Thursday, 23 November 2017

The Worst Job in the (Wargaming) World

OK, this could be many things, but my vote is rebasing. 

I've recently been looking at my old collection of 15mm figures as part of my Five Year rule.
A long time ago I played Warhammer Fantasy Battles in 15mm and built up quite a collection of several different armies.  I also collected some historical armies for Warhammer Ancient Battles.  Eventually I moved back to 28mm and gradually sold off the armies, keeping a few of the bits I was most pleased with (including my Empire army) and the usual gamer's box of lead.

When Mantic released their Uncharted Empires book I saw the opportunity to re use my Empire as League of Rhodia, if only I could work out what base size to use.

I wanted something that was easy to calculate, didn't need much in the way of new measuring, and gave bases large enough to fit the recommended number of minis on.  The small scale Kings of War Facebook group has recommended sizes (half the 28mm dimensions), but these seem to be mostly used for 10mm or 6mm (with lots of extra minis).  The few 15mm I have seen at their size look cramped, and/or short of minis.  So i would have to come up with my own.  As long as my friends had the same size, it should be fine.

Much experimentation later and a size of 3/5ths the 28mm dimensions seems to look good.  It's easy to calculate and looks good with full figure count units.  It does mean making measuring sticks, but you can't have everything.

So, here's a photo showing some of my rebased troops.  I've still to texture the bases, but it shows how they look.

Since these were already painted, I can't really put them in my monthly totals.  I hope I can get my Vanguard goblins ready soon though.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Vanguard Nears the End

Mantic Games' Kings of War:Vanguard kickstarter is in its last 24 hours now.  There was quite a bit of comment earlier about lack of value.  I think this has been well and truly addressed by now.
the 'sweet spot' pledge is the Giant level, which gets the rules, scenery and four warbands.  They have also funded a new harp plastic sprue of troops for the Nightstalkers army (sort of Mythos inspired creatures?) and a replacement for the oddly sized old Basilean men at arms.  The Northern Alliance has also seen it's debut, which is the part I am most interested in, as my tentatively started Elf project was themed around the Ice Kin (must get around to finishing that).
I'm currently painting up some sample warbands to give the game a try. The rules seem to play well, with ideas that won't seem too foreign to players of Deadzone, but it's not a slavish copy of that game with just the SF serial numbers filed off; much more a distinct game in its own right.
Give it a look.

Showoff

Here's the Frostgrave warband I call the Sons of Empire (for fairly obvious reasons).
Spot the thief hiding in the shadows.

I haven't got names for them yet, but I am starting to think of some kind of background.
They are all GW plastic minis, mostly from the rather well designed old Empire Militia sprues.  There are far more that I need for one warband, but I wanted to provide some extra soldier types both for variety in warband make up, and for improvements when the gold allows.  That and its great fun coming up with ideas on how to use the sprues to make the different types.  I've already thought of a templar build and if I can source one of the old plastic chaos marauders I can have a barbarian too.
As they have relatively little in the way of cold weather gear they should work nicely as Ghost Archipelago crew as well.  

They are posing on some terrain I made for the current D&D adventure.  A set of ramps and platforms that make up various sized step pyramids, a feature of the current dungeon.  They will also make interesting blocking terrain for Frostgrave, and should be right at home in Ghost Archipelago.
They were all cut from pink XPS foam and scribed using first a knife then a pencil.  Texture added with a ball of scrunched up foil,  strengthened with Mod Podge then painted with tester pots of paint (much cheaper than model paints and fine for this sort of project). I may add a thin black wash to pick out the details and darken them a bit, but I rather like the stone colour.

Now how do I log the terrain in my challenge?  How about a separate category

Current totals for November
Bought 1 (the survivor)
Painted 11 (Frostgrave warbands)
Sold/traded 8 (5 dwarf berserkers and 3 lesser obsidian golems)
Terrain and modelling 1 ancient ziggurat set (11 pieces)



Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Ready for the Frozen City

Astute readers will have noticed two of my new Frostgrave minis demonstrating the use of clothes-pegs the other day.  Well that batch is finished now, so here are the rest of two Frostgrave warbands.
Firstly the Sons of Empire wizard and his apprentice.  Both GW plastic figures.  The chap with the rather fine dragon staff came free with an old White Dwarf and I believe was also used in a version of the Talisman board game.  His apprentice was, I think, from Advanced Heroquest.  If I can find one, I'd like to replace the apprentice with the wizard from the original Heroquest.


Three specialist troops for the Sons of Empire; thief, man-at-arms and crossbowman


The wizard and apprentice for the Men of the North.  These are actual Frostgrave minis from North Star.  I thought they fitted nicely the dark age/Viking look of the rest of the band.  I might even manage to use them in a game of Blood Eagle.


Men of the North thief and barbarian

Men of the North infantryman and man-at-arms
The Men of the North were a mix of Wargames Factory Vikings and bits box bits.  The rather sinister head on the thief is from the Frostgrave cultists box.  The Wargames Factory minis have less interesting poses than the Gripping Beast ones I used for the rest of the band, but they do have a useful leather armoured body.  The barbarian is an old GW metal Viking Berserker.  I used to have this mini years ago.  A good friend gave me a replacement, I altered it to have a double axe rather than a sword and shield.  These should all fit nicely into games of Blood Eagle as well as Frostgrave.

Although these took some time to finish, I really enjoyed painting and modelling them.  I didn't go for any form of uniform, but the Sons of Empire all have some yellow as a distinguishing mark.  I would think something like this is pretty important in the ruins of Felstadt.  
I'd like to call this project finished and move on to other things, but already I have had ideas for other soldier types for each warband.

Anyway;  current totals for November
Bought 1 (the survivor)
Painted 11 (Frostgrave warbands)
Sold/traded 8 (5 dwarf berserkers and 3 lesser obsidian golems)

Which puts me nicely ahead.  I've also got a simple modelling project that I'll get photoed and up here in the next few days.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Three Useful Things, and the Rule of Five

To start with, three useful everyday items (ish) that I find valuable in the hobby.

Clothes pegs; I tend to base my skirmish and role playing miniatures on clear bases now, and that usually means painting them unbased.  It is so much easier to remove the base before painting, especially if it is a non slota base, and less destructive to paintwork too.  I drill into the feet and glue in a couple of wire pins, which then come in useful for pinning to the new base, but of course make it hard to manage the miniature.  I tried bulldog clips, but they don't really stand up well. So, clothes pegs.  If the mini is top heavy, simply use two, one clipping the nose of the other.
Two of my Frostgrave minis waiting for the gloss varnish to dry.  The metal berserk needs two pegs to stop him toppling over.

Baking Parchment; This, or a similar product is great for protecting surfaces of course, but I find it most useful when I don't want something to stick.  I was recently gluing together some MDF ruins that came two sided.  Putting both pieces in a fold of baking parchment meant I could apply some weight to them while the glue dried without it sticking to anything with the inevitable leaking around the edges.

Hygroscopic granules;  What?  You will have seen these when you buy electronic equipment, or even new trainers.  They come in a little packet and are designed to absorb moisture.  Save them and put one in each figures box or other hobby container to absorb moisture, especially if, like me, you have to store some stuff in a cool environment.

Now, the Rule of Five.  I've come across this on several blogs,  most recently on  Too Much Lead.
Basically it states that if you have an army or similar and haven't used it in five years, you might as well sell it on.  I am in the process of thinning out my collection, and also looking through it for projects to finish, so I will start applying this rule (probably;).

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Challenge and Organisation

Like a lot of gamers I read many blogs.  I've linked a few at the bottom of the page, and I really should update that with some more.

One thing a lot of painter/bloggers do is keep a record of their painting compared to their purchases, often as part of some form of challenge.

I'm not quite organised enough to set myself a challenge, but I thought if I keep a record of my achievements it might motivate me to post more often and to get more stuff finished.  I'm much better at starting a project than finishing one.

I'll get onto this more seriously next year, but as a bit of practice, I'll begin with November.  See how I cunningly begin just after receiving a box of Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago stuff?

Only 'purchase' so far this month is a swap with someone on the Mantic Swaps and Sales Facebook group; I got a metal version of The Survivor mercenary for Deadzone.  He looks a fun and straight forward job, so I'll get him stripped (oo-er) and might even start painting him in between various warband stuff.

So here goes;  current totals
Bought 1
Painted 0
Sold/traded 0

One thing that does occur to me.  How shall I log the various modelling projects?

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Warbands

It should be no secret to my reader(s) that I like skirmish games.  The small size of the forces is a definite plus; you can get playing that much sooner.  I also think it's easier to tell a story within the game, as the miniatures are more like personalities.
Frostgrave is one such, and a while ago I showed my warband made up of various prepainted minis, mostly from the old WotC D&D line.  This warband was only ever meant to be a 'get-me-by' until I got round to painting one from scratch.  Now I am well on the way to finishing two warbands, on the grounds that its easier to show the game to someone with a warband ready for them to play.
For 'reasons' I am theming each warband; this is what I have so far.
Warband 1 'Sons of Empire'.  These are made up of old GW figures, mostly the rather excellent Empire Militia (formerly the Mordheim humans).  These minis are ideal for Frostgrave, although perhaps they need a scarf or something.  They will also do for Ghost Archipelago, and D&D as well.  this picture shows four of the thugs, before I remembered that thugs are supposed to be unarmoured.  I'm sure if I make it clear what the are, no one will mind.

More of the 'Sons of Empire'.  (l to r) Another thug, a knight, borrowing a torso and shield from the Empire command options on the spearmen/handgunners sprue, and two archers.

Warband 2, 'The Men of the North'.  These are Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors and Archers.  (l to r) two thugs and two archers

More 'Men of the North (l to r) knight and three thugs.  More Gripping Beast.

The Men of the North will, of course, fit into my Blood Eagle games as well, so they are nicely versatile.  No wizards yet, they and their apprentices are still on the painting table, along with reinforcements for both bands.  That's the problem.  Once I start thinking of ways to show the different soldier types, I can't stop.  Already both bands have thieves, men-at-arms and infantrymen on their way to being finished.

These aren't for Frostgrave though.  That said, there's no reason why not.  This is the sample goblin warband for the alpha rules of Kings of War: Vanguard.  I rooted around among my KoW goblins and found what I needed, along with some reinforcements from Dungeon Saga.  Just about all these will find a place in my KoW collection as well as being good for Vanguard, so yet more versatility.

I like the look of the rules so far, and want to try them soon, though I have a DeadZone campaign to finish off first.  I suppose I should get an opposing force as well.  At around a dozen minis that shouldn't be too hard.