Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Finding Terrain for the Post Apocalypse -- Commercial Terrain in 15 and 20mm

One of the things you will find as a Cold War-era gamer (and Twilight: 2000 is firmly a Cold War-era game) is that terrain is tough to come by, and what terrain you can find is difficult to make look "right". You're often reduced to just putting lots of ruins on the table and calling it "done". Now, granted, most cities in Central Europe in Twilight: 2000 look like Berlin in 1945, with the added complication of an elevated rad count, but we can and should try to do better than this.

So what are our options? Well, if you're willing to do the internet legwork, there's plenty out there. Also, this article from the Cold War Gamer blog is very useful in assisting one with improving the look of your table. Now, it's written for "Sunday Drive to the Rhine" games, but there's a lot of stuff for Twilight: 2000 if you're willing to look. I have also written some ideas of my own on the subject, but let's take a look at what is out there commercially, shall we?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is going to be something of a "living" page, as I want to make sure that as people find stuff, they can let me know and I will review and add it here. So if I missed something, lemme know!


Taken from Spikey Bits blog, Image is of terrains4games product

terrains4games is a Polish outfit that seems to make something of everything. I haven't dealt with them myself, but the stuff they make looks good, and it seems to have quite a good number of reviews. For 20mm, they make the usual collection of ruins, as well as 15mm, but they also make a "Cold War City" that has the ubiquitous apartment blocks one sees throughout Central Europe and would do very well in a Twilight: 2000 game. While the company is in Poland, it's got a nice storefront, and all prices are in USD, making ordering a snap. When I get a chance to pick up something from them, I'll let you know how it goes.

Gamecraft Miniatures

Image taken from GameCraft Miniatures
GameCraft Miniatures is nothing short of prolific. They make it all in 6, 15, 20 and 28mm. I've ordered from them in the past, and I found the process painless and easy. Now if I could just figure out how to fill the big empty space in the factory warehouse I purchased from them? I do have to put it back together again too. Also, I bought a barracks, which looks a lot like some of the barracks I saw at Ft. Knox, and that one looks a bit complicated. My one complaint there? Instructions would be nice. That said, the quality of the work is very good, and I cannot complain as to the workmanship. Any faults in the construction are mine, and I readily admit it. But, if you want to find good, solid buildings to fill your Twilight: 2000 table, this is a darn good place to start. They are based in the US, with an easy to use storefront, so us American gamers have a good source of terrain, but folks in the UK might have some issues with postage costs.

Lancer Miniatures

Taken from Lancer Miniatures website

Lancer Miniatures is the current license holder to the RB Buildings line and these are, in my opinion, some of the nicest terrain to be available in resin out there. I have some older pieces of this line, purchased 2nd hand, and I do rather like them, a lot. Their quality is good, and they paint up rather easily. Just drybrush, paint a bit of detail and off you go. Now, while a lot of it is strictly geared to World War II, with some slight modification as per the aforementioned Cold War Gamer blog article, you can make some of this terrain look really good for your Twilight: 2000 table. The main issue is that due to the size and weight of these pieces, they won't ship outside the UK without discussing the shipping prices with you first. To me, this is more than eminently fair. These pieces are big, and resin is heavy folks, shipping costs, even with a depressed pound, aren't going to be cheap, and many wargaming companies are small outfits, so bravo to Lancer for at least warning folks ahead of time what they might be in for.

I know that much of this line is available through RLBPS, but they're in the process of transitioning their website, so I will let you all know when that is complete so US gamers can avail themselves of some of this line.

Sarissa Precision

Taken from Sarissa Precision's Website

Sarissa is a new, up and coming UK company that right now, is everywhere. I've seen their 15 and 28mm products at more than a few cons, and even some of their 20mm. I have purchased some French telegraph poles for WW-II and I liked them, they went together fast with the clear instructions provided. It's made me want to build some more stuff of theirs. Shipping at 2.50GBP worldwide is pretty awesome for this US-based gamer, and their storefront looks simple with a variety of payment options. Now, for 15 and 28mm gamers, this is a cornucopia of options for Twilight: 2000, but it's a bit limited for 20mm, as most of the "World War Europe" line is meant for Western Europe, but the Eastern Front stuff (minus the Russian Orthodox church) is almost spot on for your average small Polish farming village that you would still find in Twilight: 2000. In short, there's a lot to be had here, so give these folks a look. They also design to order (I have not made use of this, so I cannot comment as to what the final product might be, or how one goes about it?), so don't be afraid to special order...

Ironclad Miniatures

Taken from Ironclad Miniatures

Ironclad Miniatures is a newer UK-based company and I just received a bunch of their terrain for Christmas from my wonderful wife, including some very nice stuff from their Field Positions and Ruins range. The pieces were crisp, without any visible flaws, what bubbles there were were on the underside of the base, and that's fine by me, in short, I liked what I saw. The ranges come in the standard 15, 20, and 28mm scales and if the ones I got are any guide, they look great. The shopping experience looked pretty painless, and the packing survived the rough treatment the mail put the box through.  I would recommend their field positions heartily for a Twilight: 2000 table, as such positions are going to be found everywhere, and the Vietnam defenses range would work well for your average cantonment, and mixing it with the WW2 range would make it look very unique indeed. As for the ruins, you get a lot in the bag they give you, I think what I may do is glue the ruins to a plasticard base, add some bricks from GaleForce 9 and voila, a nice ruined building base or two?


Battlefront's been pushing out quite the terrain range (it's rather prolific) for their Team Yankee rules. And having seen the buildings, they look great, and could be used for Twilight: 2000 with very little need for improvement (Might want to make some look abandoned or burnt out). But they are a bit pricy, to be honest, but that's Battlefront as a whole, IMO. Now that said, they do have a very easy to navigate website, and they do have awesome customer service, and the terrain is very easy to find and get if you're doing 15mm (I would not use this terrain in any other scale), as it's as close as any hobby shop that carries Team Yankee.

Impudent Mortal - (Thanks Michael Brown for the heads up about these guys!)

Image taken from Impudent Mortal
I cannot say I know much about Impudent Mortal, but their stuff looks good for the 15mm Gamer, and their Entry Level terrain packs are very nicely priced for an entire die cut town, which when mixed with the Sarissa Eastern Front stuff, would make a very nice Polish village for Twilight: 2000. They even have a ruined version, and they also have an industrial range for doing games in the ruins of oh, say, Silesia, or perhaps the Ruhr? Shopping looked very simple and they are a US based company, so shipping for those of us on this side of the pond is manageable. They also design to order, they say, so don't let their catalog limit you.

German Railway Buildings- Link is to eBay, the best place to search for them cheap.

Taken from eBay

A lot of the German railway buildings are just dead on for the type of buildings one is going to see in any Central European based Twilight: 2000 game. But, a few things you want to keep in mind. One, these are model railway buildings. They aren't meant to hold up to the rigors of gaming, and they come no frills on the interior. So, they're going to be a bit of work, to put it mildly. Next, they are not cheap at retail, or even on ebay for that matter, but there are bargains to be found if you know where to look and more importantly, how to look. Some of the best search terms to use are "Vollmer", "Faller", "Kibri", and "Pola". Finally, keep in mind HO and N railway scales do not correspond exactly to 15 and 20mm wargaming scales. You might want to make sure that your buildings don't stick out too much like a sore thumb on the table. But, if you can find stuff for a price you're willing to pay, and put in some improvement work, you can get some really nice buildings out of it that will look great on the table.

Hotz Mats

Picture of Piers Brand's Cold War Big Game. Picture taken by Piers Brand, taken from Hotz Website
Hotz puts out some really good stuff for wargamers. They have quite the catalog of mats, roads, and fields to choose from, all in durable felt (I should know, I own a standard green felt one that ate a beer during a WWII game, bit of time on gentle wash and an air dry later, no one ever knew).  Prices, considering the production these mats and other products go through, is pretty reasonable, but yes, 8 weeks can be a long time. But that said, it's very much worth the wait. My Hotz mat has seen a lot of gaming action, and I can highly recommend it. I can also recommend their roads, as I own a gidundus amount of their 6mm roads that I got second hand one Historicon. They wear really, really well, better than my older Geo-Hex roads I was less than pleased with (they never stayed in place). In fact, you can see their 20-28mm roads in the photo above! Their webstore is easy to use, and they have very good communication with their customers.

So, all that said, I would highly recommend their product. They are more than worth taking a look at and they will make a mat to pretty much any standard you like (within reason).

Cigar Box Battle Mats

Picture taken from Cigar Box website

Cigar Box is another maker of some very high quality mats that I have played on, but have never myself owned. I like the fact they seem a bit lighter than Hotz, and they come in a bit more variety, but some of the printed on designs can limit one's "creativity" in setup. Happily, they give some very good advice on how to get around that. 

I keep trying to hunt down their urban mats, but every time I come to Historicon, they seem to be out of the ones I am seeking, but the work they do is nothing short of gorgeous. I haven't ordered from them online, so I really cannot say what their webstore is like, but with a lot of gamers raving in a good way about these mats, you really cannot go wrong giving these a look either. Prices are a bit higher than Hotz, but for US customers, I suspect the shipping might be a bit lower, so it probably balances out.

You could do worse than give these guys a look.

Anyway, that's it for this piece. Let me know what else you'd like to see that would be of interest to Twilight: 2000-themed miniature gaming, and I will write it up. Until next time! 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

It has been a busy newsday! PSC is taking over the ArmiesArmy Cold War Range

Just wanted to make this short announcement: Plastic Soldier Company is taking over the ArmiesArmy Cold War 15mm range. I am happy to say that Keith Armstrong, Owner/Proprietor of AA is a friend of mine and of this blog, and I am happy for him that he is making this transition because of the reasons he has mentioned to me in the past.

The cool part about this is that PSC will be putting the Dutch, Belgians, Cold Weather Russians, and soon to come Scandinavians out to a much wider gaming audience. For this alone, I am excited for both parties involved (Even if I do not game 15mm).

I wish both companies the best, and look forward to seeing what PSC does with the AA Cold War line!

Tiny Metal Chariots of the Twilight: 6mm possibilities for Twilight: 2000

I promised I would discuss this as well, there's a lot of 6mm fans who read this blog, and Fistful of TOWs is a popular rules set around here. Surprisingly, while there isn't a lot to be found on some of the more unique Twilight: 2000 designs, what you can find will surprise you. (Someone makes a LAV-75 under the guise of "RDF Light Tank"). Happily, 90% of kitbashing at this scale is pretty much a matter of hull and turret swaps, and perhaps a little putty work.

I personally think, and this is my own opinion, for what it is worth, you're better off gaming the conventional phase of the war in 6mm and the post nuke phase in a larger scale such as 15 or 20mm, but I can be wrong sometimes. I base this opinion mainly due to the paucity of vehicles once the nukes fly. I am sure some enterprising modeler or wargamer is itching to prove me wrong now...

So, who's out there and what do they make?

I owe a big thanks to Micro Armor Mayhem for some of the links to this report, it's a very useful website of it's own and I encourage 6mm fans to pay it a visit as he covers micro armor VERY well indeed.

Photo taken from GHQ Website

GHQ: They are the granddady of micro armor. Their models for the most part are detailed and well built, (even if the barrels on some of their earlier sculpts are a bit...fiddly). They have a lot of what the average Twilight: 2000 player needs, but they are to be honest, kinda pricy at $11.95 for 5 vehicles on average. Yes, you do pay for their level of detail, and they are prolific. They also have awesome customer service and are good eggs to deal with, having done so at quite a few conventions. Plus, their discounted unit packs are a great start for building that Fistful of TOWs army.

Photo taken from CinC website

CinC:  While there isn't as much detail as on the average GHQ model, you cannot say anything bad about the fidelity of the CinC's offerings. The barrels on average, are a bit more fragile, but I also like the "plug" turrets instead of the "pin" turrets you find offered from most companies. I don't own any of their infantry, but I have heard some complaints about it. Their prices are a bit lower than GHQ, averaging between $5-6 for a platoon of three or four vehicles. Of interest to Twilight: 2000 fans is that their HMMWV range is simply the largest in the industry. Hell, they even make a Sgt. York, if you're really that oldschool! Oh and did I mention, their stuff comes in these nifty plastic cases that are instant storage! Yep, you cannot beat that.

Photo taken from Scotia Grendel Website

Scotia Grendel: Scotia Grendel is one of the most prolific manufacturers out there, they make so much it's not funny. But, the detail is a bit lacking, as seen here, but the fact is, they make stuff GHQ or CinC do not, such as this Brazilian EE-9 above. And, they do paint up nicely, with a bit of care and patience, as seen on this T-64BV:

Not bad if you ask me! Photo taken from the 6mm Wargaming Website
Prices are pretty easy, even with the shipping from England, at 0.50 GBP per vehicle. (which works out these days to about $0.69 a vehicle. Not too bad if you ask me.) But, as I said, you do get what you pay for. But, with a little work and patience, you can really do a nice job, plus they have some really interesting stuff, such as the HMMWV with the 25mm, or the RDF Light Tank, which makes a decent stand in for the LAV-75, or an entire range of FAVs, And that's just the Americans. For the Russians, they make the IT-130s! Yep, that assault gun seen in the pages of the 1st Edition of the Soviet Vehicle Guide. They also make a Neutral Equipment Range, that is full of mortars, recoilless rifles, trailers, motorcycles, and the like. It's very useful as at 6mm, you're going to be hard pressed to tell a 81mm Mortar from an 82mm Mortar.

In short, if you're looking for the more esoteric stuff, look at Scotia, chances are, they have it.

A H&R M60, proves they can paint up nice with some care, taken from the Here's No Great Matter Blog

Heroics and Ros: Heroics and Ros, aka H&R are another British manufacturer with a measure of prolific production, their quality is slightly better than Scotia, but where they shine is the number and breath of nations they cover. Want North Koreans? They got 'em. They got Toyota pickups, irregulars, Soviet VDV with RPO (thermobaric) rockets, they have a lot of stuff. At almost $1 a tank, it's a bit pricer than Scotia, but the detail is a bit better. For my money, I tend to prefer H&R when possible if I can, but that is a preference thing. Again, you're ordering from the UK, so shipping for some of you guys might be an issue.

But, if you want a cheaper option than CinC and GHQ, take a look at these guys.

Again, they paint up pretty nice, take a little care, and you can do wonders with 6mm. Taken from The Miniatures Page

Main Force Miniatures: Main Force Miniatures is to me, the best producer of  micro armor scale infantry out there. Other than the MANPADS figures, all of the figures are cast prone. I know not everyone likes this, but it does make some pretty indestructible infantry for wargaming (6mm infantry is remarkably brittle for the most part.) The current producers of the line, Magister Militum, are selling the line by the individual base, or by the old company groups it used to come in, considering I play FFT 3 for all of my micro armor needs, I like the groups because a 1:1 company sized group can become a battalion of infantry in 1:5 scale. In short, I rather like these figures, they paint up nice, and as I said, damn near indestructible. There's also a lot to choose from, Israelis, Americans, Brits, US, Iranians, just to name a few.

Well, that's it for my review of 6mm choices for the Twilight: 2000 themed wargamer. I'll be working on getting a user submission up by the end of the month. It's something I wanted to do for a while now, but had some other stuff (like this article), to get out of the way first. Please feel free to comment if I missed anything, or if your experiences have been different from mine. I love feedback as you know. 


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hell By Daylight is Back, and tons of movement on the "Cold War Battlegroup" front.

  Remember when I mentioned a little rules set called Hell By Daylight? I also mentioned that a copy of them was extremely difficult to get one's hands on. Well, god bless Jim Webster. He's reprinting it in a 4 part series in Miniature Wargames Magazine.  Part 1 has come out in the current issue, 418.

Picture taken from Miniature Wargames Magazine website
Now, I will caveat the rules with this. For a small set of figures on either side (like an encounter in Twilight: 2000?), these rules are perfect. They aren't really for larger platoon sized games, like Force on Force, or No End in Sight. (To confess, the mechanics are a bit dated, by modern standards, but I think they hold up well, personally). They have good solid rules for reaction under fire, and they make such reactions unpredictable, to say the least. These were my go-to rules in my high school years, and they were great for those small encounters one finds in every war.

I am very excited about this, and am looking forward to my next three issues to arrive in my email inbox.

In other news, I know I have been going on about Battlegroup NORTHAG, and it's being worked on, I can assure you of this. But in the meanwhile, the Cold War: Hot, Hot, Hot blog has released their own unofficial Battlegroup Cold War rules. Now, that said, we're hoping we can convince Leigh to work on a Twilight: 2000 variant for the rules. Another Battlegroup variant for Cold War era stuff is Battlegroup Fulda. I have yet to try either rules set, but I am eager to do so. I will let you know how it goes, and if I can get any breaks from my busy writing schedule, perhaps I will gin up something for Twilight: 2000 myself.

As for other news, rumor is a Korean Sourcebook for Twilight: 2000 might be coming out on Drivethru RPG soon as well. At least, that's what my own RUMINT tells me. I don't know the veracity of such rumors, but they are coming from reliable sources, so I will keep you posted.

Work on my own Charters of Freedom continues apace, and I am also looking at some other projects that will hopefully, be mostly off of my desk in the new year, but as someone who knows the industry can tell you, deadlines can be a bit flexible.

On the modelling front, I found this small company, called Boundless Brooklyn, that does of all things, NYC watertowers that to me, would look good on a wargaming table with a bit of paint and weathering. It comes with everything you need to put it together for $10. It looks great for a potential Armies of the Night - themed game.

Image taken of completed model. Looks pretty good, huh?
My wife also got me some terrain stuff from Ironclad Miniatures for Christmas, and it arrived a bit late. She got me some hedgerow kits for WW-II France, which look great, and a couple of field defenses and a ruins pack. Now the latter items are great, they are well sculpted, the items arrived without cracks or bubbles visible in the surfaces that are to be painted. In short, I am very pleased with the products I got here.

Here are all the products laid out in their glory. Everything looks awesome.

So, lots to report, and more is to come, but I wanted to post all this so you didn't think I was just neglecting this blog. Nope, no chance of that! You keep reading, and I will keep writing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

First of the New Year!!

Sorry about the long absence everyone. This is going to be a short post, as it is something of a thought experiment. One thing about Twilight: 2000 is that it is in many ways, the future of the nightmares of the 80s, ala Threads, or The Day After. But what about other nightmares? Twilight: 2000 has discussed this before in Twilight Nightmares, but that's not what I am talking about.

I am talking about a certain little Netflix show:

Yeah, that one. You might ask, "What the hell does this have to do with Twilight: 2000?" A lot actually. Both properties are products of 80s nightmares, and the Cold War permeates through them like a running thread, Twilight: 2000 is just more obvious about it. But in Stranger Things, there is the undercurrent of  "What if the Russians find out?"

But the focus of this blog post isn't, "What if the Russians find out?" It's more, "What do you think happens to Hawkins, IN in the post-apocalypse?" Does the Upside Down triumph? Does it retreat, seeing our world as not such a great place anymore. What happens to our four heroes? Sheriff Hopper and all the others?

Think of this as more of a thought experiment with a focus? Post your takes here, it'll be fun to read them.

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