CoK21

Good Day MoDers, It has been a long time since my last blog, mainly due to not getting much gaming in this year. I have completed some painting projects with two aims really, having enough units for the CLKoW June 2021 gaming day (Which) I just about managed, and building upon that to attend ‘Clash of Kings’ 2021 which takes place tomorrow. You may remember from a previous blog that in November 2020 I decided to convert much of my ‘GW Dwarf army’ for use in ‘Kings of War’ whilst also adding some ‘Mantic’ sculpted minis, such as the beautiful ‘Steel Behemoth’ to fit the new realm they would be playing in. This involved refreshing the painting on a number of models and painting other from scratch to bulk up the units, and because quite frankly they had been neglected for far too long. I already had a paint scheme to work with. Green with Red and mainly Bronze armour, so at least that decision was already made. By June my army looked like the first image, and went on to look like the second for tomorrow’s event: I have used my Dwarfs four times since June, which is the same amount of times that I have played Kings of War this year. They have performed quite well, except when I have become bored with my more tactically aware opponents not advancing beyond a few inches, blasting me with lightening, but no melee taking place and so charged a few units in, unsupported, just for the chance to roll some dice. My Dwarfs current record stands at W-1, D-1, L-2. Here are some of the games I have played. The targets that I set have really helped me cut into my lead/plastic pile, painting up 15 further unpainted metal ‘Iron Breakers’ 10 unpainted metal ‘Miners’ and 12 unpainted, mainly plastic ‘Hand gunners’. I am happy with the results, but have two more figures to finish before my Dwarf project comes to an end and I can start on my beloved ‘Halfling’, Mantic have produced a lovely range for their newest army. This was only intended as a brief catch up, as I have a train to catch. I hope to write up my experiences of CoK21, hopefully before I forget too much detail. Finally if you can make it come to North East London on Oct 17th 2021 for SELWG: http://www.selwg.org/2021-show

Feb Pledge Completed

Hello MoDers,

It’s only been a week since my last blog, but I wanted to type this quick update, as I went straight from writing to painting last week, with the aim of finishing my February pledge for the CLKoW painting challenge, and making it more than just the Steel Behemoth.

As I mentioned last week my friend Nik Green sent me some 3D printed miniatures from batches that he had produced after backing ‘kickstarters’ with various miniature companies. One such batch came from ‘Westfalia miniatures’ a lovely set of figures that are really characterful One in particular really jumped out at me, as soon as I saw him  I thought ‘Dwarf Lord with Wings of the Honeymaze’. The miniature in its original form was very cool, and looked somewhat like the ‘Mandalorian’ making a smooth landing with his jet pack, crossbow at the ready. However, despite his already familiar appearance, I had another cult icon providing inspiration on how I should model him.

When I was a kid back in the early 80’s I used to get up early, with my brothers, to go down stairs and watch the re-runs of the old monochrome cliff hanger dramas like ‘Flash Gordon’, ‘Zorro’ and ‘The Rocketeer,’ a hero who would save the day flying around with a rocket on his back. The minis helmet was almost a match, and the rocket needed a bit of work, but this is who I was going to model my dwarf lord on. The Dwarf lord does not have the option of taking a crossbow, so that had to go, and therefore so did his quiver. Also the axe that he came with was a little small and plain, so I searched my lead pile for a suitable replacement for both weapons, finding a rather fine spear and nicely decorative single headed axe. I also needed to modify the helmet so that it had a flying fin across the top, similar to that on the ‘Rocketeer’s’ headwear,  and put a domed top on the jet pack, thank fully I had some green stuff to hand.

As the Rocketeer wears a reddish brown jacket, and my army colours are green and red, the obvious choice for the Lord’s tunic was Red. A green cloak and leggings meant that he still fit the army theme. The miniature has the smoke cloud or contrail coming out if the jet pack, and the miniature sits atop of this. I wanted it to look as convincing as possible, so perused a number of images and videos of rockets in take-off. I noticed that there is a bright flame at the exhaust but that this quickly fades to orange, then yellow, white and eventually grey. To get this effect I started with Demonic Yellow at the top and Castle Grey at the bottom, I then washed the top in my rapidly disappearing Griffon Sepia, and the bottom in Dark Wash. I then went through a process of layering lighter versions of the two colours, and when happy with the way they blended, I dry brushed over the raised areas with White to give the impression of chemical vapours cooling and drifting away.  

When the Dwarf and the base were ready, I decided upon the best facing for him, and slotted the two together with a little super glue. I finished this project with two hours of February still left, I am quite happy with the way he turned out, and look forward to using him when public gaming resumes. Together the Steel Behemoth and Dwarf Lord with the ‘Wings of the Honeymaze’, add a total of 405 points to my Dwarf army, making me happier about February’s pledge.

Progress on my Dwarf challenge:

Gosh MoDer’s, I cannot believe that we’ve gone through 2 months already, February just slipped past. I have not done a huge amount of painting this month, certainly not in comparison with December/January. And I did distract myself with some non-challenge based painting, which I guess is still hobby time, but I really need to crack on with finishing off that ‘Dwarf Miner/Sheildbreaker’ unit.

CLKoW painting challenge:

Challenge wise the only thing I completed this month was my ‘Dwarf Behemoth’. This caused me a bit of trouble at the start, as a few of the component parts were warped, and when I tried to bend it back into shape, I snapped one of the shields on the howdah. This set me back a bit as I did not known how to solve the problem and get the beast constructed. I took some photos of the worst parts and posted them to the ‘Central London Kings of War’ ‘What’s app’ chat, and my fellow ‘CLKoWs’ reminded me of the hot water trick that can be used to reshape resin models. After bathing the pieces in hot water I was able to work the kinks out, and start putting the miniature together. I knew given this delay, I would not be able to hit my target of finishing at least one mini a week, so I decided to paint up a Halfling archer that I found in my lead pile, because I thought he was quite a cool sculpt.

The next issue was what colour scheme to use; I had a look at a number of finished versions and saw that many had gone for a largely metallic look, I considered this, against the green and red theme of my army, and decided to go with the latter. I went with green as the base colour for the main frame, with red and bronze/gold for the additional pieces. I was happy with how the green turned out, but the red and gold to a few attempts. Once finished the war machine clearly stands out as a centre piece for the army, but I felt that it needed more, and inspired by the images that used to be painted on the side of planes during WWII, I decided the paint a version of the army logo, a lone mountain, to provide a focal point. After painting the mountain and sky, it looked more like a night time scene and I decided to paint in a moon instead of the usual sun. I know I am not a massively talented hobby painter, but I am happy with how this turned out.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/414256149261614

2021 Painting Challenge:

I believe I have just about kept up with my: ‘At least one mini a week’ challenge, after the issues with the ‘Behemoth’ which did eventually get finished, I painted a Halfling that I found in my leads pile, no idea who sculpted him, but her really deserved a lick of paint. A birthday package arrived late from my friend Nik, in Austria, he had been very generous and sent me some 3D printed Dwarfs from some of the projects he had backed, most notably ‘Warploque: Arcworlde’ and ‘Westfalia Miniatures’ all very nice models. I liked the ‘Arcworlde’ Dwarf so much I had to build and paint him up (the range from ‘Warploque’ are modular). He is a little larger than my ‘GW’ and ‘Mantic’ dwarfs so I gave him a different colour scheme as a stand-alone project. Nik also sent me some printed turn markers that look quite cool, so I started to painted these, but have not finished.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/461386338087891

So that is my February, Next month I hope to be able to tell you that I have finished the ‘Miner’ horde, if I can get my act together and stop distracting myself.

January 2021, well what can I say…

Happy January MoD’ers. It is finally the end of the first month of 2021, despite the lack of game time, there has been plenty of ‘hobby’ going on, in the form of collecting and painting. Actually I really should slow down on adding to that lead/plastic/resin pile.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am refreshing and adding to my old GW Dwarf army, and bringing it into the world of Pannithor for some Kings of War action. To help with this goal, I am taking part in a painting challenge with the gaming group Central London Kings of War, otherwise known as CLKoW. We have pledged to get a new army up to 1600 Points by the end of May, hopefully in time for a day of gaming in June when hopefully Lockdown and any following tier system will be relaxed. I know there is a great deal of hope in relation to this, but hey we need goals to work toward. I already started my personal Dwarf challenge in November 2020, and decided to keep it going, and on January 1st 2021 I already had 630 points. However I plan to build as close to the 1600 points for the challenge and by June I will have 2230 points worth of units to choose a smaller list from (before magic items and upgrades) come games day.

This was my army on January 1st:

January pledge 2021: This month I wanted to churn out some characters, deciding that my planned artillery would require some steady leadership and my elementals some guidance I decided to paint a War Smith and Stone Priest, both have the potential to boost these units. I wanted to boost my artillery a bit and have some heavy support for my fighting troops. These elements would be covered by an Organ Gun and a Steel Behemoth, which is a kind of Dwarven all terrain assault vehicle (Mantic make an absolutely lovely kit for this). Lastly I wanted to finish my Shield Breaker Horde by finishing the remaining 15 unpainted GW Dwarf Miners that I am representing the unit with. I made good headway at first completing the Stone priest, War Smith and Organ Gun (which I also built a scenic base for). Sadly I was stalled when I found out that my newly acquired Steel Behemoth resin kit was a somewhat warped, my CLKoW friends suggested ways to fix this, which worked, but then my last craft knife blade snapped when I was freeing the components from their sprues, it was clear that the beast was not going to be ready this month. Also the Miners are only under coated and base painted so also not ready, they will become February pledges. It doesn’t help that I distracted myself by painting two rather fun looking Halfling minis, but what else is hobby time for?

My Finished January pledge:

Stone Priest, this was a repaint of an old and rather jaded looking GW Rune Priest. I have stuck with my older Green and Red livery, and bronze/gold armour for characters and elite troops. But I could see he needed a good going over and as he was older, he needed a lighter, more greying beard. I also totally changed his staff from gold and red, to look match the brown marble effect I used on the Earth Elementals:

War Smith, I was planning a similar task for this character, but whilst looking through my stock pile, I found a ‘Reaper’ miniature that I bought a couple of years ago, that just fit the role like a glove (or should I say gauntlet). I really enjoyed painting this chap, apart from the eyes, which are a personal bug bear for me:

Organ Gun, this was another GW repaint. With my first attempt I had not bothered to do any shading or highlighting, which was too obvious in comparison to my current standard of painting. This was a reasonably easy fix. However I never used to bother with bases for my Warhammer artillery units. All of my Kings of War armies have a theme to the basing, and I actually enjoy making scenic bases, so I found my stash of blue foam, and cut up some bricks to look like a battle damaged gunning placement. The base was the main part of this pledge:

Halflings, possibly my favourite fantasy race, I do not fully understand why. I have quite a collection of Halfling miniatures, and continue to add to this. In January I paid a quick visit to
Alex Huntley’s ‘Arcworlde’ web store to look at his work, and could not help coming away with three mounted Halfling Knights and a Halfling militia man wielding a sledge hammer, which I just had to paint as soon as he arrived. Then rooting through one of my Halfling hordes I found a very small sculpt of a Halfling archer, that was just crying out for a lick of paint, sadly I do not know which company is responsible for this 2nd chap, as the writing on the tag is quite indecipherable:

Finally this month, my Empire of Dust army received a boost via the arrival of my Kick start reward for the Troll Traders ‘Dead of the Desert’, it has some lovely sculpts that are packed with detail, I cannot wait to get to grips with the Bone Giant:

My February pledge should be to complete the Behemoth and the Shield Breakers, probably another artillery base as I’d like to include 2 Jarrun Bombards, and finish of a Halfling knight I started last March for ‘Franticon 2020’, but didn’t finish as I could not fit him into the Vanguard war-band that I was taking. That should keep me occupied during my free time next month.

Stay safe until next time.

First for ’21

First for 21

Good evening MoDer’s and Happy New Year.

Today’s blog is more of a catch up from 2021, for obvious reasons my hobby plans for 2020 went out of the window somewhat, but I still manged to roll some dice and paint some miniatures, so it wasn’t a total bust. Here is a quick recap of my gaming and painting with a loose hobby plan for 2021.

Tournaments:

In the end I only made it to three tournaments this year (five if you consider that Franticon was a weekend long event in which I entered three competitions). Some that I had paid to take part in were cancelled, and others just too far away what with the various travel restrictions.

In January 2020 I attended the ‘Stane of War’ tournament in Charshalton, Surrey. This tourney was a day event in which we played 4 games, with army lists restricted to 1,495 points. I took my ‘Empire of Dust’, and remember facing ‘Varangur’, ‘Ratkin’, ‘Undead,’ and ‘Elves’. The game details have largely faded from memory, but I do remember that I lost 3 games and won 1. I had a lot of fun, and was totally exhausted by the end of the day.

March 2020 brought us ‘Franticon 2’ an awesome mix of various ‘Mantic’ games, from ‘Dread Ball’ to ‘Deadzone’. I wanted to get as much gaming as possible so I entered the ‘Vanguard’ tourney on the Friday in which a fielded a Halfling themed ‘Rhordian’ war band, the ‘Kings of War’ doubles tourney which I entered with fellow CLKoW member Chris as a Sylvan Elf/Force of Nature alliance, and finally the ‘Kings of War’ singles on the Sunday, with my ‘Empire of Dust’.  My results were a mix of losses, wins and draws, I had a total blast and was so incredibly tired, I may think twice about playing this many games in a weekend, next time the opportunity comes along.  

I was also going to attend the ‘Bexley Reaper’ tournament ‘Shroud of the Reaper – La Calavera’s Time’ but the COVID situation shut this down. Very kindly the tournament organisers, Mark and Grant, transferred our entry fee to take part in their September event ‘Shroud if the Reaper – Pirates of the Mytalien’ I took my Forces of nature with me and although I failed to win a game, I really enjoyed the day.

Other gaming:

Thanks to the establishment of the ‘Central London Kings of War’ group (CLKoW), my gaming opportunities have improved between 2019/20. Although this was also hampered by the COVID situation. I have had a lot of fun with this gaming group, we often meeting up at the ‘Bad Moon Café’, in Southwark, London, and either play casual games, practice for events or take part in campaigns. We still have the final round to go in Louis’s campaign ‘The Winter War’, the epic final battle, but are waiting for that magical day that we can all meet indoors and role dice in the company of good friends and fine beer.

Painting:

Preparing for a tournament is an excellent way to get through you lead pile, since joining CLKoW, and taking part in events held by the ‘Reapers’ and ‘Kings of Herts’ has helped me get three armies off the ground. I have continued to paint units for all three, and here are some of the favourites from my finished projects:

2021:

Hopefully there will be some gaming, I would like to make it to ‘Clash of Kings’, ‘Salute’, and ‘SELWG’ if they take place, and if work and illness does not get in the way.

I have already pledged to take part in a some painting challenges, largely to get army number four, my ‘Dwarfs’ off the ground and ready for some games. I started this back in November and have already put together around 600 pts worth, out group target is 1,495, but I aim to get these chaps up to at least 2000.

I hope to get another blog out soon, specifically about this challenge and any further progress. Until then I hope that you enjoy the start of 2021.

SHROUD OF THE REAPER (PIRATES OF MYTALIEN)

Long-time no type, sorry about the MoDers, I have been quite busy with hobby stuff these past months, but get tired so easily, I often cannot bring myself to sit and give you a write up, even though I really want to, the cloud of apathy is quite strong.

However last week I attended my first live tournament since lock down started. I have been expending my Forces of Nature army for a campaign that I have been taking part in, and decided to take the trees along, even though I am still not that practiced with them.

The tournament is called ‘The Winter War’ which has been organised by my friend and fellow ‘Seal Cow’ member: Louis. We call ourselves ‘Seal Cow’ as that is what the abbreviated version of our actual club name sounds like Central London Kings of War (CL KoW). Louis wrote up an excellent story based campaign which we have been busy with throughout August/September. It has been really good fun, and provided plenty of practice, perhaps not enough in my case.

Earlier this year I was booked to take part in one of Mark Cunningham and Grant Alexander’s tournament by the Bexley Reaper Gaming Club: Shroud of the Reaper (La Calavera’s Time). But then the world got flip turned upside down and the event was cancelled, along with much of 2020. However as lock down eased, and it looked like live tournaments were back on the table. Mark kindly held places open for those who had been booked into the previous event. Thanks to the Winter War I had painted enough units to take a good representation of my ‘Forces of Nature’ army.

Most of my choices were ready and I submitted my list to Mark, an important part of my army still needed to exist. I cracked open my ‘Greater Earth Elemental’ kit and used the week I had left to get him battle ready. This effort started to look in vain, as COVID 19 decided it hadn’t quite finished with the UK quite yet. The government tightened its regulations, in came the rule of ‘6’ threatening the continuation of many live events. Mark, Grant and the Bexley Reaper committee put their heads together and it was decided that with certain measures in place, ‘Pirates’, could go ahead. With this confirmed and ‘Rumble’ my Greater Earth Elemental’  finished I was ready to pack, well ready to pack by 2300 hours on the Friday evening before, which is good for me.

I was one of the first to arrive at the venue ‘Freemantle Hall’ in Bexley, and was impressed with the measure put in place. As the event had been limited to 12 people, the table could be spaced appropriately for the 1 meter plus rule, there was bottle of sanitising spray and hand gel at each table, there was a one way system for entering and leaving the hall, and players were required to wear masks whilst mingling. It was as safe as it possibly could be.

Sadly my description of the games themselves will be brief, as my focus started to dim by game three, which makes my memory of the actual game play fade. I do remember that I did not win any of my games. However I had three aims from this tournament: 1, Don’t get tabled, 2, Don’t lose all my games, and as always, 3, have fun. I can happily say that I can tick all three of those boxes, as my game stats were: 0 Wins, 3 Losses and 1 Draw. I always had at least 1 unit left on the table, and enjoyed the entire experience. I faced four thoroughly nice war-gamers, learned some tricks and tips that I seriously hope I remember this time, and went home with a smile on my face, despite my wooden spoon ranking. Thank you Michael (Ratkin Slaves); Gavin (Night Stalkers); Rusty (abyssal Dwarfs); and Dominic (Goblins). The prize support for the event was brilliant as always. The overall winner was fellow ‘Seal Cow’ Chris Lynch with his Sylvan Elves. Matt Gee’s wonderful Ogres won first prize for the best painted army, with Grant’s Twilight Kin coming in 2nd. As wooden spoon I got a lovely framed certificate and a small sculpt of what looks like a creature form the Black lagoon that I may paint up soon as a break from army painting. In complete surprise, Grant kindly shared his well-earned 2nd place prize with me.  In all it was an enjoyable but thoroughly exhausting day

Take care MoDers and stay safe.

Painting the Unicorn

Hello MoDers,

I know that summer is not great with these lockdown restrictions, COVID has caused major disruption to many things in life, in our case no access to hobby shops, delayed deliveries on-line and the cancellations of many tournaments. These are of course nothing in comparison to the effects it has had on wider society and I hope that you are keeping well.

I have not played a game now since ‘Franticon 2020’ back in March. I know we can play ‘Kings of War’ on ‘Universal Battle’, but as a bit of a technophobe, I keep making excuses for not arranging a game, it’s the whole playing the game on one system whilst remembering to talk to your opponent on a different system, seems like a lot of work to take part in a normally fun pastime.

I have managed to get some hobby time in though, in the form of painting, working on my ‘Forces of Nature’ army. And also taking a break from painting trees, to repaint an old mono-pose ‘Games Workshop’ Dwarf from the mid 90’s.

Kings of Herts painting competition:

At the end of March 2020, the ‘Kings of Herts’ community held a spring painting completion. I saw it as a chance to work on my, ‘Glade Walker Druid,’ which is actually an official ‘Mantic’ miniature. (I don’t currently have many of those).

I really like this sculpt and he really fits in with the style of my ‘Forces of Nature’, army.  As my mounted Druid has yellow robes, his colour scheme was already set. I put in a lot of hours with this project. I created different shades of brown for his bark armour. Also starting with a dark yellow paint which I shaded with army painter light tone, I added layer after layer of lightened yellow to highlight the rise and fall of the creases in his gown. I was happy with the finished article, and although I did not place very highly in the end, I gave it the best shot that I could. There were some really excellent entries which you can see here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2034232993516266

The Unithorn Rises:

The project I spent most of my free time on during this lockdown will serve as a ‘Unicorn’ in my ‘Forces of Nature’ army. I really enjoy the sculpting works of ‘Alex Huntley’ who’s company ‘Warploque Miniatrues’ created the skirmish game ‘Arcworlde’. For a long time I have admired his Unicorn miniature from his ‘Wild Elf’ faction, which he called a ‘Unithorn’. It looks like a creature constructed from a bramble bush, rearing up and ready to protect its woodland realm. At first I could not think what I would use it for, but after painting my ‘Forest Shamblers’, and ‘Tree Herder’, for ‘Franticon’ this year, a theme started to unfold in my head. I knew the ‘Unithorn’ had a place in this army.

I envisaged it as the spirit of a Unicorn, summoned to life by druids and reclaiming its previous form using thorn bushes. After painting the model and mounting it on a regular cavalry base I thought, ‘She needs something more’, I puzzled over this for a bit, and then the idea struck me, ‘A thorn bush needs flowers’! I took to the ‘Green Stuff’, mixed some up, flattened it down and rolled each piece into a cone. Then using  the narrow end of a paint brush, I teased out the ends until they looked like the petals of a rose. When they dried I decided to paint them a colour that would really stand out and went with pink. When finished and I added the roses, but the mini still cried out for more. The mane that the unicorn was sculpted with is generous, but I wanted more. I wanted it to cover the sides of the head, and flow down the back. I considered going back to the ‘Green Stuff’ but thought it would not give the texture I was looking for. I had already used some ‘Busch’ flock to create the remains of the thorn bush on the base, and it had the texture I wanted. Using some glue I sprinkled flock where I wanted it to settle. After about three layers I was almost happy, I painted in a few extra purple flecks to represent smaller flowers. Finally the basic Unicorn was finished. However the model was not ready.

In ‘Kings of War’ the Unicorn can be given an upgrade and become a winged creature. I wanted to be able to add or remove the wings depending upon the points I was going to spend, this also meant making and extension to the base as the size of this increases when you upgrade to the ‘Alicorn’. I was not sure what wings I wanted, but knew that I did not want to go with the regular eagle or bat wings that have been used in the past. I was in my back yard clearing away some Ivy, when I though these leaves look quite wing like. I picked a few up and placed them together, I thought they looked just like, ‘Butterfly’ wings. I took the leaves inside and used them as stencils on paper, having cut out the leaf shapes, I gave them an initial green undercoat and once they were dry I dipped them in varnish to make them more durable. It gave them a malleable plastic like texture. Once these were dry, I decided upon a simple pattern and pained this using various shades of green and purple. This resulted in a set of leaf like butterfly wings. In order to attach them to my Unicorn I made a frame out of green stuff, I painted this to look like the branches of the Unithorn. I stuck the wings to this frame and added a bit more flock to bulk out the mane of the larger creature. This left me with something resembling a large green moth. I place the Unicorn upon her base extension and added the wings. The end product was an exact match of what I had envisaged. I love this free style modelling we are able to do with ‘Kings of War’; it really allows you to use your imagination.

Mono-pose Dwarf:

In early May I saw a few people on social media, posting photographs of a miniature that they had painted 10 or more years ago, and one of the same or similar miniatures painted that week. From this I decided to set myself a bank holiday challenge to find one of my earliest paint jobs, take a photo, then strip him down, and give him a new coat. I delved deep into my mini collection and pulled out a mono-pose plastic dwarf from the mid 1990’s. He was in desperate need of a repaint. So I took a before photo which I added to my own back holiday challenge page on Facebook, and also on the mono-pose painting challenge that was taking place on the ‘Middle Hammer’, pages. I did what I could to remove the old paint, and then undercoated him using the old dwarf flesh. I decided upon a similar paint job, but added new colours into the mix, yellow and bronze. I had originally given this model high topped boots, but decided upon this occasion to make this part of the figure into trousers. I tried just yellow at first, but was not keen, so I added some red stripes which I think worked well and were a good match for his red cowl. To tie the axe and helm to the rim of the shield I added some bronze to the interior of the axe head and a bronze band around the base of the helm. As he was older now being over 20 years since his first coating, I decided to give him grey hair. Overall I was happy with the results.

Thank you for reading, I have a few more painting projects on the go, but I’m not sure when I’ll get another battle report, we’ll have to see how long lockdown and it effect last. Stay safe.

Franticon 2020 – Ante Bellum I – Vanguard

Hello MoDers, I’m back with another instalment of my Franticon 2020 weekend, this time it’s Day 1, The Frantic Gamers ‘Vanguard’ tournament. I’m not sure why I’m writing these out of sync, I suppose that it’s not so important now, as the event took place over a month ago. I had decided to attend all three days of Franticon at the end of 2019, about the same time I received my copy of ‘Mantics – Ice & Iron’, the campaign and war-band expansion supplement to their table top skirmish game. My favourite ‘Kings of War’, faction ‘League of Rhordia’ was included and I wanted to put them to use. They had been noticeably absent from the original book, although eventually available in PDF format, it was great to finally have them in print.

Although I had backed the ‘Mantic’ ‘Kickstarter’ for ‘Vanguard back in 2018, and was really pleased when it came in the post (despite the missing league), as rulebooks go, it really is a thing of beauty. Sadly I never got around to learning how to play the game, (I can’t just read a rules set, I need to read and then play, several times, for them to sink in). I saw the ‘Vanguard’, tournament as the perfect opportunity to get to grips with the game. Determined to play with the ‘League of Rhordia’, I perused their troop choices. They have several handy units to choose from, each with different skills and upgrade options. After deciding upon some possible choices, I raided my miniature collection to look for suitable figures to take on the various roles. Due to the disappearance of a large number of the ‘Halfing’ options from the main ‘Rhordian’ army list following the release of ‘Kings of War’ 3rd edition I decided to get my ‘Halfling’ on and phys-rep all the troop types with these hairy footed lovelies. This made it really important for the figures that I chose, to look like the soldiers that they were representing. Thankfully I have a large collection of relevant minis to choose from, by companies such as ‘TTCombat’, ‘Games Workshop’, ‘Warploque Miniatures’, ‘Reaper Miniatures’ and was able to do just that.

Several list drafts, and painting sessions later, my war-band looked like this:

1 House Guard Captain – Rare elixir of Resilience

1 Halfling Sorceress – Lucky Charm

2 Halfling Braves – Bows

2 House Guard – Halberds

1 House Guard

1 Honour Guard

1 Rhor Markswoman – Musket

Sadly I cannot remember a huge amount of detail from the tournament; I cannot remember the names of all my opponents or the names of the scenarios that we played. I apologise if you are reading. I do remember that I enjoyed my first ever games of ‘Vanguard’ and learned a few tricks for the next opportunity that arises.

Game 1: My ‘Rhordians’ faced a war-band of Vampiric ‘Undead’, I don’t have a great track record against this faction in ‘Kings of War’. However ‘Vanguard’ is very different. I believe that the mechanics of the game allow you to focus more on the objective scenarios, and in fact not doing so can lose you the game. I do not recall the name of the scenario, but do remember that the aim was to seize and retain an objective that was in the centre of the table. I ran my ‘House Guard’ and ‘Honour Guard’ up to the centre, whilst my ‘Halflings’, ‘Mage’ and ‘Markswoman’ climbed a hill for a shooting advantage. My melee troops were pretty much going to grab the objective and pass it back, then sacrifice themselves to hold back the enemy, whilst the Captain took the objective to my deployment area. All good in theory, and whilst my shooters on the hill were keeping the skeleton and zombie grunts at bay, a wraith and his vampire masters were upon my fighters by turn 2. I had to change my tactics a little as my Captain’s prowess was needed on the front line. Thankfully he has a skill called ‘Unleash the dogs of war’, which allows him to summon a fresh ‘House Guard’ to the war-band. The reinforcement arrived 3 inches from the Captain. By the next turn the objective had been passed and was making its way back to the ‘Rhordian’ camp. Eventually a ‘Werewolf’ that had been scrapping with my ‘Honour Guard’ since round 1, broke through the lines and force fatigued himself to reach my objective bearer. He did not have enough power to actually assault my warrior, but my opponent told me that it was enough to have made contact, to make me drop the objective. It was disappointing; however I had killed enough of his war-band to outscore him, and scraped my first victory in my first game of ‘Vanguard’.

The press that had taken place in the centre of the board showed me that ‘House Guard’ and ‘Honour Guard’ are tough, and able to jam up the battle line if that’s what you need, even against big hitters like ‘Vampires’. I was glad that I had chosen these chaps. Although I cannot remember my opponent’s name, he was one of the Spanish contingent that make their way to the UK ‘Mantic’ tournaments. I want to say that he was very friendly and helpful. He understood that it was my first ever game of ‘Vanguard’, giving me time to make decisions and explaining, as well as he could, what actions he was taking and what the consequences of each action might be (dependent upon the dice of course).

Game 2: This time a face a war-band of Elves, and another friendly player, although I do not remember his name, I remember him telling me that this was only the 8th game of ‘Vanguard’ he had ever played. It felt good that we were on a similar footing re our experience and knowledge of the game. The aim of this scenario was to get as many of your troops in your opponents deployment area by the end of the game. My ‘Markswoman’ and ‘Halfling Archers’ took the right flank through some rough ground, and ended up in a shoot-out against three elven archers. My ‘Captain’, ‘House Guard’ and ‘Honour Guard’ were set up to forge their way through the centre of the table with support from the Mage, whilst the ‘House Guard’ without a Halberd was placed on the left flank to stop a trio of Elf militia.

During the game my results were mixed. Whereas I had been successful on the right flank, the left flank went to my opponent who outnumbered and tore through my single Guardsman. I had been impressed by his staying power in the previous game, but had overestimated his ability in this one. In the centre a spider mounted elf prince made a mad dash for my Mage, knocking her down, but failing to kill her. In doing so he had exposed his flank to my ‘Captain’ and a ‘House Guardsmen’ with halberds, and was swiftly despatched from the game. In the same turn my Honour Guard had charged my opponents forest shambler, this developed into another grinding press, as various fighters rushed in to support on either side. I was thankful at this point, as with the previous game, for the healing support from my ‘Mage,’ and the war-band’s ability ‘In Rhor’s name’ which for the cost of only 2 power points allows a human warrior to re-roll any dice that failed to save a wound, and remove any fatigued counters he may be marked with, or in the case of Halflings, if killed in melee they can take a nerve check to get a Down but not out result instead. This is a really useful ability that can be used more than once per round, so long as you have enough power. Toward the end of the game my Honour Guard was killed and I decided it was time for a rush my troops toward the edge of the table. By turn 6 we both had three models in each other’s deployment zone, so the game ended in a draw.

Game 3: I actually remember my opponents name in this game, as we have faced each other previously and had a few pre/post game chats. Marcin Gambino is a very talented painter, and I faced his ‘Ratkin’ at ‘Stane of War’ in January this year. This time he was using ‘Nothern Alliance’ and I was both in awe and slightly disturbed by the large amount of ‘Snow Trolls’ he could take. There is no doubt that ‘Northern Alliance’, are a very capable army, each troop choice has some phenomenal skill. Sadly I cannot remember much about the game, fatigue was setting in, and I allowed myself to be too concerned by the ‘Trolls’ to think about the rest of his army. The scenario this time was to kill your opponent’s war-band; I think it was 1 point for each Grunt/Warrior class and 2 points for each Support/Large/Command unit killed. I had the first loss, as a Halfling brave got sniped by an ‘Elven Ice-kin’. Thankfully there was some instant payback as my ‘Markwoman’ shot and killed the Elf. After my opponent’s ‘Snow Troll Prime’ dashed in to the void left by the elf, and I spent the rest of the game trying to kill it and the ‘Troll’ that replaced it when it was killed. All this took a heavy toll on my army as one by one my brave ‘Rhordians’ fell. Victory went to Marcin, and the tournament drew to an end. I totally miss used my ‘Honour Guard’ in the game, from setup I did not really know what to do with him. I have to hand it to Marcin he out played me, making great use of his power dice and regen, he definitely deserved the win.

I really enjoyed playing ‘Vanguard’ and definitely want to play it again. I think the League of Rhordia play really well, and hope they stay as versatile as they are currently. I definitely need to remember to use heal more often during the game, and I barely used the special items I selected, perhaps I didn’t need them. Overall I placed 10th out of 20 and this qualified my for a prize, which netted me a ‘Kuzlo and Madfall’ mercenary set which I look forward to painting at some point in the future.

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Franticon Kings of War 2020: Doubles

Hello MoDers,

Welcome to my much delayed post following my 3 day attendance at Franticon 2020 that was held in Dark Sphere (Shepherds Bush) London, between 6th and 8th March 2020. It had originally been my intention to type up an all-encompassing blog to post the weekend after the event, but life happened and ‘Corona Virus’, started to get a grip on the UK so I have been somewhat distracted.

So after the usual procrastination I have decided upon a strategy to write about the event. I plan to write 3 separate blogs for each event: ‘Vanguard’, ‘KoW Doubles’ and ‘Kow Singles’.

Last year I took an Elven Sea-kin list to match my friend Neil Dennison’s Trident realm army. We came dead last, but over all had a great day. I was inspired to return. A few months later my ‘Kickstarter’, pledge in the ‘TTCombat’: ‘Halfling and friends’ arrived and brought with it enough ‘Treemen’ to build a ‘Forces of Nature’ ‘Shamblers’ horde. I knew then what my doubles army would be for ‘Franticon 2020’, I just had to think about what else I should add. My friend Neil came to the rescue again as he did not want his ‘Treemen’, and gave me his, so now I had 2 hordes of ‘Shamblers’ it looked like I had a theme for my ‘Forces of Nature’: lots of tree men.

My work had a restructure and I had a relapse with my anxiety and depression. Somehow during this time I lost touch with Neil who moved to a new department, which is a real shame. However toward the end of 2019 several London based ‘Kings of War’ players put together a gaming group and ‘Facebook’ page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/414256149261614/ for Kings of War: Central London. We play at venues all around London, but mainly seem to congregate either at the ‘Bad Moon Café’ or ‘Dark Sphere’. Here I met Chris Lynch, who mainly plays with an Elven army with a fantastic autumnal sylvan style, the army is really well painted and Chris uses it to great effect. He agreed to partner me in the up coming doubles, and by early January with some suggestion from Chris, my 1000pts ‘Forces of Nature’ army was ready, on paper that is.

With just over 2 months I had to get the following army together:

1 Druid mounted on a Forest Steed with the Shroud of the Saint, which gave him healing (5) I also paid for him to have Surge (4)

1 Tree Herder with Healing Brew, (the main reason for this choice was the Radience of Life aura which provides the army with added healing, very useful). He also came with Surge (8)

2 Forest Shambler Hordes

1 Beast of Nature (with fly and extra attacks)

It was only 5 drops, with an overall unit strength of 8, but with similar choices on Chris’s army, I believed we stood a good chance, despite my awful memory and lack of experience using this faction.

I had a good amount of minis in my collection to represent most of these army choices with the ‘Treemen’ from ‘TTCombat’, a ‘Manticore’ from ‘Warploque Minitures’: ‘Arcworlde’ range (I made some slight alterations to this mini by adding some ‘GW’ ‘Ghast’ wings) as my ‘Beast of Nature’, and a lovely sculpt by ‘Conquest Games’ from their ‘Wealdgeist’ range, a mounted elf lord on a boar, that I believed would be perfect as my mounted ‘Druid’. ( I picked this chap up at SELWG 2017, always hoped he’d come in useful). However no matter how much I looked around I could not find a large ‘Treeman’ that I liked enough to buy as my ‘Tree Herder’. Thankfully Chris came to the rescue and suggested that I look closer to the source, as ‘Mantic’ make a ‘Tree Herder’ sculpt that is really nice, I looked at the website, and have to admit it was one of the best large ‘Treeman’ figures I have seen. Chris said that I could use one of his, as he had 2 ready to go and only needed 1 in his army, but having seen the ‘Mantic’ model, I just had to buy it. The model arrived 3 days before the event, and I had a huge task to finish all of my units including my herder, It is the fastest that I have ever finished a paint job, and took three nights staying up past midnight to manage it, I was exhausted before the first day, but it was worth it:

The Doubles event was being run by ‘Kings of Herts’ on Saturday 7th March. As usual Paul Roberts and Matt Green put together a really well organised tournament. Here is where my terrible memory comes in, I cannot remember the names of all out opponents, I really should write more down, when I know I’m going to be blogging. I remember that we faced Jude and Gino, 2 lads from Cornwall (Like me!) who brought a Kingdom of Men/Nightstalker alliance. I have played both in the past and they are really good at ‘Kings of War’, I was a little worried, but we had an upper hand, as Chris and I had more experience with 3rd edition. Despite some careful deployment and manouvering, it was not long before our units were engaged in a grinding melee. Thanks to Chris we were lucky to gain the central objective early which meant they had to come to us if they wanted to get those points. We managed to hold out toward the end, I think I lost everything bar 1 ‘Shambler’ horde. We claimed victory in our first game, it was very close though:

Our next opponents were Daniel and Ed with a Sylvan Elf/Dwarf alliance, Ed’s army looked lovely. Their army was quite similar to ours, but boy did they know how to use it. After the 1st round things looked bleak for us, and we decided that someone was going to need to make the first move forward, we did and we were crushed. I learned a big mistake I had been making regarding the movement for flyers and their pivoting. Most will know this, for some reason I did not. Whereas flight gives you up to 20 inches movement, if you use it you can only pivot once. If you only use the basic movement of 10 inches then you nimble comes into play and you can pivot twice, but not if you move more than the 10 inches. I hope I can remember this as I plan to use flyers a bit more often than I have in the past, due to the disruption they can cause. Needless to say we were annihilated, but it was a fun game especially the press in the centre of the table:

Our last game was against Jon and his partner (sorry I have tried to research your name, but failed miserably). They had Orcs, Goblins and lots of Trolls. I am still not use to the way in which an Orc army can dash across the table and brutally clash with your units. Thankfully most of our troops were toughness (5), with good nerve, so not so easy to break as my ‘Rhordian’ or ‘Empire of dust’ soldiers. I must admit that by game 3 I tend to be really tired, I don’t understand how the game tires me out so much, in many ways it is much more exhausting that a good session in the gym, and does not bring then benefit of an adrenaline/endorphin rush to keep you going. Therefore I cannot remember a great deal about this game, I think it was close, I know we lost, but that is pretty much all I can say, other that we had another brilliant set of opponents:

As often happens when fun is being had, the time flew and it was heading into the early evening. I started to pack, only taking a break to listen to the placings and awards. I did not think I had played particularly well, and had been a bit grumpy after my mistake in the 2nd game, mainly because I don’t like to make mistakes, so I was very surprised when it was announced that I had won the ‘Most Sporting Player’, award, so surprised in fact that I responded, ‘Me! Are you sure?’ It was an unexpected end to the event. As a prize I was given a ‘Mantic’ ‘Greater Water Elemental’ which will help me expand my ‘Forces of Nature’.

At the end of the day I travelled back home, very tired, both looking forward to and dreading the next day. Overall day 2 of ‘Franticon 2020’ was excellent.

After winning the greater elemental, I obviously had to buy enough miniatures to build a lesser elemental horde. And as the ‘Mantic’ Glade Walker Druid is a great match to my mounted druid from ‘Conquest games’ I definitely needed to purchase one of these also, now to reach 2000pts:

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Here is a list of links to the suppliers I used to build my army:

https://www.facebook.com/darksphereshepherdsbush/

https://ttcombat.com/collections/fantasy-realms

https://www.warploqueminiatures.com/bestiary?page=2

http://www.conquest-games.co.uk/index.php?cPath=41_46&&page=1

https://www.manticgames.com/games/kings-of-war/forces-of-nature/

Stane of Blood

On Saturday I travelled down to Woodmansterne in Surrey to take part in my first ‘Kings of War,’ tournament of 2020. ‘Stane of War,’ was a singles tournament for armies of 1495 pts, 4 games of 45 minutes in 1 day. I believe that particular point’s level was set, as it prevents repetitive selection whilst you select the troops you’ll take, and stops players spamming their army with powerful units. It kind of levels the playing field. I took a while to choose my army, as the ‘Empire of Dust’ has 7 irregular units, and it is tough to make a legal list with the unlocks you need to be effective. I wanted units that would take a charge and plenty of surge to allow me to get a few melee’s of my own started. My final list looked like this:

 

Ahmunite Pharaoh (Tome of Darkness),

Cursed High Priest (Shroud of the Saint),

Skeleton Spear Horde,

Skeleton Archer Horde,

Revenant Regiment,

Enslaved Guardian Regiment (Diadem of Dragonkind),

Enslaved Guardian Archer Regiment,

Desert Swarm Regiment,

Reanimated Behemoth,

Monolith.

This gave me 10 drops and a unit strength of 16.

 

Game 1: (Dominate)

My first game was against Grant and his ‘Varangur’. This matchup had been due to a challenge by Grant. We had been at several tournaments together and never played each other so as we were allowed to throw down the glove to anyone that was attending, Grant chucked his at my feet and I graciously accepted, even though I knew he would probably kick my butt. My first match at any tournament is never great, as I seem to need it to get me head in the game, and shake off the annoying nerves that dog me despite my mantra of ‘it’s only a game,’ I knew that the ‘Varangur’ had some fast troops and hit hard, so given the scenario I decided to keep my troops in close formation, move slowly toward the centre and deal with whatever came through first. Grants units were on my flanks by turn 2 and of course I broke formation to try and deal with the threat. This opened me up to Grants assault and he proceeded to pulverise my army. My skeletons did give as good as they took at first, but could not cope with the sheer ferocity of the barbarian warriors. Two lessons that I took from this game are as pointed out by Grant, if you have the ability to heal, you need remember to use it. Also if you are going to charge a unit, make sure that you actually have the correct angle, otherwise you might surge past you target, and offer up you flank in the same move.

Game 2: (Raze)

I believe that my opponent in this game was Marcin (but I am not sure). He had an impressive looking ‘Ratkin’ army. This was a tense game for many reasons, and I learned that the ‘Ratkin’ have some cool tricks, ‘Plague pots’, anybody? The main point of the ‘Raze’ scenario is to hold the most objectives by the end of the game. Other than the centre marker, you can start accruing objectives by turn two, so It does favour more speedy armies. However I was determined to do better in this game. It started well when my ‘Enslaved Guardians’ surged into and hammered his ‘Tunnel Runner Regiment.’ This decisive mover lead to me dominating the right flank, however the centre was soon in the hands of the Rats with their ‘Mutant Rat Fiend,’ glaring down upon my skeleton warriors, whilst being supported by a horde of ‘Shock Troops,’ and a ‘Rat Swarm’. I decided to claim my three outer objectives, that had been placed in the Rat’s half of the table, and keep my opponent from his remaining token placed in my half. The battle swung in the balance between the two forces until turn 6 when I rashly charged my ‘Enslaved Guardian Archers’ into his 2nd horde of ‘Shock Troops.’ Tis unit had been guarding the last objective. Although I won that combat, we rolled for a turn 7. My lust for battle had drawn me away, leaving a gap for his Rat Swarm to sneak through and claim his last objective, suddenly, my draw became a 4 – 3 defeat, so close, but no cigar.

Game 3: (Control)

My third opponent was Mick and he was using a ‘Vampiric Undead’ army. Most of his army did not worry me, and I felt we were evenly matched. However his army general was a ‘Vampire’ upon and ‘Zombie Dragon’, and I had no idea how to counter it. Both armies are quite slow as neither can march. As they staggered toward each other I sent my ‘Archer horde’ and ‘Guardian Archers’ to deal with two troops of ‘Wraiths’, I had underestimated the ability of this troop type, and soon the units were locked in a stalemate, that my dice results did nothing to assist. As the game went on, neither side looked certain to claim control of the field, as Mick and I traded units, however on his turn 5, Mick’s troops turned the tide of battle by destroying 4 of my units. I was able to claim the left flank with my remaining units, but it was not enough. I lost the game objective 5 points to 2. I was impress with my ‘Reanimated Behemoth’, which had been able to smash through the enemy lines, and managed to survive a grinding melee against a regiment of ‘Revenant Cavalry,’ and a ‘Mounted Vampire’ (not the dragon riding one), and claimed the top left flank for the ‘Empire of Dust’, without any help from the other units.

Game 4: (Loot)

Similar to the ‘Raze’ scenario, tokens are placed along/near a centre line, and your units need to capture and hold these tokens. The difference in the scenario is that unlike the objective markers, you can pick up and move the Loot tokens around, in order to keep them in your control. My opponent in this game, Elliot, had brought an ‘Elven’, army. He had a good selection of ranged and melee units, but nothing large to worry me. I have already learnt not to underestimate the ‘Elves’, as they are and elite force with excellent shooting and fighting statistics. After the sides were set up and tokens placed, I made my plan of action. My ‘Behemoth’ would take the right flank, with the ‘Revenants’ and ‘Pharaoh’ in support. The centre would be covered by my ‘Monolith’, ‘Archers’ and both regiments of ‘Guardian’. The Swarm’, ‘Spear horde’ and ‘Cursed Priest’ were to take the token on the left. Elves are fast and can march, unlike my shambling skeletal warriors, I had to be ready for them trying to sprint to the tokens pick them up and run before I could reach them. Thank the ancient gods for ‘Surge’, a spell that is a gift to undead armies, and keeps us in the running, so to speak. As the game progressed, my plan to take the right was faltering, not due to any great losses, purely because the ‘Elves’, being more mobile than my troops, kept grabbing the loot. My ‘Swarm’ took the token on the left, were shot and killed by a troop of ‘Elven Gladestalkers’, who claimed the token only to be butchered by my ‘Spear horde’. Once these guys had the token they weren’t letting it go. In the centre, units on both sides had been killed. However the ‘Elves’ had made an early claim on the token and never really looked like losing it. We held 1 loot token each at this point. It all came down to the fight on the right flank. My ‘Behemoth’ was too busy slaughtering Elves to concentrate on the objective, and by turn 3 this was also in the hands of the Elven army, a late surge from the monolith and then the ‘Pharaoh’ had been just enough for the ‘Revenants’ to make contact with the ‘Elves’ holding this coin. After 2 rounds of combat and with support from the ‘Pharaoh’ and ‘Behemoth’ the ‘Revenants’ claimed the objective. Due to time there was to be no round 6. With 2 tokens to 1 and a larger kill score the ‘Empire of Dust,’ finally claimed victory.

Over all this was a really fun day. The tournament, planned and organised by Matt Gee ran really smoothly. The tables looked immaculate and great to play upon. Matt’s brother scored for the event and the results were calculated quickly, so that the event did not drag and you knew your next opponent and table with enough time to tray and move your army and grab a coffee before starting the next game. The opponents were all good gamers and such a fantastic level of painting. Next time Matt plans a tournament, I will definitely try to attend; rumour has it there may be on in August 2020.