July 31, 2012

Anastasia

I wanted something quick to paint so I grabbed Anastasia Di Bray last week. I had no idea what she did or if she would even work with the armies I have. Thankfully she does! I painted her up in a muted scheme as befits an intelligence agent. Her clothes are quite neutral and she could be usde as a model for a more modern setting too. I have mainly been working on terrain at the moment as I really have lost my painting mojo. I am not sure why but I can't seem to get too enthusiastic to take my paints out. At least that means I am making some progress on the various terrain projects I have been thinking about for the last while.

July 27, 2012

Friday Showcase - Bad Moon Dreadnought

I have a good sized collection of Orks. I only began collecting at the start to the last edition and I guess I only played with them maybe four times. I have had a soft spot for Orks for a really long time and I managed to pick up two starter sets of them relatively cheap. I painted them up quickly as a project to get me back into painting after almost a years break. I thought I would showcase them here especially with the advent of the latest edition of 40k. I don't play the game at all but I keep up somewhat with whats going on. Maybe someday the game will evolve enough that I may play again. If not the appreciation on the miniatures should pay for my retirement!

July 26, 2012

Rusty Rails

Despite the fact that turpentine dissolves the foam I have ben using I risked it on the railway. I think it came out fine. Once varnished over it will be less vibrant than it is now. I essentially washed the areas I wanted to be rusty with turpentine and pigments. These are normal artists pigments, nothing fancy. All the pigments that are sold by various companies are all the same and you can buy them in an art supply shop a lot more cheaply than you can from a wargames supplier. I have enough in each bottle I don't think I will ever need to buy more! I got the variance in colour by applying a second wash with much more yellow mixed in over the first coat. As the pigment is suspended rather than dissovled in the turpentine you are picking up variable amounts and this gives a random amount of coverage. This is perfect for a project like this.

July 25, 2012

Light at the end of the Tunnel

Here is the first section of the Iron Kingdoms railway painted. It so far isn't too impressive but once laid out across a board I am hoping it will be! I want to rust it up too but I need to test how the foam reacts to Turpentine before I do. I can't imagine the reaction to be a good one but just in case it is fine I would like to know. I use turpentine as a carrier for the pigments and it would be really annoying if I managed to dissolve the foam from underneath the railroad after having gone to all this work!

July 24, 2012

Progress on the Tower

It is a busy week for terrain here. I fired up the airbrush and got my Watchtower basecoated. I am using the salt weathering technique on it. You can see some of the lumps on the metal sections where the salt is sitting under the drying paint. The orange that is underneath is going to be a strong contrast to the green and I am hoping it comes out fine. I have had a lot of problems when weathering stuff as I find it can sometimes blend in to the surrounding colours a little too much. I want to do a stencil design on the side. I cut out a 5th border legion symbol but the five is remarkably hard to do and I am not convinced mine is right. I shall have to experiment. I can't find a handy printable symbol online so if anyone knows where I can find one please let me know! I stuck a castigator beside the tower to show the scale. This building is really tall. It will probably overshadow most of the colossals. It doesn't quite fill the base but if it did it would be great as a sanctuary for the colossal event scenario.

Last week I played over 350 points of Warmachine. Three hundred of those points were part of a campaign between myself and Owen from Farfaraway. Owen is still editing the video of the one hundred point game. However he made a videos of the other games. These are the main body of the campaign and you can find them here if you are interested:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

The one hundred point battle was an epic clash that took us about five hours to reach a conclusion. Kromac should have been killed early but some poor rolls saved him. We reached a point where I would have killed at least one of the Cryx 'casters in the next turn and the attrition was heavily in my favour. It would have taken too long to finish that turn and pack up so we declared it a slight win to me which was an okay resolution. If Kromac had been killed earlier in the game I think it would have turned out a lot different!

July 23, 2012

Slow Train

This project is proving problematic. I keep running out of materials to keep my progress at a constant rate. I have three sections almost built now but I don't have the right sand to continue adding ballast. I have searched a number of game stores and nowhere has any of the right size. I am hoping one of the model train stores in the locality has some. The first I visited didn't so I wil have to explore more of the shops. That is a dangerous prospect for my wallet at least as I always find stuff to buy in these shops. I have one fully flocked and I will paint it over the coming days. It will be fairly monotone I think so in the other pieces I have added a lot more areas where the stones are missing. It breaks up the grey with some brown. Otherwise it would be really boring. I am becoming tempted to build a train to go with these but that is a project for the far far future. Getting four sections made is my first priority. I will then consider if it is worth it to make some alternative pieces. I don't really know how functionable these will be in game. If they are too dominant on the battlefield I won't create anymore. I could imagine them proving a really tough prospect for a ranged orientated army to have to fight over!

July 22, 2012

Shieldwall

Despite my lack of painting I have managed some reading. Playing SAGA has reinvigourated my interest in the Dark Ages. I found Bernard Cornwells "The Last Kingdom" and read it really quickly. It is fairly light reading but very interesting. It explores the history of England accurately enough for the period and most importantly descibes the style of warfare excellently. The word shield-wall is used way to often but I guess that has to be expected. I liked how the religious life and its conflict with paganism is brought up. It is one of the conflicts of the main character.

The story follows Uthred, a dispossed noble of Northumbria, as he lives with the Danish invaders of his homeland and then journeys to Wessex. Wessex is the last kingdom of the Saxons and Uthred is torn between his heritage and his loyalty to the Danish. This is well exploited and provides some good internal conflict. The story really shines however when it gets to the battles. Bernard Cornwell describes these really well and you get some feeling of the massive pressure of the shield-walls and how the warriors there, almost face to face, struggle and die. So if you are looking for something good to read without overy complex plotting then I recommend this book. It is especially good as an audio-book.

July 20, 2012

Winterguard Backpacks

I seem eager to punish myself! For some reason I decided that I must convert my Winterguard. I saw a good sculpting tutorial on Lost Hemisphere and it gave me the idea to provide backpacks for the Winterguard. The riflemen look really great and I think the backpacks they have help a lot. I don't think I could just add their backpacks to the normal guys and I don't fancy having to order them. Sculpting these takes a while but is worth it. It adds a good bit of bulk to the model.

July 19, 2012

Demolition Corps reporting for duty

I have had these guys sitting for far too long on my desk. My lack of motivation for painting is most likely these guys fault! It takes a lot of time and effort to get everything done, especially the armour. I ended up just doing a minimum unit as I couldn't bear the thought of doing more. I think they came out fine. I haven't as yet done the weathering on them but I want to experiment a little more before I start doing this. So far experiments on some spare plasticard look promising.

I am annoyed about the fact that I have ten more Man O War's to do. I don't like the poor quality of the plastic in the kits. I haven't opened the other two boxes yet and I am hoping that they are not as bad as the Demolition Corps. Cleaning up those models was a nightmare. I won't be moving onto them for a while though as I want to do some Winterguard next.

July 18, 2012

Iron Kingdoms Railroad Terrain

Despite a lack of motivation I have been working on some terrain. I previewed this and some other stuff on my facebook page last week. I have been talking about doing some railway terrain for the Iron Kingdoms and I took the plunge. This is a test piece to see if the scale works or not. The rails are just under 40mm apart so a small base fits between them while a medium sits atop.It is a little smaller than intended but fairly realistic in terms of a european gauge line. The tracks are made from platic I beams from Evergreen. They are relatively cheap. I found an architetural model shop here in Hamburg that doesn't have the same mark up as a regular hobby shop. The place, while small, really is a terrain makers dream.

I have been thinking about what the terrain should be like and having a railway run across the board doesn't really do much. Declaring it as difficult terrain would be possible I guess but a little boring. Other than that it doesn't have an effect. So I intend to make a railbed for the tracks raising them off the surface of the board a little. At least then it provides cover for shooting across it.

I am planning of having it about 2cm highwith a strong slope. Miniatures won't stand easily on the slope sadly but otherwise I would have to make the railway really wide. I will make a test piece and see how it works.

July 17, 2012

Father Guniefort

Last week I played a third game of SAGA and it was fun. I am currently playing in the Battle of Maldon campaign that is on the Tapestry blog. If you are interested in a battle report it has been blogged about here. This model is from Reaper. I picked him up a while back to use as a cleric in a Dungeons and Dragons game. As usual the campaign was all too short lived and so I was stuck with three medieval priest models. I am fairly eager to paint some SAGA miniatures but mine are residing in a lead pile in Ireland and I have no access to them sadly. So to scratch the itch I painted this guy, Father Guniefort. I have no idea what a medieval cassock should look like so I went for a simple brown and grey scheme. I just wanted to get the miniature finished so I didn't go too crazy with the detail, not that he has much. I like the simplicity of the model. He can lead a brave band of Norman levies I think. I am tempted to pick up some Normans to play but I don't have any non-VASSAL opponents yet. I will hold off and play the game a little more before investing.

I am still finding the game fun though it has slightly too much luck involved. I won the last game based on two very fortuitous rolls. That has soured me a little to the game. I think that Warmachines probability curve has spoiled me way too much and now simpler games are a lot less appealing. The Fatigue and Battleboards save the game as they can mitigate the luck slightly. We still have a single game in the campaign to play and I will reserve final judgement until after that is played.

July 16, 2012

Motivation and lack thereof

I have been pretty lazy at both blogging and painting at the moment. Sometimes I just can't find the motivation to sit and paint. However I did finally sit over the weekend and manage to get Rupert painted. I have been eager to do him for a while as he brings a lot to my menites and to my fledgling Mercenary force. I painted him in some new colours as I accidently bought three different versions of German camouflage and I wanted to use them. The trousers are painted with German Uniform (VJ) which is a really weird colour. I still can't tell whether it is blue or green. As a contrast I went for really vivid ginger hair. It might be a little too vivid but it is a good contrast. He does look a little like a leprechaun however. This week I will mainly be playing games as I am hosting Owen from farfaraway.org. He has some spare time here in Hamburg and we are taking advantage of it by playing an Annihilation campaign. That is going to be good fun and we might even squeeze in a 100pt battle! I have never played such a large game so that is going to be an experience. I am really curious to see how the game scales.

July 2, 2012

SAGA - first impressions

I managed to get my first game of SAGA played last week and I am impressed. The rules are relatively simple though we mananged to make a lot of mistakes and certain bits are still confusing. The army creation rules couldn't be more simple. Dark Age warriors are all relatively similar in terms of ability and equipment. One of the draw backs in the game that I think will annoy me is the lack of differentiation on the battlefield between the factions. A Breton, Welshaman and a Scot look the same in 25mm scale. That is a minor drawback though and the gameplay makes up for it.

Attack/Defence Mechanism: This is an interesting part of the game. Whenver combat is joined either player can choose to remove half of his attack dice and place half of them as defence dice. With higher classes of warriors such as Hearthguard and Huscarls who already have decent armour this can go really far towards protecting them. In turn this creates a real push and shove simulating nicely the shieldwall that was prevalent in the period. The loser of a combat has to disengage up to 4". They can of course activate again and go for another combat slowly piling up the casualties.

Battleboard: The battleboard is a strange beast. At the start of the turn you roll a number of dice and assign them to certain areas on the board. These areas correspond to unit types and general abilities. The unit type section allows you to activate one unit of that type for each dice there in the order you choose. Interestingly the better your unit is the easier to activate. Units can be activated as many times as you want during a turn. The other sections are thematic abilties. I played as the Anglo-Saxons and I was often getting bonus dice for defence. The main point of interest was the bigger my units the bigger the bonus I recieved.

Fatigue: Each subsequent action that a unit makes means it acquires a fatigue point. These can be spent at any point during a turn by your opponent to cause you some headaches. They can reduce your movement or your combat ability. This really gets nasty as at certain points you might be face to face with the enemy but moving into them would generate fatigue that will really cause problems. You can rest as an activation which reduces fatigue. Combining this with the battleboard generates a lot of tactical depth.

These are some of my Northumbrian Saxons from a good few years ago. I have a massive, unassembled army of these. I am hoping that I can find some regular opponents here in Hamburg to play against so that I can bring these models out of retirement. I never really played Warhammer Ancient Battles despite having this army. I was an avid Fantasy Battles player and I think that SAGA will replace Warhammer for me. Warmachine is great but it doesn't provide me with the same narrative that Warhammer did. The game is exciting and dynamic but it doesn't tell the same story. SAGA does and I look forward to getting more games of it played.

Here are some links to other interesting sites talking about the game: Game Play disscussion Tapestry Blog
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