Da Vinci Condotta

John looks back at a Dragon Rampant Warband he built for a past club campaign…

Some time ago Stephen hosted a Dragon Rampant Campaign where my Da Vinci Condotta warband was narrowly beaten into second place by Tony Gibb’s army. With some WIP Wednesday painting articles centred on this ruleset, I thought I’d dust off the army and explain how I went about making it.

Prior to the campaign, we’d had a few trial games where my Dark Age force fared badly and I decided I’d have to change if I was going to be competitive. I’d never been a fantasy gamer so had no Orcs, Elves or Dwarves so decided to go with a human based theme at minimum cost.

Research

I came up with the idea of a warband which would include some of Leonardo da Vinci’s war machines with some Italian Renaissance figures. Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan sponsored Leonardo who created a number of sketches of war machines and a TV programme entitled ‘Doing Da Vinci’ used these sketches to reproduce the machines. I thought with some plasticard to make the machines and a box of Perry Plastic Late Medieval Mercenaries and a box of Late Medieval Mounted Knights I could make a suitable warband.

Humans

The Leader had to be Ludovico Sforza himself leading a unit of knights.

Elite riders

These would be the shock melee unit, best used against damaged and disrupted units to deliver the ‘Coup de Grace’. I gave them an ability to prevent wild charges, they needed to be in control.

Next up I needed the Bulwark of the Warband and chose to make these Milanese Militia pikemen, which I painted with combinations of white, red and green hose. I needed to add a magic element and picked up a Sorceress at Cavalier. I found that Caterina Sforza (Ed: Ludovico’s illegitimate niece). was a noted Alchemist so she would have the ability to confuse an opponent’s unit, to heal a unit and to provide a long range powerbolt.

Heavy foot with Wizardling

I needed more shooting potential and decided on a unit of scouts. For these I used Handgunners and gave them the invisible ability (due to gunsmoke). This meant they could only be targeted in melee or via magic. If I placed them in difficult ground they would be a handy irritant.

Scouts

On to the machines.

My first build over a weekend was the Armoured Car. I mocked up the conical design using paper templates, then drew them out onto 20 thou Plastikard and scribed on the planking. I painted the planks individually then washed with brown mixed with Flow Enhancer, producing a wood grain effect. The vehicle is fitted with a number of small calibre guns to provide all round fire, for which I used plastic tubing. In ‘Doing Da Vinci’, the vehicle produced from the plans could move but firing all guns simultaneously would result in deafness for the crew. I decided mine would be propelled by captured Turkish Galley slaves. I gave the crew a fearful ability as I reasoned that they would be as afraid as their opponent of this machine. I mounted the model on a landscaped foiled cake base. This would prove to be a good flank guard.

Heavy riders with missiles

The second build was an Airscrew. I wanted this to be like a Helicopter gunship, flying over a terrain item to deliver a lethal volley of crossbow bolts before retreating to safety. This proved to be a more difficult build as I had to get the sail pattern right. I found a ‘how to’ rubber band powered model video and plan on the internet and used this as a basis. The central spindle was plastic tube and the fighting platform was plasticard. The crew were modified Perry plastics. I gave them the fearful ability, who wouldn’t be scared, and added a sharpshooter ability to provide a lethal hit. The Airscrew fits onto a bolt on a cake stand base.

Light Riders Flyers

So this was my starter warband and as the campaign progressed I was able to add additional units.

Human Reinforcements

I added a unit of Light infantry in which I mixed javelin armed troops with blade armed ones. I used Gripping Beast Dark age Infantry javelin figures cut off at the wrist and glued onto the arm of the Perry figures. I scratchbuilt the large oval shields from plastic card with a Milanese design and I repeated the white, red and green hose patterns I’d used on the Militia Pike.

Light Foot

Next I needed some Mercenaries. There would also be English Bills and Bows – Dogs of War that had survived the Wars of the Roses.

English Bills
English Bows

Finally, I added a unit of Elite Foot Knights, probably German Mercenaries.

German Knights

More Machines

The next machine I made was a 33 barrelled organ gun. On ‘Doing Da Vinci’ this machine really worked well with an 11 shot salvo firing shot the size of a tennis ball, with devastating effect.

Organ Gun

I made the guns using plastic tubing. The design has a rotating centre section so that after firing, the barrels rotate for the next salvo. This was a complete plasticard scratch build and the crew come from Perry plastics, all mounted on a cd.

Finally, I made a War Chariot. Here, a geared mechanism controls rotating blades like a food processor. In ‘Doing Da Vinci’ this was another lethal weapon.

Assault Chariot

This was another complete scratchbuild and I decided to paint the horses and horse armour in black again mounted on a cd.

Well that’s it, though I’m still thinking of adding a unit of three Ornithopters as another scout unit.

The Bear

Stephen gives us the breakdown (and pictures) of a flexible medieval force he’s been working on.

I’ve used lockdown to finish off and round out my armies rather than start new ones.

One of those is a collection that performs two functions – it can be an early Hundred Years War force or it can be a fantasy human army.

I thought I’d present it here in its fantasy form because over lockdown it’s the fantasy elements that I have finished off.

It’s in Dragon Rampant sized units and I’ve included details from those rules.

Sir Artos FitzUrsus

Sir Artos is the leader and a unit in his own right. There’s a foot and mounted version (with his mastiffs – Brutus, Cassius, and Victor). On foot I have him as an Elite Foot unit. Mounted he’s Elite Rider with the Level Headed upgrade.

Sir Artos

Knightly Retainers

Surrounding Sir Artos are his loyal knights. Some are household knights, some are lords of local manors, but all are loyal to their lord. I have two units of these – both foot and mounted versions. The mounted knights are Elite Riders and the foot knights are Elite Foot.

Knights 1
Knights 2

Hobilars and Currours

These are full time sergeants riding mounts given to them by their lords. In normal duties they patrol the borders and marches and are amongst the best horsemen around. They carry a mix of weapons – spears, swords, and crossbows. There’s two units of them and they are Heavy Riders with the mounted missiles upgrade.

Hobilars 1
Hobilars 2

The Cult of Flagellants

This band of religious fanatics are led by Brother Crowley. They are easily whipped into a frenzy, convert the unbelievers with their blades, and fight to the death. Always. They are a Bellicose Foot unit. Very bellicose.

Cult of Flagellants

The Yeomanry of the Shires

Independent landowners and wealthy farmers who are proud of their status and independence but also loyal to Sir Artos as tenant-in-chief. They carry longbows and all have some form of armour, whether a leather jack, a quilt gambeson or an old chain shirt. They are rated as Heavy Missiles.

Yeomanry

The Company of St Mercure

These are actually mercenaries from the continent. They are professionals and all equipped with crossbows. As professional mercenaries they are well equipped and have a good level of armour protection as well. Such is their experience at scouting that they can be used as an advance party to check on enemy positions. They are classified as Heavy Missile troops but can be split up to form Scouts.

Company of St Mercure

Retainers

The back bone of the army! These troops form the main portion of the infantry and are always first in the fight or found holding the bridgehead against the savage hordes. The captains are the younger sons of noble families, and the rank and file are fit and strong men from the countryside willing to fight for their lord. They are Heavy Foot with the Offensive upgrade.

Retainers 1
Retainers 2

The Guild of Mages

Within Sir Artos’ lands is a prefectory of the Guild of Mages. The building is in free-hold but the surrounding lands and farms that support the prefectory are rented from Sir Artos. The order is run by Maxwell Crochety who goes everywhere mounted on a beaten old nag.

They are a unit of Light Foot with the Short Range Missile upgrade (to represent firebolt type spells) and also the full Spellcaster upgrade (it is a guild of mages after all!).

Guild of Mages

So that’s Sir Artos FitzUrsus and his troops. There’s quite a lot. I can either pick and choose specific units for a small battle or they can all come out for a bigger rumble.

Declare Sir Artos your liege lord and you shall live!

 

 

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.

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.

Sticking the Sticks

Jeremey discovers one of his previous projects that he never told anyone about.

After playing a number of Lord of the Rings games down the club, I kept seeing pictures of the official Ent miniature in the rules and thought it looked far to cartoonish compared to the rest of the miniatures. I also saw the price of it and that got me thinking.

So on my travels I started collecting sticks that had fallen from the local trees. I only wanted the sticks that had already come off the tree as these were dry and unlikely to change over time.

I probably collected more than necessary for this project

When collecting the sticks I tried to find ones that had natural bends in them to represent joints and movement in the figure. First task though was to wash the collected sticks, this was important because I’d picked them up from the ground. A good scrub with soapy water and an old toothbrush did the trick and didn’t rehydrate the wood.

Nice walking pose with some suitable sticks

To stick things together I used the trusty hot glue gun. If I did this project over I would drill holes and pin the sticks together for extra strength. But the glue gun worked well enough.

Arms and Legs done now to get creative on the head

The arms came next but I had to work out how to create a head for the Ent. I decided early on not to go for something like a carved face or small pieces of wood to act as eyes, nose etc. I thought that would end up looking like Mr Potato Head.

Head completed and additional branches being added

In the end I made a medieval style helmet from pices of bark I had also collected. The bark also worked for armour plates on some of the joints and as fingers  on the hands. That was the basic figure done but it didn’t look enough like a tree and so I started stcking smaller branches to the back of the figure. I arranged these like a normal tree looks and made sure they extended above the head of the Ent. This also helped to strengthen the joints of the figure by having these additional branches stuck to the joints.

Finally I added some of that scenic lichen railway modellers use to make trees. The final model stands about a foot tall which isn’t bad considering it cost next to nothing to produce, and even if I do say so myself it looks better than the official one.

The finished Ent with two 28mm vikings for scale

Work in Progress Wednesday

The club is definitely slowing down production as we approach the Christmas Holidays. And quite right given this year, although I suspect a few hobby related presents might see a resurgence in the new year.

First up Mark has made more progress with his Panzers.

More panzers get the camouflage treatment

And out of the blue mark also mentioned starting to slap some paint on a hundred years war project.

The English start to assemble

Steve shared this picture of a dwarven force on the painting table, but there was no mention of last weeks 6mm sci-fi force. After saying he had nothing to paint it seems Steve is queuing the projects up.

New Dwarvern Force on the Way

Steve got these Dwarves from Conqueror Models.

Meanwhile I’ve been busy using some old rock style clay I had for rubble piles. After using the hot glue gun to stick them together I coated the whole thing with PVA glue.

Air Drying Clay, left to dry and broken up for industrial style rubble

I’ve also resurrected my old 10mm dungeon to finally finish the project.

One half of the 10mm Dungeon

Slightly embarrassing that this project was started 17 years ago! Still made some progress at last.

Petrified Forest

Jeremey adds more ‘real’ trees to make a Petrified Forest.

After building my large spooky dead tree , well I say building but it was more like nature built it and I just based it. I also took a dozen or so other cuttings from the dead bush to use as trees in a Dead or Petrified Forest.

Additional dead branches to act as trees

I started by basing these in exactly the same way as the large tree I did. A round wooden base appropriate to the size of the stick with a metal washer stuck on top to provide some weight. I’ve started to add weight to a lot of my terrain projects. It helps to stop taller pieces from being constantly knocked over during games.

Using the hot glue gun I then stuck a piece of the dead bush to each base and covered the whole base with the coloured bathroom sealant mix. If you saw my other post about the large tree you will remember I mixed far too much of the sealant, so it was useful to have these additional trees to base.

Just a bit of dry brushing and some flock

Once the base material had dried I dry brushed it with two other lighter brown colours to give some contrast. While I had the paint brushes out I also used a watered down solution of brown ink wash to go over all the freshly snapped of parts to make the wood look like it had been broken for a long while. The appearance of fresh sap wood is a dead give away, just ask any experienced tracker … ahem I then added a bit of flock and a few grass tuffs for good measure.

The cheapest dead forest you will see this year

Here is a wider shot of the whole forest complete with a unit on patrol. I’ve put them on my lighter desert mat but they go just as well on the grass one and I have some darker brown mat pieces to put the trees on to define an area of forest in games. Although I will also put these on my swamp mat as they look just the part for those areas you see in fantasy films were rising water as killed the trees, sort of the forest of doom or swamp of despair.

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

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.