Sunday 31 August 2014

The Spawning Pits have been busy!

The months before BOYL 2014 seemed to take an age to pass and as I only had a Goblinoid horde and the best part of an entire Epic Imperial Guard Regiment to paint I thought I had loads of time to get ready. I even spent a day drawing up a painting timetable, Arnold Rimmer style - which of course soon went out the window when real life made itself known!

So, of course once I had realised that I would have to up production somewhat in the couple of months I had left my painting desk came more to resemble the spawning pits of Isengard!

Or perhaps if I was being really old school - Utumno!
Well I'm glad to say that neglecting both sleep and familial duties (at least those that the wife allowed to be neglected!) for the first half of the summer holidays all the blood, sweat, blisters, fire, brimstone and everything else paid off!

Saturday 23 August 2014

Terrain Building...

1:1 Scale!

Friday 22 August 2014

Trolltooth Wars: Fielding the Legions of Zharradan Marr

I thought I'd take a moment to have a look at the rules we will be using to fight the Trolltooth Wars and what could be more apt than the Mass Battle rules published in Issue 12 of Warlock (the Fighting Fantasy) Magazine, Fields of Battle, penned by Graeme Davis.

In Graeme's article we get rules on how to make stats up for your armies as well as refreshingly simple details on the turn phase - move or fire, combat and morale. There are some special rules on cover, fortifications and siege weapons and magic is mentioned in the scenario that is provided at the end, along with movement penalties and command parties. I'm sure we can add any details to these rules by dipping into the likes of Dungeoneer or Blacksand from the Advanced Fighting Fantasy series, although with the types of troops we'll be fielding there shouldn't be much need.

Thursday 21 August 2014

BOYL 2014 - The Siege of Avalone - the Aftermath

The dawn was heralded by a watery grey light that struggled to penetrate the louring clouds and already the Carrion Crows were breaking their fast. Bleary eyed troops staggered back to the field of battle and prepared themselves as best they could.

Well that was the scene that I saw in the marquee as we arrived back for the final day's gaming anyway!

So on to the last post for the Siege game - it's been a pretty epic task just editing the photographs and writing the game up I must say!

Sunday saw a few hardy souls drag their hung over corpses back to the table to continue Round 3 of the Siege. The ranks of Generals had thinned somewhat from the crowds round the table on Saturday due to commitments to other games or having to return home. I was involved in a big Epic Game with Chico and others (more of which in the next post) but managed to pop over now and again to take some pics.

I must confess however, that I don't have as good a handle on what went on as I did for the Saturday. So I propose a bit of creative writing based on the pics I took and the main events that I can remember...

Smoke still issued forth from the smouldering remains of the great Ent gathering that had sacrificed itself in blunting the advance of the Horde. The cries of the dead and dying intermingled with the more purposeful shouts of battle-sergeants and discipline-masters as the horde carried on its inexorable advance. Many a foul, and many a noble deed was performed that day.

A second Siege Tower was brought up to the walls by the Orcs whilst the sea of Chaotics continued to surge forward behind them.

There is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats

With BOYL 2014 only just finished some keen Oldhammerers have turned their attention on next year's shenanigans.

I'm rather keen on Chico's Outcast Greenskin Project even if it does sound like the name of some pretentious Prog Rock band! It'll give me a good reason to paint up my Hobgoblin and Half Orc army which would put me dangerously close to getting most of my Goblinoid collection finished!

Sunday 17 August 2014

BOYL 2014 The Siege of Avalone - the Assault!

And they're off!

Gobbo's pour over the walls into the teeth of massed Elf archery.

BOYL 2014 - The Siege of Avalone - The Set Up...

So folks here we have the preliminary post to the my version of the narrative of the Siege of Avalone.

Preliminary because I'm struggling selecting a sensible number of pictures from the 109 I took!

My version of the narrative because I really couldn't say with any confidence what was going on on the other side of the table - it was that big!

The following pics were just from me walking round the table and trying to get everything in before it all kicked off...

Wave 1 of the Bad Guys - there were more late-comers who had to pile in behind!

We can't have been far off from representing most Evil and Chaotic Races on the table.

Thanks to Golgfag for his excellent scratch-built Siege towers - I cheated and bought a laser cut Siege tower and Covered ram from Sally 4th.

The stalwart defenders and their dual line of defence.

The Evil army's secret weapon - Giant Gonads!

I think the walls were pretty adequately manned...

... and the town well garrisoned.

Nearly got it all in!

A daunting prospect - the heavily defended double gate house.

The town planners had a lot to answer for - there was consideration given to conserving the character of the town when planning permission was given to those elves!

A defender's eye view.

We decided that the attackers had secured the area up to the road as a result of Friday's game - perhaps in hindsight we could have set up a little further into the table.

A panoramic view - hence the strange chaos mutation!

My favourite unit on the defender's side - the Narnian host!
As you can imagine this lot took a while to set up - but it was great fun and took me back to the days when i would spend hours setting up the hundreds of plastic soldiers I owned into a battle scene. Back then it was customary for Sally, our old Golden Retriever, to enter the scene with tail wagging to wreak the sort of destruction that a tactical nuclear device might!

Luckily we were free from the tender mercies of rampaging family pets and had bucket loads of D6 to determine our little soldiers' fates...

Saturday 16 August 2014

From one Siege to another...

Or On how to ensure longevity in the Oldhammer Community

As some of you may know I have indulged in the odd bit of Dadhammer over the years - a term I think coined by Rab of the excellent Geekly Digest fame or possibly Erny from the eponymously titled Erny's Place. Both Oldhammerers whose names are writ large in the pantheon of Oldhammer heroes for their part in the epic Siege of Avalone!

Anyhow, I decided it was about time for the boy to get some serious tabletop gaming under his belt having just celebrated his 6th Birthday. Any allegations that I was using this happy occasion as an excuse to purchase and play Battlemasters, a game that by pure coincidence I have coveted since it came out in 1992, are completely erroneous and have no substance what so ever.


Thursday 14 August 2014

Trolltooth Wars: The Legions of Zharradan Marr

So now with BOYL 2014 under my belt I can think about some of the other projects I've stalled or been muttering about for a while.

I think the Shrine of Rigg will have to wait until I can contrive a semi-permanent place to cast the blocks up in and begin construction on the second (ground floor) level - keep watching this space!

A slightly more achievable project is of course the Trolltooth Wars that Warlord Paul and I hope to recreate on the table top. We agreed to use a 1:10 scale (which I'd forgotten, managed to talk myself out of and then back into!) to represent the different forces which should give us a decent number of miniatures on the table to make it look impressive without burdening ourselves with having to paint hundreds of miniatures.

This is particularly important for WP as he has to field 37 tribes of Hill Goblins, along with various other Chaotics - which if I remember correctly weighs in at some 6000 or so troops in the book. Once scaled down to 600 on the table this will mean each Goblin Tribe will consist of 15 or so models in the game. I now have many a Greenskin painted up, so should be able to help out a bit here!

Marr's Legionaries comprise a much more compact and disciplined force - 1000 legionaries consisting of a phalanx of Rhinomen Pike, a regiment each of Black Elves, Lizardmen and Humans and a mixed regiment of Dwarves, Goblins, Gorians, Craggeracks and Kobolds - can't wait to put that one together! Along with these living troops shamble 500 Soulless Ones - mindless zombies fresh from their graves. To round the force off and give it that extra bit of colour are the Undead Black Elf, Daramouss' Dungeon creations - Clawbeasts, Blood Orcs, Devourers and Manic Beasts. Flying above them comes Marr himself with his Lieutenant Vallaska Roue on board the Galleykeep, escorted by a dozen Tooki - Griffins with Blood Orc archers riding on them.

This should scale down to 5 units of 20 for the Legionaries, 50 Soulless ones, perhaps 8 various monsters for Daramouss' creatures and perhaps 2 or 3 Tooki. I'd love to find a suitable model to represent the Galleykeep too!

Now I've been doing a bit of research into possible minis - prompted by a big 50% off summer sale at Blacktree Design. I picked up a few pieces there, along with a load of Orcs for WP's Hill Goblin Tribes, but as you will see I haven't been able to resist the old school charms of Ral Partha!

I'll start with my shopping list for the Legionaries:

Rhinomen - WP is following a certain line of enquiry at the moment which may solve my problem of not having any suitable 28mm Rhinomen miniatures. I have a possible conversion option involving some Ral Partha Orcs but  the Rhinomen's armour and uniform has such a distinctive look that it'd be great to see how close we could get to it.

Black Elves - Ral Partha do some lovely Elf Irregulars as part of their Fantasy Armies line. They're not too far from the image portrayed of them in the Shamutanti Hills Sorcery! game book -

I'll be using a mix of the Irregular troops with swords, pole arms and spears along with the Sergeants and command set to make up the necessary unit of 20.

A bit more expensive than the half price Shadow Elf spearmen I was eyeing up from Blacktree, but they should make a much more interesting looking unit. Those funny looking side spikes/axe blades would certainly have had to go from the spear heads if I had gone for them!

Lizardmen - another race that I'm being very pernickety about thanks to Alan Langford's fabulous illustrations. Fighting Fantasy Lizardmen have always been very close to my heart and very distinct to the GW ones - I don't just want little Dinosaur men (great for Warhammer but not for Titan) - I want horned, crocodilian creatures with sails on their backs! Island of the Lizard King was my first Fighting Fantasy book and has arguably had the most impact on my imagination so the Lizardmen are going to have to look right.

Ral Partha to the rescue again! There are a number of Lizardmen in the Scwarse Auge range which are very close to my ideal -

With some Green Stuff horns I reckon these chaps will definitely look the part.

A while back I purchased the Lizardman mounted on a Pteranodon from the same range to convert it for my Blood Heat style, Silurian Army. Happily I still have the top half of the Lizardman rider and the Silurian's legs left over from the conversion - another trooper for the Legions!

Straight off the cover of Battleblade Warrior - my son's current bed time story!
To add a bit of grunt to the ranks and maybe a standard bearer, there is this Heavy Beastman from the Chaos Imperium back in the Fantasy Armies section - he'll need some horns and possibly the suggestion of a sail on his back.

And finally every unit needs a champion - the Maru, also from the Scwarse Auge range, may have a slightly different anatomy but mutations are common in Lizardmen and I'm sure Thugruff, Marr's Half Troll General, is more forgiving of them than the Lizard Priests are - as long as they fight well for Zharradan Marr!

So that gives me 4 different troopers, a champion and the spare Pteranodon rider to make up a unit of 20 with some variation in the ranks.

Humans - Ironically I'm really undecided on what minis to go for Marr's Human legionaries - probably because there's so much choice out there! One thing I do know is that I don't want anything too identifiable as Empire or Bretonnian - Again, I'm not being down on Warhammer but I think the Humans of Titan have a distinct identity.

I suppose I'm going to need two types really - the Strongarm Mercenaries that are hired to guard Marr's Cunnelwort shipment and Marr's Legionaries.

I rather like this chap for the mounted Strongarm Captain I'll need for the ambush on the caravan - he might have to lose his wings mind!

Winged Severyan Dragoon - Ral Partha - Die Schwarse Auge
The rest of the Strongarms I see as having leather armour and sallet or skull cap helmets. Pretty much like the Henchmen from Advanced Heroquest - a bunch of minis I've always liked despite their static pose. I fear outrageous ebay pricing might conspire to frustrate me on this one though...

The only illustrations I've found of Marr's Legionaries are in Creature of Havoc and don't seem to exist online. Suffice to say they seem to be sporting a pretty simple tunic and belt combo with the ubiquitous numbered medallion around their neck. This may only be their training rig though as they are pictured at the Testing Grounds being put through their paces by Thugruff.

For the Legionaries, I rather like the Tulamidian warrior, again from Die Schwarse Auge range, but there's only one of him so it'd have to be a monopose unit.

I also quite like the aesthetics of these Ral Partha  pikemen and halberdiers -

Bit stuck on this one so if any of you know of any Human ranges that don't look like Medieval European/Warhammer Fantasy style infantry I'd love to hear from you.

I'm also going to need Donnag Kau and the caravan train. 4Ground do some lovely laser cut stuff like this covered wagon for £5!

The Mixed Regiment - this one is going to be a fun one and it's one of the aspects of the world of Titan that I really do like in comparison to the Warhammer world. Imagine trying to field Goblins and Dwarves (note that they are not Chaos Dwarves) in the same unit in a game of Warhammer. Titan is a real melting pot where all the races live, fight and die together. Dwarves are normally pretty noble and on the side of good in Titan but not exclusively so, which I think is what makes it a richer environment than the monocultures of the Warhammer world. Still I wonder what desperate circumstances or character flaws led some to join Marr's Legions and willingly fight shoulder to shoulder with such creatures as Gorians, Craggeracks and Goblins?

Dwarves - as these are not going to be the most reputable members of their race I went with some suitablt menacing looking Blacktree minis -

Goblins - I came across a nice lot of old Citadel Goblinoids a while back including what look like a mix of Lesser Goblins (which I've put two to a 20mm base), Lesser Knight Goblins and the Red Goblin Champion (next to the Night Goblin Champion) pictured below. I'll have to get pics when I'm back home.

I also have a couple of C23 Ogres who seem to have suffered from being left behind by massive scale creep! You should be able to spot them in the pic below - 2 of the chap leaning on his halberd second from the left. They fit into my Goblin units as Orc sized Goblins and would look a little puny next to Jes Goodwin's Ogres!

Anyway, this motley crew should make up the Goblin contingent.

Kobolds - From the same job lot as the old Lesser Goblins, I also got a nice bunch of the N13 Kobolds. As tempted as I was by the Otherworld Kobolds, I decided to go proper old school - Plus I've already got my hands on this lot and they didn't cost me much money!

Craggeracks - These are one of the less well known Fighting Fantasy races that never really got developed in any of the later game books. According to various Titan Wikis and other sites I have a description -

Craggeracks apparently resulted from the crossing of Hobgoblins with Trolls. They have compact skulls and high pointed ears over brownish-gray skin, and long slim limbs. They are in general slender creatures when compared to most other Chaotic races, but they are no less strong and just as warlike. They rarely see themselves as one nation or race, and prefer to live apart from one another, in the tribes of Orcs, Goblins or Trolls. They are about as strong as the average Orc, being about 5'9" in height, only slightly taller than the average Orc. Although they possess great disdain for Dwarves and Elves, they hate men above all else, and will happily bypass a Dwarf or Elf for the chance to kill a human. They pride themselves on their shrunken Human head collections and believe that being slain by a Human in battle dooms them to eternal torture at the hands of the Night Demons. Each Craggerack is assigned to one of four Night Demons at birth and regard that evil being as their patron and lord. Craggerack priests are rare in the extreme, but can be very powerful.

Korg's Killers from Ral Partha's Fantasy Armies Orc range look like a good option -

I'm also rather taken with this chap - a Hobgoblin Hero from Ral Partha's Heroes and Horrors range

Then finally we have the Gorians. Again there's not a lot of information out there but I did find this short description -

These bizarre creatures are tall and hairless, having entirely black skin and feline eyes. They are not unlike some humans of the Southlands, but they have fang-filled mouths and hard, sharp talons instead of fingernails. They were one of the most successful of Axion's (a powerful Wizard responsible for many of the hybrid creatures that exist in Titan) creations - strong, warlike, evil and harshly disciplined. Gorians live a totally military life. Each one is born and bred to be a fighter and magic use is unheard of among them. They worship Death as their racial god but they consider religion second to war. Most Gorian families and tribes are nomadic regiments unto themselves, selling their services to anyone evil enough to employ them. A great number of Gorians were present at the Siege of Vymorna (BattleBlade Hero), conducted by the Lizardman Empire. 

Gorians are strictly disciplined - plunder is harshly divided according to rank. Theft of more than your share is punishable by a beating. Refusing to obey a commander is punishable by death. Even laughing can be punished by ten lashes across the back. This has made them into the perfect soldiers. 

If it weren't for the hair I reckon Mirliton's Half Orcs would be perfect - shouldn't be too tricky to file smooth I'm sure.

While I'm on the topic of Gorians, I'm going to need a one-armed mounted one to represent Tankasun, Gudruff's Battle Sergeant.

This Ral Partha Orc Warlord looks pretty good - he just needs to make a date with the amputationist!

Or if I wanted a slightly more exotic mount I could go for a Fast Claw Commander from the Gargantua Orcs range. The face is a bit too Orcy though on the rider.

So there we have it for the Legionaries - I'm sure a cohesive colour scheme and similar skin tones will help tie the different ranges into each other to create what will look like one race for creatures like the Gorians and Craggeracks.

The Soulless Ones are pretty easy. At first I was pretty taken with the Zombies of the Rotting Swamp from Blacktree Design, not to mention their price in the 50% sale. They had something of the vibe of the Soulless Ones on the art cover -

However, even with the 50% off I didn't have the funds to invest in 50 of them - plus the fact that they were armed was beginning to bother me as the front cover is the only place to suggest this. In the text they lull the Goblins into a false sense of security by the very fact that they are unarmed but of course are no less deadly for it!

So instead I decided to go all modern and plastic with the excellent Grave Stalkers set from Mantic. You just can't argue with a mix of 60 Zombie and Ghoul minis plus a ton of grave stones for £40!

 Daramouss' creatures pose some interesting challenges, especially with the Clawbeast!

I've already ordered Asmodei the Fiend from Black Tree - he's a bit insectoid but has the claws. Well one pair anyway!

Also on the hit list is the Hook Horror from Otherworld - really just an excuse to buy a mini I'v coveted from this great company for a while! I probably won't be chopping up or converting this chap up despite the fact that it doesn't really resemble the Fighting Fantasy illustration.

Another option might be to get hold of a couple of Many Armed Mapes from the Parroom Station line of minis and do a bit of conversion work - add claws and perhaps do a couple of head swaps if I can find something suitable.

The Manic Beast should be a little easier - in fact there is quite a similarity between the illustration from Creature of Havoc and this Ral Partha Troll, if you ignore the beard.

Some of the Ral Partha Fantasy Army Trolls might do as well, although (and I never thought I would say this about a Troll!) they do have a few too many clothes on.

Otherworld Ogres might be a better fit, minus a few of their weapons.

Devourers - I'm thinking Yeti here and have joked for a while now about using the rather camp fellow from Mirliton!

Or Ral Partha's version -

Not quite as aggressive an image as the FF illustration - again from Creature of Havoc - 

So I'd have to include this brilliant Ral Partha Ice Troll!

And finally we have the Blood Orcs - nasty little horned beasties!

Any number of Demon or Imp minis might fit the bill here. I've decided to go with the Winged Demon from Ral Partha's  Die Grauzone range, minus the wings and tail of course.

I wonder if with a bit of reposing and the addition of a bow and quiver they might serve as the Blood Orc riders for Marr's Tooki escort. The Giant Griffin from Ral Partha would provide a suitable mount -

And what of Daramouss himself? The Zombie Lord on Stallion Carcass might do as a base for the mounted version. He'll need a bit more armour and a weapon swap for something like a whip I reckon.

This Ral Partha Dark Elf is a bit closer to the illustration in the book and could provide bits for a head/body swap.

That just leaves Marr's two right hand "men" - Vallaska Roue and Thugruff.

Vallaska Roue is a huge obese brute of a man and Marr's chief recruiter. He is at the helm on the Galleykeep and presumably in command of the crew as Marr of course exists on the Spirit Plain in his magic mirror. I reckon the old Gutbucket model from citadel, now rereleased by Foundry (top right) will do nicely for such a charming gentleman - with the added bonus that I already have him!

Thugruff is Zharradan Marr's Half Troll General. I could really do with a mounted version so Axenarf from Hasslefree, although I rather like him is probably out.

Going back to Ral Partha we have Sadrak Wassoi, an Orc Marshall who looks suitably imposing.

I'm sure I could whip up a mounted version doing an upper torso swap with the mounted Orc Warlord I intend to use for Tankasun -

This could potentially give me mounted and foot versions of both characters!

So there you go - my shopping list for the Trolltooth Wars. Now I just have to budget and keep painting new stuff each month and we could be gaming it sometime next year...