Friday, June 27, 2014

Return to Project thunderhawk

So, who remembers project Thunderhawk? Yeah I know, it's been close to 18 months since I posted about it. what can I say, between my Army Builder attention deficit disorder, school, work, family, and medical stuff my brain tends to jump a lot. It's just the way I am. Anyway, with this years apoc game behind me I decided to return to project Thunderhawk at least for the immediate time being. I still have a great many other projects I'm working on, not the least of which is Codex: Chaos.

So Project Thunderhawk. Last time I talked about this I was talking about casting the parts for the thunderbolt fighter. A year later I haven't gotten any better with that and with my current financial situation I have not the means to practice at my disposal. So that has annoyingly been put on hold. Which is a bit of an upset because with the plastic thunderbolt I was building and the paper-hammer version I had built previously I was moving closer toward having a full flight of Thunderbolts. Be really fun to be put a flight of 6 Thunderbolts on the table for a future Apoc game. Well, may still happen one day, but not just yet.

Returning to the Thunderhawk I actually started with the upper cannon housing first. This is largely an arbitrary choice because of how the template is setup.You could very easily break the finished model down into 8 seperate parts that you could start on and work on in virtually any order and only need to make extremely minor changes to your project plan to accommodate the changes. The wings, the main body, the forward section, the upper cannon housing, and the forward stabilizers are each separate sections of the template So the upper canon housing seemed like a good enough place to start while still having to work with some of the electronics I had previously talked about doing.

So I constructed the upper cannon housing using .4mm thick sheet styrene over a support structure of 1/4" thick hollow square tubing. here is the end result:

A scractch built Thunderhawks upper cannon housing built out of sheet styrene
Fairly good work here if you don't mind the self congratulations. The only part I'd do differently if I did this again is the vent stack covers. I made them too tall.

Now, there's not much point in building a cannon housing if you don't have a cannon is there? Well I'm working on that too:
Using various diameters of tubing I am working on building this Volcano cannon.
The Turbo Laser Cannon for the top of the Thunderhawk

Building the Turbo Laser has been a bit more of a challenge then it first seemed it would be. See money is an issue right now so I'm trying to do as much of this with out buying anything as I can. Basically what I have on hand right now. So while I had the material to the build the mount housing at the base of the cannon, and I had the materials to build the cannon barrel... mating the two parts was a bit more of a challange. Basically I had piping that was 1.8mm  on the inner diameter that I used for the cannon housing, and I had piping that was 1.4mm on the outer diameter which is the cannon barrel basically.  So I had .4mm of space to fill across a depth of 3.5cm. Well I think I got it settled moderately well. Basically I used stacks of .2mm thick styrene to build 3 stacks that I then glued around the base of the cannon barrel and then used those stacks to fill the space between the cannon barrel and the cannon housing.And then I went back in and filling in the forward most space with green stuff. I'll see need to go back and add on a bunch of detail on the cannon and the mount for it. The hydralics for it, the additional bracing, the bolts, ect.
How I mounted the cannon in the housing.

I also worked on the electronics for this part as well. I installed a 1cm yellow LED on the housing where the cannon will mount and then wired in the switch. I installed the monetary switch in the upper housing so that way the cannon will light up as long as I push the button.
I installed a monetary push switch so that the Thunderhawk cannon would light up while I pulled the switch.

I had a bit of a happy accident of sorts when I was working on the cannon. See the Cannon has a sort of recoil suppressor or something on the end of the barrel, and I didn't have a section of tube small enough to accommodate this so I used a length of clear pen tube body for it. The happy accident? The suppressor glows yellow when the light is applied to it.
The clear pen body I used as the suppressor on the cannon actually glows when the light is used.
If I had know the pen body collected light like that I would have used a red LED instead of the yellow one. Oh well, next time I guess.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

So what did I learn from the Apoc Game?

So I finished the Apoc Game and it was a lot of fun, but there were several problems that came up during the game. Not being any sort of a negative nanny or anything here, but I do feel the issues I encountered are worth noting, and like wise I feel these issues should be shared along with my thoughts on them so that others may benefit from my efforts both positive and negative.

A points disparity between the teams. This was a huge issue as 36 hours before the game one team was estimated to having 56,000 points and the other team having 58,000 points. With the 12500 points worth of units I was bringing everything looked like it was a set to have a really great 120,000 point battle. And then we had some people drop out bringing one team to a near crippling 32,000 points compared to the other teams 58,000 points. I handed the lower team everything I had but one person really can't be expected to make up nearly 20,000 points worth of models in an army.

So for next year I think I will put a max-points cap on each team, say 30,000 points. And then break down on a per-player basis. So let's say each team has 10 players. That means each person would be individually responsible for bringing 3,000 points to the battle. If the respective warmasters for the team wants to change this break down so that something unique can be brought to the table, they would be able to do so, one person only brings 1,500 points while another brings 4,500 for instance so that second person can bring 3 Thunderhawks or something of that nature.

Another big problem I ran into was with the tables. I had the tables set up in a sort of 'U' shape, that way people could use the length of the table as the battle field. Well, nice idea... in theory. In practice it lead to horrible bottle necking. On one table there was this huge cathedral terrain piece that basically blocked half the width of the board forcing the invaders army to progress down one side of the 4' wide board. On the other section, the invaders army stalled against the defenders as the units in the front simply didn't move beyond the engagement.

I'm not totally sold on this plan just yet, but it has sufficient merit to it that it's worth serious consideration. I'm thinking of setting the tables up as 3 rows, each row being 24' long by 4' wide, placing rulers/meassuring tapes of some form along the edges of the board, and just assuming that there is no gap between the boards. Like this:
And then for the actual game it would be played long ways. There's also been a suggestion to put the defenders in the middle of the middle board and give them a 4' x 12' deployment area and have the invaders deployed around that area with a 12" no-mans land between them. Like I said, not totally sold on the idea just yet, but am considering it.

Another problem I had was the sewers. Yeah, they were a great idea and the finished product looked really good, but those were honestly the high points of the sewers. That they looked good and were an interesting idea. Here I think my original idea of having multiple levels and dozens of pipes through out the board would have saved the map. As it were, the sewers just created a bottle neck in the 2 cross overs and that bottle was plugged by 30 terminators. For next year I'm looking at options and idea for multiple levels to the sewers and having larger utility rooms and spill ways and the like.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

post Apoc game report

Well... that was a helluva game! Lots of prep work, lots of great fun. Was great to get to see a god damned Ork GREAT GARGANT on the table! What? Don't beleive me? You want pics? Here they are!

One of the things I love about Apocalypse games is the diversity of them. A lot of times I see people talking about trying this different mission or using these special scenario and the usual response is something to the tune of "But then my [insert unit name] won't be effective" or something, so I don't get to see a lot in the way of non-special scenarios around here. With an Apoc game, since there's so much on the table, people are more willing to roll with basically anything at anytime.

In this game I threw a couple extras into it. The first thing I did was I included a War Wall, yes a WAR WALL! Not like the little tiny 4" tall castle wall either, no with the help of a friend I put a massive 12" tall war wall on the table! Yes, 12 inches tall! You want to get over this thing you're going to be flying! Period. You're going to be deep striking units, or running them in Storm Ravens or you're going to have jump pack troops starting their 12" move at the very base of the wall!

The War wall spanned 24 feet of table.
Second thing I did was a multi-board layout. In this particular case the second board was actually a sub-board and was meant to represent the sewers running under the edge of the city wall which the main board represented. These tight confined spaces were limiting to what units could operate down there. Can't fit a leman russ in the pipe? Can't use it down there. Had a scene were a single heavy flamer took out 5 Ork Nobs in a single blast.
The Sewers

I added a more themed objective in the form of a Bulk lander that was evacuating civilians. The Short version is the defenders would be able to earn 2x the turn number worth of victory points when they launch the lander. So if they launch the lander on Turn 4 they would get 8 victory points. But there are 2 'ifs' attached to this objective. Firstly the ship has to be able to fuel up, so they need to hold the Fuel depot. Secondly, a bulk lander isn't meant for combat. Compared to... well to any sort of combat vehicle is is extremely frail and easily destroyed. If the Invaders were able to destroy the lander they would get 3x the current turn worth of victory points, so if they destroy the lander on turn 3, the invaders would get 9 victory points. If the invaders destroyed the fuel depot then the defenders could only ever 2x the turn the fuel depot was destroyed in. So if the invaders destroyed the fuel depot in turn 2, and the defenders launched the lander in turn 3, the defenders would get 4 victory points. Not 6. Lastly I built the Orbital Defense Laser complex.
I wasn't really happy with the end result of the orbital lander.

Over all the game went very well and there are several things I learned from my prior apoc game I hosted last year. One of the big things I did that really helped me avoid some problems was being exceedingly clear about times and schedules. I told everyone, repeatedly that the game would begin at 11:00 am. I actually said "That means you have your models ready to be put on the table in your deployment zone. Not 'I'm turning onto the road leading to the shop at 11:05am and can then figure out my list when I get there.' start at 11:00am." I went a step further and established that if people were late, their forces would be put in reserves and the earliest they could bring their forces in would be turn 2, which was scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm. This helped get people there and prepared to start the game at the listed time.

The other thing I did that helped move the game along was setting a time limit of 60 minutes per turn. Period. If you didn't get to the assault phase by the end of 60 minutes, sorry. This really helped to force the teams to actually carry out their actions and not waste time.

There were lots of great scenes through out the game.
Ghazgul goes to meet the Emporers Champion in combat!

The Wall of Stompa march forward.
Warmaster of the Invaders Seth expresses his dislike of heavy flamers.
One of the best occurances of the game came in the 2nd turn, when an Ork Stompa using it's Lifta Droppa picked up a Land Raider Crusader, one filled to the brim with Black Templar mind you, and then dropped it on top of a Baneblade effectively knocking both out of the game for a turn.

I took over 200 pictures from the game and I can't possibly post all of them, so I will simply post this link to the photo bucket album.

maverike_prime's Game album on Photobucket

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Down to the wire...

So... that Apoc game is in 6 days. I am down to the wire, rushing to get everything done and ready for that. I wonder if I had started working on the stuff earlier would I still be rushing around like I am to get everything ready for it. Yeah, I probably would be. So yeah. Getting ready for the apoc game so not going to be posting for the immediate future but you can look forward to the awesomeness of an Apoc battle! So stay tuned.