Sunday, July 31, 2011

Random Sunday Shots: Murin and Drar

As I mentioned earlier, I have liked the Murin figure since I first saw it, and after failing to get a Murin and Drar pack at a low price on ebay after many months I finally decided to buy the last pack at the local gaming store before they disappear and are replaced by finecast.

I painted them in the same scheme as my other LOTR dwarves.

I really like their Lombard-style helmets, and of course Murin's Raven shield. Perhaps GW will release more figures in this style after The Hobbit?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Strandhogg Fantasy Game 5: Plunder and Pillage

Another weekend, another great game of Strandhogg. I am now more familiar with the rules and I think I manage to remember most of them.

Thomas and I played a scenario from an old issue of Battlegames. The goblin player/attacker has to plunder a village with four buildings and set them on fire. He gets points for each building plundered and fired, but to gain enough points to win he must physically reach at least three of them.

I gave the goblins three warbands and a troll. The dwarves begin the game with a warband of rangers scattered - three to each building.

The goblins rush across the river, taking the dwarves by surprise.

An effort is made to form lines of defence...

Thomas sends the troll down one flank, forcing me to pull my dwarves back; meanwhile, his goblins get to work, looting a building and setting it on fire.

Two warbands come down the other flank, their archers setting up a position on the hill to rain arrows down on the defenders as the warriors close in. Chickens flee.

The goblins successfully loot and burn another building, bringing Thomas one point from a draw even as the dwarven reinforcements arrive.

The leader of the rangers is killed by an arrow and the rangers flee to the rear, even as the warriors beat off the goblins who are even now attempting to torch the barn. The goblin king, himself wounded, orders several of his goblins to form a 'goblin shield' before him.

On the other flank, the goblins are just one activation away from torching the building when the dwarves manage to engage them in melee and disrupt them.

The goblins fall back, covering their retreat with archery - the dwarves have prevented a goblin victory, but have lost more than two-thirds of their forces.

This game was very close - had Thomas' goblins activated before my dwarves on that crucial turn, he would have won the game. He managed to overcome the low Courage and Melee ratings of the goblins by holding his archers back to form a 'fire-support base' from which he picked off my archers. The missile templates were a laugh - one of my dwarven thanes was taken out by a stray shot as he took shelter behind another warband, and for the first time we had an incident of 'friendly fire' as a goblin was killed by his careless compatriot.

This was the fifth time I took a friend through these rules, and once again we managed a close game with a narrative in about two hours. I think using an interesting scenario is key to having an enjoyable game.

The flame markers are a last-minute measure - I thought I had cotton balls at home but I was mistaken, and so I improvised using some coloured paper I had lying around at home.

At Thomas' suggestion, I am adding a rule to allow the troll to throw stuff - watch out for some boulder-flinging mayhem in our next battle report...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ave, and by Jupiter...

It's a wargamer with self-control who doesn't have figures of Napoleon's Old Guard Grenadiers and/or Early Imperial Roman legionaries...

Well, I used to own Napoleon's Old Guards in 20mm plastics, and I got these 25mm EIR legionaries from Newline Design when we did a little gladiatoring way back when. They were a simple paint job - no point doing to much work when the shield is going to cover most of it. The shield decals are from VVV.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Isle of Lewis chess pieces painted

It took a few evenings of work as I wanted to make sure the glue and paint dried thoroughly between each step of work I took, but here they are:

The plinths are each made out of eight blocks of plaster Hirst Art bricks I got for an earlier project.

I am pleased with how the painting and dry-brushing picked out the details. The poor quality of the cast was sort of an advantage here, as the imperfections give the impression of wear on the statues. Bits of the models actually broke off during handling, and I added them to the pile of debris at the base of the statues..

There are some details that I only noticed when I was painting the models. For example, the motif on the left and right sides of the thrones are actually different.

And the knotwork on the back of the king's throne is simply stunning, and include a pair of gripping beasts!

I think I will be looking out for more like these on ebay...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Amera Castle Ruins

When I picked this item up at the post office this afternoon I was so surprised by the size of the package the lady at the counter asked me if everything was OK.

Anyway, at just GBP 6, you can have this beauty as the centrepiece of your skirmish game. It truly is made for gaming!

What is represented is the base of a ruined tower on a low rise. The internal diameter of the floor area is 6.5", and the wall is 1" thick. This gives room for about a dozen occupants.

The main door is reached via a short flight of stairs, with steps wide enough to allow a 1" base to sit comfortablly, but only wide enough for one figure to attack at any one time.

There is a secondary door on the side, again accessed by a short flight of stairs. There are a few rocks/fallen blocks of masonry scuplted on the ground itself that can provide cover to atackers.

There is also a window at the rear of the tower, which provides another shooting position for the defenders, and through which attackers may climb.

The plastic is almost 1mm thick, so while it is "hollow", it is still rather durable.

Making this terrain piece ready for the gaming table will probably take a few afternoons of work and some planning beforehand. If you have any experience in doing this, do share with me and the other readers.

You can get yourself one of these and/or other items here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Old GW Empire Knights and Perry WOTR plastics

I did some minis-swapping with Dan, and it turns our we received each other's parcel both on today!

I got a current GW Empire Knight figure with parts, which unfortunately is too big compared to the rest of the figures, but these two Foot Knights (dated 1987 on their tabs) look just the part!

I will have to snip off the crest on the knight on the right and replace his sword with one from the Perry plastic sprue. I am quite keen to let the other knight keep his plume though...

Monday, July 18, 2011

D&D Miniatures and Isle of Lewis Chess Pieces

Got two parcels in the mail today: the first contains three D&D miniatures...

The first mini is that of a hippogriff which was the reason why I purchased the lot. While the wing feathers may not be as detailed as those on metal miniatures, I really like the pose and expression of the creature, and the size turns out to be about right.

The wings are set to far in front (although that would be the correct anatomical position if such creatures did exist) to allow a rider, so I will have to rip them off and reposition them a little further back.

One paw is raised, which give scope for some scenery on the base.

I like the curl in its tail. Overall I think it has a very regal bearing, and makes a fitting mount for the army's commander.

The postage was the same for one mini or three, so I thought I might as well get two more. My third choice was the Bluespawn Stormlizard.

I had no idea how big the mini would be, but I like the way it looked, and thought that if it was small I would just use it for a monstrous mount, and if it was big I would mount a howdah on it.

As it turns out it's pretty much the size of a big rhino. I guess I can either sculpt a saddle on its back or a yoke and make it pull a chariot or warwagon. I haven't got an army to go with it currently so it will wait in the wings. I'm not too sure whether I will keep its ears, but again there is no rush to make that decision.

The second mini I decided on was the Dwarf Ancestor.

It's supposed to be some sort of living statue/guardian thing, but I think I will just base it on a plinth and use it as a statue. On retrospect I should have gotten a pair of them instead.

The shaft of the warhammer is curved - in reality there is no way you can carve a piece of rock like that and not have the thing break off, I think - so I will have to replace it with a lollipop stick.

The second parcel contained two plaster Isle of Lewis chess pieces.

Their size and style make them ideal as grand statues for my dwarves. They are not very well casted - they were not made to be wargame scenery but cheap art projects for children - and there are filling defects and bubbles; I will have to fill the bubbles with plaster filler myself, and I will scatter some bits of debris on their plinth bases to depict the bits that had fallen off the statues.

The real surprise about these pieces are actually on the back of them:

The Norse-Celtic patterns are just stunning!

If you have a fantasy barbarian or a dwarven army, I recommend you get some of these. The actual reproduction chess sets are expensive (and you probably wouldn't want to paint them over), but you can buy the moulds and cast them yourself, or buy cheap pieces like I did.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Strandhogg Fantasy Game 4: Battle at the Ford

FG, an old friend whom I haven't gamed with or indeed met for a few years came over this afternoon to catch up and have a game.

We played a game of Strandhogg in around two hours, which gave us plenty of time to chat over drinks and chips afterwards.

For this game I wanted to field my dwarf warriors instead of my rangers to see how the new stats and unit configuration works, so I picked a suitable scenario from the Warhammer Skirmish booklet.

The battle depicts a goblin incursion into dwarven territory, the boundary which is marked by a stream. The goblins attempt to cross at the ford, which is guarded by a dwarven ballista.

Besides the ballista the dwarves have three warbands: one huscarl and two warriors warband. The goblins have three warbands of foot, one of warg riders, and are joined by a troll.

FG began the assault with a warband of warriors on foot, followed by the warg riders. The ballista dropped a few goblins, but as they surged across the ford the crew had to relocate themselves as the huscarls move forward to cover their movement.

On both flanks the warbands threw out their archers to pick off the advancing goblins.

The warg riders made first contact, charging against the shieldwall of huscarls. The melee here would last a few rounds and draw in the foot warbands from both sides on the dwarven left flank, but the dwarves finally emerged victorious.

On the right flank the dwarven archers retreat uphill as the goblins close, while the warriors come off the hill to form a shieldwall. The dwarven warriors are given better Melee rating than the goblin warriors, but as d10 is used to resolve combat, the combat is not always a sure thing; in addition, the goblins' armour gave them a fair chance to survive a blow. What told however was the goblins' lower Courage rating, which meant they didn't always charge into melee as ordered and could not capitalise on their numerical advantage, and they were more prone to losing figures through failed Morale rolls.

On the other flank the troll slew a few dwarven warriors, but was eventually taken down by a thane, who himself suffered a wound in the combat.

The goblin king attempted to shore up that flank by joining the melee, but was also killed.

The dwarves' joy was however short-lived, as their own king, now moving forward in a shieldwall with his huscarls, was felled by an arrow from the last goblin warband that crossed the ford.The huscarls charged the goblins in a rage, and after a few rounds of melee scattered the invaders. The toll was heavy though - the dwarves have lost their king and half of their forces.

Overall it was a fun game - we both enjoyed moving lots of figures around without having to measure for each one precisely. The shooting templates were fun to use.

The new weapons rules I added gave more flavour to the game. The modifiers for the two-handed axes gave the huscarls a real advantage in melee, as did the 'extra attacker' rule for the spears on the goblin side. FG had however forgotten about the wedge formation I told him - perhaps that may have made a difference on one of the flanks?

I still forget bits of rules though, like the shrinking command radius with casualties, and what happens to warriors when their leaders are slain, so I should stop adding new rules until I am more familiar with the basic ones.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Strandhogg Fantasy Game 3: Ambush!

Last month Adrian and I played a scenario from Warhammer Fantasy Skimish using the Strandhogg rules. Here are the pictures he took on his iPhone.

The dwarves find themselves in an ambush!

A goblin warband flanks the dwarves.

The goblins form an attack wedge against the dwarven shieldwall.

In the shieldwall formation the dwarves can be quite tough, but massed archery does take its toll nonetheless.

The dwarves have generally come off worse in our games, but that's probably because I tend to field mostly the unarmoured Rangers. Now that I have beefed up my Warriors warbands and created a Huscarl warband, I want to see how they do in a Hastings type scenario against the goblins. Hopefully I can do that this weekend.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More Perry WOTR

A little development in the WOTR/Empire project:

I painted a billman and an archer to sort of get the pattern set, and am almost done with the fully-armoured knight (who looks like Robocop). I realise I have made a mistake by gluing the figures onto their bases before fitting their arms on - the heads may not be looking at the correct direction, and I may not be able to rank them all up nicely and may have to rebase them eventually...

I also received the Perry metal dismounted knights today. I was wondering if they would be bigger than the plastic figures, but as you can see they match very well.

I guess I'll keep chipping away at the pile of plastics until the LOTR dwarves arrive - then that will take precedence.

No word yet from the Flag Dude regarding my request for a custom-made flag - I suppose he is still clearing his email from after Historicon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More dwarves

I went down to the gaming store to get a bottle of Citadel Dwarf Bronze - it says something about their quality control that despite the number of years between when the dwarves were painted (by the guy I bought them from) and now there is no perceptible difference in the colour of the paint.

Anyway, the paint allowed me to finish the kite shields I bought off ebay (parts from the Wargames Factory Saxon Thegn box), and glue them to the back of my dwarven Huscarls.

There are no straps modelled on the dwarves, but between their beards and the way their arms are held across their chests, it doesn't look obviously absent.

Here's a view of the shields from the back.

I also completed the oval shields for the Hasslefree dwarves. As you can see, with the shield before him, the Hasslefree figure blends in well with his LOTR fellows.

I also gave in and bought the last blister of Murin and Drar from the gaming store, having failed to find a cheaper option on ebay. They are wonderful figures with a lot of dynamism, and I think I will use them as leaders for my Ranger warbands instead of the Warriors warbands. I'll wait for the other 3 metal dwarf warriors I bought on ebay to arrive before painting them all together.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Overcoming Perry Paralysis

One down... 39 more to go. Well, 49 if you count the other figures that I have bought or traded to form this army.

Like many other wargamers, I was daunted when I opened my box of Perry WOTR Infantry; they came at less than S$1 per figure, so I guess one didn't really... expect so much from them. But the sheer prospect of having to remove more than a hundred parts from a sprue, deflash them, decide in what combination to assemble them, whether or not to paint the arms before gluing them to the bodies... Add to that the fact that I will be priming them in white rather than black like I have for the past decades, it all becomes rather overwhelming.

Now the reason why I am priming with white for this project is because yellow forms half of the livery for my troops. I could have chosen a colour scheme that works with black primer, but I decided to use the coat-of-arms of a family whose name a long-time friend shares. The musician in the picture above sports that livery, the banner, as well as the badge for the nobleman.

Admittedly the painting barely makes 'wargames standard', but I am hoping that after a dozen figures I will get better at painting them - if not, there is always the 'mass effect' to fall back on.

With one command figure done, I feel a little relieved. I plan to paint the figures in small batches of 6 or so of the same torso type. The whole project will take me a few months though, but hopefully I can have a game with them before the year ends.