Sunday, 17 July 2016

Joy of Six 2016

Across the Pennines to Sheffield for this show, possibly my favourite. It's not huge, though today was the biggest so far, I think - 22 games at least, and 8-10 traders. The big factor is that all those traders are selling 6mm figures or scenery, so every one is of interest to me. I think I bought stuff from nearly every stall. The venue is the Heartspace in Hallam University - a fancy name for the atrium in a large building, about five stories high. With glass walls and roof it is a nice bright airy space, and it is in the centre of the city so plenty of places to eat and drink. In fact the worst aspect of the day was the drive over - the A57 was being resurfaced and I spent an extra hour in the queues. I went home via the M1/M62 and that was fine.
As I said, lots of games going on. The ones that really caught my eye were, first, the First Day of the Somme, on a large table right below the entrance stairway. This was next to the Time Cast stand and it seemed to have a lot of their scenery, notably their new trench lines. Another one right in my sweetspot was the Bridge at Remagen, using simplified Spearhead rules - linked to the film, with points for improving on the performances there. A Cold War Commander fight occupied another large table in the centre of the room, and a really large battle of Dresden was in an alcove to one side. With the expansion of the number of games they were also using two side rooms, for the first time I think.
After lunch - ribs and a pint in the Head of Steam - I started on the serious business of purchasing. I got five packs of GHQ Italians - gun crews and a variety of tanks - for the Western Desert. I then went to Baccus and picked up packs of most of their new British Paras. From H&R I got various command strips and vehicles, German, British and Italian, to provide command stands. On the scenery side I picked up about ten buildings from Leven - mostly industrial or railway. I got some bridges from Time Cast, and I picked up a good number of hedges and walls from a firm called GS Miniature Workshop. Their main product (at this show anyway) were "modular forests" - these have a base with tree trunks, and then there is a separate canopy of green foam which sits on top - the idea being that you can put your troops inside and then replace the canopy. They look very nice, but my figures on 1" square bases wouldn't fit between the trunks.
That was it - and after one more circuit, with my little remaining cash desperately trying to jump out of my pocket, I left. A very good day, and now to get on with the painting. I need to get the Italians done first, but there are the Paras, those command stands and the buildings all winking at me.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Hammerhead 2016

Down the M6 and across the A50 to Newark for Hammerhead 2016. A new show to me, but it has a bit of history and one of the bigger ones on the circuit, I think. The venue is a large exhibition hall on the Newark Showground, so vast amounts of parking all around. The building is suited to the event, not surprisingly as a purpose-built exhibition hall, so plenty of space and light, though you wouldn't say it has a lot of character. The food was supplied by the "Bistro" in the building, but "Caff" would have been a better name - chips with pasties, burgers and sausage rolls, and bacon baps. Fine by me, as it happens, but not a lot of choice if that's not to your taste.
As for the show itself, all the games were designated as participation-based, and as far as I could see they were mostly busy, though a few at the far ends seemed quiet. There was a good variety, from witch racing through WW1 to sci-fi with 3D printed models. There seemed to be quite a few aerial games - Wings of Glory, at least one jet combat game, and a nice looking one with Japanese planes attacking a US AA destroyer in 1943. The ship model in that one was quite large, but not as big as the one in another game using the third dimension. This featured an underwater frogman attack on a ship which only appeared in the form of the bottom of the hull, which formed the "roof" of the playing area. The divers moved up and down below this, presumably trying to attach limpet mines.
There was also a good selection of traders, all around the outside of the space. Personally I was slightly disappointed because there was no 6mm WW2 - Wargames Emporium and Magister Militum weren't there, and Baccus did not have any of their new WW2 infantry (I have a couple of these on order and due to arrive soon). I was also hoping to find one of the printed battle mats - Cigar Box or something like that, but there were none on show - just some plain coloured blankets. Still I managed to collect a fair amount of booty, on show in the picture below.

Centre rear is some stuff for the airbrush - a stand and some primers in various shades. To the right is some other paints - Basetex for the bases on my 6mm infantry, and a couple of metals for the bigger models. In front of those are two items from Ainsty for my Pulp games, and a Renedra Arab/Adobe house ditto. Then three terrain items in 6mm, fields and town bases, from The Baggagetrain. To their left are two packs of Pulp Figures, sailors for the ship I painted last month.
On the extreme left are the new rulesets which I always wind up buying at a show. I have finally cracked and bought General Quarters 3 (WW2 naval). For decades GQ1/2 has been pretty much the default ruleset for 20th century naval wargames, certainly for me. The new rules, which were a long time coming, are supposed to be much more detailed, which is not necessarily a good thing, in my view. Anyway, now I will get a chance to judge for myself.
The other rules are Lion Rampant from Osprey - Medieval skirmish/small battles. I've been thinking about these for some time, and I was persuaded by my other purchase, a box of Teutonic infantry from Deus Vult. - plastic and lots of mix and match heads and arms. I am looking forward to making and painting those, and they gave me an excuse to buy the rules, and vice versa. So there's 2-3 different genres there, plus the WW2 6mm, and I'm not sure which one will run away with me in the near future.


Sunday, 21 February 2016

A Life on the Ocean Wave

Browsing the web I chanced upon the TTCombat site, and their City Scenics range. Ironically, despite the name, the item that caught my eye was the Cargo Ship. This is a good-sized model, 50cm long (so a scale 25 metres, roughly), though in real terms this would be a very small vessel, a small trawler rather than an ocean-going cargo ship. Nevertheless it looks the part, with most of the length taken up with an open cargo deck, and an open fo'csl at the bow. At the stern is a two-level superstructure, with a plain cabin on the lower level, and a bridge complete with wheel and control above. I have built it so the roof and first level can be removed for access during a game. My idea is to use this for a fight between two leagues out at sea - I will probably need to adjust movement and ranges for the confined space. It will also come in handy as part of a dockside scene; a good location for a plot point in a larger table layout.











Monday, 18 January 2016

The sound of jazz, the smell of the newsprint

I have just finished painting up two of my Christmas presents, Pulp Figure packs from their Gangland Justice range. The first one is a set of five News Hounds, though they're not all reporters. It looks like we have two actual reporters, one male and one female, plus a photographer, someone who is probably the editor shouting instructions in the office, and a newsboy selling the resulting papers. All nice figures, as I have come to expect from this line, and they'll be useful as bystanders and colour in big city scenarios. They might even make a Pulp league of some sort.




The second pack was Jinx Johnson's Harlem Jazz Quartet. As the title suggests you only get four figures, though the fifth is represented, in weight of metal anyway, by the double bass. Again, more likely to be background for a scenario in a nightclub, though I can see possibilities for them as a gang for some Mr Big.




Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Fighting in the City

Slightly unusual AAR this one, because I have done two very similar reports. The first one I did (which is lower down) included quite a lot of the mechanics of the Pulp Alley rules, stuff about challenges, plot points, perils and so on. After I had finished I thought I would have preferred to do it as a straight adventure tale, so I edited it to remove the rule stuff and just tell it straight. I thought I would include both versions for those who would like to see how the Pulp Alley game works.



The Mean Streets

With the Master having got away with the key information from the encounter in the jungle, Diana had to continue her research and traveling. Eventually the clues and hints led her and the team to a small warehouse in the back streets of New York City. However the delay had enabled another group to get onto the same leads. Bertie Brooks-Smyth was the backer and chief gun of a safari group which had hunted across Africa, but during that time their wanderings had led them to forgotten temples and hidden sites with secrets that Bertie eventually resolved to unravel. And so it was that Bertie’s group turned up in the same obscure corner of the big city.

From the East - the target warehouse is just left of centre
From the south - the warehouse front and centre
 
From the south-east - the direction Bertie approached from
Diana's league arrived behind the white block of flats in the far corner
 The encounter took place in a mixture of warehouses, small factories, tenements and blocks of flats, separated by narrow streets and alleys. The crucial piece of paper was inside a safe on the upper floor of a small warehouse. The combination for the safe could found from four of the five policemen wandering the streets close by. One of the cops had a duff combination, and none of them would hand the information over easily. As well as the cops there were a number of disreputable bystanders wandering the area - Damon Runyon would have felt very much at home here.

Before setting off Diana used some of her wealth to buy Utility Belts for Gulab and Wally – these would help them with a variety of tasks. Bertie used his contacts to recruit an extra bit of muscle, a short but wide guy known only as Brawler.

As the action started Bertie and his companions approached from the south east corner, and Diana’s team from the north west – though because of consequences from a previous battle, Diana herself would arrive behind the others. Bertie’s team were especially nervous and crept forward slowly at first. Even so, Jim tripped clumsily on the kerb, slipped and fell, hitting his head and knocking himself out. The action had barely begun, and Bertie was down one follower.

At the far side Diana’s team were moving faster – Bud and Yvette got well around the corner, while Wally moved alone down the boundary street, and Gulab moved more slowly, wanting to ensure he would be in range of Diana when she arrived. Gulab had regarded himself as Diana’s personal bodyguard since she was a small girl.

Bertie's team advance - Reggie in the foreground, Milo and Brawler in the centre and Bertie with Jane far left
Lead members of Diana's team come round the corner into the main square. Officer Doyle is watching them approach

Wally on his own in the alley to the west
Officer Doyle was strolling down the road towards Yvette, and now he became suspicious and challenged her, but she used her cunning to persuade him that she was innocent of any evil intent. She attempted to pick the code out of the cop’s pocket, but was only able to get the paper half way out. Spotting this, Gulab now walked over to join them, talked his way into Doyle’s confidence, and was able to complete the extraction of the slip of paper - so Gulab now had the combination in his pocket.

Down on the south east side of the warehouse Bertie spotted a cop, O’Sullivan, near a bus shelter, and approached him. O’Sullivan was immediately suspicious, and swung his nightstick at Bertie, but he was able to duck – however he couldn’t grab the bit of paper with the combination. His daughter Jane joined them, but she took a nasty blow from the policeman, which knocked her down, though only temporarily.

Reggie was sneaking around a small block of flats, and now a cop walked up and challenged him, but Reggie talked his way out of it easily. Close to the factory in the north, a bystander called Eastside Ernie strolled past Diana, and she managed to persuade him to join her in cracking the safe – he assumed it was an “ordinary” robbery. Further over in a parallel alley Wally approached another cop – he too was able to talk convincingly and avoid trouble, but could not yet get the code out of the guardian of the law.

Yvette and Gulab talk to Doyle, while Bud approachs another cop in the foreground
Bertie and Jane have a more physical encounter with Office O'Sullivan
 Bertie, by contrast, was able to grab the paper from O’Sullivan, so he now had the crucial combination. And at the same time Reggie picked the pocket of the cop who had approached him, and also acquired the code. So now both teams had the information they needed to open the safe – but the two sides were about to come into direct contact.

Having walked away from Yvette and Gulab, Officer Doyle now spotted Eastside Ernie across the street. He must have been looking shifty, because the cop challenged him, knocked him down and took him into custody. The shortest ever career in a league, I suspect. Another cop tackled Bud, but the young man was easily strong enough to shrug him off. Wally was in the alley still engaged in a battle of wits with his cop when a car drove past. Having spent years on safari in Africa Wally was perhaps unfamiliar with modern traffic, and was nearly knocked down, but he dodged at the last minute. Cool as a cucumber he mustered all his cunning and persuaded the cop to let him have the combination to the safe.

The action now hotted up as both sides converged on the warehouse to try to be first to the safe. Yvette came around the side of the building and fired at Bertie, who was halfway across the open space, but he was much faster and shot her – she went down and out of the fight. Gulab now followed Yvette into the open, and also fired at Bertie – again the experienced hunter drew blood and Gulab took a wound, but he was tougher than Yvette and was still on his feet. Diana now appeared and she too fired at Bertie – this time he decided to dodge, in which he was successful. Now Reggie appeared around the building to the east, and fired at Diana, but she in turn dodged successfully, as she did twice more when Bertie and Jane fired at her. This left Diana and an injured Gulab defending the side door of the warehouse, with Bertie, Jane and Reggie surrounding them. All this firing was certain to be attracting unwanted attention, so there wasn’t going to be much time to crack the safe and extract the documents.

Bertie and Jane in the foreground, while Diana and Gulab guard the warehouse door
Wally and Brawler can be seen struggling top left, while Bud talks to a policeman top right
This view show Milo lurking unnoticed by the front of the warehouse while the action goes on around him
Bertie, who had faced many enemies more dangerous than these (and with more teeth) now took the first shot, firing at Gulab by the warehouse door, and scored a hit. Reggie also tried a shot, but Gulab dodged. Jane now moved forward and fired, but Gulab got a shot off simultaneously and both of them were hit and went down. Milo Milktoast, who had been lurking around the corner, now moved up and collected the piece of paper dropped by Gulab. Down the street Bertie’s hireling Brawler tackled Wally, but rather surprisingly it was the professor who came out on top in the fight and Brawler was left in the gutter.



Diana now fired at Milo, downing him, but she didn’t attempt to pick up the scrap of paper. Instead she went into the building to block the way for Wally, who had run in through the front door and up the stairs, ready to crack the safe. Bud also ran forward to block the side door, anything to delay Bertie’s team from interfering with Wally opening the safe. Jane, Gulab and Brawler were all able to stagger to their feet again, but Milo was knocked unconscious (or pretending to be so – he is braver than the butterflies he collects, but not by much).

Now police sirens could be heard in the distance – this would be the last chance for either side to grab the crown jewels. Bertie had the initiative to fire at Gulab, who was hit and went down. This left just Bud, a lowly follower, guarding the warehouse door. Reggie shot at him next, but surprisingly Bud avoided being hit, and shot Reggie in return, leaving him with a wound.

Now the action switched to the upper floor of the warehouse, where Wally moved to the safe, and used his utility belt to defuse the trap. But even with the combination the safe was tricky to open, and Wally made no progress. Next Diana came up the stairs to apply her cunning to the challenge, but she was only able to make limited progress. Perhaps a different combination might be needed. So Bud tried to collect the paper from where Milo had dropped it – but failed to find it. Brawler now rushed Bud, but in another unexpected result the heroic Bud scored with a left hook and it was Brawler who went down. Jane also had a go at collecting that combination, but she too failed. With squad cars sweeping into view, both sides faded into the shadows, and the documents stayed securely in the safe. So Diana and Bertie are both still looking for the key information that will lead them on to the next stage of their adventures.

The end. Diana and Wally are in the warehouse but cannot crack the safe, while Bud holds the doorway
And now the second version:

The Mean Streets

With the Master having got away with the key information from the encounter in the jungle, Diana had to continue her research and traveling. Eventually the clues and hints led her and the team to a small warehouse in the back streets of New York City. However the delay had enabled another group to get onto the same leads. Bertie Brooks-Smyth was the backer and chief gun of a safari group which had hunted across Africa, but during that time their wanderings had led them to forgotten temples and hidden sites with secrets that Bertie eventually resolved to unravel. And so it was that Bertie’s group turned up in the same obscure corner of the big city.

The terrain consisted of a mixture of warehouses, small factories, tenements and blocks of flats, separated by narrow streets and alleys. The crucial piece of paper was inside a safe on the upper floor of a small warehouse in the centre of the board. The combination for the safe could only be found from one of five policemen wandering the streets close by. These were the four minor plot points, plus one red herring – the major plot point was of course the paper in the safe. The major plot point could only be attempted by someone already carrying one of the minor points – a version of the Lost Keys scenario.

The policemen would move 6” in a random direction at the start of each turn. The area within 3” of them was an extreme peril, which would have to be passed before the minor plot point could be attempted. There were also four bystanders (two men and two women) wandering in a similar manner. Finally there were four vehicles driving around the streets at 12” per turn. If they passed a character who was standing in the street that was an extreme peril. And the road within 6” of the front of a vehicle was a perilous area.

Before the start Diana used her Wealth point plus a Gear point from last time to buy Utility Belts for Gulab and Wally – these allow them each to pass one peril in the game. Bertie’s team used the Call to Arms perk – Bertie rolled his Might and got two successes, and he used the points to recruit a level 2 Shooter.

As the action started Bertie and his companions approached from the south east corner, and Diana’s team from the north west – though because of consequences from the previous battle, Diana herself would not come on until turn 2. The pre-game events ruled that Diana would have an extra Fortune card to start with, while Bertie’s team, under the Reconnoitre event, could not attack, run or rush in turn 1.

Diana had the initiative, and asked Bertie to go first. When Jim came to move Diana played the Unseen Peril card on him. The challenge was Finesse, which he failed, and then he failed the resultant Health check. Thus, as a Level 1 Follower, he was not only down but out of the fight. The rest of Bertie’s team moved forward steadily. At the far side Diana’s team were able to move further – Bud and Yvette got well around the corner, while Wally moved alone down the boundary street, and Gulab moved more slowly, wanting to ensure he would be in range of Diana when she arrived.

In the random moves, a cop strolled close to Yvette, became suspicious and challenged her, but she used her Cunning to pass the peril. She then faced the challenge for the plot point – this was two Finesse successes (presumably she was attempting to pick the code out of the cop’s pocket). She was only able to get one pass, so now Gulab moved to join them. He also passed the peril, and then completed the challenge with another Finesse, so Gulab now had the first plot point in his pocket.

Down on the south east side of the warehouse Bertie spotted a cop near a bus shelter, and approached him. He avoided the peril, but could not pass the challenge. His daughter Jane joined them, but she failed the peril and took a hit, going down. Fortunately she passed her recovery check later. The rest of Bertie’s team moved forward with no further action.

Reggie was sneaking around a small block of flats, and now a cop walked up and challenged him, but Reggie passed the peril easily. Close to the factory in the north, a bystander strolled past Diana, and she managed to persuade him to join her league (level 2 brawler). On the east side Wally approached another cop – again he passed the peril but was unable to pass the challenge to get the plot point. Bertie, by contrast, was able to trick the code out of his cop, so he now had his plot point. And at the same time Reggie completed a challenge on the cop who had approached him, and also acquired a plot point. So at this juncture Bertie’s team were ahead by two plot points to one – but the two sides were about to come into direct contact.

In the random moves, a cop walked past the bystander who had joined Diana. He must have been looking shifty, because the cop challenged him, he failed the peril, took a hit which he did not save, and so he was Out. The shortest ever career in a league, I suspect. Another cop tackled Bud, who got two successes with Might, so was OK. One of the cars drove past Wally, who was in the road, but he was able to beat the peril. This was despite the fact that he was still engaged in a battle of wits with the cop – he scored another success with his Cunning and took the plot point, so it is now two each.

The action now hotted up as both sides converged on the warehouse to try to be first to the safe. Yvette came around the side of the building and fired at Bertie, who was halfway across the open space, but he was much faster and shot her – she went down and therefore out of the fight. Gulab now followed Yvette into the open, and also fired at Bertie – again the experienced hunter drew blood and Gulab took a wound, but as a sidekick he has two health levels and so was still on his feet. Diana now appeared and she too fired at Bertie – this time he decided to dodge, in which he was successful. Now Reggie appeared around the building to the east, and fired at Diana, but she in turn dodged successfully, as she did twice more when Bertie and Jane fired at her. This left Diana and an injured Gulab defending the side door of the warehouse, with Bertie, Jane and Reggie surrounding them. In the recovery phase Gulab restored his full health.

Nothing special happened in the random moves of cops, bystanders and motor traffic, so the two teams went at it again. Bertie now has the initiative, after clearly winning a fight with Yvette. He took the first shot, firing at Gulab by the warehouse door, and scored a hit. Reggie also tried a shot, but Gulab dodged. Jane now moved forward and fired, but Gulab got a shot off simultaneously and both of them were hit and went Down. Milo Milktoast, who had been lurking around the corner, now moved up and collected the plot point dropped by Gulab. Down the street Bertie’s backup Brawler tackled Wally, but rather surprisingly it was the professor who came out on top in the fight and the Brawler went Down.

Diana now fired at Milo, downing him, but she didn’t attempt to take the plot point. Instead she went into the building to block the way, because Wally had run in through the front door and up the stairs, ready to crack the safe next time. Bud also ran forward to block the side door, anything to delay Bertie’s team from interfering with Wally opening the safe. In the recovery phase Milo is Out, Jane, Gulab and Brawler recover.

Turn 6, and the police sirens could be heard in the distance – this would be the last turn unless someone extended the time, and intriguingly, the plot point which gave that option was the one now lying by the warehouse door, having been dropped by Milo. Could one side or the other retrieve it – and if they did, would they wish to extend the deadline?

Bertie had the initiative, and started by firing at Gulab, who was hit and went down. This left just Bud, a low level Follower, guarding the warehouse door. Reggie shot at him next, but surprisingly Bud avoided being hit, and shot Reggie in return, leaving him with a wound. As a result of this clear win, initiative passed to Diana.

Now the action switched to the upper floor of the warehouse, where Wally moved to the safe, and used his utility belt to defuse the trap. The plot point challenge was 2 Cunning, but Wally, with his 2d6, failed on both. Next Diana came up the stairs to apply her 3d10 to the challenge, but she was only able to score one success. Everything now hinged on extending the time limit – nobody else from either side could reach the safe this turn, but if they could get another try then Diana and Wally would surely be able to score one more success. So Bud tried to collect the plot point from where Milo had dropped it – but failed the challenge. Brawler now rushed Bud, but in another unexpected result the heroic Bud scored a hit and it was Brawler who went down. With the final move Jane also had a go at collecting that plot point, but she too failed, so the scenario ended with Diana in possession of one minor Point, Bertie having two, and the major Point left uncollected.

In the wrap-up, Yvette, Milo and Jim all had to test for Harrowing Escapes. Yvette and Milo were both captured, and both failed their challenges, so each side lost 1 Rep. Jim got Retreat and Regroup, and also failed his challenge, so Bertie’s team will start their next scenario short one Fortune card.

Another fun game, finely balanced both between the two sides, and also in terms of completing within the time limit – it came down to a couple of dice rolls. I was happy with the mechanism for random movement of the cops, bystanders and vehicles – in a solo game this adds a certain amount of the unpredictable. So Diana and Bertie are both still looking for the key information that will lead them on to the next stage of the adventure.



Sunday, 6 December 2015

New gang on the block

I have just finished painting up another pack of Pulp Figures - PHP 08 Safari Into Danger. I was quite happy with the way these came out, so I have created a new Pulp Alley gang, based on these five figures. So here they are:
         
The gang. Left to right: Reggie, Bertie, Milo (hiding), Jim, Jane.



The Leader: Bertie Brook-Smythe
An experienced veteran of many long dangerous expeditions, Bertie now leads his Safari wherever adventure may beckon. His special abilities are all derived from his hunting experience.
Hardboiled - his targets get a -1d dodge penalty
Nerves of Steel - he can discard a card to cancel a -1d penalty on him
Untouchable - he always counts as being in cover





His Sidekick: Reggie Cain
Reggie has traveled with Bertie for many years, and is a veteran and crack shot. Bertie trusts him implicitly, though in dealings with others his moral compass is not always fully accurate. Again, his abilities reflect his long experience hunting in the field.
Veteran - he ignore the multiple combat penalty for shooting combat
Deadeye - he is not limited to shooting the nearest enemy





Ally: Jane Brook-Smythe
Bertie's daughter, Jane has traveled with her father since her mother died when she was a young girl. She was also sent to boarding school and medical college, and now she serves as the medic for the gang, as well as being a key member during a fight.
Doc - she rolls her Cunning (needing one success) to allow her "target" to reroll their next Recovery check





Ally: Milo Milktoast
While he has tagged along with Bertie for many years, Milo's targets are not the mighty and dangerous beasts of the savannah and forest. Milo is a lepidopterist, and is about as dangerous as the butterflies he chases. His special ability reflects this - he may not be a fighter, but being ignored can be very useful at the right moment.
Harmless - can't be targeted or in LoS beyond 6" range. Cannot attack (brawl or shooting).



Follower: Jim Remmington
Jim is the guide, tracker and general all-rounder for Bertie's safari. While he can shoot well, Jim is particularly impressive in hand to hand combat.
Fierce - adds 1d to his Brawl stat.








The gang perk is Call to Arms, which gives them extra Backup resources, depending on a Might roll by Bertie at the start of each scenario.





Friday, 27 November 2015

Tenement Roof

Another building for my Pulp urban setting. This is a terraced tenement, laser-cut mdf from Warbases. Unlike the previous flat-roofed version, this one has a pitched roof, and at this scale the roof is very prominent when viewed from the table-side. So I decided to do a bit more than just painting it or adding a simple paper image, and I also bought some of Warbases' Tiling Sheets. These give you horizontal strips of times which you need to glue down, from bottom to top, to give a nice irregular overlapping effect. The first two pictures show the unpainted tiles after fixing. After that I painted it with various grey shades, base and highlights, then a couple of washes - Sepia and the Antelope Brown (which is actually a deep green). At this point I discovered a small problem. The tiles have narrow cracks between them, which certainly looks effective, but I could not get the paint to flow effectively into the small spaces - surface tension. This means that the pale cream original colour can just be seen through many of the cracks. Next time I will spray the tiles overall dark grey before I glue them down. It is not much of a problem, but I can improve it next time.
Once the roof was done, I added the chimneys - they came with the kit, though I had to make the chimney pots out of dowel. I then added various moss, loose leaves and vegetation from the Lifecolor range, and a base of plastic card with printed paper stone flags.