Bolt from the Blue

I recently posted about my Lightning Division’s ill-fated debut on the tabletop and their defeat at the hands of the Zaporoskiye Regiment. Regardless of their performance (and believe me, they’re out for revenge) they look striking in their blue/grey/yellow camouflage, so I thought it was time for a photo parade now that the wrecks have been recovered from the battlefield, the damage repaired and the shell marks polished out.

The two detachments, one tank and one infantry, each consist of ten TUs (tactical units – a vehicle or an infantry team), totalling fifteen vehicles and five infantry teams. I actually painted sixteen vehicles so that I had the option of either a mortar jeep or tracked mortar carrier in the infantry detachment.

The LD vehicles are mostly blowers, or high-powered hovercraft. They’re relatively easy to assemble with few parts – the crew cars just have a rear hatch and two small turrets to be attached to the resin hull. I added plenty of stowage, including some of our etched-brass turret baskets.

The next step was a grey basecoat using Halfords automotive primer from a spray can, which would also serve as the first of the three camouflage colours. Once this has dried I drybrushed the vehicles all over with Citadel Longbeard Grey.

The camouflage colours were laid down with an airbrush – Vallejo French Blue followed by Tamiya XF-4 Yellow-Green. I drybrushed the camouflage stripes, again with Citadel dry paints – Skunk Blue and Hexos Palesun respectively. At this point the vehicles look fairly bright, but this would be dulled down in a bit.

I spent a while picking out details – stowage, sensor blisters and lenses, gun barrels etc in various colours, including some shading and highlighting. One blower hull had a slight mis-cast at the rear (I filed it in the ‘not good enough for resale, but too good to just throw away’ category) which I tried to make look like battle damage with rust and silver wear marks. The next stage was an overall coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quickshade, which is a stain-like varnish that dries to a glossy and very tough finish.

I added some Lightning Division decals from our range (which will be available again soon, promise!) which go nicely over the glossy finish of the quickshade. I then varnished them with Tamiya Flat Clear from my airbrush, at which point disaster struck…

A slightly damp day resulted in every wargamer’s nightmare, varnish fogging, with my Lightning Division looking like they’d driven through a snowstorm. The temptation at this point was to launch them into the bin, but I needed them on table the following week! So I launched instead into an emergency repair programme to try and sort out the fogging. I started by putting an abrasive polishing bit in my mini-drill and gently tried to buff away the affected areas. The Tamiya coat was very thin while the underlying Army Painter is pretty tough, so I was hoping to be able to remove one without damaging the other. By and large this was successful, although there were one or two places where I wore away the paint and went through to the base resin or metal – and of course my decals were utterly destroyed by this process. The abrasive head couldn’t reach into corners or panel lines either, so I needed a different solution for those areas. I had to repaint some damaged and very badly fogged areas – bits of camouflage, gun barrels, sensor blisters – and I then used a wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade which filled in any panel lines that were still white. The overall results weren’t perfect, but a thousand times better than they might have been. They were at least in a usable state and could make their combat debut.

After the game I went back and reapplied a new batch of decals, and a fresh coat of varnish – fortunately trouble-free this time – and finally I could declare them finished.

Big Wheels

Today, another seven new 15mm vehicles aimed at Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible hit the website. To be strictly accurate, they’re actually seven configurations of the same vehicle family – the Centurion Large Transport Vehicle.

The Centurion is a large multi-role wheeled vehicle system designed around a common family of components. Each vehicle is composed of multiple ‘segments’ that are combined depending on the battlefield role. The vehicles are especially popular with mercenary units which lack a permanent base, as their size compared to other wheeled vehicles gives the troops an increased level of comfort and space during deployments. They are generally used as infantry transports, command and communications vehicles or in non front-line combat roles such as artillery, mortar or anti-missile, where their size again comes in useful allowing them to carry more ammunition. The twin-wheeled independent axles give them a degree of mobility that belies their size, although negotiating narrow streets can be an issue with the larger models.

They range from the smallest model, the stubby C400 utility carrier, up to the enormous articulated C4F6 and the C4H6 heavy artillery Hog. Many turret options are available from a simple commander hatch with a tri-barrel, various light and heavy support weapons, through mortar and artillery turrets, calliopes and on the C4H6 a huge 20cm artillery turret.

At least nine different outfits are known to use different models of the Centurion family; Bartel’s Armour, the Bushmasters, Foster’s Mercenaries, Greenwood’s Archers, Guardforce O’Higgins, the Heliodorus Regiment, the Poplar Regiment, the Sons of Mangala and the Thunderbolt Division.

We’ve listed each vehicle on the website with multiple turret options – in some cases for two different weapon mounts, front and rear. These options have mostly been driven from the detachment lists, but if there are additional options or other turret types that you’d like to use, please drop us a line and we’ll do our best to help. The turret mounts on the Centurions will take most APC-sized turrets from our 15mm Hammer’s Slammers and generic sci-fi ranges.

HS15-2211 – Centurion C400 – £8.00
HS15-2212 – Centurion C202 – £9.00
HS15-2213 – Centurion C204 – £11.00
HS15-2214 – Centurion C800 – £13.00
HS15-2215 – Centurion C404 – £14.00
HS15-2216 – Centurion C4F6 – £18.00
HS15-2217 – Centurion C4H6 Artillery Hog – £20.00

Base Over Apex

Next off the 15mm conveyor belt are three new wheeled vehicles – the Odyssey, Catapult and Broadsword. The primary users of the first two are the Apex Dragoons, while the Broadsword is much more widely used, being fielded by the Han Black Banner Brigade and the Hindi Army amongst others.

The Odyssey is a medium-sized 6×6 personnel carrier, generally lightly armed with a pintel weapon or a small remote mount.

The Catapult is essentially the same vehicle as the Odyssey but with a rear turret ring allowing to carry a heavier armament, albeit at the expense of troop carrying capacity.

The Broadsword is a much larger multipurpose 8-wheeler – big enough to act as a tank when fitted with the right armament. Tank destroyer, multiple rocket launcher and artillery versions all exist along with more lightly armed infantry carrier variants.

HS15-2111 – Broadsword Tank Destroyer – £9.00
HS15-2112 – Odyssey 6×6 APC – £7.50
HS15-2113 – Catapult 6×6 AFV – £7.50

Struck by Lightning

A couple of weeks’ ago I had the good fortune to play a game of Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible against author John Treadaway. I fielded two detachments of the Lightning Division (infantry and tank platoons) from the updated list, while John had a Zaporoskiye Heavy Assault detachment, both with some slight tweaks. After turn one it was all going so well, but that turned out to be the high water mark of my attack and it fizzled out in a storm of Kestrel and Brumbar missiles…

You can enjoy one or two pictures that I took below, and read John’s far better illustrated write-up here.

My LD models weren’t quite finished for this game – I had a varnish disaster (every wargamer knows what it’s like to watch your carefully painted models slowly turning white…) so they were fielded as best they could be after some panicked remedial work. They’ve since had a more comprehensive repair job, so I’ll write that up as a blog post in the near future along with some more photos.

New Tracks

I’ve recently been painting a couple of 15mm Lightning Division detachments for Hammer’s Slammers:The Crucible; these are both upgraded units after the division re-equipped with blower tanks. Some LD units still field the older tracked vehicles, and we’ve now released vehicle options that will allow you to field a pre-upgrade LD force (with a bit of tweaking of the detachment lists).

At the heavier end of things is the Kraus tank. This is a modification of the Neo-Soviet Bars tank hull with a Bizon turret and the gun and gatling turret from the Kurt blower. You will need to do a little bit of filing to make the gun fit the turret and attach the gatling, so please be prepared for that. Also available at the same time is the Zaporoskiye version, called the Barzon, which retains the Neo-Soviet tribarrel secondary turret and Bizon gun.

Smaller than the Krauss is the Falchion light tank, which is armed with a 6cm railgun. It shares a chassis with the Fauchard light APC, equipped with a light railgun turret. The latter also comes with a twin-barrelled mortar turret option which is still in service in re-equipped LD units.

The Falchion and Fauchard are also used by other units in The Crucible – the Nonesuch National Guard and Guardforce O’Higgins use both, while the Prosperity Rebels only field the tank in several variants. These units have other variants such as a light artillery tank and other APC weapon options. From the website you can choose different weapon options (for example, the Fauchard mortar carrier has single and twin turret options), but if you’d like to swap in a different turret from our range that isn’t listed, contact us and we’ll see what we can do to help out.

HS15-1713 – Kraus Heavy Tank – £9.00
HS15-1714 – Falchion Light Tank – £7.50
HS15-1714a – Falchion Light Artillery – £7.50
HS15-1714b – Falchion Calliope – £7.50
HS15-1715 – Fauchard Light APC – £7.00
HS15-1715a – Fauchard Mortar Carrier – £7.50

SF15-1213a – Barzon Heavy Tank – £9.00

Recce Thunderbolt

Today sees the start of a minor deluge of new 15mm Hammer’s Slammers releases, spread out over the next couple of weeks.

First off the production line is the Br64/68 Viking half-track, used by both the Thunderbolt Division and the Wolverines mercenary units. The Thunderbolts use the Br64 Viking armed with a heavy support weapon in recce units and also to tow the Varningr trailer fitting with a multiple rocket launcher system. The Wolverines use both the Br64 and the missile-armed Br68, either to carrying single infantry teams or as a tractor for a towed powergun model (you’ll have to wait a little longer for that one, but it’s in the works).

The Varningr trailer comes in three variants – the afore-mentioned MRLS system, a plain cargo trailer and a towed calliope. The latter is used by Hampton’s Legion. The cargo trailer is just a handy, general purpose bit of kit with multiple uses.

HS15-1816 – Br64 Viking Recce – £7.50
HS15-1817 – Br68 Viking Missile – £7.50
HS15-1818 – Varningr Cargo Trailer – £3.00
HS15-1818a – Varningr MRLS Trailer – £4.00
HS15-1818b – Varningr Calliope Trailer – £4.50

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels #3

The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer, as there are no wheels visible in the photos below – they’re off being painted separately (which I discovered is so much easier…).

We present the last two models in the Centurion series – the Centurion 800, used by several mercenary groups, and the 404, currently used only by Greenwood’s Archers. Both are 8-wheelers (or, since they have twin-wheels, actually 16-wheelers) used mainly as transports but they can also be fitted with light artillery, mortar or calliope turrets – the tan 800-series is painted as a Fosters artillery carrier (or will be once I get beyond the base-coat stage).

HS15-2214 – Centurion 800 – £12.00
HS15-2215 – Centurion 404 – £12.00

Hat Trick

Stuff is coming online very late here, but Phil delivered a couple of crucial moulds at the start of this week. Amongst other things, they contained a series of 15mm turrets for the various new vehicles that we’ll have on Saturday. There are some turrets designed to fit certain vehicles, others which are more general purpose and other specifically intended to fill roles in certain Slammers detachments.

The Falchion tank now has two options, a tank turret and light artillery turret, while the Broadsword gets a twin turret option with gatling or railguns. The collection of smaller turrets can be used on the Odyssey, Catapult or Fauchard hulls (as can many others from our existing range). On Saturday we’ll probably take a mix-and-match approach, where you buy a vehicle hull and pick a turret. I’ll worry about creating product codes for every variant afterwards…

Tracks, Tracks, Tracks

After two lots of wheeled vehicles, it’s time for the treadheads to get in on the action. I posted a picture of a hybrid Lightning Division tank that I’d created by combining the turret and hull from two different Neo-Soviet models along with the gun barrel and secondary turret from the Kurt blower. We’re going to make this an official release (with the caveat that it does need a little minor modelling work to assemble) as the Krauss, so we’ll have a few of these at Salute.

Now onto proper brand new models, we have two light tracked AFVs, again for the early Lightning Division detachment lists. The Falchion light tank has a 6cm railgun, and there’s also a light artillery version. The Fauchard light APC comes in several configurations, including a twin light mortar turret which is still in service in the later LD lists. I’m still waiting on the turret mould for the Falchion, but you can see a hull below next to a Fauchard with mortar turret. The lower picture shows the differences between the lower-hulled tank and the APC with vision ports.

These two vehicles are also useful for several other Slammers units including the Nonesuch National Guard and Guardforce O’Higgins.

HS15-1713 – Krauss Heavy Tank – £9.00
HS15-1714 – Falchion Light Tank – £7.50
HS15-1714a – Falchion Light Artillery – £7.50
HS15-1715 – Fauchard Light APC – £7.00
HS15-1715a – Fauchard Mortar Carrier -£7.50

Wheels, Wheels, Wheels #2

Following on from the vehicles previewed earlier today, we have more wheels (lots and lots of wheels !). This time it’s the large Centurion family of heavy transporter vehicles, which range from the rather dumpy Centurion 400 to the huge 4H6 artillery transporter, which is the size of an HGV.

Each has between four and ten sets of twin wheels for respectable cross-country performance and can be armed with anything from a machine-gun on a hatch to a 20cm rocket-assisted artillery piece in a massive turret. The largest can carry a full platoon of infantry in comfort, and tow an anti-tank gun. What they aren’t however, is front-line fighting vehicles – their armour is modest at best.

As with the other wheeled vehicles, we’re still finalising the exact turret configurations. And the prices may change as I do a final breakdown of the costs – there is a lot of metal and resin in all of these models…

HS15-2211 – Centurion 400 – £9.00
HS15-2212 – Centurion 202 – £10.00
HS15-2213 – Centurion 204 – £11.00
HS15-2216 – Centurion 4F6 – £17.50
HS15-2217 – Centurion 4H6 Artillery Hog – £20.00