Off the North Cape

Marcus takes us through the set up, models and rules for a clash in the air 1977 style.

I rolled out my sea mat again to do duty as the waters off the North Cape. While it may not have the typical dark grey of northern waters, I am going for a game in the continuous day of mid- summer, at least that is my excuse for using the same sea mat (it is the only one I have, and I like it)
I went for a foundation of the Wings at War rules, with some tweaks of my own.
Aircraft for the game, the TU 128’s and Tu 95 were from Shapeways. The former needed a bit of work with an emery board to smooth off the wings, although one was worse than the other, which only needed a light application. I don’t think the Tu95 required any such treatment. Both aircraft are much lighter than a metal equivalent would be. I have some doubt whether a metal version would work with my ring magnet and ball bearing mounting system. I really wanted to get the Tu128. I love the brutal size and power of it, based as it was on the unsuccessful Tu98 bomber in order to provide the range to defend the vulnerable north of the Soviet Union from bomber incursions. The Saab AJ37 is from Oddzial Osmy, which are available from Magister Militum in the UK.

I understand their models are slightly smaller scaled than those from Tumbling Dice but it isn’t immediately obvious, although I would be cautious about mixing the same type of aircraft from the two manufacturers. The Viggen is an absolute favourite of mine, with the double delta wings and the splinter camo pattern characteristic of the AJ (optimized for attack) version. The later JA (Interceptor) often sported a grey colour scheme which lacks the distinctive character of the earlier scheme. The Yak 28 was sculpted and cast by my friend Stu (he has been waiting too long to see this write up, but more of that later) who has created some lovely models at this size, in particular my “Stingray” collection and some lovely Arado E555 Luft ’46 aircraft! I painted it as a Firebar interceptor. Subsequently I used it as a Brewer E ECM aircraft, and I may just repaint it with the glazed nose from this version. All the other aircraft were from Tumbling Dice.

*Surface search only. ** 2 each of IR and radar homing
I added some adaptations cribbed from the “Phantoms” system, which is based on the Avalon Hill game “Mustangs” but I also owe a debt to Avalon Hill’s “Flight Leader”, notably around the missile and gunfire templates. I also added a radar and countermeasures (C/M) column.

The North Cape 1977:
The object of the game for the FAA was get the Buccaneers off the table and inflict damage on the Soviets. The Soviets needed to stop the Buccaneers and do some damage if possible. I set up the game with the Yak-28 on the northern table edge, and rolled an ace pilot! Two F4K’s came in from the west, with another ace and an experienced pilot. Things began to fall apart for the Soviets as while their ace detected the Phantoms, he was immediately blown up by a Sparrow from the Royal Navy ace. Unfortunately that was Stu’s beautiful model out of the game already! I rolled for reinforcements and the TU 128’s appeared, one green and one experienced.
Along with the Tu128’s, who were unable to spot anything, the Buccaneers also entered on turn 2; spotting their adversaries they dive one level to get into the ground clutter. The F4’s spot the Tupolev’s, but both fail their Sparrow launch roll.
On turn 3 a pair of MiG-25’s now appear for the Soviets and this time the pair are an ace and an experienced pilot.
The green Tupolev pilot detects the F4’s but one AA5 fails to launch and the other misses. I discovered a reference that Soviet doctrine often saw missiles launched in pairs one IR and one radar homing, to increase the chances of a kill. I forgot however, that I wouldn’t be able to use the IR missiles except at very specific angles and treated them all as radar guided. Meanwhile the Tupolev lead also fires a pair and gets one hit on the FAA ace. This is unfortunate for the Soviets as the AA5 is a big missile and more likely to get a kill from a hit. Meanwhile, the ace Foxbat pilot fails to detect anything, but his wingman spots the Phantoms. Unfortunately, the AA6’s fail to launch. The experienced F4 pilot gets off a sparrow shot at the Tupolev, but it misses.
The MiG leader detects the Buccaneers powering across the table at low level but can’t get a lock. They are too low and the angle is too difficult.
The lead Tupolev finally gets a lock on an F4 and launches getting a hit and destroying the F4 wingman. The ace returns fire but misses.
Now another pair of F4’s join the fray, one ace and one green.
At the end of turn 5 the Soviets have scored two Phantoms and the FAA have destroyed a MiG 25 and a Yak 28, but the Buccaneers got off the table too.
Turn 6 and the lead Tupolev has no missiles left and dives, but his wingman detects the remaining ace from the original flight of F4’s and hits with two AA5’s, destroying the Phantom. The newly arrived Phantoms pick up the MiG-25’s; the ace fails with one launch but the second is successful and destroys the MiG. His wingman sees two sparrows miss.
On turn six the remaining MiG can’t make a detection, and the F4 ace tries to get around onto his tail, but unsuccessfully. His wingman turns south. Both Tupolev’s try to evade with the lead turning east on full power at level two.
Turn seven and the ace F4 goes for a sidewinder shot on the second Tupolev but misses, while the other F4 goes after the lead Tupolev. And in turn eight gets a hit, but this only damages the big aircraft, which flies off to the east. His wingman however gets on the tail of the trailing Tu128 and on turn nine manoeuvres with a barrel roll and a sideslip to launch a sidewinder, destroying it. Not bad for a rookie!
Finally in turn ten, the remaining MiG, the last soviet fighter on the table, launches against the F4, which has turned north-east after destroying the Tupolev, but its two AA6 miss.
The Soviets destroyed two F4’s while the FAA scored a MiG, Yak 28, and a Tu 128 with another damaged. The Buccaneers escaped to make a strike on the Northern Fleet. Now you are wondering what happened to the Saab and Tu 142? Initially some things about this game made me think that I wouldn’t write it up and I set up a second game which included these aircraft, and the Yak 28 as the ECM Brewer E.

I subsequently set up another game with a Kashin Mod. FFG covering an amphibious group in the Skagerrak area, allowing intervention by the Swedes. It became apparent to me, certainly as the latter game unfolded, was the lack of Soviet short-range missiles on these aircraft (although subsequently MiG 25PD’s were fitted with AA-8, introduced around 1979). In these games they were all fitted out as interceptors and didn’t have any. In addition, I had given the MiG a wider turning circle. The radar rules seemed a bit restrictive too, and in fact the next game saw six turns of action with only one sidewinder shot, which missed. The Buccaneers failed to get a missile lock on the Kashin Mod. FFG (which also failed to lock on them) and then…I was told it was time for dinner and I had to pack up an unsatisfying game at an unsatisfactory point, especially since this time I had taken the trouble to label each stand with pilot quality markers. I had even named each pilot ready for the report!
More thought about the system will be required before I venture out to the North Cape again. And in the meantime I need to paint some Tu22M’s, get some decals for the flight deck of the Moskva and base both it and the Kashin. But I did nevertheless get some nice pictures of the second game.
On the horizon for my next game is to try WW2 Check Your Six, but I also have some ships to paint for Guadalcanal, so alternatively you might see those appear here next.

Painting 6mm Armour using Contrast Paints

The latest innovation in hobby paints has been Citadel’s new Contrast Paints. These are fairly dilute acrylic paints, like a thick wash in consistency but with more pigment than a wash. The idea is to speed up the painting of armies by getting your shading and highlighting in one coat. Having tried them out I’ve been impressed so far, although they do need to be used on areas of heavy detail – they don’t really work on large flat areas when they can result in a very patchy finish.

I thought I’d give them a try on some 6mm AFVs to see how they worked and if they did speed things up. I’m using some Brigade Models 6mm Hammer’s Slammers vehicles to try them out on – nine Prosperity National Army tanks and APCs. These have plenty of surface detail so should be ideal.

All of the models were cleaned up, assembled and then given a good solid base coat of Halfords white car primer.

Stage 1 – Base Colour

The first colour I used was an overall coat of Agaros Dunes (desert sand, essentially). With the Contrast paints you need to take care that the paint goes into all of the nooks, crannies and panel lines – if not, when it dries you can be left with unsightly white spots. So make sure you brush along the direction of the panel lines, not across them. Try not to let the paint pool too much in one place either.

Stage 2 – Camouflage Coat

When dry, I followed this up with a camouflage coat of Militarum Green in irregular stripes across the hull, 3-4 stripes per vehicle. This needs to be reasonably thick, too thin and the colour doesn’t stand out enough.

Stage 3 – Tracks

I then used Gore-Grunta Fur (an orangey-brown) on the tracks – I painted one track on each vehicle, then went back and did the second track – it just gives the first one a chance to dry a bit and reduces the chance of finger smudges.

Stage 4 – Weapons

The only other painting on these models was to pick out some of the guns in silver, followed by a Nuln Oil (black) wash.

And that’s it – battle ready 6mm vehicles using just five paints (plus primer and varnish). I did consider giving them an overall drybrush of a pale stone colour (Citadel Terminatus Stone would be ideal) but they really are fine as they are. Excluding drying time, these took less than an hour so it’s a great way to paint large forces quickly.

Encounter at Cwm Gwyn

Stephen reports on a battle twixt Good and Evil in the Welsh Valleys…

On the border of Shropshire and Denbigh there is a lonely valley that is known locally as ‘Cwm Gwyn’ (White Valley). It has long been said that it is a haunted place. At the head of the valley there is a single stone tower – the White Tower.

For services overseas, fighting against the French, King Richard II gave the land to Sir Ursus ‘The Bear’ FitzArkus. All that was left was for this worthy knight to explore his new holdings and find out exactly what lay at the heart of the mystery of Cwm Gwyn.

This was a game of Dragon Rampant. Each side had 24 points.

Sir Ursus had with him two contingents of billmen, a contingent of crossbowmen, and his household knights.

Slowly they made their way down the wooded valley. It was only when they came to a mountain stream, the Afon Ddu, they heard the sound of a warhorn.

It would seem that rumours of a haunting would be more accurate than anyone dared imagine…

Knights advance down the stream
Crossbowmen take aim from the hill
Zombie horde
Zombies and crossbows clash
Billmen check the zombie advance
Skeletons advance
Lord Ursus descends upon the skeletons
Charge!
Things are starting to look dicey
Kluruch holds the field

First Shots Fired in the Battle of Shiloh

Club member Sean gets a few turns in fighting the exciting, close run Battle of Shiloh (April 6,7 1862) at home.

In a dawn surprise attack the Confederates threatened to inflict a pyjama-clad rout on the Federals asleep in their tents. We’re playing with modified Fire and Fury rules in 6mm and will have, when the Union soldier finally wake up and get out of their tents, about 4,500 figures on the table. There was a naval element in the battle (the Lexington and the Tyler ironclads, not the casement Carondelet and monitor Pasaic gunboats shown) and the Great Western Battles F&F scenario book allows them the strength of half a battery and an indirect fire range of 16″. Any Rebs silly enough to go within 2″ get canister. But the airforce, in the shape of the balloon, was not present, so is only for decoration.
Two Union, gunboats await the Rebs on the Tennessee River at Pittsburgh Landing
Two miles to the SW three Confederate corps face only two Union divisions roused tousled & disordered
Sherman’s division holds them up but takes losses
The Confederate columns push rapidly towards Shiloh Church, more shed than church
Meanwhile 3Corps, on the right, makes a fast march north to outflank the whole Union position

Hopefully Sean will be able to get back to this game soon with an update on the action.

Wars of the Roses: First Battle of St Albans – May 1455

Stephen embarks on a modest endeavour to refight the War of the Roses…

I decided that I would re-fight all the major battles of the Wars of the Roses (well, those listed on www.britishbattles.com) in order.

So first up is the First Battle of St Albans.

For rules I am using Basic Impetus, because these will be solo games and Basic Impetus provides a nice and simple game that lasts just about as long as you want it to. For anyone who might also be interested in having a go then here’s the order of battle I cobbled together for the game:

I went with a historical deployment, and after that the battle was mine.

So, the Yorkists had Salisbury on the left flank, Warwick in the middle, and York on the right. The Lancastrians had Somerset on the left, King Henry in the middle, and Clifford on the right. Although it’s clear the battle ended in the town, it’s unclear where it started. I went with the Lancastrians positioned on the edge of town and the Yorkists crossing the fields. The Lancastrians had barricades protecting the lanes, and I decided these would negate the Impetus bonus for any charge across them (in either direction).

There was no reason for the Lancastrians to move out from a defensive position (in fact, a lot of the battles during the war were assaults against prepared positions), so I let the Yorkists take initiative for the first couple of turns until they got within bow range. At that point it became important who had initiative each turn so then started dicing for it.

York led his nobles down Shropshire Lane toward the Lancastrian defences whilst Salisbury led his men down Sopwell Lane.

This left Warwick, who had the largest contingent, across the fields. The early rounds looked bad for the Yorkists. In fact, I was wondering how on earth they could win – the Lancastrian bow fire took out two Yorkist units before units met in combat.

The battlefield formed a natural funnel – the fenced lanes gave little room for manoeuvre, which meant any jockeying for position was down to Warwick. In fact, it would turn out this is where most of the action would take place.

Just a few turns in, and I thought I had been careless with York’s deployment. His archers went down, leaving the plate-armed nobles to push forward as quick as they could, all the while taking fire from the ensconced archers under Somerset. If they went down, then York would go with them and that would be that!

The same could be said for Salisbury, who got locked in an archery duel against Clifford. Warwick, in the middle, was also looking weak since he had lost units going in.

Yes, things were looking good for King Henry!

The Yorkists were not gaining anything by exchanging bowfire. This was partly because I forgot I had classified some of the Lancastrian archers as levy and was rolling for them as retinue quality. Oops.

Warwick needed support, because it was becoming clear that this was where the main battle would be – to punch through and nab the king. So levy spearmen were funnelled into the middle to support Warwick against any losses.

Down in Sopwell Lane things had stalled. Eventually, Salisbury decided to bring it to a head – he urged his billmen forward who swapped lines with the archers and forward they went. Clifford realised his archers would fair poorly against the bills, and he did likewise – pushing his billmen forward.

Meanwhile, along Shropshire Lane, the Duke of York’s dismounted nobles surged forward and smashed into Somerset’s line. If it went badly, then that would be the end of the battle. But York prevailed!

Although the Lancastrian archers had given good account of themselves, once Warwick’s billmen got stuck in things soon started to change. The archers soon fell under their blows, and so the King ordered forward his nobles.

But as the Lancastrian archers had rolled well in the initial turns, it was now the turn of Warwick’s troops to be blessed with good dice rolls.

The battle had really been fought in the middle, and when the Lancastrian nobles were cut down, then King Henry went with them!

It would be a Yorkist victory!

So that was my re-fight of First St Albans finished. I really didn’t see how the Yorkists could win. But once they got stuck in, then things started to turn around. In hindsight, the levy spearmen should have been deployed with Warwick in the first place, instead they lost several moves and had to manoeuvre into position where they could support Warwick’s assault.

We’ve All Done It!

A constant of all miniature wargamers has always been to come up with your own set of rules. Every gamer has either written a set of rules (unpublished of course!) or heavily modified a published set of rules (just to to improve it), although to be fair to the club a number of home grown rules are used on a regular basis.

Jeremey takes us through such a typical Wargamer project and what happened to it.

Back in 2009 I fancied getting into mass battle fantasy games. I’d played a bit of 2nd edition Warhammer in my youth but was in a period of preferring smaller scales. I picked up a copy of Warmaster but it didn’t really grab me, the movement section with 20 plus pages (slight exaggeration) explaining how to perform a wheeling movement, just looked very similar to many of the historical rule sets that put me of historical wargaming for years.

Like all Wargamers in this situation I naturally started writing a set of 10mm fantasy rules of my own, I went with units based on round bases with no need to worry about detailed facing and movement rules.

When writing rules I’ve always had a weakness in needing actual miniatures to test the game with. I hate testing just on paper or with stand in’s, so I  created two whole armies first!

picture of skeleton miniatures
Pendraken 10mm Skeletons painting up nicely

I decided to go with 10mm fantasy miniatures from Pendraken miniatures. Pendraken’s miniatures are cast individually which meant I could put them on a round base. Most other 10mm fantasy miniatures were cast on strips for 40mm wide bases. I used standard 40mm round bases and put 10 foot or 6 cavalry miniatures on each base. I was really pleased with the results but the first crack in the plan appeared as all the miniatures needed to be painted before putting them on the base and flocking the base was a pain to get between the miniatures.

Regardless I continued to torture myself and carried on creating two armies (Undead vs Barbarians).

picture of 10mm armies
The Barbarian army faces down the Undead hordes

Unlike a number of other rule sets I’ve written I did get to playtest this set which I called ‘Battle Fury’ (often referred to as Battle Furry!), it was a very simple ruleset with no unit facing so you just moved where you needed to. There were typical bonuses for combat based on charging and having multiple units ganging up on the enemy. Activation was done by players taking it in turns to move a unit. I also went with 10 sided dice as I’ve always found the range of a normal 6 sided dice does not offer enough variation. 

Picture of miniatures
Battle in full swing

Games of this type often suffer from needing lots of markers for activation, wounds etc. But I had the genius idea (in my opinion of course) of making flags for both sides that showed the number of hits the unit had remaining (see the skulls on the flags!). The rules had the units roll a number of dice based on the number of hits remaining so you could see at a glance how strong the enemy or your own units are.

Picture of miniatures
Fight between the Barbarian Mammoths, Skeleton Cavalry and a Skeleton Giant

The game worked fairly well on the playtest, the forces came out quite balanced and I got the kind of game I wanted with big beasts fighting it out and plenty of back and forth action allowing for tactical moves.

Picture of fighting miniatures
Barbarians and Skeletons in full Close Combat

This project taught me a lot about writing rules, having a clear idea of the kind of game I wanted from the start really helped. But it also taught me a lot about creating games and mistakes that can often be made.

The use of round bases for this scale hasn’t really been done and so the idea that wargamers would be willing to rebase their armies is unrealistic. However the round bases packed with figures looked good and better reflected warfare in an undisciplined world where armies just charged at each other and fought to the death. The flags that could be changed to reflect the hits of a unit felt like a good idea, but having to create enough to show the correct number of hits as units suffered damage became quite a challenge.

And so this project came to a halt and the miniatures are back in the pile of unfinished ideas (which is quite large if I’m honest), although after writing this I might revisit the flag idea for my WOTR army instead of the mini dice added to the base.

Building A 15mm ACW Ironclad

Stephen is inspired by a piece of balsa…

I had a spare bit of balsa planking I’d used for a previous project where a piece had been cut out of it that left the remainder with a prow-like curve at one end.

I just happened to see it and then a thought popped into my head: ‘that looks like the prow of an ironclad.’

And that’s how this project came to be.

The first decision I had to make was size. It was going to be a gaming model not a scale model. Assuming that 15mm is 1/110 scale that would mean a scale model would need to be about 2 feet long.

That wouldn’t be practical since this would be used in big battle games and ground scale comes in to play.

But it had to ‘look right’ next to a 15mm figure, as if a crew could actually get in it. So it couldn’t be too small either.

The bit of balsa I had was 25cm long. I got out a 15mm figure, put it next to it and…it looked about right.

The starting point and tools.

So that’s the scale I went with – the gamer’s favourite ‘looks right’ scale.

This proved to be a simple model to make, though some processes were repetitive.

I used Wills Scenics embossed plasticard for the wooden decking. With that done I then sanded the sides to make sure it was all nice and smooth.

Hull planking added

Next came the superstructure. This was built in thick card and then clad in plasticard.

Superstructure added.

The plasticard was incised using a compass to represent the iron cladding. This got really dull! It was only after I had stuck it all together that I suddenly realised I had forgot to add any rivet details. I thought about doing it retroactively, but then I thought about the amount of rivets I would need to do and thought, ‘sod that – this is a gaming model.’

Broadside gunports and more tools.

The funnels were made from styrene tubing with a bit of styrene wrapped around the top for where the stabilising wires were attached. Guide holes were drilled and they were glued in place.

Funnels added

The wheelhouse went through two versions. Some pictures show it with sloped sides, some with slab sides. The first version I did was sloped. But when it was glued in place it gave the whole model a modern ‘sports boat’ look with all those slopes. It just didn’t look right. So I took that off and made a new, square, one. The rest of the hull furniture was made from bits of styrene and chain from an old necklace.

Second attempt at the wheelhouse and deck furniture added

Then on to the paintjob.

I got this wrong as well.

I’ll confess I don’t know too much about ACW river ironclads. I remember from ages ago seeing an ironclad game where the hulls had been painted silver (presumably to represent the iron). If I’m honest, that always seemed wrong to me, but I just respected other’s knowledge.

So I painted my model with metallic sides.

It just looked wrong and too shiny. I thought the matt varnish would dull it down, which it did. But it still looked wrong.

Time for a quick bit of research. Sure enough, my instincts were correct – they weren’t left bare metal! Black, dark grey, and light grey seem to have been the preferred colours. Even sky blue!

I prepared myself that I might have to do a re-paint.

Before that, though, I thought I’d do an experiment – an all over black wash. That seems to have worked and saved me a re-paint. It now has a darker finish, the black wash has taken off the metallic look but left it with just enough to suggest wear and tear.

The finished model

No re-paint needed.

On the river

A Dark Ages Miscellany

After the scenery pieces Andy finds his inner animal.

I decided to do some figures that had come out of my painting pile but hadn’t been started yet.

These comprise a Viking warlord obtained from Colonel Bill (original manufacturer unknown), a Saxon Noble from Gripping Beast Plastics Saxon Thegn set and a couple of ladies from Belt Fed Miniatures, Gwendoline the Welsh Princess and Freyir the Norse Witch with her wolf companions. I also had another half dozen other wolves so decided to do these together.

In the picture above the two wolves on the right are those that came with Freyir. The three smaller wolves in the front rank are old Ral Partha figures; I don’t know who made the three larger wolves in the second rank.

All of the figures were started the same way, Halfords Grey primer undercoat, the humans then had skin base coated Brown Sand, as was Freyir’s hair. The skin was then painted with Medium Flesh Tone

First up is Freyir and her wolves. Her hair was Dry-brushed with Dark Sand, loin cloth and boots matt painted black, and then the loincloth dry-brushed London Grey.  The tunic and panels on the belt were painted Chocolate Brown and her staff Beige Brown. The boot tops and wrist bands were painted Khaki Grey and the staff skull and claws Pale Sand. Earrings and hair band (not visible in picture) were Silver.

The wolves were dry-brushed with Dark Grey and then Black Grey. Mouths were painted black, tongues Red and teeth Desk Tan.

The armour on the other three figures was painted black and dry-brushed Gun Metal Grey

Gwendoline has Black hair and Dark Sand tunic. Boots are Chocolate Brown and she has a Silver necklace, wrist bangles, belt and pommel.

The Saxon has a Black Red tunic, Flat Brown trousers and Buff leggings. Belts, beard and hair  are Chocolate Brown, and clock is German Camouflage Green.

The Viking has a Dark Grey tunic, Chocolate Brown belts and scabbard, Khaki Grey trousers and Flat Brown hair and beard. The figure didn’t have a weapon when I bought it, so I added an axe from the spares box, and a sword hilt from the GBP Plastic Saxons box to the empty scabbard.

All figures had appropriate coloured Army Painter washes.

Shields backs were painted black then dry-brushed Beige Brown, the faces were painted White. Gwendoline’s shield had a simple cross pattern in Flat Yellow and Red, while the other two had shield transfers from Little Big Man Studios. Shield rims were painted Japanese Uniform.

Finally all were given a matt spray varnish.

The Aftermath

Tony F tells the tale of a game that not even Phil could lose … or could he? Photos by Tony and Andy.

As the club is still unable to meet formally, a few of us met for some outdoor gaming in Phil’s back garden to throw a few dice for the first time since lockdown began. The chosen game was Games Workshop’s Middle Earth rules, The scenario, suggested by our host (and provider of tea and ice-creams), took place between the assault on Minas Tirith and the Battle of the Black Gate.

The Battle of Pelennor Fields is over; the armies of Mordor have been vanquished, defeated by the combined intervention of the Grey Company and the Rohirrim, and finally by the death of the Witch King. In the aftermath, the remnants of the Dark Lord’s forces were pursued from the scene by the combined armies of Men; Gondor, Rohan and the various fiefdoms of Dol Amroth, Lossarnach, Llamedon and others.

View from the western edge.

In our scenario, 500 points of Mordor forces (orcs, Uruks and a troll) are retreating through a small hamlet (in the book, the Pelennor is a fertile area of fields and farms, not the barren plain seen in the films). An equal size force from Dol Amroth are in hot pursuit and have begun to encircle the fleeing orcs. The orcs set up 1/3rd of the way from the Western edge, while the Dol Amroth forces deployed into three separate groups; a group of Knights led by Prince Imrahil on the northern edge, a group of Warriors and Men at Arms on foot on the southern edge and a small group of archers provided harassing fire from the west. The evil forces, being greater in number than the Dol Amroth troops, were split into three forces led by Andy (mostly a covering force of archers), Stephen (Uruk Hai and the troll) and Phil (Mordor orcs). Jeremey handled the Dol Amroth warriors, while Tony took the small group of archers and the knights (“you’ve played this before, you should know what to do with them…”). The Mordor forces were required to get 1/3rd of their troops off the table.

The battle naturally split into three combats; the covering force of orc archers spent much of the game exchanging remarkably ineffective bow fire with their Dol Amroth counterparts who slowly advanced on their barricade.

Jeremey’s main force of Dol Amroth warriors closed on Andy’s Mordor orcs in a small fenced-off area, and between them they spent most of the game performing what became known as the ‘Pelennor Two-Step’, inching forwards and backwards for most of the game.

In the centre, Stephen’s crack Uruk Hai seemed to be the ones selected to lead the retreat. They were engaged by a smaller group of warriors including some foot knights, which slowed their progress somewhat.

Andy offered to give some fire support – in the GW Middle Earth rules, only evil figures are permitted to fire into combats (the good side won’t risk hitting their own figures). Andy checked with his fellow orc that this was OK, but it seems that Stephen didn’t read the small print and realise that there was a chance that he could be hit! One dead Uruk later, it was decided that the experiment was was not to be repeated.

In the meantime, the formation dance teams carried on their pas des deux on the southern flank, with much two-ing and fro-ing and “After you, Claude”. It involved lots of jockeying for position with supporting spears and pikes in the second rank, much bluff and bluster and very little blood.

The archers slowly kept up their advance, pushing forward in bounds with three moving and three firing (until one got shot, then the numbers went all to pot).

The Knights meanwhile had sped down the northern flank, hoping to cut off the Uruks as they headed for the table edge – and it worked. Although the orcs tried to disperse, the Knights hit them hard – and with foot figures charged by cavalry being automatically knocked over, even those who survived an attack were delayed by a further turn as they got to their feet again.

Although the troll took a toll of several knights, the Prince himself took a hand and, with the aid of the horn blower (who led a charmed life), made sure that not enough orcs reached safety. By this time the dance had broken up, and the Dol Amroth archers reached their Mordor counterparts and their heavier armour proved decisive.

Phil’s evil minions don’t have a great record in our Middle Earth games. But this one involved retreating, so he should be good at that. But after five hours of hard fought combat, he still found himself on the wrong end of the stick…

The Fellowship

Andy completes his Journey through Middle Earth…

I think everyone who plays Lord of the Rings games probably has the fellowship, and I am no exception.

I’ve had these for quite a while, and having finally finished my LotR Dwarves, including Gimli, I thought it was time to paint the rest of them up.

The figures represent the Fellowship after leaving Rivendell; Gandalf has Glamdring, Aragorn has Andúril and Frodo has Sting and the Mithril coat, the latter presumably under his outer clothes.

All paints are Vallejo acrylics unless stated otherwise, and most colours were washed with the appropriate Army Painter tone.

All of the Fellowship were started in the same way. Gaps in the slotabases were filled with 4Ground base render; then a layer of sand & grit glued to the bases with PVA glue. Once dry they were undercoated with Halfords Grey Primer. The bases were painted a dark brown (USA Olive Drab) and dry-brushed London Grey. Faces and hands, and feet for the hobbits, were base coated Brown Sand, then top coated with Medium Flesh and washed with AP flesh tone.

Aragorn

Aragorn’s tunic is Light Brown, his Coat is Flat Green, trousers are Black and boots German Camouflage Black Brown. Belts are Chocolate Brown. The blanket roll over his shoulder is Dark Grey, and on his back are his bow, German Camouflage Medium Brown, quiver, Saddle Brown and another blanket roll, Khaki Grey. His hair is Flat Brown.

Boromir’s overcoat is Black, with Black Grey highlights on raised edges, his robe is Red. The small amount of mail visible is black with a Gunmetal Grey drybrush. His boots and vambraces are German Camouflage Medium Brown, belts German Camouflage Black Brown and hair Light Brown. The Horn of Gondor is Buff with the end Tan Yellow, with silver scroll work. His shield (slung on his back) is Black Red with Gunmetal boss and rim.

Gandalf the Grey has Light Grey tunic and London Grey robes, highlighted Light Grey. Belts are Dark Grey. His hat is Grey Blue. (Definitely a grey theme here). His staff is Beige Brown with an AP Crystal Blue tip. Glamdring is Silver. Hair and beard are Dark Sand.

Legolas

Legolas has a Golden Olive tunic, Light Grey trousers and Pale Greyblue sleeves. Quiver harness and vambraces are German Camouflage Medium Brown, quiver is Flat brown, the latter two lined Saddle Brown. Belts are also Saddle Brown. Boots are German Camouflage Black Brown and bow is Beige Brown. Hair is Dark Sand.

Merry

Merry has Black trousers, a Golden Yellow waistcoat with Bronze buttons and a Deep Green coat. His cloak is London Grey and his hair is Tan Yellow.

Frodo

Frodo has Black trousers, Light Brown waistcoat and Flat Brown coat and hair. His cloak is Luftwaffe Camouflage Green, and belts Chocolate Brown. His pack is Saddle Brown. Sting is painted Silver, with an AP Blue wash, my attempt to represent Sting’s blue glow in the presence of Orcs.

Sam

Samwise has London Grey trousers, with a Deck Tan shirt and a Flat Green coat. His cloak is Black Grey and belts and scabbard Saddle Brown. His hair is German Camouflage Orange Ochre, and on his back he has a pack painted Beige.

Pippin

Pippin also has Back trousers, Beige Brown waistcoat with an AP Crystal Blue jacket and Light Brown Scarf. His haversack is German Camouflage Beige and cloak Flat Red (and I’ve just noticed a little blue on the cloak so that will need touching up). He has Dark Sand Hair.

When I bought the figures off e-bay one of the lots contained a model of Gollum on his rock. So here he is:

Gollum (and his rock)

I started off painting the rock London Grey, with an AP Dark Tone Wash and Light Grey dry-brush. There were a few patches of what looks like moss on the rock, so these were painted with dots of Golden Yellow and Olive Green. Next came his skin; as I wanted him to look paler than the other Hobbits, I used a mixture of Pale Sand and Medium Flesh. Hair was black, eyes white and his loincloth German Camouflage Beige. As he is modelled with a snarling mouth, I painted his tongue Flat Red and teeth Deck Tan. His skin then got a wash of AP Skin tone.

All the figures bases were then flocked, for Gollum I added some flock to some of the flatter sections of the rock, and then tidied up the base edges with more Olive Drab.

Finally, the figures were all varnished with a matt spray.

So that’s the LOTR collection, Fellowship, Dwarves and Goblins completed.