Maelstrom games had another of their great sales recently and I couldn’t resist picking up a second Dystopian Wars fleet. I was tempted briefly by the new Russian or French fleets but in the end chose the Empire of the Blazing Suns, mainly because it’s a fleet not represented in our small war gaming group yet and Maelstrom had EotBS Naval boxes in stock.
I’ve only played a few games with them so far, but have to say they feel considerably more brittle and specialised than the Covenant of Antarctica. Their basic Cruisers are fairly useless in my experience and I’ve taken to fielding a swarm of smaller vessels with air support instead. As they’re my second fleet I’ve also opted to speed paint them and here is the first batch.
I’ve painted them with Vallejo fantasy colours and then over-painted them with my custom ‘dip’ (a stained polyurethane floor varnish) and then lightly varnished with a matt spray. Five of the frigates have been painted twice too after I made the mistake of applying matt varnish on a cold night, after it had been raining all day. The varnish frosted badly and I had to strip and repaint a handful of them. Very depressing but I did learn that Dystopian Wars resin ships can be stripped with methylated spirits. Just be careful though because the meths will attack the resin fairly quickly.
Why a mix of red and white? I felt an all red fleet would look dull, and all white wouldn’t look that great either. So each squadron of three or more vessels includes a bone white vessel and everything else in the squad is red. Also I’m really learning to love Vallejo metallics. Their bronzes and golds really ‘pop’ on the finished vessels.
As I’ve been playing a bit of Dystopian Wars recently, I thought it was probably time to throw together some terrain. As my first force is the Covenant of Antarctica, the terrain had to be icebergs. Fortunately I had a bunch of scraps from the DOW Blue foam I picked up way back in 2005.
Five minutes of hot wiring and a little light sanding gave me plenty of basic ‘iceberg’ shapes. I painted them with white house-paint before ink washing back to the basic DOW blue colour! They were then dry-brushed with the same white housepaint and matt varnished. I probably could have just dry-brushed the basic DOW Blue foam with white for much the same effect.
At any rate now I have enough icebergs to dump down on a Dystopian Wars table at the next game.
There’s been a bit of downtime on this blog recently, mainly due to me foolishly purchasing a certain Xbox game on sale from NZGameshop.com (an excellent source of cheap Xbox games by the way). Now that I’ve mostly crawled out from under that addiction, I’m painting again. My gaming buddies have also managed to get our act together for the last two weeks and play some more Dystopian Wars!
A couple of amusing games later and I was inspired enough to finish my Covenant Battleship. Here it is with the painted Cruisers as well. That means I’ve managed to paint the contents of my initial Covenant Battle Group – huzzah! Left on the paint station are two Icarus Flyers, which will definitely be painted as they’re a great vessel, a Pericles Fleet Carrier and Escorts. I’ve painted all the blasted Tiny Flyers for the Pericles so I guess I’ll be obliged to paint it as well, and if I do that the Escorts have to be done too. Also since I recklessly ordered a Blazing Suns Naval box in Maelstrom’s recent 20% sale I’m motivated to finish the Covenant Fleet so I can crack on with some Japanese vessels.
I have to say I’m pretty happy with the Covenant of Antarctica as a fleet. They’re not really heavy hitters but they’ve got good staying power thanks to the Shield Generators and Inventive Scientists, as well as being fairly fast on the table. The Diogenes frigates continue to disappoint me though, so it’s a pity you get nine of the buggers in the box. Possibly I’m using them incorrectly, but honestly I’d much rather have less Plutarchs for 10 more points each.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the Blazing Suns fleet differs from Covenant in play.
My gaming buddies and I have been playing a fair amount of Dystopian Wars recently as you can probably tell from the blog posts. I was trolling through DW battle reports online when I saw somebody using these nifty resin splash markers to track damage, instead of the cumbersome cardboard counters that come with the game. The markers come from Litko Game Accessories in a variety of sizes and they’re pretty cheap for a baggie of ten.
I ordered a set of the micro markers with the white resin base, and a set of mini markers with the blue resin base for 20 markers in total. They were promptly shipped from Litko and arrived in my letterbox in good time. You have to assemble them yourself, which involves wedging the ‘splash’ marker into the base that holds it. This was fairly painless, although I damaged one of the clear micro bases by applying a little too much force during assembly, so just go easy on them.
We’ve played several games now using these as damage markers and I think the general consensus is they’re more visually appealing than dull cardboard tokens. It was a good idea to get a mix of marker types as we’ve started using the larger blue markers to represent two hits (typically awarded by exceeding the Critical Rating of a vessel), while the white markers represent one hit. This means there’s less markers to drag around with each vessel and conserves them for play, although we’ve not run out of markers yet during our 800pts per side games. The markers are also small enough that they can be balanced on top of larger Dystopian War vessels.
If you’re playing Dystopian Wars I’d recommend picking up some of these cheap and cheerful resin splash markers for your table. The price is right and they definitely improve the look of a game in progress.
I decided to kick off the new year with some figure painting. I’ve been stalled on my Dystopian Wars Covenant ships for a while now as I couldn’t decide on a paint scheme and didn’t want to experiment on the larger ships from the Navy box. Fortunately late last year I filled out my force with some additional bits and pieces, including a blister of Galen escort class ships. These little vessels seemed like an ideal chance to experiment with paint schemes.
Here’s the first three escorts painted and varnished with the Army Painter Super Matt Varnish I reviewed last year. They were painted in similar colours to the Diogenes class frigates I’ve already painted, but with more grey and less of the icy blue. The smoke stacks were painted in Brazen Brass, highlighted with Shining Gold and then touched over with Dark Flesh wash. I think these colours provide a nice warm contrast to the cold scheme on the rest of the ship and I’ll be using the same scheme on my Cruisers and Battleships.
Strangely enough, when Games Workshop released their latest one off naval battle game ‘Dreadfleet’ my gaming buddies expressed an interest in playing a naval war game. Nobody was impressed with an expensive one-off game from Games Workshop, so Spartan Game’s ‘Uncharted Seas’ was mentioned as a naval fantasy alternative. That was until Daniel chipped in and mentioned he had the rules for ‘Dystopian Wars’. One look at the fantastic steam-punk, sci-fi themed ships from Spartan Games was enough to hook us and we immediately each ordered a naval box. We’ve also exercised the rules with a few games of Dystopian Wars and our own (sad) cardboard chit ships and they seem fairly reasonable, with an interesting mix of naval, land, and air units, some intriguing tactical options and the sometimes horrifyingly effective ‘exploding dice’ mechanic.
I ended up with the new ‘Covenant of Antarctica’ forces, ordered from Maelstrom Games and have started painting the contents of that box in a fairly typical ‘winter sea’ splinter scheme. Here’s a slightly murky shot of the first three squadrons of Diogenes class frigates. Just in case I forget, these ships have been primed with 3M Acid Etch, painted with a mix of GW paints and Vallejo Flames of War military colours. Then ink washed with a mix of india ink and Windsor & Newton blue ink and over-painted again with lightened tones thinned with acrylic thinner. They’ve been varnished with the now unavailable Moana Matt Varnish.
The Dystopian Wars ships seem universally excellent. The ships are one-sided resin casts of what appears to be rapid-prototyped 3D models. The level of detail is simply amazing on the ships, so I can only assume Spartan Games are using some expensive laser sintered rapid prototype service. For bombers and other large two-sided flyers the models are cast in pewter and lack the same crispness and level of detail as the resin ships which is a bit of a pity. They’re still passable models, but they’re definitely less defined in terms of surface details like tiny 0.2mm rivets etc.
We’re all painting up our forces at the moment and when you consider a Dystopian Wars naval box force consists of one capital ship, three medium ships, 9 small frigates, two large bombers and 10 tiny flyer tokens it is actually possible we’ll be playing with fully painted forces!