Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Greetings on All Hallow's Eve

Hope the evening won't be too intolerable with nasty little children begging for sweets on your doorstep - unless you're into the whole Trick or Treat thing. Personally I stopped answering the door round our end when it turned out that most of the youths (I sound a right miserable old bugger don't I!) were all aged around 15-16. I suppose at least they weren't littering the place with their empty cans of Diamond White... yet.

Anyway, as I've had a grand day out with the kids and dogs following a Hallowe'en around Brimham Rocks, I thought I'd round the evening off for them by carving up some pumpkin lanterns.

Kev Adams pumpkin lanterns that is!

In other news, the next trans-continental, world wide, absolutely fantastic, internetz spectacular, remote game of Warhammer 3rd ed between me and my opponent Airbornegrove26 is nearing the startline...

Many thanks to Gaj and Dreamfish for all their work behind the scenes!

The Slann riders are also all tarted up with weapon swaps and additional banners and feathers, and are primed and ready to be painted.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Small Bones and a Whole Bag of News...

Right, finally got round to photographing the Warmaster skeleton archers and horsemen I'd finished up earlier this week.

 Its been a long and busy term and my eyes seem to become defective in the evenings - assuming a  lead-like weight and tendency to shut involuntarily. Sleep I think its called and damned inconvenient!

Any how, here's the start of the Baron Kraust's grand Undead horde in 10mm.

Archers - as the Warmaster Undead units are based on the new (well to me at least!) and annoyingly Egyptian in style Tomb Kings armies, a few of these skeletons sport slightly more exotic head gear than your average re-animated Old Worlder might. Muted colours hopefully don't make them stand out too much and I'm happy to live the results than try any conversions at this scale!

The level of detail always amazes me for such small minis, although the arrows look more like bolt thrower ammunition!

Must admit that I found basing a bit fiddly - any old Warmaster hands with any labour saving tips out there would be much appreciated.

They scale up rather well with the Copplestone 10mm fantasy range - here you can see them lined up with the Half Orcs I painted up for the last Lead Painters League over on the LAF.

I really like the Undead cavalry models - again loads of nice detail and they look generic enough to look like ex-Old Worlders.

 I went for a brighter scheme with the red cloaks than I might have for 28mm minis, which seemed to work quite nicely. A few touches of verdigris on their bronze helmets and armour gives a little contrast.

Again they scale up nicely with the Copplestone 10mm - this time with the Horse Tribe cavalry.

Hey, wait a minute - those are no Uruks! 

I am hoping to eventually use the Horse Tribe chaps as some kind of Norse cavalry - perhaps a Mercenary border force? The stat line for the Marauder Horse from the Chaos army list looks like it would fit quite nicely.

I'm looking forward to a week off for Half term next week with the kids (Mrs T has gone back to Uni so I have been entrusted with their general care and maintenance!). Hopefully, in between day trips with them and the dogs, and some more dungeoneering in Hero Quest land, I'll get some more painting time in.

Lots of interesting things coming up while I eagerly await the bits and pieces I need to finish off my Slann Cold One Riders.

I've been asked to paint a few lovely old minis for Thebinman over on the LAF as part of his fantastic Mordheim project - more of which later...

I've nearly finished prepping the Fighting Fantasy Orc that Phreedh kindly sent after our Giant race. I just need to sort out a new weapon for him and luckily I think 90's GW scale creep and stupidly over sized weapons might well help me out here!

Also Brent from Bombshell Games has been back in touch with news of a new system for a fantasy skirmish game and a mass battle game for 10-15mm minis he's working on. If its as fun as Havoc was then I'm in for a treat as I'll be having a go at some more playtesting - so keep your eyes peeled for some more battle reports in the coming months. I'd like to finally get round to playing his OP4S rules too so I may well be dusting off some of my epic Space Marine stuff too.

Finally, more gaming news - the honourable gents, Dreamfish and Gaj have been hard at work putting together another game of 3rd ed to be played via the magic of the internetz! The other two games they have run,  Its Fun to Slay at the Wyemm Seeyay and The Shadow of Koles Lorr,  were very successful and the reports make great reading.  Bridge over the River Chai promises also to be a thoroughly entertaining game and what's more I get to play the baddies! Good luck to my opponent Airbornegrove26!  

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Trial by...

... Heroquest!

This afternoon I sat down and played Heroquest. First time in years I think.

What is more I did so, having been inspired by Mr Rab's post over on the LAF (more here), with my son. I had been saving Heroquest, with the idea of sprucing my old set up and painting all the miniatures, for when he was older,  but I thought what the heck - let's see how he gets on.

Both my kids (4 year old son and 2 year old daughter) have expressed interest before in Daddy's monsters, often eager to see what new creatures are lurking in the parcels that pop through our letterbox with some regularity.

I'd asked him earlier in the day whether he'd be interested in playing and I took the fact that he jumped up and ran to the door, shouting "Can we play the game?" when I came back from walking the dogs  to be a good thing. As you can see K, his sister was quite keen too!

So I got my Quest book out and prepared everything to play the first mission - The Trial. Both of the kids were excited to find the treasure and get the evil Gargoyle, Verag.

Movement proved to be a good opportunity for some adding practice, totaling the score from 2D6, although it took a little while before H understood he couldn't just teleport to any room he wanted to - not sure he got the idea that doors and monsters and the like only appeared when his character could see them. Next time I may set out all the doors and blocked passages first to help him visualise where he can go.

And so the intrepid hero set off with his Dwarf and Wizard (the Elf unfortunately had snapped off his base many years ago, as had the barbarian's sword) in search of gold and derring do. H soon got the idea of the simple combat system Heroquest has, although not necessarily the survivability of his characters! Soon we were down a Dwarf at the hands of an enraged Fimir and the Wizard was down to his last body point with a Chaos Warrior on his tail!

The success of the quest was balanced on a knife edge, one bad dice roll away from disaster... so I brought the swordless Barbarian on as reinforcements! With some timely use of Fire of Wrath and Ball of Flame the wizard saw off his pursuers and the Barbarian caught up to add his muscle to the expedition.

Having looted all the treasure chests he could find, H turned his attention to locating Verag and slaying the foul beast - a task he approached with some relish! Unfortunately the Wizard had fallen in a rather uneven combat with a Mummy so the Barbarian went it alone...

After a bit of a tussle with Verag's Fimir and Chaos Warrior bodyguards (K got stuck in with the die on their behalf!), H the Barbarian stood before his mighty foe, broadsword at the ready... and killed him in one combat round - rolling 3 skulls!

So how did the little tyke enjoy his first foray into dungeoneering?

Well his favourite bit was killing the Gargoyle and finding the treasure, although he wished he could have done more magic before the Wizard met his untimely end.

Oh and he wanted to know when we could play again - Result!

While I'm on a Heroquest vibe here's a great new series of videos that tickled me, featured on the marvellous Ye Olde Inn's Community Blog on Heroquest, which I've been lurking on for a while.

Right - off to finish basing some Warmaster skeletons...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A Miniature world in Miniature...

Just received a very nice parcel today from fellow Old Hammerite, Skarsnik and Old Lead, of Opponent Finder and Citadel Giant fame. Bumped into him over on the LAF flogging a few bits and pieces and was most interested in the Warmaster stuff he had going. One very good deal later (thanks again mate!) and I was the proud owner of this little lot - apart from the rule book which I acquired a while back and has made interesting bedtime reading for the past week or two.

I now have a sizeable skeleton horde which, although officially being Tomb King in nature, actually looks generic enough in the main to represent a good old Old World Udead army.

There are some very nice Chaos bits including Chaos hounds, Dragon riders and Character sets - Baron Kraust's Grand Army is shaping up nicely...

Also waiting in our puppy-proof mail receptacle was another little package, again from another fellow LAF'er, TheRed Epic, with a lovely little Empire hero on Griffin and War Altar of Sigmar. Along with the High Elf and Dwarf sets that came with Skarsnik's set, they will form the beginnings of the Empire's Allied force scraped together to stand against the Baron.

Currently on the painting table are 12 stands of skeleton archers (24 skellies altogether) and 6 stands of Undead cavalry (12 horsemen altogether) who are well on their way to being finished - gotta love 10mm for getting large forces painted relatively quickly!

So I have some happy evenings ahead of myself, ruining my eyesight painting all this 10mm goodness. I'll be thinking a bit more about how to tie the various narrative strands of the leading characters in each of my factions as we go along. In fact I'd best come up with some characters for the factions I haven't really done much with so far - might make a nice change now and again to paint something completely different in the form of some of the key characters I hope to follow...

Added to that I should also decide on a map and familiarise myself with the geography of the area - let me know if you have any views on a definitive map of the Empire/Old World that has enough detail to plot the 28mm skirmishes that will lead up to the larger scale 10mm battles.

Bubbling along nicely as well is my Lustria project, which I'll be pottering away at along side all these Old World shenanigans. Its a good sign that I keep raking through my boxes of Norsemen, Slann, Amazons and Lizardmen as there's loads of minis I can't wait to get painted.

There's a bit more progress to share with you on the Cold Ones, which are turning into a bit of labour of love - God help me if I ever want to expand the unit!

Thanks to Ti Pouchon over on the Oldhammer forum for his suggestion of sharpening the ears on the jaguar pelts a little to make them more cat like - I think it worked a treat.

A few spots have also gone some way to setting them off nicely too!

I now eagerly await a package from another LAF'er, LeadAsbestos (a true Ogre conoisseur), who has very kindly dug me out some spare Aztec bits and pieces and done me a very good deal on a load of Aztec warriors. The bits and pieces, along with the feathers that Mason sent me (yup - another LAF'er - They're a good bunch aren't they! Check out his amazing Mordheim table.), will be used to spruce up the riders and make them look like the elite warriors they are. I have plans for the Aztec warriors to become a unit of native slave warriors for the Slann, which of course has nothing at all to do with the exorbitant prices the citadel Slann slave minis fetch on ebay!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Here Come the Girrr...


Da-da, Da Da, Da-da, Da-da-da, Dah, etc.

Apologies for invoking that grossly overplayed and vaguely irritating tune, beloved of TV advertisers everywhere along with a certain High Street Chemist.

However, I invoke it with good reason, as here, indeed, come the Girls!

Nope its not the Amazons and for those of you more familiar with later editions (and may I say rather bastardised versions of Lustria) of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, its definitely not the Valkyries.

If these aren't Valkyries, then some of you who may have seen the entry I painted up for the Golden Gobbo's Painting Competition, and specifically read the backstory I wrote for Njora Bjattey, may be wondering why I referred to the Valkyries in it.

Well, I've been thinking (yes, that's what the noise was...) and the name didn't really sit right with me. This band of warrior women are supposed to be the ones who are thrown out by the men because they threaten to emasculate (sometimes literally) them with their fighting prowess and general belligerence. Valkyries, at least in Norse legend, tend to fall in love with male heroes, carry the glorious dead up to Valhalla and generally enjoy a pretty prestigious place in the pantheon. Its a strong female role but not quite right for these feisty ladies. I read around a bit and came up with Sigewif (victorious women) and Skjaldmeyjar (shield maidens) - all too positive I'm afraid!

Instead, may I present to you the Bollrbrjótr - I'm sure you won't need a PhD in Old Norse to work out roughly what it means...

They are led by Njora Bjattey for whom, as per the requirements for the Golden Gobbo's, I have written stats and a background story:

Njora Bjattey
Level 20 Norse Hero


M  WS BS  S  T  W  I  A   Ld     Int   Cl    WP   Pts
4   6    4     4  4   3  6  4  10+3   7   8+1  8+1  107


Double handed sword and shield


Njora has come, quite literally, a long way since her coming of age in the bleak and quite frankly boring village of Helmfirth.

Completely unimpressed with the, in her opinion, pathetic example of manhood she was expected to be married to, Njora soon became known as a troublemaker. Not content with the daily hum-drum existence of running the homestead, disciplining the slaves and mending the fishermens’ nets, Njora soon came to the conclusion that it should be her wearing the trousers. Despite the fact that she cut a faintly ridiculous sight marching about her business, sporting her husband’s ill fitting britches (which had a tendency to bunch up into a wrinkled mess about her lower legs), there wasn’t a soul in the village brave enough to even dare a smirk at her expense.

And so it came to pass that one day Njora, much to the relief of her downtrodden husband, wrapped up what she considered to be her sword, hitched her britches up one last time and left. It was a time of exploration and colonisation with many enterprising and often clinically insane Norsemen signing up as crew for the long voyage to the fabled land of Lustria. Njora had no trouble finding a place on one of the long ships, despite a small misunderstanding between her and the captain over the issue of cleaning, cooking and mending the sails...

To Njora, Lustria represented a new life to be lived on her terms. She would be free to seek out fame, fortune and her saga would ring out through ages to come. Little did she expect that the same prejudices would be waiting for her in the even more squalid and humid environs of the main Norse settlement of Skeggi. She was back to square one and what was worse, there weren’t even any slaves to flog.

Things came to a head shortly after she had humiliated the entire council of Elders during the annual harvest celebration. Smarting at the implied insult of being requested to freshen the councils flagons with ale, Njora proceeded to procure an axe and began to hack at the huge Hogshead that towered over the banqueting tables. The squealing  and rending of wood splitting down the grain under enormous pressure was the last sound some of the more infirm council members heard before being overwhelmed by a deluge of shattered barrel slats and most of the year’s supply of beer.
This was the last straw and Njora was banished from the settlement and cast forth into the jungle to fend for herself. Where many might have quailed at the dangers that lurked round every corner of the hungry forests, Njora saw that her moment had come. Stopping only to retrieve her trusty sword, she marched resolutely off in search of adventure.

It wasn’t long before the fiery Norse woman realised that she was by no means the first of her kind to suffer this fate. As she penetrated deeper and deeper into the fetid jungle, her brightly striped britches reduced to a single tattered rag of a loincloth, she happened across another settlement... run entirely by women.

Yet it wasn’t that strange culture of Amazons, who the menfolk rightly feared, with their crumbling cities, great temples and technological weapons. The long, low huts had instead an unmistakably Norse flavour to them, as did the aromas of ale and roasting meat that wafted from their direction.  Njora gazed at the sight and smiled - here was her home, among the outcasts of the Norsemen - the Womenfolk too strong-willed for their husbands, too feisty for the berserkers and more adept with a sword than the Bondi could tolerate.

Njora was welcomed in and, as time passed, she rose in prominence amongst her new kin. Her deeds brought these dispossessed women much renown and the men of Skeggi trembled to tell of her wrath. With the slaying of one of the great beasts of the forest and taking its pelt as her own, Njora Bjattey secured her place as Matriarch of the Bollrbrjótr
of Lustria.

Special Rules

Njora is a particularly fearsome example of what every sane Norseman fears - the Battle-axe. She exhibits many of the attributes that mark a Battle-axe out from the rest of the fairer sex as one to be feared. She is particularly renowned for her Withering Stare, which has been known to unman all but the most macho, blinkered or plain stupid of male opponents. The only warrior ever to have been unaffected by her icy glare was the famous alcoholic, Crompo. In fact he nearly had the dubious honour of making a good woman of Njora, having challenged her to single combat during a particularly violent raid by the Bollrbrjótr on Skeggi. If he hadn’t fallen asleep after subduing her in a wrestling match of titanic proportions, he might not now be known as Castrato...

Any male character model or male members (sorry!) of a unit that wishes to charge or is charged by Njora must first pass a WP test at a -2 modifier. If the test is failed the charge is carried out as normal but all stats for the model in base to base contact with Njora are subject to a -1 penalty. If the test is passed the charge and combat is carried out as normal.

Any unit or character who is pushed back and followed up by Njora, or the unit she is associated with, is automatically routed.

Missile troops who are within earshot (12”) suffer a -1 to hit penalty if firing at her or the unit she is associated with, due to Njora’s belittling comments and steely gaze.

So there we have it - a new faction for the Magnificent Sven and his merry band to fall foul of somehow - and definitely nothing to do with the Valkyries that were shoehorned into the Lustria of 5th Ed(?). If you have happened to browse through the Lizardman Army Book you'll be familiar with the strange retelling of how the Amazons were descended from the original Norsemen's Wives who were left to fend for themselves when their hubbies went off looking for gold. Forced to take up arms to defend themselves, they were then ejected from Skeggi presumably by the next wave of male settlers, unhappy with all these armed women wandering about. Thus the Valkyries set off and colonised an island somewhere and discovered a strange drug that gave them immortal youth...

Which is just plain silly - I much prefer the version where the Amazons retained their independence during the High Age of the Slann Empire, due to the value the Slann accorded them as thralls and acolytes. With the fall of the Slann Empire, leaving behind a primitive shadow of its former glories, the Amazons continued to prosper as they retained and preserved much of the High Age technology. Now ruled by the same Sisterhood that served the Slann, the Amazons form one of the more populous groups of native inhabitants in Southern Lustria. 

In short, crazy, religious, drug chewing Warrior Priest women, who now tote the laser guns their Space Frog overlords once owned... 

... Erm, hang on - maybe that sounds a little daft too, but I still prefer it!

Anyway, back to the Bollrbrjótr and here's the rest of the gang - just got a few more Citadel Female Barbarians to track down to finish them off.

Seems a while since I came up with any punning names - hopefully they're not too obscure.

Vaera Dukwróth - Lots of practice with flesh tones and blonde with this lot!

I also decided to carry on the big cat theme on various shields and other items of clothing...

And yes I know you don't get lions in the jungle - she seemed quite lion-y and it is Lustria we're talking about!

Sibyl Fólti - I carried on the cat  imagery on her shield too. This time its definitely a jungle cat - hopefully you might recognise it as an Ocelot from the markings, although I think the green of the eyeball may be a bit dull.

It was quite a nice pallete of colours to work with - flesh, leather browns and gold. Hopefully I got enough contrast into the colour schemes though.

Haha, and for once skimpy outfits and daft metal bikinis can be justified (kind of) what with the heat of the Lustrian sun!

Bót Linche - the black warpaint on their faces actually came about as a bit of a cheat. The eyes are tiny on a lot of their faces and faces themselves are fairly devoid of detail, especially when you're more used to orcs.

I wasn't happy with the way the eyes would often blend into the rest of the face, so the black warpaint became a way of accentuating the bottom of the eye and providing a bit of definition. 

That and they look a bit more savage-y!

Brunhilde Ogdunn - I was reminded a little of the Amazonia Gothique by this model - probably the bows and lace thing'ummy on her boot.

Rather than try and slavishly copy the colour scheme I just went for a few suggestive colour choices.

Don't mess - she's a Red Head...

Aena Shárpyls - our last  Bollrbrjótr for now, although I am surprised at the prices some of these minis fetch on ebay. I hadn't realised it was such an avidly collected range.

As Aena is showing a little more leg than the others, I thought I'd go the whole hog with the Conan style camouflage/warpaint thing - good excuse to watch the movie again too!

In other news - the Cold Ones have received a base coat and an ink wash on the jaguar pelts to check they were looking ok.

I'm being very unoriginal with my colour choices and pretty much copying the colour scheme from the Armies book. I love the blue look for the Cold Ones and it'll contrast nicely with the jaguar pelts, which do look a bit bearish at the moment...

Needz moar spotz!

Monday, 8 October 2012

There are more ways of skinning a cat...

... You could just try Miliput and leave the poor animal alone!

Ever since I saw this pic in the Armies book...

.. I knew that I wanted some Slann. Now that I have some I knew I wanted some Cold One Riders. With Jaguar pelts adorning their scaly backs.

So with the help of some great modelling and sculpting sites (sorry can't remember which now!), the additional pics of this fine specimen from Paul Benson's collection showcased in White Dwarf 98's 'Eavy Metal section, a load of miliput, my trusty Citadel modelling knife and a dried up biro, I set to work.

I knew those marker pens and plastic wallets from work had a better use...
I started off by rolling out the miliput into thin sheets - talcum powder and a plastic sheet are your friends here. Then came the bit that caused me no small amount of trepidation - draping and cutting the miliput sheets into a vague jaguar pelt shape onto the Cold Ones. They didn't look too promising at this stage and I hoped I hadn't just plastered my lovely lizards with putty. However, after a bit of a going over with my old GW stippling brush (a Christmas present I never used for its intended purpose as the bristles were far too stiff to achieve the effects I wanted) the pelts began to look a bit more pelt-like - fur is a very forgiving subject matter!

Then this evening, once the pelts had dried, I came to the tricky bit - sculpting the jaguar heads.

Sometimes you should just dive in and give it a go. My giant's toenails had come out ok, although big cat heads were a slightly different kettle of fish...

Actually they turned out to be quite easy - shame I didn't think to take any progress shots, although  I'm sure some professional sculptor or other sickeningly talented person has created a tutorial somewhere on the interwebz.

First step was a roughly shaped blob to give the basic impression of the head. I used my knife to flatten out the jowls of the mouth and then rolled a tiny sausage that was slightly thicker and flat-ended at one end. This was to become the bridge and nose of the Jaguar once I had blended it into the rest of the face. A few flicks of the knife gave the nose a little definition along with the split in the lips where they meet the nose - whatever the scientific name for that part o f a cat's facial anatomy is called?

After that I rolled a slightly thicker and longer sausage and draped it over the top of the bridge of the nose to form what I thought of as the brow ridge - again anatomical names fail me! From here it was a case of messing around, bending it round and blending it in to form the cheekbones and eye recesses - the biro came in handy here.

Finally I rolled out a very small ball of putty, cut it in half and positioned and sculpted the two halves to form the ears. A little light stippling - so as not to squash all my hard work - lent a little texture and covered up the rough bits and voila!

Although I'm no Jes Goodwin by any stretch of the imagination, I'm rather happy with the results, especially as these are my first real attempts at sculpting anything and I kind of made it up as I went along.

Only problem now is that, as well as finishing off my standard bearer with a banner top, I'm going to have to tart up the riders with feathered headgear, spears and other accoutrements after all that...

Any suggestions on making such things would be appreciated!