phalanx have multiple rocket launchers and would be perfect for long ranged support:



Gundam has a huge range of kits available for the Anime theme. The following kit is a Zaku but unlike the other kits I have shown, this is a 'super-deformed' version. That means that it is designed to be more cartoon-like in style. Fortunately there is plenty of room inside the head to fit a Grymn pilot:


I don't need to say that there are literally thousands of Japanese Anime kits available from all sorts of ranges; Xabungle, Dougram, Robotech, Megaro Zamac, Patlabor...the list goes on and on...so I won't go on about it!

There are also war-games ranges that encompass walkers in their ranks. Games Workshop and Forgeworld are two such companies that have a myriad of walkers in a selection of ranges.

To finish, all I need to say is have a look out there and you will find the perfect walker for your forces...whether it is a toy, a Japanese kit or even a kit from a war-games manufacturer...

...and if anyone questions the use of giant walking death machines...then if all else fails just say..."they look cool".

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Paper...I forgot to mention paper!

In both of my previous posts I mentioned all sorts of model making options for providing both air and ground support for your Grymn armies.

I am one of those army collectors who like a bit of solidity to my vehicles and am prepared to pay what I think is fair for that privilege. I am not alone when it comes to liking a bit of weight to my vehicles, HOWEVER...there is another option...paper vehicles.

I may look down my nose at paper models but there is a huge amount of merit to them. First of all, there are loads of sci-fi paper models out there, many covering subjects like available video-game vehicles and the more unusual film vehicles...as well as the standard 'home-made' designs so there is plenty of variety to chose from. Secondly, you don't have to build them with paper or card...you can download the plans and build them with plasticard so that you get the solidity and weight that scratch-building provides without having to come up with your own designs. There is also the matter of price. Once you have spent a small amount of money to download the PDF for the plans, you can print them as many times as you like...that means a one off purchase can provide you with hundreds of vehicles if you wish. You can also change the scale of the plans just by adjusting your printer settings. Many of the paper models also come with a choice of colours in the PDF so that you can have a set of vehicles for all occasions and in different colours. Finally, if you don't like painting...paper models are perfect because they usually come fully painted, weathered and highlighted...so as long as you are neat when you glue them together, they don't need painting.

A few providers of paper models are:

Ebbles Miniatures

World Works Games

I would add a huge list but a quick search on Google will throw up hundreds of links to free downloads rather than the pay-for ones I've linked to above. You will have to just accept that because I am not 'in-to' the whole paper thing, that I don't really know where to start looking.

...HOWEVER, with a tiny amount of search-fu, I have come up with this rather nice link to something worth looking into:

Halo Pelican Dropship

Happy hunting!

Air support...

So, we've covered some of the ground support options in the last post, now lets think about air support.

Air support is as wide and varied as ground support. It can be as simple as a fighter aircraft, flying low and strafing the ground with machine gun fire or as complicated as an orbital drop-ship, capable of descending through the atmosphere with a payload of troops, dropping them off and then hanging around to give weapon support while they advance. Let's start, as we did last time, with what is available from a war-gaming model perspective.

War-gaming air support

Again, we'll start with the obvious choice of Games Workshop plastic injection kits. In the Imperial guard line, there is the Valkyrie; a sci-fi version of a helicopter heavy-lifter. The Tau range has a selection of anti-gravity vehicles ranging from the Devilfish troop carrier, through heavy support Hammerheads and Sky-rays to the lightly equipped, 2 man scout skimmer Piranhas. The Eldar have everything from troop carriers to jet bikes and even the Space Marines have Landspeeders to add some lightly armoured ground support. If you want to continue on the Games Workshop theme, their sister company; Forgeworld, have further fliers to add to the mix but they tend to cost a lot more because they are resin.

Old Crow Models also have a few VTOL support craft in the guise of the Raven, Crow and Splinter. These are resin and are 25mm scale so are small enough for the Grymn to use.

Scotia Grendel has the resin, Corvus drop-ship in their Grendel sci-fi section.

Antenociti's Workshop has a couple of resin fliers including jet-bikes and even a city hopper.

...and to be brutally honest, I can't think of any more! There really are a lack of companies making wargaming fliers for sci-fi...particularly drop-ships.

Modern/Sci-fi model kits

Generally speaking, the 1/48th scale aircraft kit industry has thousands of kits available for conversion. I'm not going to list company names because there are so many out there that produce 1/48th scale models. All it takes is a little imagination and you can convert a Chinook into a VTOl for sci-fi, A Commanche into a ground attack VTOL, A Hercules into a Drop-ship and a host of modern jet aircraft into some form of fighter/ground support aircraft...the sky is the limit. If you look a bit further afield, there are a lot of sci-fi kits available...like the Macross and Mospeada range. They have a great selection of fighters. There are also a host of other sci-fi kits from the 'real space' genre; including rockets and shuttles to use in your conversions. Like I said at the beginning...a small amount of imagination and you can easily construct a decent amount of sci-fi airsupport for your Grymn.

Toys

Thunderbirds, UFO, Space: 1999, Captain Scarlett, Avatar, Aliens, The X-Men...the list of cool toys just goes on and on and many of these ranges have vehicles that would make great air support for your Grymn. Don't worry too much about scale as you can often convert stuff that is completely out of scale for use with the Grymn...here is an example; a Thunderbird-2 toy from the most recent film:


All I did was fill in the windows, trim the tail a little and stick a plastic spoon to the front to act as a cockpit...sorted!

The sky is the limit!

Scratch-building

Again, there are many people who enjoy building their own vehicles and aircraft from scratch...I have tried many times but only ever got so far before giving up...here is an example of ANOTHER failed project:


All I can say is that if you take the scratch-building approach...GOOD LUCK!

Well, that is about it for today and I hope that I have supplied at least a small amount of information that you may find useful when tooling up your Grymn forces with some air-support.

If you have any other options for either ground or air support then please feel free to add comments to any of the posts...an idea shared is a wonderful thing after all!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Support for the lowly infantry.

At the time of writing, there are no vehicles in the Hasslefree Miniatures Grymn miniature line. That means two things...

1. We can wait for them to make some available

OR

2. We can look elsewhere for our vehicular needs

I'll say this straight away...I don't like waiting.

I thought I would try to put a list up of all of the places I have found that sell vehicles, tanks and transports that would be suitable for a Grymn army...so hold on to your hats, this is going to be a bumpy ride!

What is available in the way of tanks and ground based vehicles?

There are a surprising amount of vehicles available on the market. They range from plastic kits, to resin and metal ones. If you are imaginative, you could even go as far as converting die-cast toys for all of your Grymn transport and support needs.

Let's start with war-gaming kits that have been specifically designed for use with 25mm/28mm miniatures.

War-gaming ground-vehicles

The obvious place to start is Games Workshop. They produce a vast amount of plastic-injection kits that are perfect for war-gaming. In amongst them are a few which stand out from a Grymn perspective for me. In the Imperial Guard section, there are various tanks but I think they are a bit big and chunky for Grymn...however, the Sentinel walker is a great little kit that would look great strutting along beside some Grymn. Next up, in the Space Marine section, is the ubiquitous Rhino APC. If you buy the Razorback kit, it costs the same as a Rhino but has an extra turret option with a selection of additional weapons. If you wanted to add a bit more punch, then you could get a Predator tank which is a further upgrade to the Rhino. This would fit in nicely with the other APCs and IFVs. While in the Space Marine section, you could do a lot worse than a Dreadnought walker...not necessarily what you'd expect to find in a Grymn army but it really would add some presence!

Old Crow Models produce a range of 25mm vehicles that are perfect for Grymn use. They are slightly smaller than a lot of kits out there and this suits the diminutive height of the Grymn. The Old Crow kits are made from resin with some details made of metal. They have a vast array of vehicles and a lot of them have three different modes of motivation available; tracked, hover and anti-gravity. There are a selection of wheeled scout vehicles available as well as a host of vehicles made for the Hammer's Slammers game. My particular favourites in the range are the Glaive APC and Gladius tank.

Pig Iron Productions Make a range of miniatures that are supported by a couple of large tracked vehicles. They really look the business but are quite large...so they may not be what a lot of Grymn gamers would be looking for but just because Grymn are small, doesn't mean the vehicles have to be.

West Wind Productions produce a game called Secrets of the Third Reich. It is a Weird World War game that mixes historical forces with fantastic and futuristic equipment. In amongst the vehicle sections, there is a rather nice (resin) British APC and scout vehicle which really looks like it would be Grymn friendly. There are also some walkers in amongst the range that could fit in, depending on your own, personal vision.

Scotia Grendel has quite a wide range of resin/metal vehicles. In the Kryomek range, there are a bunch of armoured vehicles that have a choice of wheels, tracks, hover and anti-gravity drive systems. They are quite chunky but could be of use. In the same range there are a host of walkers and even some large, infantry type robots that could come in handy. If you check out the Grendel sci-fi section there is a range of tracked, wheeled and walker vehicles; including one that looks a pretty good proxy for the Aliens APC. Scotia Grendel doesn't stop there...we haven't got to the Void1.1 section which has various wheeled vehicles (Ronin) and some hover tanks in the Syntha section. Yes, Scotia Grendel really has a wide selection of vehicles!

Antenociti's Workshop has a small range of resin, sci-fi vehicles but the one that really leaps out is the Warthog APC. It is a wheeled vehicle that really looks solid but is quite large. There is also the AW Grav Tank that may appeal to some of you who want sleek, powerful support for your troops.

Eureka Miniatures still holds the Ground Zero Games range of Stargrunt vehicles in their Australian shop. These vehicles are resin and there is a vast array of hover, tracked, wheeled or anti-gravity vehicles in the range. Being 25mm scale, they are smaller than a lot of other ranges and as a result, fit in better with Grymn sized miniatures.

Fenris Games has an E-Bay shop that sells a couple of really nice resin sci-fi vehicles. They also sell a modern Humvee or two so they are well worth a visit.

Other ranges that could be considered are modern war-games vehicles from a host of manufacturers.

Modern Model Kits

Modern model kits are an excellent source of Grymn vehicles. All it takes is a battle-tank and some plasticard and you've got a sci-fi behemoth! You can use kits from 1/72nd scale through to 1/35th scale and beyond but I have found that if you want to keep things roughly to Grymn scale, 1/48th scale kits work the best (if you can get them...1/50th or 1/64th would be even better). Ranges include Revell, Tamiya, Dragon, Airfix...the list goes on and on!

Toys!

Yes, there are plenty of options for using toys in your Grymn forces. Hotwheels, Matchbox, Fast Lane and many other manufacturers produce plenty of die-cast models that are usable in a Grymn force. If you are feeling cheap, you can visit the pound-shop and pick up some real bargains. Using these sort of vehicles could be as simple as a new paint-scheme but with the addition of a few extra bits and pieces, you can create tailor made vehicles.

Starting from Scratch!

I call this...doing it the hard way. I would much rather buy a custom made kit and build that but there are many people out there who would rather build their own vehicles from the ground up. Plasticard, plastic tubes, bits from around the house and from the ubiquitous 'bits-box' are all carefully trimmed and adjusted to make a masterpiece of sci-fi hardware. The only trouble with this process is that it is very hard to build lots of identical vehicles...so it could be one for special occasions but not one for building a battalion!

So there you have it...a few ideas for when you start to tool-up your ground forces.

In the next visit, I'll throw in some options for a bit of air transport and support...

...look to the skies and your prayers will be answered!


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A different approach (Part 2)

To continue the urban army, I thought I'd talk about a few ideas I had, with regards to the special units.

Special Units

The special units consist of anything that falls outside of the infantry platoons. I have already covered the airborne, jump-pack platoon so there is no need to revisit those but there are a selection of different units that could be considered special. These are:

Command
Support
Veteran
Mundane

Command

Command of an army is essential but what makes up a strong, field command unit? First of all, you need the field commander; a high ranking officer who has honed his skill in battle. No commander would go to battle without his advisers and assistants so there would need to be a selection of support officers and NCOs. There would need to be a communication section to the command unit and maybe some artillery officers and aircraft control personnel as well...so that they can coordinate the ground/air forces. There may be other members of the command section like padres, medics, clerks, stores officers, di-staff and maybe even field police/bodyguards. You could really go to town with the command unit but I think I'll keep it fairly simple and trim the troops down to a manageable amount.

Support

Support is a general term that could be applied to all manner of personnel, equipment and resources. For the sake of this army, I will be thinking of support weapons rather than general support.

For the support weapons, I plan on having two distinct branches: a troop based support element and a vehicle based support element. I will deal with airborne support at a later date (by airborne support I mean fighters/bombers/ground attack aircraft and not the airborne transports of the jump-pack platoon).

The troop support element will be a platoon made up of a command section and a number of support sections. I am likely to keep this unit as a platoon and will likely have a command section and five support sections to equal the amount of troops in the rest of the platoons. Each of the support sections will consist of 4 troops; two with basic weapons and two with support weapons...probably heavy machine guns. I will treat these as a unit that advances with the standard infantry platoons and is used as anti infantry support.

The vehicle support element will be split between walkers and tanks.

The walkers will have a range of weapons capable of taking on troops, armoured vehicles and even aircraft. They will be able to closely support the troops in built up areas due to them being smaller than a tank and more mobile due to them having legs.

The Tanks will be anti armour and will travel along with the APCs of the troops, giving protection while the army advances in vehicles and acting as cover when things slow down and the troops have dismounted.

Veteran

The veterans will be the special forces element of the army. They are likely to be better equipped and more highly skilled than their brother troops. They may also have extra skills and be harder to kill. I can see this unit being smaller than platoon size to highlight their 'special' nature.

Mundane.

The mundane element of support is made up of engineers, medics, suppliers and the general 'hangers on'. If any of these turn up in my Grymn army, it will be much later on and will not necessarily be made for anything other than to add colour to the force.

Special Unit Sizes

It would be very easy to make all of the support elements platoon sized but I don't think that it would be a particularly good idea to do so. However, one thing that is a good idea is to keep the organisation of the platoons going through the rest of the army. What I mean is that each of the platoons have pairs of 4-Grymn fire-teams so that they can support each other. It would be nice to keep this theme going when thinking about building the special elements of the army.

As mentioned earlier, it makes sense for the infantry based support unit to be platoon sized so that there are enough fire-teams to add coordinated support to the advancing infantry. What wouldn't be as sensible would be to expect 24 model walker platoons, or tank platoons. I also wouldn't expect to see platoon sized command units and the veterans would be elite so having a lot of them would be a bit un-flavourful.

Using the above ideas, I'll try to build some acceptable units, using the constraints I have suggested.

Command Section: This will be made up of two command fire-teams and two bodyguard fire-teams. All of the fire teams will have four Grymn in them so the total section size would be 16. The command fire-teams would each have a pair of officers and a pair of leaders; including comms and different types of personnel...like an artillery officer, for example. The bodyguard fire-teams would be armed with a mix of SMGs and pistols for close protection. The command section would get a pair of vehicles to transport them.

Infantry Support Platoon: 24 Grymn in a similar organisation to other platoons but made up of one command section and 5 support sections.

Walker support section: I have 16 of these. I have enough for a command element and 3 support elements. I would try to justify this but this unit speaks for itself and has the same building blocks as the rest of the force...so it makes sense to stick with it.

Tank support section: For tanks, I was thinking about using these as much smaller units. I think that a 4 tank unit would pack quite a punch so that is what I'll go with. Each section would have 4 of the same tank with one of them acting as the lead vehicle. This would enable a certain amount of flexibility but still offer a heavy hitting section with a certain amount of redundancy built in.

Veteran Section: I think 16 Grymn would be perfect for this unit too. I think that one command fireteam and three veteran fire-teams would work just fine. The command element would have an officer a leader and two veterans, with one having comms. The veteran fire-teams would have three troops with basic weapons and one with a support weapon. The veteran section would get a pair of vehicles to transport them.

So there you have it. The basic, army-building units will be in platoon sized units and the more specialist units will be smaller to add to their mystique a little.

Airborne support will be along at a later date...as will a nice organisation chart.

Monday, 21 June 2010

A different approach (Part 1)

A while ago, I decided that there was more to collecting an army than ten man squads. A lot of the time I have based my army collecting on rule-sets or army books and I thought that I'd have a change of pace.

The first thing I had to do was to completely ignore any rule set.

Once I had completely freed myself of those limits, I went on line and started looking for modern military organisation plots; often referred to as TOE (Table of Equipment) or ORBATs (Order of Battle).

Being English and in the military myself, it made sense to start with the British Army for some pointers. Here is what I came up with:

Looking at the above chart, you can see that most of the units are broken down into 4 man fire-teams. A pair of fire-teams makes a section for basic infantry but things start to get a little different for the specialist units like command and support. You will also see that the various sections have their own transports; in the case of the specialists, the smaller size of each unit still gets a transport, even though they number less than 8 members.

Generally speaking, the support unit is attached to the command unit.

So...from a Grymn perspective, I thought it would be better to make things even simpler by limiting all of the units to multiples of fire-teams. This not only keeps things simple but also makes it easier to designate vehicles.

Assault Platoon

To start with I wanted to build a jump-pack platoon. This would consist of two sections of infantry (each with two fire-teams), a support section (one fire-team of four) and a command section (one fire-team of four).

Looking at the chart, the basic infantry fire-team consists of a leader, two basic troops and a support weapon trooper. A quick look through my box and I found enough flame-throwers to fill all of the support for the basic infantry sections. I chose the close-combat Grymn for the basic infantry; each one having a brace of pistols.

Next was the support section. Again, looking at the chart, it seems that there are two support weapons in the fire-team and it would seem appropriate for these weapons to be a little more destructive than those in the basic fire-teams. Because this was a jump-pack based platoon, I thought that I needed to keep the support weapons fairly light but able to pack a punch so a heavy machine gun was the obvious choice.

For the command section, I chose a junior officer, a senior leader and a pair of junior leaders...one having a radio set.

The transports for this platoon would each be capable of carrying 8 fully equipped troops and should also be something like a helicopter that could get the jump-troopers into position to drop them off and give covering support once they were deployed (the transports effectively acting as the Warrior IFVs for this particular platoon).

So...the platoon now stands at this:

Command Section
Junior officer (pistol/sword)
Senior leader (brace of pistols)
Junior leader with Comms (brace of pistols)
Junior leader (brace of pistols)

Support Section
Senior leader (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (heavy Machine-gun)
Trooper (heavy Machine-gun)

Infantry Section
Senior Leader (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (flame-thrower)

Junior Leader (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (flame-thrower)

Infantry Section
Senior Leader (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (flame-thrower)

Junior Leader (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (brace of pistols)
Trooper (flame-thrower)

Now that I have the platoon, I needed to add markings so I thought senior leaders would get a pair of red stripes, junior leaders get a single red stripe and officers would get yellow stripes...

...This is what I ended up with:


On to the transport options and after looking through all of the available options, I decided to go for some decent skimmers and the best ones for the job seemed to be Tau Devilfish from Games Workshop. I just needed to get rid of the drones and the cupola and add a more 'Grymn-like' selection of weapons. At this moment in time, I have bought the Devilfish but am still in the process of converting them...here is a picture of the nearest to being finished 'Pillum Drop-ship':


This skimmer will be capable of carrying 8 troops and will allow them to jump from the rear, at altitude, to drop on their foes and enter the fray quickly. I have 3 of these to carry each infantry section and the command and support sections combined.

Infantry Platoon

Now that I have the basic building blocks for a platoon, it would be easy to carry on the system through to other areas of the army. The next, obvious, area to visit would be the basic infantry platoon. Rather than going through the rigmarole of explaining things again, I'll cut to the chase. The first part of choosing the infantry was to decide on the weapons. The basic weapon of the Grymn army is the SMG and it made sense to build the platoon with these as weapons. I also thought that the support weapons would be a bit more range orientated so I went for grenade launchers and plasma-weapons for the infantry sections and missile-launchers for the support section. I would be keeping the command section similar to the one in the Assault Platoon but would have different weapons. This is what I came up with:

Command Section
Junior officer (SMG/sword)
Senior leader (SMG)
Junior leader with Comms (SMG)
Junior leader (SMG)

Support Section
Senior leader (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (missile-launcher)
Trooper (missile-launcher)

Infantry Section
Senior Leader (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (plasma-weapon)

Junior Leader (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (grenade-launcher)

Infantry Section
Senior Leader (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (plasma-weapon)

Junior Leader (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (SMG)
Trooper (grenade-launcher)

As transport for the troops, I have decided to use 3 Glaive APC vehicles from Old Crow Productions. Each one will be capable of carrying 8 troops and again, one of the APCs will carry both the command and support sections. Here is a pic of a Glaive APC:


Now that I have the basic building block of the army; the infantry platoon, I can add multiples to build up my forces but an army needs a command structure and this one is no exception. The problem is that I haven't got as far as building a command platoon...so I'll have to save that for another day....along with the heavy support and scout elements of the army.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Time for some pix again.

A while ago, I decided that it was time to try out an idea that was demonstrated to me over at the Forum of Doom. The idea was to take some heads from Pig Iron Kolony Inner Guard and put them onto Grymn bodies. The miniatures that I saw had converted weapons as well as head swaps but I didn't want to go that far because I knew I would be building an army...so all of the basic miniatures would have the standard weapons that the Grymn came with.

Once I had bought some heads, I looked through my extensive, unpainted, Grymn collection and decided that I would just grab a handful of differently armed troops to convert. By doing this, I would keep things interesting and that would help the task of army building. After clipping off some heads and pinning on new ones, I found that there was a bit of 'unsightliness' behind the neck so I sculpted little humps to cover things up...once this was done, the tunnel fighters were born.

Here is a pic of the first four conversions and they show a variety of troops:


Once I had the basic conversion pattern worked out I just continued working through my unpainted Grymn until I ran out of miniatures. At that point, I thought it would be a good idea to group them into squads. With what I had already painted, the best squad size was 9 so I worked towards arranging the troops into their requisite squad sizes. Each standard squad would have 7 troops armed with their basic weapon (including the squad leader) and 2 with special or heavy weapons.

After buying all of the missing troops, I ended up with 6 squads of 9 troops in each. There were 2 squads with pistols, mini-guns and grenade launchers, 1 squad with shotguns and flame-throwers and 3 squads with pulse-guns and heavy pulse-guns. Obviously, I needed to sort out an army commander and his command squad so I thought about how to make him different...I ended up giving him a coat:


It was at this point, I went to Salute; the UK's biggest war-gaming extravaganza. While at Salute, I found two things of great interest to me. First, I found some 'spider droids' from Ground Zero Games which I thought would make great little robots for communications duties. I bought enough of them to add 1 to each squad (rounding each squad up to 10 models)...here are a couple of examples:


I also found some 'Mini-Mawes' from Hasslefree Miniatures and immediately thought that they would make good sniffer/guard animals for some Grymn to delve into tunnels with. They came with integral bases so it took a little work to base them with their handlers. I ended up hollowing out some resin bases, gluing the miniatures into the hollow and then filling the gaps with Green Stuff. Here are the finished scouts:


Now that I had a fairly substantial army building up, I thought about a bit of support for them. I didn't think tanks would be appropriate for the army because they are tunnel fighters so I had to think a bit harder. It then occurred to me that I had the perfect solution in the form of some mechs that I had bought for another project. Fortunately, I had a few spare so they were quickly pressed into service. The mechs are from the now extinct Warzone range and are Vulkan Battlesuits from the Bauhaus faction. They just needed a small conversion to the head area and they were good to go. Here is one of the squads:


It was at this point I started thinking about where I was going with the army. I had a lot of infantry, a command squad, some scouts and some support...the next thing to do was get a picture to see what it all looked like together:


After looking at the army I thought that it would be nice to add a few more squads of basic infantry so the plan is to add another 4 squads armed with pulse-guns and heavy pulse-guns to round the infantry total up to 100. That would give me a total of 12 squads (including the scouts). I also started thinking about transport options and have decided to scratch-build my own...all 12 of them! In the future, once I have finished the extra troops and all of the transports, I may add a few extra command elements and maybe some sort of tank-destroyers but I will have to think about what sort of heavy weapons would be suitable for fighting in tunnels...

So that is how my little army is going and I thought it would be nice to try to explain how I went about building it. At no point in time have I thought of attaching it to any sort of rule-set, I have just gone with what seemed right at the time...however, with a small amount of tweaking, I reckon it would fit in with most rule-sets available for mass battles.

...and to think, all this came about as a result of seeing Sagunt's converted, steam-punk Grymn over at the Forum of Doom:


From little acorns and all that...

Monday, 7 June 2010

A Chance Encounter

Horgan stood in a braced position, tracking the forest line with his mini-gun. Seven other Grymn were doing the same with their SMGs and grenade-launchers. They were silent and listening for the slightest sound of movement. Ingrid was kneeling beside Torek; administering medical aid for a gun-shot wound to his side. He was in pain but would survive.

Suddenly a Grymn to the left of Horgan fired his SMG into the trees and was rewarded with a squeal of pain; quite clearly of Bohkin origin. Further shots were fired by various other Grymn and then quiet again. Horgan looked left and right. It was as if he could sense something was wrong. Intuitively he ducked down as a stream of machine-gun fire parted the air where he had recently stood and whistled off into the distance. Horgan squeezed the trigger and the forest line exploded into a kaleidoscope of debris. Many screams were heard as the onslaught shredded trees, leaves and Bohkin scouts with equal malice. When Horgan relaxed his trigger finger, the sound of fleeing creatures could be heard. It would appear that the Bohkin had retreated for the time being.

Horgan remained where he stood and continued to scan the tree line. He knew that Bohkin were sneaky customers and almost wished that they would prove him right. The group of Grymn had been ambushed but had managed to defend themselves aggressively enough to see off the attackers. Unfortunately, Torek had been hit in the first volley of gunfire and that really annoyed Horgan. He felt that they were not being careful enough.

To the right Horgan heard movement. He swung his weapon to bear and waited. The movement was getting closer and it was as if there was no wish to conceal the noise. In fact Horgan could hear the chirpy noise of the Bohkin screaming at the trees, almost pleadingly. Within moments a wild eyed Bohkin burst in to the clearing in front of him. It didn’t have a weapon but had wild staring eyes that were too busy staring at the trees to even notice Horgan. In fact the screaming Bohkin ran straight at him chirping wildly. In moments it had reached him and had bumped into him as it tried to run past, tripping over Horgan’s leg in the process. Horgan was about to react when the Bohkin leapt to its feet and tore off into the trees on the other side of the clearing. Horgan watched as the creature ran wildly through the undergrowth with no apparent thought for self preservation. A further noise from where the Bohkin had appeared from caused Horgan to turn around. More movement was forth coming, closely followed by more Bohkin. None had weapons and they all looked as terrified as the first one. Horgan watched as they too ran past in panic. He returned his gaze to the entrance point again and immediately felt a wave of nausea flow through him as his weapon fell with a thump, to the floor. He felt his legs buckle and he dropped to his hands and knees as with a huge retch, he vomited. His vision had started to blur but he looked over to the rest of his squad members and saw that they were equally affected. He tried to raise his head to look where he had been a moment previously but was forced to vomit again as a new, more intense wave of nausea flooded through him. He had never felt so wretched in his life. Horgan held his breath and forced himself to look to where the Bohkin had come from. It took a huge effort but he managed to raise his head far enough to see a large pair of two-toed feet in front of him.
Almost as quickly as the feeling had arrived, the nausea disappeared. Horgan reached instinctively for his mini-gun but it was no longer where it had dropped. His training kicked in and he threw himself over to one side and leapt into a fighting crouch. In front of him was a tall figure with a broad crowned head looking at him. Horgan felt a lesser feeling of sickness as his mind was filled with a sighing voice.
“Stand down soldier, your work is done for today” said the voice.
Horgan looked at the face of the figure in front of him and noticed that it had not spoken to him but had projected its voice directly into his head. The face smiled as if it understood the confusion written all over Horgan’s face.
“We come to you as friends” said the voice in Horgan’s mind again.
Horgan passed out.
When he came too, Horgan was lying next to Ingrid. She had applied a cold flannel to his brow and was speaking tenderly to him.
“It’s good to see that you are awake” she said, “We have some new friends for you to meet”.
Horgan sat up and immediately looked into the deep black pits of one of the newcomers eyes. He felt a very slight feeling of sickness as a voice filled his head again.
“We are sorry for the unease that you feel when we speak with you but some are more sensitive than others to our method of communication” it said.
Horgan looked at the creature in front of him thoroughly for the first time. It was exceptionally tall; being almost twice the height of a Grymn, was slender and had the usual pattern of two arms, two legs, a torso and a head. It had bare feet with two fat toes and three-fingered hands. The face seemed friendly enough but was obviously alien and it was crowned with a thick, bony ridge around the top of its skull. All it wore was a cloak, a tabard and a few trinkets on a belt and it carried a staff.
“I am the one called Zuuh’tah and I am known as the walker among tribes” It said “you are known as Huurgaan and you reap the life grains with your death-giver”.
“That is true” said Horgan as he sat upright and propped himself up with his hands on the floor “but I only kill those that mean me harm...Zoota”
“Yes...we have seen this today” replied Zuuh’tah.
“We?” questioned Horgan.
“Yes, we” he replied, calmly gesturing with an open, upturned palm towards a small group of similar looking aliens over near the tree line. Some were dressed as he was and some wore light armour pieces and carried rifle styled weaponry.
Horgan returned his gaze to the alien and asked what they wanted from his squad.
“We wish to be allies with the tribe of Grymmmn” Said Zuuh’tah “it is a small thing to ask...yes?”
“But we don’t know you...how can we be allies until we know that we can trust one another” Horgan replied.
“You may trust us because you live...it would have been easy to make it otherwise” came the reply.
“Fair point...but I am no ambassador” Horgan said “you must meet with our lords to discuss terms of allegiance”.
“At some point, we will discuss terms with your lords but today we are content to have made first contact with your tribe of Grymmmn” it said “and now that we have, it is time for us to depart”.
Zuuh’tah stood and looked thoughtfully at Horgan for a moment, turned around and strolled towards the tree line again. As he disappeared through the undergrowth a whispering voice filled Horgan’s mind again...
“We are watching your tribe and will return when the time is right” said the voice.
Horgan looked over to where the other aliens had stood and of their presence, nothing could be seen.
“What the feth just happened?” queried Horgan, as he spat on the ground nearby.
“I think it was hello” said Ingrid.
“I guess so” he replied.
“Right, lets get packed up and get home...we have to tell the hierarchy what happened here” said Sgt Reiks.
The squad brought itself to its senses and began the bustle of getting ready to move. In a few moments Horgan, the Sgt and the rest of the Grymn were purposefully walking off towards camp. It had been a strange day and some people would be sure to think they were mad but in time, they would see differently.

And so the Grymn met the Delsertis for the first time, knowing that it would not be the last......

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Airborne Assault

When conducting an airborne assault in real life, there are many factors that have to be taken into account, even before deciding on what troops or equipment are required. With a Grymn force, it is no different and this post explores the possible options for a successful airborne assault using your Grymn troops.

The Target

The target dictates the choice of assets used for the assault. Things to be taken into consideration are:

1) Can a land force do the job better?
2) Does the target have air-defense capabilities?
3) Does the target have air superiority?
4) Is the target fortified?
5) What is the likely defensive capability of the target’s standing troops
6) What sort of terrain is the target located within?
7) Is the target part of a support network and are reserves close by?

Once you have the information about the target, you can decide on whether an airborne assault is viable and what equipment and resources will be necessary to carry out the assault successfully.

The airborne assault force may have many different sections from many different regiments/armies/air-forces all brought together under the control of the assault commander. If there is a requirement for stealth and precision, a small amount of troops and transport aircraft may be required. For a prolonged airborne assault, a vast number of bombers, fighters transport aircraft, troops and support assets may be required for the duration. There may be a requirement for initial airdrops of equipment with follow up support coming via the road network or even via the sea (depending on location) .

With all the above in mind, let’s think about the war-gaming tabletop and the likely use of an airborne assault.

Fully airborne

This sort of force is a fairly unusual one because it relies on all of your units being air transportable. That means you are tied to the sort of troops and support options that will fit into your fliers/skimmers. Think of a heavily equipped paratroop army with the addition of small buggies and hand portable heavy weapons…possibly with light tanks or walkers for the more heavy aspects of support. Obviously, the drop-off aircraft will be able to give cover to the troops on the ground and some may even be able to under-sling equipment, vehicles in addition to carrying troops…but generally speaking, this would be the lightest end of the airborne assault spectrum.

While thinking about this sort of force, there may be a requirement to drop troops from altitude using ‘deep strike’ rules or something similar. This could mean the use of jump-packs or parachutes which wouldn’t necessarily require the transporting craft to land. There could also be the option of using fighter and bomber aircraft as support options, rather than tanks and vehicles being transported in…it all depends on the target and how it can defend itself.

Partially airborne

This is where you have an airborne element of your assault force that has a ground based element either following up or leading the assault. This would be a more typical sort of table top army and it is one that provides a lot of options to keep things interesting.

With a mix of airborne and ground based assets, you can organise your army in a multitude of ways.

1) You could lead the assault with fighters, drop in your airborne troops to keep the enemy busy and then follow up with ground forces to finish off the job.
2) You could have your ground based forces lead the attack, gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the foe and then use air support to fly in and either breach the defenses or support the troops on the ground
3) You could use your air units to move ground troops around (like in modern helicopter ops) to make the best use of your troops and also to keep the enemy guessing.
4) You could even use your fliers as mobile cranes to quickly re position tanks and guns that would take too long to move under their own steam.

What do the Grymn have, currently available, in the way of airborne options? At the moment there are jump packs and heavy infantry in atmospherically sealed suits. The sealed suits could be used to represent halo-jumpers because they look like they could have a parachute in their packs as well as an air supply. The jump packs are useful because they could be added to a range of troops so that they could not only be air-dropped onto the battlefield but can also have increased mobility once they arrive. Apart from that, the Grymn range doesn’t cater for aircraft so we’ll have to look elsewhere for our air transportation needs.

There are plenty of options out there for ground vehicles but airborne ones are a bit more difficult to find.

The first port of call would be buying modern aircraft/Japanese anime kits and converting them. Depending on your personal requirements, anything from 1/72nd scale to 1/48th scale would be a good place to start and you could use anything from Apache helicopters to Hercules transport aircraft or Macross Space fighters to Robotech support helicopters.

Next we have plastic kits available from Games Workshop. Depending on what style you require you could have sleek skimmers like the Eldar Falcon, the slightly less sleek Tau Devilfish or the boxy and utilitarian looking Imperial Guard Valkyrie. There are plenty of other smaller options within the ranges such as Space Marine Land-speeders and Tau Piranhas to name a couple.

If you want to use the Games Workshop plastic kits, you may want to bolster them with some larger, resin fliers from Forgeworld. There are a host of bigger aircraft such as the Tau Orca and Barracuda…or the Imperial Guard Marauder. There are also smaller, fighter-type aircraft in the range.

Continuing on the resin theme, there are companies like Old Crow who have VTOLs and the odd skimmer in their range. The Scotia Grendel Kryomek range also has a drop ship available.

Finally, there is the option of scratch building with plasticard and bits-box spares. This takes a while but is worth the effort if you get it right.

So…what now? Well, as an example of a Grymn airborne army I will provide an idea of how I would go about things.

Airborne Force Alpha

Command squad of 8 troops with jump packs. Led by an officer with a Sgt as deputy, comms trooper, and a couple of support weapons (man portable). Mounted in a Tau Devilfish transport with the wing tip drones removed and replaced with missile launchers; it also has a chain-gun in the nose (I will call this a Pilum Drop Ship).

Infantry Squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable) mounted in a Pilum Drop Ship.

Infantry Squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable) mounted in a Pilum Drop Ship.

Infantry Squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable) mounted in a Pilum Drop Ship.

Heavy infantry Command squad of 8 troops. Led by an officer with a Sgt as deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Heavy infantry squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Heavy infantry squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Heavy infantry squad of 8 troops. Led by a Sgt with a deputy, comms and a pair of support weapons (man portable). This squad deep-strikes onto the table.

Piranha fighter squadron of three aircraft. All have a melta weapon with missile launchers.

Piranha fighter squadron of three aircraft. All have a melta weapon with missile launchers.

The above force would have all of the elements to deal with air-superiority, dropping the troops off and providing cover, with the ability to drop in the reserves to bolster the lines or take objectives.

The aircraft are easily converted by adding a cockpit to the piranhas and using the missile pods for the Sky Ray instead of the wing mounted drones.

For a mixed assault force, get rid of the Heavy infantry and sub them with tanks/ground based units.

That is how easy it is to build a Grymn airborne force and it doesn’t take too much conversion either.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Captivity...

Skali

Skali sprinted for the cover of a shattered wall as fast as his legs could carry him. The sound of battle was all around him. He looked over to his left and saw Lars fall to the ground as his shoulder disintegrated in a shower of blood and plasma. Beyond Lars another trooper, who the fog of battle had rendered anonymous, was felled as his helmet ruptured after a hit from a sniper’s round; brain matter spewing from the ragged exit wound. Skali snapped his head to the front and looked over the wall. He could see hordes of Bohkin all around and suddenly realised that things were not going well. Everywhere he looked, Grymn were falling to the intensity of the incoming fire. Skali snapped off a few rounds from his SMG and was rewarded with two kills. He ducked back into cover, waited for a few seconds and then popped his head up to fire a few more rounds. He didn’t get to pull the trigger.

Skali felt the sharp coldness of water on his face and he choked as it filled his nose and mouth. He spluttered and turned his head to one side, gulping for air. He tried to open his eyes but found that only one would open. He looked around quickly, trying to find out what was going on but his vision was very blurred; he could only make out a few shapes and some movement.

“Prishhonner ish awake!” a voice said. It sounded like it was having difficulty coping with speech, or had some form of dental problem. After the sound of someone sucking teeth, the voice spoke again.

“Prishhonner had nyyche drink? Prishhonner talksh now.”

Skali tried hard to focus and began to get a picture of the speaker. It was a Bohkin; a male Bohkin with beady little eyes, a little button nose and fangs protruding from its mouth; pointing upwards from a jutting lower jaw. It appeared to be smartly dressed in what appeared to be a white doctor’s gown. Skali noticed that he had a small bag with him.

“I wantshh to hear where yooshh from” said the doctor Bohkin.

Skali said nothing.

“I wantshh to hear where yooshh from” repeated the Bohkin.

Skali didn’t say anything but felt a sharp pain in his jaw as something heavy struck him, tipping him over. For the first time he realised that he had been strapped to a chair. He was in such a daze that he hadn’t even thought about moving so it came as a bit of a surprise when he couldn’t arrest his fall and his head struck the floor, making him struggle for consciousness. In moments, the chair had been stood back up and Skali looked into the eyes of the Bohkin again. He felt a dull ache through his jaw and when he tried to tense his muscles he realised that the pain it generated meant that it was broken.

“Shilly chylde” Said the Bohkin “the farshhers mussht be shad that you show shilly”. He reached into his small bag and pulled out a small metal implement. He held it up in front of Skali and said nothing. A moment later Skali felt pain like he never had before. It was so sharp that he had to catch his breath. His fingertips tingled and his legs twitched uncontrollably as fire engulfed his spine. He struggled desperately but could feel the room closing in as his consciousness faded. Just as he was about to pass out, the pain ceased and the room began to return to normal.

“Where yoosh from, shilly chylde?” asked the Bohkin again.

Skali carried on with the silence. He doubted if he could have spoken too much anyway as his jaw was throbbing and his throat was as dry as a desert. He gasped as the pain in his spine returned; this time it was even worse and his arms shook as badly as his legs. Skali drooled uncontrollably as he began to lose control of his senses. He cried out as wave after wave of shearing pain wracked his body and the room started to dim again. Suddenly the pain dimmed as quickly as it had arrived and Skali was brought back to full consciousness with another bucket of water.

“Yoosh very shilly, anshher queshhtion and we shhtop fun”

Skali gazed in the Bohkin’s direction and still said nothing. His head was swimming, his vision was blurred and he was struggling to come to terms with his situation. Without warning, the pain returned and the room went black as Skali finally succumbed to unconsciousness.

Day after day, Skali was shocked awake with water and tortured to unconsciousness. He wasn’t fed very often and was given just enough water to keep him hanging on to life by a mere thread. After a few days, his jaw became infected and along with the throbbing pain came the smell of gangrene. It didn’t stop the Bohkin dragging Skali from his cell, strapping him to a chair and inflicting the scouring pain that he had begun to become accustomed to. Through it all, he said nothing.

Skali lost count of the days he had been in captivity. He knew that he was near to the end of his torment as he was having difficulty breathing and felt the continuous nausea of septicaemia. His vision was blurred and he had become photophobic. He managed an inward, ironic smile as he wondered what sort of state he looked. He was drifting off to dream-world when the door of his cell opened again and he felt the strong grip of two Bohkin as he was dragged off to his chair again. He felt the straps tighten around his wrists and neck again and gazed, bleary eyed, at the Bohkin facing him.

“Yoosh Tired, chylde” said the Bohkin “yoo shay where yoosh from and pain endsh”.

Skali looked at his tormentor. He could feel his own pulse trying to burst from his neck as his heart pounded heavily, in his chest. He could already sense a dimness filling the room and realised that he wasn’t long for the world. He tried to focus and shifted his position so that he could look straight into the Bohkins beady little eyes.

“I am Grymn” he said.

There was a deafening roar as the Bohkin in front of Skali was vapourised in a rush of plasma energy. Chaos erupted as black clad troops burst into the room, killing every Bohkin in sight with the precision of a surgeon. In moments, all was quiet and one of the troops rushed up to Skali and began to release him from the chair. He stopped for a moment and raised his mirrored visor.

“You’re safe now” said the Grymn.

Skali smiled as his vision failed and the room went black.

The sun shone down as brightly today, as it ever had in the past. Standing on the parade ground in front of over a thousand Grymn; in parade order, was captain Torsten. He was dressed in an immaculately presented, white suit of powered armour. On his chest were many medals that were a testament to his martial prowess and bravery. His grey hair was greased flat and his beard was neatly trimmed. Torsten looked up and down the lines of the many Grymn on parade. There wasn’t a single foot out of place or rifle out of position. Every single Grymn was immaculately turned out. They all wore their polished medals and their smartest battledress and Torsten looked upon them with the supreme pride of a parent watching over his children. The parade stood completely immobile and in complete silence.

Torsten cleared his throat and began his speech.

“Today, we have the honour and privilege to celebrate courage beyond the call of duty. Today we stand in the company of giants. What we witness today is a testament to the bravery, martial ability and utter dedication to duty that a Grymn soldier represents. Every one of you should feel nothing but pride as you stand here today”.

The sound of a single trumpet echoed across the parade ground as a party of silver clad Grymn, with high plumed helmets slow-marched onto the square. Their swords were held vertically in an iron grip, their shiny black boots clacked in unison on the concrete under their feet. Between each pair of immaculate guards hovered a casket. On the lid of each casket was laid a helmet and the weapons that the Grymn inside had used while he fought. The first two caskets had twin pistols, the next one had a pulse gun, two more had a pistol and power axe and finally, a few paces further back came a casket with an SMG laid across it.

The casket party solemnly marched towards Torsten and all but the final casket passed in front of him and was set down on a red carpet to the right of him. The Casket with the SMG was set down on a pedestal to Torsten’s left.

“PAAARADE! GENERAL SALUTE...PREEEESENT ARMS!” sounded across the square as the parade officer issued his order.

With incalculable precision the entire parade ground moved in complete unison, presenting their weapon types in a show of respect. The lone trumpet played a short, haunting tune and was silent.

“PAAARADE! ORDER...ARMS!”

Again, the Grymn moved as one and their weapons were brought to order.
Torsten began to speak again.

“Brakki Silvertooth: Order of Bravery...posthumously awarded. Frekki Strongarm: Order of Bravery...posthumously awarded. Gerri Axebearer: Order of Bravery and Star of Valour...posthumously awarded. Anja Firegaze: Star of Valour...posthumously awarded. Olaf Greybeard: Star of Valour...posthumously awarded.” Torsten paused for a moment, turned towards the five caskets, stood to attention and saluted them. He turned towards the parade again and continued.

“Within these five caskets lie the bodies of five warriors. Each one died carrying out their duty to the highest possible standard and with fire in their hearts and bellies. Each one gave their all, for their brothers and sisters who fought beside them and each one made the perfect sacrifice.”

Torsten paused again and slowly walked towards the lone casket. He brought himself to attention and saluted the casket, just as he had done with the other five. He turned to face the parade again and continued his speech.

“Skali Ironfist: Most Beneficent Order of Valour, Iron Cross and medal of leadership...awarded posthumously.”

Torsten steeled himself and continued.

“Among those pillars of valour, there was a giant among Grymn. Not only did trooper Ironfist lead his brothers forward after his platoon and squad leaders had fallen but he also managed to take and hold a critical objective under the most severe onslaught. When the objective was secured, he further advanced into a Bohkin force that heavily outnumbered his unit, providing valuable protection for a pinned platoon and taking a heavy toll of the attackers. He continued to lead his unit valiantly until he succumbed to his wounds and was captured. For seven weeks he endured the humiliation of torture and spoke not a word. Although he was broken of body, his Grymn spirit continued to burn as brightly as a sun. As his rescue was about to begin, his final words were picked up on our monitoring system...I am Grymn.” Torsten stared at the assembled Grymn “No truer words were ever spoken”.

“PAAARADE! PREESENT ARMS!” Bawled the parade officer.

The Grymn snapped through their drill movements in perfect unison. The trumpeter played a general call to arms as the caskets were led away and when they had gone, the parade officer followed up with:

“PAAARADE! ORDER ARMS!”

“March off the officers!”...