Sunday, November 29, 2009

2010 Plans?

With the faculty party over and the house restored to order, I spent most of this morning moving several groups of figures to completion (last of the Gondor LotR for Tuesday's game, finished painting a bunch of 15mm dwarves) and looking about the hobby room. It seems to me I have four things that I would like to accomplish in 2010:

1. I need to complete the rebasing of my 6mm armies to 80mm frontages. I have only the ancient pike stands and my AWI armies to complete. This should go quickly once I get motivated.

2. I have a large collection of 15mm DBA armies in the paint pile or en route. Most of these are meant to be painted and sold to fund a pool table (really a war gaming table but one has to spin things sometimes when facing down the Minister of Finance...). There are two republican Roman armies, orcs, barbarians, several more ancients en route (Egyptians, Hittites, more Romans, Vikings). I also have put away Pict and Anglo-Danish armies for myself. And a friend from Ontario is shipping me some Saracens to paint up. These are all nice because they are so manageable--10 days of solid work ad they are done.

3. I have a growing collection of 25mm plastic (still in the box). I think there is enough here to do some very large DBA armies. Not sure why I need ancient Romans and Celts in both 6mm and 25mm... . But sometimes a cool diversion is nice.

4. The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 starts in two and a bit years. I was thinking this would be an interesting project, with some magazine articles about the battles, about collecting the figures (maybe in 1/72) and converting Basic Impetus. LIkely this is a project for 2011, though.

Next up: 15mm dwarves should be based up tonight. And some 1/72 Gondor heavy infantry. And club is Tuesday so I'd better that scenario worked out!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1/72 Gondor Reinforcements

With a double-sized game of Lord of the Rings Basic Impetus looming in six days, I'm pushing hard to get a few more "good" troops done. These comprise some 200 plastic medieval fellows Dave passed on to me last weekend.

So far I have based up all of the painted ones. Then I repainted two bases worth of cavalry. These are a bit more plate-mailed than I would like but I didn't have enough time to acquire Strelets Normans. Anyhow, these will do; the repaint of them was pretty quick and dirty!

I also painted 30-odd archers.

I painted them in matching colours to the foot Dave gave me.

The different style of cloaks makes them look more like reservists (which is what I figure archers would likely be). Overall, a nice effect.

Up next: On sticks right now are a bunch of heavier foot (mostly Revel Normans). I have almost finished the paint job (belts and a wash are left) so I hope to crank these out this weekend. I also have a small 15mm dwarf army n sticks and primered. They are next, followed by some Ancient Brits for Chris.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

1/72 RingWraith

One of the challenges with trying to do Lord of the Rings in 1/72 is the absence of evil 'heroes' such as Sarumon and Ringwraiths. A wizard I can carve out of the Caesar Adventurers pack, but the Ringwraith is tougher. As a solution, I picked up a 25mm mounted skeleton from RAFM. He's a big bit but perhaps that reflects his stature?

The problem with this figure is that the sculptor has molded mist (or maybe smoke?) streaming from the figure. That basically looks like crap. So I painted it up like mist and then tried to use some cotton to enhance the mist streaming behind the figure by increasing its granularity.

The effect in person is better than the picture, but it still isn't right--perhaps I should have greyed up the cotton some before attaching it.

Anyhow, done is done at this point!

Next up: Some 1/72 Gondor horse and archers. And some 15mm Brits (eventually!).

15mm Elves

Despite a busy week, I managed to knock off 10 bases of 15mm elves that are a part of a large trade I'm working out. These are a mixture of Chariot Miniatures (which were very nice) and some old AD&D Battlesystems figures. There are six bases of these Chariot figures.

And from the back.

Then there are two bases of these AD&D figures. I suppose these could be used to represent a more elite form of elf. Or maybe a different troop type (blades instead of spears?).

There is one base of this which I would use as a general stand (AD&D miniatures).

And from the back:

I also did up a base as a magician, using a few spare figures that kicked up.

So far a pretty a pretty good start on an even army (I think pretty close 24 AP in HoTT terms).

Up next: I have a Ring Wraith nearly done for my 1/72 LotR figures. And I will mount up some more Gondor horse this weekend. And I have started painting the Gondor bow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 17 Games Night

We had 13 guys out to the club last night and three games ran. Dave hosted Justin, Mark and Bruce in a game of Blitzkreig Commander.

An all-infantry game, this was eventually declared an Axis victory. Here an ME109 does a barrel roll in victory.

Craig hosted Barry, Dave P., Jonathan in a game of Warmaster Ancients.

This looked like a Roman victory after the Gaulish cavalry was unable to turn the Legion flanks.

And I hosted Kevin, Scott, Chris and Chen in a game of LotR Basic Impetus.

The forces of evil were arrayed including these lovely Caesar goblins.

The magic was abstract, the potentially most important being the ability of good to bring on up to two units during the game. They chose to hold their horse off board to get the best match up but then committed them piecemeal. The lines clash below with a fairly good match-up for evil.

After taking a kicking in the first part of the game, evil started to rock and both sides were within one VD of their breakpoint after about an hour of play. Below we see the troll, having cleaned up a couple of units, getting shot in the ass by some Rohan bow.

In the end, the evil side broke first while good was closest to holding the ford. Again the warg riders prove to be fairly useless!

Next time I will bring out a double-sized game and try the reinforcement mechanics.

Up next: Some 15mm elves are just about to roll off the production line for a trade I'm working on. They look nice. Then I'll get to work on some 1/72 reinforcements for the December 1 club night an some 15mm Brits (did they flesh on them the other day).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

1/72 Gondor and Basing Tutorial

Dave passed onto me a bunch of left-over 1/72-scale medievals yesterday (Normans, 100YW) with the idea that I might field an army of Gondor. There were about 50 painted men-at-arms and a couple of hundred unpainted. At the same time, I was asked to do a basing tutorial. On the principle of "two birds, one stone", I decided to based up the painted men-at-arms while the spray primer dried on the unpainted.

I start with 30x30cm pieces of self-adhesive floor tile from Home Despot. Vinyl tile is usually about 1 or 1.5mm thick. I try to buy the slightly more expensive 3mm thick stuff (this is often designed to mimic one-foot square tile). I then mark out the base sizes, score it with a stanley knife and then snap it.

Home Despot recently changed the tile it sells locally. The old stuff had a blackish interior and bottom. The new stuff has a white interior and bottom. The only major difference is that I now need to paint the edge of the base brown.

Once I have the right-sized bases, I peel the back off and place the figures on the stick surface. Once satisfied with the arrangement, I apply a thin layer of white glue to the base (ensure I go right up to the feet of each model), drop some small rocks on it and then coat it with sand from last winter's sandbags. A thin layer of glue is best, otherwise the sand sits too deeply in the glue and won't have enough texture to drybrush properly.

Once this dries (usually overnight), I coat the top with a thin layer of future floor polish to seal the sand. This also helps stiffen the base and ensure the figures stay down even when the base gets dropped. When the future has dried (a couple of hours), I drybrush the base with a carmel colour.

This dries quickly and by the time I'm done drybrushing six or seven bases, the first base is dry. I then add some white glue and push on GW static grass, leaving areas of exposed ground. To get the grass to stand up, I invert the base and tap it a few times.

Once this is dry, I then add in some flock for shrubs (often covering visible bumps from figure bases). And then I'm done.

In a few cases, I have embedded some scenery in the base. For example, for some 6mm 100YW archers, I put down some stakes on the front of the base before sanding.

What I really like about this approach is that is really sits the figures down in the terrain of the base, so they look like they are stepping over rocks and standing in tall grass.

Up next: Some 15mm elves are my main focus. I will also finish a few bases of Gondor horse. Then onto some 15mm Brits. Club night is Tuesday--here's hoping my LotR game goes well!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

15mm Painting

Despite circumcising my left index finger while prying these guys off the paint stick, I managed to finish up 24 Rus figures and get them based. These are old AD&D Battlesystem figures.

I did each of the shields by hand, inspire by some (much better) shields Joe did in Calgary.

Overall, I think they turned out okay (for me) and it was fun to try to paint such detail.

It is a shame these figures are OOP and the molds destroyed. They are based for DBA.

I also rebased a Warmaster giant Dave gave me as a behemoth for a goblin army.

This is a hilarious sculpt. Note the corpses attached to the troll's belt for a later snack.

And the guy cowering at his feet.

Next up: I have two 15mm armies primered (Corvus Belli Brits and Museum Miniature Romans) but I may divert into rebasing some of the 1/72 medieval Dave gave me to fill out the ranks of Good for an uber LotR game in early December. And then on to some 15mm Elves for a trade I'm working on.

Friday, November 13, 2009

More 1/72 LotR playtesting

I popped over to Dave's on the weekend to give the Lord of the Rings adaptation of Basic Impetus another test before Tuesday's club night. We fiddled a few rules to make it more magical and otherwise played a straight meeting engagement.

Overall, a clean game. Dave beat the hell out of me, using better tactics and some sort of dice voodoo.

We then fiddled the magic a bit more for Tuesday's game. There is certainly a role for magic in the game but mostly by altering unit stats and rolls, not as a separate set of mechanics.

Then Dave went into the basement and gave me back a bunch of medieval stuff I once gave him plus some other odds and ends so I have the core of Gondor army.

Up next: Some 15mm Rus (I promise). The painting bench is crowded with 15mm guys ready to get painted: Romans, Celts and Elves to be specific. Then some more 1/72s. Currently cleaning up a box MiniArt's German warriors. You know you'd think a manufacturer would check to see if the riders actually fit on the horses before issuing the set (these need 40% of their legs carved out to sit properly). What the hell? Also lots of mold-line flash. Nice figures but poorly produced.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DBA Round Robin

I had six guys over for a round robin of DBA today, with Dave and I being declared co-first men of Glenora, with the edge going to Dave as he put the boots to me during our one head-to-head game. Below you can see Dave receiving yet another kick in the nuts as Justin's Normans ride down his viking hordes.
Mark brought his Persians, Bruce brought Selucids, and Terry brought his Ancient Spanish. I loaned Justin some Normans, Dave some Vikings and Craig the Scots-Irish. I played Middle Saxons. Everyone should be commended for gamely faking their way through the rules the first game or to.
Above we have Terry, who fought to a mixed result with his ancient Spanish. After two tough losses, suddenly he caught fire and put the boots to Bruce's Selucids through cagey use of rough terrain. The auxilia heavy army is a tough one to beat once you get the hang of it as Mark put me through an awful beat down with one about a month back.
Speaking of Mark, you can see his lovely Persian army above, with scythed chariot, war wagon, huge archer stands, and camelry. He took a lot of ribbing over this colourful and gimmick-laden horde ("the playmobile army" was the funniest line), but it was tough to beat and saw him to a third-place finish.
An interesting match-up was Dave's Vikings versus Justin's Normans. Usually the Vikings (10 blades, 1 warband and 1 psiloi) just beat the hell out of everything else. But the Normans are a nice match and I'm not sure (other than with very careful terrain placement) that the Vikings have much hope.
I never-ran into Craig's Scot-Irish but they had way cool chariots. I would actually like to play a game against them to see what they can do. I spent much of the tourney trying to learn how to make the hordes work--I'm slowly getting the hang of it--but it is tough going.
Thanks to everyone who came out. We'll have to do something similar (maybe a different games system) over the Christmas holiday.

Up next: Some 15mm Rus are just about done. If my back cooperates, maybe even this weekend. Then I have some 15mm Romans ready to paint but will likely work in a few more 1.72 before getting to the Romans.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

1/72 Lord of the Rings Basic Impetus

My buddy Chris came over last night for a test game of my Lord of the Rings adaptation of Basic Impetus. Finally my 1/72 fantasy stuff hits the table!
I set out a basic meeting engagement to try out the rules, which differ from the various internet versions by abstracting magic (no special abilities). With 120mm frontages, I used a 6x4' table. As the lists look, the evil army has more punch but less mobility and missile options. We each had 12 bases.
Good had 3x medium cavalry, 3x light foot, 2x skirmishers, 2x heavy foot (dwarves), and 2x bow. Evil had 2x warg riders, 1x uruk-hai, 6x light foot, 2x skirmishers and 1x troll.
With more space than the frontages could cover, there was a fair bit of maneuvering on both flanks. On the left, Rohan cavalry advanced again against the troll. This match up seemed pretty even. On the right, the warg riders took on some Rohan bow, again with fairly "historical" results given the relative abilities of the units.
The game decided in the middle, however, as the line of heavies collided and pushed back and forth. Eventually, the evil side broke just ahead of the good. I have one more playtest scheduled and then will bring it out to the club on November 17th. If it seems to work, I'll then bring out a double-sized games (4x12') in early December.
As was foretold by the Oracle of Coltphi, there is not quite enough thematic feel to the game yet--a bit too dark ages. So I'm going to add in some pre-game rolls for magic items (which modify basic unit stats or set up) to get at the trinketry magic in LotR. I'm also going to create some rules whereby heroes not only duel if they meet on the field, but they affect the stats of the unit they are with. I'm really trying to stay away from special rules because, as Chris said, "special abilities are just a vector of abuse". Ahem!
Next up: Likely from 15mm medieval foot, then maybe a few more 1/72 foot and mounted to fill out the Rohan lines. Then perhaps some 15mm Marian Romans for sale. Oh, an a DBA tourney on Remembrance Day!