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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MoD September to November

Hello readers, I really must get more on top of this blogging, yet again I have let too much time go part without touching finger to key. This might be a long issue, it really depends on how much I remember there has been a good amount of hobby these past few months.

Isle of Valundur

I have played two games in the slow grow campaign since my last blog. I have faced off against an army Elves and a throng of Dwarfs, both enemies pipped my skeletons to the post in the Kings of War pillage scenario.

Game 1 against Guy’s elves was a bit of a slow starter, and I lost a token to him from the beginning as he placed a unit of scouts upon one that I had placed in his deployment zone (objective markers are placed before the role to choose sides), the marker had been placed in some difficult terrain, which meant he had cover and anyone that charged them would be hindered. The unit really did prove impossible to shift despite two direct hits from a balefire catapult, a hail of quivers from the guardian archers (a unit that is definitely worth it money) and a full on charge from revenant chariot unit who totally failed to scratch the Elves, who would not relinquish the objective. Centre table there was plenty of blood shed as a unit of Palace Guard marched toward an unreachable objective. My Skeleton Spears horde charge an enticing horde of Forest Shamblers, wounds were caused on both sides, but sadly it was my troops that crumbled. A Forest Warden charged out from the woods right at my Enslaved Guardian Archers, and although he drew some ichor, the Guardian counter charge proved decisive and the Treeman was downed. The game continued in this vein, with the final action taking place around the only marker my army had nabbed. My opponent did not want my deadites to have any objectives at all, and swooped his Drakon Rider Lord in to dispute the claim. The fateful dice role for turn 7 took place, a 5 was the result and the turn took place. I was reticent as I did not think my army could hold out. I turned my Behemoth around to face the Drakon Lord, and used my Pharaoh to surge her into the flank of the winged monster, with the doubled attacks, after the undead beast’s rampage was finished, there was nothing left but Elf jam and a few scales. A moral victory that earned the Behemoth ‘Man of the Match’ (on my side) and softened the pain of losing. Thankfully I did get an exploration phase and managed to find my first shard of the Fennulain Mirror.

In game 2 I faced Conrad’s Dwarfs, a totally different prospect to the Elves, and although dwarfs are not the fastest movers in the game, they weren’t slow in getting into the action. With my 150 point boost I upgraded my Enslaved Guardian Archer regiment into a horde and gave them healing brew. This unit has proven to be reliable and effective, by doubling their number I increased their attacks to 18 and strengthened their nerve. I also brought in a Swarm regiment to act as a screen. Given the table size and points value of our armies, we altered the role for objective tokens from D3+2 to D3+1. I duly rolled a 1 so we only had two objectives to fight over. I decided to split my army in two, sending my Skeleton Spear horde and Chariots under the guidance of my Pharaoh for an objective that had been placed in the centre of the table. The Guardian Horde, Behemoth and bugs went for the other marker which had been placed on the far right of the table. My tactic was just to go for it and see how Conrad reacted, and moved all my units toward the objectives. In the shooting phase my Revenant Chariots took a shot at a regiment of Berserker Brock Riders although they hit they could not scratch the tough dwarf hides. My Behemoth needed a 6 to make her shot, and she hit her target, causing 3 wounds on the nearest horde of Dwarf Ironclads. In response to this Conrad used his suped up Dwarf King to push back the Chariots with a Wind Blast spell he acquired earlier in the campaign, putting them in a poor position for their next round. The Dwarfs moved up rather quickly and but not much else happened in round 1. In the rounds that followed there was plenty of action, with the Brock Riders and Mounted King making the first charge of the game, initially bouncing, but eventually destroying the Revenant Charioteers. In turn the Guardian Archers vaporised both of Conrad’s Dwarf Berserker troops in separate shooting turns. In the centre of the table there was a tussle between two hordes of Dwarf Ironclads and my horde of Skeleton Spears, there was charge and counter charge for three turns, and my Spears held out, taking and inflicting pain. In the end however they were overwhelmed by the tenacious Dwarf units. (On the walk home I realised that I had forgotten to use the units phalanx and life leech special rules, and only remembered the ‘Pipes of Terror’ special bonus in the first turn. The result could have been quite different, darn my faulty memory). This victory gave the Dwarfs the centre objective. The Brocks and King raced across the table towards the left side. Whilst my Pharaoh, Behemoth, Guardians and Bugs turned to face the approaching enemy. My Guardians shot a volley at the weaker of the two Dwarf hordes, destroying the unit and claiming some revenge for their downed skeleton brethren. The Brocks and the King charged the Guardians who duly collapsed under the force. The Behemoth stepped forward and was willed into the flank of the king, he scored 7 wounds but was unable to make the King leave the field. My opponent was then left with a dilemma, he was presented with a possible flank charge on the Behemoth with his Dwarf Ironclads, but this would mean leaving the objective and relying on a 7th turn to make it back, he was eager to take out my giant beast, but took the route of common sense over the thrill of gambling away his lead. This decision served him well the dice was rolled for the extra turn, but a 3 decided that the game came to an end. His Dwarf horde held one objective, my Swarm held the other, with a unit strength of 3 in comparison to my unit strength of 2, the Dwarfs carried the day. I did not get an exploration phase this turn, but earned enough points for three units to gain veteran status, one of these was my mighty Behemoth which has somehow become ‘Stealthy’.

Grumpy Old Tin

23rd October was SELWG 2018 at Crystal Palace, sadly I could not make it this year, but my friend Nik came over from Austria to attend, he stayed over at our house, and was generous enough to gift me with some products from is small gaming production line ‘Grumpy Old Tin’. In the past he has sent me some fantastic wooden buildings made using his lazer cutting skills. Now he has started making his own flock, grass tufts and mosses. I’m particularly fond of his scenic wild flowers. Check out his wares at www.grumpyoldtin.com

King of Herts 2

In October I attended a brilliant doubles tournament in Hemmel Hempstead run by Matt Green and Paul Roberts. This was to be my second Kings of War tournament and my first in the doubles format. I put together a 1000 point ‘League of Rhordia’ list which consisted of mostly Halflngs. I was partnered by the very talented Rusty Shackleford who brought his Dwarfs. We were to play three games, we definitely played the pillage scenario, but I have forgotten the other two scenarios that were selected. We faced three alliances: Neritica with Elves, Werewolves with Vampires (basically two lots of Undead) and Neritica with Dwarfs. We did not win any of our games, but we came close and scored enough points to avoid last place. Our first and last games were really close, however the Undead alliance tore our troops asunder, my poor Halfings did not know what had hit them, although my Master Sergeant gave as good as he got, holding out against a horde of Werewolves (at least for one round). The games were really fun, and I think learned a lot from Rusty and my opponents. Matt and Paul were excellent hosts and event organisers creating a great atmosphere. They also arranged for  ‘The Pit’ gaming shop to be on hand to sell some great deals, and sent out an order to local eatery ‘Burgitzza’ who do a nice line in burgers and pizzas. If you have the time I thoroughly recommend that you attend one of their Kings of War events.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1841774202605061/

The guys also gave tournament goers with some lovely laser cut wooden terrain pieces, Rusty was kind enough to paint up mine and he also gave me a painted Dwarf Waystone, and a dead Halfling wound counter, all painted beautifully:

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Winged Aralez

When thinking about my army list for Kings of Herts I wanted some mobile fire power to assist the Honour Guard unit that I was taking. The obvious idea was Halfling Ranger Cavalry, and I was taking a troop of these, but felt I still needed something more. Flicking through the pages of ‘Uncharted Empires’ I noticed that as well as being able to mount your mage upon a horse, they also have access to the Winged Aralez. According to Armenian mythology  an Aralez is a dog like spirit that live in the sky and are believed to decend to the field of battle and lick the wounds of dying warriors which can heal or even resurrect them. People have used many different miniatures to represent these majestic creatures. I have tried to stick to the dog like description and used the ‘Games Workshop’ Thunder Wolves to model my own Aralez. I currently have two hordes of Honour Guard and an Winged Aralez Ancient (not a GW mini), but I did not have anything to represent the middle ground, the simple Winged Aralez. I had enough parts left for one more Thunder Wolf, but no wings. I had used Griffon Wings for the Ancient, but decided they would be too large for the younger Aralez. I looked around and asked my friends Nik and Neil for advice, and eventually resolved upon finding some wings from an old school Wood Elf Falcon Rider, I hit e-bay and found just the thing, when they arrived I was ready to start. I had already decided that I would stick to the tan body colour that I had used with the Honour Guard, but I wanted the mane, wings and tail to have a fiery appearance, to show the Aralez had taken on some of its master’s hot temperament during the bonding that all Aralez riders must go through. I was happy with the finished piece, but had an issue, originally I planned to use the old ‘GW’ Supreme Patriarch ‘Thyrus Gormann’ as my mounted wizard, however his staff prevented him from sitting upon his mount. After a quick trip to my bits boxes I had a combination of High elf and Empire knight parts and with some help from some green stuff I quickly assembled a new wizard to ride the beast into battle. This meant that I was still painting the night before the tournament, but that is nothing new.

Franticon

Over the weekend of 23rd – 24th March 2019 Dark Sphere Megastore in Shepherds Bush will be the venue for a huge ‘Mantic’ event which is co organised by the Frantic Gamers Podcast. There will be tournaments of ‘Kings of War’ (including Kings of Herts 3)and ‘Deadzone’ and the ‘Dreadball’ 2019 UK National Championship. I’m going to the Saturday and plan to take part in the Kings Of War doubles tournament. For more information follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/245149449525248/

*** Excelsior ***

April Stuff

Happy May Day MoDers, Hope that April treated you well. I have not dome much in gaming terms this month, but still managed to get some hobby time.

W40Kepic

I believe I mentioned in my last post, I have started getting into the classic ‘Games Workshop’ games Warhammer 40K Epic. Although not currently supported it is not too hard to get hold of the rules and some miniatures to play this. I was one of many ‘Squat’ fans that was disappointed when GW stopped that range and claimed that the home-worlds had been devastated by the ‘Tyrannid’ Hive Fleet ‘Behemoth’. So I decided that as there are rules for this race in Epic they were going to be my army of choice. I have been able to collect a small force together, and have completed some painting one some war-machines, as I’m dreading painting the tiny troops that accompany them.

Games with my girl.

After recently getting my little girl Bethany into Xbox, I decided to try her with a table top game. I knew whatever I tried had to be easy to learn and interesting, and decided that ‘Wings of War’, with is rather basic rules and dye cast model Bi-planes I couldn’t go far wrong. I have the ‘Flying Aces’ WWI set for this game, it has been stowed away for a while since my friend Nik Green moved to Austria, we played the game now and then, but it has been on the shelf collecting dust for a while. I grabbed this and my carry case which contains a collection of allied fighter planes. When I opened the case and showed Bethany the content she was eager to give the game a try. The good thing about ‘Wings of War’ is that you do not need a vast amount of space for a simple dog fight, which was as complex as I was willing to go with Bethany. She looked at the planes in my case and selected a ‘Sopwith Snipe’ with Belgian markings; I went for my first purchase a ‘Spad S VII’ with Italian markings. The main difference besides appearance being that the ‘Snipe’ is capable of sharper turns, and the ‘Spad’ had a higher armour class. It did not take Bethany long to get to grips with the whole manoeuvre selection and turn sequence, and we were soon able to get the planes within firing distance. With her sharp turns Bethany manged to get a few volley’s off at me, lucky I kept drawing 0’s for damage. We eventually got each other down to half each other’s starting wound rate. I think by this point she had become a little bored and she slowly slinked off her chair, ‘Snipe’ in hand, grabbed another plane out of the case and started running around the Living room making aeroplane noises. This signalled the end of the game, which I decided to take as partial success. However I will give it a few months before I try for a new round.

Warploque new minis

A while back I supported a kickstarter ‘Trouble in the North’ by Brindie games company ‘Warploque Miniatures’ headed by the very talented Alex Huntley. I really enjoy painting the figures that he produces, and the ones for the Troubles campaign looked really stunning. Of course I went with the Halfling faction, and still await the arrival of these rewards. In the meantime Alex has produced a mini game for his ‘Arcworlde’ setting. This is a few years in the future and there is strife and civil war in ‘Hobbleshire’ there are two factions in this games first shown at SALUTE 2017, although I could not get there, I have been watching the Kickstarter updates, and when I saw the two war bands that feature ion this game, I had to have them, of course I could not afford both sets yet, so I went for the really characterful  ‘Son of Hobbleshire’ lovely clean sculpts. If I had any issues with the new models it be that I don’t think the feet are quite big or Halfling(y) enough, and look a bit like animal claws, but is such a small fault in an otherwise fantastic range. Check out these models as well as Alex’s other collections at: http://www.warploqueminiatures.com/

I need a fully painted battle standard bearer in my ‘Rhordian army’, so decided to paint this guy up first.

Wolf conversions and Campaign days

Happy 2017 MoD’ers, here is my first post for the year. I do hope that the festive season treated you well and your eager to make this as good a year as you can, I know I aim to.

Since my last Blog I started on a new figure project. I finally had assembled enough pieces for my Rhordian Duke mounted upon a Winged Aralez Ancient (Huge flying dog), for my ‘Kings of War’ League of Rhordia army. I had most of the bits and bobs within the lead and plastic collection that I have dotted around the house. However for the main body I wanted something large and impressive, I scoured the web for suitable miniatures, and the answer was presented by eBay in the form of an alternative model for the ‘Space Wolves Thunder Wolf’ produce in resin by a European company listed below. One of my 1990 sculpted GW Griffons parted with her wings, and I sent off to ‘The Assault Group’ for one of their splendid mounted Dwarves.

The back story for this character is based upon the fluff provided for the League of Rhordia within Mantic’s: ‘Uncharted Empires’. Rhordia is a melting pot of races formed through adversity in the form of Orc raids that almost broke the Republic before it got going. The population of Rhordia is made up largely of Men, Halflings and Dwarves. Whereas the first two are given specific stat lines, the Rhordian Dwarves are not catered for. I use Dwarf figures when I want to represent their presence within the army, and use the stats that have been provided for the specific Rhordian units they are representing. I do this more for the character of the army, than any specific bonus of including dwarf troops.

This character came to power when his family used their Dwarven skills for smoking and preserving meats, made their adopted town of ‘Chipolata’ a thriving city known for mainly for the sausages and delicate meats they produce. Money brought them power and that bought then position. I wanted to choose food related names for my character, and came up with Duke Brok Wurst, in honour of his family’s business. I decided on Black and Yellow as the clan colours and gave him Bronze armour to show his status. As he is mounted I decided to go with the lance and shield option he came with, but added a spare Warhammer to the saddle, as a typical dwarf side arm.

Giant Wolf – http://bitspudlo.com/products/storm-hounds-2

Wings – Games Workshop (Citadel) Old style Griffon

Dwarf – http://www.theassaultgroup-shop.co.uk/index.php?p=7&tags_match=Fantasy

Hammer – http://www.thebattleforge.co.uk/

Although I hve a number of things to do to complete the model, the KoW International Campaign ran this weekend (14th Jan) and I really wanted to get him involved as the legendary hero you were allowed to put together. So I included him in a 2000 + 200 pts army list that was an even balance, and took it to my local gaming club: H.A.T.E @ Bethnal Green Workingmen’s Club, who were running a special Saturday opening for the campaign day. He I face a new opponent, a rather skilled, but very friendly ‘Empire of Dust’ pplayer. The sides appeared evenly matched, but I had not experienced the pain of an army with the ‘Surge’ spell, they were on me in second and tore my Rhordians apart. Despite this I had a really fun game and would certainly like to face him again.

However, one thing I have noticed in many of my games is the ‘tactic’ or should I say reticence of war-gamers allowing their figures to get involved in the melee, unless they can be the ones to charge. They appear to literally be scared of holding units in place to take the initial impact, opting to actively avoid combat unless they get the bonuses a charge provides. Whereas this may seem sensible to many, it can lead to a boring scenario of either allowing yourself to constantly be the one who is charged, or both players hang back and have a rather dull game. Maybe games designers could do something about this, perhaps design skills and/or magic items that can be used to force the players into moving at your units and risk receiving the charge; I believe the ‘Warhammer Fantasy’ Dwarf army list had a taunting rune that did such a thing. It would certainly avoid the situation where two competitive players don’t really get a game, as both are too stubborn to move.

Well that is all for now MoD’ers, hope January goes well for you, and hope to be more regular in posting this year, 2016 was a complete mare.

As things end, so they begin…

I have finally completed Oscar’s Chaos Champion, and just in time as he visits next week and want to pit his followers of the Dark gods against my humble sons of Grungi. So without further ado, here are the final blurry shots:

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To wet this particular baby’s head, I went for an American Brew Samuel Adams ‘Boston Larger’ it had a good bitter taste but an oddly eggy finish:

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And so to new things, although I have a huge back log of figures to paint, I just had to paint up my new sculpt GW Iron Breakers, my favourite troop by far, so here’s my new project:

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Warhammer Dwarfs 2014

Well it has taken me a while to put finger to keyboard in relation to this topic; and the new Warhammer Dwarf army book has been out for about 4 months now, many people will have bought the new figures and played a number of new list options. Be it a late review or not, I’ve been a Dwarf player since the late 1980’s and I’m going to post my thoughts about the new release.

On the face of it I like the new book, its hard back, contains a balanced mix of background (Fluff), rules, troop rules and costs, and the art work you might expect from a Games Workshop product. It is well produced and a pleasure to flick through.

However after my first scan through I was left feeling disappointed. I felt that a good opportunity had been missed. This book saw the introduction of two new units, (although the gyro-bomber is just the re-introduction of the gyro-copter bombing run from earlier an edition of the Dwarf army book). The dwarf player still lacks something to take the fight to the opponent, yes they now get bonuses on the charge, and have a host of weapon runes at the disposal of their hero characters, but when does a dwarf army actually get to charge on a consistent basis?

We have an army list that is totally devoid of any monstrous units, cavalry or chariots. The background states that the Dwarf Kingdoms are established within the mountain regions of the Warhammer world. However in all that time they have not found some mythical creature or beasts of burden to tame and put to some use. They are supposed to be the most creative race in the Warhammer world and yet the best war machine they can come up with is a light weight helicopter with a bomb? I don’t just play I collect, paint and model, I want a grand centre piece! Some kind of dwarf made dreadnaught or steam powered chariot. If Scibor can manage Dwarfs on bear back and West Wind Dwarven boar cavalry, then surely Games Workshop could come up with something better; that still fits within the rules and background of the sons of Grungi!

The sculpting of new models was pretty poor as well. I find that the elven models always look great as do the empire sculpts, in fact as each race has been given a re-boot I’ve been left salivating and wandering if I can afford to take up another collection. The two dimensional feel to the new dwarf figure such as that atrocious sculpt ‘Belegar Ironhammer’ left me feeling like no time had been put into planning the new dwarf army, although they had nine years to come up with ideas.

Putting the anvil of doom back in the magic phase has rendered it useless. The best rune, ‘Oath and honour’ has gone and the effects of the rune ‘Wrath and ruin’ have been reduced, which means that if you do get a successful strike past the enemy wizard, the effects will be minimal and possible not worth the cost of choosing the item. The Organ gun, a weapon that was more about luck than accuracy has also be worked over, now you have to roll the artillery dice, and any shot released still have to be rolled to hit and with the Dwarven BS of 3, its no likely, you better off picking a unit of 10 Thunderers where you will at least get 10 shots every round. As far as my collection is concerned its back to the shelf for these models.

 

I understand that changes have to be made, some of the old army rules did not fit well with the 8th edition Warhammer rules, some had been rendered obsolete and others had become over powered, so changes were needed. But I feel that opportunities were missed.

 

Having moaned and bitched about the changes that I dislike, what do I like. Well there has been a reduction in the cost of core troops such as Thunderers and warriors. Some new rules seem quite interesting, such as the new version of ‘Ancestral grudge’ and ‘Forgefire’. Also there appears to be no more -1 to hamper the roll to charge/flee. As I said I like the book itself, and despite what I said about the sculpting I do like the new Iron drakes and the new version Long beards, I also like the new gyro-copter sculpts despite the fact that assembled they are no bigger than a paint pot. The dragon slayer was rather cool as well despite displaying a rather elf level of agility.

 

I have done a brief comparison of the different Dwarf army books I have owned since 1993:

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1993:

  • 112 pages
  • 8 special characters including the double team ‘Gotrek and Felix’
  • 50 runes to choose from & 8 pre-generated magic items
  • A wealth of fluff and background (probably unequalled by the later editions)
  • 11 pages of painted examples
  • 15 page catalogue of now classic sculpts

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2000:

  • 80 pages
  • 2 special characters
  • 55 runes to choose from 0 pre-generated magic items
  • A good amount of fluff
  • 18 pages of painted examples
  • No catalogue
  • No new units or war machines

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2005:

  • 80 pages
  • 3 special characters
  • 63 runes to choose from 0 pre-generated magic items
  • Fluff and background okay largely based on troop type
  • 18 pages of painted examples
  • No catalogue
  • No new units or war machines

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2014:

  • 96 pages
  • 6 special characters
  • 52 runes to choose from & 6 pre-generated magic items (Some runes can now be multiplied for differing effects
  • A good amount of fluff and background almost equal to the first book
  • No catalogue
  • 1 new unit and 1 variation to an existing unit (sorry but I just don’t see the Gyro-bomber as new)

In contrast the book comes out really well, and just maybe it is better in some regard, if it wasn’t for those missed opportunities.

Been busy, so been quiet.

I have not written for a while, real life as ever had become quite busy, and so I have not been able to write anything, not that this is a weekly blog in any case.

I want to talk about two kickstarter projects that I have my eye on, and think are well worth the support if you have the money to invest, not that it costs a lot to back.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/388 … d?ref=live

The above link is for ‘Lords of War – Templars Vs Undead’

Lords of war if a really very fun trading card strategy game. I played the ‘Dwarves Vs Orcs’ game at Salute this year, it was a fun 1/2 hour, and is a good collector game for those who don’t want to paint before they can play.

The cards are nicely details with some good art work and the company has kept the price very reasonable.

As well as the Dwarf set there is a second set which features Elves Vs Lizardmen.

If you have any spare cash going and want to help these guys get game no:3 of the ideas pad and into the shops, then check out their kickstarter link and watch the video:

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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/433 … a?ref=live

The second kickstarter is for a new range of models by veteran sculptor Bob Olley, who is hoping to release a new range of steam punk style figures, his first outing is a set of Victorian Dwarves.

For those who do not know Bob Olley is a talented sculptor who has worked for the likes of Games Workshop, Reaper Miniatures, and Ral Partha, now he’s free lance and his work is well worth backing if you have a penny or two to help him raise his bid.

You can see more of his work at: http://www.olleysarmies.co.uk/home.html

I really like his sculpting, and if you are/were a fan of Games Workshop 40K Squats check out if Space Scrunts.

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Golfort Kraus

This post is about the last set of Warhammer table top games I played, it was a mini campaign run in a couple of days, and took place in March and April, I have not had the time to play since that, and my good friend and regular playing partner has moved away from the UK, so I’m not sure when I shall get to roll the dice again.

The game

I called the game Golfort Kraus, it is about a feuding town on the outskirts of the Empire, as set in the Games Workshop ‘Warhammer World.’ The town is located within a marshy area with a valuable seem of river gold over which the North and South side of the town have been fighting for decades.

The town is in stale mate with neither side gaining the upper hand for any significant period of time. The best leaders are now either very old or dead, and both sides are intent on settling the matter. They have sent out for assistance, and this has come in the form of a passing hero and his retinue.

Players were tasked to find a special hero level character they would like to play with (who came fully equipped for free) and allowed 250 points to spend on a any core or special infantry unit to act as the hero’s unit. They were also given 500 points to spend on core empire troop to represent the towns folk (no heroes or special equipment for these peasants).

Due to the low point forces there was a lot of terrain which included a river, marsh land, woods, hills, a town and a bridge.

Objective

There were two pathways to victory, either annihilate the other side or have the move units with 5 or more models within 10 inches of the town centre, after D3 +2 turns (giving at least 3 rounds per game, allowing for more games to take place):

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(Above the initial set up of the board)

The players selected the following heroes and units:

Josef Bugman + 14 fully equipped Longbeard Dwarven rangers

Khorhil of the white lions + 14 White Lions of Chrace

Lumpin Croop + 29 Halfling archers (inluding Neddy Hamfist the banner bearer) Due to his lack of special weapons or rules, Croop was allowed a sword or might and potion of fool hardiness.

Gor-Rok + 19 Saurus warriors

Each player was to face one another once, and the results were entered onto a table.

As phys reps each player used their own figures to represent the empire troops, here’s some pics of the game:

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Results

XX JB Kh LC GR

JB XX V   V   D

Kh L   XX V   V

LC L   L   XX V

GR D   V   L   XX

Key: JB – Josef Bugman          Kh – Khorhil

    LC – Lumpin Croop          GR – Gor-Rok

XX – No game          V – Victory

D – draw           L – Lose

So it was victory to my Josef Bugman thanks to his sturdy Longbeards and their trusty throwing axes.

Khorhil claimed second place, whilst Gor-Rok had a surprising loss to Lumpin Croop who’s fighting cocks made their arrows tell during this game.

Each player had managed 3 games in two afternoons, and fun was had by all, even Lumpin Croop’s player, the beer may have helped there. Infact we had a lovely drop from ‘London Fields Brewery’ called ‘Love not war’ a very nice red ale.

Ever since I read JRR Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ I have been gripped by fantasy fiction, table top games and role play, and it set up a long time love of all that is dwarf.

This is why when it came to choosing an army to play Warhammer Fantasy by Games Workshop (GW), way back as far as the  early 1990’s, it was the ale quaffing beardies that I opted for.

Most fantasy players have a love / hate relationship with GW, who produce rules / gaming systems and churn out some fantastic sculpts. They are a large driving force in the fantasy gaming arena. However many people believe that they are over priced, and make un-necessary changes to rules their rules, forcing people to spend more money. It is a fine line they tread, one could say between market place bully boy, and table top innovators, it has to be remembered that it is companies such as GW breath life into the gaming community and have helped make it what it is.

There are however some companies out there who make absolutely fantastic models at a fraction of the price of GW, and these can easily be utilised in un-official tournaments,  at clubs and in house games.

Right now I am really impressed with ‘Avatars of War’ Pathfinders who would make excellent models for Dwarf Rangers, I’m quite tempted to get a unit to accompany my Josef Bugman (A GW special character) into battle:

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