Islands ahead Sir!

I previously wrote about making a sea board, and I’ve also written about making some large land tiles.  This post I’m going to talk about making islands; you might have seen these before in battle reports here on E270.  I had previously posted this article on my old Blog Castle By Moonlight, so if you think you’ve seen it before there, you’re correct!

Really, I wasn’t so creative as to have conjured the methods for making these from the air, I took the ideas from two places – the ideas for the forests were taken from this wonderful post over at the Spartan Games website.  The ideas for the islands were taken from the Dystopian Wars Australia group on Facebook (and I’ll henceforth refer to them as Lewis islands for that reason).

So, after reading both these posts I decided to make my own islands.  firstly I made a frame for the forest foliage, filled it with Woodland Scenics clump foliage, and liberally soaked it in PVA.



A nice mix of dark and light to add some variation.

I then purchased some cork tiles, and by a mixture of tearing them with my hands and pliers, and cutting them to have a bevelled edge with a craft knife, I had the following:


The islands in the foreground – a mixture of cut edges and torn edges –  the cut edges will be painted as the rest of the island, while the torn sections will be painted as rock.


For the sea rocks/mounts I glued several layers of cork together, and the tore and cut away at the sides until it looked more uniform.  In retrospect I’d have glued, then cut them away.  As they are they look like so many layers – and while some of this is ok, there is too much.

I had to decide how to manage the forests.  Being cork board I decided to use some small wood tacks – press them into the cork far enough to hold but not all the way through.

The flat top surfaces of the tacks would be a good base for the glue that would hold the foliage to the trunks.

An undercoat in black later:


The rocks were drybrushed in successively lighter layers of gray, from dark to light, and finally a very light drybrush of white.




The final coat of white really helps to delineate the edges and make the whole thing look better (in my opinion).

The islands on the other hand received a heavy coat of a rich dark brown:

I then drybrushed, heavily and progressively lighter with different shades of brown.  Finally a light flesh tone.  Of course – the rock was done the same as the rocks above.  Finally I added some static grass:


On the largest island here I left a large open area, eventually I’ll grab some Spartan town pieces to add there – just a manor house I think…

Finally I used some Woodland Scenics Hob-e-Tac glue – on top of each tack head.  Then once this had set sufficiently I pulled the foliage I had made earlier apart and pressed it onto the tack heads.  I tried to get some nice variation in tone across the islands, and I think they came up very nicely.




Well – that’s that for now.  Thanks to the guys on the Spartan forums and DW Australia for the inspiration!  I think my Lewis class islands came up well!  If you use a different approach or material for your island building I’d love to read about it – let me know, either as a comment here, via email ( or on our Facebook group.


Episode 9 – QandA with Derek and Neil

Welcome to episode 9 of the Element 270 podcast.

In this episode Giles, Peter and Reese are joined, for a question and answer session, by Derek Sinclair and Neil Fawcett.  We hope you enjoy!

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The Bloody Rose of Krakow…

As a special promotional item in time for Salute, Spartan have announced the Bloody Rose of Krakow: Esmerelda Mieszka, and her heavy bomber the Valkyrie’s Fury…


From the newsletter:

Ex-Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth Pilot Esmerelda Mieszka is a gun for hire with a grudge to bear. After the death of her family at the hands of Russian Coalition forces, this talented pilot took to the skies in the name of vengeance.

Now the Commander of the Valkyrie’s Fury Heavy Bomber is available to hire for your Dystopian Wars force.

To get your hands on the Valkyrie’s Fury Heavy Bomber come and visit us at the Troll Trader stand at Salute 2014 in the Excel Centre, London on Saturday 12th April.

Anyone who pre-orders the new Dystopian Wars 2.0 Operation: Shadow Hunter Two player Box Set with Troll Trader at Salute, will receive a free Valkyrie’s Fury Heavy Bomber to take away on the day.

As part of this fantastic Salute only deal you will receive:

  • 1 x Super Heavy Bomber (100mm Wing Span!)
  • 1 x Acrylic Flight Stand
  • 3 x Acrylic Bomb Tokens
  • 4 x Tiny Flyer Tokens
  • 1 x A5 Sheet – with artwork on one side and rules and stats on the other

Valkyrie’s Fury is fully compatible with your existing Dystopian Wars force and may be added as part of the “Non-Core” allowance.


You can find the stats for The Bloody Rose of Krakow here.

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Dystopian Wars 2.0 sneak peek and pre-order



It’s not up on the Spartan Games website yet, but information on pre-orders for the new Dystopian Wars 2.0 Boxed Set – Shadow Hunters – has appeared on the Australian retailer The Combat Company.

So we have news of Operation Shadow Hunters:


I love the sound of some of the things included here, including the aerial movement trays for the Tony Flier Tokens, the clear Ghost model, the terrain sheets, the Tactical Action Cards, the Wani Secret Base, and the 32 page scenario booklet!  Amazing!

It also includes a really solid number of models (46 FSA and Blazing Sun models).  Fantastic.



They also have news of a leather bound rule book:



320 pages of Dystopian Wars goodness, with stats for 21 battle groups (land, sea and air) for all 7 core nations?


Wow is all I can say – I can’t believe the speed – I was expecting this much later in the year!  Colour me excited!


You can find them on the Combat Company, with extra information, here:

Shadow Hunters

Rule Book

Instanbul was ConstantiNOOOple

It had been a while since I last played Dystopian Wars. It was all the way back in the heady days of 2013, such a distant memory now. I had an itch that needed a scratch, as anyone infected with the potent, but lovely, STD of DW can attest.

I was lucky enough to find a local game group that had a number of players with a wide range of factions but no naval Russians so along I went, glad that I would soon be sated. Bitter sweet was the outcome, as it always is…

I was up against the Ottoman Empire. It was all set to be a Black Sea Shakedown, a Big Bash on the Bosphorus, a Dardanelles Dalliance, an Istanbul Infraction. It was time to settle a grudge as old as Russia itself.

I went with:

1x Kostroma
1x Kthanga
3x Suvurovs
2x 4x Novgorods
3x Velikys (attached to the Kostroma)

The Ottoman Empire had:

1 x Kanuni Class Dreadnought
2 x Sinop Class Armoured Cruisers
2x 2x Avci Class Destroyers
3 x Zuhâf Class Small Flyers
4 x Mizrak Class Frigate

I deployed the Russians neatly in a tight formation behind an island. The Suvurovs ready to head one way the Kostroma and Kthanga the other. Novgorods were arrayed in a defensive wall to shield the larges.

RC Deploy

The Ottomans spread out along the opposite side with the Dreadnaught on one end.

Not the best photo but you get the idea

I won’t go exactly through each turn in minute detail but here is what went down:

Russians moved forward as did the Ottomans. Several Novgorods fall. First blood to the Ottoman Empire. Russians retaliated by taking down some small skimmers.


Then the storms started to gather, oh to literally, around my larges. It slowed movement down considerably as well as hampered my efforts at long range fire. It was not too long before the abalative was stripped from the Kthanga, it was the beginning of the end.

Ablative gone

Soon there were no escorts or frigates left for the Russians. A light drizzle of Novgorod parts had started though.There had been very little damage done in return apart from a few skimmers and mine planes taken out, but not putting any serious dents in the Ottoman offensive.

The corrosive weapons from the Ottoman ships were eating through both the carrier and the ice breaker. The Kthanga like a tired, wounded bull thrashes trying to hit the matador doing little but refusing to give up.

Kthanga fights on

While remote controlled mines ripped through the Suvurovs.


TFTs attempt diving run on dread, come up short with only minor damage resulting inflicted. Then a collision! Not a ram, unfortunately, occurs doing some damage to the enemy… the drill was so close! It was nearly magic.


The Ottoman dread moves in brandishing both broadsides the Kthanga is, finally, down (rest well my sweet) and the Kostroma sensing the futility of life (so Russian) decides to go the same way.

K goes down

Kostroma goes down

Game. Set. Ottoman.

It was a whitewash, plain and simple. The Ottoman ships were powerful at range and the storms wreaked havock for me trying to get into the fray. By the time i was there it was too late.

I also made some tactical errors, my targeting was almost random, very unfocused. Which is not helpful.

Lessons learnt:

1. If you have a newly painted Tunguska USE IT the movement, power, and mimic generator should have put it front and centre, indeed i intended to play it but didn’t, thinking longer ranged weapons would have been better.

2. Range, in this case, wasn’t as advantageous as it seemed thanks to storms. I found myself, toward the end wishing I had brought a Borodinosaur instead, despite the fact that the Kthanga took out some of the only units i managed to kill.

3. Boarding could do ok here, I should have tried it more, instead of shooting. You never know what some vodka fueled serfs might achieve. Indeed I think this might be an ok tactic against them more generally, not that I have much experience against them.

4. Ottoman units have a lot of MARs and generators but some are fragile underneath, some of their units had very low HP, so focused damage is the way to go.

5. After much discussion afterwards it was agreed that submerged units would probably also do quite well against them. As the bombards wouldn’t be so effective against them.

So with all that in mind I should have included in my force in order of perceived usefulness

1. Tunguska
2. Pesets Subs
3. Borodino
4. Rostovs, just to throw another shrimp on the proverbial… Fast, hard impact = solid potential.

When I next face the Ottoman Empire I will be far more prepared and focussed, unfortunately so too will my opponent who was already hatching plans involving islands, all stops and other nasties to impede the Russian advance.

Episode 3 is up! Fleet Review Part 1

Episode 3 of the Element 270 podcast – Fleet Review…

Episode 3 – Fleet Review Part 1

In this episode Giles, Peter and Reese talk about the holidays, cover the news, including the releases of the Eclipse Company and Objectives sets, complete part one of our fleet review and answer some listener questions.


In Part 1 of our fleet review we briefly cover the 7 main fleets of Dystopian Wars, including play style, tactics and a short discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of each fleet.  In the fleet review we raise the issue of new and old rules – there are many fleet guides now available for download from the Spartan Downloads page:  Including the updates booklets for the Russian Coalition, the Republique of France and the Covenant of Antarctica.


We also discuss some listener questions, including where to find some extras for Dystopian Wars – and and of course – Spartan Games –


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Question for listeners: Does Giles use the word ‘fantastic’ or ‘brilliant’ more often… the jury is out!


Find our Hot Topic here:

2014 – Once more into the… thing

Like the others I had left the blogging to Peter while enjoying my holidays and the Christmas period, good job and many thanks. Now I’m back at work I must escape the realities of the day to day grind and find somewhere I feel at home, welcome and happy… somewhere Dystopian!

2014 will hopefully be a big year for me game wise. Here are my hopes, dreams and aspirations for the year ahead.


I have a fairly sizable Russian Naval Core now, not much more needs to be developed there however there are still some gaps that need to be covered:

Land Ho!

For Christmas I received a Russian Coalition Land Box. Previously I hadn’t been too fussed with that side of the game, however, seeing the minis and hearing good reports of the land game I quickly changed my mind. I quickly purchased some Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (mediums and smalls) to complement the RC or to use standalone. I still need to deepen my RC and buy some larger/massive units. So that’s number 1!

Air ho…

Or something. As a Russian player my air force is as follows: 2x Myshkin Bombers and 1x Tunguska. There is also a PLC Zamiec Carrier too, naturally. This needs to be developed somehow, probably with the PLC Aerial box, because blimps.


Lastly, I want a new nation, one that offers a different play style and set of abilities to the hard drinking, hard fighting Russians. I like the models for the mercenary factions. From the cool drone tenders of the black wolf, the giant gatling cannon of the Eclipse and so on but I am a traditionalist I guess, I want a nation so I can wave a flag and damn and blast everyone for being foreign. To that end I am mulling the following options:

• Chinese Federation – A floating forbidden city with energy shields and flame throwers, what’s not to love?

• Ottoman Empire – Minarets, minarets, minarets! Plus drop mines and storms

• Italian League – Mini boats are sweet. Plus columns on a ship is just fun


So those are my main options. Probably leaning more toward the Chinese or Italians at this stage, but could go anywhere really. I’d almost prefer a full nation over an alliance nation as that’d give more options but am undecided as to which of those I’d go for….


I have a lot of painting to do, well I say a lot it’s not as much as some (haha Giles!). But a lot of land forces a bunker and tower set, Tunguska and 3 Suvorov’s will still take a fair old time. Still yet to decide on a scheme, especially for the PLC flame tanks scream ‘paint me red’ but my Zamiec is blue so a blue theme it might be. Although reddish elements may appear on the flamers themselves I guess…


I’ll leave proper terrain elements to the professionals but I am going to do a sea battle board at some stage this year, everyone needs a battle board.



My current storage ‘system’ would send most gamers into apoplectic fits of rage and/or stress induce panic attacks. Novgorod on Novgorod, Cruisers crushing each other and the TFTs… the poor TFTs… needless to say the madness must end. Some form of tackle box setup should suffice and replace the various post box and bag setup I have currently. But yes, this is something that must be done.


I am hoping to get a lot more gaming in this year. Try out a few land games and a linked series of scenarios would also be awesome. The key thing is to get the minis on the table. The rest should take care of itself.

I, like Peter, have had very patchy form across all my previous fixtures. I need to tighten up my game. I’ll need to work out how to mitigate a couple of strong tactics from my usually COA playing brother and also worry about the Aussies, after a nightmare encounter with a couple of Victoria class gunboats – it was raining pieces of ablative armour… such a sad day…

So that’s it. Purchase, paint, play and pummel. Here is hoping for a dystopian 2014!


My objective? To occlude the sun…

The Spartan Newsletter dropped this morning, the first for 2014.  It included some very exciting renders of what their previously announced Eclipse Faction will look like, as well as a close up of the Objective Tokens.

Eclipse 1

The first thing to note is that these guys look fantastic.  I love the blimps, gattling guns and so forth – a very striking visual style, and look at that carrier!

Second thing to ponder over is the structure of this boxed set.  Each model presumably comes in full squadrons, there is a fleet guide, and two token sheets (something missing from a couple of previous boxed set releases).

Will this be what some of the new core nation boxes will look like?  A Battleship, a squadron of cruisers, a squadron of smalls, a squadron of other mediums or smalls and tiny flier tokens…?


The support box also looks fantastic – the whole underwater bases looks really nice.  Lots of token pieces here.  I presume the scenery pieces are designed to look like they are sitting on the sea floor?  Although it’s conceivable that they are freshly risen from the depths…


Ahhh.  Here we get to the part that really excited me.  Objective set and event cards.  It would be fantastic if Spartan really put some time into exploring a card system to help generate scenarios, but this objective set just sounds fantastic.

Here’s the description from Spartan:

There are times during a game that capturing and holding objectives can be vitally important to a player. There are other times when capturing an objective can quite simply generate a random game event, sometimes good and other times bad! This Dystopian Wars Battlefield Objective Set is designed to enhance gameplay by providing players with stylised objectives to capture, with the 30 Game Event Cards providing a colourful mechanic for randomising what happens when an Objective is secured. The Objectives will also feature heavily as a game mechanic for upcoming Campaign and Scenario settings.


Amazing idea that could be extended even further.  I’d love for Spartan to release a set of cards to flesh this ‘Event’ deck out and incorporate scenic elements from their Towns and Installations, Airfield, Harbour, Hangar, Amphibious, and Merchant Navy boxed sets.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a little objective piece in each basic box for each nation – along with a handful of cards to shuffle into the event deck!

Ah, I can dream…

In any case – exciting news and a great warm up to what I am sure will be a blockbuster year for Spartan.





Links to the Spartan Store for any interested:

Eclipse –

Support –

Objectives –

Episode 1 – The Future

Episode 1 of the Element 270 Podcast is up, The Future…

Peter, Reese and Giles discuss recent news and releases, the future of Dystopian Wars, tournament organization, and answer some listener questions.

We talk about the Danes, the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as some the terrain releases from Spartan. We also cover what we hope to see from Dystopian Wars 2.0, and how the new Firestorm Armada releases might inform what we’ll see on that front. Peter talks about tournement organisation, and gives some tips and advice. Finally, we answer some listener questions.

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Our Hot Topic for this episode is: Tiny Fliers – Game Winners or Game Wasters… join the discussion here:

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More on the Black Wolf…

Yesterday the Spartan Games Newsletter came out announcing a naval fleet box for the Black Wolf himself: Vladimir Nikanov.  But rather than write too much about it before even the stats are release – here are some more renders and information from Spartan…



There are mentions of Drone Subs, Skimmers, TFTs and Ships – altogether a pretty amazing looking fleet.  The skimmers in the bottom render, with the Drone Subs lining the sides is an absolutely amazing model, both with the subs and the spiral of rockets!