Saturday, July 28, 2012

Idol of Gork

It's definitely been a month for fantasy games, since the Warhammer Tournament reinvigorated my interest in painting and building fantasy models.  Obviously there has been a lot of Dystopian wars going through the paint queue, but also various bits for Warhammer have been worked on lately.

One for the club supplies is a Orc and Goblin shrine made from leftovers I got in a job-lot some while back. Rummaging through my O&G spares box (there's a lot of them!) for some Orcs to paint I found a much maligned Idol of Gork model from the old 7th edition boxed set.  It had a poor paint job from its' previous owner but was otherwise intact.

I took it, a couple of other bits, some rocks and some blue foam and knocked up a simple model:

Once I'd dry fitted everything in position to my tastes, I hot glue-gunned everything in place.  Then it was all given a solid coat of burnt umber acrylic.  Then it was simply a case of various layers of dry-brushing and picking out the details.  Make no mistake, this was done as a quicky, not a detail piece!  Painting finished, I added a little custom mixed scatter and the job was done:

Something suitable for a horde of hundreds or Goblins to fight over!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Du Nord d'Alger: 1870 guerres dystopienne

Given how quickly I got my French DW Navy painted, it seemed appropriate to get a game in fairly soon too.  To be fair to my opponent, Paul, on the day I was actually more than a little distracted and so didn't give the game all the attention I should have, so apologies to him.  Still it at least meant the sort of victory for him that keeps opponents coming back for more; and besides we all know the rule of newly painted models - that they will get nailed first time out, so what chance did I have anyway?!*

My fleet found itself facing the hated Les Rosbeefs in a small stretch of water filled with islands and sandbars - AKA fantasy game terrain.  In a naval game this level of terrain seems overwrought, why on earth would I sail my entire fleet through this channel that's less than 200 yards wide?  when you consider that in the game only one item of terrain had any effect on the game - the sand bar - it seemed unnecessary to be honest.  On top of that we both had aircraft, Paul a flying aircraft carrier and myself three surface skimming cruisers; so terrain became even less relevant.  All that sea and we chose to fight in the bit of it least suited to manoeuvres?  Really!

Enough ranting.  I made my way through the melange of terrain to advance on the Britannic Majesty's fleet.

My skimmers were able to sweep over the sand bar to target the monstrosity that was the British Dreadnought.

Alas the Dreadnought was to prove brutally invulnerable, whilst the Royal Navy's submarines played merry havoc with my frigates.  But a lucky shot from my Destroyers would bring down the flying carrier and briefly take the smile off my opponents face!

My pocket battleship swept around the rear of the sandbar, allowing it to fire on the enemy but protecting it from torpedoes.  Frigates had led the way and cleared the enemy screen, allowing it some security.  In the mean time the Dreadnought had destroyed one cruiser and captured another but his attempts gain further ships resulted in the loss of all his marines. And if I'd had any sense I'd have thrown my own marines onto here or one of the other defenceless submarines.

But I didn't, my Frigates nad interceptors tried to torpedo the Dreadnought out of existence instead.

To no avail.  Although with the loss of his aircraft carrier and several other vessels it was close, the destruction and capture of numbers of my smaller ships gave Paul a narrow victory.

Curse you English Imperial dogs!

Afterthoughts, I must read the rules next!  Would really have helped...

*apropro to what was distracting me too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Swiss Handgunners - Painting Pleasure on eBay!

Partly painted to fund other projects, and partly to try out some alternate technique on basing, this unit of Swiss Handgunners were a joy to paint:

12 Perry Miniature plastics on 40mm square bases.  The painting is essentially a three layer highlight scheme, exaggerated somewhat compared to my own preference, to appeal to the Wargames buyer!

Like a lot of recent bits these are eBay bound.  These things happen, for these chas they are simply too late a period in appearance to fit in my Medievals collection.  A shame as I am quite pleased with how they look.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

15mm Egyptians for Sale

I find myself in a glut of rationalising my armies.  It seems I'd rather focus on a smaller number of periods and be able to do them in grand scales (both size and or numbers) than piecemeal try to cover every period.  At the very beginning of this blog I was finishing up a New Kingdom Egyptian army; but other than one appearance at a DBA tournament, they have never been used.

And so it is time to sell up, after posting a few farewell pictures of them as an aide mémoire of what I'd done...

Based with DBM in mind, but a handful of half bases to allow for use in other games; these chaps are priced for a sensible sale on eBay.  Look them up here if you're interested!

I hope they find a good home.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

More Hills...

Left over foam allowed me to make a suitable pair of ash mounds or hills for the Club's Warhammer 40K players:

Unlike the hills made recently these were instead textured with a thick layer of sand (bird sand is ideal and costs only a quid a bag! look for it in pet stores or Wilko's).  This was then sealed with a wash of dark brown, lightly over sprayed with black, and then drybrushed with browns and greys.  A real mass of techniques, but the results seem fine.

The club untention is to refurbish the undersides of a couple of tables to suit the urban hell that is the average Warhammer 40K hive world.  So hopefully these will fit right in.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nightowls Fantasy Tourney - Not Bad Shocker!

So about once a year I dip my toe into the Warhammer Fantasy tournament playing scene, usually on a purely local scale, and to remind myself why I don't bother: getting beasted by netlists and filthy exploitative play is not my usual idea of fun.  Still once a year to support the club I'll give it a go.

James had organised a small event for the honour of the title (i.e .no prizes!) of Leeds Nightowls Champion gamer.  The rules of the day were simple, 2000 point armies with no special characters, and two hour games.  I decided on an all Goblin force, a tuned version of the list I'd had unexpected success against High Elves with in one of my few other games this year.

Built around a core of 93 Goblin spears with 3 heroes, and fanatic caddying units of bows, a large artillery park and numerous units of Cavalry and lone Trolls it was a very atypical Deathstar-esque list and far and away featured the largest single unit of the tournament.  Even I renowned club despiser of movement trays had to accept the need for a slab of MDF to shift the little beggars around on!

My first game was against Neil's Chaos Warriors, a compact list of Knights, Warriors and a pair of Warshrines (Whatever they are!).  Now no disrespect to Neil, but I felt I'd got a good draw in this game, Neil isn't the filthiest player and his tactics are conventional, I've usually fared well against him in the past.  The First scenario was a Dawn Engagement, and my typically disciplined Goblins pretty much all turned up, whilst Half Neil's army remained off table at the start.

I was also blessed with the first turn and managed to doom-diver his Chaos knights into a rout straight off the table.  From there on in it was downhill all the way for the luckless Neil, with only his army general way out on a flank making any headway.  The combined arms tactics of the Gobbos and my tendency to opt for fast outflanking manoeuvres, soon had him on the back foot.

The Chaos Warriors and another Warshrine advanced to the spears, but Perky the Troll made short work of the shrine and a combined assault by Wolf Boys, Spears and a fanatic made short work of the Warriors.

In the end I came out with a shocking 1766 point win, and so my next game was against a top teir player.

Rob is an entertaining opponent, but one I usually only play against at tournaments, which is a shame.  Also we always seem to be playing Watchtower scenarios, and this proved no different.  His Empire list looked pretty fearsome, featuring some 40 Greatswords, 13 Knights, a steam tank and an empire warshrine.  Although he won the tower, he chose not to occupy it and so we deployed around it.

In points terms I beat him about 3-2, wiping out most of his support troops.  But his Greatswords seized the Tower and his Tank kept the goblin spears away from making a counter attack.  So it was officially a Pyhhric victory for him.

And so onto my last game, with still a sniff of a respectable finish.  I wasn't dead last yet at least!  My final game turned out to be against James' "Red Orcs".  In the past I've been a jinx opponent for James but I think luck is beginning to even itself out on that score.  It was a conventional battle of unconventional forces...

James' red Orcs and Goblins come from deep in the Dwarven mines, and are competitively tuned through dozens of games:

Mine are more trad, and come from my last 25 years of irregular purchases of things Gobliny:

The battle was amiable, but unspectacular with me not being able to make much of an impact on him.  I spent too much time and effort trying to take down his Arachnarok spider, and ignoring his Savage Orcs.  A little luck went my way, but not enough to make a close fight.  I lost by about 700 points. 

But the end result was that with one victory and still having some 1300 game points I managed sixth on the day.  Shame it was only out of eight, but I did come above a Skaven and Vampire player, and beat Chaos and Empire on the table, even if scenario rules didn't always concur.  Pretty good for Gobbo's!

Lots of other photo's were taken on the day, which is just as well as fate had it that I never had to move from my table!  Al of FatSpider Casting took the following:

I can't feature the winning army/general as Daz - who it was - was the only player to bring an unpainted force.  For SHAME!! most of his cavalry didn't even have riders!  Not that it mattered, his killer list mauled all comers.

In conclusion, an acceptable foray into tournament gaming; though partly as I avoided the three armies/players I knew I had no chance against.  Lets give it another twelve months before risking another one though, eh!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

La Marine Française à la Parade

You will recall a week or so ago I posted about my slightly impulsive Dystopian Wars purchase.  Well I've justified them somewhat by getting them already painted:

A nice little starter fleet - the contents of a fleet box plus a blister pack of destroyers for support.  Despite going overboard with the details, notably going for a dazzle pattern of camouflage and ship numbers, these were a breeze to paint.  It only takes so long to paint 1/1200th scale models for the wargames table!

I decided to add bases to the ships, not the convention in the game but it would make handling the models simpler and ironically, make storing the models easier.  The Spartan Games models are mostly a modern compound resinated plastic, which takes detail extraordinarily well, and it is also easy to see that they are computer designed and possibly the masters are produced on a 3D printer (given the precision of the work - though I'm guessing here!).  Only the large aircraft and the gun turrets are Pewter.

Everything, even the tiny aircraft on the flyer tokens, was given an heavily thinned ink wash for shading and to give something of a rusted look.

And yes, those aircraft are absolutely tiny!  Nonetheless you can see cockpit details, the engine exhausts and so on; given they are on a base all of 20mm square, they are remarkable!

So the fleet is ready for all hands action.  Overall I'm really impressed with the models, fine sculpts and great value.  Now to get a game o two in...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drawing the Rebellion

Long before I devoted needlessly large portions of my time to painting tiny models made by other people, I used to spend a lot of time drawing.  In the last year or two I've started to get back to the habit, and have gradually re-learnt a lot of forgotten technique.

Stylistically, I'm more of an illustrator than an artist, and my influences are European comics (particularly Herge), Japanese manga and classic black and white illustration work.  Colour is something I've only dabbled with...

Anyway, this is a wargaming blog so ordinarily my other hobbies have no place here; but during the research for my developing Jewish Rebellion army I found that illustrations of the warriors of the period were pretty thin on the ground.  So in part as inspiration for my army, and to offer other potential gamers some inspiration too I began making illustrations based on my research of the period:

Above a Zealot wearing a Kippah, which may be apocryphal.  His equipment is spear and shield from the Herodian stores, and a long knife which is probably personal.

A village rebel, emaciated and relatively old for fighting.  He is nevertheless capable due to years of otherwise backbreaking labour of drawing a captured horse archers compound bow.  His cloak and tunic are cheap and unadorned.

Bandits were the Freedom Fighters of their age; with similarly conflicted motives.  This Parean bandit fought at Beth Horon and as a result is well equipped with Scutum, Gladius, an Auxilia mail shirt and rebel-made short javelins - most likely with bronze heads.  His cloak is unkempt but finely adorned, and so probably belonged to a member of the Jewish middle classes before being 'liberated'.

I hope you find these of interest, maybe I'll do more in future...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Plains of Syracuse 348bc

Stephen, my old adversary - and never 'Steve' - has started to make welcome reappearances at the Nightowls.  Thus one Sunday we were able to have a friendly little game of Hail Caesar.  For this game my Spartans, were to wear their colonial garb and pretend to be Syracusians, whilst Ste brought the multinational Carthaginians to propagate their efforts to take over the isle that would later be known as Sicily.

As it was only Ste's second game of these rules, and as I'd written the army lists, I kept things simple and we played a classic linear battle, which of the period is entirely justified.

My Greeks were formed of two Hoplite divisions of four heavy units and some Psoiloi each, and a light division of two hill tribe units and a warband of coastal tribes, along with more Psoiloi.  I formed with my Hoplites in supported palanxes, and the light troops on the right exploiting the more difficult terrain.

Stephen had a heavy centre of African, 'Lydian' and Mercenary Greek troops, with a handful of Psoiloi.  To their left was a division of Celtic warbands and their skirmishing youths; whilst to his right was a division of small cavalry units, led by two Carthaginian units supported by two Numidian.

Both sides advanced, with the skirmish screens covering the heavy troops of the centre, whilst my light division tried to circle the Celtic fringe.  On Ste's side the Greks and Lydians refused to advance, demanding back pay and privileges.  The Syracusian Hoplites prefered not to be baited by the onrush of Gallic tribesmen.

This meant that the Gauls slammed with full force in to the supported lines of the Greeks.  Thankfully to bounce off in some confusion, on Ste's right his cavalry attempted to outflank the Greeks whilst skirmish fights broke out along the lines

In close up it was a titanic struggle:

Both the Greeks and Celts retired from the fight; but some of the Gauls were a spent force whilst the Greeks rallied with the support of their Generals.  Sensing the approach of Carthaginian cavalry was an inevitability the other Greek division formed a wedge, whilst on the opposite flank the hill tribes flushed the Celtic skirmishers out of the trees.

This would slowly develop in to a threat for the Celtic warbands as they realised the hill tribes were more of a threat than their open order suggested.

The combination of Greek and Sicilian light troops began to wear down the Gallic line, which started to retire...

By this point the Carthaginian infantry had begun to engage the Greeks, and their mercenaries had finally accepted terms to advance on the Syracuse line.  With the advance of the cavalry, the Greeks felt obliged to thin their line on their left to meet all possible foes.

But on their right the light troops were making good progress.  The centre was now a confused melee with both sides gaining the upper hand on certain points.

For the Syracusians it seemed time to strike before the battle put tthem entirely on the back foot:

Part of the centre was destroyed by the remaining Gauls, but the Greeks crashed in to the Lydians and forced back the whole mercenary line with heavy losses.  Half of the Carthaginians were broken too, and seeing the time to strike was now on them, the Greeks even charged the cavalry in a desperate attempt to defeat the might of Carthage.

And somehow all this worked.

Although the remnants of the Celts were still a threat, and the Greek mercenaries were trying to earn their gold in the centre, the Carthaginian cavalry had proved a glass hammer against the stout bronze shields of the Greeks.  As sun set the battle seemed inconclusive, but with most of the Carthaginians withdrawing the field fell for now to Syracuse.

It's certainly good to have Stephen back playing games, his banter and insistence on using painted models are always appreciated.  Hopefully with his wide range of Ancients armies we can expand on the historical scenarios at the club.

And any day when we can get 500 figures on the table for a run of the mill game is all right by me!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Les Guerres Dystopiques

Like a true gamer, I have sometimes to sell things, but usually only to fund other projects instead.  In this instance the selling of my otherwise unwanted AK47 Republic models has allowed me to guiltlessly embark on another game.

I've played Dystopian Wars a few times, along with its predecessor - Uncharted Seas.  The rules I really liked, providing a playable naval wargame, and the background - a steampunk version of the late 19th century transformed by the discovery of a 'super element' but still mired in very human politicing and fighting; but none of the initial fleets really appealed and so to date I'd been able to justify not getting involved in the game.

But with a hefty chunk of cash falling in to my Paypal account and some much mre attractive new releases; I've finally succumbed.

£50 or so with purchased me the Rules, a starter fleet and an extra blister pack of ships:

And for the nation of choice, well I went with the French.

I find they have more elegance about them than the original model ranges (I really didn't like the look of a couple of the original nations produced for the game), and certainly look more like real vessels, even if as with most of the nations in the game, closer to the shipping of the 20th century than the 19th.  Though clearly the implied technology of the games' background plays a huge part in that.

One of the strengths of the rules is that they cover all arms warfare - land, sea and air.  And the French have attractive airships as part of their forces.

Though I have to say it is the naval games that appeal most to me, there's always been something about naval gaming that has fascinated me, and as the blog will attest to I've indulged in many maritime wargames.

But anyway, Spartan Games are certainly getting better as they go in the design stakes for their models, and with this game picking up in interest at the Headingley Club (I attend intermittently on Thursdays) I hope to be able to get some use out of these models once painted.

And given their size I don't see that taking too long to achieve either!