Review: Genestealer Neophyte Hybrids Magnetised

The Warhammer 40K Genestealer Cult army came out late 2016, and just before Christmas I cracked and picked up a box of the “Genestealer Cults Neophyte Hybrids” from Mighty Ape. Here’s a quick review of these figures now I’ve finished assembling and basing them.

In the box:

There’s 10 plastic figures (torsos and legs) on two sprues with a variety of heads and several different weapon options for each figure. You’ve got a leader figure, a cult icon carrier, two heavy weapons figures (with three weapon options), two special weapons figures (with three weapon options), two “3rd generation” hybrids and two “4th generation” hybrids in the box. Legs and torsos are largely interchangeable, but certain weapon options only work with certain torsos due to annoying (and probably deliberate) differences in shoulder width between the “3rd generation” hybrids, the heavy weapon figures and everybody else.

The weapons choices are great! For heavies you’ve got a big old mining laser, a heavy stubber and something called seismic cannon. For specialist weapons you’ve got the classic flamer, grenade launcher or webber. Everybody else gets a choice of autogun or a shotgun of some kind.

There’s also a clear set of instructions for assembling the figures in the box, which is very handy, particularly for choosing weapon options. There’s also plain GW bases for everybody, including a couple of larger bases for the heavies. The bases you see in the post photos are from Micro Art Studio.

Cost in New Zealand:

Yeah, Middle Earth tax as usual from Games Workshop so you’ll be paying around $7.50 per plastic figure, plus shipping. As usual GW’s local prices made me prevaricate before buying the box, but I caved eventually and don’t have any regrets.

The Hybrids:

This box is a great return to form for GW in my opinion. Highly detailed plastic figures with a plethora of weapon options that are easy to assemble, and have optional heads. The sculpts are sporting lovely looking environmental/mining suits with a nice shoulder/chest piece that looks like it carries some kind of life support, and many mount shoulder lamps. The heads have a mixture of crazy work goggles and breathing apparatus in place too. The heavy weapon guys also get great back packs laden with stuff.

I was initially disappointed with the lack of an pose choices in the box, as each figure goes together in a certain way according to the instruction booklet, but once the torsos are assembled, there’s a nice range of standing, running and braced for firing positions anyway.

Magnetise for effect:

The box contained so many weapon options I refused to be bound by ‘one choice per figure’ as per the instructions. Instead I whipped out the pin vice and a bag of 1x2mm rare earth magnets. The arms are easily wide and deep enough to seat a small magnet in, and the torsos have plenty of space for them too.

I magnetised everybody except the heavy weapon guys – because I made them first before asking myself why I was gluing their arms on permanently. Being able to swap arms really extends the usefulness of this boxed set, and gives each figure a choice of at least two weapons. These guys will be used as a mining crew for This is Not a Test, so it’s nice to have arm swaps between cheaper shotguns and autoguns/assault rifles. The leader’s pistol and melee options can also be spread around between figures as well.

One tip for magnetising the two hand weapons, which come as a weapon and a short ‘arm’ piece, is to magnetise them individually first and then once they’re in place, glue the short arm piece to the gun at the wrist as you would normally. The magnets will hold everything in place while the joint dries, and then with a bit of carefully flexing and sliding you can still swap arm sets easily.

Review: Osprey’s Dragon Rampant

Osprey Dragon Rampant Cover I own two ancient, half painted Games Workshop Warhammer Fantasy armies, and if you’re an older war gamer, you probably do to. As Games Workshop have killed Warhammer Fantasy (and replaced it with an abomination I shall not name here), I’ve been shopping around for a war gaming ruleset that would let me exercise the few figures I have painted.

Mantic’s Kings of War seemed like a reasonable choice until I discovered it would still require me finishing off a whole bunch Orcs, Goblins and Vampire Counts Undead to have a playable force. As I don’t particularly enjoy painting massed rank armies, that effectively killed my interest in Kings of War.

So my WHFB armies were abandoned again, until Robert Singers mentioned Osprey’s “Dragon Rampant”, which is a fantasy version of their Medieval “Lion Rampant” system. As Mighty Ape sell both of these rulebooks for a reasonable price, I snagged a copy of Dragon Rampant.

Dragon Rampant is similar to a lot of modern war games like Osprey’s Frostgrave, or the excellent independent This is Not a Test war game (who have a cool Kickstarter running), in that it’s both scale and figure manufacturer agnostic. The rulebook is aimed at 28mm scale war gaming, but contains tips for scaling down to 15mm. The core Dragon Rampant rules are apparently the same as those found in Lion Rampant, but there is a system of ‘Fantastical Abilities’ that has been added.

The core rules defined a broad group of unit types, like ‘Elite Cavalry’, ‘Light Cavalry’, ‘Medium Foot’, ‘Bellicose Foot’, ‘Greater Warbeast’ etc. which you can most likely use to build units from any collection of Fantasy figures you may possess. On top of those basic unit types, you can purchase the Fantastical Abilities, which allow you to make Flying units, Undead units, units that can cause Fear, be Invisible, cast Magical spells, or own Magical weapons and armor, etc! Pretty much any Fantasy unit can be crafted out of the combination of a basic unit type and these Fantastic buffs, providing you want to pay the cost of course. Elite Undead Cavalry that can cause Fear and turn Invisible are not going to be cheap to field!

Added to unit building flexibility, is a system of unit ‘Strength’ (which equates to our old friend ‘Wounds’). An Elite unit has a Strength of 6, while the larger, cheaper units have a Strength of 12. In Lion Rampant I believe this Strength is one to one for the figures you need, so a 12 Strength unit will require 12 figures. Dragon Rampant relaxes this restriction, so you can field say three large Troll figures as a 6 Strength unit of Warbeasts, or field 6 painted Graveguard miniatures as a 12 Strength unit of Heavy Foot. You can even field your mandatory Leader figure as a single Strength 6 figure if you like. The choice of 6 and 12 as unit Strength sizes is inspired, because of course both those number divide nicely into a number of factors, which lets you build units from as few or as many figures as you have to hand.

The slightly abstracted nature of the units in Dragon Rampant reminds me a little of games like De Bellis Antiquitatis, but the rules are not as fiddly as DBA. There’s no concern about unit facing or ranking up for example, although Foot units can gain a bonus if they do form a solid rank, with their ‘Wall of Spears’ rule.

Dragon Rampant is D6 based, and each unit type has a reasonably fixed block of stats that include Melee, Ranged, Armor, willingness to accept various types of order, and how easily they’re broken in combat when suffering loss of Strength points (aka Wounds). The stats system looks like it’ll be interesting to play, with the fog of war, and problems with chain of command being echoed by the ability, or inability of you to order individual units depending on how well you pass their relevant tests.

Dragon Rampant is unfortunately ‘I go, you go’ (which Games Workshop have taught me to hate), but that’s tempered by the fact that an army will generally have a fairly low unit count, and as soon as you fail to order a unit your turn ends. This gives you some interesting choices, should you try to order a flakier unit first to gain an immediate advantage? Or play it safe and activate your more solid units in a more predictable manner.

I haven’t played Dragon Rampant yet, but I have dusted off both my Vampire Counts and Orc and Goblin armies and managed to produce two, full Dragon Rampant 24 point armies that are almost entirely painted. I’ll have to paint one more Orc archer to finish them off.

Vampire Counts Dragon Rampant Army Here’s my Vampire Count force. It consists of:

  • Leader: Elite Foot, Fear causing, Undead Wight Lord with No Feelings.
  • Lesser Warbeasts: Six Dire Wolves.
  • Heavy Foot: Six Fear causing, Undead Graveguard with No Feelings.
  • Light Foot: Twelve Undead Skeletons with No Feelings.
  • Ravenous Hordes: Twelve Undead Zombies with No Feelings.

Orcs and Goblins Dragon Rampant Army And here’s my Orc and Goblin force. It consists of:

  • Heavy Foot: Twelve Offensive Orcs, with a Leader who’s a Wizardling.
  • Bellicose Foot: Twelve Orcs with Enchanted Weapons
  • Heavy Riders: Two War Chariots.
  • Light Riders: Six Short Range Gobbo Wolf Riders
  • Scouts: Six Orc Archers.

I plan to set up a 4′ x 4′ table in the garage and exercise the rules with my twelve year old son and these two forces in the very near future. It’ll be nice to finally use these figures! The Vampire Counts probably haven’t seen a dice roll in a decade, and the Orcs and Goblins have never been fielded as a force at all.

Review: AK Interactive Weathering Pigment

Panzer III AK Weathering Dust I’ve been looking for a decent weathering system recently, and on a whim grabbed a couple of jars of AK Interactive weathering pigment and fixative from Hobby City recently to try.

At around $10NZ a jar, they’re not cheap, but after a little experimentation they seem like pretty good value. The ‘North African Dust’ I chose contains enough super fine pigment to probably coat ten or more 1/56th scale Bolt Action vehicles, depending on how thick you lay it on. Super fine it is too, and the dust goes everywhere if you’re not careful. I took to weathering vehicles in a shoe box lid, just to try and keep it under control.

Weathered Panzer First up in the paint station was this dirty old Panzer 38(T) that I bought years ago for Pulp campaigns. It had already been experimented on with Tamiya weathering sticks which to be honest I found a little hard to use and also produced a rather crude effect. Using a larger brush I dabbed the African dust on liberally, followed by the enamel based fixative which wicked nicely through the applied dust, hopefully fixing it to the model. The fixative smelt strongly of solvent so I was a little concerned it might effect the existing paint job. Fortunately that concern turned out the be unjustified as it went over the dust, spray varnish, Tamiya and Vallejo paints and applied decals on several vehicles with no problem whatsoever.

It’s quite good fun applying the dust and I had to stop myself from dusting the entire vehicle. The enamel fixative does tend to dull the dust effect down slightly though, particularly if you apply it too wet. The trick seems to be dabbing it on lightly and letting it wick through a large area before moving on. Too much fixative and you’ll either lift the dust off onto your brush, or dull it down too much as it dries.

Happy with the initial test I moved onto the Panzer III I speed painted recently. The paint job on this tank was a little crude because it was rushed, and in particular the treads and road wheels looked a bit too shiny for my tastes. I tried to apply the dust in a more controlled manner than my first attempt and am very pleased with the final result. The dust has blended the crude ‘sand blasted’ paint job down nicely, as well as taken the shine off the tracks and road wheels and made everything look a touch more realistic.

I’ll definitely be investing in some more AK Interactive product in the future, particularly since I have a bunch of Normandy/Western theatre vehicles to paint for a Late War German Bolt Action force.

Review: Rubicon 1/56th Stug III

Rubicon 1/56th Stug III Goodness we haven’t actually played Bolt Action yet and I’m already putting together a second force. I’m building 750pts of German Late War Wehrmacht from two boxed sets. The Rubicon Stug III plastic kit, and the new Warlord Games German Grenadiers plastic box. That’s an entire Bolt Action force to at least 750pts for around $100nzd excluding shipping. The Grenadiers could easily stretch to 1000pts if you use every one of the 30 figures in the box, and play them as Veterans.

First up the Rubicon Stug arrived this week from Mighty Ape and I immediately assembled it as a Late War Stug III Asuf H with most of the trimmings. The Stug III went together very easily, like their Panzer III I have already built. The basic chassis is the same, both historically and on the Rubicon model. That means it also has a handy set of tracks you can leave unglued until everything is painted. This time however I spent a little more effort on the inner road wheels. On the kit they’re joined together as a single piece with bits of 2mm plastic between each wheel. It’s not a biggie, but those can be visible on the final model and make painting the road wheels a bit harder. All I did was cut and file each inner wheel so they’re separate before gluing, and the track sets still slip on and off the vehicle easily.

The Rubicon kit has a slew of options for the early, mid and late War Stug III. Including multiple barrels, mantlets, frontal armor, three different cabin tops and even engine exhaust options. Fortunately the instructions are very clear about which parts are appropriate for which period, which makes things easy when assembling. I’ve gone late war with the remote operated MG, pig’s head cast mantlet, schurzen and stowage rack. That rack is going to get some stowage in the form of crates and 55 gallon drums.

Also like the Panzer III kit the schurzen are slip on to the vehicle body. That means the kit is missing some historic detail in the form of mounting racks for the skirts, but frankly that’s a small price to pay for ease of painting. Rivet counters could probably fabricate the missing racks with some cut plastic square rod if required. The only other bit of work I need to do is drill out the barrel of the main gun, which you can see is cast with a blank end in the kit. All of the gun barrels are like this, for ease of molding I think. Another excellent kit from Rubicon and great value for money at a modest $46nzd from Mighty Ape.

Review: Warlord Bolt Action German Grenadiers Plastic Box

Warlord German Grenadiers Box This arrived in the post today from England. Warlord Game’s new German Grenadier plastics box. This is enough plastics to make 30 German Late War Grenadiers in a lovely mix of weaponry. Opening the box you’ll find five copies of the same six man sprue, enough bases for them, an instruction sheet and a small sheet of very tiny decals for rank markings.

The sprues are up to Warlord’s normal standards with a great mix of uniforms, head options, weapons and equipment. The weapon options on each sprue are:

– Rifles: Kar 98K, firing Kar 98K, held Kar 98K, Gewehr 43, firing Gewehr 43, held STG44 x 2, STG44
– SMGs: Soviet PPSh, MP40 x 2.
– LMGs: MG42, MG42 held.
– Heavy: Panzerfaust, firing Panzerfaust

With of course a variety of holding and gripping arms that can be combined with the free weapons. The mix of uniforms and heads mean you can make officers plus rank and file easily. Here’s a couple of sprue shots to show the details. Now I need to do some planning on how to use every figure in the box and bust out the poly cement.

Warlord German Grenadier Sprue Front Warlord German Grenadier Sprue Back

Review: Rubicon 1/56th, 28mm Panzer III Box

Rubicon Panzer III Box I bought the Bolt Action rulebook a while ago from Book Depository out of curiosity. I haven’t played any more than a couple of simple squad based games to get the feel of the rules, but recently found out the TCOW club in West Auckland is on something of a Bolt Action bender.

If you’ve followed this blog you’ve already seen a bunch of 28mm scale WWII vehicles and Artizan DAK Germans I’ve put together for Pulp .45 Adventure gaming. The TCOW crowd seem to play at 750pts for a Bolt Action force, so with a little juggling and some help from the Easy Army site I put together a 750pts 1942 DAK force.
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Review: Car Wars Classic Box

Car Wars Classic I’ve been playing a bit of Outrider recently and it reminded me of an earlier game of vehicular mayhem I used to enjoy decades ago as a spotty youth, along with such classic board games like Talisman. Purely out of nostalgia I looked up Steve Jackson Games and saw they sell a reprinted ‘Classic’ edition of Car Wars as a boxed set. I had to pick up a copy from NZGameShop for $29NZD.

It arrived a week or so later, so here’s a quickie review. First up the box is surprisingly small, being about the size of a large paperback. The components are also rather cheap feeling, with the rulebook in particular feeling an awful lot like something produced on a laser printer and hand stapled together. The page cuts weren’t great either, requiring me to carefully separate several of the pages myself. The tokens are tiny and provided in a plastic baggie rather than a token sheet, so I can only assume they’re all there. The double sided paper arena map provided takes four folds to get in the box, so you’ll have to blu-tack it down to play the game. You’ll also want to blu-tack the chiclet sized tokens down too probably.
Continue reading Review: Car Wars Classic Box

Review: Perry Miniatures Mahdists for Pulp Gaming

Perry Miniatures Mahdists A while ago on the Warhammer subreddit somebody posted this great themed 40k Space Marine army. The army is beautiful, but that second photo of the cultists caught my eye. Those figures would be superb for Pulp gaming. It turns out they’re Perry Miniatures plastic Mahdists with weapon swaps.

The Perry brothers released these figures back in 2011, and they’re still a bargain, with 40 plastic figures in a box that’ll cost you $40nzd locally. That’s a buck a figure, which is interesting to compare with the Games Workshop Empire Battle Wizards box which cost me the same amount for two plastic figures recently. Anyway I had to have some, so ordered a box a week or so ago from Wayland Games. They arrived Saturday and I’ve been playing around with them since.

Perry Miniatures Mahdist ScaleThese multipart figures are intended to be used for Arabic and African tribesmen fighting in the Victorian Mahdist War in the Sudan (which Winston Churchill experienced). However what I wanted them for was Arabic street life, thieves, thugs and possibly angry mobs. I’ve been assembling a bunch of them as ‘Nile Arabs’ in angry ‘sticks and fists’ poses which is quite easy to do with the figures. Many of their arms are carrying spears on the original sprues, so a bit of creative trimming gives you sticks pretty easily.

The second photo is a quick scale compare with some other 28mm figures. That’s an Artizan Designs DAK German to the left and a Copplestone Castings Professor on the right. I’ve put the Mahdists on GW plastic bases so the comparison is fair. As you can see the Perry Mahdists mix nicely with other 28mm Pulp ranges.

Perry Miniatures Mahdist Mob Here’s the same figures posed as a small, angry mob. The box gives you 40 figures, I suspect I can use most of them, in a mix of roles:

  • A handful could be used as hawkers, or general folks in the street, which should mix nicely with my West Wind Cairo crowd once painted.
  • Street thieves escaping a crime, possibly with a group of adventurers pursuing them.
  • Animal herders (the sticks and stances sort of suggest that on a few of the figures), who could be driving the two Ebob Miniatures camels I have through town.
  • An angry street mob pursuing somebody that needs beating with sticks and fists. Perhaps a foolish adventurer who discharged a pistol in a busy street!
  • Really enraged villagers or farmers out for blood, armed with their father’s swords and ancient 1860’s rifle/musket weapons. This is because the arm options on the sprues will force me to give at least a handful of figures swords and muskets.

At any rate this reasonably priced box of Perry Miniatures has given me a bunch of figures to use as kick off points, or as extras in a bunch of Pulp scenarios.

Review: Army Painter Color Spray Primer

Cadians Ready for Army Painter Coloured Primer Army Painter is a product that’s been around for years, but that I’ve never had the pleasure of using. Recently I picked up a can of their coloured ‘Desert Yellow’ spray primer from Mighty Ape to try on a bunch of plastic Cadians that I started assembling in 2004. So here’s a quickie review!

This first shot shows the squad of plastic Cadians, assembled and based with some Polyfilla and model railway ballast. The figures are a mix of the original GW plastic Cadians and some home-cast resin parts for detailing – extra backpacks and a crate for the Heavy Bolter. The mix of different materials should be a good test for a primer.

Following the instructions I gave the can a good shaking and lined the figures up in an old shoe box resting on its side. I’ve primed for years using old shoe boxes, because I find they’re just the right size to catch and control the over-spray. They also tend to cycle the paint around the back of the figures for some extra coverage too – no point wasting that expensive can. The figures were hit on one side, then rotated 90 degrees and sprayed again, until every side was covered. I was generous with the spray on each side as I wasn’t sure how well it was going to cover. The 10 figures were primed in two batches of 5 figures each.

Cadians Colour Primed with Army Painter Here’s the figures post priming. The coverage is excellent, although as I was spraying assembled figures there’s a little shadowing of course. I’d never be organised enough to prime on the sprue though, so this is how all my figures get primed. The colour has covered well and obscured no detail, despite being applied fairly heavily. It dried quickly too, with the figures being touch dry after say around 5 minutes – mind you it’s summer here currently so the ambient temperature in my garage was pretty warm. You can see the black base edges have also been entirely covered by the primer, despite the fact I was concentrating on priming the figures rather than the bases. The primer also had no problem covering the resin and Polyfilla either – not really a surprise, but you never know.

Army Painter do their own ‘Desert Yellow’ paint which is a 100% match to their spray primer and comes in an 18ml dropper bottle. Army Painter Desert Yellow spray primer is also a perfect match for Games Workshop’s old Desert Yellow paint as well. However I believe this colour has since been renamed ‘Tallarn Sand’ and might no longer be an exact match (thanks Games Workshop, screwing with my hobby as usual). Fortunately I still have a 12ml pottle of the old Desert Yellow on my paint station. I’ve also ordered some of the Army Painter paint for when my GW Desert Yellow finally gives up the ghost. Honestly folks, just don’t buy GW paints – they’re never worth it.

In conclusion, Army Painter Spray Colour Primer is a superb product and I’ve since primed up the remaining 15 or so Cadians I have assembled (a mix of heavy weapons, plastics and metals) with no difficulty at all. The can still feels pretty full too which is nice. If you’re looking for a good base colour for speed painting, definitely check out the Army Painter’s Spray Colour Primer as it’ll save you a bunch of time. Comes in a great range of colours too!

Pulp: Warlord Games Panzer 38(t) Review

Warlord Games Pulp Panzer 38(t) I haven’t played Pulp .45 Adventure for a while now but still find myself sporadically buying 28mm miniatures for the system. My most recent impulse purchase was the interesting looking Panzer 38(t) from Warlord Games.

This is the first and last tank I’ll add to my pulp vehicle collection which already includes an Opel Blitz from EBob Miniatures and a Bolt Action German Sdkfz 222 Scout Car, both of which eventually got painted. The .45 system doesn’t include any rules for armored vehicles but I couldn’t resist this inter-war Czech tank with a profile familiar to any WWII buffs or war-gamers. This first photo shows the tank next to the Sdkz-222 scout car and a couple of Artizan Designs DAK 28mm soldiers for scale.

Warlord Games Pulp Panzer 38(t) Parts With the strong exchange rate against the Euro, the 18GBP price came out to a comfortable $40NZD including shipping, and despite the fact I ordered it just before Xmas (something I typically avoid), Warlord Games were able to deliver it well packaged and undamaged to New Zealand in a little over a week.

The kit is a mixture of four large resin parts and two small sprues of detail pieces cast in a very soft white metal. You can see the de-sprued but largely uncleaned pieces in this second photo (barring one small metal piece which I believe is a headlight). The white metal parts also included a tank commander torso to drop into the open turret which is a nice bonus – although I’ll probably just model mine buttoned up. There was some minor flash and a few small damaged points and bubbles on the resin parts which I may not bother patching prior to painting. Five minutes of trimming and filing cleaned the model up enough for assembly and it dry fitted together well. Overall the riveted and detailing on the tank body is nice, as are the tracks and road wheels and I’m happy with the overall package. It’ll look great once put together and painted up on the table and rolling slowly towards a bunch of hapless pulp adventurers…”I say Maude, they appear to have a TANK”.

After doing some research via google image searches I think I’ll build up some stowage on the back deck. The 38(t) had such a small interior it seemed fairly common to store tarped over personal kit and trays of jerry cans on the flat back deck, as well as the turret bustle. Fortunately I have some Ebob 28mm jerry cans and 40 gallon drums I bought years ago with the Opel Blitz. Time to finally put them to use!