Monday, February 27, 2017

Twilight 2000, The Look on the Tabletop, Part 1, Vehicles

Twilight: 2000 is in some ways, a unique post-apocalyptic experience, it isn't quite Mad Max, it isn't quite Gamma World, or for that matter, Morrow Project. It's in a way, a world all of it's own. It's a limited nuclear war after 18 months of no holds barred conventional conflict took place. It's a shattered world, where 52% of the people on the planet are gone.

Villages and small towns are either abandoned, or teeming with life, both from the surviving original residents, and the refugees seeking any port in the metaphorical storm. The great cities are either radioactive rubble, or empty, desolate shells with a few desperate souls picking over the remains of the old world.

It's a world where vehicles are rare, and getting rarer, where the sophisticated weapons of war are giving way to mortars built in garages, and men on horseback scouting for the remains of the mechanized armies, themselves tied to farms to feed their remaining soldiers and camp followers.

It's a world where warlords reign, chaos is a part of life, and yet, there is hope. Hope in that someone, somewhere, will begin the long, slow, climb back.

This is all easy enough to reflect in an RPG...but what about a tabletop miniatures game?

That takes some doing.

Detailing Your Ride

As we all know, the devil is in the details for miniatures gamers. We like putting little things in, on, and around our models to a) link the figures and other items to all the other items in the game (especially terrain and vehicles), b) because everybody likes the "ooh you did that" factor,  and c) It shows off in a neat way how much time and effort you really put into your project.

Twilight: 2000 is full of that potential for little things. Vehicles are rare, and as such, they are going to have lots of gear on them, especially after all that has occurred. Soldiers by nature, are pack rats and acquire gear, this will be doubly pronounced in Twilight: 2000 as armies are going to live off the land as much as possible. 

So, your vehicles should have that "gypsy caravan look" as much as possible. Clean vehicles should not really exist in Twilight: 2000.

 This M1 has had a base added, some camo netting made out of ACE bandages and oregeno, which was then drybrushed varying shades of green and some extra stowage added to the rear deck. The scheme of the vehicle, while older, and perhaps not quite 90s era army, works for Twilight:2000 as this vehicle might have come directly from warstocks, as CARC three-color paint was notoriously difficult to apply.

This M1 is a MARS kit, which to be honest, was of iffy quality (but they were cheap). I had to do some real work with the machine guns, but they're on now. (but there is no loader MG) Note the extra stowage, the rolled camo netting, and the cooler perched on the right side bustle rack with the prominent "For Beer" legend on it. I painted that piece blue at first, then washed it over with green, with an eye toward showing it was a rushed paint job done with not much care other than to dull it down. The rest of the tank is heavily weathered with a faded paint job, showing the vehicle probably hasn't been to a depot in years. I also added a crude formation sign to the rear of the vehicle.

A trio of vehicles, a pair of LAV-25s and a M113. All are heavily weathered. The first LAV on the left has some extra sandbags, a brass aftermarket 25mm barrel from RB (it was a modified toy) and some extra jerrycans and some bottles from a stowage kit. The middle LAV (a Trumperter kit) has more aftermarket stowage, another aftermarket 25mm, and a Confederate flag attached to a radio arial I made out of thin wire. The M113 is a modified pre-build, I added stowage, heavy weathering and removed the .50 Cal in favor of a Mark-19, which is ubiquitous in Twilight: 2000. All of these vehicles are again, heavily weathered.

Don't be afraid to raid all sorts of sources for stowage. Aftermarket companies such as Legend Productions and Black Dog Models make some really nice stuff, and some of it is even tailor made for specific kits out there, but you can go with greenstuff putty, ACE bandages, oregeno and bits from kits and model railroad implementia.  Remember, regulations and pre-war load plans have broken down for the most part, doubly so if the vehicle you plan on building is in the hands of a warlord, or marauders. Most vehicles haven't seen anything approaching depot level maintenance in years, paintjobs are going to be either very faded, or crude replacements, and all sorts of unauthorized slogans, markers, and other implementia are going to be on vehicles.

Not to mention, there will be all manner of guntrucks and technicals to be found in Twilight: 2000. For inspiration, look at news coverage of the Libyan Civil War, or Yugoslavia in the 1990s. There are plenty of useful ideas that would certainly see action in a Twilight: 2000 universe.

In short, have fun with it. The "rule of cool" is going to be in full effect here.

The Stuff of Legends and Myths

Twilight: 2000 is a game of it's era. Like most games of the 1980s involving NATO and the Warsaw Pact coming to blows, there is all sorts of speculative stuff gaining wide currency in the game universe...such as these two vehicles.

Taken from the color plates from the US Army Vehicle Guide by GDW

So, you want these guys in your game? What to do? Honestly, I have not used either for my armies, as I am not that talented to build something like this from scratch. Now, I have harassed S & S for a LAV-75, and one hopes this blog will build that impetus, but again, it's all about the demand really.

But there are other, lesser speculative matters you can do yourself pretty easily. One of my big bugbears is, what to paint your vehicles? Twilight: 2000's vehicle guides had some color schemes of unknown provenance, to be honest (at least Frank Frey didn't seem to know, and he wrote the NATO Vehicle Guide). Other things, like red stars on Soviet vehicles (which even while I was a big fan of Twilight 2000, still makes me cringe a bit), are downright fanciful, to say the least.

Much of the hand-wringing, such as it is, is more hindsight based than anything else. But you have some decisions to make, in general, you can go with either of these routes:

1. Go Historical - Soviet Green for the various Warsaw Pact armies and three-color NATO for the NATO allies. It's historical, fits the period, pretty simple to do and the colors are easy to find. Not to mention the source material is out there to be had (and if you want your Soviets to have a dash of color, you can always do the three color scheme they began to convert to in the late 1980s.)

2. Go with the Game Universe - Paint 'em like you see in the color plates. The plates are there, and it would not be too hard to match colors to the plates, and if you make a mistake, well, keep in mind what I said above, paint is in short supply, and it will fade as time goes on.

Whatever you do, remember, weather and fade your models heavily, it lends itself well to the milleu.

Also, keep in mind, not all vehicles in Twilight: 2000 are drab, weathered AFV..some are like this:

Now here is something cool for a scenario and it says a lot with a little bit of work, note the chipping and slogans..Fits right into the milleu. Weathering is top notch. (Taken from the Lead Adventure Forum)

That is it for now, we'll be talking about terrain in our next installment. So stay tuned.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Survivors of the Twilight Part 2 - 20mm Figures

20mm confessedly, is my preferred scale. I really do enjoy it for a variety of reasons not the least of which is, it's bigger than 15s, smaller than 28s and you can do some really nice work with 20mm and a brush (though lately, 15s have been proving me wrong on this).

It was at the time, a question of cost. 20mm was for me when I was younger, as cheap as $7 a box for 50 soft plastic figures. The trouble was, until recently? I had no bloody idea how to get paint to stick to said plastic figures. Thus, I will say that 90% of my collection has been replaced by metal of one form or another. That said? We will discuss plastic as well, because they can, and do fill in niches in armies.

So, without further ado, let's delve into the world of 20mm figures for Twilight:2000

Elhiem Miniatures

Photo taken from Elhiem Miniatures

Matt Hingley over at Elhiem is to me, one of the better folks out there in the 20mm world. His figures are well sculpted, and only get better as time goes on. He does commissions, such as the figures you see in the photo above. I needed some US Cav for my Twilight: 2000 project (nobody made any), I paid him, he took my money and sculpted those above.

But there is more, his non-commissioned lines, such as his "Cold War" lines, or the "Zombies and Urban Survival" lines are nothing short of perfect for Twilight:2000. The Soviet Senior Officer packs have a scenario written all over them (now if Matt would just do a pack of just Traffic Regulators in various poses..). Matt also has lines such as Motorpool and Lamercraft. Some of Matt's figures are just so evocative of the milleau, like his RMP figures with L1A1s found in his British Cold War line, they rather resemble this fellow.  In fact, the conversion would be so simple...I should probably do one...

Prices have gone up recently, due to the British Pound losing some value, but to be fair, Matt held off the price increase as long as he could and his website is a dream to shop from, taking all major credit cards and Paypal. Shipping might be a bear for Americans and the rest of the world, but Matt does his best to keep it under control.

The only downside to his figures is some of the early sculpts are a bit fragile (like SHQ fragile), but the later sculpts have gotten better, much better if you ask me. 

In short, if you're doing Twilight:2000 in 20mm, this is a great place to stop first.

Force 20

Image courtesy of Covert Intervention Games
Force 20 is a line that used to be sold through Ehliem Miniatures, but that is changing, at least for US customers, with the advent of Covert Intervention Games or CIG as they will be referred to here. CIG is now the owner and manufacturer of the Force 20 line.  I had a chance to talk to the proprietor, J Reid "Streak" Denton at Cold Wars recently. He has also emailed, and spoken highly of this blog. I thank him for his kind comments.  He was even kind enough to send some better pictures, one of which I have made use of here

I admit I had not picked up the line previously as I found the subjects too esoteric. How wrong I was. The "Reluctant Heroes" line has some figures that are, with a suitable paintjob, perfect for Twilight: 2000. I have also been informed by Mr. Denton that the "Corrupted Zombie Infection Line" has some good possibilities. 

Another bit of big news? They are going to manufacture the entire Ehliem line in the US in partnership with Matt Hingley of Elhiem. That's right, the entire line. So for US fans of Ehliem, this is a big deal (Postage is still a killer, even with the depressed pound). They will ship globally, by the way, so no reason for Canada to hold off?

I have two sample figures, and I am very impressed with the sculpt quality, minimal flash, proportional dimensions and great poses. This is a line worth looking into.  

S & S Models

Photo taken from S & S Models Website

S & S is quite simply, the one stop shop for resin 20mm vehicles (and quite a few 15 and 28mm as well). They have a nice modern line that fills a lot of needs, like MUTTS (because not all National Guard formations are going to have HMMWVs) or Gaz trucks (Great for convoy ambushes). They also have a nice line of figures, including Soviet engineer figures that are well sculpted, and reasonably priced. They were also, until recently, the only source of lead crew figures for the Soviets, Brits, US and others in 20mm Moderns (Ehliem has stepped into that breach recently.)

I have bought one of their ZSU-23-4s and a BTR-80 and have been quite happy with the sculpts, they are clean, free of bubbles or holes, and there was very little cleanup needed to make them ready to paint, now I just have to get around to painting them. I also have one of their MTLBs, a UAZ-469, a BRDM, and a pickup truck. All in all, they do a good job.

Shipping is a bit pricy for this corner of the world, but it's more than worth it.

If you want to go resin for your Twilight:2000 project? This is the place to go.

Enfilade Figures

Photo taken from the Winter of '79 Website

Enfilade is a relatively new company based in Germany, with a prolific Cold War SAS line that looks very good, some of them are pictured above. I have yet to purchase any, but they do look nice, and would work well for a surviving SAS troop.

Their German, insurgent, and female militia lines are also well sculpted, and paint up nice from the looks of their photos on the store website. The female militia alone has some real possibilities for Twilight: 2000.

I can't say much about their webstore, or ease of shopping, but the prices look good, and considering the Euro is equivalent with the dollar right now, it might be a good time to give this company a look.

If anyone does, let me know and tell me what their thoughts were?

Under Fire Miniatures

Taken from the Under Fire Miniatures Webpage

Under Fire Miniatures is the successor company to TQD, which put out some fantastic sculpts on a variety of subjects (I have some of their German WWII Volksturm, some of their WWII Russians, and their Modern Russians, which I helped commission at the time, and I can personally say, these are nice sculpts).

For Twilight: 2000, certain ranges come to mind quite readily, The Riever 2025 range, especially the armed civilians is a good start, the Chechen/Generic militia, as well as selected figures from the Modern Russians also look good for Twilight: 2000.

Cost is comparable to other ranges, and the ordering from the website is quite easy.

The only downside is some of the Modern Russians I got were somewhat brittle, and broke at the ankles, but I managed to fix that.

These are great figures to fill in any blanks, as well as to add some character to an army.

Britannia Miniatures

Taken from the Guild Wargamers Forum

What can I say, I own oodles of Britannia figures. Yes, they are chunky, yes, they are a bit "cartoonish" in their sculpts. But honestly? I think it gives them character, and makes them a darn sight easier to paint (a consideration with my eyes). Now, they do not mix overly well with other lines, except for Liberation/RH, but they have character. I have a ton of their British and Soviet vehicles for Cold War, and a lot of their Cold War British Infantry, they are very workmanlike sculpts that paint up well.

I have not ordered from the Grubby Tanks website, as most of my Britannia purchases were made from Syr Hobbes Wargames in the US, that said, I cannot say enough good about these figures, as much as many may not be nuts about them.

They take paint well, they have character, and have great sculpts, and aren't cursed with "fragile rifle barrel" syndrome (looking at you SHQ). 

Honestly, give these fellas a try, I think you will like what you see.

Liberation/RH Miniatures

Taken from the Cold War Gamer Blog

Liberation Miniatures is without a doubt, the most prolific and complete line for 20mm Cold War figures out there suitable for Twilight: 2000. (Not to mention their Urban Meltdown range is awesome as well, I have some of the Americans for it). But, and here is the but. It is very hard to get.

The proprietor honestly pays little attention to his website, and there are two other websites that I know of, which I cannot get to, mainly because the links I have found thus far are dead (Can anyone fix that issue, please?). Not to mention, he seems to have an issue with Paypal. In this era of identity theft, there is one truism. A secure internet storefront is vital in this day and age, and not to have one is going to hurt your sales, plain and simple. Most of the Liberation figures I own, I purchased from Syr Hobbes Wargames, who broke off their own relationship mainly due to the fact their orders were not getting filled. 

But their sculpts are very nice, and like I said, they have figure lines nobody else does. It is very frustrating the way one has to order from RH Models these days. The vehicle line is also very nice, and I really like their HMMWVs.

If the proprietor is reading this? Please know, there's a lot of folks around the world that like your figures, and want to buy more, a secure internet storefront would make things a lot easier for us. This is not an attack, or a criticism, more a plea. 

But, if you can get some of these figures, sprint, do not walk to get your hands on them.

Stan Johansen Miniatures

Taken from the Stan Johansen Miniatures Website

Stan Johansen has been around since the 1980s, and has been a prolific producer of 20mm, when many in the US have moved on to other scales. He's been a boon to 20mm fans like me, and his figures are affordable and he's always at the HMGS shows ready and willing to sell his wares (now if he would just take credit cards..but that is another matter). The "Jihad" and "Road Warrior" lines have a lot of offer for Twilight:2000 gamers.

An aside, he is also a great painter, as he sold me a TARDIS, one of the Doctor's and a pair of Daleks a couple of Historicons back for my fiance. 

Stan's an honest, fun guy to deal with, and his figures have a little bit of everything to offer. The sculpt quality is I will admit, hit or miss, as it's not the state of the art we see now, but for a serviceable wargame figure for a good price? You cannot go wrong, Also, check out his personality figures for the "Road Warrior" line, those guys alone are a game waiting to happen.

Shopping on the site is a cinch, as it is run through Paypal.

In short, if you're a US 20mm gamer considering Twilight: 2000? Give his website a look. You might like what you find.

Platoon 20

Taken from the Fields of Fire Forum
Platoon 20 is a figure manufacturer that is as old as RH Models or S & S. They have quite the prolific Moderns and Vietnam ranges (of which I have quite a bit) that are useful for Twilight: 2000 (Later Twilight War American troops, especially guys mobilized post-nuke are going to look a lot like those guys pictured above.) There's also a mercenary and civilian range that has some nice stuff as well. I have a ton of these figures either bought second hand, or from the old Ulster Imports distributor.

The figures are a bit chunky, and fit in well with Britannia and RH. While sculpting isn't the state of the art? It's good, workmanlike, and takes to the brush quite well. In short, nothing to complain about from where I stand.

Prices are reasonable, and the website is easy to navigate, and they accept Paypal.

Both figure ranges are extensive, and you should be able to find something for your projects. 

The Twilight: 2000 Miniatures

Taken from the Lost Minis Wiki

The original Twilight:2000 miniatures were produced by Grenadier in 1985, and were meant to be used with the Roco Minitanks line of vehicles (which were still somewhat big here at the time, I had a bunch in the 1990s, but moved on to 1/72 scale AFV as they were easier to come by). The figures are thus, a bit closer to 1/87, but honestly? They mix alright with Ehliem and many of the 1/72 plastic out there.

I am not real sure when the line stopped being produced, noone I have asked seems to know either. It was a shame, because the figures are pretty neat, if sculpted a bit meh by today's standards. However, they encapsulate the "ragged survivor" look of Twilight: 2000. Many of the figures also came with separate arms to allow you to have some variation in your figures, honestly, I don't think that worked as well. I have had to greenstuff more than a few limbs into place.

As for finding them? That's a tough one. I lucked out at a few HMGS cons, not to mention some internet sales, and a few windfalls at Noble Knight Games, but these old figures are just becoming harder and harder to find.  

I do wish Marc Miller would let a modern sculpter resculpt these into true 20mm, I am imagining the magic Matt Hingley could do with them.

Plastic Figures

I won't be talking much about plastic figures, well, because I am a bit chauvinistic. I like my metal. That said, there are oodles of figures out there, at still pretty reasonable prices that can help you fill out an army quick. And, plastic conversion is a simpler affair than metal.

One good place to look for what is out there is Plastic Soldier Review, it has a very comprehensive listing, both the "Cold War" and "Modern" sections are chock full of suitable figures for the world of Twilight:2000. 

In closing, you're only limited by your imagination and materials, next time, we're going to talk more about the look and setting of Twilight: 2000, and how you reflect that on the tabletop.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Survivors of the Twilight, Part 1 (15mm figures suitable for Twilight 2000)

(Disclaimer: While I don't do 15mm anything, except for Sci-Fi, I know plenty of people DO want to do Twilight:2000 in 15mm, and thus I would be remiss to talk about it.)

Khurasan Miniatures

Photo taken from Khurasan Miniatures Webpage

Khurasan Miniatures does a lot for a "one man band" and is an honest, straightforward seller. While they do have "sales outages" from time to time, they always announce them in advance and rarely have left a customer in the lurch for long. They fed my sci fi addiction for quite some time, and their figures are sculpted to a very high standard in my opinion, as the painted examples on their pages bore out. Their "Late Cold War" and "Cold War to Modern Russians" lines are perfect for anyone looking to do Twilight:2000 on the table top.

They are also organized into formal units which works well, as if you wish to create a more "ad-hoc" look for Twilight 2000, it really would not be hard to do so with the building blocks found here. 

Prices are reasonable, and the unit packs are economical. Their paypal shopping cart makes things a breeze, and I simply cannot recommend them enough.

You could do a lot worse than these figures.

Photo taken from Rebel Minis Webpage

Rebel Miniatures is a slightly bigger company, and also is a good, honest seller that sculpts to a pretty high standard and has a variety of figures, including some odd types, like SWAT teams and gangbangers (in both standard urban, and post-apocalyptic varieties), this can allow you to field some of the weirder marauder bands one found in some of the modules (Last Submarine and Armies of the Night come to mind). 

Good lines to choose from are the "Modern Military", "Gangs, Gunmen, Hostages and More", and the "Zombies, Zombie Hunters, Werewolves and Horror" lines (The latter has some nice hunter figures that would work well in a Twilight:2000 setting). 

The figures are priced reasonably, and like Khurasan, the paypal ordering system makes shopping a breeze. 

These figures, like Khurasan, are a good fit for a Twilight: 2000 table.

Oddizal Osmy

Photo taken from Oddizal Osmy webpage

Oddizal makes some really nice figures for the buck. The details are nothing short of incredible, and yet, the figures aren't chunky like what you find with say, Battlefront's efforts. I have some of their Vistula Legion sci-fi, and their figures have nice proportions, movements that make sense with regards to the human anatomy, and are in short, well-sculpted. They do suffer from more than a bit of flash, but much of it can be cleaned up with a day's work with fingers and files. 

Prices are more than reasonable, and with PicoArmor as a US distributor, it's not hard to get these figures (PicoArmor is often found at many a HMGS show), and the shopping cart is simplicity itself.

If you're going to do Poland in Twilight:2000, and you're doing it in 15mm, you simply must do it with these figures, you won't be sorry.

IrishSerb Miniatures

Taken from IrishSerb's Miniature Website

IrishSerb, like Khurasan is a "one man band" and I think (the website hasn't been updated in a while) is in the midst of a sales outage. But to be honest, their Armored HMMWVs and Bradley models (I have some of their HMMWVs) are among the best I have seen. Assembly is a snap and with the plethora of crew figures and stowage gear on the market, you can make these vehicles look rather like the "gypsy caravan" most vehicles should look like in a Twilight:2000 environment. 

Prices are very reasonable, but the shopping method is still "email and paypal" which works well for a company of this size, but with Khurasan having a shopping cart, you wish IrishSerb had one too.

In short, see if you can get your hands on some of these, you won't be sorry.

ArmiesArmy Miniatures

Photo taken from Armies Army Miniatures Website

(Disclaimer: I wrote "Red Star - White Lights for AA as part of their Ram Company Games line)

Armies Army makes some really nice 15mm figures, they are a bit on the chunky side, tending more towards Battlefront dimensions, but they are well sculpted with personality and poses not often seen at this scale. 

Their Cold War line has very good coverage for the British and Soviets (including Soviets in cold weather gear, perfect for a cold winter of the Twilight War.), and with the kickstarter of Canadians and Dutch just being concluded, it seems Armies Army is poised to make inroads into the lesser known corners of the Cold War.

Their shopping cart makes things easy and pricing is very reasonable, with much of the infantry available in unit packs.

In short, give this range a try, you might like what you find!

Battlefront Miniatures

Photo taken from Gametime Miniatures Website

Battlefront's new game, Team Yankee, has been greeted on the whole, fairly favorably, with some detractors as well (for the record, am not overly nuts about it on first blush, but I haven't played the rules either). But, they are prodigious in their production of figures to support the game. Very prodigious.

Right now, they have fairly complete lines for the Americans, Soviets, West and East Germans, and Brits, though, there are some holes (No Challengers or Bradleys as far as I can tell), but you have at least 80-90% of what you need. Poses are also pretty dynamic and animated..which I like. Who likes boring figures? Infantry is all metal, with vehicles being plastic and easy construction from the looks of it.

There has been some complaints about the quality of the figures and vehicles, but honestly, the few of their WWII line I owned when I was making a foray into WW- II 15mm were pretty serviceable, and would work with a small bit of filing. Their size might make them a bit 'chunky' compared to other lines, but if you limit them to their own units, it won't be as noticeable. The webshop is a breeze and I personally found it easy to use the few times I have purchased something from Battlefront.

Price may also be an issue. They are a mite expensive for 15mm, to be honest, and many Team Yankee/FoW gamers I know tend to supplement their collections from other manufacturers. But, the figures do come in a good sized pack, and for many of the rules I have mentioned, one or two packs should fill in the infantry component of an army nicely with most of the rules sets I have mentioned, not to mention the troop densities one finds in Twilight: 2000.

They would not be my first choice personally for 15mm, but, if you cannot find or get anything else, they would not be the worst choice.

QRF Miniatures

Taken from the Pigmented Miniatures Website

QRF has been pretty much the source for modern miniatures in 15mm. They make EVERYTHING. You name it, they make it, infantry, AFV, softskins. It's a pretty large range that covers everything from Americans to Yugoslavs.

Everything is all metal and you'll need epoxy and green stuff to put everything together. Infantry is also all metal, and is a bit on the "true 15" side, so it won't mix well with Battlefront's stuff, but if you follow the advice I gave earlier, you should be alright.

Quality is overall good, but like any company, they have their hits and misses. I do find their website a bit of a headache, and it was triggering my spyware alerts on my computer as I was surfing it. I have not tried to order anything from them, but it is something to consider. Not to mention, as a British company, shipping to the rest of the world isn't going to be the cheapest thing in the world, but for 15mm, it's not too bad.

All that said, if you're going to do Twilight:2000 on the tabletop, give this range a look. Chances are, they have something you need to fill out your army. And trust me, with Twilight:2000, there may not be a lot of vehicles, but there is a little bit of everything to be found.

Peter Pig

Photo taken from Peter Pig website

Peter Pig, like QRF, is a prolific manufacturer that also turns out a good quality product with their Modern Africa line (which covers a lot more than Africa these days). Their minis are a bit more on the chunky side, so they will mix better with lines like Battlefront. The poses are also very animated, and easy to paint. Vehicles have good detail, are all metal, and easy to build (but they could use instruction sheets, I was a bit confused putting together a Buffel armored truck I had gotten for my sci fi 15mm).

That said, this in many ways is the perfect line for Twilight:2000. It has many of the rag tag types you'll need, as well as the ubiquitous militias armed to the teeth with AKs they barely know how to use. It's just perfect. They have a nice variety of HMMWVs, and anything more in the ironmongery department you might need, other people make, so it won't be too hard to make things happen there.

Prices are reasonable, and at 8 figures a bag, armies can be built quickly, as I said. Troop densities in Twilight:2000 aren't too big after the bomb falls.

Again, as a British company, shipping is an issue to guys like me in the US, but I would take a look at these guys, they are well worth it.

PS: The Toyotas? Grab em! Technicals are a dime a dozen in Twilight:2000..till the alcohol runs out. 

Well, that is it for now, but before I conclude, also take a look at plastic kits from such folks as Zveda and Plastic Soldier Company (who is about to release a 15mm T-55 kit, 5 vehicles you can build in a variety of versions? Where can you go wrong there? In Twilight: 2000, 5 T-55s comprises a division!)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Rules to Greet the Nuclear Dawn, Pt 2. - Larger Battles

And we're at Part 2!

Most of the rules discussed here are for battles larger than company size, and often one stand will equal a platoon in most of these rules. As Twilight:2000 as a background doesn't exactly lend itself well to "exact" units, you may need to do some tweaking to make these rules work, but abstraction (especially when it comes to doing fights from modules like Ruins of Warsaw) will probably work better than not.

So..without further ado...

Tractics/Tractics II by Guideon Games, then TSR (1975/1977)

This old game is to put it mildly, a relic. Even in the 70s, it was a clunky piece of rules writing, with rules for just about every bit of armor/anti armor interaction one could think of. I owned a copy in the 90s and yes, played it. It took hours to get through a couple of turns. But, I liked the D20 system, it made percentages easier, and the morale system was, in my mind interesting.

I guess my biggest issue is that the game was frozen in time, for WWII, it would probably still work (and did in an update called Battalions in Crisis), but for moderns (and Twilight: 2000) would probably need a big facelift, heck in the game, the recoilless rifle and spotting rifles are still the bee's knees.

The game NEEDS a referee to play, which depending on the group, could be a hinderance, and it is as crunchy as Avalon Hill's Tobruk.

But, if you're willing to put in the time, and find crunchy wargames to your taste? Then this is the game for you.

Where to get it: Honestly? If you find a copy? Let me know, I would love to know where it's still for sale?

Cold War Commander by Peter Andrew Jones (2012)

Cold War Commander is one of the newer generation of fast play rules that caught on in Britain, and soon came here in the guise of games like Flames of War. It's point driven, and says it can play up to 20mm with no rebasing. Now that said? I'd really stick to 6mm with this set. The things I wasn't nuts about the few times I played it? I had to do points lists instead of actual units, the command and control system was a bit..odd (very reminicent of Black Powder, now that I think about it), and to be honest, the points themselves seemed a bit arbitrary. I prefer Fistful of Tows. You'd have to add some things for Twilight 2000, but it would not be impossible.

That said, it does play ungodly fast. Games do get done in a few hours and it could handle in 6mm the larger fights sometimes seen in T2K pretty easily. The rules themselves are a bit pricy..but the production values do make it worth it. The rules illustrations alone are very well done.

You could do a lot worse than buy this set.

Where to get it: Lulu has a monochrome perfect bound version for sale. The full color copies can be found for sale on ebay and Amazon or The Miniatures Page occasionally.

Modern Spearhead (2000)

Disclaimer: I am not a big Spearhead fan in general, and while I have only played MSH once, it did suffer many of the same problems it's WWII ancestor did.

Modern Spearhead is much like it's WWII ancestor. It's a game very dependent on order writing (thankfully drawn orders on a map, but I have often seen that lead to disputes on the intent on said orders).

The game fixes some of the issues it's WWII counterpart had, but then creates new ones. My really big issue was the way it handles infantry, where they are basically tied to the carrier (to the extent that you have to base the two together. I submit while infantry squads have shrunk over the years..this is taking it a bit too far.)

The command and control rules might not work very well for T2K, on the basis of the fact they are meant for armies that still have a semblance of modern command and control. I suppose you could use the rules for the conventional phase of the war, and more power to you if you like them, but for the broken backed phase that lasts until 2000? There are better rules sets out there in my opinion.

Sorry Spearhead fans, it's just not doing it for me.

Where to get it: On Military Matters, Ebay, The Miniatures Page occasionally.

Rapid Fire by Rapid Fire Publications (1994)

Rapid Fire is the granddaddy of the "fast play, large combat" rules we have seen coming out of the UK since the 1990s. While the rules are geared for WWII, there are quite a few free online upgrades to bring the rules into the modern era.

While I own a copy, I have only played them once, at Historicon one year. They were a solid set, and while they didn't knock my socks off, they did what they set out to do very well. It's a shame the rules aren't as popular in the US for some reason (One gamer decrying my decision to buy a copy, telling me Rapid Fire was referred to as "Rabbit Farts". Why, I really do not know?)

The Guild has used modified Rapid Fire for their "Big Games" for years, and I have not heard any real hiccups with them, so if that isn't a ringing endorsement, what is?

Are there abstractions in the rules? Yes, but they are there to make the game work, and in that, they work admirably,

These would be a good set of rules to start with for some of the larger battles in Twilight:2000.

While it is difficult to get a copy of the current 2nd Edition (A third is being worked on), it is still out there to be had in PDF.

Where to get it: (PDF Only)

Command Decision - Test of Battle by Test of Battle Games (2007)

Command Decision is a venerable set of rules, having been through three revisions as of this writing (the first edition being released by GDW in 1986). It's a solid set of rules that accomplishes what it sets out to do, but I personally think it runs a bit slower than more modern designs. While the current edition is set up for WWII, again, you can find stats and information for modern conflicts online, or if you happen to get lucky, the modern version of Command Decision, Combined Arms, at a convention or online. It should run most of the larger battles one finds some of the Twilight:2000 modules, or of your own creation, just fine.

The rules are 1:5 and are strictly aimed at platoon-level stands, you can theoretically run a division on the table, and I have seen it done (and played it), but I will state this caviat. I personally think, like most 1:5 scale rules, this runs better in 6mm. You can run this with 15 or 20mm, but the ground scale in relation to the miniatures can get a bit odd, to say the least.

A mention here also, if you happen to get a copy of Challenge 25, either in dead tree, or at Wargames Vault? Pull out the "Twilight Miniatures Rules - Draft format" and take a close look at it and Command Decision. There are a LOT of similarities. Was this a proto-Command Decision? I dunno.

Where to get it: Test of Battle Games Website

Fistful of Tows 3 by a Fistful of Games (2011)

Fistful of Tows 3 to me, at least, is the best set of operational level rules out there. It runs simple, clean and with D6 only. It's common sense, it allows you to add new equipment and infantry units to the game pretty easily (though calculating PV for equipment is a bit of math slog). It should handle converting anything you find in Twilight:2000 with little trouble.

The size of the book should not intimidate you. Most of it is army lists and equipment stats..and boy are there equipment stats. In short, this is the motherlode of information. Mr. Beard and Mr. Minson back up their assertions with fact that is cogently written (it helps that Mr. Beard is an attorney), and all in all, the rules are some of the best I have seen for this level of warfare.

My main issue? Like most 1:5 scale rules, you really are better off going 6mm with them. 15 and 20mm (especially at the WWII ranges stated in the book) just don't run well. You can spend more than a few turns advancing to get into range. Now, for Twilight:2000, that should not be much of a factor, but keep that in mind when using these rules and mixing the technology.

While the pricetag is a bit on the high side, there is a 32 page free preview so you can "try before you buy". In short, a great idea more rules publishers should follow.

In short, I heartily endorse these rules.

Where to get them: (PDF Only)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Loren Wiseman has passed on

One of the seminal designers of Twilight:2000, Loren Wiseman, has passed on. The cause of death was natural causes, but he was known to be in poor health of late.

RIP Loren Wiseman, and thank you for everything. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

In memoriam, the adventure Loren won his HG Wells Award for. May it be a fitting epitaph

Rules to Greet the Nuclear Dawn By (Wargaming Rules suitable for Twilight 2000, Part 1 - Skirmish Rules)

Welcome to our first post for this blog. Today we're going to talk about the various rules sets we can use (and abuse) for a suitable Twilight 2000 game. We'll be talking about the various rules sets out there, a little something from this author's times playing them, and then how hard I think any conversion might be.

A warning. These aren't so much a review as more a "what's out there". That said, YMMV when it comes to rules (one of the great debates of miniature wargaming, hell, even Empire Napoleonic Rules has its fans, flow charts for cavalry charges and all).

So, without further ado...

Force on Force by Ambush Alley Games/Osprey (2011)

(A Disclaimer: I helped playtest these rules, as well as a good chunk of the supplements. I cannot say I can give an impartial review.)

Force on Force is a very solid set of rules if you're looking to run anything up to platoon level (which is what most Twilight 2000 fights are going to resemble, but not all mind you (Something like out of Ruins of Warsaw might require something a bit bigger, we'll have some suggestions out there later).

Force on Force has an asymmetrical turn system that, admittedly, takes some getting used to (I am still not 100% sure I get it right all the time) and to be honest, if you don't have enough on the table in terms of terrain, both sides are going to sit back and shoot each other to pieces, (but this is a flaw of MANY modern wargames, not just Force on Force).

Force on Force is very, very adaptable as a set of rules, and with the die types (anywhere from D4 to D12) being the modifiers rather than the usual litany of DRM, this is on the whole, an easy set of rules to pick up.

I would state these are one set of rules you could not go wrong with, you could use the low supply rules for all sides to reflect the nature of Twilight 2000, and adapt the Fog of War Deck from Cold War Gone Hot to give the game a more "Twilight 2000" type feel.

There is a 2nd edition being worked on, with an indeterminate release date.

Where to get it: (it's pricy through 3rd party sellers)
                 (PDF Only)

Cold War: 1983 by Wessex Games (2005, PDF version 2011)

These rules are a no-nonsense, no frills product that is geared mainly towards the 28mm market, but you can easily use these rules with 20mm figures with little to no adjustment. The rules are D6 based and revolve around a "bottle" system which synthesizes a variety of soft factors like morale, training, friction and the like. Failures against one's bottle can decline the score to where the morale of the individual figure collapses. Bottle tests factor into everything, including movement, so there is a big factor of unpredictability in the rules.

There are optional rules for skill levels which add a role playing element into the game, and vehicles are handled very simply.

In short, these would make a good set of rules to use to run combats for the RPG, but anything bigger than a couple squads a side might bog the game down.

A bonus feature of the rules? It mentions Twilight:2000 and the Zone novel series by name.

A 2nd edition is supposedly being worked on, but there has been no word for a while.

Where to get it: Wargame Vault (PDF only)

Firefight: Modern Skirmish Rules by Tabletop Games (1985)

These rules are definitely a product of their time. I played them a couple of times, and while they have a following in the UK, they were a bit clunky when I played them. In one game, a Sagger shot on a T-34/85 (it was a Yugoslav Civil War game) took at least 3-4 charts and much leafing through the rules to resolve.

That said, they were comprehensive, and the charts, while hard to read, had stats for every small arm and infantry weapon you could possibly need. The rules aren't in my opinion, going to handle anything more than a few squads a side well, but then again, it's not the stated purpose of the rules to do so. While it may not be my cup of tea, the crunchy nature of the rules do appeal to some, and if that's your bag, then you can't go far wrong by grabbing this set of rules.

Where to get it: ebay, Amazon (it's been out of print for a while, and is hard to find).

Hell by Daylight by Anchluss Publishing (?)

I owned a copy of these rules when I was a teenager and I used them for everything from WWII to Science Fiction, and they did the job well. The clarity of the rules was a bit to be desired, but the rules themselves worked well, and was one of the first rule sets I remember being more about the "soft factors".

Wounded cause more morale penalties than dead figures do (the screaming of the wounded having something to do with it, according to the designer) and leader figures are very prominent in these rules.

While the rules are set to be an insurgents vs. government set, I have run them with two symmetrical armies in contact with little if any trouble.

The rules themselves are long out of print, but if you can get a copy, you cannot go far wrong IMO for a Twilight:2000 milleu.

Where to get it: You're really going to have to look hard for this gem. I remember getting my copy second hand in the 90s at an HMGS con.

UPDATE: Jim Webster recently republished the rules in Miniature Wargames Magazine in a 4 issue series.that began with Issue 418 and recently concluded with Issue 421 this month. 

Maxim to Minimi by Jason R. Weiser (1994)

These rules are meant to be the ultimate in simple, and they live up to it (I should know, I wrote them). They really are bare bones, and to be honest, could use a lot of work. The rules are mostly D100 percentage based, with a D8 for wind/arty drift.

The rules cover wounds levels, and would probably do well with a lot of counters..which would not do much for table aesthetics. Movement is unpredictable, and is one of the things I like about the game.

The system is simple IGUGO, and there really isn't much more to say than that, as it's not my first recommendation for a set of rules. That said, they are free.

No End in Sight by Nordic Weasel Games (2014)

Ivan Sorensen of Nordic Weasel cannot be called anything less than prolific. And as a bonus, he writes some pretty good rules. I have not played No End in Sight (have a copy, but haven't done much modern skirmish lately, part of the reason for this blog). The rules are in their 2nd Edition now, and in short, read very well.

Everything is handled simply, and the rules are based around an idea of units accumulating shock, and through that, becoming ever harder to control. Most fire is pinning fire, with assaults being the decisive measure (as it should be IMO). Three campaign systems come with the game, and more can be generated very easily.

While the rules say they are meant for 15mm, it wouldn't take much to convert them to 20mm.

In short, these are a very go to set of rules, for a very economical price.

Where to get it:

Living on the Frontline by Partizan Press (2016)

Living on the Frontline is the first in a series of supplements for the Winter of '79 milleu. I own a copy, mainly because the background is cool as heck, and while I haven't taken that close a look at the rules, I will state that they look solid for the subject matter.

The main thing, is that you're going to have a lot of work converting in the Americans, Germans, Soviets and everybody else you're going to need for Twilight:2000, that said? It shouldn't be too difficult and considering the rules are already geared towards the "chaos in the streets" one finds in Twilight:2000, I don't see a reason why these rules would not work?

Black Ops by Osprey Wargames (2015)

Black Ops is another set I own, but have not played. It's more geared towards the kind of Special Operations-type stuff you see in today's news. It has a lot of nice bells and whistles, but it would take a lot of work to convert it for Twilight:2000. That said, to me it looks doable. The main thing I think would be adding AFV.

But that said, the rules are very fast, clean and have a mission generator and campaign system. These rules would work very well if you're playing a campaign of a bunch of PCs raiding, oh say, the New American enclave in Florida for Civgov or Milgov?

Where to get it: Osprey Publishing Page

Bolt Action, 2nd Edition by Osprey/Warlord Games (2016)

Bolt Action is very much a "beer and pretzels" skirmish game. It's written in the "Warhammer roll to hit, then roll to kill style", with D6 being the dice of choice. It has a unique activation system, with a side's order dice being put into a bag, then shuffled and pulled one at a time. Op Fire is resolved by putting a unit on "Ambush" and it works pretty neatly, all told. 

We've used it pretty easily for everything from WW I to Chechnya, and with a bit of tinkering, one could easily use these rules for a Twilight: 2000 milleu game. I will confess, I wasn't overly impressed with the game at first (I sold my first ed copy!) but 2nd Ed has done a lot to allay my issues with the game, and it plays pretty well. 

Where to get it: Amazon, Warlord Games, Osprey Publishing 

So, Part 1 is done. Part 2 will cover rules meant for larger engagements, there are not a lot of modern sets for this, and most are meant for 6mm, but with a little work, most of them can be easily converted to other scales.


Good Luck, You're Not On Your Own! - An Introduction!

So what is this page about?

It's about two gaming loves of mine. Twilight 2000 and Miniature Wargaming, and how I want the two to finally meet on the tabletop.

I have loved that old GDW RPG since I first read a review of it in the pages of Analog Magazine in 1984. I got my copy the next year for my 11th birthday.

I wasn't much of a fantasy person at the time, as my gaming up until then had been a steady diet of Avalon Hill wargames influenced by my grandfather's stories about WWII. The whole magic, sword and sandals thing never really took for me. Add in a love of sci-fi and a budding interest in the post-apocalypse (influenced by my babysitter's father, and growing up in the 1980s as a Navy brat) it was kind of natural I would gravitate to Twilight 2000.

A cover that has influenced my gaming ever since. The stark nature of the subjects, as well as the imagery made an impact that no game art has made on me, before, or since.

So, what am I trying to do here? Well, I am trying to a) put some focus in my blogging (aka, have one be updated more than once a month or so) b) show a meta-project from beginning to end, and c) blend two loves of mine into something fun and cool to show off on the tabletop, and d) show these kids we knew grimdark in the 80s a lot better then they did. (OK, slightly kidding on the last bit) and e) reminisce about some of my best times gaming in my teens (We played the hell out of Twilight 2000, 2300AD and FASA Star Trek).

Twilight 2000 has always had a miniatures side to it. Seriously, look at a number of things that were released by GDW during the first run of the game. First, there was the miniatures line, as produced by Grenadier. Sadly, this line is long OOP, I managed to get a bunch in the 00s, and you can still find them for sale now and then at conventions.

Then there was a whole section on miniatures in the venerable US Army Vehicle Guide for the First Edition, the stuff is pretty dated now, especially the Roco conversion ideas, but much of the advice is still good.

One of the smarter RPG supplements I have ever seen put together, division statuses, breakdowns of the units as they were organized down to the battalion level, color plates, this thing was an Osprey for Twilight 2000!

Then there was this article written for issue 25 of GDW's house magazine, Challenge, entitled "Twilight Miniatures Rules: Draft Edition". (It was very reminiscent of what would later become Command Decision, in my opinion, but it was a first attempt).

There has been a lot on the internet in one-off projects as well as some other ideas about putting Twilight 2000 on the tabletop, I even ran something based on the climax of this module:

My first module for Twilight 2000, and it had the wargamer in me hooked!

So what does this all mean for this blog? Lots. First, I want to be a repository for folks looking to game in miniature, the Twilight:2000 version of the Third World War. I don't care if you game First or Second Edition or even 2013 (Love the 1st Ed timeline, but probably would use GURPS rules if I ran it today as an RPG), this is meant to help you get armies on the tabletop, including mine.

My preferred scale is 20mm, been in that scale since I was 13, when I got serious about the miniatures side of the hobby, and pretty much left board wargaming behind for a while (I have since come back to it from time to time, but am a hard core miniaturist now).

What will you see on this page? Discussions of paint schemes, uniforms, equipment you might see in a Twilight War scenario, how to adapt your favorite rules set and reviews of products out there that your average Twilight loving miniatures gamer might find useful. I won't be discussing the normal "Sunday Drive to the Rhine - Cold War Gone Hot" scenario as it is outside the context of this page. Plus, there are some blogs here and here that do a far better job than yours truly. I highly recommend them both.

So, what are we waiting for. Let's get started!

And remember, Good Luck, You're NOT on your own!

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