A tad late today, sorry folks, but here’s the latest update on member’s painting.
First off, Stephen is painting up some sample packs to test the waters on a couple of projects he’s been umming and ahhing about for the last year or so.
Above you can see some 15mm ECW Scots from Peter Pig.
He’s also trying to find his WW2 mojo, he’s undecided on figure size, but wants to focus on infantry actions rather than tanks.
First off we have some Warlord Games 28mm Late war British infantry, a recent free sprue from one of the wargames magazines.
And changing size, some Russians based up for Crossfire, also from Peter Pig.
Eric continues to work on some Games Workshop figures, a chaos marauder and cultist:
Mark has been working on his 6mm Saxon 1809 army, Ist Corp division Generallieutenant Polentz, brigade Generalmajor Lecog, Prinze Celement, von Low and von Cerrini regiments. Basic uniform colour and regimental facings done, flesh, weapon, knapsack and bases to do, you can see the rest of the division in the background including some cuirassiers
Club member Marcus reports on Warlord Games Blood Red Skies…
I recently acquired Blood Red Skies (BRS), largely because my youngest son was given a box of Spitfire’s by a generous hearted warlord employee at the Broadside show last December. He was very excited (thanks Warlord!) and proceeded to watch videos on You Tube. This created a conundrum for me, however. I had seen BRS and been tempted, especially when Warlord offered the club a store-wide discount last year. I do like my aerial gaming. In fact, I have plenty of modern (well, post war) aircraft and some WW2. However, and here is the issue, they are all 1:600. A further problem was that Warlord had switched from the “Battle of Britain” box set to “Midway”. Now personally I prefer the Pacific theatre with all that combined naval and air action, but children like what they like. Anyway, I ended up with a Midway basic box set, Me109’s and Me110’s and duly began painting them up (because who else is going to eh?!) One I had finished two aircraft for each side we gave it a go and soon got the hang of it. I say that; I lost!
At the heart of BRS is a simple mechanic; a flight stand that can hold three positions. Pointing up, the aircraft is climbing and “advantaged”. Level flight is “neutral”. Diving is “disadvantaged”. Aircraft move in advantage order; from advantage to disadvantaged and in pilot quality within each of those states from 5 (Ace) to 1. A simple mechanic, which we certainly got all wrong the second time around. There is also some novelty in the shooting/victory mechanic. You shoot with your dice depending on pilot quality and aircraft weapon rating. The defender can try and block hits with a combination of pilot and agility (occasionally speed for deflection shots). Boom chits result from unblocked hits, but don’t necessarily equate to a destroyed aircraft. An aircraft might be downed but the chits are more like damage tokens. However, collect more damage tokens than aircraft on the table and you lose. There are also a limited number of cards in each player’s hand which can be played on aircraft with the correct traits or as theatre and doctrine cards to affect the game. We also forgot about the tailing rules, which immediately disadvantage an aircraft tailed, for the first part of the game (I’m really bad at this aren’t I?)
This time we played with four aircraft each: 4 Spitfires for me and 4 Me109’s for the Oberleutnant.
Naturally, since we forgot a good portion of the simple ruleset, we seemed to spend a fair bit of time charging about not getting any shots in at all.
Lot of manoeuvring each turn to very little effect and a couple of shots that had no effect in turns 6 and 7.
Then we started to see some action…
…revenge on the Oberleutnant for that loss in the first game.What do I think of BRS so far then? Clearly I know nothing, as evidenced by my account, but the jury is out for me. The Oberleutnant seems to like it in a way he wasn’t when asked if he wanted to play with my other aircraft, but was over games such as “Galactic Heroes” and “What a Tanker!” There has been some interest at the club in playing some Pacific games although I would need a couple more boxes of aircraft to get into the “sweet spot”; many of the designed scenarios to average out at around 18 aircraft. That isn’t cheap. The best price I could find on some Pacific boxes of 6 aircraft is around £22.40. I can buy 6 fighter aircraft for £3 from Tumbling Dice in 1:600 (in fact, I have some painted). Also, at 1:200, sometimes, a bit like “X Wing” the models get a bit crowded and things have to be fudged a bit more often. The latter game makes a good comparison; some expensive models, a bit crowded when you get lots of stuff on the table. BRS is quite expensive and you do get more (just not pre-painted) models, not as complicated generally and you can get quite a few models on the table in a decent time-frame. I think that somewhere in between is what I really want. I’d really like to see a Tumbling Dice/Wings at war carrier variant sometime.
But, if the Oberleutnant likes it, can it be a bad thing? And if it gets an outing at the club, that’s got to be good too right? We will just have to see how it progresses with BRS…
Stephen organised a SAGA Age of Vikings Battle day, several games through the day across a couple of tables. In Stephen’s words:
Hail! Hail! Bleddyn ap Owain, Lord of Bangor, rides victorious! Hail! Hail! Lord Bleddyn has met the Normans and Scots in battle and comes home victor. Glory to his name! Honour to his household! From this day forth let him be known as Bleddyn The Dragon! Hail! Hail!
The header photo shows Bleddyn and his warriors off raiding. Here are a few more from the various SAGA battles.
Marcus ran another rules development game for his Spy Fi underwater combat rules, based on Galactic Heroes. Bond and friends vs Largo. It didn’t end well for either of them!
Dave ran a Gaslands race day
And, finally, Paul ran a 3mm Ancients game using his own rules.
Stephen gives an account of a Song of Blades and Heroes game…
In this game of Song of Blades and Heroes (SoBH) I had a group of adventurers made up of a hero (Erik Jorgensen) with two sidekicks (Gudrun Frisk and Torsten Brand), a druid (Odinkar Thostenson), a berserker (Ingulf Bloodaxe), and several warriors who were looting a ruin looking for treasure.
There were three treasure tokens scattered throughout the ruins, and looking after them were the undead residents of the ruins!
SoBH is fun, quick, and dirty, and always gives an enjoyable game. Movement and weapon ranges fall into one of three categories – short (75mm), medium (120mm), or long (180mm). Models have only two characteristics – Quality (used for activating, morale, casting/resisting spells, etc) and Combat (used for both melee and missile). It’s that simple. When activating you can choose whether to roll 1, 2, or 3 activation dice. Each success allows you to take one action. Roll two or more failures when activating a model and initiative passes over to your opponent (yes, that’s right – if you only roll one activation dice for each model you’ll get to activate all your models, but you’ll move slowly and find it hard to do heroic deeds. At some point you’ll have to start rolling more dice!). Dead simple.I split the human forces into three groups with the aim that each group would make a grab for a different piece of treasure. Two of the groups had an archer each, plus one of the hero’s sidekicks, and two warriors. The third group had the hero, the druid, and two warriors. Berserkers can not form groups so have to go solo, but the berserker was positioned with the hero’s group and he would go the same way as them, just wouldn’t be able to do a group move.
So, on the first turn, Ingulf (the berserker) moved up through the ruins, passing between two buildings. The rest of the humans also moved up. Humans usually move medium, but in difficult going (e.g. ruined buildings) they are reduced to short. When initiative passed over to the undead occupants the first thing to move up was a skeleton minotaur. With a move of long, and three successes to boot, it came loping up at top speed and charged Ingulf.
This would turn out to be a very significant move and would cause Erik’s group a tremendous amount of problems.
The rest of the undead forces also moved up. A group of skeletons occupied the ruins where one of the treasure tokens was, meaning Torsten and his followers would have a fight on their hands. And Gudrun and her group, moving through a burnt out building, found themselves facing a pair of skeleton archers and another gang of skeletons armed with spears, swords, and axes.
The skeleton minotaur was more of a threat than anyone realised, because Ingulf went down – not killed, but knocked down. To save his bondsman, Erik ran up to engage the minotaur, to give Ingulf chance to get back on his feet. But the minotaur’s heavy axe was not going to stop – and down went Erik Jorgenson. Not just knocked down, but the lack of movement and amount of blood could mean only one thing: Erik had been killed!
This caused a morale roll on all the humans. One or two were shaken by the death of this noted hero and moved backwards, to consolidate. One of the warriors, an archer called Frode, was so shaken by Erik’s death that he fled the field entirely.
Now the skeletons launched an attack on Thorsten’s men. Not only that, but a pair of ghouls, carrying an axe in each hand, also moved up on Thorsten. Gudrun and her group had to put up with arrows whizzing past their ears as they picked their way through the ruins, but none of the arrows actually hit their mark.
Things took a turn for the worst in the middle. Ingulf had stood up, but the minotaur’s axe would have another victim, and Ingulf too fell dead beneath the hefty blade. Not just that, but Skade, a warrior, was also felled. This left just the druid, Odinkar, on his own against the minotaur skeleton. Not a good position to be in.
On the right, with Thorsten and his men, the battle with the skeletons continued with Thorsten facing off against three of the skeletons on his own. Colden looked to be in dire straits, with the two ghouls coming for him. Surprisingly, he managed to hold his own, dropping one of the ghouls to help even things out.
Gudrun and her mob got stuck in a prolonged fight on the left. The skeleton archers continued to shoot arrows and continued to be ineffective. This gave Gudrun and the others the chance to finish off the other skeletons before charging the archers.
Odinkar the druid, meanwhile, was in quite a predicament. The minotaur took a swing at him and fortunately for Odinkar he missed. The druid then cast a spell, Fist of Thorns, to give him a bonus in the melee. This worked, and pushed the minotaur back. Odinkar is no fool though, and realising he’d had a lucky break, he turned around and made a run for it toward Thorsten and his men. Meanwhile, hearing the panicked yells and calls coming from the druid, Asmund (an archer in Gudrun’s team) came running over to help Odinkar with the intent of shooting the minotaur. But Odinkar took matters into his own hands – he cast another spell, calling out to the wilds to come to his aid, and a wolf came from out the wilderness to help him. To give the wolf a chance against the minotaur, Odinkar cast another spell – Transfix, and the skeleton minotaur found itself suddenly wrapped in brambles and briars, unable to move.
This is what was needed. The wild wolf pounced at the stricken skeleton minotaur and brought it down – destroyed at last. It had come at quite a cost though. Odinkar breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
Torsten and Colden were doing well. Thorsten had managed to destroy two of the skeletons and so it was only a matter of time until the third went down. This gave another of Thorsten’s men, Fritjof, the opportunity to rush ahead and grab one of the treasures, ensuring the band of thieves would get away with at least something!
On the left, with Gudrun, things had also started to improve – Gudrun and Hakon had advanced to a ruined church. Ahead, Hakon could see a group of zombies, slowly shuffling forward. Gudrun stood back, as the better fighter it made sense for her and her blade, Naegling, to stand ready in case of attack whilst Hakon grabbed the gold chalice out of the church. But as Hakon rushed into the ruins the noise and commotion alerted a swarm of bats who quickly swamped the young viking with bites and sharp claws.
Would things ever get easy? Not for Hakon, who was overwhelmed by the bats and was taken down. The wolf, meanwhile, had come charging forward and fortunately for Gudrun attacked the zombies. There was nothing for it – Gudrun drew out Naegling and sliced into the wicked bats.
Well, the game had more or less come to an end. Gudrun finished off the bats and quickly made off with the treasure as well.
The group had paid a vicious price for their loot – Eric Jorgensen was no more, neither was Ingulf. Other warriors had also fallen to the otherworldly guardians of the ruins. One more treasure token remained, but the group decided to cut their losses – two out of three ain’t bad. Just as well for them, because the final treasure token was also under guard…
SoBH is a great game – just right for throwing a few miniatures on the table with minimum preparation and fuss. My game had taken no more than an hour and half. You can use whatever miniatures you want, and is a good excuse for using some of those old 80s role playing figures you may have lurking around but can find no use for.
Alan ran a big Chain of Command game, 28mm figures, with a combined British and Norwegian force trying to hold off a German advance.
And finally, corporate clashes in deep space, Tony, Chris and Eric try out A Billion Suns. Not a straight up space battle, but operations spread across multiple tables with each player having different contracts to fulfil.
Stephen ponders on hills and describes his latest terrain piece…
Hills. They just never look right on the wargames table.
Look at a games table and you may see two or three little dumplings, big enough for a few elements.
Those are hills, apparently.
In reality, whole armies and battles are fought on hills (e.g. Hastings). But not on a wargames table where Mother Nature has to conform to a terrain feature that is no bigger than L on any one side and where diagonally it can be no more than L+S. Or some such tortured formula.
So what is a ‘hill’ on the wargames table?
Not really a hill, that’s for sure. I should say that I don’t play too many mass battle games, so the focus of this project is what a hill could be on the skirmish table.
I suspect most of us use modular, scatter, terrain rather than game boards with fixed terrain features. So we are looking at terrain features that can be plonked down anywhere on the table. Which, like it or not, gives rise to that dumpling hill effect.
I had a thought about what those lumps and bumps could be. Yes, it could represent undulating terrain, the majority of which is gently rising. The odd ‘steep hill’ could be a rocky scarp or rise that is covered in broken ground and brambles.
Yeah, that works.
But I thought of what else it could represent, and something that would add character and theme.
The answer seemed obvious – burial mounds and chambers! Yup, that would explain why they are dumpling shaped. It’s not a ‘hill’ so much as a burial mound – game effects are exactly the same.
So that’s what this project is – making a burial mound/hill.
I based this model on chambers such as Wayland’s Smithy – a stone-faced entrance into an earth mound. That would give it a bit more character and presence than just a plain green mound.
The entrance way was made using embossed styrene from Wills Scenics. Rather than just cut the sides diagonally I then went and trimmed the styrene so it conformed to the shape of the stones to make it looked like the stones had been laid. This was then stuck to two layers of 5mm foamboard. The main mound was going to be made from a piece of EPS foam.
The base was cut from modellers light ply and the foam mound was glued to that and the entrance way was glued to the front. To give the entrance a bit of depth I tore away some of the foam (this would later be lined in air dry clay to smooth it out and make it easier to paint).
When that had all dried it was out with the Miliput. This was used to make the trilithon doorway and also to cover the top of the foamboard to look like stonework.
On to painting. I used my standard way of painting stone – start with a khaki undercoat. I couldn’t use spray on this because it would melt the EPS foam, so I slapped on some Revell acrylic khaki with a brush. And, as ever, this was washed in GW Agrax Earthshade.
I’m not going to go in-depth on the painting – I’ve covered my stonework process before. But, in brief, the whole is then given successive dry-brushings with a mix of khaki and grey and a bit of white. Then a bit of weather – Agrax Earthshade to re-establish edges, and dark green for damp.
Then on to the flocking. It was given a base cover of a mix of railroad ballast and sand. After that it had static grass applied. I think it looks best to leave patches of the ballast or other basing materials on show – a blanket of velvet static grass just looks too much. To add to the texture of the model I then stuck down bits of clump foliage, to suggest brambles, nettles, and other weeds.
And that’s it! A really simple modelling project and now that little dumpling hill has a reason for looking the way it does.
A tad delayed, but here’s a photo round up of our first meeting of 2022. In addition to our AGM, we had a SAGA battle day, involving 8 players, a FOG Renaissance ECW game, a Lords of the Rings Game and some Spy-Fi action.
First up a SAGA-fest with Scots, Bretons, Welsh, Vikings and Anglo-Danes. In addition to some experienced SAGA players we had a couple of prospective members join in for their first games.
Moving on the the English Civil War, 15mm figures using Field of Gory rules.
Moving from history to fiction, Marcus had a try out of his underwater Spy-Fi rules.
And finally to Fantasy, a Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.