Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolverines?

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to again spend a day rolling dice and pushing tanks with Miniature Wargames editor and author of The Crucible, John Treadaway. We played a large Hammer’s Slammers game with over 160 elements on table in over a dozen different detachments – John attacked my dug-in Lightning Division forces with a mix of the Thunderbolt Division and Waldheim Dragoons backed up by Antargran local forces.

For once my dice held up (in most cases – I did make a habit of burning out gun barrels whenever I tried Rapid Fire with my blower tanks, three of which ended the game with no main gun…) and I just about came out victorious with judicious use of mortars and missile salvos on the Antargrans. I did end the game with just one working tank however, a Krauss tracked tank with charmed life! John has written up the game and there’s an extensive photo gallery on the Crucible website, but here are a few of mine.

The Lightnings were also supported by a freshly painted new force that I was putting in the field for the first time – two detachments of the Wolverines, a specialist anti-tank unit. I’ve been wanting to create a Wolverine force for a while and just needed the last piece in their particular equipment jigsaw, the infantry skimmers for the tank hunter teams. Their primary vehicle is the Viking half-track armed with either Manta light missiles or a rapid-fire coil gun (4 shots per turn !). This tows a variety of trailers including calliope and MLRS versions, or a 5cm Hi-Intensity powergun. Wolverine infantry also ride in these open backed trailers (with little in the way of protection) – the Vikings have internal space for troops but are very cramped and the troops prefer to take their chances in the trailers. Specialist tank hunter teams armed with buzzbombs are equipped with personal ‘skimmers’, one-person hoverbikes, for rapid deployment.

Wolverine Infantry Platoon

After the usual clean-up and assembly (production line methods are the only way to go for this many vehicles!) I undercoated both infantry and vehicles with automotive primer – red oxide for the vehicles and white for the infantry and skimmers.

The vehicles were then heavily drybrushed in a terracotta colour (Golgfag Brown, one of the Citadel Dry paints) and I then applied camouflage stencils from Anarchy Models. I used the Ambush Pattern ones this time for a change, and then airbrushed a desert sand over the top. I drybrushed the vehicles with Citadel Terminatus Stone before removing the stencils – that way the highlight colour doesn’t get on the red camouflage patches. Only then could I carefully remove the stencils, which takes a while – I was still finding one or two I missed when it came to the final painting stages! After this it was time to brush paint details – wheels, windows, tracks and little details such as sensor lenses and headlights. Once all of this is dry, each model is given a generous brushed-on coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade. This got a couple of days to thoroughly dry before I added decals over the shiny Quickshade finish, followed by a final airbrushed top coat of Tamiya Flat Clear (I will repeat again my experience of using Army Painter’s own aerosol varnish – I find this is great over normal acrylic paints, but over Quickshade I find it tends to craze and blister, especially on large flat surfaces. You have been warned!).

Wolverine Tank Hunter Detachment

The infantry (from our British range) were sprayed with Army Painter Army Green from a spray can, then faces, weapons, webbing and boots were painted. I don’t usually camouflage infantry in 15mm, but I decided to give them three-colour helmet covers by dotting on sand and brown. I also painted a Brigadier figure to lead them, this time with yellow facings, who I’ve named Major Vilkas (the Wolverines detachment list doesn’t have any named leaders). Once finished they were also brush painted with Quickshade and varnished at the same time as the vehicles. The skimmers were painted separately from the riders and stuck together just before the Quickshade stage.

The final touches were flock and plenty of grass tufts on the infantry bases, both from Games Workshop.

We’ve set up ready made detachment packs for the Wolverines on the website in both 6mm and 15mm, so you can buy your own forces to match these. The Infantry detachments include extra trailers so all towed weapon options are possible. While I was at it, the Slammers section of the website has had a minor facelift – nothing fancy, just a few colour changes and some new pictures.

HSD15-1601 – Wolverines – £70.00
HSD15-1602 – Wolverines – £55.00

HSD6-1601 – Wolverines – £9.00
HSD6-1602 – Wolverines – £8.00

Fly Like an Eagle

The skies above the battlefields of the world of Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible are not the safest place to be; computer guided powerguns knock down just about anything that flies, from aircraft, VTOLs, air cars, even missiles and artillery shells.

Nevertheless, there are a number of units that still field VTOLs in the combat zone for their speed and versatility. These craft fly nap-of-the-earth, down amongst the weeds operating effectively as fast ground vehicles.

One such unit is the Eaglewing Squadron, which operates a mix of VTOLs, light hover vehicles and infantry on skimmers. They are currently re-equipping their VTOL wing, and the first new craft to enter service is the Demeter attack VTOL, slowly replacing the Eaglewing’s inventory of Ravens. It is a two-seater fitted with a tri-barrel chin turret and several wing hardpoints which can carry an assortment of stores.

The Demeter model comes in three resin parts (fuselage and two wings) and three metal parts (turret and two vertical tail fins). Available separately we have a pack of wing stores – two each of hyper-velocity missiles, gatling pods, rocket pods and anti-tank missiles. These have the pylon built in so you can fit the weapons wherever you like on the wing.

HS15-2602 – Demeter Attack VTOL – £12.00
SF15-937 – VTOL Weapons – £2.50

Personal Blowers

Interrupting the sequence of Small Scale Scenery releases, we’ve also uploaded the new 6mm Infantry on Skimmers packs to the website. A Skimmer is a one-man personal hover vehicle, a bit like a Jetski, used to give infantry much higher mobility. There are two versions with British and PacFed riders – unarmoured infantry in steel helmets, or infantry in full armour. Both come in packs of 12.

The models are very handy for some Hammer’s Slammers units – both the Wolverines and Anders Legion deploy infantry on skimmers.

SF300-167 – British Infantry Skimmers – £3.00
SF300-756 – PacFed Infantry Skimmers – £3.00

Token Addition

To round off the first week of new items from Salute, we’ve added the Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible counter pack to the website. This has over 50 laser-cut acrylic tokens for marking orders, damage, suppression, artillery and mortar blast areas and missile attacks. There are also 25 plain counters for allocation command points.

HSC-007 – The Crucible Counter Pack – £20.00

Baby Missiles

The 15mm range gets five new vehicles and variants today. The American Republic gets a command version of the Baumann hover APC which is armed with a pintel mounted weapon over the top hatch. There is also a new armoured cargo hauler, the Conestoga, which is built on the Baumann chassis.

Our Mercenary Brigade forces have two new versions of the Shinigami combat car – one armed with an automatic heavy mortar and the second with a six round missile launcher. The missile version handily fills a gap in the Hiroseki National Army’s detachment list for Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible.

Finally, there’s a version of the European Federation Javelot with the same automatic mortar fitted to the rear bed.

SF15-203c – M-413 Baumann Command Vehicle – £8.00
SF15-209 – M-419 Conestoga Cargo Hauler – £7.00
SF15-406e – Javelot Mortar Carrier – £4.00
SF15-1510a – Shinigami Missile Carrier – £4.00
SF15-1510b – Shinigami Mortar Carrier – £4.00

Counting the Cost

Something we’ve been working away on for a while is a very handy counter set for the Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible rulebook. Made for us by Beadspoke Designs, we’re very pleased to say we’ll have stocks at Salute on Saturday – the set contains over 70 counters and markers, including order counters for Rapid and Concentrated Fire, damage markers, infantry suppression markers, missile markers, blast markers (for outlining mortar and artillery zones) plus 25 counters to allocate command points. We’ve even got some smart compartmented boxes to keep them in, as you can see.

Apart from the command point counters (which are plain tiddlywinks) the rest are laser cut and engraved from translucent acrylic. Although they come unmarked, it’s a pretty simple process to ink them yourself with acrylic paint from a brush or pen – I did it with some Imperial Skies turn rulers at the start of last year. The photos below show a set which I’ve inked up for use, which only took a few minutes.

HSC-007 – Hammer’s Slammers Counters – £20.00

Skimming in Six

Yet more for the Salute line-up – and our only Salute release in 6mm for this year (the smaller scale gamers will have to wait for the Joy of Six in early July).

We have two new sets of 6mm scale one-man skimmers with riders, to match the 15mm versions released earlier in the year. There are twelve PacFed (full armoured suits) or British (battledress with helmet) riders in each pack. The British skimmers also complete the ToE for the Wolverines mercenary unit in Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible.

SF300-167 – British Skimmers – £3.00
SF300-756 – PacFed Skimmers – £3.00

Death from Above

After yesterday’s undercoated German village, today we can do slightly better (although only slightly) with an almost-but-not-quite-finished model. It’s painted but hasn’t had decals applied or been varnished, so it’s a bit shiny (in fact, it was still a little bit sticky when photographed !).

This is the Demeter, an 15mm VTOL used by the Eaglewing and Texians in the Hammer’s Slammers background. It’s a six piece model – three resin parts (fuselage and two wings) with metal fins and chin turret.

In addition we have a pack of weapons – two each of missile pods, tri-barrel gatlings, rocket pods and hyper-velocity missiles. They are moulded with an integral pylon so just need to be fixed to the lower wing surface (or – just to be different – try mounting the hyper-velocity missiles to the upper wing surface like a 70s-era Jaguar).

At this point, I’ll be very disappointed if you haven’t started humming ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ or at least have it going through your head – this is surely the default reaction of any self-respecting wargamer to the sight of any attack helicopter or similar aircraft…

HS15-2602 – Demeter Attack VTOL – £12.00
SF15-937 – VTOL Weapons (x8) – £2.50

Again, photos will be updated once finished !

Mobile Mortars

We have three new 15mm vehicles which will be available at Salute. There are two variants of the Mercenary Shinigami hover jeep and a new version of the EuroFed Javelot scout car.

The two Shinigamis are both weapon carriers with one carrying an automatic mortar and the other fitted with a 6-round missile launcher. The missile version handily fills a gap in the detachment list for the Hiroseki National Army in the Hammer’s Slammers universe.

The new Javelot model also carries a mortar (of the same design as the Shinigami – to be perfectly honest, we just made this because we could…

SF15-406e – Javelot Mortar Carrier – £4.00
SF15-1510a – Shinigami Missile Carrier – £4.00
SF15-1510b – Shinigami Mortar Carrier – £4.00

Waldheim Warriors

The Waldheim Dragoons is a mercenary outfit with Germanic origins, tracing its roots back to Saxony on Old Earth. They are a heavy armoured unit equipped mainly with blower vehicles, including the earlier A2 and A5 versions of the same M2 tank used by Hammer’s Slammers. They also use lighter Daedalus medium tanks and the GD-900 hover APC, which are the subject of today’s new releases.

The Daedalus has a domed turret equipped with a 10cm powergun and 2cm tribarrel. Although ostensibly a larger weapon, it doesn’t quite match the hitting power of the High Intensity version fitted to the Waldheim’s M2A2 tanks. Defensively the tanks are fitted with the Drozd active defense system to ward off missiles.

There is also an air-defence version which has its turret replaced by one fitted with three long-barrelled 2cm tri=barrel powerguns capable of knocking down incoming artillery shells and missiles.

The GD-900 is a simple ‘battle-taxi’ APC which can carry up to eight infantry and has an AI-controlled 2cm tri-barrel for self-defence on the commander’s hatch. They can also tow the 5cm HI Powerguns used by the Waldheim’s infantry.

There are also two 10-TU detachment packs available, Light and Heavy Armoured, taken from the Waldheim’s detachment sheet for Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible.

HS15-1912 – Daedalus Medium Tank – £8.00
HS15-1912a – Daedalus AA Tank – £8.00
HS15-1913 – GD-900 APC – £8.00

HSD15-1901 – Waldheim Dragoons Heavy Armour Detachment – £58.00
HSD15-1902 – Waldheim Dragoons Light Armour Detachment – £63.25