Make an X-Wing Carry Case – Part 2

FFGSWXwinglogoA week or so ago Mat told you all about how he turned a Boba Fett lunch box into an X-Wing Miniatures Game figure case. Seeing as we’re both completely mad for the game set in a Galaxy far, far away (Battle Report 4 coming soon), I decided I’d make one as well. Being the good guys I opted for an equally good and virtuous character in contrast to the dastardly Boba Fett. Of course I refer to none other than that true hero of the Rebellion…R2D2.

tinbox-r2-1I aside from being the brains behind the Rebellion, I opted for Artoo because of its simple shape. The object of the exercise was to create a two layer figure case that would – eventually – hold a squadron of X-Wings or a mix of a dozen snubfighter sized models. I admit to going into the build a little blind because, well, how hard can it be? It was debatable whether or not I could comfortably fit the fighters and their bases in the case but I was gonna…ahem…wing it.

So, what do you need? Well a lunchbox or some description. Go for metal, it’ll keep your models nice and safe and won’t crack if you drop it. You’ll also need some egg crate foam, a glue gun, some decent scissors – I used kitchen scissors.

It isn’t rocket science so let’s get down to business. Assuming you’ve bought a piece of foam big enough, you should be able to get at least 5 sections of foam that’ll fit a case the size of the one I’m used – 19cm x 13.5cm x 8cm – I know I could get 5 because I managed to bodge one of the layers and had to cut a fresh piece. I opted for placing the tin on the foam and scoring the foam lightly around the edge of the tin then cutting the shape out before trimming it down by a few mil’ to fit inside the case.

Keep the first insert handy as you can use it as a guide for the other three but it really is as simple as that. Once you’ve got all 4 pieces of sponge out use your glue gun to glue the first piece into the bottom of the case, making sure it fits comfortably, you don’t want it too tight or it’ll eventually break free of the glue.

As you can see from the picture above the case holds 3 X-Wings and their stands quite comfortably. If you were willing to carry your stands separately you could fit 6 fighters per layer in the case. And as 12 is the magic number, that’s pretty good going.

Now, the dividing layers you can glue together if you like but I opted not to as I wanted to option of taking equipment and pilot cards with me for games between the layers, so I knew they were with the models. This is specifically games I’ve planned ahead for so I don’t need to take the entire equipment deck.

If you wanted to use one of the layers to transport something a little larger than an X-Wing, I’d recommend having a thinner piece of foam pre-cut and handy that you can swap out as the foam Mat and I opted for was pretty rigid and that went double with two pieces together. Using a thinner piece will allow your Millennium Falcon or whatever a little more room to breathe.

Finally – and this is the fiddly bit – place the last piece in the lid of your lunchbox figure case, but don’t glue it in place yet. Partially close the lid so you can see where the sponge insert will meet the lip of the tin which will prevent it closing fully. This will all need cutting away so the case will close but it’ll still afford you sufficient protection for your models. Cut it away in stages. Removing too much – particularly from the bottom – will mean the case will close but any models near that end of the case won’t be afforded full protection. That said, don’t be paranoid about it. Providing you’ve got some fairly rigid sponge you’ll get good grip. Once you’ve got your final piece of sponge cut to size, glue it into the lid.

And that’s the case done. It works well but only for snubfighters – and really only Rebel ones at that. I currently have the Falcon on bottom layer and 3 X-Wings on the top but it’s an iffy fit and I won’t be leaving it that way for long. The Falcon on its own with the stand and all the associated cards would fit fine. Equally a squadron of snubfighters will go in the case no problem. And with some careful positioning, their stands will too.

It’s robust and the foam really holds the models in place. However, the lasers on the X-Wings do tend to get caught on the foam which is bit frustrating and I’d advise caution when removing them as there’s little give and if they break it’s an expensive model to replace. And value for money of the case is a little shaky as well when you take into  account the lunchbox, the foam and other supplies.

I’ll be honest – if you’re going for X-Wing hardcore, the laser cut trays is probably the way to go. The models are just too expensive to risk anything happening to them. However, the case is tough enough that you can put a fair few models in there and they’ll arrive in one piece. Plus the size of the case makes for very convenient transportation. Which is kinda nice.

If, however, the last cut stuff is your bag  or you’d prefer a standard figure case then the KR Multicase range is available from Firestorm Games priced from £9.99.

X-Wing Miniatures Game: Battle Report 3

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For the third battle report for the X-Wing Miniatures Game I decided I’d, well, go a bit mental. Having discovered a Crawl Creator app, I’ve made a short prologue crawl. There’s no sound, unfortunately. Mainly because I refuse to pay Apple £22 a year to use music I’ve already paid for. There’s also a bit of a delay at the start, but stick with it. Anyway, it’s a bit of fun and I hope you enjoy it along with the continuing adventures of Mat and I playing out our own version of the Galactic Civil War.

‘Rogue 2, break off, the Bright is hounding you hard.’ Rogue 4’s voice came through like a physical slap inside Wedge’s helmet and he yanked hard on the control stick, throwing his X-Wing into a sharp turn to port. Lasers slashed through the space he’d just occupied a second later. Wedge Antilles smiled to himself as he rolled his X-Wing back to starboard and high, throwing the snubfighter clear of the furball that was ensuing. He checked his on board chrono. The dog fight had been on going for less than seven minutes. He and Rogue 4 had splashed three TIEs in quick succession. The Imperial hadn’t expected the two Rogue Squadron pilots to go straight for them when they’d been deployed.

Wedge dropped his X-Wing in to a spiralling dive, dropping him in behind a TIE fighter that Rogue 4 had led on a merry dance. Wedge let his crosshairs drop over the TIE, the Imperial pilot realising too late he’d been had. Four crimson spears of laser energy punched through the aft bulkhead and exploded the engines. The TIE disappeared in a cloud of pink flames, the stabilizer foils spinning off in opposite directions.

‘That’s two a piece Rogue 4.’ Wedge barrel rolled clear of his kill and went after his third. Tycho Celchu broke in the opposite direction, bringing him in behind the TIE Advanced. There was only one Bright with that configuration in the entire galaxy. He knew that he couldn’t hope to kill it on his own, but he wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to take a couple of pot shots. He squeezed off a pair of shots, watching with satisfaction as they flared against shields before he broke to port to chase a TIE that was banking wide to go after Rogue 2.

Before he could squeeze the firing stud on his flight stick the TIE disintegrated, its entire super structure melting in on itself before vanishing in a cloud of fire and sparkling debris. He watched Wedge Antilles’ X-Wing surge through the flames, shields flaring as the shrapnel bounced off them. Tycho rarely took for granted the skill the Universe had given him, but even he had to marvel at Wedge’s born instinct for flying. ‘I make that four kills to two, Rogue 4.’

‘I was busy getting to know the neighbours.’ Tycho replied, effortlessly putting his X-Wing into a spin that saw a volley of emerald lasers fly wide of their mark.

‘Well, when you’ve finished horsing around, perhaps you’d like to cover our asses whilst we get the hell outta here?’ General Solo’s accent was far harsher than Wedge’s and dripped with the roguish nature of the man who owned it.

‘Roger that Gold leader, breaking off. We’ll be with you in three.’

Wedge broke off his attack run, with Tycho forming up on his wing. The TIEs didn’t pursue. By now they would have received a transmission from the surface that one of their number had been taken and was aboard the Millennium Falcon. The battered old transport ship would become the target and the Rogue’s would have no choice but to defend her with their lives…

So, the third battle report but this time with a scenario, rather than a good old-fashioned furball in the middle of the board. For this game I would be fielding the Millennium Falcon, captained by Han Solo with trust Chewbacca at his side, along with two X-Wing escorts piloted by Wedge Antilles and Tycho Celchu. But as I don’t have his card yet, Mat agreed to let me use Luke’s card as the point in the timeline I’ve slotted this into, he’s a bit busy. Mat managed to get his hands on a TIE Advanced (review coming soon) to go with his 5 TIE fighters, putting him up to a half squadron, all of which were pretty pimped out.

The mission was simple. I had to get the Millennium Falcon off the opposite corner to the Falcon’s deployment, and Mat had to stop me, not matter what. Amazingly, because I’d spent 1 point fewer than Mat, I got the initiative…

Imperial Navy

Game 3 of our Battle Report series and I have the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader himself, on my side. With a TIE Advanced at my disposal, coupled with Darth’s ability to take both focus and evade tokens every turn makes him very resilient, and bunches up his lethality. So much of my plan revolved around getting him in close enough to the Falcon and unleashing the cluster missiles I’d bought for him. To do this I thought I’d try swarming the Falcon, keeping the squadron nice and tight to make the most of massed fire and the upgrades and inherent pilot abilities at my disposal, such as Howl Runners re-roll to friendlies within range 1.

I was excited for this game I had my TIE Advanced with Lord Asthma himself giving me something extra and I finally got to use missiles. Run Han Solo Run.

Rebel Scum

I was in a bit of a conundrum. My mission was simple: get the Falcon to safety, no matter what. Whilst a mission of this type would be fine in any other game, I have a deep and profound attachment to the X-Wing pilots of Rogue Squadron. So the obvious cavalier tactic of feeding the X-Wings to the mass of Imperials didn’t really sit well with me.

Instead, I opted for an attack run tactic that would allow me to keep my X-Wings together to maximise firepower whilst avoiding getting caught in the middle of the larger Imperial force. The Falcon would just take whatever course was safest as I could make full use of that all important 360 degree field of fire. The strategy relied, basically, on the X-Wings being a nuisance enough that they would draw sufficient fire from the Falcon that it would escape damaged but otherwise in one piece. I had little hope that the X-Wings would survive the game but I suppose war is hell.

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Turn 1:

M: So Phil had the initiative, whilst this made little difference to movement, thanks to my TIE fighter pilots being as subtle as a glow in the dark condom in a black out, his ability to shoot with the Falcon and Wedge Antilles before Darth Vadar could prove a problem.

But with nothing to be done and the mission as simple as ‘kill the Millennium Falcon’ it made my movement pretty straight forward. All 5 TIEs, and later on Vadar, made a fast sweeping turn to port to put them in line with the Millennium Falcon.

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P: This was the first game we’d played with an Imperial unit with a high/superior pilot skill, so this would mean that one of my X-Wings (Luke Skywalker was masquerading as Tycho Celchu for the purposes of this game) would move, followed by Darth Vadar, then Wedge Antilles – thanks to me winning the initiative – and finally the Falcon as I’d opted for the handy-dandy Veteran Instincts upgrade that gave it +2 on that front boosting Han Solo’s skill to 11.

So I moved my X-Wings in a mirror manoeuvre to the Dark Lord and his squadron, a fast, sweeping turn to starboard, putting them on an intercept course. The Falcon lumbered forward at best speed.

Turn 2:

M: The Falcon had, rather politely, moved straight towards my formation which meant that whichever direction it now chose to go I could attack it with most, if not all, of my force. The X-Wings that were barreling their way towards my formation were a bit of a worry but I knew Phil was trying to divide my attention so I ignored them and made a straight ahead speed 5 movement.

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P: Mat’s entire formation had surged forwards at top speed. Whilst I had expected an aggressive move I hadn’t expected one that was quite so brutally forced down my throat. But it suited me fine as the Falcon made a sweeping turn to starboard putting it out of the path of the oncoming TIEs and some of their fire arcs. My X-Wings, on the other hand, made a swift move forward in order to close the gap between them and the TIEs as rapidly as possible to do maximum damage with shooting. Knowing full well there was plenty of guns that’d be in short-range of me, just as I them.

In true Star Wars fashion, both sides opened up in a blaze of laser and the flicker of exploding shield energy. The Millennium Falcon opened up with its turrets, targeting Mauler Mithil and scored a critical hit but failed to do any serious damage. Wedge Antilles fired on Winged Gundark but, despite landing 3 hits, the Imperial pilot evaded all three.

Darth Vadar took aim at the Millennium Falcon and sprayed it with laser fire, causing a shield generator to sputter and die. A moment later Tycho Celchu opened up on Winged Gundark, determined to use up all of the Imperial pilot’s luck early on. As it turned out, Antilles had seen to that and Tycho scored 2 criticals and a hit, destroying Winged Gundark outright.

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Turn 3:

M: I’m sure I’ve mentioned how much I hate Phil. Well that stills stands. And another thing, I probably hate him a bit more now. With the Falcon in danger of slipping past me I put my entire formation into a fast Koigan turn allowing me to bring my guns to bear on the transport as well as hopefully catch the X-Wings in my fire arc as well regardless of what Phil tried to pull with them.

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P: With the TIE’s poised to shoot past their objective I had to assume they’d be going after the Falcon as aggressively as possible which meant, most likely, Mat pulling his favourite manoeuvre. So I did the same. As the Falcon made a sweeping starboard turn putting some distance between him and the spiralling dogfight, the X-Wing executed a Koigan turn putting on them opposite the TIEs. Facing off against 5 TIEs with two X-Wings isn’t such a great idea…

With Darth Vadar closing in on the Falcon I decided to make him my number one priority. Both the Falcon and Wedge fired at Darth Vadar. After a spat of pretty decent rolling by Mat, they succeeded in doing nothing more than stripping the TIE Advanced’s shields away. Darth Vadar returns fire but his shots go well wide. In reply, Tycho targets Darth Vadar and hammers him with a critical hit. The result was the ‘Secondary Weapon’ destroyed, removing the assault missiles before Mat had the chance to fire them.

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Darth’s squadron fared little better with Mauler Mithil and Backstabber stripping shields from the Millennium Falcon and Wedge’s X-Wing respectively. With both of Wedge’s shields gone I was going to have to play things very carefully form now on.

Turn 4:

M: Having made an about-face I had to get  back to the business of killing the Falcon so my flight made a fast move straight ahead to close the gap and start stripping some more shields. Howlrunner made a barrel roll which took him out of formation but I hoped it’d line him up to harass the X-Wings.

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P: I continued the Falcon on its weaving run towards freedom whilst I made a green port turn with the X-Wings to put the pressure on Mat to split his fire between them and his objective. If I was going to lose a fighter it was going to be now, especially with Wedge sans shields. I took the opportunity to put focus tokens on my X-Wings to try to give them an edge over the TIEs. The picture shows evade tokens because I picked up the wrong ones. I wasn’t cheating. Honest.

As the shooting phase began I had one thought, and that was to finish off Darth Vadar and take out the biggest threat to the Falcon. The Millennium Falcon kicked off proceedings, hammering the TIE Advanced but Mat used his evade token and made sufficient rolls to escape harm. Wedge Antilles opened up scoring two hits on the man responsible for Biggs’ death and took Vadar out of the fight.

2014-02-28 22.15.58With Darth Vadar now spinning off into the void, frantically calling for the Emperor to save his mechanical arse, Tycho was free to take his shooting action, hammering Backstabber, causing two points of damage.

Backstabber returned fire but Tycho succeeded in evading. Howlrunner targeted Wedge Antilles and managed to not only cause damage but cause a critical, reducing his agility. Mauler Mithil and Dark Curse both fired on the Falcon, taking down two more shields.

Turn 5:

M: Well Phil’s a dick! I can’t believe he reduced Darth Vadar’s TIE Advanced to bits of floating tin foil. Worst of all the assault missiles it was carrying went along with it, taking away the ace up my sleeve. With time fast running out, I move the TIEs straight forward as whichever way the Falcon moved I was going to be in fire arc.

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P: I was a couple of turns away from getting the Falcon off the board and thanks to the Falcon’s turrets I had no reason to hang about so I sent the old bird on a straight burn. I guessed Mat would go all out to try to take down the Falcon. He knew the TIEs would start to get picked off so it was all or nothing now Vadar had been splashed. So I put my X-Wings into a tight port turn, tucking the fighters nicely behind the four remaining TIEs. Tycho locked on to Howlrunner, arming his Proton Torpedoes. Wedge got focused.

The Falcon opened fire on Backstabber and took the damaged TIE to pieces in a shower of flame and debris. Wedge swiftly followed up damaging Mauler Mithil, putting him on 1 damage point. Tycho unleashed his torpedoes on contrails of blue flame, scoring 4 hits, two of them criticals on Howlrunner, leaving nothing bust burning gases to mark his passing.

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The chrono had spun to zero for the Imperials, with a last gasp Mauler Mithil and Dark Curse fired on the Millennium Falcon but, despite only getting a single evade roll, the Falcon escaped harm.

Turn 6:

M: The Falcon’s safety was all but guaranteed so it was death and/or glory. I put Mauler Mithil and Dark Curse into a Koigan turn in the hope of either taking Wedge with them or blowing past them and hauling ass for the planet surface.

P: I moved the Falcon to the very edge of the board and moved the X-Wings dead ahead on a cruising speed lining up kill shots on the two fleeing TIE fighters.

The shooting phase was brief. The Falcon and Wedge opened fire in quick succession, destroying the remaining TIEs and securing the Rebel’s survival for another day.

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Curses Foiled Again

Okay I love this game but I fucking hate Han Solo and I definitely hate Phil…

Things I did not foresee was me spending more points than Phil so the Rebel scum got the initiative. This is not a good place to be at all, and me not reading my Elite ability cards really screwed me. People make sure you read the damn cards.

Other than that I am actually happy with how the squad performed, although I got distracted knocking the crap out of the X-Wings as I don’t get to do that too often. Although I’m not convinced I could have stopped the Falcon as it’s such a brute, I definitely couldn’t after the Rebels ganged up on Vadar. I wish I’d gotten the assault missiles off sooner! And by sooner, I mean: at all.

The tactic of blasting past Phil’s formation and pulling a Koigan is one I will use again at some point just not against a an old bruiser like the Falcon, and I can see the benefit of swarming, although this game may have been better if I had used 2 wings rather than one large one.

So anyway, Han Solo ran like the big girls blouse he is, in his leather jerkin and tight pants, and he lives to fight another day.

Live to Fight Another Day

Well that was interesting. I honestly saw my X-Wings being splashed in quick succession and the Falcon slowly being picked apart by a force it wasn’t going to be able to kill quick enough. Instead I was able to split attentions enough that definitive blows were never landed.

The decisive moment was, I think, when I matched Mat’s Koigan turn resulting in two turns of shooting that I otherwise would have missed out on whilst I faffed about getting back into firing position.

Overall the plan worked with no real errors on my part. I kept the X-Wings together and kept them focussed on picking off targets one at a time. However, the combination of upgrade cards made a big difference, particularly with the Falcon as the right mix can and did give a real edge. So much so the Falcon would have been in much poorer shape without them.

Space was filled with lances of scarlet laser, criss crossing a shrinking area of space as two remaining TIE fighters barrel rolled and dove in an effort to avoid the lethal energy. Wedge squeezed the firing stud on his flight stick adding two more bolts to the torrent coming from the Falcon. The transport was a tough old bird and its scoundrel crew had improved upon the original design but they were far from sharpshooters. One of Wedge’s shots clipped the port TIE’s stabiliser foil, putting it into a spin that somersaulted it into the incoming fire from the Falcon. Any evidence it had ever existed was gone in seconds. He adjusted his aim and fired again, his shots struck the last TIE, one bolt splintering the port stabiliser, the other blowing out an engine. The TIE turned starboard into a slow spin, dropping below Wedge’s relative plain.

Throttling down he punched up the system status of his fighter as his comm unit crackled to life.

‘Rogue 2, this is Gold lead. Thanks for the company but you mix with a rough crowd. We’re going to call it a night.’

Wedge smiled to himself. ‘Acknowledged Gold lead, go on ahead and put the caff on.’

As the read out filled with a list of system damages to his starboard stabilisers he saw the Falcon’s engines flash and the transport was flung into the space between spaces.

‘How’s she looking Rogue 2?’ Tycho’s voice echoed through the comm.

‘Battered, bruised, but she’ll make it home.’ He reached out with a black gloved hand and patted the console.

‘Just as well, I just picked up a Star Destroyer dropping in at the edge of the system.’

‘In search of their boss, no doubt.’ 

Wedge began shunting power from sublight systems to faster than light. Ahead and to port he saw Tycho’s own X-Wing close its stabiliser foils. ‘So how does it feel to have splashed Vadar?’ Tycho asked, comms already breaking up as his X-Wing picked up speed.

‘It would have felt a lot better had I killed the son of a bitch.’ Wedge said to himself as his own fighter catapulted itself into the mottled world of hyperspace. 

X-Wing Expansion: TIE Advanced – A Review

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Back when Phil first dangled X-Wing in front of me, like a dealer with a fresh bag of something lethal before an addict, one of the things that sold me on the game was the option of being able to deploy two of the most iconic characters in science fiction. The first being Boba Fett and the other being Darth Vadar. And the other day I finally got my hands on old the Dark Lord of the Sith. Old Captain Asthma himself, piloting the equally iconic mark I TIE Advanced.

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Having played a couple of games I was struck by just how vast a gulf there was between the performance of an X-Wing and a TIE Fighter. And I don’t mean the pilot: the craft itself. Shields make a massive difference. This seems obvious but they really do. Numbers don’t count for as much as I thought they would so the addition of a TIE Advanced that increased level of protection, as well as some sorely needed ordinance was going to make a big difference. And I got Darth Vadar thrown in to boot.

Now I know Phil isn’t keen on the packaging but I like it. If I’m going to pay as much as £10.79 for a single snubfighter miniature I at least want it to look premium when it turns up, and the packaging definitely does that. It feels solid and looks nice. The model is well presented, a bit like an Apple product in so much as it’s all a bit unnecessary but you don’t really care. Plus as anything with the words Star Wars on the packaging usually gets inflated by 30%, it needs to look top end.

Once you get into the packing, along with the faithful recreation of Vadar’s ride, we have the following:
1 x Base and stand
3 x Ship Tokens
1 x Manoeuvre Dial
1 x Evade Token
1 x Focus Token
1 x Stress Token
1 x Critical Hit Token
2 x Shield Tokens
2 x Sets of Lock on Counters
4 x Pilot Cards including: Darth Vader, Maarek Stele, Storm Squadron Pilot & Tempest Squadron Pilot
5 x Upgrade Cards including: Concussion Missiles, Cluster Missiles, Squad Leader, Swarm Tactics & Expert Handling

In short, a lot of card. And as before you don’t just buy these expansions for the model it’s as much about the cards and upgrades they offer you that can be used on your other ships. It’s kind of tabletop game, collectible card game and RPG all rolled into one when you think about it. Which is kinda cool.

But obviously this is all about Lord Vadar, and his inherent Pilot Trait is frankly awesome. You get to perform 2 actions a turn which means you can put both evade and focus tokens on your base. This means you can dodge a hell of a lot of fire even if your evasion rolls are only average. It dramatically increases Darth Vadar’s survivability. Although Maarek Stele ain’t too shabby either on the trait front because as he scores critical hits you get to draw three cards and choose the worst result to inflict on your opponent. It’s not hard to see how that can be an utter disaster for your opponent.

And the upgrade cards that come with the TIE Advanced are pretty damn handy too. Obviously we have had Swarm Tactics with the TIE Fighter pack but now we have Squad Leader which is a unique card so can only be taken once, but gives you the ability to select any friendly ship within range 1 – 2 with a lower pilot skill and this ship can then perform an additional action for free. Which is crazy good. And the Expert handling card allows you to perform a free barrel roll removing 1 target lock, damn useful for when you’re being hounded by those bloody pesky X-Wings.

And now we come to my favourite. Namely cluster missiles. In exchange for 4 points and your target lock, you get to launch this bad boy twice at with 3 attack dice providing you’re range band 1 – 2. Tasty. And then you have the Concussion Missiles which, again for a target lock, get four dice at range band 2 – 3. It also allows you to change one blank roll to a hit. Boom!

So to sum up the TIE advanced is essential to any imperial fleet as it gives you your first taste of shields and missiles but also some rather nice upgrades that, in the right combination, are extremely nasty. But honestly, what imperial fleet is complete without Darth Vader?

The TIE Advanced Expansion Pack is available from Firestorm Games priced at £10.79.

Make an X-Wing Carry Case – Part 1

FFGSWXwinglogoRegular readers will know that Phil & I are a touch into the X-Wing Miniatures Game. Just a touch, mind. It’s not like we’ve started reading the fiction, watching the movies or humming the theme…not a one. Promise.

After our first game I got thinking about figure cases, and it was mainly down to the fact Phil turned up to that game with a tiny card board box within which he had everything he needed for the game, plus a some scenery. And that was it. I realised that I didn’t need a bloody great figure case to lug all my X-Wing stuff about in. As Phil and I text one another back and forth (provoking the usual boyfriend banter from our wives), we hit on the same idea. We both had Empire Strikes Back lunch boxes as children which would have been roughly big enough to fit some foam and fighters in.

So to eBay I took myself and looked up Star Wars lunch boxes, and low and behold I was rewarded with a plethora of options, including an old Empire Strikes Back lunch box… which sold for £32.56. As tempted as I was the exercise was as much about budget as it was convenience.

Once again texts flew back and forth and within minutes we’d found metal character lunch boxes. Being Rebel scum Phil opted for R2D2 and being the Imperials with a penchant for a certain Mandalorian I snapped up Boba Fett for a trifling £8.99. That may seem expensive for a smallish child’s lunch box but don’t forget licensed products are always more expensive than they should be.

Between us we then purchased a sheet of egg box foam for £7.00 which was more than enough to do the job. So total spend on materials thus far: £12.49.

What you need:

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x1 Boba Fett Lunch Box, x1 Sheet of Foam, x1 Craft Knife,
x1 Pair of Kitchen Scissors, x1 Glue Gun, x1 Cutting Mat, x1 Thick Card, x1 Pencil

So first up, using the thick card make yourself a template, I did this by drawing around the outside of the lunch box and then cutting out the shape. Bare in mind though the inside is going to be smaller so you will need to trim it down until it fits nicely inside your chosen case.

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Now you have your template you need to use this to measure out your bits of foam and cut out the basic size and shape, you can use a sharp knife or your scissors for this bit I found it easier to use the knife at this point.

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Now holding your template to your cut out section of foam you need to trim it to size. I originally started off using the knife to do this bit but quickly found the scissors were a lot easier to use for the kind of shapes you need for some of the odd-shaped tins.

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Once you have done one section of foam check how it fits in your case as you don’t want to do all pieces and find none of it fits.

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If it all fits okay repeat this method for the piece that will fit inside your lid, but again bear in mind you will need to make this bit ever so slightly smaller to ensure it all closes nicely, and make sure you take a decent size strip off the bottom so it won’t get in the way of the hinge.

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I have created a multi-layer case thinking I could get 2 layers of models in, but more on this later.
The best way to do this is to glue 2 sections of the basic cut foam together back to back using your hot glue gun. I would say here make sure you’re quick as once the glue goes cold your kind of screwed and have to peel it off and start again, which makes a real mess of the foam. So make sure the glue is nice and hot, it’ll give you a few seconds of sliding about before it sets.

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Now repeat what you did earlier with your template, at this point I would recommend discarding the knife in favour of the scissors if you haven’t up to this point, as trying to cut through 2 pieces of the foam can be a pain in the arse with a knife. Not to mention the blade will be pretty severely blunted.

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Finally, get your glue gun out again and glue the base section and lid section into place if you so wish, I have to admit I didn’t do this bit as I am using the lid to store certain card templates much like I do with my GW figure cases. But otherwise you’re done and ready to load up you brand spanking new Star Wars themed X-Wing carry case.

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Now to conclude, as I mentioned I didn’t actually glue my foam in. This is due to a bit of an issue with the size of the case and TIE Fighter models. Due to the stabilizers on the TIE Fighters being rather sticky-outy, I wasn’t able to utilise the middle layer as it would have frankly crushed my models, so I am left with but a single layer of miniatures. All that said it’s not a huge issue as I think I should be able to get at least 10 or 12 models in. and it still looks damn cool. But it does mean, in the short-term, I’ll be replacing the double layer of foam with a single layer, which will allow me to fit bases and flight stands in the case tidily. I’ll also be making a larger case in the not too distant future and be taking my sandwiches to work in the most secure lunch box ever…

As an alternative to egg box foam a range of KR Multicase & Battlefoam foam are available from Firestorm Games.

X-Wing Expansion: Millennium Falcon – A Review

FFGSWXwinglogoI think it’s fair to say that we, at The Shell Case, are rather smitten with X-Wing Miniatures Game by Fantasy Flight Games. As the team has grown I’ve been dangling the game in front of anyone who would let me and fortunately for me Mat bit and bit hard. This has meant several things have happened. A genuine and lasting excitement for Star Wars that has prompted us to get back into the novels and computer games, regular games, battle reports and reviewing models of ships I watched time and again as a child with complete wonderment. Wonderment that has endured these last (almost) 30 years. And not to gush more than I am, I now get to review the Millennium Falcon.

box-SWX06-rightI don’t know why I was surprised when the parcel arrived to find that it was a boxed expansion. Specifically a large box. Because, well, as one would expect, she’s bloody massive. Except I didn’t appreciate how massive having never seen the model next to anything other than Slave 1.

ffgmfBearing in mind that the small black window of the X-Wing contains a single pilot you rather get the idea of size. And for the money it’s actually – compared to the fighter expansions – pretty outstanding value. Yes it’s twice the price but it’s five times the model. At least. The model itself is a faithful recreation of the Falcon right down to its shit-kicker worn out appearance complete with battered bulkheads and battle damage. The only downside, because of its size, is that the basic paint job is a bit on the scrappy side. On the snubfighters it’s not so bad or somehow more excusable – you decide – but with the Falcon it looks like someone has basecoated the model then dipped it in that Army Painter stuff. It’s perfectly passable and still looks cool, it’s just a shame that for the larger models a little more care wasn’t taken.

Aside from a stonking great YT-1300 transport you also get an equally stonking base with stonking great cards to go on top. There’s some new rules which include rules for turrets which makes the Falcon just sick There’s also 4 ship cards including the old favourites – Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando – and 14 upgrade cards. The deck is full of little gems. Concussion missiles are ace, allowing you to flip misses to hits and all for 4 points. Shield and engine upgrades are slightly over the top but you’d be mad not to take them, especially as the engine upgrade gives you a free move. But co-pilots cards are something to get really excited about, offering up, as they do, some incredibly useful bonuses. For example Luke Skywalker who allows you turn focus results into hits. He is 7 points though, which is embarrassingly expensive. Needless to say, whilst young Luke is manning the gun turrets he probably can’t pilot an X-Wing…

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The ship cards make for some tasty reading. Well, two of them do. Han Solo is ace. Lando, slightly less, and Chewie disappointingly average. But with only 4 points between Han and Chewie you’ll take Han every time. With activation of 9, he’s as quick off the mark as Wedge Antilles. Chuck in 3 shots, 360 degree field of fire, and a re-roll every time is just nuts. Plus 5 shields and 8 points of damage. Don’t get me wrong, the Falcon is a wallowing old tub and turning isn’t its strong suit so getting drawn into a dog fight would be its undoing. But with its durability and the aforementioned turrets means that it should be able to fight its way clear of most traps.

The Millennium Falcon, as an expansion, is superb. Aside from getting to field the beautiful old dame, the upgrade cards are all pretty tasty and the variety of ship cards does mean a lot of fun scenarios to be had. It’s a must for fans and a must for players wanting to move their games on from dogfights. And it’s a must because it’s the Falcon.

The Millennium Falcon expansion pack is available from Firestorm Games priced £22.50.

X-Wing Miniatures Game: Battle Report 2

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‘Rogue Leader,’ Luke Skywalker’s comm buzzed with background interference, ‘I’m picking up a cruiser at the edge of sensor range.’ There was a pause. ‘I can’t get a firm read but I am detecting multiple fighter launches.’

‘I’ve got it Rogue Three.’ Radio command and notify them that the Empire has found us.’ Luke changed channels with a flick of his black gloved hand. ‘Rogue 2, contact the rest of the squadron and tell them to break off patrol duty and return to base. They’re going to be needed to escort our transports to Hoth.’

‘Confirmed.’ Was Wedge Antilles’ only reply.

Luke began to feed power from his engines into his shields and lasers. Despite being at extreme sensor range Luke could easy identify the sensor silhouette of a TIE Fighter. Was nothing but busy work to the elite Rebel squadron but he knew they were a scouting force. An Imperial patrol in this system was a lose lose scenario for the Rebellion and they were going to have to move quickly.

‘Rogue Two to Rogue Lead.’ Luke couldn’t help but smile when he heard his good friend and XO’s voice. ‘Squadron confirms return to base order. Orders?’

Luke chuckled over the comm. ‘As if I need to tell you Rogue Two.’

There was a brief hiss of static before: ‘I like to give you the impression that you’re the one calling the shots.’

Through Luke’s cockpit he saw Wedge’s X-Wing surge forward, the stabiliser foils parting to form the familiar shape that earned the fighter its name.

‘Rogue Lead to Rogue Three,’ Luke activated his own stabilisers and felt rather than heard the powerful motors splitting the wings apart. ‘Form up on Rogue Two’s wing, he has point.’

***

Imperial Navy

For our second game we increased the points value from 60 points to 120 points. This meant that I got to run 5 TIEs and kit them to the tits which should help with how horribly outclassed my TIEs are compared to the more sophisticated X-Wings and their superior pilots. After my arse kicking last time I decided to change-up my tactics…and do exactly the same thing as last time but less shit. This time I’d be sending two TIEs one way and three the other in a flanking action in a hope of dividing Phil’s attention and get some of my TIE fighters outside of his firing arc, get behind him and try to take at least one of his pesky X-Wings out.

Rebel Scum

My plan last game was as simple as it was time-honoured – don’t leave you’re wingman. And with three X-Wings I didn’t see that plan changing. With the layout of the board and with 5 TIE’s at Mat’s disposal I predicted he’d split them up and send a flight around the moon in the centre of the board. So the plan was this, head right of the moon, take a pop at whatever came my way and then break off and chase after whatever was trying to get behind me. That would mean leaving myself open to getting chased myself but there was no way I was going to get off as lightly as last game with two more TIEs on the board and all of them juiced.

Just a side note – as one would expect, I was fielding Luke & Wedge again however as the timeline of our games falls between Episodes IV & V and I have no other cards for original founding members of Rogue Squadron I used Garven Dreis – Red Squadron Leader – to proxy as Rogue 3.

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Turn 1:

M: As Phil had been a greedy boy and spent all his points, again, I got the initiative. I sent Mauler Mithil & Dark Curse straight forward, taking them to the port side of the moon. Backstabber, Howl Runner & Winged Gundark made a fast starboard turn to slingshot around the moon with the intention of dividing attention and eventually get being the Rogue’s.

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P: Adopting my very best poker I made a whooping noise in my head as I revealed my move counters and made a sweeping turn to stabord lining me up for an attack run against Mat’s flight of two TIEs. Conscious of the other three TIEs I was worried if I was opting for a short-term gain only to make a long-term loss.

Turn 2:

M: With the X-Wings positioned to chase after either flight of TIEs I had no choice but to stick to the plan. Backstabber and company continued their move around the moon whilst Mauler Mithil and Dark Curse continued to play a game of intergalactic chicken with the Rebel scum. What could possibly go wrong?

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P: As I continued my move to starboard the two TIEs fronting off against me were all in fire arc. Wedge fired first and managed to miss completely. Rogue 3 fair similar. Wedge managed to land hits but Mat managed to make all his evade rolls. So the one shot I had against 2 flight was botched and I was now faced with either breaking to engage or stick to the plan despite having two TIEs lurking behind me.

Turn 3:

M: I’d had a lucky escape with Phil fluffing his rolls and me making my evade rolls leaving with two undamaged TIE Fighters when I expected to have one. Or even none. So it was time to take advantage of the situation. I moved Backstabber, Howl Runner and Winged Gundark past the moon to make the Mauler & Dark Curse a more tempting target flight continued past the moon. 2 flight made a starboard turn to swing round to chase the escaping X-Wings.

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P: With the TIEs I’d missed turning to engage I made my choice and went after the 3 Fighters bombing past the moon on my port side. With the three TIE Fighters falling into my fire arcs I opened fire. Luke and Rogue 3 let loose with their Proton Torpedoes and achieved a grand total of fuck all. Wedge however planted two criticals and a hit on Winged Gundark and turned to tin foil.

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Turn 4:

M: God I hate Phil. And X-Wings. But mostly Phil. The bugger was on my case and I’d lost my first TIE. I pushed Backstabber and Howl Runner in a port turn to cut across the planet. Mauler Mithil and Dark Curse made a turn to port which I hoped would allow me to start chasing the X-Wings for a change.

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P: I guessed that Mat would keep Backstabber and Howlrunner on their line and so turned into it to line up a kill shot. The only problem was my course to my flight of plucky Rogues across the guns of Mauler & Dark Curse. My boys were balancing their deflector screens. My shooting was, again, rather disappointing with Wedge only winging Howlrunner. It rather seemed like Mauler and Dark Curse took exception to this and hammered Rogue 3, stripping him of his shields.

Turn 5:

M: Take that you Rebel bastard! Rogue 3 was naked of his shields and ready to be…umm…well, fucked. Basically. Mauler & Dark Curse continue on their path with the intention of running down the X-Wings and finishing off Rogue 3. I put Backstabber & Howl Runner into a sharp turn to port cutting across the planet to get them clear of the X-Wings when they made their obvious wide turn to port to try to tuck in behind me.

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P: Mat surprised me with his manoeuvre but I was confident that my turn would still put me in good stead to finish off the flight and allow me to swing behind Mauler & Dark Curse in a turn or two. Except a set the wrong turn on my turn wheel. So instead of an elegant move that would drop Howl Runner & Backstabber in a tidy kill box, the X-Wings swooped into the middle of the tightening Imperial formation.

Whilst terribly cinematic it meant that my X-Wings were now in some seriously hot water as just about all of Mat’s TIE’s had a target to shoot at, whereas Luke was out of arc. I further compounded my error by using Wedge to target and destroy the wounded Howl Runner rather than letting Rogue 3 do the business, and using Wedge to Dark Curse who promptly stripped away one his shields whilst Backstabber avenged Howlrunner taking Rogue 3 one damage point away from death.

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Turn 6:

M: Whilst I was pleased that I was starting to inflict meaningful damage on the Rogues it didn’t make up for the fact that Howlrunner was dead and thanks to Phil’s botched move I was going to have to spend turn getting back into position rather than attack like I’d planned. Backstabber was alone but in a position to slot in behind the X-Wings as they disengaged. Mauler & Dark Curse made a turn to port lining up to make a Koigan Turn in turn 7 so as to really put the pressure on.

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P: There was nothing I could do with this turn other than get my Rogues clear of the furball that was building. I just put them into a port turn that got them clear of the TIEs and on a clear path. It meant leaving Backstabber on my tail but there was nothing to be done. However, the Force was with me and despite Backstabber landing 3 hits against Rogue 3 between some incredibly jammy rolling and the evade action I’d given him, he managed to escape harm.

Turn 7:

M: I had the X-Wings on the run. Mauler Mithil and Dark Curse could do little more than perform a Koigan Turn and ready themselves for an attack run next turn. Backstabber on the other hand was perfectly placed to pursue and inflict some pain on the Rebel fighter aces. Ace holes more like.

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P: Right, time to show these Imperials just what being a fighter ace was all about. I’d remembered at the end of my last turn that I too could pull Koigan Turns, just slower ones. Which suited me fine as it would still land in range of Backstabber but put some distance between the Rogue’s and the other 2 TIE Fighters. Judging by Mat’s expression as my X-Wings accelerated away only to do an about-face, he didn’t know X-Wings could pull that move. His expression only worsened as once more Wedge dropped his cross hairs over a target and Backstabber was splashed in a cloud of fire having failed to evade.

Turn 8:

M: You know how I said I hated X-Wings and Phil, but Phil more? Well it’s equal now. We were approaching the end game and with Backstabber dead my tactics were reduced to ‘take as many of the bastards with you as you can’. Mauler & Dark Curse advanced, lining up to take out that pesky Rogue 3 who had used up all his luck and extra lives by this point.

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P: I moved my flight of X-Wings in formation towards the last two TIE Fighters with the intention of making it a quick and clean end. Keeping the move a green move I removed the stress token from my pilots enabling me to lock on. Had I thought about it some more I should have given Rogue 3 an evade as he was the obvious target for any returning fire.

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And return fire there was thanks to my shooting being largely useless with me succeeding in doing little more than winging Mauler Mithil who responded by finally destroying Rogue 3.

Turn 9:

M: Have some of that you Rebel pig dog! Well, I did what I set out to do which was kill at least one X-Wing. It was all for glory and bragging rights now. With Mauler damaged I decided to make him a sacrificial lamb so Dark Curse could put some distance between him and the X-Wings before turning to make a final, yet crucial attack run.

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P: I’d guessed Mat’s tactics and had Wedge and Luke making slow turns to port so Mauler would just drop between their crosshairs as well as set up what I hoped would be the killing blow that would win me the game. Wedge, once again, did the business, inflicting a hit and a critical on Mauler and ending his threat to the Rebellion for good.

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Turn 10:

M: Mauler died as expected but his sacrifice had bought Dark Curse time. I was  and allowed him to put some space between him and the X-Wings. Putting him into a tight turn to port brought Dark Curse round ready to hammer Wedge Antilles as he pulled a similar move to as he came out of his victorious attack run against Mauler. Except that’s not what happened…

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P: As soon as I saw the play for turn 9 it had set up the play for turn 10. It had hinged on killing Mauler but between Luke & Wedge I was confident enough. Having shed my stress tokens earlier I was in a position to perform another Koigan Turn. Doing so lined both X-Wings up to catch Dark Curse in a withering crossfire. Wedge earned his fifth kill of the game hammering Dark Curse to dust with a hit and two criticals.

The Emperpr Shall Hear of This

Well yet again I lost but I did take one of Rogue Squadron with me so I feel a bit better than I did after the last game. My tactic kind of worked but as before I was caught out once or twice and it cost me. Dividing up my TIE’s does greatly reduce my combined fire power but it also divides his attentions which is a sound enough tactic, I just have to bring in new craft to increase my hitting power. And I do really need to start thinking more about the pilot traits and upgrade cards and how best to use them to give me more of an advantage or at least level the playing field a bit more.

But I do feel I performed better this time with a few squeaky bum moments for Phil, especially when the Rogues passed between my formations flights of ships by accident. And I think Phil was saved partially by a move I didn’t know the X-Wings could do and so hadn’t factored in. But I can’t blame him for checking his turn wheel.

Next game I should be in a position to field the TIE Advanced with none other than Lord Vadar piloting so it should be interesting.

Peace Prosperity and Bulls-eyeing Wamp Rats in my T-16 Back Home

Well that was a mixed bag. Overall the tactic was sound and overall I’d not do a thing different. My dice rolling was quite atrocious in places which did make life difficult and that botched move that saw my flight fly straight through Mat’s forces did require some rapid rethinking. And not thinking through my target allocation properly constantly made life harder for myself.

Generally I was pleased with the performance of my flight but I wasn’t delighted. I made some silly mistakes but at least I kept my wits about me to get out of them again. Mat’s performance was a massive leap forward from the first and whilst I won I could really see big improvements on how he uses his ships. The next game should be tasty…

***

Luke felt a pang of pain in his chest as he saw Rogue Three’s X-Wing disappear in a cloud of expanding fire and spinning shards of debris. The two remaining Rogues flew through the cloud of oxygen starved flame, hearing bits of metal clatter against their hull. Rogue squadron’s first casualty and one that could have so easily been avoided had they kept their cool.

As the two X-Wings left the debris cloud, Luke saw the two remaining TIEs split off from one another. ‘Got you!’ Luke cried over the come. ‘Wedge bank left and start feeding power to your engines, you’re going to need it.’

As the X-Wings slowly turned to port the TIE responsible for murdering their friend dropped into their sights. Before Luke could give the order a quartet of scarlet darts lanced forward from Wedge’s X-Wing and punched through the canopy, super heating the cockpits contents. The TIE tumbled away before being trapped in the gravity well of the world before and being incinerated.

As Luke and Wedge over shot the kill, one passing above and the other below seamlessly, Luke gave a turn word order; Koigan Turn. Luke suddenly killed his drive units, cutting forward thrust, whist simultaneously activating his repulsor fields to spin his X-Wing on its axis. Luke watched Wedge perform the same manoeuvre faultlessly as Artoo howled his approval that they were finally addressing the TIE fighter that was turning to make an attack run.

‘This one’s mine.’ Luke said just as another volley of lasers spat from Wedge’s X-Wing. Luke watched as the hastily snapped off shots following the Turn found their mark, punching through the solar fin and sheared through the hull and into the power plant. The TIE exploded, the voice of the blast ripping every scrap to tiny razor-sharp pieces.

As Luke double checked Artoo’s readouts showing the all clear Wedge was forming up on his wing ready for the hasty journey back to base and then the run to Hoth where they’d begin the slow and laborious process of setting up yet another secret base.

‘All this running gets old, doesn’t it Boss?’ Wedge said over the come, his tone unusually flat.

‘We’re Rogues, Wedge.’ Luke closed his stabilizers and felt the engines surge as energy was immediately re-routed from charging weapon systems. ‘We don’t run.

The X-Wing Miniatures Game is available from Firestorm Games from £6.29

A Galaxy Far Far Away

Next to my bed is a bedside unit. It’s a bit tired and one of the draw handles is busted and basically the whole thing needs replacing. Atop the unit, along with a lamp, the baby monitor cradle, loose change and my Salute ticket (I know, I know), is Horus Heresy: Mark of Calth. It is unread. It is unopened. And now slightly dusty. Despite me thoroughly enjoying Know No Fear, and the books that followed it, I’ve been struggling to find the desire to read it or any of the other Black Library novel. It seems, for the time being, I’ve had my fill of Bolter Porn. It took over a decade but it had to happen sooner or later. It’s not to say that I won’t go back – if nothing else I need to read Vulkan Lives by friend of The Shell Case, Nick Kyme.

A recent decision of mine, coupled with my bolter apathy got me to thinking; I’ve experienced this saturation point before…

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away Mat & I have started playing the X-Wing Miniatures Game. Whilst researching the timeline for the pre & post game narrative (because I just can’t help myself) I started to realise two things. 1. How long it had been since I’d indulged in this rich and fascinating Universe and 2. How much had changed, how far the story had moved on and how out of touch I’d become.

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I started reading the Star Wars novels at the tender age of 13, with X-Wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael A Stackpole being the first (thanks to my brother convincing me to pick it up). It was this book, and the others in the X-Wing series that were to follow, that kick started my love of reading and, I suspect, licensed fiction. I even took a stab at writing some myself. The file is still tucked away in a folder, unopened for half my life on the hard drive of the laptop I type on. Having migrated from 4 previous computers. Tisk tisk.

Looking back, I realise that the gulf I found growing between me and that Galaxy far far away was down to the prequel trilogy not living up to my – I think – pretty modest expectations and the New Jedi Order series (which came out around the same time) introducing far too much change for me to cope with. I’d found my stride with Star Was. I’d gotten to know all the characters, and some I outright admired. So when they started killing them off and blowing up planets I took it quite personally. My hormonal teenage mind could only take so much disappointment and my late teens had quite a bit in it already.

Back there and back then I thought it was easier to walk away and halt the story halfway through the third New Jedi Order novel, happy to focus on the era of the timeline I liked the best. I realise now how very…GW that was of me. As the years ticked by – 13 of them as it goes – I started to hear things that piqued my interest, plot developments that were radical, beloved characters being killed and brave plot twists that would incense the die-hard fans. But I ignored them, determined to keep my distance, determined to do nothing to threaten the happy little bubble within which the Rebels overthrow the Empire, they form the New Republic and they all live happily ever after. Until now.

As my excitement around the X-Wing Miniatures Game grows ever higher – which has nothing to do with Mat and I texting each other slightly more than is healthy about next purchases – I found my eye wandering increasingly to those novels that first introduced me to the Universe I loved so dearly and that I once again find myself calling home.

So as I put Mark of Calth back on the shelf with a pat on the spine knowing that I’ll be seeing it again soon, I turn to pick up X-Wing: Rogue Squadron. The book responsible for my love of Star Wars and the book responsible for all the other books in my life. Today is a good day to be me.

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X-Wing Expansion: X-Wing – A Review

FFGSWXwinglogoFollowing on from Mat’s look at the TIE Fighter expansion, I’ve taken a look at the X-Wing fighter expansion pack. Because why have one X-Wing fighter when you can have two…or twelve?

So what’s in the pack? Well a lot of packaging. Unnecessary amounts of packaging but that tracks with the core box and, by the looks of things, all the other expansions including the up coming Corellian Corvette. And once you hack your way in you get the model itself which is the average painted scale X-Wing which looks like it was dipped in Army Painter but it’s passable and immediately identifiable as an X-Wing so that’s fair enough.

SWX02You also get the manoeuvre wheel, shield, lock-on, damage, stress and focus tokens, pilot cards, upgrade cards and the appropriate double-sided base markers for the pilots included.

Weirdly, for me, the exciting aspect of the X-Wing pack is the cards. And that’s a first. Because in the Expansion you get new pilots, upgrades and the like. Specifically you get Wedge Antilles. I didn’t realise this when I bought the pack (Mat I still owe you a tenner) and oh how I swooned when I looked through it all. Aside from Wedge being my absolute favourite Star Wars character – yes even over Han Solo and Boba Fett – he’s an absolute badass in the game. This has everything to do with his high initiative and special ability that reduces his targets agility by 1 which for a TIE fighter is incredibly bad news. Throw in the marksman upgrade for 3 points and it grants him the ability to turn focus results into hits. Every time he fires. That combination dramatically increases his lethality. And when you hit you hit big, as you’ll see in the upcoming battle report. He’s no more resilient or anything but he’s more likely to kill a TIE fighter in a single volley than even the likes Luke Skywalker.

The beauty of the expansion pack actually rests with the rules of the game itself as the profiles, upgrades and even the differences in turn wheel compared to other ship works so nicely. So when you’re bird-dogging TIE Fighters the sweep turns of the X-Wing are quite at odds with the sudden and aggressive turns made by their quarry. It really is an awesome game.

The rub is that for that single model you’ll be paying £10.79. And that’s more expensive than the Games Workshop. The new Witch Elves works out at £3.50 per model for more plastic. However remember two important things: 1) it’s a licensed Star Wars product which means Lucas Film/Disney want their taste and (2) A single X-Wing at £10.79 will make a much bigger difference to a game of X-Wing than the equivalent spend on most other models – not just Witch Elves – so it’s all relative I guess. Plus you don’t need to spend a butt load of money on X-Wing to enjoy it. And because you can play a good-sized game with just three models you can buy a model a month for a year, end up with a full squadron and not feel like you were robbed.

So, the X-Wing fighter expansion is brilliant because it makes the game better by owning it, which is a weird thing. The model is average and essentially what you’re paying for is bits of card with cool things printed on them, but that’s fine because average painted or not, there are few sights sweeter than forming up a combat flight of X-Wings on a board.

The X-Wing fighter expansion is available from Firestorm Games priced £10.79.

 

#ODAM 11 – Ashley Swears

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In the first episode of 2014 there’s no shortage of things to talk about. Hobby progress, which makes Ashley mad. Games Workshop news, which makes Ashley mad. The new Tyranids release, which makes Ashley mad. And accounting, which makes Ashley mad.

Basically this is the episode where the gang, especially Ashley, channel me. Step in to my web!

Keep listening to the very end of the episode and you’re in for a very special Ashley related treat.

As always, episodes of ODAM are intended for grown-up ears and contains adult language and content from the start.

Listen to the episode here.

X-Wing Expansion: TIE Fighter – A Review

A couple of weeks ago Phil decided he wanted to get back into the X-Wing Miniature Game. And as he didn’t have anyone to play against he pushed it on me like a dealer on a crackhead fresh out of rehab. I’d like to tell you I resisted. I’d like to tell you I said ‘no Phil, I have enough to work on at the moment’. I’d like to say that… By that afternoon I’d ordered myself the starter set and we’d got ourselves an expansion pack each.

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We managed to avoid the standard ‘no I want to be the X-Wing’ argument because (a) Phil’s threat of unspeakable levels of violence  if I messed with his plan of fielding a squadron of X-Wings kept me awake at night and (b) I wanted to do Empire anyway. Rebel Scum.

As Phil reviewed the starter set in October last year I’ve taken a look at the Imperial TIE Fighter expansion pack.
Firstly I have to speak to the cost. Those fine chaps at Firestorm Games punt them out at £10.79 each, RRP is actually £12. I know this sounds like a lot of money but remember two things. 1) you get quite a lot in the pack and (2) in the same way that if you put the word ‘wedding’ in front of the word ‘cake’ the price triples, so too with anything that starts with the words ‘Star Wars’. But it’s Star Wars and they’re really cool.

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So what do you get for your £10.79 (buy it from Firestorm Games)
1 x TIE Fighter Ship with plastic base
3 x Ship Tokens
1 x Manoeuvre Dial
1 x Focus Token
1 x Stress Token
1 x Critical Hit Token
12 x ID Tokens (12 – 15) these become really important when you start playing larger games.
1 x Evade Token
6 x Ship Cards, Howlrunner, Backstabber, Winged Gundark, Black Squadron Pilot, Obsidian Pilot and an Academy Pilot.
2 x Upgrade Cards, Determination and Swarm Tactics.

As I say, you do get quite a lot for your money. And the card elements are beautifully printed and feel really nice much the same as all the card in the core set.

The additional Pilot Cards are the main pull for getting an Expansion pack after the additional ship itself. You get 3 special pilots in the TIE Fighter pack, namely Howlrunner, Backstabber and Winged Gundark, each one has their only special trait. Winged Gundark can change any hit icon to a critical hit icon when within a range of 1, which is sick. Backstabber can roll an additional attack die if outside the defending ships firing Arc, living up to his name. And finally Howlrunner allows any friendly ship within range 1 to reroll 1 attack die. Not only this but his Pilot skill is 8 putting him on par with Luke Skywalker and at an extra cost of 18 points this makes him a must have and as well as that you can take an upgrade card with him.

You also get a new upgrade card: Swarm Tactics. This allows you to pick a friendly ship within range 1 and this ship can use your Pilot Skill for an entire combat phase. Put together with Howlrunner this could spell an awesome combo.

So is the TIE Fighter pack worth the money? Personally I think so because the pilot cards alone represent a huge boost to your squadron. I don’t have a massive issue with cost of the models either way. Yes they rival Games Workshop’s pricing but it’s a licensed product and because all the bits you need to use the model are included resorting to Micromachines isn’t really an option. But at the end of the day it’s Star Wars and I for one can see me spending lots of money on the additional fighters and ships.

I’m really excited about this game and whilst I can appreciate the mid-standard pre-painted models aren’t for everyone it suits my limited hobby time and they still look cool on the board. The standard of the inserts and cards is also really high and the aforementioned pilot cards make it worthwhile all on their own.

The TIE Fighter Expansion Pack is Available from Firestorm Games for £10.79. The force is strong with this one.