Desert Terrain and Heavy Gear Battle Report

2023-05-17 heavy gear / hgb-south / hgb-caprice / hgb-nucoal / terrain / hobby /

Terrain Month(s)

Haven't touched a model in going on 6 weeks, concentrating on more and better terrain, mostly for my usual 10mm SF stuff. Let me show you what I've done.

Desert Cliffs

These are 2" insulation foam single pieces, cut into shape with a hot wire, then the edges are lacerated horizontally with a razor knife, then chipped across the grain with a flat putty knife. Sealed with a thin mixed bucket of plaster of paris. Painted a very dark brown as a base, then wet-drbrushed over the top with red oxide, leaving dark crevices. That's the stage below, the red oxide drying.


Final and most important step is a heavy drybrushed of biege (these are all craft store paints, btw). Lightnign really changes how they look. The first of the next two pics, you can see where I had my plaster mix too thick and it obscured and over-smoothed some of the features I'd carved into the sides, but the next pic is the good batch. Minor thing really, but the second batch was what I was aiming for and most pleased with.

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They match really nicely the Dropfleet Commander desert mat, which is the most desert badlands looking surface I have. Arranged around them is the second half of Terrain Month, 3D printed shanty buildings.


Shanty Town

So I got a 3D printer. A Mars 3 4k resin printer, to be exact. First set of models, after a really smooth calibration and QC process, was The Lazy Forger's 'Shanty Town' terrain sets.


Primed white, then block painted in greys and greens and a few contrasting details, metallics, dark colors for rubber, a pale blue for windows. High contrast colors for the shipping containers and a few other parts.


Then wash the whole thing down with a thinned Army Painter Light Tone wash, and bring it all together with the desert terrain by drybrushing with the same shade of beige. Though I did go a little too heavy with it here. Later pieces look better. I was excited to get them done in time for the weekend.

Monorail Pylons

I found a pack of extra pylons and 'rail' for the old Hawk Wargames Dropzone Commander monorail (about 2 months before TTCombat re-released the set, but still a good deal) and painted them up. It's an interesting kit, the classic white resin Hawk was famous for, a strip of plastic for the rail itself, and the bases are big chunks of metal, like a square washer.


I also wanted to try out a weathering effect I picked up from a short lived Gunpla store here in town. Dirty Down Rust effect is interesting stuff. An alcohol based pigment that 'blooms' as it dries to give a texture like flaking rust. Pretty cool stuff, but doesn't handle humidity well, nor brush on varnish. Still, they turned out pretty good lookin'.


Battle Report - Outpost Raid

I wanted to run a scenario with all this new terrain I'm making. My goal was a close match with a good tempo to it, the advantage shifting from side to side and a real last stand feel before the cavalry arrives.

The Scenario

Defender (NuCoal)

Objectives 1 VP per 10TV of surviving models, rounded down.

Deployment 150TV of up to 3 CG in the middle 2’ of the table.

**Reinforcements ** One additional CG of up to 50TV of models starts the game on the table ‘under repair’. Roll a d6 per model, 1-3 = no damage, 4 = 1 Hull lost, 5 = 2 Hull lost, 6 = crippled. Vet models shift one degree lower, Duelists undamaged. These models may activate on Turn 2, but are inactive Turn 1.

Turn 3, a CG of up to 50TV arrives via combat Airdrop. They deploy in cohesion at any point the Defending player chooses. When placed on the board, they may be reacted to by enemy models before they themselves activate.

Attackers (Caprice & Southern Republic)

Objectives 1 VP per 20TV of destroyed Defender’s models. 0.5 VP per 20 TV of crippled Defender’s models.

Deployment Two separate groups of 100TV of models deploy from opposite sides of the table. One CG from each group must be held in reserve, arriving on the table by using their movement to enter from the board edge as the last activated CGs on Turn 1. Units may not be deployed within the Defender’s deployment zone.

Terrain and Scenery

Buildings are one of two types, shanty or concrete, and count as Defender's models for objective TV scoring.

Shanty buildings are ARM 5, H/S 3/3, count as 5TV, count as Light Cover.

Concrete are ARM 8 H/S 5/3, count as 10TV, count as Medium Cover, and have one action and the Supply Trait.

Rocky terrain is considered Heavy Cover.

Fences count as Light Cover, 0TV, and are destroyed if attacked.

Monorail Pylons count as Light Cover and are indestructible.

The Table

I setup the board like a shanty town built up around a whistle stop along a maglev spur, nestled amidst canyons. Defender deployed 150TV inside the walls, with the powered down gears barely visible at the top of the picture, in crook of the canyon walls. Infantry fortified in buildings, fire support gears loitering in the center, and technicals revving their engines.


Out of frame, South lead with a Hydra, and Caprice with Accos and a Hamath full of FLAILS.


Turn 1

The ACCOs scutter and scurry up the canyon walls, scrambling for height advantage.

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The Hamath disgorges the FLAILS who rush forward and get into it with a Koreshi in a snipers nest.


The commander in a Megido watches as his forces up-and-over into the outpost.


Chevaliers and Sapeur prepare to retaliate from the courtyard.


Be end of turn, Caprice is givin' 'em the business, and the Hydra is outflanked, his Black Box Iguana escorted obliterated by a pair of technicals, GRELs with heavy infantry support weapons firing from the beds.


Turn 2

The Megido tries to melee the Hussar with no clear winner.


The Southern forces move to counter the powered up NuCoal gears, sacrificing damage output for speed. ACCOs mop up a lot of infantry, and start chipping away at the Chevaliers.

Things are looking dire for Nucoal at this point.

Turn 3

A sprinting Gila catches a Jerboa in the back with a vibro saber.


While his partner stomps on a truck and locksup the other, trying to spray down the GREL that bailed out.


The Caprice and Nucoal gears thin each other out, with a few unfortunate FLAILS dying to the same artillery rocket barrage that finishes off the Sapeur. The windmill ACCO looks over the carnage.


NuCoals airdropped relief forces hit dirt and proceed to kick ass, crippling the Hydra and finishing off wounded gears left and right.

Turn 4

NuCoal finishes off the Hydra, one point of AP at at time, the crew having missed literally all but one shot the whole game.

We called it shortly after that activation, due to time, and the conclusion that the scenario was unwinnable for the attacking forces from this point.


After Action Report

The scenario worked out pretty well actually. Turn 1 had no clear winner, turn 2 had the defenders starting to wear out despite the extra gears coming online. Turn 3 was a dramatic change, with the attack faltering and the defenders beginning to flank and wear them out.

My primary mistake was getting distracted by the technicals and stopping to fight them, instead of pushing forward to engage the powered down gears. I think that could have swung the game alone. Oh, and another game where every Fire die rolled no-damage. That's getting real old.

Next time I run the scenario, there's a few changes I want to make. Allow buildings to be damaged by AoE attacks, they were under utilized in our game. Give the defender's turn 3 airdropping reinforcements some kind of penalty the turn they land, like giving them a -1 to attack rolls for the combat drop, and make them land earlier in the turn so they don't get an in-built double activation going last turn 3 and early turn 4. Also, we realized at the end the objectives as written encouraged the defender to run, which while that makes sense it's not very fun, so it needs an incentive to stay and fight.