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.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Battle Company Re-inforcements

We played our second game of Battle Companies a few weeks back, but I didn't get round to dicing up the results and writing up the Battle Company rosters.

After our first game, Damril was able to recruit an extra spearman using his Influence points from winning the scenario...

And, after our second game, he recruited another spearman from his winner's Influence points. He still has 2 Influence points left, so even if he doesn't win the next game, he will still be able to recruit another warrior to his cause...

However, Ushnar, the orc battle company leader, despite losing both games, was able to recuit an extra in the shape of a Black Numenorian. I managed to roll two sixes in a row to achieve this - its a shame I cannot do this in a game. Unfortunately, I lost one of my orcs in the scenario, so this new arrival was just a replacement - but what a replacement!...

I used a 2nd Age Numenorian figure to represent this new arrival as I didn't have any of the purpose made Black Numenorians that Games Workshop designed. I like the idea of these once proud men turned evil; especially as they cause Terror in their opponents, which may come in handy against normal warriors, but I daresay my son's impressive dice rolling for his archers will come in handy for despatching this warrior in short order before he can use his full powers on the tabletop.

The camera has been a bit harsh on my paint job, showing up places where I quite seriously went over the lines - my eyesight is not what it once was, even with the aid of glasses.

Anyway, this was just another short post to keep the blog turning over with my gaming stuff. Next time I will try to show off the two Battle Companies as they stand right now, including maybe a roster sheet for both at long last.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Gondor Repaints

The kids have been over the last couple of weekends, so I was able to spend some time with my youngest son again to do some work on our gaming stuff. Last weekend was paperwork for Battle Companies and Rangers of Shadow Deep, which I will get written up properly in the next few posts.

This weekend we got the paint brushes and glue out to complete a few more Gondorian miniatures to go with his Gondor Battle Company under the command of Damril. Here are seven archers that we repainted in order to add to his Gondor force when they are needed...

Apologies for the blurry picture - it doesn't do the figures any justice.

This was the first time my son had really used a paint brush on his own figures. He did previously paint a Goblintown warrior at Games Workshop that he was allowed to bring home for free, but he was very young and literally painted the whole thing yellow (he wants me to re-undercoat it so he can give it a proper paint job).

He did a really good job with these archers - we went one colour at a time and most likely both of us put at least one or two colours on each figure; so it could be said that these are all a joint effort rather than full repaints just by me.

His total completed Gondor force now consists of his original six (2xswords, 2xspears, 2xarchers) from Damril's Battle Company, plus the extra spearman he gained as a reinforcement after our first campaign game. He now has the seven archers mentioned above to add to that total as well as another spearman reinforcement (more on that in the next post), bringing his total to 15 completed Gondorians.