Wednesday 26 September 2012

A Little Taster...

So I've been thinking a bit more about how I'm going to weave the story of an individual hero as he, or indeed she, wends their way through the world, recruiting warbands, raising armies and generally doing the hero-y type stuff one would expect.

The original painting used as the box art for Mighty Empires - The Battle of Alexander at Issus, by Albrecht Altdorfer, 1529.
As an example I'm going to use Baron Kraust - a character I've already fleshed out somewhat, although I might relocate him to some backwater fiefdom somewhere in the northern reaches of the Empire.

The Baron's journey would start at the mouth of the old barrow as he emerges newly clad in his chaos armour. A series of small skirmishes would ensue, using the WFB 2nd/3rd ed. or maybe even the Havoc or Skulldred rules, as he makes his way back to wreak revenge upon his rebellious peasants and raise an undead army. In between games he may be rewarded with chaotic followers as his power grows - might make my own random tables for this or possibly dip into Realms of Chaos. Typical objectives at this stage would be searching out well stocked cemetaries, raiding local militia's armouries and perhaps even seeking out magical artefacts, weapons or the last resting place of potential Undead heroes.

Did you know I was a bit of a fan of Renaissance Art?
One of my favourites - Pieter (the Elder) Brueghel's Triumph of Death.
Should the narrative take him near the coast, there may be scope for a Man O War game - either as he is forced to raise Undead vessels or steal Empire ships to escape being cornered by a superior Human force, or to use the sea to better transport his army to a particularly enticing target further down the coast.

Another atmospheric piece that captures my mind's eye view of the Old World - Brueghel again, with  The Conversion of Saul.
As the Baron's army grows and becomes a more serious threat to the Empire I would turn to Mighty Empires to plot his moves and fight the ensuing larger scale battles using Warmaster. Should things get particularly titanic I could always use the Mighty Empire's combat system! As has been suggested by Mattias in my last post, particularly key moments such as messengers trying to get through to forces on the flanks with vital orders, surprise attacks on artillery and baggage trains and desperate last stands as the General's personal retinue fight to protect their commander could all be played out as cut scenes in 28mm.

Not added captions to my pics before - quite fun!
Here we have Brueghel's Suicide of Saul.
So how would Kraust interact with other characters and armies I have in my collection? Well, in the initial small scale skirmishes as the Baron is finding his feet, he may well find himself raiding the same settlement that an up and coming Orc Chieftain has set his sights on. The same Orc Chieftain may well then go on, depending on the outcome, to either continue his own dearest raidings or retreat to lick his wounds and find a Goblin tribe or two to subjugate, in a separate series of sirmish games. As the Baron continues his (hopefully) meteoric rise to power, our Orc Chieftain, who by now should have a goodly sized horde following him, might well decide to throw in his lot with the forces of Undeath in a major assault on the Empire - cue Warmaster!

Detail taken from the Battle of Alexander at Issus.
Similarly, the Baron could run into a small Wood Elf scouting force, out hunting Orcs (a tangled web we weave!) and, again depending on the outcome of that skirmish, earn himself a sworn enemy. Should the Elves be defeated, our ambitious Elf Lordling would be well within his rights to swear an oath of revenge and raise an army to track the Baron down. Who knows, a desperate town militia may well be forced to call on our Elf Lordling for aid against the Baron, or other threats as yet unkown - not to mention a beleagured Empire's call to arms to its allies in its hour of need.

More detail taken from The Battle of Alexander at Issus - you could spend hours pouring over this painting!
As you can see the possibilities are many and varied, and with the aid of maps to plot the locations and travels of my main protagonists the narrative should write itself!

Lastly I'd like to pick your brains if I may. Do any of you good folk know if GW released any other minis for Mighty Empires other than these -

Specifically I'm after army banners representing other races - siege weapons and scenery I'm hoping to track down or use proxies from other 2mm/6mm manufacturers.

Edit - just nipped upstairs and compared the army banners from the Mighty Empires boxed set with my 10mm Copplestone Orcs and they're not a bad size match. I think the way forward might be to make up some pieces using 10mm minis from the likes of Pendragon and Kallistra.

Oh, and as a final thought, if you thought I was mad - check out this good fellow's mind bogglingly ambitious project!

I am absolutely in awe at the amount of work this is going to entail, the progress that has been made so far and how brilliant it will look when its finished.

Mr Law, I salute you and good luck with your tile hunt!

Tuesday 25 September 2012

World Domination!

Just pressed that little "send money" button that brings little packages of leaden happiness wending their way through the postal system (hopefully!). The objects of my desire this time are the first Warmaster minis to enter my collection.

They aren't the first 10mm scale fantasy minis I've bought and in fact I'm hoping they'll be a decent size match for the Copplestone stuff I've already got. I've also got some more Uruk spearmen, archers and War Trolls that I scored off ebay who will be needing some paint at some point...

This got me thinking - and back to the point of this post. Having taken stock of most of my 28mm stuff (still got Chaos, Undead, Norse and Slann/Lizardmen to do) I need something to do with them all. I may have mentioned this elsewhere but I have also come into the possession of Man O War, Mighty Empires and am currently hunting down a physical rulebook for Warmaster.

I have in mind to set up some kind of loose fitting campaign system, narrative led of course, which will follow the exploits of each faction from fledgling warband to grand army. I've got quite a bit of reading of rules to do, having never played these three games before, and even more painting to do - not forgetting the Magnificent Sven!

However, I am quite taken with the idea of taking each faction from warband (in a Realms of Chaos style if you like - since it seems to be very much in vogue at the moment!), following the fortunes and stories of their plucky leaders and seeing where all this takes me.

I've begun hunting through my old White Dwarfs for maps and additional rules and articles on these games. I think the first phase is going to be plenty of research - I'm sure ideas, back stories and ways for each faction to interact meaningfully with each other will come jumping out of the pages at me the more I read.

So far I've concentrated on maps and found:

WD152 - Dwarf Realms
WD146 - States of the Empire
WD144 - Dark Elf Realms
WD140 - Empire and Surrounding Area

Still hunting for the big poster map that came in one issue of WD that I know I've seen somewhere round here in the past year or so...
Let me know if you know of any other handy maps that are in keeping with the 3rd ed. world view.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Goblins flee before the advancing Giant...

Well folks, I hate to blow my own trumpet but I reckon I've won!

So Phreedh, old buddy, old pal - I think we're even now. I was worried that my struggle with bendy plastic, heavy eyelids (fell asleep at the painting desk at least once this week but managed to keep my face out of the paint pallete somehow!) and my inadequacies in sculpting hands and feet would get the better of me, but somehow, Interwebz glory is mine!

Right enough of the triumphant crowing - not really cricket, I know! 

As you can see I've gone for the colour scheme straight out of the 3rd ed. rule book and actually I think the orange works a lot better in the flesh that I thought it would. 

Here's the closest I could get with the minis and scenery in my collection to that image we all know and love.

and finally, a Goblin's eye view.

Perhaps once I have a few more of the minis featured in the original picture - Prince Ulther's Dwarfs and the Wood Elf chariot for example - I might have a go at replaying the battle.

Now to hunt down the other two FF ogres...

Tuesday 11 September 2012

A Challenge of Giant Proportions...

So on the back of my post about the FF Ferocious Ogre/Day-glo orange Giant from the 3rd ed rulebook, my old LAF buddy Phreedh has lain down the gauntlet. A paint off to the finishing line on our FF Ogre variants!

Last time we indulged in a similar contest he won, although I forget what we were painting, the memory being so painful! Well this time I intend to even the score.

My painting desk is clear...

I'm stocked up on orange paint...

And I've just about finished cleaning the big fella up - 

I've even had a go at pushing some putty round - there was a huge nasty mold line that needed some attention and this chap is made of that slightly bendy plastic that doesn't take well to files. I managed to cut most of it away without any huge slip-ups, although there were some areas that needed smoothing out.

And some new toes making! The original feet were a little soft on detail and as these great loafers are going to be the last thing many a miniature will see on the tabletop, I felt they could do with some attention. I'm certainly not very skilled in sculpting and I'm pretty sure Miliput wasn't the best material to use, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my efforts!

I've also extended his mullet to hide the join between head and shoulders - luckily he doesn't have particularly fine hair so my rudimentary hair dressing skills were able to emulate his unruly bonnet.

I need to a bit more work on his hand to block up the unused weapon slot and give some more definition to his fingers. Next time he'll have some paint on him hopefully...

Bog Gobs Ahoy!

Ah, another job done! Had some of these boys on the painting table for far too long. Sculpted by Kev Adams for the excellent Four A Miniatures, these chaps are great fun to paint up. If you're reading Andy - we just need those mounted Goblins now!

Thursday 6 September 2012

A Little (Big!) Bit of History...

I am sure most of us with more than a passing interest in Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd edition will be familiar with this image from the rule book -

Its a great diorama for many reasons - the spectacle of Ugezod's (strangely the Death Commando version of Ugezod) Mothercrushers in ignominious flight. The Kwae Karr Orcs of Orc's Drift fame similarly fleeing from Wood Elf Wild Cat handlers, swarms of skeletons being mown down by the Elf Attack Chariot, a Dragon Ogre, Minotaurs, Goblins...

... and the big guy with the Essex tan!

Well guess what was in the last package to come through my letterbox.

I've mentioned the exploits of the Eternal Privates before and his brilliant idea of recreating the battles pictured in the 3rd ed. rulebook and he was certainly part of the inspiration behind tracking down this character. I  don't want to steal any of his thunder so there won't be a replay of this eclectic battle, although I do intend painting him up in a similar style to his 80's day-glow glory.

I was always intrigued as to what this mini was, as I'd never come across it in any of the catalogues. It was only in the past couple of years that I found out he was actually part of a small range of 54mm plastic minis produced for the Fighting Fantasy range - You can see the rest of them on the back of the battered blister he came in.

Clean-up should be interesting as there is the mother of all mold lines running up and down his sides and the plastic is that slightly bendy stuff that doesn't file down. Once I've got the 4A Goblins done (nearly there!) I'll get stuck in - can't wait!