December 19, 2013

Star Trek: Attack Wing - Wave 2 Thoughts

We had brutal, brutal weather here yesterday. The temperature dropped throughout the day while we got hammered with even more snow starting about nine in the morning. By supper time several of the main routes around the city were closed due to accidents. My trip to the shop was uneventful, but took longer than I'd expected. I was also the only person to show up.

I can certainly understand not wanting to brave the weather and road conditions to go out and play a game. I'd have encouraged folks not to come for their own safety, had I known what I was getting into before I got in my own car. On the plus side however, I did pick up wave 2, and had a quick look over the OP4 kit.

When I finally arrived home I sat down to open up my new toys. Sitting next to my little Christmas tree it felt a little like an early Christmas present. A present I had to pay for, but still fun nonetheless!

The first ship I opened was the USS Excelsior. On first glance I don't think that Captain Sulu has a very good ability, and I'll likely opt for Captain Styles over Sulu. Being able to drop a bit of tech on any ship he captains just seems much better. The ship sculpt itself and a lot of the other upgrades look pretty solid, but the standout in my opinion is Transwarp Drive. I'd be tempted to buy another expansion just for a second copy of that card but since the rest of the pack is almost all unique cards it'd be a waste of cash.

The Excelsior will definitely give the Federation some more options, and it's fun to see Sulu get his own ship, even if the ability is a little disappointing.

Next up was the Koraga. This expansion was simply loaded with tokens and cards. The ship looks identical to the B'Rel class Ch'Tang prize ship from OP2, but is listed as a different kind of Bird of Prey. I find that a little strange, but the model in this pack is sort of secondary. There are a lot of great cards in this pack. I especially like having another copy of Advanced Weapons Systems (from the core set). Worf as a Klingon-aligned Captain has a pretty good ability, as do several of the other cards.

I've got a couple of ideas for how to use this one. I think it will make it into more than one list for tournament games.

The third pack I opened was the RIS Vo. Coming after the Koraga this pack was a huge letdown. A re-use of the RIS Apnex sculpt from Wave 0. We get a small ship (the ability is actually pretty good), a captain with a useless ability and an elite talent he can't use if he uses his ability. There are only a few other cards included so compared to the Koraga this thing is hardly worth the price. I can find uses for the ship, but as a standalone expansion this is shit. Wizkids gets an "F" on this one on all counts.

Duplicated sculpt, cards that don't gel together or have synergy with the ship, only one non-generic captain where most other expansions come with two. If you're going to skip an expansion, this is the one to save your money on.

Finally we get to the Dominion's Koranak. The Dominion finally has something to be proud of. This ship has great stats and comes with some excellent upgrades: a cloaking device, another way to attack in 360 degrees, a cloak-light, and Gul Dukat. I'm glad I bought two of these. There are enough non-unique upgrades that can help bolster the Dominion ships that it was a worthy purchase. While I haven't tried it yet, I'm very excited about what this expansion provides to Dominion players.

The Koranak is the standout of Wave 2 in my opinion. You should buy this ship.

I also picked up a second Valdore, which I'm sure will see far more play than anything in the Vo pack. It's hard to believe that product was packaged and shipped, let alone retailing at the same price point as the other ships. Shame on you WizKids.

I'll touch on the OP4 prize kit next month after I've had a chance to play in an event and get my hands on it. Players should be very excited for the flagship participation prize cards. They look extremely useful, and there's one to fit almost any player strategy. Oh yeah, and the USS Sutherland. Wow that prize ship has some exciting stuff included with it. I can't wait!

December 16, 2013

Operation Squad WW2 - Russian Infantry

Several months ago I mentioned having bought a set of rules for World War II era skirmish gaming called Operation Squad WW2. Shortly after I picked up a set of 1:48 scale German Panzer Grenadier figures by Tamiya. Happy with the scale once I'd put a few together I headed off to pick up some more sets so that I could field squads from several different nations for the game. The second batch that I decided to put together was their Russian Infantry box.

HMG and assistants

The Tamiya figure sets are very price effective, costing anywhere between $12 and $16 Canadian. I put together 12 figures from the Russian set, and I believe there are still three figures left that can be constructed if I buy vehicles or want to add variety.

sergeant and lieutenant

Something to keep in mind is that these are not necessarily great gaming figures because they're a little fragile. They're models intended for display, not play. The construction time can be a little high due to the high number of pieces for each figure; consisting of one or two leg pieces, torso, one or both arms, head, helmet and a minimum of two accessories plus a weapon. They're not for folks with shaky hands or sausage fingers. That said, they are in similar scale with normal 28mm but more realistic in proportion (ie: a touch skinny). The detail is a little soft, especially on the faces, but they turned out well enough for table-top gaming.

medic and machine gunner

The lazy writer's painting breakdown:

- Vallejo grey primer
- GW Elf Flesh for flesh base coat
- mix of GW Desert Yellow and Bleached Bone for the uniforms
- mix of GW Black and Codex Grey for the boots
- Vallejo Model Air Khaki Brown for the greatcoats and cloaks
- P3 Hammerfall Khaki for the backpacks, pouches and
- P3 Bloodtracker Brown for something I can't remember at the moment
- GW Gorthor Brown for the straps and belts
- GW Shadow Grey for the canteens
- GW Boltgun covered with P3 Armour Wash for the rifles
- VMA Russian Green on the helmets, shovels and large machine gun
- GW Devlan Mud wash over everything except the guns
- GW Khaki dry brush all the cloth
- GW Foundations Flesh to even out the skin colour

I used Army Painter Wasteland Tufts, with standard static grass on top of my regular basing technique and finally painted the edges of the bases black. Something to add briefly is that I wasn't aiming for strict accuracy with the colours; I just wanted something that would look good on the table.


The Devlan Mud wash was a little stronger than I'd intended (should have used sepia) and it darkened the yellow/tan of the uniforms a little more than I would have liked, but did give the figures a nice weathered effect that works well enough for soldiers on the battlefield. I also made sure to muddy up their boots and the knees of some, as well as the lower parts of the cloaks. I didn't want them to look like they'd just come off the parade grounds.

The full squad

I had considered using dip instead of the ink to give them one more layer of solidity and protection. However I was concerned that it would cover up too much of the detail, which is fairly soft. The next batch I have ready to go are the aforementioned Panzer Grenadiers, which I think I will try the dip on, just to see how it works.

Full squad at a slightly different angle

If you want to see a few more photos or the gear on their backs take a look at my WW2 figure gallery.

December 04, 2013

Star Trek: Attack Wing - OP4 Lull

After playing in two tournaments for the Star Trek: Attack Wing OP3 last week, this week feels like a bit of a letdown. All the wave 2 previews have been released. The OP4 prizes have been spoiled. Now most of the players are simply awaiting the arrival of wave 2 in their local stores or in their mailboxes if they ordered online. And the next tournament seems far, far away.

Wizkids Dominion War tournaments have been a lot of fun through the first three months. With the various winter holidays and new year coming up OP4 is slated to run through Dec/Jan, which means fewer events. I know of one shop that is running theirs in December but it's on a day I can't attend. Another has scheduled theirs for mid-January. The shop I'll be running at hasn't gotten back to be to confirm if my suggested date is acceptable. December is a busy time for most folks, so I can understand.

I'm quite looking forward to wave 2, which is sort of ironic actually because I've not used some of the ships from wave 1. Come to think of it, I have only used the Klingon ship personally in an official event. The Defiant made an appearance in a test run a few weeks ago to see if a list would work, and some of the cards from the Praetus have been used, but neither of those ships, or the two 5th Wing Jem'Hadar ships have been played by me. Soon I'll be adding four more ships to my collection and they'll be begging for use too.

Oh, and I've also not had a chance to try out my OP3 prize ship, the Aj'rmr. That's a lot of unused kit.

I've suggested that we run an open event in December to allow folks to bring in a mission they'd like to play from one of the expansion packs. I think that would give people a fun way to try out some of the ships they have bought and not used as much as they'd like, as well as providing a little more variety in games than the organized tournaments. I know I'd like to try out any number of the missions myself.

With the downtime in my Attack Wing gaming I decided it had been a while since I painted anything and finally completed construction of a WW2 Russian infantry squad. I'll be painting those and likely a previously-built set of German Panzer grenadiers in the next week or two. They're intended for use with Operation Squad WW2 rules, and I'm looking forward to getting that game on the table before Christmas.

Next time I check in I hope to have some thoughts on the wave 2 expansion ships!