Monday, July 16, 2018

Changing Direction

I'm not happy playing Age of Sigmar.  I thought maybe I could make it work, but it's just not the right game for me.  So, I've put out some feelers and might have a couple guys who'll take my army off my hands piecemeal.  And if I'm being honest with myself, I don't see myself putting in the level of work to get a Kings of War army off the ground either. 

Outside of Frostgrave and miniatures for role-playing games, I'm feeling just about done with 28mm scale.  And a big chunk of this is that we're getting ready to move out of our current apartment and into a new one in a few weeks, and in preparation I've largely packed up my miniatures stuff.  It ended up being a lot bigger of a pile than I expected, even with some pretty darn good Tetris'ing to get various boxes packed into a big plastic tote. 

So I've been doing some heavy thinking today, and I keep circling back around to an idea I've come back to a number of times in the past without pulling the trigger on: 1/72 scale plastic figures.  They're inexpensive ($11-$17 for around 40-50 infantry or a dozen cavalry), they'll take up less space to store, and the sculpting has improved significantly since I was a kid (although those old kits I used to see in my dad's monthly Squadron catalog are still on the market in most cases). 

The big stumbling block in my thinking in the past was getting someone interested in playing with me in that scale; and I think I've found the work-around.  Solo wargaming.  Yes, yes, "playing with myself" jokes aside, it does lose some of the social aspect of wargaming, but at the same time, gaming on my schedule, with the rules of my choice, is definitely appealing. 

As for rulesets, I'm leaning towards Neil Thomas' One-Hour Wargames, which I first picked up almost four years ago now.  I think a couple boxes of figures would make for a really enjoyable winter's solo campaign.  My current inclination is a couple boxes of Zvezda Hundred Years' War English and a few of Dark Alliances' Tolkien-inspired Orcs; run the English as a generic medieval human kingdom using the Medieval rules from One-Hour Wargames, and run the Orcs using the Dark Ages list to represent their lighter armor and looser organization. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Battle of the So Many Skeletons

This past weekend I got to participate in a very enjoyable three-way game of Frostgrave at Just Games - the first of, hopefully, many to come, as we hope to make this at least a monthly event. 

I'd brought a big container of skeletons - the ones I'd painted for Dragon Rampant - so we played the Mausoleum scenario from the core rulebook; a mausoleum in the center of the board (in this instance, played by a 3D-printed Cthulhu idol) spits out an animated skeleton every round while having most of the treasure tokens on the board clustered around it.  Between Tom and myself we put out a pretty good spread of terrain though given the extremely long-range Imps I managed to drop we probably could have done a slightly better job of breaking up line of sight. 

my 3D-printed terrain still needs to be painted.

I brought my trusty Summoner warband, while Tom showed up with an Enchanter crew and Dave, who was just learning the game, selected the Elementalist warband I showcased in my last post.  I got phenomenally lucky with my dice rolls for the most part (breaking the streak of rolling a "1" when trying to Summon a demon and getting attacked by the damned thing!) and got a lot of spells off while keeping most of my warband neatly out of line of sight.  Dave's warband took a beating with only his apprentice making it off the board alive, and softened up Tom's warband enough to where my Summoner could finish him off.  When all was said and done, I carried five treasure tokens off the board out of a total of seven.  I doubt I'll get so lucky again; plus I feel a little guilty about spamming the Imp spell as hard as I did. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Return to the Frozen City

We're doing a Frostgrave introductory event this weekend at Just Games, and I decided I'd prep a couple extra warbands for people who want to give the game a shot.  Here's the first of my new warbands, "Elgar's Marauders":

First up, Elgar the Fiery, an adherent of the Elementalist School of Magic, and his apprentice, the lovely Raziyya.  He is Reaper's "Aaron the Conjuror" and she is the Pathfinder Iconic Cleric given a new color scheme.  I really like how the blending on the robes came out. 

Elgar is a strong believer in "Might makes Right" and that "Quality is a Quantity all it's own." As such, he's decided to eschew popular wisdom in the Frozen City and hire only a few "elite" henchmen instead of many cheaper ones.  This is "Big Bad Mogo," an orcish Barbarian. 

Next up, the Brutal Brothers, Garg and Karg, both rated as "Men-at-Arms" by Frostgrave's standards.  I kept their color schemes (along with that of Big Bad Mogo) as neutral-cool as possible to emphasize the brightness and warmth of the colors used for Elgar and Raziyya. 

Zeebo the Goblin, a "Thug" in Frostgrave parlance, weaseled his way in by claiming to be Garg and Karg's "hiring manager."

pardon the blurry photo, he's only around 10-12mm tall.

Finally, Backbreaker and Legsnapper, a pair of Warhounds.  These two took the longest to paint, with layers and layers of washes and drybrushing until the fur looked right to me. 

Just bases left to finish and they'll be good to go. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Chariot of Chaos (not Fire)

Well I'll be darned.  My plans for a Kings of War Abyssal Dwarf army seem to be going on hold again, and instead I'm returning to Games Workshop's Age of Sigmar.  I'd initially put the game and my army in the closet and stopped attending events because I was getting disappointed and frustrated with the lack of interest in narrative play or scenario-use in my local area, but with the second edition preparing for release, interest has returned at my preferred local game shop, Just Games, and the focus does seem to be on using scenarios, victory conditions and narrative play.  So I dusted off my Chaos Warriors and Pink Horrors, and finished assembling and painting one of the units I'd started but was left unfinished last summer, a Chaos Chariot. 

The only conversion I did, besides sculpting some tentacled runestones on the base, is I swapped out the helmets that came with the Chariot for the rider for one off the Chaos Knights sprue that I liked the look of.  I don't know that I'd build another of these - the kit was a bit fiddly, and I still don't think I have the yoke on quite straight.  Both horses are fairly small (or at least seem that way) and each only has a single hoof resting on the base, not exactly conducive to balancing and gluing them into place. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Happy Birthday to Me

I turned 31 last week, and as befitting the age, only my better half Gina and I got me presents.  All wargaming-related this year, and some lovely new toys among them.

Here's what I purchased for myself:

Two rollers from Green Stuff World (plain and "Dark Runes") as well as a pack of "Blue Stuff" thermoplastic which can be used to make molds and cast copies of pieces.  Then the latest issue of Miniature Wargames magazine; I would normally get this sort of thing digitally but I wanted the sprue of "Gun Dogs," steampunk artillery contraptions, from Wild West Exodus that came with the physical mag. 

Since I've decided to start up with Kings of War again, Gina gave me $100 and told me to buy myself the beginnings of an army; having been in love with Games Workshop's Chaos Dwarves since my first start in wargaming back in 2003 or so (naturally, after GW stopped producing them even semi-affordably), I decided to start on a force of Mantic's "Abyssal Dwarves," which share much the same tone and aesthetic.  $100 was neatly taken care of with the purchase of two regiments of "Abyssal Halfbreeds," Mantic's answer to the classic Bull-Centaurs of Games Workshop, and a package of movement trays to fit them.  When she saw what I'd bought, Gina told me that if she'd known I was going to buy movement trays, she would have given me an extra $20 to make sure I got some more fun stuff.

Moral of this story is always discuss purchases with your spouse. 

I've also dug my Age of Sigmar stuff out of the closet where it's languished for the better part of a year; I packed it up because I wasn't enjoying playing at the local Warhammer store, but a new guy wants to get Age of Sigmar started up at Just Games so I figured out an easy 1000 point list; all I have to paint is the Chariot I've had sitting primed and in sub-assemblies since last summer.  Unfortunately, it looks like the methods I used to try and clean up frosted varnish on my "Gaunt Summoner" have damaged his paint job, so I'll need to strip and repaint him at some point.  I'm not totally certain I want to get back into Age of Sigmar; I definitely don't want to be spending the kind of money Games Workshop thinks I should be, but a game or two couldn't hurt. 

I decided to get out some Green Stuff and give the Dark Runes roller a try on the chariot's base; I ended up creating two "eruptions" of runestones out of the ground that then sprouted tentacles, in keeping with the style of Chaos. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Dragon Rampant Update - Giant and Billmen

Over the past week I've managed to finish off (mostly) two more units for my "Men of Albion" Dragon Rampant army - a Hill Giant, by Reaper Miniatures, and a dozen Perry plastic War of the Roses billmen.  These will be a single model unit of Bellicose Foot with the "Fear" special rule attached, and a unit of Offensive Heavy Foot, respectively.

In my thinking as to the story of this army, the giant was either press-ganged or sufficiently bribed (a daily ration of whole cow, maybe?) into joining the army; the mismatched gear he had accumulated - the shoulder pad, the shields strapped to his midsection - were painted with the colors of the army to show he was "theirs."

I chickened out on painting half his body as heavily tattooed; once the skin was finished I liked the way it looked too much to risk mucking it up.  And while I've seen a number of people paint his fur kilt as having been stitched from different color pelts, the uniform fur texture throughout made me think it's pieces of hide from multiple examples of the same critter; in this case, I opted to paint it as grizzly bear fur, with a dark brown basecoat and building up alternating drybrushed layers of a slightly lighter brown and a pale, silvery gray, probably three drybrushings of each color.

I still need to make a flag for the unit standard bearer and get these guys varnished; I had left my priming box in the hallway outside my apartment door overnight to air out and it got picked up and thrown in the trash while I was at work.  So I need to get another box; I've got a big Reaper order coming in on Tuesday that will hopefully work, if not I'll be grabbing one of the envelope boxes from work.

the whole army so far

After this, just a unit of archers left to paint; once they're done, I'm actually going to be going back to Kings of War and doing rank-and-flank fantasy and hopefully finishing a 2000-point army in time to play with it at a tournament in November.  I had always wanted to collect a Chaos Dwarfs army in Warhammer Fantasy; alas, Games Workshop had nuked the army shortly before I discovered miniature painting.  So I'll be building an army of "Abyssal Dwarfs" for Kings of War in search of much the same aesthetic.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Dragon Rampant Update - Elite Foot Finished

The first unit for my Dragon Rampant "Men of Albion" warband is complete - Lord Edward and his bodyguards, comprising a unit of Elite Foot.  Lord Edward himself shares a base with his standard bearer, and counts as two Strength Points in DR; his four men-at-arms are each a single Strength Point for the unit total of 6 SP. 

The figures are from Front Rank's War of the Roses line, and I recommend them highly; the figures arrived very neatly and securely packed, and had only the most minimal of flash to trim away.  The sculpts are good (though I admit I did basically buy two copies of two sculpts - the knights with similar weapons are the same figure with a different helmet) and the standard bearer came with the choice of a standard pole or a poleaxe.  I liked the idea of a command base with the army leader and a standard bearer on it, so that's what I went with here. 

Since the men-at-arms weren't wearing much cloth to carry the warband's color scheme of red and blue on to, I opted to paint their helmets as having been painted or lacquered before going into combat.  The men in the open-faced barbute helmets have their helmets split in half color-wise, with blue on the right side and red on the left.  The two knights wearing closed visors had their helmets painted blue with red visors. 

This was my first time making a paper flag from scratch, and I think I did alright; I drew it out on a piece of graph paper to get it nicely square and then painted over it in the army colors of Reaper Deep Red/Blood Red and Ultramarine Shadow/Ultramarine.  Once it was dry I cut it out, painted some white glue on to it and wrapped it carefully around the flag pole, bending it a little to give it a sense of fluttering.

Color choices, so I don't forget them when I go to paint the next couple units, are as follows:


  • basecoat black
  • drybrush Reaper "Tarnished Steel"
  • wash Citadel "Nuln Oil"
  • very lightly drybrush Reaper "True Silver"
  • basecoat either Reaper "Deep Red" or "Ultramarine Shadow"
  • highlight either Reaper "Blood Red" or "Ultramarine," respectively.
  • picked out in Reaper "Dark Flesh." 
  • basecoat Reaper "Tanned Shadow"
  • highlight Reaper "Tanned Flesh"
Bases are painted Reaper "Earth Brown" and flocked first with Army Painter brand brown basing grit, followed by GF9 "Meadow Flock." I didn't finish them early enough to get them varnished today but I'll have them out in the primer/varnish box tomorrow.  Next I'll be splitting my time between the giant and the unit of billmen and then finally take care of the archers.