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.

Events

Hello MoDers,

Welcome to my first blog of 2020. I hope that the festive season treated you well, and that you have plenty of hobby aspirations for the year. This post is in fact about plans I have set so far, as well as a brief write up of my first battle this year.

At the end of 2019 I joined a ‘Facebook’ group for a number of ‘Kings of War’ players based in and around London. We use this page and a dedicated ‘What’s App’ group to plan and organise games at venues around the city. The main venue that I have attended since joining is ‘Bad Moon Café’, near Borough, South London. The group is very friendly and we exchange ideas and hobby advice as well as playing games.

The Facebook group page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/414256149261614/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

If you are interested in visiting the ‘Bad Moon Café’, their website can be found at: https://www.badmooncafe.co.uk/

My record since 3rd edition ‘Kings of War’ is not great, my games have been closer, but as well as still making poor strategic decisions, I have been having phenomenally bad dice rolls. In the game I played on Thursday I was averaging 2 to 4 hits and 0 wounds for most of my rolls, both in ranged and melee attack. The game was fun, although the noise build up in the café was quite distracting. I find that I am always learning things in this game, we had a brief discussion about a unit’s front arc and line of sight and where it is measured from, which was eventually solved by the group members.

My opponent Matt Gee’s Ogres are a stunningly painted collection that is exquisitely based along a piratical theme. I haven’t fared too well against Ogres in my games, and hoped my undead units would stick around a little longer than usual, but in my eagerness to get into a brawl, I let my units get flanked, something that I let happen far too often. Matt is as skilled a gamer as he is a painter, and it did not take him long to pound my skeletons into dust. I did at least manage to claim one of the four objectives, but wasted my ‘Idol of Shobik’ to do so. After the game Matt gave me some tips in relation to my ranged units and the use of ‘Surge’ that I will try to remember to put to use next time.

The events that I am hoping to go to this year include a number of tournaments, both single and doubles, and with any luck I’ll make it to SALUTE 2020.

1, ‘Stane of Blood’ a singles event of up to 1495 pts being held at Woodmansterne village hall, Carshalton, SM5 3, United Kingdom – 25th January 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/woodmansterne-village-hall-carshalton-sm5-3-united-kingdom/stane-of-blood-i/1171951633009988/ – I plan to take my Empire of Dust with me to this event, and am close to have decided upon my army selection, which will definitely contain a unit of ‘Guardians’ and possibly ‘Shobik’.

2, ‘Franticon’ is a 3 day event at Dark Sphere in Shepherd’s Bush Megastore, Unit 8, W12 Shopping Centre, W12 8PP London, United Kingdom – 6th to 8th March 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/dark-sphere-shepherds-bush-megastore/mantic-franticon-2020/375353553116306/  – Over the course of the weekend there are a number of ‘Mantic Games’, based tournaments and hobby events. I am planning to take part in three events:

Friday March 6th – Vanguard (Ante Bellum) – I hope to take a ‘Rhordian’ war-band to this event, but still have not actually played a game of Vanguard since it came out in 2018.

Saturday March 7th – KoW doubles (KoH) 2000 pts (1000 pts each) – I am preparing to take a ‘Force of Nature’ army to the doubles event, since I received a batch of ‘Treemen’ in the ‘Halflings and friends’, Kickstarter by ‘TTCombat’, I have been itching to use them. I don’t currently have a partner for this event, I was hoping my Neil Dennison who partnered me last year would be up for it, but we seem to have lost touch.

Sunday March 8th – KoW singles (Erit Bellum) 1650 pts – For the third tournament of this event, I will be taking my ‘Empire of Dust’. I will decide upon my troop selection after ‘Stane of Blood’ and probably just add an extra unit whilst tweaking the others.

3, Shroud of the Reaper – La Calavera’s time – a 2020 pts singles tournament which is held at Freemantle Hall, 51-75 Bexley High St, Bexleyheath, Bexley, DA5 1AA – 21st March 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/freemantle-hall-51-75-bexley-high-st-bexleyheath-bexley-da5-1aa/shroud-of-the-reaper-la-calaveras-time/396843571225954/ – Again my ‘Empire of Dust’, will make an appearance and I hope to make good use of Mark and Grant’s special character.

4, Jack of Herts – School fund raiser – a 2000 pts singles tournament which is held at Aycliffe Drive, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 6LJ, United Kingdom – 13th June 2020 – https://www.facebook.com/events/521036865375109/ – Other than making sure I could make the event, I have not thought much about which army I will take, but as I will be most familiar with my Empire of Dust by this time It will probably be the one I take. Paul and Matt always host a great event and I am looking forward to making the trip to Hemel.

5, Clash of Kings – 10th to 11th October 2020 – Firestorm Games, 15 Trade St, Cardiff, CF10 5DT – https://www.manticgames.com/games/events/tickets/kings-of-war-tickets/clash-of-kings-tournament-2020/ – I went to my first ‘Clash of Kings’ last year at ‘Element Games’, in Stockport, last year. It was a really well run and exciting event. Getting away from London and having a weekend of war-gaming was brilliant. However it was not cheap, the event ticket, train fare and hotel rate all mounted up. With the ticket costing £70, I will need to think about whether I can attend this year.

6, Salute 2020 – 18th April 2020 – Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Docks, London E16 1XL – http://www.salute.co.uk/salute/salute-2020/ Not specifically a gaming event, although there are various participation/demonstration games going on, SALUTE is a hobby event where sculptors, developers and stockist come to display their new products and sell all sorts of gaming goodies. I cannot always make it due to work commitments, but I definitely hope to this year.

Long time, no type

This blog is long overdue. Many times since my last post in January I have meant to report on events that I have participated in, and games I have played, but sadly my depression and anxiety have been increasing since last November, and this March it came to the point that I needed to seek help, and go back on medication. This has left me generally apathetic and each time I have sat down to type, sentences fail to form in my mind and my enthusiasm for posting wanes. Here we are in June now, and I have added nothing to Mug ‘O’ Dice since the beginning of the year. I have decided to make a quick post today, largely as a catch up.

In March I attended ‘Manticon 2019’ a weekend of ‘Mantic’ based gaming. They were holding two ‘Kings of War’ tournaments one singles and the other for doubles, I teamed up with my friend Neil Dennison and we took a Sea Elf/Realms of Neritica army along to the battle bunker at ‘Dark Sphere’ in West London. There was a good attendance at the event and we played some good games against some friendly and knowledgeable people. I wanted to improve my tournament record having failed to win a game during a ‘Kings of War’ tournament. Generally it is not about the result for me, but to lose on every occasion can become disheartening. Our first opponent was a Night Stalker/Ratkin combination that annihilated our army, we certainly learned from that game and our opponents were kind enough to give us some tips for our next round. Game two was against an Ogre/Forces of Nature combination a very friendly couple took us up to round 7, and it looked like we might actually take the game, however the final rounds swung against us, and we evaded victory once more. The final game was against a Dwarf/Dwarf combination a very tactical game and one in which I finally broke my trend as we managed to force a draw. Our final results netted us the wooden spoon, the sting of which was removed when the tournament organisers presenting us each with a ‘Mantic’ terrain box, which was very kind.

April came along and SALUTE 2019 happened, sadly I missed it due to work, which is a shame, on the bright side at least I saved some money. It has made me more determined to attend SELWG 2019 this year at ‘Crystal Palace’ on Sunday 20th October 2019. Follow the link to find out more:

https://www.facebook.com/SELWGSHOW/

May saw an end to the ‘Kings of War’ campaign that I have been taking part in at the ‘Tanelorn Gaming club’ at the ‘Magic Madhouse’ in Stratford, East London. I had enjoyed taking part in this campaing, which was run by my friend Guy Harper. I only managed to win my first game against an army of ‘Ratkin’, however I enjoyed everyone of them, playing against some very friendly people. My ‘Empire of Dust’ army faced deamons, Dwarves, Beastmen and Elves as they fought their way into the Isle of Valundar, my Pharaoh looking both for his long lost brother, and revenge upon those who sunk his fleet. He saw gaining shards of the ‘Fenulian Mirror’ as a bonus. The last game as a six way affair with the object of securing the mysterious tomb in the centre of the board. Melee took place across the table and many troops were lost, By the end of turn five it looked like my army would carry the day, sadly we had trusted in a pact with some Dwarves who attacked us in the rear and flank and stole the victory. During the game I was impressed how much hurt a simple troop of Dwarf Berserkers can hand out, and the damage that a Herd Brutox can soak up. It really was a great climax for the campaign.

Finally I have entered another doubles tournament with ‘Kings of Herts’ this time it is a fundraiser for the school where they run most of their events. To find out more about it, follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2266931370245040/

I am taking 1000 pts of ‘Empire of Dust’ my partner this time will be Mark Cunningham of the Bexley Reapers who I believe is bringing some ‘Varangur’ I am currently finalising my list and prepping the minis, I will try to blog about this nearer the time. Mark and Grant from the reapers are also organising a tournament to take place on 20th July 2019, I cannot make it as I am taking part in the race for life on the same day, but if you are interested, follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/2178879795497410/