Friday, 18 December 2015

Scotia Grendel Taking over Urban War


Some news on the Urban War and Metropolis front from the Scotia Grendel Blog.
Hi Folks!
As I mentioned in previous newsletter, this is a very busy time for us. I'm really happy to announce that we have just added Urban War and Metropolis lines to our range of products.

We are currently reorganizing the ranges, as we want to bring back all discontinued miniatures. So more stuff coming soon.

We will post more updates soon, so don't forget to follow us on Urban War Facebook page.
I look forward to having these games being back in the hands of someone that wants to do something with it.  From the thread announcing the news on the Facebook page, there's word that they intend to not only re-release out of print figures, before moving on to new miniatures and even new rules.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

TAV MkIII

One of the neat things about having a blog that concentrates on only one game system is that it allows one to go into much more detail in the specifics of the game and the models and background with no fear of losing the audience in the minutiae. This means I can delve into things that I love about the game and it's miniatures. One of these loves is the TAV MkIII.

The TAV (Tracked Assault Vehicle) is a great little mini, and one of the first of the larger vehicles released for Void (the Viridian Behemoth was released in the same issue of BwM) that was not the generic Korvus or Tiger APC. The rules for this were released in Battles with Miniatures issue 5 in early 2001. However, by the time the VASA force book was released later in the year, the TAV had disappeared, to be replaced by the Ronin APC. Why this was the case I'll speculate on later.

In terms of rules, the TAV came with various load-out options. The standard APC, the Decimator and the Pacifier. One box for the mini had the resin options for all three, allowing even for them to be interchanged if you didn't superglue one in place. In game terms, it was even stated that the TAV chassis could easily be refitted with any of the three options in a matter of hours, allowing for maximum flexibility of support for troops in the field.


The APC could hold up to 8 standard troopers. The Decimator was equipped with a turret mounted MLRS, and the Suppressor with a chain gun. Obviously equipped with *cough* rubber bullets *cough*, unless you were looking for a more terminal form of suppression of course.

The three options allowed for three separate battlefield roles for the TAV. The first being the APC, allowing for safe (Heavy Armour 3) and rapid (Mv 8) transportation of your troops across the battlefield to where they are needed most, either to take a scenario point, or to get stuck into the enemy at close range. Even this version of the TAV is not unarmed, having a forward facing chain gun to clear a path through the opposition.

The Suppressor load-out added to this firepower with another chain gun, this time with a 360 degree fire arc. Allowing you to put out the hurt at medium range, which still being mobile and heavily armoured.

Finally, the Decimator allows for a mobile platform of destruction, allowing for long range support of your army, than can still use its mobility and armour to increase its time on the battlefield.



Sci-Fi APC
I picked up one of these minis a long after they had been dropped from the game, and I loved it. I didn't get the rules for it for some time afterwards, as in those early days of the internet, freely available pdfs of rules were a thing of the future. I heard various reason why they were dropped, one of which was that someone at I-Kore had dropped the mould, so they couldn't make any more. This is blatantly not true however, as they are currently available from Scotia Grendel, both in the Void VASA category, and are also the generic Sci-Fi vehicles as a Sci-Fi APC, which makes me think it was more likely a matter of who had the rights to the mould, but now I'm just speculating.

On to my version of the mini. I have yet to assemble it in any of the three load-outs, but I intent to make it so I can change between the three options. Something which is much easier to do now in a world with rare-earth magnets. Oh how I love living in the future!

The kit includes the main body of the tank, and two sets of tracks, that stick easily to each side. The kit also includes the resin parts to make the chain gun turret, the MLRS turret, or the trapdoor for making the APC. There are also the metal barrel for the two chain guns (the forward facing one, and the turret mounted one), the door for the APC, so you have the option to model it open, and an aerial. The model I have has lost its aerial somewhere along the way, but that's easily remedied with some wire and green stuff.

Want to see the rules for yourself? BwM issue 5 is available free to download at the Scotia Grendel site. A quick search online tells me that there are a couple of places that will still sell you one of these, if you want to get your hands on one. Even if you're playing games that are not Void, this is a great little Sci-Fi tank/tankette in 28mm.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Age of Tyrants

The universe in which the game Void takes place has been used for multiple game systems, from Void, Void 2.0, Urban War, Metropolis, Clau Team Actions, etc. The one thing all of these have in common is they all use the same scale miniature, even if they are not all the same scale of conflicts. The next addition to this lineage of games is Age of Tyrants.

From Myriad Games release info:
Well folks it’s been a long road, with lots of stops and starts along the way, but it gives me enormous pleasure to announce that the Age of Tyrants website is now live.
Over the coming weeks we will expand the menus available as well as adding lots of content in the run up to announcing the launch of our Kickstarter campaign. In this offering we’ve got details on the World of Age of Tyrants as well as introducing the Age of Tyrants Team with their preponderance of facial hair! Additionally our newsletter sign up is running and our Forums are now open, it would be great if you folks would sign up and introduce yourself, we’d very much like to meet you.
Right now, the website is pretty sparse on details of the models, but head on over to their facebook page to see the digitals sculpts an art for this game.

They also have a new forum, but I for one think starting new forums for every game is not the way to go, as most conversations now can take place much easier on things like facebook than having yet another forum to visit. This is not helped by the repeated death of previous incarnations of myriad forums. People won't migrate with you to a new place if that keeps happening, which is a shame, but a reality. Plus building a community for each game is hard work.

The miniatures are 6mm in scale, more in line with Spartan Games Firestorm Armada. This is not really my wheel-house, so I'm unlikely to buy into it, but it's cool to see, and we can look forward to more information on the Void universe, which can only be more grist for the mill for gaming with any of this family of games.

I'll be keeping an eye out for the kickstarter all the same, if the price is right, 6mm doesn't take up that much space, does it?

Friday, 29 May 2015

Limited Edition Miniatures: Nightshade

Back in the days of Void 1.0, i-Kore games did a few offers of limited edition miniatures. In this first post on this series on these limited releases, I thought I would introduce you to Lieutenant Nightshade. Nightshade is a Viridian Strike Commando special character. This miniature was free when you bought 3 blisters, 2 boxes, or one book, which was the kind of offer that many of these limited releases were given as.

To what extend she was actually limited could be of some debate, as there seems to be a few sources online that may still sell this mini, one of which is here, but beware, I have not tried to purchase from this site, and I don't know if it is still in business. One thing is of interest is that they have a pretty full stock of old Void minis, and as a catalogue for us old skool gamers and collectors, may be of some interest (as is the Scotia Grendel site of course).

The miniature itself may not be limited, but her use under the published rules was. Lieutenant Nightshade, or Pamela Carole to her friends, had rules that were only made available on the original Void forums, but were never published otherwise. If you want them, and the scenario and story that goes with her, just click here to download the pdf. Are we good to you or what?

The Strike Commandos were, like most of the original releases from i-Kore, were sculpted in a very minimalist style. I believe this was a reaction to the GW of the time, who's minis had moved into an age where they were over embellished with nick-nacks, and the preponderance of skulls for which their games have become known. The 90's and early 2000's were a dark time indeed IHMO for 25mm miniatures.

When these minis came out, they were to my eye, something in a very different style, which is why I jumped on the original Shock Marines and other releases for early Void. Nightshade is no exception to this. The photo at the start of this post is the state that Nightshade has lived in for the past 15 years or so, but this month, I dug her out and finished her off. In some ways I'm glad to have waited for so long, as my painting has certainly improved since the last Void minis I painted



 
I am not aware of who the sculptor for these old Void minis was. If there's anyone out there who knows this, I would be very interested to find out?

Thursday, 28 May 2015

VASA: Major Kali

There are some Void miniatures that are only known to Void/Urban War gamers. And there are some that managed to break out of the limitations of the game itself, and into the consciousness of gamers and mini collectors in general. Of these minis, a lot of them are from the second wave of releases. I think this has to do with the simplicity of the sculpts, as well as the fact that they are so well modelled. One example of this is the Archangels for VASA. If you head on over to James Wappel's blog, you can easily find multiple incarnations of these he has painted, either for use in 40K, or just for fun. I won't go into the Archangels too much, but save that for another post.
Another of the minis for Void that you see around in various places is the VASA character mini, Major Kali. Indeed, she has seen release as a mini for Void, Urban War and Metropolis incarnations of the rules. A quick google search will pull out a host of beautifully painted versions of this mini. Go here, here, here and here, for just a few.
 
I for one fell in love with VASA as a faction, partly due to Kali. However, I was always too scared to paint her up, as my skills at the time I bought her meant I knew I would not do her justice.
Skip ahead 15 years or so, and I finally have the confidence to paint this wonderful little mini. I chose a scheme in-keeping with the standard VASA purple, which I intend to use for the rest of her marine squad when I get on to them.
 


At first I thought the pink hair clashed too much, but it seems to have worked out not too bad after all.

I don't often paint up multiples of the same mini for fun, as I have a huge lead mountain to get through, but for Kali, there were so many ways I wanted to try to paint her, I could be very easily persuaded.

Monday, 4 May 2015

My First Void Miniatures

Now the introductions are over with, I thought I should go on with a more traditional "I'll show you mine" type of post. I decided to go with my first Void miniatures. When the game was released, I fell in love with the Viridian Shock Marines, especially the ones painted in white on the cover of the rules themselves (by Luca Zontini, who has gone on to do a bunch of art in the gaming industry, including for magic). Inside Battles with Miniatures issue 2, there was a squad of these guys painted by Andy Leask, that was also inspired by this image which also fed my imagination.

The studio colour for Viridian marines was to settle on blue, but these white ones are still rather iconic of the early days.

Andy Leask's white Shock Marines
With these images propped up in front of me at my painting desk, I got stuck in to painting my own box. I did learn one thing when painting these guys, and that's that painting pure white is a pain in the undercarriage.





I think the transfers, which were also released by I-Kore, were a later addition. Another little detail that made me love this game. There are a great many decals for modern games I wish existed for those of us that are what you could call "freehand challenged".

Of course, I couldn't just field these guys my themselves, as one unit does not an army make. So I bought a box of the generic marines, which of course I could field with anyone else, if and when I bought more minis.

 
As you can see, half the unit, including the sergeant, are female. None of whom are clad any more scantily than their male counterparts. If only some modern companies could be so forward thinking.
 
I can't remember if the box came with the specialists below, or if I bought them separately, but they were all bought and painted at the same time. Here we have a heavy weapons specialist and a sniper.
 
 
These sculpts would go on to be Viridian marines later in the story of the game, but for now, they were generic. as discussed in my last post. This was to be a factor in which models I collected next, as apart from the Shock Marines, I wasn't all that sold on the Viridian models, which is why I went on to be a VASA man. But that's a story for a different post.


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Void 1.0, Generic Force Construction.

Tiger APC
Here we go ladies and gentlemen, my first actual post for the blog, and I thought I'd go back to the beginning. Are we sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Back when Void first came out, I-Kore, the company behind it hit upon what I thought was an ingenious idea. The game would include 4 human factions to begin with (Koralon were also released at the beginning, but from the start they stood apart with none of the access to the basic troop types I'm talking about here). They would release various kinds of standard miniatures that were accessible to all players, no matter their faction of choice, and there would be specialist miniatures only accessible by certain factions, thereby allowing them to still have a unique identity.

The forces available to everyone were the Marines, Legionnaires, and Androsynths. The vehicles that were part of the initial release, the Korvus and Tiger APC were also generic in their availability. I thought this was a great idea, as I could buy the basic minis of these types, plus a character or two for whatever tickled my fancy, and be able to field any of the 4 armies at low cost. It also benefited the company, as players from all factions would be buying the same minis, helping them keep costs down in terms of sculpting, and helping them recoup funds to invest in new sculpts.


There was the further advantage that all factions had access to the same technology. Something that always bugged me about some games was the fact that there could be a large gap in the tech level of various factions. This may make some sense in a fantasy setting, and it is an easy way to have a difference in play style between factions, but I always thought that in a futuristic setting, where the free market was a factor, why couldn't my army buy those super laser cannons to replace the shotguns that keep me in theme?

Homeworld Starter Army.
Buy now, choose your faction later.
This was not the case with Void 1.0. Here, no matter what army I was playing, I could field battle-bots. Or I could have my VASA police force put their convict volunteers onto the front line too, and of course, everyone had access to marines, the standard trooper-type. This still makes some sense to me, even though I understand all the in game and out of game reasons why it is rare in wargames.

This politic would be lain aside as the game progressed, and more miniatures were made available for each faction, but I still think it was a good idea. Androsynths became the sole property of the Syntha. They must have repossessed all the units they sold to the other factions, either that or a virus over-wrote their programming, returning them to the Syntha fold. Legionnaires were only fielded by the Junkers, presumably as the other factions moral compass kicked in, stopping them from fielding convicts. The Marines remained the stock force of the Viridians, VASA, and even Syntha for a while, where they were phased out later. However, specific models for each force were released for VASA and Syntha which were clearly just the same mould reused with new helmets, but that's okay.

Bring this up to the present day, and there's absolutely nothing in the rules that stops you from fielding these generic forces as part of your army. Indeed, there's nothing in the rules that stops you now from adding Legionnaires to your Viridian force, for whatever fluff reason you can think of. It's a big wide universe out there, where there are many reasons why these troops are still fighting for the other side. I for one still quite fancy some VASA Androsynths.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

New Contributor

I would like to thank Richard for the chance to join in on this blog as a contributor. I would like to make a quick introduction of myself to you, gentle reader, before I launch into more gaming related posts.

My name is Derek, and I am a gamer. I also may have come across some of you on various gaming forums under the pseudonym Sasori. I have been table-top gaming in various forms for the last 27 years, and I have been blogging for the last 15 years, and I combined the two into a gaming blog just under four years ago in the guise of the miniatures blog Lead and Paint and my RPG inspired blog Mysteries of Montreal. Please go look them up if you haven't already, then come back here, as this is where the party's at!

In terms of my gaming background, I came in as most kids of my generation, through the Games Workshop door, via WFB 3rd Ed, I gave that up when 4th Ed came out, for a couple of reasons, but by then I was already hooked, and with my friends an local gamers, we moved on to see what else was out there. Cutting to 2000ish, when Void came out, my friends and I bought into it big time. All the armies were represented in our group, with the exception of Koralon for some reason. I think the original figures had a lot less of an appeal and fitted less with the aesthetic of the other armies, but that's for another post. After many years of playing Void, I-Kore, who made and sold the game morphed into Urban Mammoth, and Void mutated into Urban War. This came about at about the time I moved to Edinburgh for work, and to study. The flat I had at the time was right round the corner from Urban Mammoth's bricks and mortar store, while it existed, so I played in there quite frequently. Then the store closed, and Urban War faded, and I moved on to other games, then to other countries.

I guess that brings us up to the present, where I am a Scots/Canadian gamer and blogger, based in Montreal, playing lots of skirmish games like Warmachine and Dystopian Legions. I have never stopped having a soft spot for the Void family of games, and recently imported all my minis from my parents attic. When the Viridian Wars blog started, I was inspired to get these little metal men out of storage and do something with them. Since gaming with them is out right now, as I have yet to convince the locals to play, I can at least talk about them online, and paint them up.

What to expect from me here on the Viridian Wars blog? Well, I plan to have posts not only of my painted minis, but also my thoughts on the game and its history, and anything else I think may be interesting. With the demise of the most recent incarnation of the Void forums (there is still the seriously under-populated forum at Scotia Grendel), it would be sad to see the Void community die completely online, so this will be my small addition to the whole.

Sound good? Good, let's do this!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Syntha Upload

Hi!

I had decided to delete this blog as I found myself suddenly terrified by the prospect of trying to get another blog up and running which totally killed my painting mojo.

Saying that, there was a part of me that was disappointed because as far as I can figure it, this is the only Void 1.1 dedicated blog out there at the moment (please feel free to prove me wrong as I'd love to see some more Void 1.1 goodies!) and it seemed like an admission that the game itself is dead. Coupled with the messages of dismay that I received from a few folks who seemed to enjoy my ramblings, I have decided to revive the Viridian Wars and try to keep the memory of Void 1.1 alive, even in a small way!

But enough rambling! Here's the latest additions to my Syntha force:

 Syntha thus far

I've now got a couple of Tactical Androsynths, an Assault Androsynth and an Assault T-Synth completed as well as a pair of marines I painted a while back:

Non classic Syntha colours!

I think I will rework these two a little to give them a more traditional Syntha colour scheme with black trousers, white vests and armour. I do hope they have some subdermal plates as otherwise their vests won't do much to stop a bullet!

I remember the artwork for the T-Synths coming out in one of the old Battles With Miniatures magazines and eagerly awaited the sculpts too.

T-Synth artwork

Sadly, I do feel the sculptor skimped a bit on the detailing of the final sculpt. Yes its inkeeping with the sleek finish of the Syntha range but I can't help but feel the actual miniature is a bit too clean and the Tesla blades, which are some of the most fearsome close combat weapons in the game look a little tame...
 T-Synth

I tried to go for as smooth a finish as possible with the big fellow but notice there's a few spots on his torso that could have done with a bit more highlighting and blending to get a more pleasing finish. Looking at the figures now, I am tempted to add a bit more grime and corrosion to them to make them look like they are on campaign rather than fresh off the assembly line (please feel free to give some suggestions or feedback on the paintwork!)

I also added a bit of a glow to the Tesla Blades themselves as the original plan of painting them silver just didn't look right. I'm not entirely pleased with the finished effect but it will do for the time being.

 Another view

Still, I can't complain too much as once painted, the T-Synth is an impressive sight and towers mere humans!

 Assault Androsynth and T-Synth comparison 

Ironically, this isn't the first T-Synth I've painted. Some years ago I painted this fellow as a Cybertronic/Mechanicus combat droid:

Red T-Synth sergeant

I must admit that I love the red and black armour as it looks rather dynamic and characterful. Maybe I will paint up a squad using those colours to act as an elite or special forces unit...

I have also been experimenting with a bit of 15mm scale stuff. Yes I know it's not technically official Void 1.1 but I want to explore the possibilities of collecting and painting a couple of forces for those of us on a budget.

Up until a couple of years ago, it was possible to pick up Void 1.1 miniatures on Ebay for a pittance but bargains have become increasingly rare these days and the moulds that Scotia Grendel are using are beginning to show their age. I bought all these chaps from Scotia Grendel a few years ago and every single figure had some really bad mould lines or miscasts on them requiring lots of cleanup (which I hate) I would go as far as to say that if I hadn't bought them direct, I would have suspected that they were dodgy recasts.

Having not bought from Scotia Grendel for a while now, I can't say if the casting quality has improved or not but I do find myself on a really tight budget these days so buying new figures is frowned upon!

The answer I have come up with is to continue painting through the assorted goodies I have lying around which consists of quite a few more Syntha and various other bits and bobs while proxying a small force or two in 15mm scale.

That Way! 

I suspect I will be able to compile a decent Syntha 15 force for about £10-£20 while in 28mm, they would cost £40-£60 and take forever to paint. Worry not though, I do intend on keeping going with my 28mm scale stuff but am more likely to get some actual games in at a more forgiving scale!

With this in mind, I have painted up this little fellow as a test piece for my Syntha:

Prosthene Sergeant

He's a Ground Zero Games miniature and looks the business for a high tech Prosthene, just how the Syntha operates. I have enough of the little chaps to build a decent squad and I have been snooping around to see if I can't find some more suitable bits and bobs from the many manufacturers that have cropped up over the years and hope to report some progress over the coming weeks!

In the meantime, all the best!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Void With Character!

Hi!

Following on from my last post, I thought I would post some ponderings about the direction I am wanting to take my Void project in!


While Void 1.1 is a wargame, I am also a big fan of the classic Rogue Trader game which features a more RPG lite sort of experience and I really want to see if I can bring a more narrative experience to Void 1.1 and for me, a game with a backstory, plot and even unexpected events really is more interesting than something more competitive.

For example, in the original Void release, each faction could field Marines, Convicts and Assault Androsynths as can be seen with these rather wonderful Syntha Convicts:

Syntha Convict Legion

Just looking at the background itself, you have lots of plot hooks and interesting ideas, locations and characters to borrow from and the army books when combined with the rulebook and Battles With Miniatures, are a bit of a handy resource for all manner of stuff which could come in handy for games.

For example just a quick peruse for Syntha has resulted in some fantastic sketches of the famous Termite cities by Stuart Beal:

 Termite City from below

Syntha uses their skill with high technology and AI units to settle the worlds that the other powers find too extreme. Syntha exploration teams will also investigate regions which have rare minerals or other hard to find elements not to mention extreme or unusual gravitational forces or atmospheres. 

The termite cities are created by burrowing down into the bedrock using an AI workforce and are marvels of engineering which combine living quarters, military barracks and large research labs. 

Each settlement will have a SPOMM array which links back to Syntha's homeworld and its great central AI PRIME, a huge artificial intelligence which runs all elements of Syntha life, something that has made its neighbours uneasy as how can you trust a cold bunch who are ruled by a machine and actively seem to be tinkering with genetic engineering and cybernetics.

 Termite city surface view

Thrown into the mix, the great powers have been carrying out a proxy war on the frontier worlds with supposedly independent colonies being covertly funded and supplied with weapons and equipment by Syntha, Viridia and the Junkers of Ironglass. 

More recently, the predations of the Koralon has redoubled the tensions which have riven panhumanic spacetime and despite VASA's best efforts, Humanity continues to to squabble amongst itself while the alien threat at its borders crushes world after world.

Stalactite and column settlements

Now that I have taken a bit of a peek at the background to a small degree, I thought it would be interesting to explore the Syntha force I am going to be putting together!

I do like the idea of a force that is striving to move beyond humanity and uses lots of AI units and Syntha has some terrific models available to it from the lowly Androsynth to the mighty Teratosynths and the Biomechs that can best be described as post human, the perfect blend of man and machine.

 
Androsynth 

I have plans to develop a frontier sector, much like Farpoint but in the Void setting where the great powers all have a presence and the Koralon are also a real and present threat but like the movie Aliens, humanity is looking to exploit them for their biotechnology so raids and incursions are quite common.

The frontier is a wild place so there will be some pirates, mercenaries and all manner of renegades too!

T-Synth

Hopefully a bit of work will see some decent updates and lots more painted stuff including non combatants and new characters and the odd new unit to add interest. Inkeeping with my super tight budget and super slow painting, I am going to build the force slowly with the odd pieces I have before expanding it as and when I get the chance.

Looking at what I have, theres quite a few tactical Androsynths and a few assault Androsynths and T-Synths but hardly any humans. I do want to add some Biomechs to the force and may bring in some suitable proxies to keep me going until I find more suitable stuff!

Till then, all the best!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Syntha Troops Spotted

Hi!

Just a quick update before work with the first completed figures for my Void 1.1 project!

Syntha Androsynth Leaders

I stuck pretty closely to the original artwork but went for a darker, almost black brown which has given them a rather sinister finish. I think the rest of the Androsynth squads will have more white on them though as these two are both squad leaders.

I must admit that painting white is a total pain! It took an awful lot of work to get these two looking good but its been worth the effort. Now I only need to paint another dozen or so figures...

All the best!