Sunday, February 26, 2017

Step by Step Picts

Oh, hey!  I seem to recall saying I'd do this earlier. So here are the photo's of the paint sessions that went to assembling my Pict force for Conan/Dragon Rampant.  These don't form a step-by-step guide per-se, more a log of how long the process took.

Session 1 
The first session was fairly easy, being a fast application of generic fleshtones in artist acrylics.  This took only about 40 minutes, and it showed in the results - being in no way good enough to serve as anything other than an undercoats.  Still, a start.

Session 2
 Up to a couple of hours work here; during which the proper flesh tones were applied.  Working with a live palette, I painted four or five random warriors one shade before adding a little darker colour to the mix for the next batch.  The Hyena's used one of the base tones with extra browns to vary it up and make it more animalistic.  The shaman got a special pale shade and, well the snake is obviusly different,

Session 3 
A solid three and a half hours plodding through the loincloths, weapons and so forth.  Again, painting four or five items the same brown, then mixing a different shade into it to vary the overall look.

Session 4 
Another three hours was spent doing stone mace heads, warpaint, animal markings and so on.  The snake in particular is starting to come to life, but more needs doing.

Session 5 
A final blow out to finish the work; odds and ends like the skulls and bones are finished over the course of another few hours.  More detail on the snake and hyenas, and blue tattoos for the shaman.  Finally a 50/50 wash of glaze and Strongtone has been applied.  (not that you can tell in that rubbish photo!)

Session 6 & 7
And so to finish, the bases are textured with sand, painted with craft acrylics and then dry-brushed a light sand.  In effect two one-hour sessions.

All told that adds up to around 12 hours for a 32 figure army.  If I've recalled my effort correctly.

Not too shabby, though these turned out to be more complicated than I imagined simply looking at them.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Saga: Freshney water; 915ad

Getting some regular miniatures games in this year so far, and the most recent was a couple of weeks ago when myself and Paul had a classic Saga match up.

We played the River Grossing Scenario once again, with my 'new' vikings against his Anglo Danish force.

I had taken more quality troops than Paul, and so decided to concentrate them on one of the crossings, hoping to make a swift bridgehead, whilst holding the other approach as neutral until later in the battle.
Opening dispositions
My left flank, facing the river ford, featured Besirkir, Hirdmen, Bondi and my Warlord, all thrown forwards early to try and rush the river; whilst the Anglo Danes held back a little further, which was what made me think I could jump the ground if I got the initiative.

The Anglo Danes were generally keeping their distance a little more, and I had a sense that though their left was weak, I would be better served breaking their right first and mopping up later.

Levies and Warriors on the AD left
It is my eternal good fortune that I have far more facial hair than Paul, as that means I will always win ties in the roll-off for Saga.  Thus I got the first turn I needed.

Lets get our feet wet
My troops started splashing across the ford in significant numbers; looking to intimidate an enemy known for its' intimidation.  This seemed to work, as Paul left a notable gap across the river for me to exploit.  So I sent over some of my Hirdmen on what I expected to be a suicidal charge, but one I could support with plentiful reserves.

Over we go!
In fact we executed great slaughter in the troops we met, thanks to the combination of additional abilities my battleboard offered.  For no loss in my axemen group we whittled one of Pauls Huscarl units down to a lone man; giving us a valuable bridgehead.

My Besirkir followed up and unexpectedly survived an attack on a unit of spearmen, who collapsed in the face of such pressure.  I was able to bring over my second line, whilst Paul had to draw troops over from his left in an attempt to shore up the breach.

Mid game
After being tricked into manoeuvre rather firing on me thus far, Paul's left finally tried to push forward and shoot.  This then placed them close enough for me to execute a charge.  Safe to say that it didn't go so well...
Argh! Levies!
Fortunately, the ford could not be going better and I now had far more troops on that side of river than Paul could handle.  He was having trouble stalling my advance, whilst I had picked of more of his troops.

It was time for me the try and resole the Bridge, but Pauls' sling armed levy have proved to be a bugbear unit in the past, and today they were living up to this reputation.  My Hirdmen were about to go into the meat grinder...
On my left I was able to bring over the last of my troop and block any options for Paul to break my overwhelming control of the river.

This land is ours!
On the bridge though the result failed to go my way, the only benefit being that his unit of spearmen on the left had always been so low a priority amongst the fires he needed to contain, Paul had only moved them once all day.

Do we both constitute a Bridgehead?
On his right Paul had burnt himself out against my numbers, and it was now in my interest to 'advance' (away from contact) into the hinterland of Paul's side of the river, making it hard, nay impossible to hit me before the game clock ran down.  For his part, Paul's leader withdrew from the threat of my flanking Besirkir, frankly playing into my hands.

This smells like victory.
And so after 7 turns, it was clearly in our favour.  Not only did the Vikings hold the enemy ground, but we had also killed far more of the enemy than our own losses.  The bridge was in our control but not in any way that actually amounted to victory points, still we gained many of those from the ford.

A great little game, though I feel we need some new scenarios to spice up the game.  Possibly this is due to the limits of the core rules, possibly due to the limits of the models we have, either way after a couple of dozen games I feel like we've played through all the options more than a few times.  This scenario I know I've played at least four times over the years, and yet to lose it seems.

Maybe it's time to try seeing if other scenarios are out there?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Conan: Adventurous Heroes and Tentacles...

So an army of Picts needs opposition, and more besides.  Given the simple technique I've elected to adopt for these models it was going to be easy to crank out the basic set of heroes for some scenarios.  After all, Most of the Conan models are dressed in a fairly skimpy manner.

Conan himself, of course

Shevetas; master thief

Balthus the archer 
Hadrathus the Sorcerer

Belit - Pirate Queen

Valeria of the Red Brotherhood

A princess - a useful model

Tentacles - what lies beneath?
Only the tentacles were handled at all differently, being so dark and simple they gained a couple of liberal highlight layers before the glaze, whilst the bases are a pleasing graduated shade for swampy, peaty, deep water; finished with a couple of layers of gloss.

All set for a game this Thursday....

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Vapnartak 2017

Just a quick post with a handful of photo's to reflect a short trip to the first local wargames show of the year.  I don't always go to the York show, maybe only every third year or so, but it doesn't change much; I don't suppose many shows do.  I could find some of my preferred traders by memory from the last time I was there...

Anyway, you can't deny it's one of the better venues for a gaming show.  But like most wargaming shows I still just found myself skimming the displays, avoiding the participation games (personal preference) and running around the traders as fast as possible.  Anyway here are a few photo's of some of the games.

First up a huge Warhammer/9th Age game; the Norse facing assorted Lizardmen hordes.

A WWI game in the Middle East by the looks of it.

 Leeds Nightowls had a small Lion Rampant game on.

 A nice repurposing of the Saga rules to the Bronze Age; pleasant scenery.

 Meanwhile in the Sudan; good use of off-the-shelf scenic pieces again.

 Lastly, there is always the same 'style' of game in the same spot each time I'm here.  As you no doubt have noticed over the years, I don't get many details of the games I see at shows down, unless I'm really, really struck by them.  Here it is once again; lots, and lots of scenery surrounds what amounts to a static display 6x4 foot game.  English Cvil War...

Of course there were many other games on show, but many passed me by, too many games of Wings of War, and my dismissive scan of one branded fantasy game seemed only to disappoint the lonely proprietor.  Ah well... Personally I only really go to Wargames shows to get a feel for whats out there (being rubbish at keeping up with the rumour mill) and increasingly to pick up books.

Overall I spent about £40, mostly on a book of scenarios for the American War of 1812 and some Perry French Napoleonics.

It was a nice trip out, but I couldn't stay long.  Not being there to play games, even with a huge site I was done in a couple of hours.  A good show; I just wonder sometimes if I'm show people...

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Conan: Take your Picts

Remember when I dumped a pile of money on Conan - the adventure game by Monolith last year?

Well I did, and I finally got around to doing something with it.  Not playing yet, though I have read the rules and look to get a game arranged very soon.  Rather I sorted through the models a while back, and it got me to thinking. 'Hmm, there's probably a couple of Dragon Rampant forces in this box'; essentially.

In fact I think with careful planning the core set would field one or two forces, and the expanded Kickstarter set I invested in will form four or even five armies for DR.  Looking at the models I would want for initial scenarios in the Conan game itself, I opted to paint up a force of Picts.  So here we go:

So First up, a unit of 4pt Bellicose Foot.  Now the most obvious point here is, yes the poses are all the same.  These are models from a board game essentially, so the great variety of models included is compromised by limited poses for the rank and file troops.  The Picts are troglodyte-esque with a hint of Native Americans about them, so I elected to add warpaint - as shown on the unit cards in the game.  This also meant that leaders for units could be distinguished with additional red paint.

Those that go Before
 Next we have a Unit of Scouts at 2pts.  The proportion of warriors in the box are such that subsequent units have a leader from their number to bring them up to six models.

The Great Wielders of Pain
 Here is a unit of Elite Infantry, for 6pts.  Basing is simple to allow the models to blend into board game tiles as well as wargame terrain.

The Hunting Pack
 Here a unit of Lesser Warbeasts, with the Cunning special rule added for a total of 6pts.  The Hyenas are models that paint up better than they look, and I was pleased with the finish I got.

Zogar Sag and Fang
 Lastly, a reduced model count unit of Heavy Infantry with the Wizardling special rule, for a final 6pts.  Here Fang the Snake bears a burden of wounds, being effectively 11 wounds to Zogar's one.  Making this unit Heavy Infantry, seemed to suit the slower nature of a 50 foot long snake and its' spindly master, as well as a more defensive, ambush favouring fighting style.

So a round 24 points of troops, with a variety of troops, rather different from my Kobold army.  These came together pretty quickly, for as you may be able to tell, they have a shaded glaze finish; its' worked very well here.  More on the process in a subsequent post perhaps.

Next up, a few heroes to face them...