Thursday 28 February 2013

Lord of Pestilence painted

Another Avatars of War figure added to my chaos army, this time a Lord of Pestilence. The scenic base is for competition purposes, I have entered this figures into the WAMP forum contest. I also have a more standard snow base that will allow use in my chaos army.

He's a little lonely at the moment, there are no Nurgle warriors in my army. That's a sad state of affairs that will be rectified at some point in the future, I reckon this figure leading a unit of Corrupters into battle would be just the ticket.

Monday 25 February 2013

Sedition Wars Vanguard Painted

Red Squadron, checking in.

The first five of the Vanguard for Sedition Wars, painted fairly quickly over the weekend. I intend to paint each squad of five with an identifying shoulder pad colour. I am also on the lookout for some decals to number the troopers.

Some close-ups, showing the fine details on the figures. A base colour and a glaze or two is all I have done here, the sculpt does the hard work for you.

Friday 22 February 2013

New Avatars of War Dwarf Thunder Warriors

Here's a picture sent out to all the supporters of last year's Indiegogo campaign for the sculpting of a dwarf army. If these are not the best dwarfs on the market then I want to know what is! I was debating about adding some crossbow warriors to my army, but stuff that, more thunderers for me.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Big Game of Warhammer

The forces line up at the start of the game.
It's been a long time since I last played Warhammer, but today I went round to Matt's for an all day session. We decided to field as much painted units as we could. I totted up all my painted Chaos Warriors army and it came to just over four thousand points. Add in 300 points of magic and it rounds out to 4.5 thousand. Matt has well over five thousand of painted Empire, so the Big Game was on. Here are the armies lined up at the start of the game, Chaos Lord Steiff's army on the left, Empire General Robertson (the jammiest general in the land) hiding somewhere on the right.

Skull Tower.

In the centre of the 8x4 battle table was the main objective, the mighty Skull Tower. Accessible only to characters on foot, it granted extra magic power and a random bound spell to the army that could control it. It also granted one victory point to whoever controlled it at the end of the game, as did four other objectives dotted around the table. With troops deployed and spells rolled for, the battle started. It would be tedious to describe each turn in detail, so the following pictures and totally unbiased and neutral commentary will have to suffice.

Chaos hounds rush forward to pee on a tank.

Empire handgunners coverted from outrider bits - very nice!

Stinky the Giant takes a bite out of the tank, slips on an oil puddle and is crushed to a pulp.

The forces of chaos are thinned by hails of crossbow bolt and lead shot, but  finally make it  to the enemy lines to exact their revenge.

Resistance on the other Empire flank is more substantial, but just as easily cut down by the might of Chaos.

A lone spawn takes on the Empire spearmen. And loses.

Mid game action.

Shaggoth takes a late lunch.

Lord Steiff and his tribe.

A lone ogre doing what ogres do, eating enemy troops.

The final confrontation.

The game played out as might be expected. Shooting took its toll on the forces of Chaos, though three cannons played a very small part in this barrage, falling short, overshooting or cannon balls sticking in the ground. One unit of ogres dodged at least six cannon shots in this way! It was the outriders, handgunners and crossbowmen that inflicted most damage. The steam tank scored an early victory when it mowed down the Nurgle giant, but then hissed and spluttered and did little else for the rest of the game, other than get in the way of the demigryph knights. 

Magic was, as ever, fickle. In the very first magic phase, three of the four Chaos sorcerors took a wound after an irresistible force and miscast. As I had chosen just level two wizards, this left them vulnerable for the rest of the game. The Empire wizards caused a good deal of damage with an early casting of chain lightning, but then struggled to attract the winds of magic for much of the game, despite us rolling three dice and choosing the highest two (this a special rule for Skull Tower). Only near the end of the game did the Slaanesh Sorceror manage to cast Hellshriek, panicking the Empire Wizard Lord from the table. 

In combat, as you would expect, the Chaos troops barely paused as they rampaged through rank after rank of puny humans. Even the celebrated Greatswords struggled against a severely battered giant (it had just one wound remaining), as it jumped up and down on them, pulverising 18 before finally succumbing to a lucky thrust. The shaggoth digested huntsmen, handgunners and swordsmen before ambling back to claim an objective. On the Chaos left flank, there was nothing left to eat! Only the Empire spearmen had much success. Led into battle by the army standard bearer, they despatched a spawn and several Khorne warriors, a rare combat success for General Robertson's forces. The less said about the demigryph knights the better. They cowered behind a steam tank, then attempted to block entry to Skull Tower from the Chaos army standard bearer. Charged, challenged, defeated and humiliated in one turn of combat. Woeful. 

It was the first taste of combat for Chaos Lord Steiff and his marauder tribe, despite having been painted for about a year. After a hesitant start, they despatched two units of knights and strode heroically around the battlefield, vainly searching for surviving humans. Shaggy the Shaggoth probably struggled back to his lair that night, so full of Empire flesh was his gut. At least three units of infantry, about 40 or 50 men, went down under his flailing axes (he did have help from chaos knights and warriors). 

After roughly six hours of combat, the battle came to an end. The Empire held Skull Tower and one other objective, while the force of Chaos held two objectives. The final deciding objective was contested, so the end result score was a draw! I have never been a fan of big games, but this one worked a treat and was most enjoyable. It's given me the urge to finish off a few almost painted units and get the whole army based in a unified way. 

The spoils of war.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Sedition Wars Strain Painted

I have painted the first batch of Sedition Wars figures, eight of the Strain figures. This is the minimum figures I need for the first scenario in the game (along with five Vanguard, which I hope to paint in the next couple of weeks).

The Strain are created when lifeforms are infected by nano-virus. In this case, human subjects have been infected. The figures go through several stages of enhancement, starting quite human-like and evolving into machine/flesh constructs. In the early scenarios there are just phase 1 and phase 2 Strain, so the human elements are still pretty obvious.

When it came to painting I wanted to avoid a zombie rotted flesh look and aim more for a cool skin contrasting with dark weapons aesthetic. However, in the early stages there is a lot of ripped skin, exposed muscle, broken bones and the like, so the sleek futuristic look is only hinted at. The models are very detailed so there is a danger that the colour scheme will be very confusing. I tried to keep it coherent by sticking to black weapons, white skin, red flesh and blood. I wish I had stuck to cool colours on the trousers, the browns and greens don't work as well. I am also unsure about the boils being a garish yellow, maybe I should have made them a purple (as in bruised skin).

Here are a couple of close-ups, showing phase 2 models in the two palettes, cool on the left, warm on the right. The cool palette definitely works better for me.

Next in line are five Vanguard models. I will be much bolder with these figures, sticking with a very stark black and white scheme. As I said, I hope to have them finished by month end, so I can get to play the first scenario. However, I also have a single figure competing for painting time, so it's going to be a tight fit in the schedule.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Vikings, Space Pods and Steam Tanks

Over the weekend I visited the historic city of York to attend the wargames show, Vapnartak. There was plenty to see and do, I went with no real agenda, just to wander round and see if I could unearth anything unusual. I did think beforehand that, in this day of information overload on the internet, there would be no surprises, but I was wrong.

Let's start with the vikings. York was a big viking settlement in the 9th and 10th century, known as Jorvik. There is an excellent tourist attraction in the town, with a recreated section of the settlement, complete with sights, sounds and smells, well worth a visit if you like your viking history. I was chatting to a viking whilst there, trying to gain some snippets of information to help me with colours should I ever get round to building a viking warband for Saga. His advice for historical accuracy was a little surprising. He suggested that much of the cloth worn would have been pink; red dye was made from the shells of insects, but it faded easily to a pale red or pink. Looking at pictures on their website you can see much of the clothing was indeed like this. Another little snippet was that they were very clean, washing daily and even setting aside one day per week as washing day (Saturday, as it happens). Many of the artifacts found are related to hygiene or grooming, such as hair combs, tweezers and even ear spoons. The soap they used stripped the colour from their hair, possibly accounting for their idealisation as blonde-haired warriors. So, that's my Saga viking warband planned - pink tunics and blonde hair, very intimidating.

At the show I had a good look at the Sarissa Precision range of mdf buildings. I have seen them on the website and reviewed on blogs, but there's nothing like seeing them in real life to really appreciate how good they are. I wanted a small selection to give me some options when it comes to gaming with my Sedition Wars figures, so they put together a small bundle of a trio of buildings at a discounted price. I want to get them painted up as soon as possible, hopefully within the next few months. More on Sedition Wars in the very near future, as I started painting my first batch of figures just today.

One of the big pleasures of the day was coming across some completely new (to my eyes) figures. The pick of the bunch for me was a company called Ironclad Miniatures. They make a range of figures, different scales and genres, but I was drawn to their Victoriana/steampunk items. There were some nice oddball figures in the mix, a cook armed with a rolling pin, a shotgun wielding butler, that sort of thing. The thing that really caught my eye was the range of steam tanks. There were about a dozen or so of these which I have absolutely no use whatsoever for in gaming terms, so I bought two of them, just to paint up. They would probably fit right into a game of Dystopian Legions if ever I go down that route, or any other steampunk type game. Another little project to plan for, maybe later in the year.

There were dozens of traders at the the show, from big names to little fish, each selling a huge range of figures, from the bland to the brilliant. From the sheer variety I would hazard a guess that gamers have never had so much choice. It's hard to choose which genre to play, let alone which rules set. But these are very pleasant problems to ponder.

Friday 1 February 2013

Blind Date from Hell

Anyone remember that awful Saturday night TV show, Blind Date? The contestant had a screen hiding the three possible dates, he or she would ask three questions and the three potential dates gave an obviously rehearsed answer. Then based on those answers one would be picked and the couple would go out on a blind date. Crass entertainment, essential viewing on Saturday nights. Seeing my three necromancers lined up like this reminded me of the show, don't know why!

From left to right they are Malifaux, Rackham and Enigma figures. These are all metal figures, though Miss Malifaux is sporting a couple of plastic enhancements. Lots of lovely fine detail on the sculpts, from the folds in their robes to tiny bones hanging from belts, finely wrought metal pots, etc. They might not be pretty, but they are well made.

Here's a close-up of the Malifaux Hag, to show the conversion work. It was really easy to do as both metal arms were to be fitted to the figure, so it was a simple task to swap in some new ones. The left forearm is a plastic mantic zombie hand, while the right hand is stolen from the skaven sprue from the Island of Blood Set. I had to chop it down a bit to remove all the ratty doings, then it simply slotted into the armpit.

The skin was painted to match my recently completed ghoul regiment, so she could double as a ghast if need be. The robes I stuck to the natural browns and greens of the other necromancers. One thing I did try was to shade the green skirt with an opposite colour, rather than the usual deeper green. So I mixed up some purple with a hint of the original green as a shade colour, then succesively added in brown to deepen the tones. It adds a nice bit of contrast to the shading and gives it a bit more punch. Notice also that the flames and the light in her eyes is the pale green on the sword/skull sockets of the other figures. This is the colour I chose to denote magic energy. Green energy - well they do recycle old corpses.

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