Thursday, 12 March 2015

A Sad Day - Terry Pratchett dies - aged 66

After his bitter fight with Alzheimer's (a terrible disease that has affected my family) the genius that was Terry Pratchett died today.

Long may he live on in our memory ...

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Plastic Scenery: Basecoated

This post is a couple of days later than anticipated, but the bulk of the basecoating has been done on the plastic scenery I have been working on. I also managed to find a few more items (Lord of the Rings ruins, Renedra tents) lurking in an old cardboard box to add to the pile.

The wooden buildings and fencing etc. have all had a quick spray of Games Workshop's Rhinox Brown. It is a nice dark brown that I will be using as a basecoat for many of my minis (especially the orcs) as it will do the best part of some of the painting for me - all I will need to do is add a few highlights and Bob's your aunty's husband.

Here is a quick view of the basecoated and newly undercoated scenic items in my collection so far...

The second picture shows the subtle difference between the black undercoat and the brown base coat. From the top picture you can also see the tents and barrels from my small selection of Renedra generic scenic items, as well as just about make out the LotR ruins.

I will be giving the tents and latest barrels a brown base coat to bring them up to speed with the rest of the collection, but the stone tower and LotR ruins pieces will need a grey base coat. I was thinking that I may make up some small piles of barrels glued together to give larger scenery items for figures to hide behind, as well as the originals being singly deployed for more scatter. I am also thinking of plonking some green stuff into the tops of a few to represent open barrels of produce - apples etc.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Battle Report: Rohan vs Easterlings (07/03/15)

Now that we have a new gaming room, I got my two boys together this afternoon for a rumble somewhere on the borders of Rohan. Nick played Rohan and Alex played the Easterling raiders (the only two armies for which I have painted minis). I sorted them out a Battle Company each and let them go at it.

I am very rusty with the rules at the moment, so a few things were missed and a couple of things were done in the wrong order during a turn or two, but these may not have made any difference anyway as Nick's dice-rolls were a typical little kid's and newbie's rolls - he always rolled what he required when he needed it except in the first couple of turns.

I began to photograph the game, but the camera battery died on me after a couple of turns. I recharged it and took a picture of the battlefield after the fifth and final turn!

Nick set up on the left hand side of the board in a small mass of troops. Alex, as he was on the right hand side of the board and therefore partially cut off by the river, he decided to set up as close to the ford as possible.

Turn 1 - Rohan priority

Nick and Alex both advanced their troops. Nick moved towards the barn and Alex made his way across the ford.

Turn 2 - Easterling priority
Alex advanced but Nick was a bit more canny and after advancing his warriors, he used his archers to shoot from a distance - both missed.

Turn 3 - Easterling priority
Alex advanced more and Nick did the same - again both archers missed.

Turn 4 - Rohan priority
Nick advanced into combat but used his throwing spears on the way in, killing the Easterling leader. This caused an immediate morale check which caused an Easterling archer to flee off the table and one of the spearmen to retreat - the rest held their nerve.
Alex was able to retaliate in his turn, with the remaining archer shooting into the Rohan ranks (but missed) and his heavily armed troops despatched a Rohan warrior.

Turn 5 - Rohan priority
This is where it completely fell apart for Alex.
Nick advanced his men back into combat, but the throwing spears missed. He then proceeded to win every combat. The first combat between the Rohan leader and one of his men and a single Easterling led to the Easterling being despatched. The other two combats resulted in no wounds being scored. This is where we got it in the wrong order. We had missed Nick's Shoot Phase for his archers, so we ran it now - they killed another Easterling warrior!

Alex ran a further Morale check on his troops as they had dropped below 50%, but only one failed. He decided to run with the combat as his armour was better than the Rohan warriors' and he fancied his chances, but he lost both of the fights and his warriors were both killed. The last remaining member of the Easterling Battle Company fled the table.

Summary - A Rohan Victory

Rohan lost 1 warrior to the Easterlings' 5 warriors.

I am not sure what would have happened if Alex had attempted to use his Fate point for his leader, but the way Nick was rolling the result was inevitable anyway.

Nick really enjoyed his victory, but was very upset when he lost his single warrior. Alex took it on the chin and chalked this experience up to Nick having beginner's luck and the usual knack for six year olds to roll whatever die score that is required (never play Nick at Frustration - he never loses!).

Both boys said that they would love to play again next weekend, with Alex using his own figures - his High Elves. I will continue to play Battle Companies with them but not use the promotion tables etc. yet. When we are all familiar with the rules again and can cope with larger amounts of minis, I may push the points limit up from approximately 50 or so to 250. This will allow the boys to field a couple of warbands with proper captains/leaders and maybe even named heroes.

Plastic Scenery: Undercoated

The weather forecast was correct, and the sun shone all day. Temperatures hit the mid-teens and there was no sign of rain. This gave me the opportunity I was looking for to undercoat the plastic scenery I constructed yesterday.

As I have never really given a step-by-step guide for anything I have painted so far on this blog, I will start from now on with these pieces of battlefield scenery. They were started off yesterday by being glued and left to dry overnight, and today they gained a black undercoat. Here they are in their full undercoated glory...

Whilst I was working on these and tidying the new games room further, I found I still have three or four large cardboard boxes full of gaming stuff that needs to be gone through. In these boxes I found a few more scenery items.

First up is a Grand Manner Roman Watchtower...

This is a hard resin building that comes in three pieces. I managed to clean most of it up but the veranda/walk-way has a lot of excess resin between the crossed-beams. I managed to clean out a few of the gaps but the resin between the bars is so thick that I ran the risk of breaking the building in order to clean it up. I decided to call a halt on cleaning those spaces up and have settled on the back story that hides have been hung between the slats to stop stray arrows from passing through the gaps.

Next up was a bunch of Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Ruins...

I undercoated some fallen pillars on their sprue and glued up some ruined walls (these will be undercoated tomorrow weather permitting). I also found a couple more sprues of Renedra barrels to add to those I already have. I will definitely make some of these up into solid stacks of barrels to add some interest to the battle board. This will mean if the gaming table is knocked, I wont have to hunt around for dozens of individual pieces under furniture where they have rolled.

Tomorrow I will hopefully undercoat the pieces not already undercoated and then base coat those that have been.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Plastic Scenery constructed

Today I got round to breaking out and constructing loads of plastic scenery that I have bought over the last year or two. They are from a variety of manufacturers...

Tabletop Workshop Tower...

Photo courtesy of Beasts of War
I bought this as part of Tabletop Workshop's pre-order deal (20% off). I would like to buy another one of these and perhaps some more of their range but when I went to their website today to take a look, the website was nowhere to be found - I do hope this is just a temporary glitch.

The photo above is how it should look, but I doubt mine will be half as good. Still, I'll try my best. Here are the first wip shots of the tower...

The four levels separated
The first two levels stacked
The first three levels stacked
The full tower in all its glory

I will not be gluing the individual tower levels together so it can be used as a variety of tower types/heights and the details within each section allow it to be used to place figures and fight combats. These are truly a terrific and versatile product.

This tower will be used as a quasi-historical tower in which to house a wizard or a lord and his retinue, or as a watch-tower in hostile territory. I will be using it in my Doggerland setting, as well as for historicals (Normans vs Saxons etc.), and Lord of the Rings.

Perry Miniatures Medieval Cottage...

Photo Courtesy of Perry Miniatures

This is a nicely rendered cottage with a small animal pen and lots of fencing. It is a good value product, and looks like it should paint up quite nicely. This could be used for a richer farmer or animal husband if placed alongside other Dark Age buildings.

As you can see from my photo of the box contents, there is the aforementioned cottage and animal stall, along with 5 lengths of wattle fencing and a two-piece wattle gate (shown at front).

Renedra Barrels and Fencing...

Renedra manufacture many generic items of scenery for all periods. I particularly liked the barrels and this fencing as they allow for some battlefield detritus at a cheap price. So many games do not feature the clutter of real life, so these items allow for that to be represented. I have stacked the barrels like this for show, but after I have painted them I may glue them together into stacks like these to be used as cover. I daresay I will try to grab hold of another few packs of these to go on carts (still to be bought) and be scattered all over the place - very useful items indeed.

Tomorrow I am hoping to get these undercoated as the weather forecast has predicted 15 degrees and plenty of sunshine - great weather for spraying outdoors.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

My Gaming Table

Yesterday, the gaming room conversion and decorating was finally finished. I had to wait overnight for the various glues and paints to dry and gave it a final hoover and wash down this morning. Today I will be moving in my gaming and comics stuff, but the first thing I thought I would do was set up my gaming table just to see what it looked like.

Here are two views of the table itself. It is set up to represent a small homestead or toll booth/barn located within a small river valley at a ford. It is a generic quasi-historical set-up but the statues by the ford are from Games Workshop's Lord of the Rings range, which give it more of a fantasy twist.

These are more views of the small hamlet by the ford. The building is a Conflix barn and the trees are either from Games Workshop or made by myself from a Woodland Scenics kit. There are a handful of hills and rises that should make for great objectives and line-of-sight blockers.

I will undoubtedly add to the scenery I have here (I have an un-madeup Tabletop Workshop tower and some Renedra barrels and fencing etc.), maybe to create a small village with the aforementioned tower being owned by the local lord from which to safeguard the area and store the river-crossing tolls. The buildings will most likely be a few more Conflix ones but I also really like some of the stuff that Adrian's Walls are producing for their Dark Ages range - all fit into my vision of Middle Earth (Conflix = Gondor etc., Adrian's Walls = Rohan etc.).

I will see about getting the scenery I already have glued up and painted soon, then carry on working on the LotR figures for each faction. As mentioned previously, I will most likely work on the Orcs as they can be generic baddies in any fantasy game.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Man Cave

Unemployment has its uses. I have been out of work for two months now but I have spent my time and efforts wisely. The blog has been very quiet during this period due to a major project that has been underway - namely, my new Man Cave.

Over the last few weeks I have converted my garage into a new room. I am hoping that it adds value to the property as well as giving us more breathing space in an already over-crowded house. Although I have lost a garage that is too small for modern-day cars (I also have off-road parking, so no loss there) I have gained a 2.3m x 4.9m room.

I have taken a few photos of the work that has been done. I will try to take a few more once the paint and carpet are dry/settled and some of my gaming stuff and utilities are installed.

This is the new door beckoning unsuspecting gamers within (not that exciting really)...


This is the view to the left (behind the open door)...

And finally, the view to the right...

As you can see, I will be sharing the room with our combi-boiler and associated pipework but there is still plenty of room for the freezer, a tumble-dryer, and shelving and cupboards to store all my gaming and comic related stuff.

It appears larger than it is in real life, but there should be enough room for both a desk and a small playing table, so I can set up my PC in there along with my paint station. I am hoping that all of my figures and rulebooks etc. will find a home here so that my wife no longer has to trip over them and have reason to curse my hobby ;-) It will also serve as a retreat for me to be able to read in peace and quiet, and maybe somewhere for the kids to do their homework away from the distraction of the TV and XBoxes etc.

I still have to work out what will fit where and sort out any shelving and racking that is still reqiured. The next few days should see me trying out all combinations of furniture arrangement until I find what fits best.