Back again, again.

What’s this I hear you say, Mr Seb has finally got off his arse and put finger to keyboard to speak again to the wider world about his hobbying. Well to be fair I have been a little busy, and tired, which means I really don’t want to get home and jump in front of the computer for more typing.

I have not played much since early August, but I have still been able to complete some paint projects and plan to do a series of short posts to talk about this.

A regular readers will know I’m really into ‘Kings of War’ and most of my painting is done in respect of this. One of the things I love about ‘Mantic’s’ fantasy war game is unit construction.  By that I mean that when you base your troops you do not need the exact number of figures that would make up said unit. For example a troop consists of 10 warrior and Regiment of 20 and so on. When you base up your troops you can use half the required number of miniatures +1, so a troop will be 6 figures representing the 10 that are actually present. Of course the base size must match that given by the rules, for example the base size for a regiment of regular cavalry is 120mm by 100mm. Having less figures to fill this space means you can go to town with your imagination in regard to how the base looks, I have seen great examples of scenic bases used in the game.

I recently received my ‘kickstarter’ reward for backing ‘Westphalia Miniatures’ Pugnacious half-men campaign. This contained a 10 man Yeoman infantry, 3 man command, 3 special sculpts and 10 man cavalry (Halflings mounted on goats). I’d been waiting for the knight for quite some time and decided to put some extra effort into their base. I sketched what I wanted it to look like, got my gear together and readied my epoxy resin:

Halfling knights (Before and Current status)

Base (Start to finish)

That’s all for this post, but I will be back soon with other projects I completed in the gap.

Oh one more thing, if you are currently looking for a Kickstarter project to back, you can’t go far wrong with Alex Huntley’s: Arcworlde (Troubles in the North). The talented young ‘Brindie’ sculptor has come up with expansion rules and three new races to play with, as well as making additions to the existing factions. Don’t miss your chance to get in on this campaign:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/warploqueminiatures/arcworlde-troubles-in-the-north?ref=discovery

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My SALUTE 2016

Well yesterday was the ‘Steampunk’ themed SALUTE 2016, and I have to say that ‘South London Warlords’ did an excellent job as usual. (Although I still believe that it is a massive shame that the ‘Bring & Buy sale’ is absent from the event).

My good friend Nik Green came over from Austria, and after an early start courtesy of my little girl, we got ready for the big day. I wanted to get the ‘London Excel’ relatively early, so you get an okay place in the queue and there is that build-up of anticipation whilst you wait to be let through into the main hanger. We got there in good time and were in the middle of the second line of convention attendees.

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Once the theoretical starting pistol went off, I made a brisk walk to the main stand in the centre to add my paint contest entries. Nik made a bee line straight to ‘Ainsty castings’ as he had his eye on some treasure tiles they’ve produced that would be perfect in ‘Frostgrave’. We met up at the main stand and after Nik added his entries at the competition desk, we headed for the ‘Perry miniatures’, stall. Nik is a good friend of the Perry brothers from his re-enactment days, so always like to have as much of a chat and catch up as he can, not always easy as give the brother’s sculpting talents, it is a very popular place. They kindly allowed up to stow our lunch bag behind their counter, and then Nik and I went out separated ways, me to check out the ‘Frostgrave’, demo table, and Nik for a meetup with the ‘Oldhammer’ crowd.

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The scenery on the ‘Frostgrave’ table was phenomenal, snow covered ruins built into a mountain with bridges and other obstacles that could obscure line of sight, and therefore spell casting. At the back of the raised corner they had built a cavern with glowing crystal. Sadly I was too late to get into the first game, and after missing two other starts I decided to focus at looking at the other games taking place. There was a good mix of fantasy and sci-fi games going on as well as historical re-enactments, and games based on other genres. There was a rather impressive board based on ‘Mad Max’ and a really good siege of a medieval castle.

You may recall that some point last year I backed a kick starter that was run by Carl Brown through ‘Second thunder’, which was to fund a skirmish combat game with rules that had some flexibility such as stat creation for you war band, the game is call ‘Open Combat’, and Carl was present at SALUTE with Gav Thorpe passing out copies to those who had funded the campaign and to sell to those less fortunate. I have had a chance now to flick through the pages and I am really excited about getting to grips with this game.

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I did another circuit of the main hanger and found the ‘Bad Squiddo Games’ stand which was being run by the dice bag lady herself ‘Annie’, her ever present mascot ‘Baggie’ was also present, and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity for a photo. I have visited ‘Annie’s’ site a few time, there is a wide range of realistic female figures for gaming purposes be it fantasy, modern war or Sci-fi. Recently ‘Annie’, commissioned a range of sculpt that celebrate the sacrifice made by many women in the Russian army of the 1st world war, and they are really beautiful. If I played that genre I would certainly have picked up a pack, not that I could totally pass on the goodies on offer. I picked up a metallic ‘Mog’ a female orc warrior, a note book with a picture of a Russian sniper on the cover a badge of ‘Baggie’ and some crystals for scenery construction.

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My aim this SALUTE was to stock up on paints and brushes, whilst sticking within a budget I had set by putting money aside every month since January, this gave me a healthy £80 to spend. However I was not counting on how costly good paints and brushes can be. I also forgot how many stall had new shiny looking goodies on sale. I stuck to my guns and after a couple of  circuits I found a bargain, £1 for a tube of Vallejo paints I grabbed a handful which included a pot of metal medium, and gave the vendor a crisp £10. I followed that with the purchase of 4 ‘Army painter’ brushes, and a pot of ‘Army painter’, strong tone wash. £25 spent on my hobby needs; I had money to spend on some of my hobby wants. This started with a trip to Alex Huntley’s ‘Arcworlde’, stall to obtain some halflings, here I bought a trio of town guard who will make superb Sergeant figures in my League of Rhordia army.

Halfway through the day I checked the display cases for the painting competition entries, as usual there were so many great submissions, I felt less confident about my own contribution. Later this feeling was proven correct, as my entries did not make it into the final judging round. I was disappointed of course, but with all the entries left in the case with mine, fine examples of the hobby, I did not feel down hearted for long.

As usual with SALUTE the day flew past, and I was absolutely exhausted, my legs were grateful for the seat I got on the DLR home. I left ‘London Excel’ with good memories and a back pack full of goodies. The anticipation has already sparked for next year.

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Games days, Frostgrave and Hanomag conversions

Hello MoDers, It has been a busy yet fun filled month so far, I decided it was time for my mug to pour forth its content.

In late February we had ‘HATE CON 1’ my local gaming club opened its doors to welcome gamers from far and wide to sample a variety of games old and new, and experience the fantastic ambiance of the ‘Bethnal Green Workingman’s Club’. There really was a wide variety of games to choose from such ‘Hero Quest’ and ‘Wings of War’. I volunteered to run the one of the two Frostgrave tables; which was a bit of a baptism by fire given the fact I’d only played twice myself prior to this. I had read the book about a dozen times, but with my sieve like memory I still made a few errors, that certainly did not appear to effect the fun had by the players, but did make it a little too difficult to wound the warband members. Still if you want to learn how to play a game you can’t do much better that to GM five games in a row.

Some of the club members ran a table that allowed people to delve into a number of bits boxes, and put together any weird and wonderful structure that you could imagine, for a small monetary offering, through this and some other generous donation the HATE club raised £100 for the charity ‘Mind’.

Due to work commitments I had to wait a whole week and a half before I got some more gaming action. But when I did I chose to play Frostgrave yet again, it is such an addictively fun game, so many nuances that make no game alike. This time it was a three way affair, to parties from the school of Witch craft whilst the other followed an Elemental mage. The rounds were quite evenly balanced with most wizards getting their spells off. There were some distinctly different styles of play, my witch mainly used spells like ‘Telekinesis’ to get to the treasure tokens, whilst her missile troops took pot shots at their opponents. The other witch kept trying to summon a daemon to take the fight to his enemy, and the elementalist kept magically boosting his warband enabling them to make some devastating attacks. Both my opponents lost their apprentices, the elemental trainee summoned an imp who then charged and attacked said junior mage and tore him a new ear hole. As the game came to an end I had three treasure tokens, the other witch had two, and the elemental mage also had three. It was looking like a draw, and then my apprentice snagged the last token, the other players did not make it plain sailing, but she managed to scuttle off the board and bring my witch’s hoard to four. She needed it though as she lost half her party during the scuffle and would need to hire some new hands.

Painting wise I’ve been quite busy too. After my last game of ‘Kings of war’ in which my ‘League of Rhordia’ army got a royal kicking from some surly dwarfs, I decided to kit them out a bit. Impressed by the carnage wrought by the ‘Steel Behemoth’ the dwarfs have at their disposal, I decided to fall back on some trusty Halfling engineering and construct an ‘Iron beast’. I don’t think that ‘Mantic’ currently do a model for this vehicle, so I decided to get converting. My dwarf opponent had used the Empire steam tank from old Warhammer as his behemoth, I racked my brains before deciding that halflings would have to have a Halftrack. I scoured the web for a suitable 28mm model halftrack and found the ‘SD.KFZ 251/1 AUSF D HANOMAG’ by ‘Warlord’. Having found a suitable base, I got some bits and pieces together to take the WWII out and hammer the fantasy in:

Once I had a basic idea what I wanted to look like, but before adding glue, I decided on the paint scheme. I wanted to have a large crest somewhere on the vehicle, and the elongated bonnet gave ample room for this. I used the last of my green stuff to make a basic shield shape, and some lumps of coal for added detail in the back. I was pretty much decided on having a rooster as the shield emblem, but could not decide how it should look, after a few practice sketches and some more web surfing I was ready to free hand paint my avian centre piece. I think it worked well.

My last chore was to select and paint a crew from the plethora of Halfling sculpts I’ve purchased over the years, I’d say they are my second favourite fantasy race after Dwarfs, so I had a few to choose from. I finally settled on two from the ‘Arcworlde’ range and a third from my old Halfling Blood bowl team finally with all painted and assembled it was time to take some pics, it was a rare bright and sunny day so I popped into my back yard and found a suitable spot for some photographs. I think I may enter this piece into the Salute 2016 painting competition, there is still a little work to do basing and highlights, but I’m definitely happy with the progress so far.

Sadly it is lent at the moment so I have no beer recommendations to make. Hope you enjoyed reading, and until the next post, take care.

Frostgrave, Kings of war and more.

I have been quiet for too long, the intention to blog has been there, but not enough will to actually put finger to keyboard. I have however been busy, getting some games in, painting/finishing some figures and drinking beer, well maybe not so much of the latter if only due to finances.

I got my copy of Frostgrave from ‘Northstar Miniatures’ at the end of July. The book itself is beautifully put together, and the rules are intriguing. I am still to play it as I have been preparing my own wizards/apprentices to use, the ones prepared by Northstar are nice, but this is the type of game where you can do your own thing. So far my Arcworlde Wizard is going to be my Illusionist, and I bought a lovely sculpt from ‘Black Scorpion Miniatures’ to be my witch. I also plan to use a classic ‘Citadel’ High Elf Mage as an Elementalist, and have my eye on several minis for my Necromancer.

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Even though I have not yet played Frostgrave, I have had the opportunity to play Kings of War 2 and Dungeon Saga by ‘Mantic’ who visited my local gaming club on two occasions over the last three weeks. On the most recent visit Ronnie Renton himself came down, a very nice fellow to whom many of us at the Hackney Area Table-top Enthusiast are very grateful to.

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Kings of war is very much the game to replace ‘Warhammer Fantasy Battle’, if you wish to continue to play proper table top battles. It is actually faster and easy to play than WHFB, and because you do not remove figures as the casualties’ accrue, it is easy to set up for a new game or tidy your army away. I have played this 4 times now, although 2 of those times were the 1st edition. I love the fast pace of the game, and they fact that artillery and magic are useful, but they are not game changers, means there is guaranteed combat, and often unexpected results. The fact that Mantic are expanding the range of their armies is a real bonus.

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Dungeon Saga is similar to Hero quest, but with some important differences, the one which stood out to me is that if even one of the adventurers dies, the whole mission fails; this encourages greater team work to complete the game. Each level is tougher than the last and it becomes imperative to protect the weaker members of your team.

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Despite the bad taste it left in my mouth, I have tried ‘Age of Sigmar’, and although many people have enjoyed it, it’s not for me. I will be taking up ‘Kings of War’, however I will also continue to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle, as long as I have an opponent to play with. I have also decided that in an effort to keep the old world alive, I am going to write and alternative narrative which I will post on the ‘Warhammer battle reporters’ website, for people to use if they wish, like many do, to continue with 7th or 8th Edition. I am also going to add 3 further armies to my collection, I already have Dwarf, Empire and High Elf, and it took some time to decide which three armies would join them, in the end I decided to go with Khemri, Orc & Goblin and Beastmen. I just need to get hold of the figures; I have had some luck, but keep getting out bid on Ebay. I need to find some other sources.

As I have said some nice beers have been consumed since my last post, and it’s difficult to say which I preferred, possibly the badger brew, but here’s a few pics of some of my recent refreshments.

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My day at SALUTE 2015

Upon leaving the house this morning it looked as if 2015 had decided to skip past the rest of spring, and summer in that case and get on with Autumn. The sky was grey, the air was cold and the rain just kept pouring down. However, I was in a positive frame of mind because today was April 25th, and it was finally time for SALUTE 2015. I also strengthened my resolve by remembering that the event is held indoors, so rain do your worst, today was going to be a good day.

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I reached Excel in good time. Crowds of people were already gathering, and as I paced down the café strewn walkway of the internal corridor, I noticed that there were in fact 4 different conventions taking place. Along with SALUTE and the annual London Marathon registration (these two always seem to run in conjunction) there was a pharmaceutical conference, and a convention for the modern BBC1 adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

As I approached the entrance for SALUTE; I noticed that unlike past events that I have been to, we were not required to queue outside, they had arranged a waiting area inside one of the hangers, and with the doors to the main event open, allowing a glimpse into the honey pot, and the golden treasure the lay inside. After half an hour waiting in my place within the queue, I was ready to gaze and new sculpts, play new games, and spend obscene amounts of money (well maybe not the latter), I was in total geek mode.

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Once they had finally let slip the dogs of war, I made a head long rush, straight to the Southern Warlords stand to book my models into the painting competition. Each year I fool myself into thinking I can paint to a good standard, so scoop up my most recent pieces, and proffer them to the SALUTE judges, hoping that I might get a mention, a slip of recognition. But then I see the other entries and think, ‘Wow, I still have a long way to go.’

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My next port of call was the ‘Hasslefree Miniatures’ stand to get some new Dwarf female warriors for a new work in progress, and a copy of their Female Greatsword (an excellent sculpt that would work well as an Empire Captain). I also picked up a few other models I liked because it’s got to be done really. Next stop was ‘Black Scorpion Miniatures’ they had a lovely sculpt of a witch with a cat familiar which I have wanted since I saw it on their website last year.

After this flurry of purchasing, it was definitely time for a game. I had spotted the ‘Lords of War’ stand in the corner near the entrance, and having enjoyed an introductory game in 2013, and subsequently forgotten the rules, I decided to see if someone would like to shake the rust out of my system with another game. A very friendly young lady sat me down and we had a round of ‘Templars Vs Undead’ I was happy with this choice as I had backed the kick starter for this particular version a while ago, then not played with me boxed set. The game at the intermediate level is quick to pick up, it is fun and very addictive. I enjoyed the game so much that I bought one of the special battle mats to start using my own cards upon, as it is definitely a game I’m going to get into. ‘Black Box Games incidentally are running a new kick starter, which is an expansion to their ‘Elves Vs Lizardmen’ set. After today, I think I’m going to making a pledge.

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Next up was lunch, I met up with two good friends Nick and Marc. We try to meet regualry at SALUTE, have lunch and go through our early purchases, it was pleasant as always and we chatted about the demise of the ‘Warhammer Fantasy World’ among many hobby related topics.

My post lunch amble around the bustling avenues of the SALUTE arena, was a flurry of window shopping and photo opportunities. I saw Dani Abrams ‘artist. comic book creator and war gaming guru’ who does some work with ‘Beasts of War’. I follow her on twitter and asked if I could take her picture, and she kindly allowed me to do so. Next I saw Alex Huntley the creator of the brilliant skirmish game ‘Arcworlde’, I back his kickstarter a while ago and received some beautiful sculpts in return.

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Then a sign caught my eye ‘Crooked Dice Game Design Studio’,  I was intrigued to know what they did. I approached the stall and got talking with the wonderful Helena Nash, who told me that they make games based on cult TV programs such as ‘Doctor Who’, and ‘Blake 7’. (two of my childhood favourites). Helena told me about one game in particular, 7th Voyage which is a table top game set in the world of classic stop motion mythic/fantasy films such as ‘Arabian Nights.’ There is an expansion book available that brings ‘Robin Hood,’ and ‘King Arthur,’ into the fold. It turns out that Helena is the games developer for this particular system, and I was eager to try it out. After a game of trying to get Robin and his merry men out of a castle town surrounded by the sheriff and his men, I was hooked and  bought the rule book and expansion straight away. If you’re looking for a new game to try then you should certainly give this company a try:  http://www.crooked-dice.co.uk/wp/

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Over all I had a really great time as SALUTE which made up for recent difficulties in everyday life. The escapism of war gaming has such a stress relieving quality, it would be good if they could bottle it up, but for the time being I’ll have to make do with shows like this.

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Something else to look for in the coming months is a game called ‘Frostgrave’ by ‘North Star Military Figures’ and ‘Osprey Games’. This is a game in which wizards steadily build up a warband as they battle and search for lost treasure. A funding event for this will start in May and will be worth watching out for: http://www.nothstarfigures.com

Quick paint job

Yesterday morning I woke up and thought ‘I want to paint something today’, so much was my enthusiasm to do this, that I had a good think about what to work on, while I enjoyed my morning cup of tea in bed. Like most war gamers/hobby painters I have a huge back log of models awaiting completion, but I was not tempted to touch these. I wanted to do something different that I could guarantee completing on the day, which would not end up as yet another half done paint job; waiting in a random box for that final lick of paint.

Back in 2013 I backed a rather good Kickstarter campaign that was run by Alex Huntley, a British independent sculptor and dare I say it games developer, who had already been producing some lovely miniatures through ‘Warploque miniatures’ and had come up with a rather nice idea for a skirmish game ‘Arcworlde’. In the lead up to the campaign he ran several competitions on ‘Facebook’ in-which if chosen at random, you and a friend of you choice would receive one of his sculpts. I was lucky enough to win one of his rather charming Wizards. Which arrived promptly, but then got shelved as many of my collection does. My mind was made up and that Mage was going to get a make over.

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Now these days my weekends are not my own, I have a young child and she needs regular entertaining. My wife was off out for a swim and that put full onus of child care on me, but that is no issues as she loves the opportunity for a bit of a paint. She’s not quite up to miniature painting yet, but I’m working on that. I only had a small window open to get some painting done, so I decided to challenge myself and do a bit of speed painting. I filed, washed and under-coated the model, and then gave myself only 1 hour to get the basic colours on (with a tiny bit of detail work). I would then finish the model of with a good dip in a pot of ‘Quick shade’ by ‘The Army Painter’, my friend Nik Green introduced me to this stuff, and after experimenting with his ‘Dark Tone’ I purchased a pot of ‘Strong Tone’ for a lighter effect. This is actually the first time I put it to use, and I don’t think it did a bad job. Although I could use a bit more practice with it.

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I am happy with the finished model, but think that ‘Quick Shade’ is probably best for troops of the line, where you don’t mind a few errors of heavy shading and lack of detail. This model could use a bit of extra work, the beard a glasses stand out to me as needing extra care, but overall I am happy whit how he turned out, especially after only an hours work. (Maybe 1 1/2 hours if you count the pre and dipping).

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Of course I had to christen the old spell caster with a glass of the amber stuff, and was lucky enough to have a few bottles handy. I opened this rather charming golden pale ale from ‘Jennings Brewery – Cocker Hoop’ a nice refreshing drop.IMAG2629

Kickstarter returns

Having recently received a batch of goodies from one of the Kickstarter projects that I backed late last year, I thought I’d take a few pic to show my rewards. I hope to get these boys painted up soon to show them in all their glory:

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These were part of Bob Olley’s Steampunk & Victorian scArunts bid and I was mightily impressed with the sculpts he had planned and just had to support him

I am still awaiting rewards on other products that I backed, but it is good to know that they all reached / exceeded their funds target. Other project that I backed last year:

 

I look forward to backing other Kickstarters in the future.