Sunday, 17 April 2022

Glueing and Prepping

Long time, no post. I have been busy doing lots of stuff other than gaming recently - real life has a habit of taking over sometimes. Luckily, I have been able to dip my toes into my hobby from time-to-time, but not really had much I can comment on for the blog. I have read a few rulebooks and supplements that I received as gifts for Christmas, kept on with my 2000AD and Judge Dredd comics reading, and started re-watching Game of Thrones on the DVDs I have. I have not seen series 8 yet (I must be the only fan not to have done), so I am re-watching them all over again to prep for the final series. I have managed to avoid spoilers thus far. I have heard it is very disappointing, but I have my own ideas for an ending, so I may not find it so.

Anyway, over the last couple of days we have had some very nice weather in the UK. The brighter days have meant that I can actually kind of see reasonably smallish details again. So, in order to get stuff done whilst the light holds, I broke out the most recently purchased miniatures (from the last few months for my son's but up to a few years ago for mine) that have been staring at me from their vantage points on the book shelves.

Alongside his interest in The Lord of the Rings, my youngest son has begun to show an interest in historical gaming; or, more accurately, he likes the miniatures and, as he now gets some pocket money, he decided to buy some. He has recently picked up a box of plastic Dark Age Irish warriors from Wargames Atlantic, some Welsh Archers from Gripping Beast, and a few Roman slave-type minis from Footsore, due to one of their likenesses to Grumio out of  the TV series Plebs.

My figures are from a mixture of manufacturers (Hasslefree, Otherworld and Northstar) that I went to to create some fantasy wabands for RPGs and Rangers of Shadowdeep, and the Nickstarter set of ten pairs of wizards for Frostgrave. The wizards are several years old now, but the Rangers and other fantasy miniatures are maybe only a year or so old. I have kind of set myself a limitation now due to the huge backlog of unassembled and unpainted figures that I have, where I can only buy new figures when I have finished painting my latest additions to the lead and plastic mountains. I am almost there with painting those Otherworld skeletons from a few posts back (if the light holds, I will get them finished in the next week or two), and I have now broken out my other latest purchases in order to get them completed too. Once these are completed, I may treat myself to a few more of the figures to make up the last of the adversaries for some of the games I wish to play.

Anyway, enough chat, and onto the lead (well pewter as it is nowadays). First up are my son's Welsh Archers. As mentioned above, they are from Gripping Beast. There are four poses and he got three of each pose. They are tidy little figures, and will make great standard warriors for any games we play with them...

I still need to glue their bows on (unfortunately we only seemed to get 10 bows instead of 12 - the bag they came in had split). They are shown alongside the Footsore Roman slave figures for a size comparison. My son wanted these mounted on Saga-style bases which came with the Welsh miniatures (I also had some spares in my bits box he could use for the Romans). Here are the Roman figures alongside a pair of plastic wolfhounds he got with the plastic Irish warriors set...

Next up are some of his new Lord of the Rings miniatures. Most of his figures for LotR are second hand from eBay. These are from a few packs he recently bought for himself, that he liked the look of...

The Bilbo miniature is metal, and the Elf warriors and Thranduil models are resin. The Elf warriors all need their shields glued on, and Thranduil needs his sword arm glued on. These are lovely miniatures but do not scale in at all with the historical figures above; the LotR figures are a fair bit smaller and finer (more anatomically accurate), and the quality of the sculpting is much better. That said, sometimes quantity is a quality in itself, and that is where the historical figures come into their own - good value for money for decent enough figures - armies can be built much more cheaply.

Next up are the last of my son's figures from this batch and the first of mine. They are Noldur's D&D figures bought from our local comic and gaming store a few months ago. Here we have a griffin and an umberhulk...

The griffin will be glued to a base the same as the umberhulk to fit in with more of my son's fantasy miniatures (all of his Lord of the Rings figures are on GW style round bases of various sizes). These figures are really nicely made and not too pricey for their size. For some reason my umberhulk came without one of its antennae - it was not in the box, so I could not have glued it back on even if I had found it. I am not too fussed actually, as it gives it a bit of character.

Next up are my Rangers and RPG characters...

They are from a variety of manufacturers and I have stuck them all onto 30mm lipped round bases. I am going to begin to standardise my basing if I can from now on, so they all fit in with my Lord of the Rings figures - 20mm for hobbits and other small creatures, 25mm for standard humans, elves, orcs etc., 30mm for heroes and medium-sized creatures like wolves, 40mm for mounted figures and medium-large monsters, 50mm for large monsters, trolls and giants, and larger bases for dragons etc.

The back row consists of Hasslefree figures, the second-rear row are from Otherworld, and the two front rows are Northstar's official Rangers of Shadowdeep figures. I have yet to glue on some of their arms and weapons - hopefully at some point this week I can accomplish that?

Finally, here are the first of the Frostgrave wizards that I bought a long time ago. Again, they are glued onto 30mm lipped bases to match in with the Rangers and adventurers above. Each school of magic is represented by a pair of wizards...

From left to right, these are; a Chronomancer and apprentice, an Elementalist and apprentice, an Enchanter and apprentice, an Illusionist and apprentice, and a Necromancer and apprentice. I have yet to decide which is the master and which the apprentice - that decision will most likely come once they have been painted, or not. I still have five more pairs to prep and glue, but the light has run out for today. I am working overtime all day tomorrow (another Bank Holiday in the UK), so will not get any modelling done then - hopefully there will be some good days through the coming week that will allow me to complete these.

In addition to the figures above, I have an eleventh pair of wizards (not sure what school they belong to until I look them up again) and some treasure tokens/markers for Frostgrave. There is also a box set of 20 plastic Frostgrave Soldiers and a sprue of 5 Frostgrave Barbarians which need assembling. Hopefully the next post will see all of these glued up at least.

I am really hoping to get some tabletop gaming going again very soon; either solo or with my youngest son. I have my eye on a few new rulesets too - Sellswords and Spellslingers (for solo gaming) and the latest version of Runequest; a game I played extensively back in the day. I no longer own these rules (I have owned three different editions in the past) and the new rulebooks look lavish, so I am very tempted.

So, there is plenty for me to be getting on with for now. Once the above miniatures have been fully prepped, they will need undercoating and then painting. Also, once the long summer days roll in, I may take another look at my LotR miniatures - I have over 800 to complete, although many are almost there.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Gondor Repaints III

Apologies for the long hiatus between posts. I have not been well recently and I am still not fully recovered. Hopefully, I will be seeing the doctor again soon to see what is happening; I don't think it is anything serious but it is affecting my daily life, in that I do not want to do a lot at the moment except relax and/or sleep.

That said, this weekend saw me pick up the energy to get my paints and brushes out again to finish off a few of my son's figures that have been stuck on the painting table for several months. I managed to complete the basing for a couple of elf repaints...

And also the final few colours on another half-dozen or so Gondorian soldiers (the broken ones featured in the last post) and a Black Numenorian (a 2nd Age warrior of Numenor)...

This year I am hoping to get a lot more of my own Lord of the Rings miniatures painted in order to do larger battles with my youngest son. We have played several Battle Companies sized games over the last year, but we both feel the need to go larger on occasion. I think I will go for a new system for this, and Dragon Rampant is back in the frame.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

A Weekend of Hobbying

The kids came over this weekend and for the first time in ages I was able to grab some time with my youngest and get some hobby time in. We didn't really get anything fully completed but we did make some progress on some figures that have been on the shelf for several months.

I managed to fix up a bunch of his eBay Gondor purchases from my bits box, whilst he painted one of his Elf warriors. I also based up some official D&D type figures and glued the arms and shields onto my second batch of Otherworld skeletons.

Gondor Before...

Broken Gondor figures

Gondor After...

Mended Gondor figures

From left to right, the first archer had a brand new hand and bow; the swordsman had a new sword; the next archer had the bottom of the first archer's bow transplanted to the top of his bow; the second swordsman had a new sword; the third archer had a new top to his bow from the bits-box; the last Gondorian had a new hand and sword grafted on; the final chap had a new hand and spear grafted on.

I think they have turned out just fine, and even though they don't match the "official" look weapons-wise, from my POV they can be a kind of veteran unit with non-standard equipment that has been picked up when their original weaponry had been lost or broken.

I didn't get a picture of the elf that my son was painting, but I did get pictures of the other work I was able to achieve...


These are the second set of skeletons I got from Otherworld Miniatures. I have mixed up the weapon and shield choices to make them look different to the previous set. There will be a third set purchased soon; armoured versions of the above. But, no buying new stuff in this faction until the old stuff has been painted, so that may be a few months away.

D&D stuff...

At my local comic shop, I bought a handful of official D&D figures; an owlbear (for reasons unkown even to myself, owlbears are one of my very favourite monters in D&D) and four halfling adventurers. These halflings are much smaller than my Lord of the Rings ones unfortunately, so I am not sure if they will get used as hobbits in any of my games. Then again, I am not too much of a stickler for every figure being the same size - in every population there are tall people and shorter people - so I may very well use them in town or village type encounters.

My son glued a couple of paladin types to their bases and I managed to put a bit of paint on a Goblin Town goblin figure he had painted bright yellow when he was about four years old, but I didn't get photos of these yet.

The kids are over again in a few weeks time for the Christmas break. Hopefully we can get these painted and finished at some point over the break to clear the decks for new stuff in readiness for completing a few projects and playing a few games with them.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Battle Systems - Northern Homestead

Good morning everybody - long time no post. This is due to a number of reasons, mostly good, but primarily because I have been working. After another long time out of work I managed to secure back-to-back contracts. I am still in the second role and it seems to be going well - hopefully at the end of this contract I will be back to where I want to be financially, so I can begin spending a little more time, effort and money on my hobby.

So, what have I been up to hobby-wise over the last few months? Due to my new work roles and various other reasons, I have not been able to see my youngest son often enough to do any actual playing, but we did do lots of sorting out and chatting about gaming. He has managed to put some paint onto some of his Ebay bought miniatures (not finished yet, but when they are I will feature them in a separate post) and also bought some new figures from a local comic and games shop. I bought a few one-off figures from the same comic/game shop (four halflings which are a bit smaller than the GW LotR ones and an Owlbear - one of my fave monsters from D&D), some Ghost Archipelago rule and scenario books, and some card-stock buildings from Battle Systems.

The card buildings are the main-stay of this post. A month or so back, out of the blue, my son sent me a few pictures on my phone and a link to a company called Battle Systems. He suggested that they might be good for our tabletop battles as they were quite cheap (relative to resin and plastic buildings they certainly are). They looked really good in the photos (not promo shots by the company but in-use shots by a gamer), so I thought I would buy a few to see how they turned out for myself.

There was a sale on at the web store (result!), so I was able to afford to buy enough buildings from my gaming budget to hopefully kit-out one of the scenarios in the Rangers of Shadowdeep rulebook. I chose three of the Northern Homesteads as my mainstay, plus a couple of outbuildings, as they could double-up for use as Rohan, D&D, Pathfinder and so on buildings for a quasi-Dark Age/Medieval setting. There are also options to buy snow effect roofs (rooves?) to allow gaming in Frostgrave or other cold-set climates (Winterfell or beyond the wall for Game of Thrones perhaps?).

The order was delivered in double-quick time and sat on my workbench (well, pile in the corner of the room) until two weekends back when my son was over and we decided to build the first homestead. Out of the box you get three sheets of card-stock building pieces (two the same plus another different one) and a small bag of plastic connection pieces.

The pieces push out very easily, with no cutting required. The only thing you don't get is a set of assembly instructions. Now, I have made many kits over the years so thought I would be able to construct these easily, but I went about these in completely the wrong way. I tried to put the connectors at the bottom of the walls etc. thinking they would be least visible there. However, after my son looked up an online tutorial and we found out that they should be joined by slots in the middle of the walls, the building went together in seconds. We literally built it in under two minutes. Once constructed, they are very sturdy.

There are three choices for the doors, two singles and a double. We decided on a simple single door for this building. As these kits are multi-purpose; they will fit in with all the other kits for completely customisable building construction, so many of the pieces can be used on other buildings. We will look at the watch towers and mead hall next so the double-doors can be used there (Meduseld anyone?) - they do look impressive.

The entry way - the door is off to one side with a porch to cover the entrance for times of inclement weather. You may also notice some holes in the thatch and flooring. There are pushout pieces to give buildings a more run-down look if required. We decided to go full-out on this building. The good thing is, the little bits that get pushed out can be used for scatter terrain later on too!

The front view - with attendant horse-head posts. Perfect for a Rohan setting.

The rear of the building has a platform upon which your archers can stand to defend their homes from marauding uruk-hai.

The side opposite the entrance shows the horse-head posts in better detail.

And finally an internal shot. With the kit you get internal flooring, beds, bed rolls, weapon racks and weapons; in fact all sorts of paraphernalia to sprinkle around the table top when gaming to add flavour. The weapons are a little over-sized, so I won't use them, but plenty of the other bits will be very useful as scatter.

Next time my son is over we will construct a few more of these buildings, most likely in different formats to make up a small hamlet. We can then fight over it with his Rohan (once re-painted) and orc miniatures before moving onto rangers of Shadowdeep once he has figures for his small warband for that game.

The system also features more medieval style buildings that would suit D&D and Pathfiner more, but they could also double-up as buildings from places like Bree or towns around Gondor and the fiefdoms in Lord of the Rings.

Overall, I am happy with my purchases. I will most likely try to find suitable basing material to put these on so they become even more sturdy and hard-wearing, and it will stop the flooring falling away from the buildings too when they are moved. The rest will hopefully be built in a few weeks' time, so I can photograph them all together to see how a hamlet or small village would look.

Monday, 9 August 2021

Gondor Repaints II

The weekend just gone saw the paint brushes come out again in force. I managed to paint seven more Gondorians for my son; this time it was the turn of the swordsmen.

Again, these are just re-paints; lots of tidying up where I could. They took maybe four hours tops to get to this stage - the waiting time between the different stages of basing took up the lion's share of time for them though. I am pleased with them even though they are just single layers of paint with no shading or highlighting. The main reason for getting these done this way was to get them ready enough to plonk down onto the tabletop with the minimum of fuss. 

There are still around half-a-dozen Gondor miniatures to be painted, but these are the broken ones. I will need to find some swords and bows from my historical bits box to complete them. This mis-match of weaponry will make the Gondor force look more like a rag-tag, battle-hardened unit of veterans than if they were all painted neatly with their "official" weapons all pristine. This worked well for his orcs, but I was a little disappointed with my work on his elves.

My son's forces are really coming together now. He has more than enough now to make several Battle Companies, but there is still have a little way to go to create a couple of forces for something like Dragon Rampant. I will sit down and calculate what is required soon as I think a mass battle would suit us both nicely at the moment. He still has a force of about 30 or so Warriors of Rohan and a few less in the guise of Easterlings for me to paint up. I think, added together, there should be enough figures to make a good side and an evil side if we can also find a couple of leader types.

I was due to sort out roster sheets for the two Battle Companies in readiness for this post. I have got them both written up but there are a couple of annoying issues with the PDFs that means they will be difficult to showcase. I will see if I can find an alternative version that works a little better.

I have also managed to do a little bit of work on my skeletons. They are glued up now but just need shields that match the previous ones adding. Hopefully I can get a little more painting done on the undead cavalry soon too, as once these are all completed I can buy the last few skeletons I need to complete the force. As mentioned in a previous post, I am going to try to paint up units of my old figures before buying any new ones. Once the skeletons are done, I will try to move onto a force of zombies which are needed for a lot of the games I have recently bought, like Frostgrave and Rangers of Shadow Deep.