Friday, August 31, 2012

Man Portable Plasma and Fusion guns revisited

Its been stewing around in my head for a while, but the PGMP and FGMP  seem like they are just too darn powerful in their current incarnation. As currently rated, a four man fire team with FGMP-14/15 field 12 attack dice (yeah, I know...there's a firepower cap). Perusing the Striker data tables, both FGMP and PGMP can only engage a single target.

So...I'll need to test lowering the AP firepower of the PGMP/FGMP while keeping the AT ratings intact. After all, these things are about as effective as RPG in the anti-armor role.

I'll retain the fusion guns "flamethrower" damage effect. If you get hit by one, you were generally KIA.

If you are hacking around with this rules, give 'em a try and let me know how they work out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Playtest - Tawantinsuyu Confederation vs. Orinoco League

I took 30 minutes and hacked around with a short action just get a feel for the ratings of some of the units.

I pitted a an Orinoco League Oliphant class planetary monitor against a section of Tawantinsuyu Confederation Assault lance with two Gadling Mejor combat walkers. 

Gadling Mejor class Combat Walker (Mongoose Grizzly class MI suit)
Gadling Mejor
Tech Level:
20” / -

Front Armor
Tac missile launcher
AP4/AT 4** (H)
Side Armor
50 mm rotary Autocannon
AP4 / AT 5(M)
Rear Armor

Deck Armor

Attributes: Hardened, Safe Haven, Lifesaver

 Oliphant class Monitor (Maus)
Tech Level:
20” / --“

Front Armor
Hvy Rail Gun
AP4/AT 6 (H)
Side Armor
Medium Advanced Cannon
AP4/AT 4 (M)
Rear Armor
Light autocannon
AP4/AT 1 (L)
Deck Armor
4D** (no ERA, Deck)

Port Improved MG

Starboard Improved MG
Traits; Back up AI (TL3), Active Point Defense (TL2), Countermeasures, ERA, Hardened, Heavy Hitter, Advanced Conventional Armor, Laser Resistant Armor, Advanced Sensors (TL2), Safe Haven, Lifesaver.
Troop Quality: D8, Morale D10

This was a real hack - no terrain to speak of - just roll some dice and see what happens. 

It took three game turns to resolve. The Tawantinsuyu Confederation held the initiative the entire game and used bounding overwatch to move into flanking positions against the Oliphant. 

But all for nought. The Tawantinsuyu Confederation Assault Lance was eliminated while the Oliphant took minor damage to the starboard MG array (no real loss in a game with no infantry). At least the Gadling's pilot's survived the experience. With no infantry around to capture the crews, they likely exfiltrated back to their baseline. Thought the shame of losing their walkers will adversely effect their morale in the future.

As is often the case, the dice gods hated one side - the Oliphant never won initiative and never won a reaction check. Its active point defense failed three times out of four. Only the heavy armor kept it from being destroyed.

Interesting mix. The ATGM are good enough to score hits against the deck armor - if they can get past the active point defense and the countermeasures. Conversely, the guns had some difficulty penetrating the heavy armor on the Oliphant and the Gadling's.  

I suspect the Oliphant would have had a tougher time against a full Assault Lance of 2 Gadling's in addition to the Gadling Mejor walkers.

Tanks of the Orinoco League

For my Fifth Frontier War campaign set on Feri, I created a state ruled by a paranoid dictator with a penchant for extreme weapons. Specifically this guy liked really BIG tanks. Call it a Freudian thing if you want, but it was more inspired by the fallout from the recent Libyan revolution that revealed the stockpiles of big weapons systems that looked good on parade, but didn't see much action.

Having postulated the existence of these gigantic tanks in the setting. I needed a model to represent them on the tabletop. So where do you find a really big tank, that won't break the budget? ask the community over at The Miniatures Page.

While I appreciate the references to using the 15mm P-1000 Ratte, its almost too big. But we found a winner!

I got a great reference to Hobby Link Japan's ridiculous sale ($4.61 each!) of 1/72 scale pre-assembled, painted and weathered MAUS.  These slab sided behemoths are perfect for the look I am striving to achieve.

Here a quick comparison of the kit right 'out of the box' next to some other vehicles.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rebel Minis Thumper Grav tank

Rebel Minis has a line of 15mm AFV's including grav tanks. While they share a common chassis and turret design, each of the three grav tanks mounts different main armament. The Thumper mounts a short, stubby barrel suitable for an energy weapon or laser.

commanderroj over on The Miniatures Page  commented that he had not seen the Rebel Mini tanks painted up and wondered how they compared to other 15mm figures. You asked for it - here it is! A photo review of the Thumper parked next to a variety of vehicles....

# 1 parked next to a 15mm Old Glory  M10 tank destroyer (TL 5 in Traveller terms)

# 2 Parked next to a 15mm Sherman tank (I think its a QRF, but it could be Quality Castings)

# 3 Next to a Ground Zero Games Advanced Heavy Grav Tank

# 4 Compared to the CMG Havoc grav tank

 # 5 compared to a Rebel Minis "Earth Force Tracked IFV"

And lastly, compared to the RAFM "IMP" 6x6 APC


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And now for something completely different...

Best. Album. Cover. Ever!

You may not care for heavy metal. But an entire album built around a Traveller adventure? Awesome!

This track is appropriately titled "Vargr - Confrontation".

Busily painting Vargr troopers. Should have some new pictures in a few days.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Critical Mass Games Grav vehicles

As promised, here are photos of my recently acquired grav vehicles from Critical Mass Games. These models are listed under the Mercenaries line. I order one each of the Havoc grav tank and the Bastion Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV).

Both models are packed in a nice clear plastic clamshell suitable for a wall hook. (If only there was a local hobby shop to carry them, but I digress).

The Havoc is a brilliant piece of kit. A one piece hull, a turret a base and some gun options. The turret has a sprue attached at the rear. (The bulky "T" looking thing.) There are two main gun choices and a pretty hefty remote mount atop the turret.

I am a big fan of the hull on this tank. A nice, single piece resin casting with nice detail and panel lines.

Here's a shot showing the tank next to the GZG Advanced Grav tank. Both are of similar size and have a nice boxy feel to them.

Here is a shot with the turret fitted to the hull. You can see the vision ports for the driver and the smoke dischargers on either side of the turret.

Most of my grav tanks are usually fitted with energy weapons. So I elected to use the flatter 'hi-tech' gun barrel option .

 The Bastion IFV shares the same chassis as the Havoc, but replaces the tank turret with lighter turret mounting a light cannon and a missile launcher. Here is a shot without  the gun fitted. Reminds me of a gravitic BMP in a lot of ways. You get a choice of 'cannon' and can use the light long barreled gun, or a shorter gun similar to the remote mount on the Havoc.

And here is a shot with the weapons fitted to the turret and the IFV sitting on its base.

 Did I mention how much I like these resin bases? They are nicely done and I could easily buy a mess of them to mount all my other grav vehicles. 

 Again using a GZG infantry carrier for comparison, we see the Bastion is similar in size. I think the perspective is off in this picture as the Bastion appears a little larger than it is in reality. One nice thing about these comparisons - both the GZG models and the CMG models share a common hull. The GZG is a little more subtle as the deck gets changed out with the tank, but turret on the Havoc transforms the appearance of the hull.

After assembly, I'm looking at the Bastion thinking "cool a sci-fi Marder!" Then I remembered - I alredy have a sci-fi Marder that I converted from a Minitank 25 years ago. And here they are side by side...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pictures of the Critical Mass Games "not-Vargr"

As discussed in the previous post, Critical Mass Games (CMG) have a range of 15mm sci-fi miniatures that include an alien race known as the Protolene Khanate. The really neat thing is that they are basically canine bipedal aliens. As such, they make really good proxies for Vargr in the Traveller universe.

Today, we've got some pictures of the Protolene Khanate "Scouts". For Traveller(tm) these will do nicely as stand in for Vargr in combat armor. Below is a shot featuring a Rebel Minis "Sahadeen" heavy weapons gunner, a CMG leader, and a RAFM 'real' Vargr leader.

So, what do we have? Well, size-wise, the CMG seem to fit 15mm pretty good. A little slender compared to the RAFM figures, but a good fit with the Sahadeen.

 Next up, two CMG figures flank the RAFM Vargr figure.

You get a sense of the armor and the weapons and the headgear conveys the canine nature of the troops. They seem a little taller, but the bases on the CMG are thicker than the RAFM figure.

And here posed with a RAFM human 'battledress' soldier

I like this dog. Great pose with a support weapon.

He shall henceforth be known as "G Dog".

Another support weapon figure. 

These are the figures in the Scout Command Pack

 Close up of one of the leaders in a motivational pose. This really shows off the combat armor on the legs and arms of the miniature. Really good job of capturing the classic Traveller 'combat armor' feel.

Lastly, we've got a CMG trooper posed next to one of the old Laserburn 15mm grav APC.

One difference - The CMG figures do not have tails! Okay, so no tails. But don't despair, the Vargr supplement clearly states that Vargr can use human equipment - including vacc suits and battledress - with no modifications. If that's the case, its easy to rationalize the tail as encased within the armor of the torso.

Looking forward to painting these guys up! Cincycon 2013 looks to be a fun time pitting Colonial troops against this Vargr horde.

I'll save the pictures of the CMG grav vehicles for another day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Critical Mass Games - fast service

I placed an order with CMG. Got my shipping notification and a week later...BAM figures on my doorstep! Not bad considering they shipped from the UK to here in the heartland of the United States.

These are the first CMG figures I have ever purchased. My initial impression is WOW!  The 15mm Protolene Khanate scout troopers are excellent proxies for Vargr in combat armor. Cleanly cast figures too.

The vehicles are as impressive as the infantry. I ordered the Bastion grav IFV and the Havoc Grav tank. Both these are excellent castings. Very close in size to the GZG Advanced Grav Tank model. The Havoc just screams "Main Battle Tank". I'm loving the single piece cast hulls and the clean castings of the barrels.

If there is a down side, its that my Rebel Miniatures tanks are looking much smaller compared to the CMG and GZG stuff. I see a downgrade to "medium tank/light tank" in their future. (Fortunately, I have a powerful need for light units to fill the cavalry role. 

I'll get some pictures up soon with a more detailed description.