The Red Dragon And The White Wolves

Hark now and listen to yon bards!

Listen as they stretch the strings on their harps, as they tell their tales, for this is a story that children of the land must know.

Out there, there ‘pon the hill of dreams. There lies the Red Dragon, restful in its slumber. Though listen keenly and you will hear the howl of the wolves. Two vicious wolves, Guttersnipe and Ragamuffin by name. Though these are no ordinary wolves, these are the very worst kind – White Wolves!

These White Wolves looked on the Red Dragon’s hill, and their lusts and craves led them to steal the Dragon’s sheep, the Dragon’s wealth.

But this Dragon would have none of it.

Guttersnipe and Ragamuffin crept viciously in the dark, keeping low and trying to look innocent, they wished their white hides would make others think they were peaceful sheep – such is the treachery that these two knew.

What they would come to know all too soon, though, was the might and power of the Red Dragon who, upon seeing the two White Wolves making for his wealth and sheep, he rose up and with keen claws and fiery breath he did smite the two wolves! Harken and listen, I tell you! Harken and listen, for the Red Dragon’s wrath was furious and righteous.

And there lie the remains of the two White Wolves. The two wretched carcasses. And the Red Dragon, as a show of his power, did rend their tails from their hides and he did place them upon his war banner so that all would know that any who dared meddle and steal from the Red Dragon would meet an equal fate.

Arise now. Arise and go.

Go out into the land and the people will know thy name. For thou art no longer just Owain of Bangor, thou art OWAIN THE WOLF TAMER.

Middle-Earth March

A post from webmaster Tony F…

I have two Middle-Earth projects on my To-Do list this year – the first is a refight of the Scouring of the Shire mini-campaign with Phil, for which I’ve completed all my Hobbit figures and just need to finish off various bits of Shire scenery. The second project is a game for the club’s 2018 Open Day, part of the Siege of Minas Tirith – it turns out that I have most of the Gondor figures I need already painted, although I will use it as an excuse to paint a box of Knights of Dol Amroth which have been sitting in the pile for a while. When I was sorting through my Middle-Earth figures I came across an awful lot which I’d started but not finished – dozens, in fact – plus many other that have been based and undercoated but no more. So I’ve resolved to slowly work through these and complete as many as I can, both ones for the two main projects plus any others that take my fancy. March has been quite productive, I’ve finished eight figures (although only one of these is for the Open day game).

I’ll start with the elder race first – in the main picture above is Gil-Galad, Elven King who was slain by Sauron at the Battle of the Last Alliance (he can be briefly seen in the opening part of the Fellowship movie). To his right is Haldir, who turned up with his elves at Helm’s Deep in the Two Towers movie for no immediately obvious reason (in the book he stays firmly in Lothlorien for the duration).

Next in order of age are the Dwarves – this is Balin, a member of Thorin’s company who survived Smaug the Dragon but died in a vain attempt to retake Moria. This is the early GW version of the figure rather than the one who appears in the Hobbit movies.

These two are Murin and Drar, a pair of Dwarf adventurers who are inseparable (you can’t use one in a Dwarf army without the other). I’ve never come across any reference to them in any of Tolkein’s books, so I think they’re a purely GW invention, but nice figures nevertheless.

Moving onto the race of Men (and Women), here we have a Captain of Rohan (l). He’s acting as bodyguard to Eowyn in her Pelennor Fields/Dernhelm armour (r).

And finally, the one figure that I do need in the Open Day game – a Knight of the White Tower. He’s a Finecast resin figure (the rest are metal) and has given me no end of problems with his bent sword – I’ve tried several times to sort it out with hot water (even clamping it between two pieces of flat plastic while it cools) but I can’t seem to straighten it out.

The Untimely Death of a Warrior King

Heading home to the Hebrides, King Olaf spotted an opportunity to raid the lands of Andraes Vilhelmsson near the coast. Charging into the village of Lindahl, he spied that there was just enough room in the Birlinn Nathair Mhara to load additional booty. The defending bowmen were quickly dealt with by the mercenaries from the King of Norway but the mighty host of Danish warriors took longer to break down and the heavy rains prevented the burning of the village. Sensing defeat, the cowardly Vilhelmsson fled the fight. Alas, Olaf’s warriors were tiring and failed to land a blow on the advancing bodyguard. Olaf leapt into the fight with against the bodyguard challenging them, He had dispatched many noble but foolish men this way before and the first man fell swiftly to his flashing blade. Then, witchcraft struck as Olaf’s blade shattered leaving Him defenceless and outnumbered and he fell, a warriors death. Thus died Olaf a Mighty Warrior King. His warriors returned to the Hebrides with his body and He was buried at sea from whence He came, flames flickering and spluttering in the night skies in the shadow of the stones of Callanish as the Nathair Mhara sank below the waves.

The Saga of Iomhair MacAulay

I am Olaf’s eldest son and claim the Title King of the Hebrides following my Father’s untimely death. I had spent several years of life on Iona where I was educated by the monks, now a man of faith I set out to rule the lands in a different way from my father but am bound by our culture to be at feud with Vilhelmsson. New recruits have joined from other islands and during the long autumn nights We are patiently sharpening our axe blades, waiting and planning. Winter is coming.

Lord Of the Rings Moria Reinforcements.

A To-Do list update from Andy King:

A raiding party comprising 8 Goblins, 4 Giant spiders and 13 bats. The goblins are from Games Workshop, the Spiders are from Copplestone castings and the bats came from a wildlife park shop (wish I could remember where).

The standard bearer was a simple conversion of one of the sword and shield armed goblins. I cut off the sword and tidied up the hand, then drilled it to take a length of florists wire. The sword was then stuck on to the goblin’s waist. The banner came from a Games Workshop flag sheet and was fixed to another piece of wire, then secured to the upright with needle and thread, with a couple of drops of superglue to hold it in place.

I don’t claim to be a great painter, my objective is something reasonable to use on the gaming table. The goblins were block painted using Vallejo acrylics on a black undercoat, followed by Army Painter “Tone” paints of various hues.

The spiders had a dark brown basecoat followed by drybrushing lighter shades of brown. Leg segments, eyes, pincers and body spots were then added.

The bats had a black basecoat followed by dark grey and brown drybrushes, with the mouth picked out in dark red.

All then finished with Vallejo matt varnish. These almost finish off my Moria Goblin army (some smaller spiders to follow) and will mostly be used in Dragon Rampant games. Perhaps they are out scouting and came across the trail of four hobbits and some ponies seen around here recently? Mind you, if they do catch them up my money’s on the hobbits.

Scramble! Scramble!

An update on a new project by Stephen Tucker…

A project I’ve had on the back burner for some time is the Battle of Britain using 1/144 scale aircraft.

These have primarily been Zvezda and Revell ‘Mini’ kits – BF109s, Stukas, Hurricanes, and Spitfires.

However, at Cavalier this weekend I picked up another Spitfire kit (just £1!) and a couple of diecast German bombers in 1/144 – a HE111 and DO17 – for a fiver each.

Yesterday I put the Spitfire kit together and also put some filler in the join lines in the two diecast models, and today I painted them up.

Another couple of bombers would be good, but for the time being these three aircraft can now join the others I have, which means I’ve now got enough for a game.

Best Participation Game at Cavalier 2018

Our 2018 Showgame of the Zeebrugge Raid won Best Participation Game at the Cavalier Show in Tonbridge today.  Congratulations to the builder – Phil (with a little help from his offspring).  Finishing touches to the HMS Vindictive model will follow in time for Salute in April.  Gallery below:

The SAGA of Andraes Vilhelmsson – The battle of Lindale

Born at night in Tempest tossed seas far from land he my have been, but Olaf Titbit of The Hebrides now lies dead in the mud of the hamlet of Lindale.

In the cold months after Christmas Olaf led his ragtag band from his lands with fire and plunder in his mind. The quiet hamlet of Lindale was his target; but no man sneaks around Andraes Vilhelmsson’s lands without his knowledge!

Olaf and his nemeses

Defending Lindale at first was the local levy archers; they were charged by one of Olaf’s units of Hearthguard and were pushed back with casualties but did not falter. After exchanging blows with the levy a few times, the Hearthguard carried on through Lindale towards Andraes and his reinforced Warriors who had arrived on one side of the hamlet opposite Olaf and his Warriors, while Andraes’ Hearthguard arrived on the other side.

One of the Hearthguard units chased Olaf’s war band round the hamlet and caught up with some of his warriors, in the following fight all the Hearthguard fell but took most of the warriors with them.

The other Hearthguard unit reinforced the levy in the centre of the hamlet.

The last of Olaf’s warriors

Andraes lead his warriors into an attack on Olaf’s Hearthguard in the hamlet; eventually wiping them out.

Olaf’s warriors then advanced on Andraes’ warriors launching salvoes of javelins as they approached, eventually charging into melee, which they won.

Andraes joined his levy and the remaining Hearthguard in the hamlet. After trading arrows and javelins, and with fatigue building up in Olaf’s warriors they were defeated by the Levy’ shooting.

Andraes and the victors of Lindale

Andraes’ remaining Hearthguard started towards the edge of the hamlet, looking to engage the remains of Olaf’s warriors, but as they did so Olaf moved back and charged them challenging them to single combat. The first of the Hearthguard to face Olaf fell beneath his sword, but the second was of sterner stuff and smote Olaf a mighty blow, cleaving his head from his shoulders. With this the remnants of his warband could take no more and fled the field.

Perhaps Olaf had partaken of a little too much ‘uisge’ before deciding to attack?

Lindale, quiet after the battle

The SAGA of (Antoine) Jean Gislebert

My father (Robert William Gislebert) was a minor noble knight who landed with William in 1066 and took part in the fight against the English usurper as well as the subsequent battles leading to the coronation of our beloved leader in December of that year.

I followed my father shortly after this when he was granted lands just south of Shrewsbury at Lege (now Lee Brockhurst).

Our lands are classified as mainly hunting grounds although we do have several small farms and the main settlement has a mill, which has seen our prosperity increase. The farming has also helped to raise many peasants who under my tuition have become quite adept as bowmen.

We have a small retinue of knights who have loyally followed me during campaigns against both English and Welsh renegades and we now have a mutual respect. Ultimately this has enhanced my reputation, our wealth and lands (and an increase in our holdings is never a bad thing).

Unfortunately, I’ve had to return to our estate to sort things out after my father was involved in a hunting accident. However, now that the estate is all in order, let’s go and see what up for grabs out there!!

Making Windows (and other bits) for Buildings

An enjoyable part of miniatures wargaming for me is the modelling and creative aspects. I can’t sculpt for the life of me, so I have to buy my figures, but I’m lucky enough to be a fairly reasonable modeller and so I always scratchbuild terrain for my games.

This is just a short piece about how I go about making windows for my models. You can, of course, use this technique to make many other bits but since some buildings require a good many windows then it can be time-consuming and laborious to make individual windows over and over again.

In brief, what I do is make a single window, cast it, and then mould all the windows I need for the project.

And here’s how I do it.

The first step is to make the master. I use plasticard and styrene rod/strue. Take some time, because this is the one you’re going to be using to cast so any imperfections in this one will mean all the windows will be imperfect. Since you only have to do this once it pays to spend a bit of time.

I make the window on a piece of thin (1mm?) styrene. I then cut this out, around the frame, and then sand all edges and joints (using a bit of filler if you need to). When that’s done you then stick it to another piece of thick styrene. This is so the mould will be indented and gives a bit of slop around the edges and also something to get hold of.

Then on to the moulding. I use a product called Oyumaru modelling compound. Google it or have a look on Amazon (that’s where I got it). It’s quite cheap. Put this in a cup of boiling hot water for 10 minutes and it goes all sticky and tacky, like soft toffee.

You then take this and squeeze it around the master making sure you get it in all the nooks and crannies. Then pop it into the fridge for 10 minutes, the mould hardens (it’s still fairly pliable – like a rubber/eraser) and you can start casting!

So, what to use for casting? You could use plaster. But that would be far too brittle for a subject such as this. Plaster also chips quite easily. What I use is epoxy resin. You can use Araldite if you want, but that’s the expensive way. I use a similar budget brand (Wilkos or Wickes is what I go for) 5 minute epoxy.

Yes, gram for gram, there are even cheaper options. If you think you will need a gallon of resin then I am sure that would work out cheaper (gram for gram). But what I want is roughly a dozen or so castings and for £3 I can get that out of a pack of Wilkos rapid set epoxy. Just £3. You try buying that many lead castings for that price. You may be able to use car body filler in it. I don’t know, I don’t have any car body filler so if anyone does give it a go then please do let me know how it went.

It’s a good idea to colour the epoxy. I use a tiny (and I really do mean a tiny) blob of acrylic paint. It’s surprising how far a little goes. Colouring the resin is better because it shows any imperfections better than a clear casting. I also use a cocktail stick to push the resin into the corners and burst air bubbles.

It may be 5 minute epoxy but you are still using it thicker than intended. So, for something like a window, I’ll leave it for 30-60 minutes (depending on ambient temperature) before taking it out. Even then you will find the casting is still flexible. That’s OK. Lay it flat and by the morning it will be fully set.

Another note of caution. I have used it to cast some very thick things before and if you do it can generate a lot of heat! Be aware. For something like a window and door that’s not going to happen.

And that’s that – all done. If you can make multiple moulds then you can form a production line and in no time you’ll have all the windows you’ll need.

I tend to use this method if I have to make repeated items, especially if making them is going to tricky or onerous. The good thing is that you always have the master so you can make new castings for future projects. Here’s some of the windows and spare castings I have from previous projects.

The Oyumaru modelling compound is re-usable. So if the mould does get a bit worn, or if you you want to make a different mould, then just put it in a mug of hot water, let it soften and recast it. That simple. From a pack of 5 minute epoxy I can get 20-25 castings depending on the size.

– Stephen Tucker

Our 2018 Showgame – Zeebrugge 1918 – A Sneak Peak

Work continues to complete our game for Cavalier in Tonbridge on Sunday the 25th.  The HMS Vindictive model is a scratchbuilt 1/56 scale replica of the ship on the day, total length 2 metres!  Hats off to her architect – club member Phil.  Can you guess what role tomato puree played in making the model?

We gave the game rules a run through at our last meeting – this will be a participation game, with players leading a squad of the attacking British sailors and marines to destroy objectives on the Mole.