Saturday, May 26, 2012


We just conducted the annual mock exam for a post-graduate diploma that my company offers this afternoon, and I was looking like one of the figures in the picture above until a long hot bath.

Reinvigorated, I managed to finish painting the remainder of the figures in the Perry WOTR 'Dead and Wounded' pack.

I think casualty figures are the wargaming equivalent of peacock feathers - they give the message: I am so resource-ful as a wargamer, I have the money and time to buy and paint non-essential figures.

But mostly they just look cool.

With fg starting work on more zombies for Strandhogg, we are discussing special rules for Undead, which of course must provide for raising dead enemies as zombies. Some of these casualty figures will serve as markers for the positions of fallen combatants, while the wounded ones will probably come in useful for some sort of POW or rescue scenario.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wood Elf base

I hate elves.

I think they are gay.

But that was before I met Prince Nuada.

I have a soft spot for the underdog, and in terms of the story and the visuals I think the movie-makers managed to create an anti-hero one can root for. The story of course parallels the fluff for my beastmen, and putting the two together will give me the excuse to mix all sorts of Celtic-themed mythological creatures into my force. Joy.

After an extensive search with fg, I think I've got my Prince Nuada figure - but we weren't able to find the exact base I wanted. Then last weekend fg brought over his bits box, and inside it I found a bit from the GW Dryad box that looked the part. Gluing it to a corner of one of the resin bases I have (gotta love those stuff), I got this:

We have those flowing mystical symbols which look vaguely Celtic, and vines which remind one of the plant elemental unleashed by the prince in the movie. It sets the tone for the whole base, but at the same time should not take the focus from the figure itself, which I will paint in a rather low key black colour.

Should be fun, this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Games that Define Us

There's a meme going around wargaming blogs that asks the questions: Could I define the wargamer I am today, by the games I've played and indeed the games I didn't play? Could I pick out ten examples and show where it all went so horribly wrong... or depending on your viewpoint, so gloriously right?

I can think of a ton of games that I *didn't* play, but I would much rather bore you with the story of the games I *did* play.

Now kids, in the summer of 1984 your Uncle Don and I went to a bookstore...

1. Grailquest

It was 1984 and I was eleven. My brother and I came across Books 1 and 2 of the Grailquest while at a departmental store (I think it was) and we each got one copy. He didn't really take to the game, but I got hooked by the whole concept of an interactive adventure book. I introduced it to my best friend at school then, who asked his mother to get him a copy. She didn't find a copy, but she got something she thought was similar - Book 5 of the Fighting Fantasy Series, City of Thieves. The two of us went on to buy and play all of the first seven or so books. I also went on to collect all the books in the Grailquest series, which I still own.

2. Fighting Fantasy Role-playing Game

Sometime afterwards Fighting Fantasy came up with their multi-player RPG system. Unlike a solo gamebook, this was a "traditional" RPG with a Gamemaster. I managed to convince my siblings to play through the adventures in the book (the only time I think they played an RPG), and went on to write several adventures of my own. The system is of course primitive and the stories Gygaxian, but it fired my imagination and started me on a life-long career of GMing.

3. Fighting Fantasy Miniatures

Moving forward to 1985... I was at the usual shelf of the bookstore where I got my gamebooks when I saw something shiny and new: plastic miniatures of wizards, barbarians, and monsters, plus some curiously shaped dice. I bought a couple packs of the figures and the dice (thinking back I guess my parents were rather indulgent...) and once again roped my siblings in for a few games. This is perhaps the first miniature wargame I played. Sadly I no longer own the figures, but I still have a couple of the soft plastic dice - my first polyhedrals.

4. Knights at War

Somewhere around this time I came across this large, colourful book with 4 games inside. I bought it, cut the pieces out, learnt the rules, and played a few games with my brothers. This book arguably taught me the concept of military history, of the extent of history and how warfare changed throughout time. I still have it in my cupboard.

5. WRG Ancients

Like many other wargamers of my age, I too tell the story of stumbling upon a book on wargaming at the local library that started one on a life-long addiction. In my case, it was a copy of WRG's 6th edition Ancients. At that time, with no one to guide me, I could not understand the rules, and only had an idea that here there were rules that serious grown-ups played. I later came across Donald Featherstone's War Games Through the Ages, which had formative effect on my hobby.

6. Dragon Warriors

In 1986 I went to secondary school, where some of the kids there were playing Dungeons & Dragons. Not being in the same class as them and unable to afford the rules, I was delighted when I saw Dragon Warriors at the gamebook shelf. For something like S$16 you got the first two books of the series. I recruited a few classmates, and very soon word spread and I had more people who wanted to join. At one point I had 13 players in the same game, and we had to split the group - in a fashion similar to popular sitcoms, some characters had spin-off campaigns of their own. I ended up GMing during recess, after school, and after extra-curricular activities on Saturday. I don't think I was a particularly good or sophisticated GM (I was thirteen!), but we had lots of fun.

When DW was re-released in 2008, I hooked up with a new group over an rpg forum and relived the good times.

7. Ogre and Battlesuit

One of my friends in secondary school introduced me and a few friends to this, and I guess we got into wargaming proper. We bought and played the subsequent supplements: GEV, Shockwave, and also bought  Battlesuit when it came out. Battlesuit would lead me to later purchase my first GW army in the form of plastic Space Marines (Mk VI beakies).

8. Napoleon's Battles

In 1990, now in junior college, my group of wargaming friends and I joined the school wargamer's club and became committee members. Wargames were still hard to come by, and the local hobby store stocked mainly boardgames and expensive Citadel miniatures. Then Avalon Hill released Napoleon's Battles. After some discussion I bought a copy, and our little group started painting some 20mm ESCI and other plastic figures to use with these rules. This would be our first historical miniatures wargame. We would go on to play these rules for many years.

9. DBA

In 1991 we all graduated from JC and enlisted. wahj got a scholarship to study in UK and I disrupted to go to medical school. When wahj came back on his first vacation, he brought with him a copy of DBA and a few 15mm DBA armies for us. It was a big deal at that time because now we were playing the same game and using the same metal miniatures as the wargamers in the big league were. I still have these poorly-painted figures in my collection.

So there you have it, kids. The story of how I became a Role-player and Wargamer. The details and dates may not be all that accurate, and I might have missed things out, but by and large that's how it happened.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Strandhogg Game 9: Heroic Stand

For our game this weekend I decided to utilise the Command Challenge scenario from the latest issue of Battlegame.

The original scenario has Spartans, abandoned by their Macedonian allies, having to make a fighting retreat in hostile territory under the attack by the Illyrian alliance. I substituted the slow-moving dwarves for the Spartans, and put together an alliance of Beastmen, Skavens and Goblins as their opponent.

As in the original scenario, I gave the players a choice of victory conditions. The dwarves could win by either exiting the table with 50% or more of their strength, or eliminating 75% of their enemy. The alliance could score a minor victory of eliminating 50% of the dwarves, or a major victory by eliminating 80% of the dwarves. If the Alliance player chose to go for the major victory, he could recycle on destroyed unit.

The dwarves start within 12" of the centre of the ruins, while the alliance enter via the far table edge. The ford at the middle of the table was the only crossable point of the river.

fg entered the able with all his forces on the right bank. While this allowed him to cut off Martin's escape, it also meant he had to fight the river crossing to get to the dwarves.

Martin formed up one unit in a shieldwall at the ford, while his archers shot at anyone who came close to the bank.

An initial charge by the warg riders was repelled...

As was one led by the Skaven Warlord.

Finally, the Beastlord himself led the charge. Meanwhile, having lost most of one beastmen unit to archery, fg voluntarily routed it off table and recycled it, this time on the left bank. Martin despatched his rangers to meet the threat, while his other warband rounded the ruins to support them.

The Alliance broke the shieldwall, killed the thane and gained a beach-head, forcing the Huscarls and the remainder of the warband to fall back inside the ruins, while the rangers take casualties from the flanking beastmen. But before the beastmen can exploit their success, Martin has killed enough enemies to hit his victory condition.

This is probably the most one-sided (pun unintended) Strandhogg game we've played. I had expected Martin to execute a fighting retreat, and fg to execute a two-prong attack, which would have prevented Martin from concentrating his missile power. fg also had the poor luck of losing his archers early, and rolling poorly for shooting.

This is an interesting scenario that perhaps deserves to be recycled too. Our next scenario may see the dwarves paying the humans a visit and asking some tough questions...

In the meantime, here's a shot of fg's Skavens, who gave a good account of themselves in their first outing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Great service from Vexillia

I spent the last few evenings thinking about rules for 15mm WOTR. We've used Warmaster before, and I have read Canadian Wargame Group's Flower of Chivalry, Peter Pig's Bloody Barons, Real Time Wargames' For, Lords, Tomorrow is a Busy Day, and The Perfect Captain's A Coat of Steel, but none really hit the right spot for me.

I liked Flower of Chivalry's command system, and Bloody Barons' mixed units, but wanted a simpler combat system. Eventually I decided to combine the two and come up with some rules for combat... But that's not the point of this post.

Now I went back to look at the 15mm WOTR army I've collected over the years - more than a hundred elements that came from several ebay purchases - and realised that to lend a uniformity to these figures with their different painting styles and basing I should perhaps re-flag them all.

A brief search on the internet provided some very good free banners to download, which with my laser colour printer (best non-exclusively-hobby-related buy of the year so far) will supply the flags for the units. However, standards are nowhere to be found and after some more searching I decided to buy some of the famous Freezywater flags from Vexillia.

The Freezywater flags range is extensive and the price reasonable, but the postage for two sheets came up to 8 pounds. Noting that they also carried Mirliton's range of 28mm Late Medievals/Fantasy Human, I decided to supplement my Perrys with a few figures - the postage came up to 9 pounds. Happy with myself, I completed the transaction and thought nothing of it.

Then when I came back this evening I found this email from Vexillia in my Junkmail folder:

Hi Shoon 
Thank you very much for your order.
Before I ship the order I need you to confirm something for me.  You 
have ordered 28 mm miniatures and 15 mm flags.  Are you sure?
If you meant to order 28 mm miniatures and 25 mm flags let me know and I 
will adjust the order for you.
Martin Stephenson
Vexillia Limited

I don't know about you, but I smiled when I read that. It's good to see someone making an effort to prevent a fellow gamer from being disappointed from a silly mistake he made making an online order; he could well have just packed the order and shipped them and gone home and I would only have myself to blame for clicking on the wrong tabs (had that been the case), but he decided to spend that extra time and effort to make sure I get what I want.

Thank you, Martin.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Female Beastman Shaman

Beastwoman Shawoman?

This is one of the stranger figures I've ever painted. It's the female beastman shaman from CMON which fg passed to me. Its pose is a little odd, but then I don't think there are many female beastmen on the market...

I've given it the same treatment as my other beastmen, using red as the main colour with silver and bronze for the metallics and green for the accents. I've in fact decided to paint the whirl of what must be magical energy in her left hand green.

Her staff is quite a nice thing, featuring moaning skulls which I suppose could have been painted as some sort of a magical emanation instead of wood.

We haven't actually used magic in our Strandhogg games so far, but since my human and dwarven forces both have female representations, it's nice to have one for my beastmen too. Now if only I could find a suitable female goblin figure...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


My copy of the Sorcery! campaign module arrived in the mail today.

It is probably fair to say that I waited for years for this, after Myriador failed to deliver the fourth instalment of the series. Feels good to have the product in my hands now.

Inside the covers the text and illustrations are familiar...

But therein lies the problem - not all of the encounters and puzzles from a solo gamebook lend themselves well to being converted to an RPG format, where the options available to the players are not limited to two or three offered by the author. The way some spell components, artifacts and clues and hints are deposited for the players to pick up and use also seem fortuitous.

While I appreciate that the authors have kept the stories true to the original, almost thirty years have passed between when I first played the first book and today, and I have to say that both my prospective players and I may prefer a more... "realistic" setting and experience.

That is not to say that I won't use the module - I will just have to go through the whole series to make the storyline less linear, take out the more... childish elements (yes, I wasn't complaining about that thirty years ago now, was I ?), and maybe give the whole setting a darker, grittier atmosphere.

Monday, May 07, 2012

My head is killing me

Casualty figures add character to an army and the tabletop, and are a break from painting too many "line" figures.

Here's one of the casualty figures from the Perry WOTR metal pack, posing by a plastic wall corner which I think came from a 1:72 WW2 box.

The base is a 40mm square base I bought for use with my 15mm DBX armies - it's also the right size for four 20mm bases, which means it can be a unit filler.

The figure has a nice pose, but it's not really a high-quality sculpt or cast, or even the same scale as the Perry plastic figures (one shown here with GW Empire arms - I kinda wanted to show off the pose I created by trimming some plastic off the arm...).

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Fine Advice

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I seem to have lost my momentum - I spent most of this afternoon watching a Family Guy marathon on cable TV while completing 3 WOTR figures; I guess the arrival of the GW Empire sword arms gave me the motivation to at least get something painted today.

Even with another lot of 88 castings expected to be delivered this month I found myself googling for a suitable figure for a Prince Nuada who would lead a Fey army of beastmen and other creatures against humanity...

As most wargamers I have the tendency to buy more than I can paint, and accumulate more figures and rules than I actually do play with, which is why I find this post on Henry Hyde's blog a useful reminder. Do have a read.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Perry WOTR infantry with GW arms

Even though I know I will probably never paint a big enough army to play WHFB, I have the crazy idea of buying and painting more Perry WOTR infantry and organisation them along the Empire codex.

Plus I need some armoured arms for my remaining figures.

Anyway, I bought some GW Warhammer bits which arrived in the mail today.

The armoured arms are too big and make the figures look like Hellboy. The unarmoured sword-arms are smaller, and more importantly the hands are of the appropriate size; a bit of trimming to get the angles, and this is what I ended up with:

The two figures on the left have GW arms, while the one on the right is the original for comparison. If you look closely you can still see that the arms are a little large - but once in a unit, especially with a shield over the left hand, that will probably pass unnoticed.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Have you herd the call of the wild?

I'm losing a bit of momentum, and frankly the Ungors are a bit harder to do than the Gors... but here they are anyway.

These are the heads and the bodies of the older edition Ungors (don't ask me which edition) with the arms of the current edition - the older ones came only with spears.

As you can see there are quite a few poses and variants of bows. The Ungors seem to have personalised their bows; even the arrows are not identical.

With them done, I can now field a force of two warbands for Strandhogg.

The Gors will be good fighters, but the lack of armour will probably cost the beastmen. I'm planning to get a minotaur for the force when the one I want gets released. In the meantime, I had better get the WOTR casualties done before my next delivery (of 64 figures!) arrives.

A wargamer in Istanbul and Iznik

It's been almost six months, but here are the photos I took on my trip to Istanbul last year.

Veterans of the Cyprus campaign in 1974. These men were on their way to their regimental reunion. 

Ishtar Gate, Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

Various Bronze Age/Age of Chariots artifacts.

 The Alexander Sarcophagus.

Remnants of the city walls at Iznik/Nicea.
Some guy I spotted running across the street with a chainsaw strapped to his back...Looks like they are preparing for the zombie apocalypse in Turkey too.

Display outside the Military Museum, telling the story of Seyid Cabuk.


Yurt ornament. Perhaps someone might make some of these? Baueda?

Turkish sword and dagger

Detail view of chainmail

The manager at my hotel, who is doing a higher degree in Archaeology, suspects that this isn't the genuine article...

These polearms and helmets look like they were copied out of Perry's WOTR plastic infantry box set...

I asked a fellow visitor to pose beside this sword to give a sense of scale.

African throwing knives

Does anyone know which regiment this came from?

Needs more spikes and skullz...

Something for the Pulp gamer.

Turkey's first submarine, by those fellows from Spartan Games.

Guards at the back gate of Dolmabache Palace. Note the air-conditioned glass sentry-box o the left.
A model of Hayreddin Barbarossa's flagship at the Istanbul Naval Museum.
A soldier outside Topkapi Palace (I think it was).