This week was another gaming first as we kicked off the start of our Imperial Assault campaign. Having painted all of the Imperial Faction troops in the box it was about time I put them to task in a game, so we gave the tutorial a miss and jumped straight in at Mission 1: Aftermath. Even though this was more of a rules familiarisation run-through, a couple of things struck me early on. Firstly despite outward appearances from the plethora of books, strange tokens and cryptic dice, Imperial Assault is remarkably streamlined and easy to pick up. In no time we rattling through the rounds, activations swapping back and forth. There is also a good tactical depth to it with forward planning and unit positioning being key. That said, Imperial Assault plays very cinematically and the campaign in particular stays fresh as a result of clever turn triggered events which keeps things dynamic.
That of course means more painting, so with the core Imps wrapped up and only the Trandoshan Hunters remaining for the Mercenary factions I’ve turned my attention to the Rebel ‘heroes’. First up is Jyn Odan, the gunslinger/smuggler character. Originally I picked out her jacket in Jokaero Orange and shaded with Baneblade Brown, but I found this didn’t give anywhere near enough colour saturation or contrast. Her jacket in the artwork is a really intense bronze orange, which although too metallic a look for my tastes was a richer colour. To boost the jacket I re-based in Vermin Brown which was washed with sepia to intensify the shadows. I then re-applied the base mixed with Jokaero and Scrofulous Brown which is a really nice warm highlight for reds. Increasing the Jokaero to max out the highlights then gave the jacket a much richer contrast with the padded trim. An orange glaze finally intensified the colour and smoothed out the transitions.
Gharkaan being a Wookiee should have been a relatively simple affair of Mournfang brown, dry-brushed highlights and a sepia wash. Unfortunately I decided to take a different approach which I’m not really all that satisfied with in retrospect. I gave Gharkaan three thin coats of Mournfang to establish a solid base, but then switched to adding tones in the fur through mixing in warm reds (tan, terracotta etc) and cool greys like Charadon. I should really have done this straight over the white primer if I was going for a tonal approach, but over the Mournfang basecoat the subtle tonal shifts are lost. When I then moved onto the detail highlights in the fur I didn’t have the generic highlights or tones to build upon. As a result Gharkaan comes out flat with a lot less contrast and light than I would have liked. Not the end of the world as what I learned doing Gharkaan I can fix when it comes to painting Chewbacca at a later date, so it’s all good.
Finally, not a Rebel hero per-se but a mighty character nevertheless is Vader. Black can be a devil to highlight at the best of times, but with Vader there are a number of challenges in the degrees of black depending on whether you are looking at his armour, his boots, his cloak or his undersuit. Again I referred to the excellent online guide by Sorastro as he pretty much nailed it for Vader with a simple but effective approach using a number of cold greys, washes, selective use of gloss varnish and an OSL red glaze.
How did Mission 1 turn out you ask? It actually went to the wire on the final turn (six) with Kev only needing to destroy the last two consoles. Unfortunately three of his heroes had been flipped to wounded leaving only Gideon still healthy. As I had the initiative at the start of the final round and still had two Stormtrooper patrols inside the complex I managed to stack enough damage onto the Rebel Tactician to flip him and force the Rebel team to withdraw.
Storage has become more of a challenge now I have three of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars games. Between X-Wing, Armada and Imperial Assault I’ve found myself awash with a serious number of tokens, cards and other components to manage. The large volume of gaming aids is something of a Fantasy Flight signature and does make their games great, however it also presents its own headache. A popular solution seems to be a one case fits all approach for the miniatures, dice, rulers, cards and tokens. Effectively a multi-compartment toolbox or carry case that holds the entire game. I opted to go a different route which was to use normal miniature storage for all of the ships and figures and separate storage solutions for the cards and tokens. The cards were easy as I picked up a pair of the classic trading card binders, one for X-Wing and Armada the other for Imperial Assault, the latter having an outrageous number of the half sized cards! For the tokens though Kev spotted this fantastic little solution in ‘The Range’.
I believe it may be for stamp or coin collectors, but it’s spot on for all the tokens as you only need around two of the little plastic strips to hold all of the key tokens and dice for each game. All three games fit into a single binder with room for expansion, which is probably just as well as the wave 1 Ally and Villain packs just turned up this week, so that’s a whole new set of figures to paint up and throw into the action. I definitely get the vibe 2015 is going to have a Star Wars theme as far as my gaming is concerned. Now all I need to do is work out how to integrate X-Wing and Armada into the side mission structure. Shouldn’t be too difficult; just need to come up with a bit of narrative.
At the time of writing just wrapping up the painting of Gideon and two of the Trandoshan Hunters so almost there for the core set. Just the last three Rebel ‘heroes’ and the final two Mercs still to do. After that I will be moving onto the Wave 1 ‘Allies and Villains’
Until next time, have a great weekend.