Carters and Herders

Andy reports on the next instalment of the Dark Ages figures recently completed…

First up (above) is a 4Ground Oxcart, with Oxen and the carter’s family from Colonel Bill’s Depot Battalion.

The figures were cleaned of any mould lines and washed in soapy water to remove any residual mould release agent and dried. The oxen, cart driver and boy were fixed to temporary bases for painting, the others were fixed to 2p pieces and the bases built up with 4Ground base render. All were then primed with grey car primer.

The oxen were given a couple of coats of Vallejo Pale Sand, then the upper parts of the body were painted Dark Sand and heavily washed with Army Painter Light Tone Wash. Eyes were painted German Camouflage Black Brown, and the horns Deck Tan.

The figures skin was painted with a base coat of Vallejo Brown Sand and then Medium Flesh with a selection of browns, greys and beiges for the clothes, one of the women has a Golden Yellow dress, the other English Uniform Brown. Both have Silver and/or Bronze necklaces. Finally the figure’s bases were given a coat of green Basetex.

Once assembled the cart was painted Green Brown and washed with AP Dark Tone.

The cart, oxen and the boy were fixed to a 60mm wide by 120mm deep carboard base and the area around the oxen’s bases built up with 4Ground base render followed by a coat of green Basetex over the entire base. I then used some brown cotton to add harness ropes to the cart.

The second part of this instalment is a pack of 4 Gripping Beast Shepherds & Stockmen painted in the same way as the cart crew.

Down to the Wire – Zona Alpha Battle Report

John presents us with another Zona Alpha battle report.

A Zona Alfa Solo play battle report, a continuation from The Hostage in bunker c7.
It had all been too good to be true. With half a kilometre travelled the BPM 97 coughed and spluttered it’s last and came to a grinding halt.
‘Where are we?’ Kovacs asked. ‘Strelets’ replied Leila, ‘The fence is just beyond the village’. He picked up a cluster of hotspots in the village and with the zombies in pursuit He needed to think fast.
‘Ice Queen, booby trap the doors, they’ll smell our sweat first’. Cover us whilst we check out the village.’ ‘Leila, grab the wire cutters and stock up on grenades everyone’.
Kovacs headed out first followed by Leila. They’d reached the outskirts of the village as the zombies arrived. Sure enough they triggered the Booby trap and the doors were well and truly blown off.

Four of the zombies are caught in the blast zone. With an ‘armour’ of 6 minus 2 for the grenade blast, they need 4 or less to survive. Two down!

Ice Queen takes aim at the zombies.

Ice Queen aims 3 shots at the zombies but only hits one (needing 7 or less).The Zombie is downed. She has no further actions fortunately, the zombies have activated twice this turn.

Whilst she could, Ice Queen ran around the building to Kovacs and Leila. ‘This will slow us down’ muttered Kovacs as Leila attempted to take out the zombies unsuccessfully. Kovacs lobbed a well aimed grenade in their direction and all three fell dead.

All three zombies are caught in the blast zone and all fail their armour save rolls, needing 4 or less

Picking their way through the village, it was clear that other hotspots would be triggered. ‘Better choose ourselves’ said Kovacs as he tossed a bolt at the building in front triggering the hot spot
‘Holy Cow! Four mechs’ groaned Kovacs.

Between Kovacs and Ice Queen, two mechs are destroyed.

‘Drat!’ shouted Kovacs as one of the mechs aimed at him. Luckily it missed, the second mech fired and wounded Ice Queen before it too was downed.
Having disposed of the Mechs and administering a med pack to Ice Queen, Kovacs weaved between the village buildings and clambered onto some farm machinery to get a clear throw for a bolt toss to trigger the hot spot near the fence. It was then that Kovacs noticed the sensors.

A good throw triggered the hot spot, revealing a huge Man eating plant

‘What the …’ ‘Ice Queen, here now!’ shouted Kovacs.

A skilful shot from the sniper rifle takes out the mutant who rolled a 10 needing a 3 or less to survive

‘Leila, run to the fence and cut a hole in the wire – don’t worry about the alarm’ ordered Kovacs. Without a fumble, the bolt cutters easily made a hole in the fence as the alarm started, waking up some Ghouls – tortured irradiated souls who had escaped from the Sanatorium.

Kovacs opens up first and between him and Ice Queen, the ghouls are eliminated

As Kovacs makes a run for the fence, the mayhem roused a group of zombies near the bath house.

Ice Queen was stranded, deserted by her comrades. With the alarms going, there was only one course of action to survive. Her Sniper rifle weighed too much, she had to ditch it to stand a chance and run for the wire before the zombies got to her. At the wire, Kovacs handed her a bottle of Electric Juice . ‘Here take this’. ‘Now run for that Sewage drain to the left’. They made it into the cold damp darkness of the sewage pipe before the first drone came over. ‘You owe me’ howled Ice Queen.
Some people say you can never get rid of the smell.

 

Frostgrave: Dark Alchemy campaign

Stephen recounts a solo adventure, using some of his recent terrain builds.

I’ve always liked Frostgrave.

It is a very terrain intensive game and, if you go with the game setting, very game-specific terrain at that.

So I decided that I wouldn’t use the Felstad setting, preferring to make use of miniatures and terrain I already have to get some extra mileage out of them.

That means I use models and buildings from my large dark age/early medieval collection. So let’s call it ‘Darkgrave’, shall we?

For lockdown Osprey offered the Dark Alchemy campaign as a free download. (Ed: available as a pdf or e-book for £1.49 from Osprey at date of posting).

So this weekend I finally got around to playing it.

Dark Alchemy is a 3-scenario campaign based around a raid on a large alchemical factory. Or, in my Darkgrave setting, a raid on the ruins of a large alchemical commune.

The burning ruins

My warband is led by a druid (Witch, under Frostgrave options) called Rollo Magwitch and his apprentice, Eadberht Blackthorn.

I played the first two scenarios but forgot to take any pictures. Suffice to say that after a bit of plunder the group had grown familiar with each other, and identify any short comings. They’d made enough to pay the landlord of the Puking Pig Inn for permanent rooms as their home base.

So what follows is a report on the last of the campaign scenarios – The Spreading Flame, where they have to escape the ruins before they go up in flames!

A golden chalice up for grabs

The board was set up with ruins and undergrowth. Then the treasure tokens were placed. Then three fire tokens were placed, and then four fire-flingers – constructs that can move around shooting flames at interlopers. The warband has 10 rounds to collect as much treasure as possible and get off the board. After 10 rounds the place explodes in fire with anyone left onboard having to make a casualty roll.

For this scenario you are only allowed to take four warband members. I chose Rollo Magwitch, who teamed up Wilfred (a fyrd man), and then Edward (a slightly wealthier thane with great axe) teamed with Alfred (an archer) – meaning that each pair had a melee fighter and missile/spell user.

Edward and Alfred skirted around a ruined chapel where ahead they could see the glint of gold. However, they could also see the flickering of flames, so Alfred notched an arrow and let fly into a fire-flinger. Edward chose to duck into the ruins, hoping this would make it difficult for the fire-flinger – two targets instead of one – and maybe a chance to get around the side to either destroy the construct or make a nab for the treasure.

Rollo and Wilfred sneak up

Rollo and Wilfred had made their way around the other side of the same ruined chapel. In front of them were the ruins of a large building, possibly a chapter house or something. Same thing – gold (a chalice) could be seen, but so could a fire-flinger. Trying the same tactics as Alfred and Edward, Rollo decided to see if he could hit the fire-flinger from distance by casting a Bone Dart spell. The spell didn’t go off, so Wilfred stepped forward to block the fire-flinger in case it moved up.

Edward gets ready for a fight

Alfred let off another arrow, scoring a hit, but doing little damage. Edward continued through the building, but had miscalculated how far away he was and found himself struck by a lick of flame from the fire-flinger. If he stayed where he was it would come to no good, so he pulled out his axe and charged into the construct.

The fire-flinger didn’t last long.

Rollo also had another go with his Bone Dart spell. This time he was more successful and a flurry of small shards of bone spewed from his hand and riddled the fire-flinger. A good hit, but not good enough. Wilfred then went forward, hoping that the damaged construct could easily be dispatched. Not so – the fire-flinger gave him a good burning!

Wilfred engages a fire flinger with Rollo giving support

Having destroyed the first fire-flinger, Edward then moved forward to grab the treasure, but lo and behold, another fire-flinger had come up. The blade of his axe had warmed up nicely now, and so emboldened he decided not to wait for Alfred’s bow fire and just waded in. This wouldn’t go so well – it didn’t take long for Edward to fall under the searing lashings of the fire-flinger and burnt and smouldering, down he went.

Down goes Edward

It is hard to say whether Rollo then showed wisdom or, perhaps, opportunism. With Wilfred engaged with the fire-flinger, this left the treasure – a large gold cross – free. Rollo cast his Leap spell, bounded the ruined walls, and grabbed the cross! As Wilfred continued his fight with the fire-flinger (a fight he would go on to win), Rollo (holding the treasure firmly) fled the ruins to safety.

Rollo loots the altar cross

Alfred, having seen Edward go down, drew his arrows and proceeded to pepper the second fire-flinger with arrows. When that did for the construct, he ran forward to see what state Edward was in. There was no movement. Time was of the essence. Maybe now Edward’s soul resided with God. The only honour he could was grab the treasure and make off with it, to make Edward’s sacrifice mean something (well, that’s what he would later claim).

Alfred runs to Edward’s rescue

Now it left Wilfred all on his own, with time ticking down. There were no fire-flingers around that he could see, so he was left with a dilemma – leave now and be safe, or go further into the ruins and see what he could find.

Curiosity got the better of him.

Forward he went, where he could see a gold chalice lying in the rubble of the ruins. Unfortunately, this also drew the attention of another fire flinger. If he was quick, though, he should be able to make it to the treasure and be off before the fire-flinger got near him. There would be no room for mistakes though.

And fortunately for Wilfred no mistakes were made. He got the treasure and then sped off after Rollo, with the fire-flinger’s flames shooting out after him.

Wilfred makes off with the chalice pursued by flames

Game over.

Edward would count as still being in the ruins on turn 10, meaning that he would have to make a roll to see what happens – would he be killed or would he survive? I’m pleased to say he lived to tell the tale, but he had been badly wounded by the flames, and would have to miss a game, holed up in bed in the Puking Pig Inn until he had recovered (in game terms – he has to miss a game).

Rollo is now a level 7 witch (that may sound impressive, but levels are easy to gain in Frostgrave and you get small increases with each level. Level 7 is still very low in game terms). With the money he’s made he has managed to recruit a huscarl: Godwin. This should provide some good back bone to the warband.

Fist-Full Of Lead: Galactic Heroes

Marcus takes us through a recent game of Galactic Heroes.

Fist-Full Of Lead: Galactic Heroes
The boys and I have played a few skirmish games of late, and Fist-Full of Lead (FFOL) is a great option for a quick set-up bit of fun. Galactic Heroes is a stand-alone product in the series for space opera style action. It is produced by Wiley Games in the US and available in the UK from Oshiro Models.

A week ago I threw together a scenario which my youngest, Sun Two, and I blundered through (because it wasn’t that well developed, as a spur of the moment thing), but I forgot to take any photos! This week I wrote up a more complete treatment and we decided to give it a go on Saturday.

With some obvious inspiration (hint for those who didn’t grow up with the obligatory Cold War fiction) I pulled out my home made skirmish board with a surface that works for anything from an arid planet to the ocean depths and broke out all the sci-fi scenery (cue aquarium plants and buildings (some home-made from coffee jar tops) and some geodesic shelters from the lovely range by Alternative Armies Ion Age).

FFOL games rely on a deck of playing cards for activation. A player can use their own ordinary deck or use the bespoke ones available. These not only have some appropriate art, but also include on the relevant prompts with benefits that accrue from activating on certain cards. (e.g. +1 to combat (Jacks), heal a wound (Queen of Hearts) or (Sixes) reload). A player is dealt cards for the number of models they control. Then one player calls out the cards in rank order. When that player calls “kings” a player with a king can activate one of their models. If two or more players have kings, activation is completed in suit order. Each activation gives two actions. The models mainly use 1d10 for shooting and close combat, but a wide choice of traits vary the characters. Crews all receive one common “crew” trait (e.g. advanced comms or camo), leaders get three traits plus leadership, a specialist two and a regular one.  The traits provide a lot of character and variation to the crew.

Planetary Research Station Zulu
The war for control of Galactic Space is the coldest war of all. The mighty, technically advanced fleets of both the Rim-Ward Confederation and the Core Union conduct an unceasing ballet of probe and counter probe, patrol and surveillance in the effort to accrue the slightest advantage should the fragile peace fail. Unfortunately, this peace is threatened as a Union stealth probe has crash landed on moon Zulu. Before it crashed it transmitted critical information to a receiver on the planet. But the only occupants of this arid dustbowl are a group of scientists. Communication has been lost and a violent sandstorm rages.

Each side has inserted a team of specialists with instructions to bring back the critical information. Each side needs to contact the remaining civilians and roll successfully to gather information (tokens). After turn five each side has an opportunity once each turn to roll under the number of tokens gathered, which will provide enough evidence to recover the crucial data cache. The side which gets off the board first secures the vital data. However, where there are secrets there are spies! It is unclear how either side came to infiltrate agents into the expedition, but needless to say they did. No-one knows the identity of the spies. When questioning civilians, on a 9+ the subject is a proves to be a spy and attacks the team. The spy is then controlled by the other side, which is dealt an extra card next turn for the additional character. If an opponent’s spy is killed, deduct 2 from their intel total.

There were also some random events in the scenario, including weather changes (the game started with a lull in the storm), buildings blowing up and the dreaded sandsharks…

Finally, I controlled the Core (entering from the left in the layout picture). Sun Two the RimFed.

Turn 1
The game started with a brief lull in the storm. Both teams approached the research station from opposite sides, failing to make any contacts during this turn.

Turn 2
The first random event produced…nothing! No-one was wounded, so despite a sandshark roll, none appeared on the board. The Core Sniper having advanced toward a civilian was, ironically, picked off from a hill to the south east by a RimFed sniper. Out of action immediately! Snarot (a snake-parrot hybrid) struck back with a shot similarly wounding RimFeds Catman.

Turn 3
The weather closed back in with visibility cut to 12” and short range up to 6”.   A RimFed trooper interrogated a mechanic (Picture 3), gaining 2 info. with a roll of 7.

The Core leader, Sharon (looks a little bit like an ‘80’s Sharon stone-every collection should have one!), approached a venerable orange robot to interrogate it, but on a roll of 9 it turns out to be a deadly spy, rolling an 8 to wound. Sharon however is “Lucky”, so forces a re-roll…9! Sharon is not so lucky after all and out of action for the game.  Core forces have already lost two figures and have no information. RimFed’s Silva Slither (metallic sheathed worm) encounters another civilian and rolls for information, only to uncover another spy. The spy shoots but misses. By co-incidence both spies roll the trait “sixth sense” from my short “spy” list. They can re-roll one shot each turn (but the Core spy overlooked this at the time)

As the turn closed, Snarot tried to finish off the orange spy with a couple of shots, but missed. The Core’s own red worm (red and silver worms have a deep-seated enmity!), Slippery, again tries to shoot the orange robot, causing severe damage (a wound) and shock. For the Core, Spartan closed with Silva and engaged in close combat alongside the Core spy in support, wounding the metallic nematode.

Turn 4
Surely things would improve now for the Core? The random event indicated two information points in a random building. It turns out they are almost immediately adjacent to RimFed’s Antman. He not only collects these but encountering a civilian in the building, also gets another token from him! Slippery tries to finish off the robot, but fails. The RimFed uses a Queen of Spades to activate the robot, shaking the shock off but failing to return to action from the wound (You can attempt to recover; stand up and function after a wound. However, you need a medic to attempt to heal/get rid of it).  Snarot again fails to finish it off.

Snarot and Slippery finally finish off downed robot

Elsewhere, the Core spy shoots RimFeds Kanga, putting him out of action. RimFeds Hawk tries to get more information out of a yellow robot to no effect. Silva overcomes his wound, and while he remains injured, manages to stand. Antman, sensing the tide of the game is flowing substantially in favour of the RimFed, moves toward their edge of the board.

Turn 5
Visibility clears again. With a staggering 9 intel., the RimFed roll a 6, meaning that they have enough information to recover the secret data package. While slippery finishes off the orange robot spy costing the RimFed two intel., it is too little too late from the Core forces. As the RimFeds forces pull back they callously leave two of their team and their brokenspy behind. Snarot and Spartan try some long range sniping at the retreating forces to no effect. Hawk, Antman and an injured Silva (who makes a sliding equivalent of a limp) make it off the board for a substantial, if brutally efficient win, even while the Core spy puts Catman out of action.

A very bad result for the Core. No intel gathered and their leader out of action. The fact they knocked out the enemy spy and two combatants is cold comfort in this cold war. And no sandsharks. Again. Very disappointing.

RimFed robot spy and Union leads down. Slippery and Snarot survey the scene.

FFOL provides a very quick, interesting, narrative game with very little effort. It took no more than 90 minutes, if that. I am thinking seriously about a future campaign in a post-apocalyptic setting using FFOL – Wasteland Warriors and a road race element. This would allow a series of micro-games in a campaign where a number could be played in a day at the club.

One day…

You can never have too much terrain to hide behind!

Andy’s latest set of scatter terrain.

Around five years ago I bought a selection of Ainsty Castings trade goods, so it’s about time I painted them, after all you can never have too much terrain to hide behind! There’s one each of packs E (Timber stacks), F (Ivory, Skins, Furs), H (Supported bales), I (Stacked Sacks) and L (Mixed piles).

They were given a quick wash in soapy water, rinsed and dried. I then removed what little flash there was and undercoated them with Halfords grey primer.

What I should have done next was to paint the recesses between some of the components of the mixed piles matt black, but no, I forgot to do that didn’t I!

To give an idea of the size of the pieces, the grid in the pictures is 20mm square.

Trade Goods E, Timber Stacks

The timber stacks, crates and barrels were painted in various shades of brown. One of the timber stacks has what looks like sawdust, so these were dry-brushed with Dark Sand. They were then washed with Army Painter Soft or Dark Tone depending on the shade of brown used.

Trade Goods F, Picture, furs and ivory

The Ivory was painted Deck Tan or Beige and washed with Army Painter Soft Tone. The Lion skins were Brown Sand washed with Army Painter Dark Tone and German Camouflage Black Brown manes and tail tips. The smaller animal skins were panted a mixture of greys and browns. The wooden bases are German Camouflage Medium Brown or Beige Brown, liberally washed with Army Painter Dark Tone.

Trade Goods H, Supported bales

The supported bales were painted London Grey with Beige Brown poles and German Camouflage Beige rope.

Trade Goods I, Stacked sacks

The sacks were painted in various shades of grey, beige and brown, with suitable AP washes. The bases were painted grass green.

Trade Goods l, Mixed piles

The crates and barrels were painted in various shades of brown, and the sacks and wicker baskets in various shades of grey, beige and brown. The glass containers in the wicker baskets were Deep Green. The wrapped bale contents were Japanese Uniform and the wrappings Light Grey.

Once painted (and the weather outside suitable) they were all varnished with spray matt varnish. The Glass bottles were then given a coat of gloss varnish.

The Falling Tower

Stephen describes his latest building project…

I just fancied making a ruined tower.

And what gamer doesn’t love a ruined tower, eh?

The basis for this were some Wills Scenics embossed styrene sheets stuck to two layers of 5mm foam board to give the walls thickness. I cut the styrene and windows before sticking to the foam board because it would make it easier to both cut the styrene and so the styrene would act as a template when cutting the foamboard

The four wall sections

The next step was the render the inner walls. The inner walls of medieval stone buildings often had some kind of plaster on the wall and were then painted. So roughly applied Milliput on the inside would look like plaster rendered over rough stone. The broken edges of the walls were covered in Milliput as well and then jabbed with a bit of balsa to create a rough finish.

Once done, the walls were glued together and stuck on to the base. I also put a broken arch into the ground floor. When the glue was dry I finished off the Milliputting.

The assembled tower

As it was going to be a gaming piece I wanted some floors on it (let’s not worry about how the floors would have stayed up) and some detritus on the ground floor, but not so much that it prevented moving models around.

The floors

The wooden floors were made from balsa sticks.

The ground was given a sprinkle with some coarse sand with broken bits of plaster and cork in it. I then stuck on some Milliput bricks I’d made, and some broken balsa sticks to look like wooden rafters.

That was essentially it for the build.

With rubble and fallen floorboards added

So on to painting.

I use Humbrol model spray no.29 ‘Dark Brown’ for most of my undercoating, be it miniatures or models. This was no different.

This was then given an all-over wash with dark brown (GW’s Agrax Earthshade). I decided to paint the model to look all fresh, and then go in and weather and distress it afterwards.

My usual stone colour is a mix of brown and grey. I tend to make the first dry-brushing in a khaki colour. I then add a drop of grey to take off the brownness, but careful not to make it grey either – a sort of ‘is it/isn’t it’ colour. Successive blobs of white are then added in subsequent dry-brushes.

Castle interiors in medieval times were quite gaudy affairs. Although this is a ruined tower, I envisioned it being used in medieval/fantasy games, so probably a period not long after it had fallen to ruin. So some of that interior decoration would still be intact. The interior walls were all given a heavy dry brushing with a beige colour. This was then lightly dry brushed with white – not too heavy – I want to leave the beige showing beneath to make it look dirty. I then made a compromise. Medieval interior walls really were VERY gaudy affairs full of colour. But I couldn’t bring myself to do that. So I kept it simple and just some red dado railing.

I had to be careful with the wooden floors. As wood ages in the weather it tends to go a grey colour. But I’d used a mix of grey and brown on the walls so didn’t want to repeat that. So I just kept it with brown and white. Once the paint was dry I superglued the floors in place.

Painting completed and floors added

Now to make it all grubby. Dark brown washes in the corners to re-establish them were done, as well as on the outside. Then a dark green added to look like moss and damp. I thought that it would be likely that some of the interior plaster would have come away, so in some places I repeated the exterior stone colours – a dark brown base colour and then follow the same steps of brown/grey to match the tone of the exterior wall. I did this by stippling the brush to try and create some kind of texture.

And then the final phase: flocking.

Nothing special here, a coarse mix of railway ballasts first and then some static grass on top. I also added some bits of clump foliage to look like thistle and plant growth.

And there it is – a ruin worth exploring.

Conqueror Model Dwarves

Stephen gives us the lowdown on his latest painting project…

When Lockdown Part 1 kicked off I decided that I would not be buying loads of new miniatures since there was no knowing when we would be meeting again.

I bought some odds and sods to fill gaps in collections but wouldn’t be starting any new projects. And I’ve kept to that.

However.

Just before Christmas I saw Conqueror Models’ range of 28mm dwarves. These were of the same style as the original Vendel Miniatures dwarves. There’s a good reason for that – same sculptor (Colin Patten). Years ago I bought a few of the Vendel dwarves and always intended on buying some more. Before I could do that Vendel stopped selling them and they just disappeared.

I was absolutely gutted.

I’ve always liked the idea of a dwarven army but hadn’t really liked the style of dwarves that have been available up until now – I’m really not a fan of that GW cartoon style where it’s all belly and no legs.

So seeing the Conqueror Models range I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s what I want!’

Having been stung by the Vendel range disappearing I decided that I wasn’t going to let this lot pass me by. And so, since Christmas was on the horizon and because I realised that, on balance, this year I had been a good boy, I decided that I would treat myself and buy myself lots of dwarves – enough for a whole army, just in case the same happened to these.

Since they were of the same style as the Vendel ones, and since I had some Vendel dwarves, I mixed them in with the units I bought.

I decided to build these in Dragon Rampant sized units. Although, given their ‘historical’ style in arms and armour, I think I will be tempted to use them with the Anglo Dane battleboard in Saga as well (yeah, I know there’s Saga Myth & Magic, but from what I’ve heard that falls in to the same trap as nearly all fantasy rules – lots of ‘special’ rules that are exceptions to the main rules and just tie it in knots).

Anyway.

Conqueror actually do unarmoured dwarven fyrd as well, but I didn’t get any of them. To my mind I wanted my dwarves to comprise predominantly heavy infantry in mail. I bought a few packs of the spearmen which, when mixed in with the Vendel models with hand weapons,, would give a good mix to the unit. I also chose to buy the thrusting spear poses (you can get them upright) because they make the unit look more dynamic. I did two units of 12 each having the same shield design and a war-banner.

Warriors 1
Warriors 2

Conqueror do armoured and unarmoured archers (we’ll come to them in a minute), but I went with crossbows to make two units of heavy missiles.

Crossbows 1
Crossbows 2

Then came the axemen. I swapped the axes that came with the models (because the axe head looked a little large) and used some spare Gripping Beast dane-axes I had. These axemen can be used in one of two ways – either two units of elite infantry or as a single unit of heavy infantry (with the Offensive Weapons upgrade).

Daneaxes

And so on to the archers. I bought a pack of the unarmoured archers to use as dwarven scouts/rangers. And because of that I painted them in suitably earthy/green tones.

Scouts

Leading this bunch are the heroes and commander. I did a couple of weapon swaps here. One of them came with a daneaxe but I decided that I would put in a spare two-handed sword for variety. Other spare Gripping Beast hand weapons were used on some of the others.

Commander and Heroes

To round things out are a couple of beast units. First up is a pack of wolves (lesser warbeasts) and to scare the enemy is a Reaper Bones warbear (greater warbeasts).

Wolves and Warbear

That’s my dwarven army done. I can muster about 50 odd points (in Dragon Rampant terms) which means I can have a dwarven civil war or put together a single large dwarven host for a big smack up.

I love these Conqueror dwarves. Stylistically it’s just what I was looking for. They’ve been a real pleasure to paint as well – not too many fussy extra bits, nice areas to add a few designs to, and good poses. Definitely painter’s models. I’ve finally got the dwarf collection I’ve always wanted. It’s my army d’jour.

Nature vs the Resurrected

Andy reports on a game of Dragon Rampant organised by Jeremey to follow our AGM, played in an MS Teams meeting. With observations and comments from Stephen and Jeremey.

Jeremey organised the forces and set the terrain, and arranged 3 different cameras to show the battlefield. Having to provide both armies allowed him to use his Celtos undead army and his completely scratch built Rock and Wood army.

One of the camera views captured by Andy

The combatants were Stephen, with Mother Nature’s Finest lead by a Rock Lord; and Andy, with the Army of Darkness commanded by a Necromancer. Both sides totalled 35 points.

Mother Nature’s Finest

      • The Rock Lord: Greater Warbeasts, Cunning, Mystical Armour. (10 pts)
      • Rock Trolls: Lesser Warbeasts.(4 Pts)
      • Mini Ents: Lesser Warbeasts, Cunning. (6 pts)
      • Light Rockmen: Light Foot (3pts)
      • 2 x Heavy Rockmen: Heavy Foot, Offensive. (6 points each)

Army of Darkness

      • The Necromancer: Elite Foot, Spellcaster (10 pts)
      • Skeleton Scythes: Elite Foot, Undead/No Feelings (6 pts)
      • Zombies: Ravenous Horde, Undead/No Feelings (1 pt)
      • Skeleton Sickles: Light Foot, Offensive, Undead/No Feelings (5 pts)
      • Skeleton Spearmen: Light Foot, Undead/No Feelings (3 pts)
      • Wraiths: Bellicose Foot, Fear, Undead/No Feelings (6 pts)
      • Flesh Eaters: Bellicose Foot. (4 pts)

We decided that Jeremey would roll unit activation and courage tests, but that the generals would roll their attack and defence dice (Jeremey – we also decided that Andy and Steven were not allowed to moan about my dice rolling!). (Andy – Oh no we didn’t!)

Once the Armies were deployed the two Generals rolled for their Traits. Stephen’s 3D6 scored 13, lucky for him, this gave a result of Boneshaker, allowing him to automatically pass one Attack order per turn. Andy (or should I say Jeremey rolling on Andy’s behalf!) only scored 5, making his Necromancer Cowardly, no Attack orders for him. Well, there’s a certain narrative logic there.

After rolling for first turn Andy ordered his unit of Flesh Eaters (on the left flank) to advance to outflank Stephen’s Heavy Rockmen, needing a 5 or more on 2D6. It was not to be, sadly Jeremey rolled low and the Flesh Eater went nowhere. End of Andy’s first turn.

On Stephen’s turn all his movement activation rolls were successful (thanks Jeremey) and he advanced on a broad front.

The Skeleton Sicklemen occupy the hill

On Andy’s next turn he managed to advance a unit of Skeleton Sicklemen on the right flank to occupy a hill in front of Stephen’s Rock Trolls, but then failed the next activation. Back to Stephen.

Bonsai charge into the Zombies

Stephen’s Mini Ents (otherwise known as ‘Bonsais’) were now within movement range of Andy’s Zombies and were required to take a Wild Charge test, which they passed, so steamed in to the Zombies killing (?) 8 of the 12. The Zombies promptly failed their Courage test despite the proximity of the Necromancer, scoring less than 1, so they promptly routed of the board. Ta Jeremey.

The Wraiths counter attack and devestate the Bonsai

On Andy’s next turn the Mini Ents were now within Andy’s Wraiths move distance and following a Wild Charge Test the Wraiths went in, turning two Ents into kindling and causing the Ents to also catastrophically fail their courage test. One unit down on each side.

A wild charge sees the Rock Trolls hoping to take the top of the hill

On Stephen’s next turn his Rock Trolls were now within move distance of Andy’s Skeleton Sicklemen occupying the hill, they were obliged to take a Wild Charge test, which they passed and went in. One casualty on each side, both passed their courage tests and had taken equal losses, so the Rock Trolls bounced back leaving the Sicklemen controlling the hill. This would be replayed a couple of times, with the Rock Trolls throwing themselves at the Sicklemen and bouncing back until eventually they forced the Sicklemen back off the hill. The Rock Trolls followed up and eventually both sides had taken enough casualties for both to fail their courage tests and rout.

Heavy Rockmen infantry charge the Skeleton Spears

On the opposite flank, Stephen had advanced his Rock Lord to within Andy’s Flesh Eater’s move distance so they also had to take a Wild Charge test, which they failed and stayed rooted to the spot. Andy did manage to get his Skeleton Spearmen to form up in Shieldwall, expecting to be charged by the Rock Lord.

One of Stephen’s Heavy Rockmen (AC/DC or Van Halen?) units then charged Andy’s Skeleton Spearmen, who managed to beat them back. Andy then charged his Wraiths into the Heavy Rockmen causing a few casualties on each side, but both passed their courage tests.

The Wraiths and Rockmen exchange blows

Stephen then sent the Heavy Rockmen back into the Wraiths, this time both units failed their courage tests and routed from the table.

The Rock Lord charges the Flesh Eaters

The Rock Lord finally charged into the Flesh Eaters, causing enough casualties for them to fail their Courage test and flee the field.

As the battle drew to a conclusion Andy only had his Necromancer on the table, whereas Stephen has both his Rock Lord and Light Rockmen (Heart and Bon Jovi fans).

The Necromancers fate is sealed

Totalling up the losses, and comparing successful Quests, gave a Stephen a total of 10 Glory, and Andy -2 Glory as none of his Quests were achieved. A decisive victory to the forces of Nature.

The Necromancer will skulk back to his lair and set about reanimating another army.

The view from the other side of the hill (or Stephen’s viewpoint):

The final Glory totals don’t reflect how close the game was – for most of the game it looked like Andy the Necromancer would win. I often had to use my units in pairs, sending in one unit to soften the enemy up and then sending in another to finish things off. Both Andy and myself were cursed with Jeremey’s bloody woeful dice rolling for Courage tests (Jeremey – we agreed not to moan about my dice rolling) (Andy – No we didn’t). Andy was also beleaguered with poor Activation rolls at the start, which allowed me to advance on him and put him on the defensive (he seemed to spend most of his time forming Wall of Spears – probably needed to increase the armour of his skeletons).

Playing via Teams worked OK. There’s always going to be compromises – some of them could be seen as fog of war. The fact that Dragon Rampant is a simple game and we all knew the rules helped. Ultimately, it was a good opportunity to play soldiers with friends, no matter what the results were.

Jeremey – for this game I deliberately picked a ruleset we knew, went for a small battlefield and only one unit had any ranged attacks. This was all to allow the game to flow with the players only able to see the battlefield from the camera views.

Every Cloud …

Jeremey gets plastered (it had to be done, AK)…

Sometimes I do worry about us miniature wargamers. Faced with the challenges of everyday life, their outlook can be slightly different to the non-hobbyist.

Recently there was a crashing sound and on investigation the utility room ceiling was no more. There were plaster board fragments everywhere. Dealing with reality first I cleaned the area up and started looking for someone to repair the damage.

Remains of the Ceiling and Collected Detritus

Not the sort of expense I wanted (but quite fitting given how 2020 was), however during the clean up operation I kept picking up bits of rubble and thinking how the chunks of plaster reminded me of concrete.

Proof of Concept

Before you could say “how much!” to the plasterer, I’d put together a proof of concept to turn the plaster fragments, into rubble for my 28mm troopers to fight over.

But I paused at this point when someone pointed out that old plasterboard could contain Asbestos! Well regardless of using the plasterboard for scenery I still had to tidy up my utility room. So I sent a sample off to be tested which came back as negative. So please do be cautious if you’re thinking of doing a similar project as this.

The plaster board rubble was very weak and dusty so I used a genuine DIY tip and painted the plaster with a watered down PVA glue solution to seal it. This made the plaster more like concrete and stopped it from crumbling while being handled.

Glue Gun to Stick it Together then more PVA

A lot of the rubble still had all the layers attached to it which I left in place to make it even more authentic looking. In the pictures I’ve done nothing but glue the pieces together and coated everything in a second layer of PVA glue.

These pieces have become very solid and are still very light, as light as resin would be. As you can imagine I have quite a lot of material to work with and so will be returning to the blog with an update on building an entire destroyed settlement.

Sci Fi Objectives

Stephen puts on his Sci-Fi modellers hat…

You can play games with sides who have equal points and just happen to turn up and have a smack up in the middle for no particular reason only so many times.

So to create a bit of variety I decided to make some objective markers so that games can have a bit more variety and meaning.

Of course, you can use simple tokens, or even dice, to be objectives. But I decided to make some sci fi themed objectives.

These are made from a variety of bits – some from odds and ends out of the spares bag, some from other household items, and some from good old fashioned modelling and sculpting.

This first one is a comms station. The core is a bit of balsa. This was then skinned with Miliput and some details etched in. When the putty had hardened I gave it a quick whizz on some fine wet and dry paper to smooth it out. The radar dish was from the spares bag. I’ve no idea where it came from – I have a few of them, so must have ordered them from somewhere but for the life of me I can’t remember ever buying them.

Comms Station

The next one is a supply cache. These bits are all from the spares bag. The gas cylinders were freebies with an order from Scotia/Grendel. Not sure who the crates are by. I must confess, I wanted more ‘sci fi’ looking crates, but I had none and wasn’t in the mood to make any – I just wanted a fourth objective marker and wanted to throw it together sooner than later.

Supply Cache

The other two are what we’ll call ‘gubbins’. Or ‘tech’. Or something like that. They were made from oddments I had around. The cylindrical one is made from a sewing thread bobbin. It has a couple of round slotta bases stuck together on top, half a bomb from a Stuka model on top of that, and I glued some plasticard to the barrel of the bobbin. The other one hasn’t had so much done to it. It was a weapon pod that came from a toy spaceship bought in The Works. I just put it on its end and then some plasticard bits to cover the slot where it attaches to the model. 

Gubbins, before painting

On to the painting.

The two ‘tech’ objectives were given a once over with grey and then a dark brown wash. They were then dry-brushed with grey that had a little bit of brown added to it (to take off the harshness of the grey). I went down quite light with them. I wanted the blue sections to represent internal lights and power generation. So a royal blue base, and then taken down with pale blue and a final white section. To try and give it a glowing effect I dry brushed the surrounding parts of the model with one of the paler blues to represent the light reflecting on the surfaces and glowing.

Gubbins, after painting

The comms station was a simple paint job – field green. I decided to do the cylinders on the supply cache in different colours to represent different contents. For no reason that I can think of I just went with white crates. Glad I did because I think it looks good.

Supply Cache and Comms Station, painted

The models were decorated with some spare decals and the computer screens were found on the internet, printed off, and glued in place (I’m sure you can identify the X Wing targeting computer).

So that’s it – some objectives for scenario games.