Thursday, 30 March 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: March

 Welcome back to another monthly instalment of ‘Devon and friends struggle against the odds’. When last we left our group of survivors, things had not gone particularly well. They’d tried and failed to respond to a distress call from a survivalist, and in doing so Jess wasn’t faring too well: although she’s not been bitten, too much close contact with the walking dead had left her with an illness that she didn’t seem to be able to shake.

Seeing that bed rest alone didn’t seem to be enough for her to get better, Devon made the decision to head back into the city that they had previously vacated to try and locate some medicine - in the early days of the outbreak, the government had bombed the outskirts of the city trying to create a quarantine zone, a nice idea, but ultimately futile.

As it was the first month of spring, I decided to play the special seasonal scenario ‘When the Levy Breaks’, so Devon and company walked onto this board:

to find that the snowfall in the hills melting had flooded the outskirts of the city, leaving fast flowing water flooding from south to north on the board, making movement difficult, and potentially washing away caches of supplies.

(Side note: I finished my ruined buildings! I’ll make a separate post about those as soon as it stops raining in real life long enough for me to take a picture of them in the garden, as they’re too bit to photograph on my usual board)

With the flow of water pushing them from behind, the group barrelled onto the board into the first group of zombies. Jess and Kevin attempt to blast the zombie that they’re hanging up on, but can’t seem to land a head shot to actually take it out. 

Everyone else engaged in hand to hand, trying to move quickly and quietly to avoid drawing any more zombies onto the board with noisy firearms. In the middle, thanks to Umlaut the monkeys help, Devon is able to (despite only rolling a 2) tie with the zombie and still win due to his superior combat prowess! Despite this, he’s still not able to actually take it out though, until Umlaut manages to trip the zombie, which somehow lands on its head on some rubble and then lays motionless (which is fine, I guess, but why does Umlaut have to be a combat monster when he can’t benefit from gaining experience?)

Lynn and Dionne, who were making their way down the right flank to double team the zombie on that side, both easily beat the zombie in combat, but struggle to land a telling blow - so much for quick and quiet! 

Due to some abysmal rolls on my part, the majority of the supplies on the board at this point start to get swept away by the flood waters, and it turns out that Lynn and Dionne’s attempts at taking out the zombie were too loud, as two more shamble onto the board right by them:

Things continue much in this vein, with survivors attempting to take down zombies in pairs, and Cece at the back trying to snipe unengaged zombies, but failing miserably (I rolled a 1 to hit). 

Jess and Kevin bull rush the zombie that they had failed to take out with shooting, but mostly get in each other’s way and can’t seem to finish it off, as do Devon and Umlaut with their zombie in the centre. Dionne contracts a similar sort of sickness to Jess as she and Lynn both batter at their opponent, but again fail to take it out. When the zombies then fight back (which I think I had sometimes been forgetting to do), both Devon and Dionne manage to land telling blows, and take out their two zombies!

Umlaut, seeing that zombies are starting to mass and head towards Dionne and Lynn, breaks off to the right to try and draw some of the zeds away from the growing melee:

Over on the left, Jess finally manages to brain the zombie that she and a Kevin had been struggling with since the game began, and Dionne manages to dispatch another zombie with her samurai sword. 

Seeing everyone else picking up the pace, Cece has apparently been eating her wheaties and starts methodically sniping zombies, starting with one that had been sneaking up on the group from behind.

At this point, something clicks with the group as they realise that they might get surrounded at this rate, and they start bludgeoning zombies down with deadly efficiency (also known as my dice rolls started going in my favour, finally). Well, apart from Devon, who flails ineffectually against his opponent. 

Cece starts making her way up to a better vantage point from which to rain hot death down on her opponents, but unfortunately the rushing waters make it slow going, and pushing some supplies almost off the edge of the board:

While Lynn and Umlaut forge ahead towards some zombies that are carrying supplies, Dionne supports from the rear, finally remembering to use her Double Tap skill, but all that achieves is making even more noise than usual:

Whilst fighting another zombie, Jess unfortunately contracts a second level of sickness, so here’s to hoping we find that medicine we were looking for! 

At this point, just after midnight, my son (who had taken a danger nap earlier and so was refusing to sleep) came in to see what I was up to, and asked if he could play:

He commandeered one of the zombies, and used a supply token that was a tiny backpack as a shield to defend from my bullets. 

After multiple turns slogging through the water, Cece finally managed to climb up to a decent vantage point, but then realised that at this point she’d actually be more use on the ground trying to secure supplies…

Devon, seeing his gun is empty, makes a break for it pushed forward by the rushing floodwaters, and dashes forward to try and grab a third supply token that was rapidly disappearing out of view towards the edge of the table.

Jess flees the board with one supply token, hoping to avoid a repeat of last month’s venture. As she does so, three zombies shamble to their feet in the ruined building nearby:

Everyone else scrambles to secure what supplies they can, and make a break for it to head for home as more zombies crowd in around them.

So, all in the group managed to secure 7 supply tokens, but unfortunately one of them was ruined by the flood waters and had to be discarded. 

Post-game, Devon gained two levels, gaining the sniper skill and +1 to his firearms skill - finally, all that practice seemed to be paying off, and I was just happy that it wasn’t yet another point of Endurance!

Lynn gained the Heavy Lifter skill, which would be handy as without a firearm she usually ended up running round grabbing supply tokens, so this should help to keep her mobile. Jess gained a point of Firearms, as since being given a gun she’d apparently got a lot of practice with it. Dionne also gained a point of Firearms, as the rolls that I’d hoped for after previous games started finally happening. I was also doubly pleased with this, as it meant her double tap skill might start being more effective! Kevin gained the Headhunter skill, making him more deadly with his cricket bat, whilst Cece gained a point of close combat skill, as I was aiming for her to get better at shooting but just couldn’t swing it with the rolls I had…

For the supplies, I rolled once on the Winter table, three times on the Summer table, and twice on the regular table, hoping that the four seasonal rolls between them would furnish us with some medicine. It didn’t unfortunately, but did furnish the group with 4 preserved meals, 19 points of scavenge, a heavy club, climbing gear, and a hazmat suit (that I’ll probably have to put Jess in from now on if she ever recovers).

Without medicine, Jess is bedridden, and rest alone isn’t enough for her to recover, so she won’t be able to join the group on their next venture into the city. I set most of the rest of the group to forage for food (including Dionne, who is in the early stages of sickness, as she is an expert hunter), and set Lynn to work the cold cellar, in the hopes of building up a supply of preserved food for future months, but unfortunately all 3 forager roll the lowest possible result, and so produce no surplus for Lynn to can - we need Jess back to explain to everyone how gardening works! Dipping into our supply of preserved meals, we’re able to avoid anyone going hungry, and although luckily the sickness doesn’t spread to anyone else, with Jess bedridden and Dionne showing a worrying cough, things are only going to get harder from here on out…

Monday, 6 March 2023

Rangers of Shadow Deep Scenario 2


As it had been eighteen months since I played the first one, I thought it was high time I play the second Rangers of Shadow Deep scenario, the Infected Trees. 

While it’s not essential to make special trees, and cocoon tokens, and Halloween spiderwebs to jazz up the table, I have to admit I was pretty pleased with how everything looked when I was setting it up:

So, having investigated a rash of disappearances at a village on the edge of the Shadow Deep, the Paladin and her band of merry men (one of whom was enthusiastically waving around the magic sword previously owned by the Ranger they’d been investigating the disappearance of) followed a set of spider tracks deeper into the woods.

Unfortunately, my tracker failed her tracking roll, the one thing she’d been brought to do, and so we made especially poor time through the woods. On the brighter side, she did find a dose of Farlight Leaf though, which she immediately ate, much to her companions’ surprise.

Stumbling into a clearing, the party spotted a series of roughly man-sized web cocoons, and so set about popping them open to get at the goodies inside. 

Obviously the first one they came to popped open to reveal a zombie, because that’s just how my luck runs.

Thankfully Five Trees falling (my tracker) is able to take it out with a well placed arrow before it can get it’s fetid claws into the Paladin.

Brother Eoin, not being the most fighty of party members, starts making a dash up the flank to try and start burning down the spiders’ nest trees rather than getting stuck in like his companions:

The Paladin, on the other hand, approaches the situation as she does any other - with a prayer on her lips and a sword in her hand:

Luckily for her, River Wind the barbarian charges in to assist and (despite me rolling a 4) wins the combat, cleaving a spider in two thanks to his two handed weapon!

Drawn by the sounds of combat, more spiders enter the fray, but thankfully far away from the melee breaking out in the centre of the board.

Brother Eoin, emboldened by his companions’ success at smashing up spiders, charges into one with his hammer held high…

And promptly gets clobbered, left with only 2HP. And poisoned.

Things are going much better in the centre though, as Five Trees Falling and the Paladin taking out a spider each with their bows. As a brief aside, despite my usual luck with dice, for the first half of the game I was rolling hot, and seemingly taking out an enemy with every attack!

The spider that was previously dominating Brother Eoin managed to whiff it’s follow-up attack, and was put down with a swift bonk from a hammer.

The next web cocoon opened also turned out to contain a zombie, suggesting that the delay caused by Five Trees Falling falling that initial tracking roll meant that the spider venom had plenty of time to ripen the missing villagers into zombies! 
Jarreth (the conjuror) however finds a web cocoon that must have been a little fresher, and manages to pull out a surviving villager.

As a zombie has managed to get into reach of Brother Eoin, Phinneas (the halfling rogue) dashes over to support him, followed by Five Trees falling, who snipes another spider on her way over. 
Between massively outnumbering it and carrying Aventine’s magic sword, Phinneas was easily able to dispatch the zombie, and then headed off to start putting nest trees to the torch:

On the other side of the table, Jarreth used the spell Swat to destroy the last enemy on the board, and so the party set to hurriedly completing their objectives before any more reinforcements turned up! The fourth cocoon investigated unfortunately contained a dead body, but on the other hand, better that than another zombie I guess…

As everyone heads to burn nest trees and investigate the last cocoon, River Wind manages to get himself tangled up in a spiderweb:

Although to be fair, if I had to choose someone to get stuck in a situation that requires strength to get out of he’s the one I’d choose! 

By the end of the following turn, the party had burned down all of the nest trees (Phinneas doing most of the heavy lifting here, with poor poisoned Brother Eoin limping along behind him) and investigated the last cocoon (revealing another survivor, hoorah!), so the party mostly formed up in a defensible position in the centre of the board to prepare for any more enemies appearing.

A zombie shambles up, and so both the Paladin and Five Trees Falling take up positions to take it out with their bows. Unfortunately, my usual luck with dice resumed and despite both landing damaging hits, it wasn’t enough to actually put the zombie down.

Jarreth, chilling on the side of the board waiting for the right moment to step in with his remaining spell and other wise generally stay out of trouble, looked up to see a giant spider descending on him from a previously unnoticed nest tree…

On the bright side, just before noticing the spider he’d stubbed his toe on a barrel, which might turn out to contain something valuable…

Heading Jarreth’s high pitched scream, the Paladin bundles around a large briar bush and takes down the spider with a single arrow, to her surprise as much as the spider’s. ‘I wasn’t scared…’, mumbles Jarreth as he sets the tree ablaze…

As the remaining zombie shambles towards River Wind, Phinneas leaps forward to try and strike it down with the magic sword he was brandishing. Despite managing to land several seemingly telling blows, the zombie doesn’t actually seem to notice. Shrugging, River Wind steps forward and knocks the zombie’s head clean off (as I rolled a Critical Hit!)

At this point, the sun went behind the clouds, limiting the effectiveness of bow fire, so everyone decided it was time to get while the going was still good and makes for the edge of the board. 
Jarreth scoops up the treasure token and begins shepherding the rescued survivors to safety, as the Paladin Heals Brother Eoin (although alas not enough to cure him of his poison, so he is still limited to only taking a single action each turn).
River Wind manages to get himself tangled in another web, presumably from poking at something that he shouldn’t have due to boredom at the lack of enemies to slay, and unfortunately isn’t able to flex his way out of it straight away as he previously had…

Another zombie shambles into the board, but alas time was running out and River Wind and Phinneas weren’t able to harvest it for XP, as the party need to get off and report their findings to their superiors…

And thus, next comes the best part of any campaign game:

All in a success, as nobody got taken out of action and I managed to get 97XP for this scenario, putting me on… 99, 1 short of levelling up. If only I’d managed to kill that last zombie! 

Phinneas gives back Aventine’s sword. Grudgingly.

Rolling for the treasure token, it turns out to be an enchanted set of Heavy Armour, that can be used to blind enemies, which the Paladin gladly dons.

So, another eighteen months or so until the next scenario I guess? I just need to make a river, a bridge, a ford, some rocks, paint a vulture… I’ll probably play some more Frostgrave first, as that’s a lot less terrain dependant!

The week after playing this game, the Tally took a hit too, which I’ll amend into this post:

I grabbed the last two minis of the month from GW, a masked cultist looking chap with a bow and a Khorne cultist type for my bits box, which puts the Tally at:

9 vs 9 = +0

Not back into the red yet! Although Salute looms ever closer…

Sunday, 26 February 2023

And now, more rats!

After painting an entire unit of Skavenslaves in one whack was such a drag (an army painter I am not), I thought I’d approach the next unit in smaller chunks, figuring that being able to complete each step quicker would allow me some more variety in my painting experience, and thus I’d be able to get throughout more enjoyably (and quicker!), as well as being able to standardise somewhat (so each batch would have the same colour fur, removing a few steps from the painting process).

So I prepped myself the majority of the unit, and the selected six as my first group to paint. 

This was… during the summer I think? And I’ve just finished them this week:

The secret to getting them finished was deciding I was going to focus on stuff needed for Last Days, at which point I decided I needed to make some space on my painting tile and knocked out the remaining steps over a few evenings.

Here is a side profile view, showing off some shonky freehand shield runes:

Six down, twenty something more to go! Plus characters, and a war machine. On top of all the other projects I’ve got on the go. But then again, my opponent has already finished his 500 points, so that’s motivation to get finished! The same opponent that has recently expressed an interest in inq28 though, so add another distraction to my ongoing projects…

These additions bring the Skaven points total so far to:

188 / 500 (I think - I don’t have my army book to hand as I type this!)

And also brings the Tally to:

9 vs 7 = +2

Back into the positive! Best not buy the next issue of the AOS part work then…

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: February

Having the week off of work (as Super Bowl and my daughter’s birthday fall in the same week), I’ve actually managed to get this month’s Last Days game in with a couple of weeks to spare!

Rolling up Rescue as the next scenario, I reasoned that narratively it went like this - it’s month two of the end of the world, and things don’t seem to be getting any better. The group of survivors banded together at the farm receive a radio signal from a prepper that people had previously thought paranoid, but in hindsight was actually right… He had himself a bunker in the depths of the woods, stuffed full of supplies, but had been overrun by zombies. He was keeping his head down, but would appreciate someone coming and giving him a hand. The group didn’t have to deliberate for long - helping out another human being was obviously the right thing to do. And anyway, if they didn’t make it in time, he’s probably got a bunch of supplies that he won’t be needing any more…

So, this is how I set up the board:

Rolling for weather, I got the freezing result - zombies being slower is a good thing, but given how I roll, being harder to kill was going to be a bit of a hurdle to overcome…

I also forgot to print out tokens (again!) so had to resort to my handmade ones:

Next time I’ll remember, I’m sure. Although I realise now that last night when I was printing out Rangers of Shadow Deep cards and couldn’t remember what the other thing I was meant to print was, it was these. 

First thing of note - when playing solo, boy howdy is that a lot of zombies that rock up on the opposite end of the board! If any of my survivors gain any more levels I’m not going to be able to physically fit them all on…

So, after a slow start where I attempted to stealthily advance on the bunker in the centre and the supply tokens in it’s immediate vicinity, including three of my survivors ganging up on the lone zombie in their half of the board to try (and fail) to stealth kill it, I manage to take out three zombies on turn 3, just as Kevin (my shotgun and cricket bat wielding Survivor) managed to reach the unconscious survivalist they had come to rescue. Unfortunately, that turn I rolled a result on the event table that caused 3 zombies to stumble out of the building, leaving him surrounded:

I let rip with everything I’ve got, but bar Cece successfully plinking the zombie sneaking up behind the group no one manages anything of note. More firearm training needed when we get back to the farm methinks…

To make matters worse, two zombies then shamble out of the outhouse (just what we’re they doing in there?), and when combined with the horde of zombies bearing down on the group from the north things are looking pretty dire.

Umlaut (my helper monkey) has spent the entire game so far trying to lure as many zombies away from the rest of the group as he can, and now heads back towards the centre to try and concentrate the zombies in one spot, before breaking free to lead them away:

Allowing Lynn to sneak round behind the outhouse to grab the bag of guns stashed there. Obviously, my luck being what it is a body on the ground next to it then stood up and attacked:

As things had dragged on somewhat, Umlaut then panicked and fled the board, which is unfortunate for the rest of the group as it left the horde of zombies he was luring away free to start wandering back towards them…

At this point, Jess has a supply token, Lynn is trying to brain the zombie with a bag of guns over its shoulder, and Devon and Cece are trying to sneak around the outside of the trees to snag the last supply token - unfortunately this runs into a snag when their largely ineffective gunfire draws another pair of zombies onto the board right by them.

And weirdly, three zombies then burst out of the Outhouse - just what was going on in there? I’m starting to suspect that this survivalist was hiding bodies of anyone that found his secret spot in there…

With Umlaut no longer pulling zombies away, Jess (in the pink) gets absolutely bundled as she and Kevin (having given rescuing the survivalist up as a lost cause) attempt a fighting retreat:

Gun empty, she was successfully managing to break away and flee a little more each turn - until the turn that Kevin escaped, at which point I imagine her saying ‘go, I’ll be right behind you!’ Which was the plan, until poor rolls meant she was unable to break away, and got pulled down by the mass of zombies, dropping her supply token.

At this point, everyone heads for the hills, knowing that the day is lost. Devon manages to make it off the table with some supplies, but Lynn is unable to rescue the bag of guns - having no firearm of her own, and seemingly unable to get a kill in close combat (thanks to the freezing weather making the zombies harder to kill), she cut her losses and got out of there. Dionne, after being a beast last game, managed zero kills this game, but this might have been mitigated had I remembered that she now had the Double Tap skill that could have allowed me to re-roll to kill a zombie. That would have needed her to hit them in the first place though…
On that front, I kept rolling double sixes to hit, but then atrociously low on my ‘Shoot them in the Head!’ roll…

Post-game, thanks to Lynn’s first aid training Jess is only shell-shocked rather than having a leg injury. Devon gets enough experience to advance another level, and gets +1 Endurance again, making him tough as nails. Our supply token turns out to be some salvage and a Magnum, which seems a little noisy to be using against zombies - what I wouldn’t give for a couple of knives though!

Jess being out of action is a nightmare, as she’s the primary source of food for the group with her farming knowledge. However, with everyone else putting their backs into it and using 1 Fuel from my stash, everyone is fed and the farmhouse is fully heated, so no one suffers any adverse effects. That is, except for Jess, who has started to show symptoms of a fever, so it looks like we’ll be heading into the city next month to try and find some medicine…

As well as getting in a game this week, the Tally has taken a couple of hits. First of all we have the free Guardsman from GW, that I hope to convert into a Necromundan Spider for an Inq28 warband (as a buddy has pointed me towards the Acolyte rules, which I’m looking to adapt to make funkier warbands):

And also two copies of the new Warhammer partwork, one to convert, and one to keep pristine on the off chance that I decide to get into AOS:

Which leaves the Tally at:

3 vs 7 = -4

What’s next? Well, I found the fake spiderweb my wife bought at Halloween (behind the microwave, of course) so I’ve got everything I need to play the second Rangers of Shadow Deep scenario…

Tuesday, 14 February 2023


Needing some webbed victim tokens to play the second Rangers of Shadow Deep scenario, so I set about making a DIY solution. 

Step 1 - grabbing some 25mm round bases and a deep dive into the bead pot:

I glued these in a variety of off-centre configurations to try and give the impression of a squashed up body inside rather than just all being ramrod straight.

I dig out my old milliput, but it’s seen better days…

Despite my best efforts to rejuvenate it, I just ended up making a wet sticky mess, so had to raid my children’s art supplies for some craft clay. I roughly shaped the web cocoons from clay over the bead base, and then went over them with a variety of tools to scrape in some horizontal indents to try and give the impression of threads:

This was all done last… September I think? Then Zomtober hit, and these got pushed down my priority list, then it was Christmas, then I was prepping for the first game in my Last Days campaign… I finally got around to finishing them off this week though, with the application of plenty of drybrushing. Et voila, five perfectly serviceable web cocoon tokens:

I know you only need four for the scenario, but from memory there’s a result on the events table that might add an additional one to the table, so I figured it was best to make five. And here they are in a posed shot:

Next stop: playing a game! At some point.

In other news, being that today is Valentine’s Day, my daughter asked if we could work on her Arale model kit (that we’ve been working on very sporadically for the last couple of years) while her brother was at nursery, and here’s where that is now:

Friday, 3 February 2023

Last Days Seasons campaign: January

Last weekend I managed to play the first game of what will hopefully be a year-long Last Days Seasons campaign.

The premise of the campaign is that when the zombie apocalypse kicked off, my leader (Devon) has managed to get his friend Jess and helper monkey Umlaut (sue me, I’m a Y: the Last Man fan) out of the city, and headed to a hobby farm where Jess had been taking agriculture classes, and on the way they have picked up a motley crew of other survivors looking to wait out the end of the world - Lynn, a medic, Kevin, a random guy with a cricket bat, Cece, a teenager, and Dionne, who wandered up to them one day with a samurai sword in one hand and an assault rifle in the other, which is hard to argue against.

They’ve made their way to the farm, cleared it out of its former occupants, and hunkered down to wait for this all to blow over. But it hasn’t. After a relatively quiet week where the group are starting to realise that they’re somewhat under equipped with food and fuel to survive the winter, they hear something - rushing outside, they see a helicopter in the distance, and it’s losing height rapidly. It crashes into the tree line not too far away, so our survivors pull on their packs to go and see if there’s anyone that needs help (or any unattended cans of beans…)

I won’t write out a full turn by turn report, more of a cribs notes version with key happenings.

After setting up the table which took quite a while, as there was a lot of flipping through the rulebook refreshing myself on rules (side note - why don’t modern rulebooks have an index or page references by rules to make it easier to actually use during a game?) I realised that I hadn’t printed out any tokens needed to play the game. Being as I was already at about an hour in at this point, I went with the low tech solution:

I popped my head in to see my wife at this point to see if she wanted a cup of tea, and she asked ‘oh have you finished your game?’ to which I sheepishly replied ‘ah, no I’ve not actually started yet…’

So, having placed the supply markers across the board, my merry band split up into three groups to sweep across the terrain laying waste to all the opposed them. Or at least that was the plan…

Jess (being hardy and able to carry more than the average bear) was sweeping up the left hand side, with Dionne covering her; Devon and Umlaut up the centre towards the crashed helicopter, with Cece and her hunting rifle hanging back at a safe distance to try and plink anyone that came near them; and Kevin and Lynn on the right, back to back Charlie’s Angels style.

However, Kevin my shotgun armed survivor, despite needing a 2+ to hit at close range whenever he shot, somehow missed multiple times, which impeded the effectiveness of the plan.

Rolling on the solo play event table at the end of each turn, I managed to get the result where a zombie stands up and carries off a supply token multiple times, which made operation sweep in, grab the goods and then get the hell out of there a little trickier…

Given that he’s the fastest moving member of the group, my monkey largely bounced from group to group piling on whenever someone got caught in combat with a zombie - and even though I always activated him last in the hopes of someone else getting XP, even in a three on one fight it still seemed to be him that ended up landing the killing blow more often than not.

Disastrous dice rolling aside, things went largely to plan, with Jess snatching up two supply tokens in short order. 

Then, rolling on the events table I got a ‘weather changes’ result, resulting in a sudden thaw that made all non man-made surfaces sticking mud. Which wasn’t ideal, as the board I set up was all woodland, so every move was halved for the rest of the game.

Thus began a knock down drag out war of attrition… against mud, mostly, as what was supposed to be a smash and grab operation became a game of increments. If anyone needed to reload, they were then only able to move an inch or so across the board, and then add being slowed by being encumbered by supplies. I imagine a certain amount of falling over accompanied by Yakkity-Sax in the movie adaptation of this story.

One major learning from this first game: the surplus assault rifle is very noisy. So noisy that if you fire it twice in one turn, there is then a 100% chance of another zombie turning up. And given the way I roll, I wasn’t taking out two zombies for every one that I was bringing on, so by the end of the game we were operating on such a deficit that the number of zombies entering the board from the same edge as the survivors suggested they’ve led a horde here!

XP is XP though, so I kept on blasting for far longer than I probably should have. We’ll, until everyone’s guns ran out of ammo and reloading was ignored in favour of booking it to try and get off of the board with the spoils!

It was a close run thing at the end, with Devon and Kevin flailing at smiths zombie carrying the final supply token, eventually succeeding in wrestling it from the zombie’s cold dead hands before running, screaming off of the board.

Between my unfamiliarity with the rules and the sudden appearance of mud in the game, I didn’t finish playing until half 1, so I tidied up (so that my children had somewhere to eat breakfast in the morning!) and went to bed, saving the best bit of any campaign for the morning after, the post-game sequence!

Everyone other than Cece got enough experience to level up, which was exciting. Devon got tougher, Jess and Lynn (the two with no ranged weapons) got better at bashing in zombie brains, Kevin got weirdly more energetic, and Dionne learned the double tap skill, which should allow her to more effectively take down zombies at range (whilst also summoning more due to more bullets=more noise). 

One thing that the Seasons expansion adds is additional supply tables, to represent a focus on scavenging for useful supplies, so I rolled on the winter table for three of my five supply tokens, hoping to find some of the unique things like cold weather gear and space heaters, and two on the general table, hoping to get a better (quieter!) assault rifle for Dionne. Instead I found another surplus assault rifle, a heavy club, and then a smattering of food, fuel and supplies. Ah well, there’s always next month, maybe I’ll find a knife or two, as having to roll a 5+ to take out a zombie with my rolls is trickier than you’d think…

In a Seasons campaign, you also track hunger, thirst, sickness and warmth. Thankfully, the two survivors that had gotten sick were able to make a full recovery with just bed rest, and everyone else managed to scrape together enough food and fuel to keep everyone fed and warm (which is harder than you’d think, a drafty old farmhouse takes more fuel than it does to heat a cosy little cabin).

So, no one died, the survivors have somewhere warm to sleep and food in their bellies, month one was a success. It’s still early days though…

Sunday, 29 January 2023

‘Was that a helicopter?’

For the first scenario in my Last Days campaign, I decided that I needed to model a crashed helicopter, as the sort of thing that a newly formed group of survivors might find themselves investigating whilst searching for supplies in the early days of the zombie apocalypse.

Handily, I already had a toy helicopter that I’d cut in half:

This was bought from the poundshop so long ago that it actually only cost a pound. Showing how long I’ve had this for, when I cut out a chunk to make it look slightly buried in the ground, I found that past me had used rizla packet to cover some holes, and I’ve not been a smoker for at least twelve years, suggesting that this broken toy has moved house with me at least three times:

On the other hand, it’s proof to my wife that I will eventually get round to finishing of all those half-finished projects.

So, having cut and sanded away a chunk of the undercarriage, I mounted it to a base cut from my usual scrap board:

and then started building up some ground around it using chunks of cork.

I love cork, it’s lightweight, easily cut, and will also make nice looking rocks wherever I leave it poking out of the ground.

To further build up the ground, to make it look like the crashing helicopter ploughed into the ground rather than just sitting flat atop it, I built up around the helicopter with some filler:

The helicopter’s tail got it’s own base, and had the ground level around it built up more on one side than the other to make it look like it had slid along as it buried itself in the ground:

Once I was happy with how that looked, it was onto detailing! Being a toy, there were a number of screw holes that needed filling - where there was only a void behind some holes, I glued in a little chunk of cork first to give the filler something to butt up against. I wasn’t overly fussed about getting a smooth finish on these cover-ups, as I figured that since I was making a wreck any imperfections would only add to the overall effect once I got to the weathering stage. 

Many years ago when I first chopped this toy in half, I’d put some tube and sprue into the tail piece, to make it look like some internal structures existed that had snapped in the crash, so now I needed to do the same with the hole in the main body of the helicopter. 

Fun fact - lollies don’t come with plastic tubes as their sticks any more, instead coming on a paper stick that is no use when you’re trying to make a miniature tube. Handily, being a terrible pack rat like most wargamers, I had one of the old style ones from at least a decade ago still: 

Which I used to make some broken pipes and a broken rotor housing (as the toy rotor blades had apparently disappeared at some point in the distant past, I figured they’d likely have sheared off in the crash so I could get away with just having a damaged housing for them rather than having to carve some replacements out of plasticard).

I also added some plastic girder (that came with a Fenris Games kit) and distressed some sprue with a pair of pliers to give a suitably mechanical appearance.

Speaking of things that had gone missing at some point, the ski foot thing on the helicopter was also nowhere to be found, so I bent up some leftover model spearshafts to make it look like the legs had bent and snapped in the crash:

Fun fact, after finishing this project I found the exact same part from one of my son’s toy helicopters that I could have scavenged for this if only I’d found it a day earlier, but isn’t that always the way.

Building complete, I slathered the base on my usual textured paint (which is going surprisingly well considering I made it a couple of years ago and it’s been living in a sauce pot ever since), and then once that was dry went back over the piece adding sand and stones to give greater depth and texture:

Then it was time for painting! Big brushes and a simple colour scheme was the plan here, as I knew I was going to weather the bejesus out of it. As there was a lot of deep lined detail on the toy, I figured I go and panel line it as if it was a proper model kit:

Which turned out looking alright, so I was pleasantly surprised. 

I opted for a pale bluey grey, as I figured it was generic enough that I might be able to use this terrain piece more than once, and painted the panel on the tail blue to give it a little pop of colour. I also added a transfer from an old Bretonnian transfer sheet, which has got huge mileage over the years providing me with a variety of generic items and patterns that I’ve used on pretty much everything other than what they were originally intended for.

Then it was a case of weathering, weathering and more weathering! Silver brown and black in various amounts combine to make it look like this crash was a real doozy (even if realistically a crash like this would likely have a few scrapes if it had landed relatively intact, but allow me some artistic license):

And voila, that’s it ready for my survivors to scavenge for supplies!