Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Age of Sigmar, Hmmm...

So, the Age of Sigmar rumour mill is now well in to the tangible stage:

The new Box
Others have covered it better and I'm sure if you are monitoring the progress closely there is little more I can tell you.  The new boxed set is looking at being about £75/$125 for 47 minis, a 96 page background and scenario book, and get this, 4 pages of rules!

4 Pages.

Games Workshop are also going off script - for them - by offering the rules for FREE.


Games Workshop? Free? 

Exactly that.  When did GW ever give rules away.  The information to date is that there will never be a rulebook, army book or otherwise that you need to buy to play, it's all free, downloadable online or provided with the miniatures.

Boxes of models, and supposedly all existing units will have a War Scroll detailing their new unit:


There's plenty to note in this, models only have four stats, and then a fixed set of weapon stats.  They all seem to have special rules specific to the unit.  Actually to me, none of this seems very bad.  But there are problems, issues that friendly games may not suffer from but that will make competitive gamers seeking balance furious, and rule exploiting doucebags ecstatic:

  • No point values
  • Units/armies can be of any size
  • You can use whatever you want
So you could turn up for your game with four units of 10 Orc warriors say, and you opponent arrives with 12 dragons in 3 units and a fourth unit of 100 Skaven assassins and the rules would basically suggest that's fine.  I give a fairly extreme example but this seems to be what is causing a lot of nerd rage at the minute.

If you want to sneak peek the rules I suggest you look here:

Whilst the best source right now for other pictures seems to be this Twitter account:

As to the new models, well I always had mixed feelings about the various chaos ranges over the years, but some of the new models look pretty good.
Whereas, I have no love so far for the immortal warriors of Sigmar:
Some of the new Stormcast Eternals - Sigmarines if you will.
These are not humans per-se by all accounts, and look pretty much to be Space Marines for Warhammer, I'm certain that's what GW wanted anyway.

So what do we have?  It looks like a means first and foremost to bring new players into the game with whatever miniatures they have or want to buy.  In short rules to sell figures, not rules to sell rules.  Will it be any good?  Well, I've not had time to read the whole rules yet, but they seem to be a mixure of really simple concepts, elements that could be lifted from any number of contemporary rule systems, and a big slab of random.

But as it seems to be free it'd be rude not to try it, and monitor it with interest in the future...

All will be revealed in this weeks White Dwarf, along with free model too.  Not long to wait now.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Waterloo at the Royal Armouries

Okay so this was a week ago, and the anniversary was Thursday last, which would've been a great time to post these.  But it's been kinda hectic around here.

On what was a fraught weekend to say the least I did get half an hour to scan round the games on at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.  The Armouries had given over one of the their main downstairs conference rooms to around a dozen groups with wargames - almost exclusively - Napoleonic in nature.

 Two shots of a game I couldn't recall any details on, nice models my quick photography could not do justice to.

Camera crews and Bacon butties
 Part of the Sharp's Waterloo game put on by the RAF gaming society IIRC.  A novel twist on the theme, with attention to detail such as having La Haye Sainte the wrong way round and such like.

Legendary Wargames can always be relied upon for some In The Grand Manner action:

Hanoverians I think...
Action around another farm
Next up wass the Warlord Games display, using - as several others appeared to - Black Powder.

The battlefield was far less populated than some
And it looked to me like the boards belonged in the Spain not Belgium
 To their endless credit, Warlord seemed to be doing good work with the general public.  This was not a gaming show, there were no traders and enough room to see the games, get involved if you wished and ask questions.  Compared to many wargaming shows this was a refreshing change.

Incidentally, whilst all these games were 28mm, there was at least one 15/18mm game on the day too.  Displaying the field of Waterloo on a more strategic scale

I took away from this in particular an Idea I'd been toying with about fleece throws as wargames mats, less intrusive than faux fur but with still some naturalism.  It bears saying that this one had been recoloured by its owner.

I wish I'd had a little more time to hang around and get better pictures, the room was a bit quiet, but this was at 3pm on Sunday afternoon so well after any rush could be expected.  Overall it seemed to be a great idea to help get people to really understand the battle.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Freebie - Road Wolf

So who, like me watched Mad Max: Fury Road and had an immediate urge to play games based on it?

Yeah OK, quite a few.  and why wouldn't you:

Brum brum!
Or this:

Image result for mad max: fury road

Or indeed this:

Image result for mad max: fury road
Easily the best film I've seen in a long time, and the best action movie in oh, the last 5 or 6 years.  So pretty soon after seeing it I began trawling around rules options - as you do.  But after failing to secure a copy of Dark Futre for under £50, and not being taken with the sheer rules volume of Car Wars I left it somewhat frustrated.

Then quite by chance I came across Road Wolf.  What looks like a fairly simple system, featuring a rolling road mechanic and a variety of vehicles and equipment.  It looks to have potential, and it's completely FREE!

Now, with a week off coming up, can I resist another project and stay away from the Hotwheels cars in toy shops?...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Waterloo 200th Anniversary

You don't need telling really, but I just felt I'd commemorate the day too.

A nice picture of the new statue at Hougoumont.

Plus of course:

Our own modest gaming commemoration will be on the 4th July, with a replaying of part of the battle.  For once I'm not organising it so I've no idea what part exactly.  I finished reading my one book on Waterloo in preparation last night, so We'll see if I can do honour to the men of the day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Foldio Lightbox - Better pictures here we come...

One of the frustrations I have with my blog is the quality of the pictures of painted miniatures I present on it, in short they are often not that good - taken in poor conditions with bad lighting.

It isn't as if better lighting would improve the look of all my models that much, but it would do a lot for some of them.  I'd long been looking for a solution, and have used cobbled together white boxes over the years to try and get the best from a standard camera, but generally it was only back when I had a flat with huge 9 foot windows that I had enough light to really get things to look okay.  The other obvious down side to such jerry-rigged solutions is you can only really use them at home

Quite by chance I came across Foldio on Kickstarter, a product that had long since funded but looked like it could be the very thing.  I was able to pick one up on Amazon, from South Korea no less for a price I accept seems steep for something you might make yourself, but I was never going to do that, and if I did, it would not be of the same quality.  It's fair to say you could get one from other sources too.

So what is it and does it work?

Well first of all, it comes in a small neat package:

Not 6 Pink Floyd records...
For the 'dads' out there the whole thing is about the size of an LP boxed set, and weighs very little.  Inside as the name implies is a folding reflective box , made from a pre shaped plastic and held together with rare earth magnets.  You also get a strip of high intensity LED lights (for an extra ten bucks you can get it with two strips) and  a set of three foam inlays - white, grey and black - that give the background a seamless transition:

Roomy, I've had smaller apartments...
 The whole thing then packs back up into a neat bag, as well as going in the box for as long as that lasts.

And the effect?  Well I only had time to test it with whatever was to hand, so the closest to finished on the paint desk today was a reaper miniature of shall we say, a lady of negotiable virtue! Unprepared for her moment as she may - uncharacteristically - be, it is her time in the spot light.  Firstly with the light array alone and no flash, but with standard post production colour correction:
Coming out the gloom
 And then with the flash on my camera, from the same position, and with the same correction applied:

Hello boys!
I think that makes an enormous difference, notice in particular how the rear shadowing is relatively slight, the detail is crisp and the colours, vibrant.  I should add that I don't use a complicated camera, just a Samsung ST77 point and click, whose only real benefits are a good optical lens and a decent range of options.

Obviously I need to work on the technique, but I think this will improve my pictures no end, and moreover it's portable, so I can hopefully get better pictures of other peoples masterpieces with their permission.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Age of Sigmar - Warhammer's Replacement?

But what is it?

Much as I hate to admit it, Warhammer remains a bit of a big deal for me, and so I'm watching the rumour mill on 9th ed. with interest, on the basis of the latest I'm seeing though the new game is not Warhammer at all.  Scrap any ideas of 9th edition.  Age of Sigmar is a different beast.  The following is according to someone who managed to get a few hours with the rulebook...

- Title of the rulebook is: Age of Sigmar: a Warhammer strategy game - full fledged rule system; no skirmish game - meaning not restricted to low miniature count: 50 models on average, way lower possible, in general you use units but you can field an army consisting of only single models - everything is on round or oval bases (there paragraph that explicitly allows legacy and diorama bases, though); - 2 books: the rules (rules and scenarios) and compendium (pictures, unit cards and fluff) - there are unit cards for every (as far as I can see) old unit in the second book, including warhammer forge models and most or all special characters. Some units get the full treatment with a small fluff text, pictures of the actual miniatures and rules, some units get only rules with nothing more. - all new rules with complete new mechanics: think not of 40k 2nd -> 3rd but Warhammer 8th -> Bloodbowl, very compact and fast paced, huge emphasis on individual champions, magic and gods (don’t know how powerful, but these have the most rule pages) ...- there are lots of different people, races, gods and lots of different alliances. The world is a lot more open minded than the old one, Empire-Orc Alliance would be unthinkable, but a human-waaghkin force is nothing unusual in this setting 
...Rules - there is only one ruleset (don’t know what is in the AoS box, but in the book there is no distinction between skirmish mode and battle mode or something like this) - rules have nothing to do with the old warhammer rules, - profile is: Melee, Range, Might, Armour, Initiative, Resolve, Wounds, values from 1-6, lower is better - simple turn sequence: initiative -> player 1 unit 1 moves, shoots, casts -> p1 unit 2 moves, shoots, casts -> ... -> player 2 moves, shoots, casts -> melee - players roll always against each other, for example Melee vs Initiative and Range vs Initiative, Might vs Armour - units regenerate all lost wounds at the end of the phase - both sides in a melee fight simultaneously, winner can roll to fight instantaneously another round until one side is extinct or one side chooses to break from the combat - there is no moral system or combat resolution whatsoever, but unit can be bounced back - units use a 1” 40k formation without any facing - magic spells are all one-use only, when you use it, you have to discard the card - you can collect ascension points throughout the game and spend the point to buff your champions, mechanic depends on your god(s) - unit costs points as before, you are not allowed to field multiple units of the same kind unless the former unit have full strength - there are all kinds of unit sizes from 1-3 to 3-15 (that’s the highest I have seen), but you can field lots of different 1-man units - you don’t buy champions, a set number of models are automatically upgraded to champions, but you cannot exceed the limit - there are rules for different weapons, magic items, war engines, monsters, special rules, etc and a large section for scenarios and terrain, larger than the actual rules 
...Setting game is set on world Regalia that is connected with other young realms through portals of the old ones. Young realms are realms that were populated by the old creators and were guided on similar historical paths. They were untouched by chaos but this has changed since the arrival of sigmar (as a new faith) and archaon (as an actual emissary in flesh and blood) 
Age of Sigmar box content: Extrapolated from the pictures, they are the only new models. If you think you get 3-5 UNITS for each side, you are wrong. you get 10-15 (haven’t counted) CHARACTERS per side. Each model is really individual and it is in no way possible to field the majority of them as a visual coherent unit. It is late and this summary is long as it is, so I make this brief, but I will come back later and add some info on the miniatures. Chaos looks very similar to the old style except the berserkers, the Sigmarite Force is completely different. 
Missionary Force: 3 Knights of the Order of Sigmars Blood, Roman looking armour but more bulky, leather Bands, swords and teardrop-shaped shields, champion is a woman a pair of vigilantes: Male and female, leathercloaked, tricorn, 2 hand-crossbows a hand full of heavy armoured warrior with different weapons and cloaks, almost knightly in appearance but completely over the top bulky, some have eagleshaped helmets One hooded, chainmail wearing, hammer wielding girl a bulldog standard bearer: naked, chains that are hooked into the flesh, very archaic looking one arabic looking guy with a two-handed scimitar and full armour one guy in rags that wields a chain that burns at both ends, very impractical looking 
Chaos Cult: two outriders, basically chaos barbarians as we know them, but female ~5 berserkers: african looking, no armour, barefeet, clad in cloth stripes, two axes, bald and gaunt looking, not overly muscular, bone chain, both male and female three pristesses: flowing robes, sacrifical ziggzagged daggers, skullmasks two armoured harpies with spears and shields, crooked looking, feathered wings at least five chaos warriors similar in appearance to the old chaos warriors, very dynamic fur cloaks and poses, one of them bigger on a larger base, all male as far as I could see one large bloodletter, almost twice the size of a human the leader has armour that looks like a chaos dwarfish, very babylonic, rides a demonwolf, a juggernaut, but with flesh and fur and spikes some more viking-like infantry but with more chainmail That’s only a broad description. Every model is highly individual. 

This all comes with a HUGE caveat, non of it can yet be proved, but it has a certain ring of truth to it (the original post I found on  The Warhammer Forum, via Dakka Dakka).  Not long now until we get to find out of course but this sounds like a completely new game system to me, one GW can control the size of and maintain a vice like grip on the intellectual property rights of...

Monday, June 15, 2015

First Austrians - IR.42 Erbach

When it takes a month to finish 12 28mm miniatures, there is something deeply refreshing, even revelatory about managing to finish 32 15mm figures in a mere week.

 IR.42 Regiment, Erbach was a Bohemian regiment, present at many major engagements.  I've started by representing it with 2 battalions of four bases each, though in future I may enlarge each to six bases.  32 men look fine as a regiment, if a little heavy on command figures, but rather too small in battalions.  48 men for a two battalion regiment sounds good, with implicitly 72 men for the three btn. regiment!  Anyway, available figures and time for now says 32 will do.

Obviously these are the Warrior Miniatures I bought and reviewed recently; neat little models, though some flash needed cleaning and the sculptors attempt at field signs on the helmets was best removed.  The paint style is a complete counterpoint to how I am doing 28mm projects, the intention here is to go for an impressive mass in a fast turnaround, so these use my 'trademark' varnish-wash technique.

The whole model was under coated grey, they drybrushed up to white, then the details were picked out in flat colours.  They were then fixed to the bases and once dry, wood glue mixed with brown paint was applied and then dipped in sand.  Again once dry, I applied a 66-33 mix of Vallejo Matt Varnish and Army Painter Strong Tone to both figures and the bases. Finally when that dried only a drybrush of sand-brown paint on the bases and static grass was required.  The whole process was less than 6 hours, or around 10-12 minutes per figure.

So that is a quarter of my initial infantry stock complete in no time, best get some more out and on the go.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Some Actual Games!

Yes, some actual games, with figures! Not wargames per-se mind, but we're getting there.

First of all though I had a chance to play Imperial Settlers at the club.  'Settlers' is a card driven game with elements of resource management, worker placement and engine building at its' heart; by which for non board-gamers I mean its pretty complicated.

I was the Japanese, and I sucked at it.
 What looks at first like a cute little card game, with cartoony graphics lifted straight out of the sort of games your 11 yr old's play on their phones, turned out to be a real brain-burner of trying to maximise the combos of the cards and identify the opponents strengths so you could block them.  I don't know that I'd try it again in a hurry mind.

The following evening I had a few games at a mates house.  He'd had a bout of nostalgia and managed to drop 60 notes on a copy of Space Hulk and Deathwing.  Although in the past we had nary discussed my gaming he knew I was into this sort of thing and so on a night when neither of us had plans we met up to try something different.

We began with a couple of rounds of the first scenario from Space Hulk, which to be honest is the only one I can recall playing.  I've played the game about twice before, but this did not stand me in good stead for standing a chance of winning.

Jeff the painted Genestealer, on his way to death #12 or so
 In the first round I took the Terminators, and managed to get the vital flamer nerfed after a few rounds; not ideal.  We swapped ends and I fared just as badly as the Genestealers, getting blasted at every turn.  My opponent charged at the objective with the familiarity of an old hand and soon set it ablaze.

Now my mate last engaged with figure games and board games somewhere in the mid nineties, and was pretty much unfamiliar with anything outside of games workshop fare, so I cracked out Imperial Assault for him to have a look at.  'Wow, things have certainly moved on' was the general sentiment to this, and within five minutes we were agreed on trying to fumble through the rules for the introductory skirmish scenario.

My turn as a rebel, having already led the Space Tories to defeat in round 1
In the first round I took the Imperials versus two rebel characters.  The game is designed to work as both a roleplay-dungeon bash game and a table top skirmish system, there are a lot of pages of rules, but the basics are covered only in three or four sides, which I had at least read beforehand, so we plugged away at it.  The intro scenario is essentially there to let the heroes win, and so it was no surprise when my storm troopers shot like drunks in the first game.  We got a couple of rules wrong of course but that wouldn't have changed the outcome.

Swapping ends once again, my oppo gave me a harder time of it, learning from my mistakes, but in the end was also overwhelmed, particularly when I started to exploit the stress mechanic to carry out special abilities.  Overall Imperial Assault went down great with my mate, and we were soon talking about who could join us next time to expand the game to a proper session.  We rounded off the evening with a game of Smash Up - a simple card game of combined decks of faction cards trying to take control of objectives - and more chat about possible future game nights.

I don't know if I should be glad he has the gaming bug now, or sorry for him ;-) Have I led a friend down the path of darkness, worse yet - and more selfishly - could this lead me back the the doors of the evil 'Citadel' once again?  Who knows, experience tells me not to press the issue, but as the poor sod has already invested in a copy of Zombicide and the Space Hulk card game, I fear it may be too late!

Looks like Star Wars may have turned him to the Dark Side...

Friday, June 12, 2015

Lord Hastinge's Retinue - Spearmen

At the same time as the Lady of the Water was finished, I also got a third unit for my Lion Rampant retinue ready.

The men of St. Johns 
These are pretty much straight out of the box Fireforge Sergeants, only the standard bearer having had much done to him.  He has one of the standards from the mounted knights set and wields his sword ready in his off-hand.  I gave the unit the largest shields as it seemed to suit their role.

Eye's right boys - officers right, not yours!
The same red and yellow - Ham and Eggs scheme unites them, as it does for the other twwo units ready so far.  I had more trouble with the water effect again, but I think I figured out why this time, the next unit will be the charm.

Getting plenty of painting done at the moment, I only need to paint 12 more figures to finish my initial 24 point retinue at this stage.

Now, if only I could get an actual game or two as well, that'd be nice...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Lady in the Water

Paint is finally applied to a model I've owned for well over 25 years.  I can't remember why I picked up this figure, it was when I worked part-time in the local model and gaming store that much I know; but finally after a lifetime in bare metal this Grenadier Princess has found a role as an objective/marker for Lion Rampant games.

This dainty Julie Guthrie sculpt stands an old-school 24mm from top of the head to toe.  Dressed in a largely accurate medieval style of dress I went for a bold clash of rich colours that is archetypal of the well-to-do of the period.

And turn...
Compare with the original advertisement photo of her:
From SOLegends.com with a classic 80's paintjob
 Dare I say, I think mine might be better?  Well perhaps...

And why in the water, well I also managed to finish three pieces of area terrain; marshland to suit campaigning in the bogs of Ireland:

I'm off to the Bog, whaddya mean a lady wouldn't say that?

These were fairly straightforward pieces done on pre-cut terrain templates from Warbases.  Onto this scrap card was glued down to give relief for the pools, and then the whole lot textured with filler.  The painting is a simple extension of how I've done bases for my Feudals and the water is the same medium.  

Doing this latest set of bases has actually taught me more about how to get the liquid medium to work.  Still not bang on for a tutorial, but getting to a stage where I can get the best out of it.

This model has followed me around for many, many years in the bottom of a 'that'll be nice to paint one day' pile; I'm glad I finally made good on the intention.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Waterloo for Wargamers at the Royal Armouries

Napoleonic War Gaming Weekend


A very local event to me.  A Napoleonic gaming weekend in Leeds at the Royal Armouries.  Not sure personally I can find the time to sneak off to this, but I applaud the commemorative effort.  THeir own blurb mentions a themed exhibition in the museum and alongside the Siborne model, a refight of the entirety of the battle in 6mm.  From other bloggers I know larger scales and other battles of the campaign will be present too.

In general, if you've never been, the Royal Armouries is well worth checking out and suits all ages (so long as you aren't an ardent pacifist I guess).

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Zulu Scouts

To counter all those nasty redcoats, I've added a small party of scouts to my Zulu troops; made from spare figures from the main units (both painted and unpainted) that I've assembled to date.  I say 'to date', these are the first Zulu's added to my force in about 15 years, which is a scary thought.

These are Essex miniatures whose limited number of poses is in the case of near naked figures like these compensated for by the ability to re-pose their soft castings.  I based them on the same size footprint as the British regulars but in pairs rather than threes; this makes two bases of these equal to one base of the massed Zulu I have, so these can all group together to make a single normal unit should it be needed.

Naturally these were a very quick paint job, reliant on a variety of dark browns over a black undercoat for the skin tones, which are 80% of the painting.  With my British force increasing somewhat I may well add some more Zulu's yet over the quite summer months; but for now it's over to other projects...

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

That's a Definite then...WFB, The Age of Sigmar

My buddy Matt found this and my rusty French translation of it confirms the rumours...

So a new incarnation of WFB is about a month away.  Expectation is that this will be an introductory set to the new system and a more extensive rule book and starter set are to follow.  Predictions are this will focus on the new skirmish rules.

Time will tell....

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

A Long Overdue Replacement

For the last 7 years or so my painting equipment has lived in a single box along with a random selection of modelling materials.

There is a lot stuffed in the box, and for an evenings' painting session it is adequate and convenient, but it is also deceptive; as a second wooden box from Ikea was needed to hold a pile of the other modelling materials.
Which had the limited benefits of being too small for most products, too heavy and tatty to boot.

Still another trip to Ikea found a handy replacement box that allows for a lot more storage in the same footprint.

The draws being removable, I only need to pull out the bottom one for most duties.  Plus this keeps she who must be obeyed happy ;-)