Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last figure of the year

I guess my feelings for Space Marine Librarians as pretty much the same as those the Space Marines themselves have of their Librarians: while I don't really think the use of psychic powers (magic) is honourable, the fact that my enemies use them compels me to adopt them myself. Having a psyker allows me a chance to negate the psychic powers of enemy psykers, and with Adrian and Thomas both fielding psykers... let's just say I didn't start this arms race.

Anyway, once I decided to paint a Librarian figure, the next question was what wargear to field him with, and after that which exact figure to use.

While the Turmiel figure would have been an obvious choice, I wanted my Librarian to be in Terminator armour but I didn't like the ones available. The figure I eventually chose was this one of a Space Marine captain in Terminator armour. The figure came with a storm bolter in the right hand, but as the Librarian has a psychic shooting attack, I didn't want him armed with a shooting weapon he wasn't going to use; instead, I wanted him to have an open right hand like the Turmiel figure, as if he was casting a spell. So after all that, I ended up buying a Turmiel figure just to cut his right hand off to graft onto my Librarian's wrist - the Turmiel figure then had its Dark Angels insignia removed and a hand holding a plasma pistol glued on to its wrist, and will become a Librarian for Adrian's Ultramarines...

Anyway, here's my Librarian.

"I find your lack of faith in the Dewey Decimal System disturbing..."

I painted him blue instead of dark green as the rest of my marines, because of this article. I think he turned out fine, and the blue does set him apart from my other Terminators.

With him painted, I now have three options for my HQ choices.

The Chaplain, the Captain, and the Librarian.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 in Review

It's still a few days till the end of the year but as I will be busy with non-gaming matters this weekend I thought I might as well do this post today.

We played a total of 12 games this year, which isn't as many as I have hope for, but at least we now have more players and armies compared to a year ago.

We didn't play all the games we wanted to for one reason or another though: the Dystopian Wars project is delayed as Spartan Games decided to work on their Dystopian Legions line instead of the promised Ottoman forces, and we never got round to doing the Warring States China campaign.

On the plus side we now have a few games of Age of Eagles under our belts, and three armies too. On the Games Workshop side we are gaining momentum with both 40K and Fantasy Battles. Other than these two games we hope to get the figures and rules sorted for the Macedonian War project, but as hundreds of figures are yet to be painted, this may take a while... Also in the pipeline is a Dux Britanniarum campaign between fg and myself, using mainly LOTR figures. Strandhogg, my previous 28mm skirmish favourite has seen less action in the past few months, so hopefully DB will give the boys a chance to get some fresh air.

That's the hope-to-do; now on to the to-not-do...

Now I am not one for New Year resolutions, but I do plan to buy and paint the minimal of figures in the upcoming year. I still have around 60 28mm figures on the painting list, but that's all - after that, I will have enough (haha) for 2000 pts GW games. The only thing I see myself buying in 2013 in a big way is an Ottoman fleet if Spartan Games decide finally release them.

Those are the plans. Let's see how they survive contact with 2013 then...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

15mm Attalid Pergamene completed

Painted, based and flocked.

These four Impetus units represent my contribution to our planned Macedonian War campaign; they can also double as the Attalid Pergamene under DBA, being 1 x Kn, 1 x Cv, 1 x LH, 7 x Ax, and 2 x Ps. I never play DBA these days, but somehow the vestigial Barkerist inside me compelled me to make sure my little contingent would be DBAble.

With these figures done, my painting commitment is much reduced - but more on that in my next post, I think...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Battle of Busaco

With Martin free to play a game on Sunday, I decided to do another Peninsular War scenario.

Problem with most Peninsular battles is that even with the scale of age of Eagles, we still don't have enough figures and tabletop area for a full battle. After some reading, I decided to depict only the southern half (or two-thirds) of the battlefield, pitting the French II and VIII Corps against the Allied 2nd, 3rd and 5th Divisions.

I gave Martin the option of deploying hidden behind the crest of Busaco ridge, which would oblige the French players (Thomas and Gerard) to approach the ridge blind. Martin chose to deploy at the crest of the ridge, and the French decided to attack the the two ends of his line...

The Allies deploy along the length of the ridge. The cork and bits of turf mark the rough ground.

The French approach, pushing their guns forward.

Line vs. column... well, supported lines, actually.

Panorama of the battlefield, showing the French attacks at both ends of the Allied lines.

After much to-ing and fro-ing, the French managed to occupy the highest points on both ends of the table, and even managed to haul their guns up to the crest on the southern end.

In its basic form, AoE doesn't really confer a "historical" advantage to the British Line vs. French Column match-up. The various scenarios that I looked at had different ways of dealing with this, but all seemed to give too much advantage to the British. I guess I will have to study this aspect again before our next game.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Second Game of 40K

After reading through the rulebook several times, I felt confident enough to play a larger game of 40K with Thomas, this time with walkers and vehicles.

We played a 1765 pts game, with the "capture the flag" scenario: my forces have to capture the bottle of green paint on Thomas' side of the table, while he has to capture the bottle of red paint on my side (yes, we are working on making some proper objective markers...).

Thomas' Rhino lights the way. My Thunderfire cannon sits comfortably in a piece of ruins.

Squad mates cheering Brother Lucius on as he took aim at the enemy dreadnought. He missed.

A meeting of dreads.
Assault troopers face off.
The command squads from both sides face off as the battle reaches its climax.
We still made some minor rule errors, mostly due to unfamiliarity with the stats and some special rules for the weapons, but I think we've got it down more or less.

40K is rather unforgiving in a rock-paper-scissors way - if you haven't got something that can defeat vehicles, you are pretty much toast if the enemy brought some.

Now that we have got a tournament style game done, I am hoping to try some scenarios and see how that works out. Meanwhile, I am slowly painting up new recruits for my force...

Sunday, December 09, 2012

WOTR Artillery

"Espy thou yonder Elven Mage? Confound him and everyone near him!"
While I wait for figures and bits to complete my Attalids and round up my Space Marines forces (it's a never ending process, isn't it?) I decided to get back into the saddle up painting the stuff I already on hand.

With the four figures from Front Rank painted, my artillery corps is now complete: two guns (counts as great cannons under Warhammer rules) and a volleygun (counts as Helblaster), all that I plan to field in my WOTR/Empire army.

The crew come from three different companies: Perry, Mirliton, and of Front Rank, who provided the Master Engineer. The guns come from Perry, Mirliton, and Artizan.

I know artillery crew were "civilians" during the WOTR period, but I have chosen to depict them as a "professional" body, with more a more uniformed look than my other units.

Let's see how they perform then...

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Vexillia does it again!

Allow me to go in a roundabout, rambling fashion as I did last time...

After last weekend's game of Warhammer Fantasy I decided to read more about my army... and I realised that I have completely missed the fact that The Empire has a new army book/codex. That's right, despite the new griffon models the size of a real pigeon and the ridiculous telescope and planetarium on wheels, my mind did not make the connection that: hey! new models = new rules = new codex!

Anyway, that made me decide to get a copy of the new army book (which Adrian got for me yesterday - thanks, bro).

Truth be told I don't actually like the list that much, since I model my army after the WOTR period, and all the shiny bits that make an Empire army powerful - the magic, the priests and fanatics, the monsters - don't really gel with my fluff. I am not even allowed to field massed ranks of longbowmen (although this has always been the case)!

I reckon to hit the points I need I will have to fill out the ranks with foot-sloggers, perhaps another box of Perry plastics, and to give my infantry more bite I will need to bulk out my unit of Greatsword - fully-armoured knights/men-at-arms with two-handed weapons. Now unfortunately the Perry plastic boxed sets only come with 4 of these per box (out of 40 torsos), and they only have 6 attack poses for the metal ones. After some browsing, I settled for the Mirliton figures, which I have used and which fit with the Perry figures, and sent an order off to Vexillia earlier this afternoon.

When I came home from work, I found an email acknowledging my order and telling me the figures have been dispatched, and another email from Paypal telling me that Vexillia has made a partial refund on my order as the actual postage is less than what their site calculated.

That's probably the first time I received a partial refund for postage.

Thanks, Martin.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

First Game of Warhammer Fantasy 8th Edition

Adrian and I managed to play a game of WHFB 8th Ed this afternoon.

He also brought over the X-frame which he made for our tray table.

Finally, we can reach our beers without getting up from our chairs!

The game itself was a small 600 points affair, with no magic, but it allowed us to familiarise ourselves with the turn sequence and the phases of combat and shooting. Adrian learnt that his cannon missed more often than it hit, and I learnt that the dwarves' Toughness of 4 makes them, well, tough.

The Empire battleline move towards the dwarven line.

Mostly though the afternoon was a chance for us to catch up over a few beers and get our figures out and place them on a terrain table, hence this last photo:

Dwarves sally forth from a Mage Knight tower.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

15mm Attalid Pergamene WIP 2

Almost done.

I'm missing two elements worth of figures.

They are frankly not very well-painted as I wanted to turn them out during my leave this week, and because I knew much of the painting would be obscured by the large shields anyway; when I look at the unit from the front all I get is an impression of large white shields, bronze helmets with red crests, and thin wire spear-shafts, so perhaps it's not so unrealistic after all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I am sure you have seen that picture of the shiny man around during the past few weeks.

Well, Dan at merseybooks has chosen to tag me with the award (thanks, Dan!). Dan is the author of Dux Bellorum and Song of Arthur and Merlin, and is currently working on another set of rules for the medieval period - I think I will do a playtest post here soon. Dan is also a contributor on Battlegames magazine, and his ladder campaign in one of the earlier issues is one of my favourite campaign formats.

Now the rules of the meme requires me to tag "five favourite blogs with less than 200 followers", but all the blogs I regularly read have more followers than that, and many have already received the award!

Well, all good things must come to an end, and perhaps that is my part in this. Thanks once again, Dan.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

15mm Attalid Pergamene WIP 1

I finally got the 15mm Xyston figures primed yesterday, and made good progress on them today.

On the left are two of the three bases of cavalry I need, on a movement tray I made myself.

In the centre are the command bases of the two units of thureophoroi I am planning to paint, again on a movement tray. The iconography on the two flags and the letters on them are taken from Pergamene coins, representing Athena's bow and Asklepios' snake respectively. On the right is the single unit of skirmisher.

That's about one third of the force done in an afternoon. I hope to complete the whole DBA-sized force this week.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

First Game of 40K 6th Edition

It's been a while since we managed to get a game in, but yesterday Thomas and I managed to play a small 1000 pts game of 40K.

The basic rules themselves are rather standard - we played without vehicles or artillery - but I suspect things are more complex once we add vehicles, artillery, and psychic powers,

What I found is that given the fast pace of the game, 40K is really rather unforgiving: if your troops are not shooting/assaulting, they are points you have wasted for that turn. Plasma weapons seem to be over-powered, which leads me to wonder if I should get more of them...

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the game.

The two sides face off along the length of the table.

Blood Angels charge into the the gun line.

My Assault Squad, led by the Chaplain, charge into close combat.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Project Graveyard - Final

Thanks to all the readers who left encouraging comments - I am glad to announce that Project Graveyard is complete.

Carrying on from the previous instalment...

The "frame" is sprayed black and then painted in medium grey and drybrushed in light grey. The fence sections are sprayed black, and then painted with a silver paint that leaves a gunmetal finish.

The "insert" is likewise sprayed black and then painted in brown, and highlighted with the same brown paint mixed with some grey paint.  I chose to flock it with Varied Dry Grass from Realistic Modeling instead of my usual green mix to give it that desolate feel.   
The scene is then completed with a crypt, a tree stump, tombstones, and some dried flowers from my potpourri jar (what? A man can't like nice scents?).

I had fun making this, and now fg, Thomas and I are thinking of collaborating on another project: Project Vampire Mansion. I will make an insert for the grounds of the mansion to be fitted inside the same fenced area, fg will build the Warhammer Chapel he has, and Thomas will rig some flickering LED lights for the interior. Stay tuned.

Crypt from Thomarillion
Tombstones and tree stump courtesy of Fantascene
Flock courtesy of Realistic Modeling Services

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Weekend Game: Zombicide

For the Halloween weekend game I suggested we play a themed game, and fg suggested Zombicide, which he got as their Kickstarter offer.

The rules were pretty simple, so we set the boards up and played the first scenario...

Game - check. Drinks and chips - check. Halloween decoration and candy - check.
We were not even one quarter through the objectives before our characters got surrounded by zombies and massacred.

The end for our unfortunate 'survivors'.
Despite a poor initial showing, we decided to replay the scenario, this time with more caution, taking care to spend some time searching for good equipment to make sure all the characters were properly armed, and that as far as possible characters did not level up before all the other characters were also close to levelling up (as the number of zombies raised is pegged to the level of the highest-level character in the game).

This time round we did better, managing to get to all the objectives before the numbers began to pile up and make it look hopeless... and then El Cholo (the Danny Trejo lookalike) sacrificed himself to allow the others to escape with the items required to win the scenario.

'Go! Get to the exit!' El Cholo lays his life down, that others may live.

We made it! Amazingly, Doug, the figure in blue, ultimately made it too.
We had a lot of fun. The game has a rather well-designed algorithm for zombie movement, which means no referee was needed. It is however very tactical, and running around without forward planning would mean a quick end (as we learnt in our first attempt).

The only thing I found lacking was a sense of urgency built into the game; however, this is something easily remedied by the employment of a clock, or the appropriate frame of mind.

I can see us playing this game again, which frankly is about as high a praise as you can give for a boardgame?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Project Graveyard WIP 3

I've combined two evening's work together since there wasn't much progress on account of waiting for the glue to dry.

A layer of masking tape is taped over the entire piece, leaving only the steps and dug grave exposed, and then a layer of white glue is spread over the entire surface.

My usual 'spice mix' of sand and gravel is poured over the insert. When dry, flagstones made from thin card is glued to the path.

The front gate section is removed to show the interior better.

I am still not sure what colour to paint the ground; my usual basing colour is too red and warm for what I am planning to convey here, so I am thinking either a black prime followed by a dark brown and then a drybrush of brown mixed with grey, or to go black and grey.

I won't be able to work on this tomorrow, but I will have all of Friday to prime and paint the pieces, and hopefully put the finishing touches on this project on Saturday.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Project Graveyard WIP 2

Having purchased some mounting board, I went on with phase 2 of the project: the bases.

I glued the rails/frame for the fences onto a mounting board and cut the base out, then sealed the edges with masking tape with disguise the various layers and the joints of the plastic strips.

For the actual cemetery ground itself I decided to make a separate removable board. This once again gives me some flexibility - I can easily model a new landscape if I didn't like my first attempt, or make new inserts for different terrain types.

Once I cut out an insert of the appropriate size, I sketched the basic layout with pencil - a flagstoned path leading to the crypt, with a central dirt track leading to the sides, dividing the interior into four plots.

I used foamcore to build up the height of each plot. In one plot I cut out an open grave. The sides of the foamcore plots are cut at a bevel, and the pieces glued to their assigned places. I didn't have to be very precise because I plan to use masking tape to smooth out the contours.

The baseboard, insert, and sketched layout. Note the open grave and cut for steps.

The parts assembled. A base is added to the crypt and steps added to the cut in the slope.
Now I must wait overnight for the glue to dry before going on the phase 3: terraining.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Project Graveyard WIP 1

I've been sitting on the graveyard project for quite a while, but this afternoon I was suddenly seized with the Halloween spirit and decided to start work on it.

Now a big part of the delay was my indecision over what size to make the piece. After some discussion with fg, we decided to make it modular, usable with both the fence set I got, as well as the PMC walled compound piece.

After toying with a few ideas, I decided on mounting the fence sections on a sort of a rail system, made by the versatile plasticard and plastistrips I had lying around. This will allow me to take the fence down for storage, as well as substitute "ruined" sections of the side walls as required by the scenario.

I also made the decision to cut the fence down to a shorter length, which would make the base board of the piece smaller and thus less prone to warping. The resulting piece is just a little bigger than an A4 size, which is easy to store and use. In one corner you can see the crypt I bought from Thomarillion, a plaster piece.

Later this week I hope to work on the base board itself - a piece of mounting board with some undulation provided by foamcore, with a central path leading from the gate to the crypt in one corner, and other plots for the gravestones that fg has, plus a creepy dead tree for the other corner.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Armed and not too dangerous

While I wait for the 15mm figures from Martin, I painted up some armed peasant, a project inspired by Matt.

The three command figures are Perry plastics, the men Crusader Miniatures 'Peasants and Pilgrims' pack, and the women and children I frankly can't remember now. I bought them mainly to use them in Strandhogg skirmishes, but with the addition of a leader, standard and musician, you can convert almost any 20mm square-based group of figures into a Warhammer unit. In this case I can use them as an Empire Free Company unit.

Inspired by Matt, I too decided to convert a few of the figures to make them look more varied - you get 2 of each pose in the Crusader pack. The first guy on the left was given a wooden shield from the Perry sprue, and the second guy had his sword replaced by a length of toothpick. I think he is the toughest guy in the bunch because who else would go into battle with just a stout stick?

The fourth guy had his axe converted into a flail using the end of a morning star handle and two links of chain from a GW beastmen sprue - rather than to use a real chain, I decided a rigid length of plastic chain was easier to work with.

The last guy had his spearhead swapped for a polearm head from a Perry sprue. I don't think there is a farm implement that looks like that, but it seems to work.

All the figures were spray-primed red-brown and then painted in earth tones. I chose a (very) limited palette to give them a sense of cohesion.

I think this is one group of figures I wouldn't mind adding to. Now when does Foundry have its sale?

Monday, October 01, 2012


With my Space Marines completed and the Attalid Pergamenes yet to arrive, I have a time slot between projects that is too short for me to start on any of my outstanding ones (several one-dozen 28mm figures jobs lined up), yet I do not want to stop painting for fear of losing momentum.

What do you do in times like this? You build characters.

The beastman is a Resina Planet Khaos Gor. After looking at a few options, I decided to add some putty onto his legs to disguise that fact that he has scrawny ones. Then for good measure I threw in a piece of driftwood I found on the beach at Foca (of the Phokians fame) in front of them, stained with Devlan Mud.

The female dwarf is from Scibor, a gift from fg. Her shield is unfortunately miscasted, but let's just call it battle-damage. I replaced her rather cartoony sword with a mace from a Perry WOTR box. I think I will call her Mathilde.

These two characters will join my small beastmen warband and my rather bigger dwarf hold.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

St Teilo's Church

A while back I traded some figures with Matt. Since I didn't want any of the figures he had on hand, I took him up on an offer of a scratch-built building.

After browsing through the pictures of some historical buildings he took on his blog, I asked for a church building based on St Teilo's Church, pictures of which I have posted below:

We decided on a single-hall structure, and Matt went off to work...

Two months later, I picked up the church from the local post office, and what I saw was simply stunning. I'll let the photos do most of the talking. I've posed it inside a walled enclosure I bought off ebay and the trees I recently bought.

A wounded knight seeks sanctuary at a church

The gate swings open, and he is greeted by the friar and a lay follower of the church

The porch is removable. Note also the Celtic Cross made by Matt

The door swings open...

Matt has recreated the interior of the church too!

"Lie down upon this table and rest, my good sir."

The bell in the belfry actually swings!

I don't think anyone could have made a better trade than this one. :)

Added: Matt's post on this building here.