Wednesday, 12 December 2012

More Goodies!

Another bunch of stuff I picked up on sale, this time from Wayland Games' Halloween sale. You might remember the 40mm Greek Heroes I posted up at the very beginning of this blog (if not, you can read about them here), and these are the rest of the set. I had no real plans to buy these beforehand (story of my life!) but the price was too good to resist - the combined retail price, as you can probably work out from the stickers on the blister packs, should have been around £45 (the Skeletons alone are £35, plus the Minotaur for £7.50 - I estimate Jason would be around £4/5). In the sale, I picked the lot up for the grand total of £12.84!

There are four different packs of Skeletons: 3 Spear-armed Skeletons, 3 Sword-armed Skeletons, 3 "Thracian" Skeletons (armed with Spears, but wearing just linen tunics) and 3 "Heroes" (with helmets, armour and swords). 

Then of course there's Jason, who is a suitably heroic-looking Brad Pitt-esque hero. He'll team up nicely with the three Greek Heroes I've already got.

And no Greek adventure would be complete without a Minotaur. This is only a "lesser" Minotaur, but it's a good looking figure nonetheless.

All this has given me vague ideas for a 'Jason and the Argonauts' themed skirmish game at some point. Whether that will ever materialise is anyone's guess!


At long last, Malifaux has taken hold at Stafford Games and people have started buying Crews and playing games. Finally! Now I have the excuse I wanted to start buying figures of my own! 

I've picked up quite a few bits over the last month or so. First up was the Rasputina "Cult of December" box set and a Fate Deck (because Rasputina's cool and I love winter-y bases - an excuse to go to town with some base inserts and snow effects!)

Extra Ice Gamin (you can never have too many Gamin...), a Silent One, Alternative Rasputina (my favourite Malifaux figure) and Rasputina's Avatar of Famine were a few purchases at the Wargamer show.

And I managed to pick up a few extras on sale, just before Maelstrom Games went bust; Marcus, Fire Gamin and two Performers & Mannequins (for when I get a Colette crew going!)

Obviously, the focus here is Arcanists and specifically Rasputina at the moment. It was a Colette crew that I initially had my eye on but after reading around, I figured I needed a "basic" crew to get into the game with before taking on the more challenging Colette. The Arcanists were my faction of choice simply because of the models; they were the one faction where the majority of models appealed to me. 

I'm going to hold off on getting these assembled and painted until I've had a think about bases - I've seen some very cool effects on Malifaux models with base inserts and scenic bases, so I'm going to take some time (and wait until after the Christmas post has settled down) to consider some options and plan what I'm going to do with them. I have plenty of models to paint in the meantime!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

More Dwarves

As well as the Moria game boards, I've also been working on my Dwarf forces to battle against the hordes of Moria Goblins. This is just the first batch; I've got another 8 archers, another 8 with shields and 8 with two-handed weapons, plus 6 two-handed weapons that are almost finished (the last group of this first batch). Once they're all painted, I'll have a grand total of 41 Dwarf Warriors (not to mention the Khazad Guard, Iron Guard and Rangers I have still to paint!)

And, as mentioned a few posts ago, I went back to the Dain Ironfoot figure and added a few embellishments. A touch of gold here and there to emphasise his royal status, plus the cloak got a bit of extra treatment as well.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Of course, it's that time of year again - yes, it's nearly Christmas but it's also time for Da Warpath's Advent Challenge! For those that don't know, this is a 'challenge' where painters sign up to tackle painting one complete miniature in one day on each day of December. I've taken part before (which you can read about here), and I'm taking part again this year. 

I signed up for two days again; the 6th and 13th December. Of course, the 6th has already been and gone, so here's what I painted!

Before, at precisely 10:01AM!
And after, at 7:07PM the same day.

As you might have guessed, it's a LotR Dwarf Captain. I love the metal LotR Dwarf figures, and they're really easy to paint as well. I actually thought this would take longer than it did, but then it always surprises me when I find I can complete a figure in a day (just think how productive I'd be if I did this every day!)

As I mentioned, I'm also signed up for the 13th, which is this coming Thursday. I'm not sure yet what I'll paint for that - I have a metal Balin figure waiting in the wings, but I'm not sure it would be good form to paint two stunties for a O&G forum! I might have to bring out old Durburz the Goblin King I've been meaning to paint for a while instead.

The Battle of Lech (sort of...)

After much ado then, here are the collected pics of the game we put on at Wargamer this year!

As mentioned previously we came up with a different scenario this time round, and used most of the existing terrain boards with only the addition of a couple of extra river sections. I apologise in advance for the poor lighting of the photos!

The table viewed from the Swedish side
From the Swedish left flank
And the Swedish right flank
Finally, the view from the Imperial side (sort of...)

The table was laid out as above, with the river obviously being the main feature. The objective for both sides was to force their way across the river, whilst preventing the opposition from doing the same. There were ostensibly two crossing points (the ford and the bridge) but a third 'secret' crossing point was also available for the Swedes via the marsh on the Imperial right flank.

We used the Black Powder rules from Warlord Games for the battle; it was only our third or fourth outing with them, so we were expecting a few mistakes along the way.

The forces take up their positions
The game began with mixed fortunes for both sides; the Swedish cavalry got off to a flying start and began racing towards the marsh on the Swedish left flank. The Swedish infantry in the centre got off to a slow start as they made their way to the ford. The Swedish right, held by Hepburn's Scots and Schlammersdorf's regiment, didn't get off to a start at all as they failed their command roll. 

The Imperials suffered even worse, managing only to move a single regiment in their first turn before the rest of the army was halted by a failed command roll.

The Swedish cavalry brigade begin their charge down the left flank;
unbeknown to the Imperial commander, the marsh was in fact fordable

Meanwhile, the Swedish infantry begin their (slow) advance to cross the ford

Failed command rolls would become a regular feature as the game wore on; the advance of the Swedish infantry was incredibly slow, due in part to the pile-up of units, but also due to not rolling low enough to allow sufficient moves. If the Command rolls had been better, the Imperials would really have been in trouble!   As it was, they had time to get a few units in position to contend the crossing, although they were plagued by poor Command rolls themselves. 

Meanwhile, on the Swedish right, things were really stalling - Hepburn's Scots managed two turns of failed Command rolls and found themselves in the middle of the bridge, disordered and charged by Imperial cavalry. Needless to say, they were quickly routed. However, the Schlammersdorf regiment was there to take up the position vacated by the Scots. 

The pile-up at the ford

Finally, a breakthrough came at the ford as the Swedish Blue pikemen made a successful three-move charge across the river and into the Imperial musketeers guarding the crossing. They smashed the musketeers aside, but were then faced with a difficult choice; whether to fall back and hand the initiative to the Imperials, to stand still in the face of cannon fire and muskets, or to advance even further into Imperial lines unsupported. In the end they bravely (foolishly?) advanced as far as they could towards the cannon directly ahead of them, hoping to suffer few casualties before charging the following turn.

View from the Swedish rear; you can just see the Swedish Blue pikemen
in the distance after their successful breakthrough
Luckily, the Swedish Blue's breakthrough proved to be the opening the Swedes needed. They were shortly followed by the Swedish Yellow and Red regiments and the Imperial lines began to crumble. Yet there was another twist of fate, as the Imperial reinforcements chose this moment to show up just in time to face off against the (slowly) rampaging Swedes.

Finally, the Swedes get the majority of their force across the river,
just in time to join up with the flanking cavalry force
Meanwhile, on the right flank, the ambitions of the Imperial cavalry were continually thwarted by the Schlammersdorf regiment. Finding themselves stuck on the bridge in much the same way as Hepburn's Scots (failing their Command roll four turns in a row!), they nevertheless managed to hold off repeated cavalry charges despite being out of formation and disordered.

Meanwhile, on the Swedish right, the Schlammersdorf
regiment continue to frustrate the Imperial cavalry

The battle continued for just a couple more turns, but it was clear that the Swedes had won a convincing victory. They had claimed two of the crossing points comprehensively, had denied the other to the Imperials, and in the end had broken two Imperial brigades for the cost of just two regiments of pikemen. Another Swedish victory!  

Saturday, 8 December 2012

A Brief Interruption

Well, this isn't the post I intended to make. Following on from my last post, last Sunday was the occasion of Wargamer 2012. We put on our latest game, and I had intended to show off a few pics and ramble a bit about how the day went. 

I also had updates on the Mines of Moria game boards, progress with more LotR figures, the return of Da Warpath's annual Advent Challenge, and a few other "surprise" posts lined up. 

All those plans stalled though when, on the journey home from Wargamer last week, I managed to lose my camera in a lay-by when we pulled over to drop off passengers. Naturally, I was more than a little miffed when I discovered the loss of the camera, as it had all the the pictures of the Wargamer show, as well as all the pictures of all the other stuff I'd been up to on it! 

BUT! Through a series of very fortuitous events, my camera has been found! I won't bore you with all the details, but it turns out the camera was picked up by the son of someone who knows my parents. They managed to identify that the camera belonged to me (through seeing some of the pictures on the camera, of my family at the Olympics this year) and so the camera eventually made it's way to my parent's house. 

I still have to go and pick the camera up, but I'm mightily relieved that it's been found and that I still have all the pictures I took. And so, when I get the camera back, I'll be able to post all this stuff I've been planning after all!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

How Time Flies!

Wow, these last three weeks have gone quick! It seems the closer we get to the end of the year, the faster time seems to fly by.

In the intervening weeks since my last post though, time seems to have gone so quickly that I've not had a moment to really make much progress with anything. It also surprised me to find that we're now only 4 days away from Wargamer 2012, and so all other projects have been frantically shoved aside in order to make our preparations.

Yes, the Wyrley Retinue are once again putting on a game at this local show, and we're bringing out the Thirty Years' War again. Having run our Battle of Steinkirche (based on Steenkerke, 1692) at last year's Wargamer, as well as at Alumwell WMMS this year, we're changing the game a bit with a new scenario and a new layout (mostly utilising our existing terrain boards, but with a couple of new additions).

This time out, we're basing our game on the Battle of Lech 1632 (also known as the Battle of Rain). The scenario, as in the original battle, is based on a river crossing; the Swedes want to cross the river Lech and find their army opposed by the Imperialists. The Imperialists, however, believe that the Swedish army is only a diversionary army and so they dispatch half their forces further downriver to where they believe the rest of the Swedish army is gathering. As it turns out, there is no "other Swedish army" and in fact the Swedish force facing the now-reduced Imperialist army across the river Lech is the *entire* Swedish army (i.e. it's not a diversion). The Imperialists find themselves facing an army of around 45,000 Swedes with only 25,000 men of their own, and so the scene is set for our own battle.

Of course, those who have seen our boards for the Steinkirche game will notice a distinct lack of river, and so new boards were commissioned from the WRTMF (or "Wyrley Retinue Terrain Making Factory" aka Gary's back garden...).

With judicious use of our existing boards, we were able to come up with a layout that kept our new terrain requirements down to just two new boards - another 4'x2' board and another 2'x2' board, both made up as river/water "tiles".

The two new tiles, textured and ready for painting
Since the above pictures were taken, the boards have been painted and the river was ready for varnishing. All that's left at this stage is finishing off the various other bits that go along with the game (such as extra figures, casualty markers, plus more scenery).

I might get chance to update on progress again prior to Sunday, but if not, I'll report after the show on how it all goes! If you're in the Great Barr area on Sunday, why not pop along and come have a chat :)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A "Short" Introduction

See what I did there?! I know, I'm bringing the house down...

In yet another interlude (although this one is slightly related!), I've some pictures of a few Dwarves I've been painting up while waiting for the game boards to dry. Dain Ironfoot (who I think I'll go back and touch up - he needs some gold in there somewhere!), a few Khazad Guard and even fewer Iron Guard.

These are the elite of the army - Dain is as hard as nails, the Khazad Guard are fearless and brutal, and the Iron Guard are a whirlwind of choppy death. I have another nine Khazad Guard and three Iron Guard to go, but I'm working on a bunch of basic warriors at the moment to make up the core of the force.

The Interlude

By way of an interlude between more updates on the game boards, here are those pictures of the European Mercenaries I put together a couple of weeks ago. I now have 40 pikemen (arranged in two units of 20), 20 handgunners (in two units of 10) and 12 crossbowmen. I have a few bodies left over, so they'll likely become more crossbowmen depending on what parts I have left to use.

These most certainly won't be painted for a while, at least not until 2013. I still have to do sufficient research into colour schemes/uniforms to reassure me that I won't get them "wrong" once I start painting...

In other news, the PDF rulebook for DreadBall: Season 1 was made available to the Kickstarter backers yesterday. I've yet to read through it all properly, but I'm planning on making a "rules summary" post at some point to share a little about how the game plays. Until next time...

Friday, 2 November 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men....

I said in my last post that I had Plans™ for this week. Did they come to fruition?

Well, sort of. I had envisaged making great swathes of progress, getting loads done and emerging into this weekend with a glowing feeling of satisfaction at a job well done. That was obviously overly optimistic and unrealistic but, while I have made good progress, I somehow feel like I should have done more!

But this is all very negative. There are lots of positives, so let's backtrack and start over!

As I said in my last post, the primary "objective" for the past week was to begin work on a Mines of Moria-themed game board for LotR games (specifically those between Dwarves and Moria Goblins, being as those are the two forces me and my brother most often play with, when he's not slaughtering my Uruk-Hai with his Fellowship...)

I'm happy to report that work has indeed begun on such a game board; in fact, it's more than just begun, it's a fair way through! We settled on making a 4'x4' modular game board (made up of 4 x 2'x2' square boards)

This was our plan for roughly how we wanted the boards to look (if you click the picture, you can get a larger version where you can actually read the labels for everything...). One advantage of making the board modular is that we can rearrange the boards for several different combinations of terrain, although there are obviously a couple of features that are limited in where they can be placed.

We began construction work with two sheets of 6mm MDF measuring 4'x2'...

...and cut them in half to create four 2'x2' "quarters":

It was at this point that I discovered that the big sheet of 5cm polystyrene I'd bought to use as the basis of the game boards wasn't quite 2' wide (it was about an inch short). Annoying.

And so my solution was to construct a frame from thinner pieces of polystyrene around the edges of the MDF boards:

The main polystyrene 'board' was then cut to fit each of the framed boards:

The polystyrene "tile" fitted into the frame and glued down on each of the boards, before any gaps were smoothed over with filler. The edges of each board were taped round with two or three layers of masking tape, which was then covered with a couple of coats of PVA to stiffen the tape and provide a reasonably solid edge to prevent any particularly bad damage to the edges of the polystyrene boards.

I forgot to photograph this stage, so here's a picture of a Goblin instead

Once the filler and glue had thoroughly dried, the fun parts could begin. First, each board had the rough plan drawn on to get an idea of where the various terrain features would be built on. Then we began cutting out the various hill levels we needed:

Slave labour at it's best...
The various hill levels (each hill ended up with at least three bits of polystyrene cut for it) were glued together separately before being glued and pinned with cocktail sticks to the boards themselves:

Two of the boards together, showing the "coming together" of the overall plan!
And then, before I went back to work today, I set about gouging out the chasm that will run across the corner of one of the boards:

I have to admit, making this much mess was a lot of fun...

And this is currently where we stand!

The next stage is to finish off the terrain features - the edges of the chasm and the hills all need "texturing" (i.e. carving great chunks out of them to make them look like rock...) and various bits of rubble and debris need adding.

After that, I'm planning on texturing each of the boards with fine sand (much like the bases of my LotR Dwarves and Goblins) and then painting can begin!

~ ~ ~

In addition to all of that, in the gaps where we waited for filler and glue to dry, I got on with painting figures (predictably, Dwarves and Goblins...) while my brother set about making various bits of removable terrain to add to the boards. I'll come back with pictures of those, along with more progress on the boards, next time!