Trading Guilder

I am working on a scenario for BOYL 2016 called “Inquisitor Cynole and the Temple of Gloom”. It’s based on a snippet from the Book of the Astronomicon – read more about it on the Oldhammer forum here.

One of the factions is the “Trading Guild” and I have just painted this as a potential leader. He’s actually from a Wargames Foundry Colonial/Victorian range. I simply added a green putty bionic eye, a ‘plasma’ end to his revolver and a wire with a few putty details on it.

Trading Guild official

Trading Guild official

Second Frostgrave game

For our second ever Frostgrave game, we played a four way game. After a quick reincarnation, my warband came back exactly as it had been at the start of the first game. Rowan’s was enhanced by adding a couple of higher quality henchmen such as a knight. We played on a 3’x3′ table again, with even more scenery. I thought it would be too small, but it actually worked pretty well – although 4’x4′ might have been better. The other two warbands were a bit more experienced, but in Frostgrave the benefits of this are relatively moderate so it didn’t feel unfair.

Rushing for the treasure

Rushing for the treasure

Here you see my warband. The barbarian has led one group to grab some treasure (the grey disk near the wall). There’s more treasure around in the form of giant gems in the shape of dice, although at least two are illusory. I’m about to meet another warband rushing in from the right. On my left flank was Rowan’s warband. He covered me warily with a marksman but didn’t fire for fear of provoking my wizard. We weren’t going for the same treasure so there seemed no reason to fight (and we were using the Bad Karma rules which give no XP for killing).

Melee

Melee

A turn or so later, the thief has climbed the building and retrieved a bit of treasure – luckily it turned out to be real. The apprentice and a thug are advancing to recover another bit (the grey disk). On the left Rowan’s warband advances, and in the foreground the barbarian and his companions are in desperate melee with the other warband. The warhound has been sent in to protect a thug while he tries to get away with the treasure. In Frostgrave, escaping with treasure is impossible without your comrades protecting you, because it halves your move.

frostgrave_2_4

Enchanter warband advances

Meanwhile Rowan’s enchanter was advancing into the middle of the table. He managed to drive off the Chronomancer’s advance on one side by shooting one model and grenading another in the same turn. Above you can see one of his new acquisitions – a templar knight. He didn’t have much treasure on his side – in this game the gold statue was representing a medium construct, so no loot there.

I had much better luck this game. The warhound killed its opponent with two lucky rolls, and the barbarian demolished another. Whilst my thug escaped with the loot, the rest got stuck in to their single remaining opponent – a ranger. Sensing victory, I threw an archer into the fight, only to suffer my only casualty of the game when the ranger calmly killed him with a single blow. My wizard occupied himself by repeatedly trying to cast Blinding Light, but never strongly enough to do any damage.

Up on the tall building, the apprentice and a thug secured another piece of treasure and climbed down inside the building with it in order to retreat as safely as possible. The illusionist warband had taken a beating – in addition to his bad luck in the melee (three dead), my archer shot one of his archers as he tried to climb over a wall to help the ranger, and another of his men was shot by Rowan.

By this point I had recovered three pieces of treasure and having learned from the last game, I decided to beat a retreat while the going was good. An archer and Jeremiah, the wizard, covered the rest of the warband as they filed off with the loot.

Time to go home

Time to go home

What did I learn from this one – concentrate on the achievable treasure, stick together and don’t be too rash. Frostgrave for four works pretty well, although it is a bit slower. As there is a separate phase for wizard, apprentice and others, in effect it takes three circuits of the players to complete each turn. However, the magic is pretty quick, and there are no cumbersome magic points to track. I particularly like the way the wizards can choose to drain their own health, for the points required to bring a roll up to the number needed for success. It adds an interesting tactical twist and also fits in well with the atmosphere.

 

First frostgrave game

The scene is set

The scene is set

On Saturday, Rowan and I headed over to the Games Emporium at Mansfield to try out Frostgrave. A helpful member of staff helped us through the first couple of turns while we got the hang of the rules. We both had starting warbands. I fielded a Thaumaturge, Apprentice, Barbarian, 2 Archers, 3 Thugs and a Thief, while he had an Enchanter, Apprentice, Marksman, Treasure Hunter, 5 Thugs and a Thief.

We used the ruins I had just built, with a few pieces of Emporium stuff – even on a 3′ x 3′ table we needed extra.

Advancing to the first treasure

Advancing to the first treasure

Here the barbarian leads a couple of thugs to the first bit of treasure – a statue, urged on by Jeremiah Crow. All good so far. The skull festooned wall is the large central building where much of the action was to take place.

Marksman and Thaumaturge face off

Marksman and Thaumaturge face off

In an effort to protect the warband, Jeremiah tried to cast Blinding Light on the enemy marksman  (taking cover at top right) – but failed to make the casting roll, a pattern which was to become all too familiar.

Treasure is dragged away

Treasure is dragged away

You shall not pass

You shall not pass

Over on my left flank, Rowan’s thief had found another statue and started dragging it away. Two thugs picked up a ‘magic’ barrel and one pulled it while the other stood in front as a human shield. You can take cover behind other models, so the use of cannon fodder to protect more valuable models seems to be a standard Frostgrave tactic.

My barbarian climbed up the side of the central tower and attempted to block the enemy treasure hunter as he climbed the stairs. Sadly there’s no combat bonus for holding the higher ground. Barbarians are one of the best melee fighters, but treasure hunters are also strong, and he was forced back, allowing a thug to come up and support the treasure hunter.

Down below, a thug was advancing round the tower and getting dangerously close to my Thaumaturge. I sent the warhound forward to block him and to draw fire from the valuable wizard. Unfortunately it’s quite easy to kill a warhound in the open with a crossbow, and down he went.

 

Release the hound

Release the hound

I had got one piece of treasure safely away by this point, and another well on the way. I should have been happy with that and backed away but I wanted to claim that central treasure. The barbarian fell to the thugs and treasure hunter, but I sent in more – a thief, a thug and the apprentice. By this point, Rowan had discovered ‘Grenade’ – his favourite spell and both wizard and apprentice were hurling them at anything that moved.

I eventually got the treasure away, but model after model fell in close combat, and once you are outnumbered, it gets ever harder. Here, the apprentice, realising the desperate situation he is in resorts to a quick prayer before being hacked down.

By this point, other than the two thugs who had crept off with treasure, there weren’t many survivors. My wizard was slain, the apprentice was slain, I did get Rowan’s wizard with a lucky arrow, but I only had one archer left on the left flank. The thief tried to drag the treasure from the tower towards him before being cut down. The battle was over.

Last stand

Last stand

After the battle, I rolled to see what would happen to the wizard  – and rolling low discovered that he was dead. At that point it didn’t seem worth totting up the rest – I’d have to start again with a new warband. Rowan fared a bit better, finding a valuable Staff of Cursing, amongst other bits, and upgraded a few henchmen with the proceeds.

What did I learn? Well, don’t get greedy was one lesson. Enchanter’s throwing grenades are very dangerous was another. Another key point is not to get outnumbered in melee – models on their own die easily, even if they are your best. It’s also worth having a couple of cheap models as treasure carriers – if all they are going to do is disappear off the table with the loot, it’s not worth spending too much on them.

Chainsaw Warrior Mutants

Chainsaw Warrior Mutant Models

Chainsaw Warrior Mutant Models

More Chainsaw Warrior mutants

More Chainsaw Warrior mutants

Original card

Original card

Last year I created a game using Space Hulk rules in a Chainsaw Warrior setting, which I’m finally getting round to fully documenting here (and I still need to finish the rules so that they can be posted). I needed models for all the key cards, which was difficult as most had never been released; in many cases the only source was a small picture on the card of the head, so I didn’t even know what they were supposed to look like. In the game there are four mutants, one each of red, yellow, green and blue. As individual characters – and pretty powerful ones at that, they needed to be well-represented. I thought they would probably be a bit larger than human size, as they have good close combat values. The red mutant is the weakest at 10, then 12 for yellow, 14 for green and 16 for blue. That makes the blue mutant the second highest combat value after Darkness – higher than even the Meat Machine.

The models that I have used are my own sculpt made from green putty on a thin wire armature. I have cast them up at home as described in this blog post. The casts weren’t perfect but pretty good – these were painted without any additional putty work. I wondered about making variants, but then I decided that I rather liked the way that they were identical, echoing the original cards which were also identical apart from the colour.

On the photo below, you can see that I have painted their close combat score on the back of the base for reference. Originally I was going to simplify this a bit in the Space Hulk game and give all the mutants the same score, but it’s pretty easy to remember and you can always keep their counter to hand for reference (plus it’s on the base).

Back of mutants

Back of mutants

First frostgrave models

2016 is turning into a bumper year for blog posts. Here are the first couple of models painted up for Frostgrave. On the left we have a marksman – Rowan’s costliest henchman, and on the right is my biggest spend – a barbarian. I’ve based all the Frostgrave models on 20mm square, because I was raised on WFB III and that’s what a human should be based on. The barbarian does get a 25mm square because he was just too big to put on a 20mm one. I suppose he would make a decent Chaos thug (25mm), although with those axes sticking out, he’s not going to “rank up” very well unless the models on either side of him are crouching down (or Chaos halflings).

Marksman and Barbarian

Marksman and Barbarian

The marksman is from the Frostgrave soldiers box, with the addition of a shield from the Perry European mercenaries box. I was going to do something heraldic, but that seemed a bit boring so I went for something a bit more fantasy themed.

frostgrave_1_back

Marksman and Barbarian

The barbarian is from Blacktree Design. Some of the faces in this range are a bit ropey, but this one is fine. I bought a few last year with the intention of converting them to Necromunda ratskins, but on seeing them in real life, I realised they were too big and muscle-bound to be suitable. The bald head made me go for a grizzled, grey bearded veteran look. With the shield I was trying to evoke an Eastern European look – he’s wandered in from the steppes.

The massive double axes made me think of these Lindybeige videos. In this one he explains why carrying two weapons in real life doesn’t double your attacks – it’s just a bit pointless, and in this one he explains why there’s no point in a fighting axe being double-bitted because it just makes the head heavier and harder to wield. I don’t think you’d want to explain that to this barbarian though, he might take offence.

Hazmat suit

A model from the tail end of 2015 here – Hazmat for Hazardous Materials, by the way. This is from Casting Room Miniatures – an offshoot of Wargames Foundry. A useful model for scenarios, who would very much fit in with the zombies and SWAT teams previously shown, and is also anonymously sci-fi enough to slip into a Rogue Trader setting. I find white very difficult to get smooth – this is perhaps a bit grainy and grubby, but will certainly do in an emergency (which presumably it is if you are wearing that sort of clobber).

hazmat

Hazmat suit

 

Hittite infantry

At long last got around to revamping the Hittite footsoldiers. I had around 120 from 20 years ago, since when more pictorial interpretations have been published and superior figures produced, unfortunately in 28mm starting with Foundry rather than 15mm. I had a fair stock of unpainted figures, and decided to pad them out with some suitable figures that I could convert to Hittites. Not too hard to find kilted figures with helmets that came close, but didn’t manage to find any without beards, and of course pigtails were a bit thin on the ground. The cloak-style jobbie that leaves the left arm free, while protecting the side of the body, is a particularly Hittite feature as well. I was also looking for some figures wielding spears 2-handed. Sumerian spearmen from Magister Militum were the best options I found.
I had to trim off the beards, which was a bit of a faff. Pigtails were easy with green stuff. Mainly the long one down the back, but I also did some with the side pigtails over the front of the shoulders. I got one pack of the Sumerians with the thick protective cloaks, figuring that the concept was similar to the Hittite garment and that some may have opted for this type of protection. I carefully pared away the metal disks on the outside of the cloak, on the basis that they were too distinctively Sumerian.
All of my original figures had Dipylon? style shields. I wanted to put in a good number of rectangular shields for variety to reflect those interpretations mentioned earlier. In some cases the dipylon shields were reused to give variety to other figures, after being carefully cut off figures using either a craft knife or razor saw, depending on which figure it was and how hard the metal was. The rectangular shields were produced from plasticard, scored into 6mm by 8mm rectangles and snapped apart. A few were scored to represent bare wicker, but most were left blank.
The original figure all had the shields painted in bright geometric colours. I wasn’t really happy with these, and decided that repainting them as mottled cowhide, with a variety of coloured rims, would not only look more effective, but would also draw the different shield shapes together.
Where I thought it was necessary, I replaced spears with pins, having hammered the point flat to create the spearhead. I wanted some figures to have long spears as some have proposed that these were used by some Hittite infantry.
Another thing is that Essex, for whatever reason, chose to make their shields much bigger. I decided to arm one unit with these, partly just because I wanted to, and partly because my impression of the Hittite army is that it would have included contingents from different regions. I decided on the following mix of units;
1 unit of close order infantry with Javelins and large shields.

large shield 2d
2 units of close order infantry with javelins and smaller shields.

infantry
2 units with a mixture of javelins and longer spears and a greater variety of gear. These would represent either city levy raised either in an emergency or for local use, or following the collapse of the Hittite empire, remnants of different units banded together to form larger units.

small shield 1d

levy d

 

All 5 together;

 

all inf

 

SWAT team – early sculpts

SWAT team sculpts

SWAT team sculpts

These are some of my earliest scratch-built models, which I have finally got round to painting and basing. From what I can remember they were the 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th that I ever sculpted – going from left to right. I’ve now sculpted about thirty models in total. This set were started around 1996 when I did the first two. The third and fourth were mostly done around 2002, but only completed last year. I started them when I was collecting near future and difficult though it may be to believe now, the only futuristic police available back in the mid-90s were Mark Copplestone’s  police in conventional police uniforms and caps (now available from em4). I thought I’d do some more heavyweight police to complement these.

These were all done in green putty on a thin wire armature (the plastic coated phone wire). They look OK on the tabletop, but looking at them with a critical eye there are quite a few bits out of proportion. Going through them in turn:

Model A
His legs are too short compared to the upper body – this overall proportion is something I still struggle with. Even when working on an armature, there’s enough leeway as you bulk this out to get it wrong, and it’s difficult to notice until you’ve done all the detail and it’s too late. His shoulders are also a bit narrow and hunched. Handcuffs came out quite well, but generally detail could be crisper.

Model B

Right arm holding the radio is a bit long. His gun was made by printing on to thin card and then cutting it out with a scalpel (the barrel is wire). This was very laborious, but I didn’t have anything else suitable.

Model C

This one is getting a bit big compared to the others – I tend to creep bigger if I’m not careful. His bottom looks curiously narrow. Obviously given his pose, you couldn’t mould this because the arms form a circle, but I was never intending to cast them.

Model D

Here I tried for a more dynamic pose, which has been partially successful, but… he has ended up with particularly large long arms, and there is something a bit wrong about how he is leaning forward which I can’t put my finger on. Also, if he stood up straight he would be even bigger than model C. This one is carrying a Wargames Foundry weapon because I had plenty and I didn’t fancy laboriously scratch building another one.

SWAT team sculpts

SWAT team sculpts

I’d be interesting to see what you think – you can be brutal, these are an early effort and I know there’s plenty wrong with them. What are other people’s early sculpting experiences? What did you do wrong at first, and how did you improve?

Werebear

Werebear

Werebear

This rather nice model from Black Tree Design ticked two boxes – he has been sitting around for about a year half painted, so that’s a tick for finishing things off, and I’m also trying to collect models for Frostgrave (that’s one of the key projects for 2016), and there’s something very suitable about a giant humanoid bear. I considered putting snow on the base, but then it will look very odd in any other setting, so I went for just making it more rocky than usual as a half way compromise. I looked up a few pictures of bears, and the lighter muzzle seemed typical. The paler stomach isn’t so accurate but I wanted to avoid just making him plain brown all over.

Zombies first to be finished in 2016

One of my resolutions for 2016 is to clear up some of the half finished models that have been hanging around in the painting tray, many for months. Another resolution is to try to avoiding starting anything that isn’t in the top three projects list (to be disclosed later).

These are the last eight of a box of 40 zombies that Rowan had last year as a Christmas present. He’s keen on building them and playing games, but not so keen on the painting, so I’ve done most of them.

Wargames Factory Zombies

Wargames Factory Zombies

These are from Wargames Factory. Note that “Wargames Factory” is completely unconnected to this “WarFactory” blog, or the WarFactory models being sold by Lancer. It’s a little inconvenient that they have such a similar name, but as I registered warfactory.co.uk in 1999 and did a logo etc, I’m not going to change it now.

They are a good value kit, but the detail isn’t that sharp. Altogether they make a great horde, and the poses are suitably shambling. I have painted them pretty roughly in a smudgy style that looks effective from a distance. The best bit is the use of some clear, red glass paint which makes great wet-look blood. My favourite bit is splodging some of this on at the end. It’s water based, so it’s very convenient to use. The make is Creativity Glass Paint from Philip & Tacey – not sure if it’s still available, I’ve had it for years.

We’ve already used these zombies in a number of games including the Chainsaw Warrior game, and as NPC extras in a couple of Rogue Trader games just before Christmas.

Wargames Factory Zombies

Wargames Factory Zombies

New comments login
I have just switched the comments login over from using the WordPress Jetpack plugin to the Social Login plugin connected to the oneall site. This should allow you to use a number of common logins (facebook, google etc). In theory the Jetpack one should have done this, but I noticed that it jammed up on my iPhone, for example, and this one seems more fully featured. Please do comment – it encourages me to post more, and if you have any problems then please get in touch. You should be able to fill in your name and email if the social networking login doesn’t work.