Romans and Goths

Couple of units of Romans with some Gothic cavalry. The spearmen with the spoked shields have been done for ages but they finally got their rear rank of archers. The other unit is newer – don’t think I fancy painting another 70-odd faces for 36 figures! Started these before getting some LBM shield transfers. Think I’ll use those next time. Romans are a mix of Foundry, Gripping Beast and a few West Wind. I have padded the bases to disguise the difference in stature between the manufacturers.

 

Adventurers

After a lazy few months – health not so good – thought I would finish off a few figures that have been sitting around with a few daubs for some time. I think they are Reaper figures, but could be wrong. Guy with the mace is a bit awkwardly posed – although that could be because he thinks he’s going to trip over the book I’ve put in front of him! Favourite is probably the Half-Orc druid – the tattoo comes from a 4th edition D&D idea, so it shows how long that has been waiting to be finished. Dried green tea leaves make good litter, and the toadstools are made of cocktail sticks and milliput.

Bloodletters

My painting rules for 2017 have been bent a little (see New Year post here), in that I’ve been painting a load of Antares stuff for Rowan, that isn’t in the tray.  But I have also finished this unit which was in the tray at New Year. They too belong to Rowan and were a combined effort in that he did three and I did the rest, and to his credit, it’s not easy to spot which his three were, even close up.

Bloodletter Unit

These are from the current Games Workshop kit, which was an impulse buy from a little toy and gift shop called Dizzyware in Bingham (I’m sure they could do with your custom if you live that side of Nottingham). I’m not keen on a lot of the current GW ranges, but there’s a lot to like about these, specifically:

  • They aren’t burdened with enormous guns, massive helmets, skull ornaments etc etc.
  • They aren’t hugely over-muscled, but lithe and swift looking.
  • They have a standard bearer and musician (that one on the right is carrying a big wiggly horn – it doesn’t seem to have any valves, so I don’t think he produces music in the normal sense of the word).

Bloodletter Command Group

The banner is based on the Donnie Darko rabbit – after a sarcastic suggestion that I should paint a ‘bunny’ on it. Well, will a Satanic rabbit do? The film one has characters making up the face, which I replaced with generic faces and a skull, otherwise it’s more or less a direct copy, although I wasn’t as successful as making the faces part of the head as I wanted. Probably a lot easier in Photoshop…

More Bloodletters

They are quite similar models, so to give them some variety and stop a Chaos unit looking too orderly, they were painted in a good range of skin tones, from the almost black one at the front to the brighter reds at the back. Their upper body is covered in small lumps, and these were painted in different colours on different models, some bright red, some the same tone as the surrounded skin and some in a sort of bone colour. The glistening red which you can see on some of the hands and weapons is translucent red paint for glass, which is conveniently water based and gives a much more realistic blood look than ordinary red paint. I’ve tried not to go to mad, with just a few dribbles on the weapon blades etc.

Bob Olley hybrids

Another couple for the growing cult. These are the fantastic Bob Olley sculpts with new plastic arms. The one on the right spent a couple of decades in the corner of the cabinet with the original hybrid arms and an autocannon. Just didn’t suit him and he languished half painted and unloved (albeit with the natty red trousers).

Bob Olley hybrids

As part of the “get all the Genestealer stuff done” drive, I stuck spare Neophyte arms on and was really pleased with the results. The one on the left’s shoulders are perhaps a bit broad, but I think it adds to his air of hulking menace.

I’m not keen on some of Bob Olley’s stuff, but his baroque highly decorated weirdness suits these down to the ground. Look at those crazy metal jacket things at the back – how did Bob come up with those shapes?

Frostgrave worm

“Begone, foul hell spawn”. A somewhat outclassed apprentice tries to see off this looming menace with a newly memorised bit of magic.

Frostgrave worm – model from Ramshackle

One of the more unusual monsters in the basic Frostgrave rulebook is the Giant Worm. I’ve been trying to collect up all the monsters and bits for the scenarios in the original book (yes, I am getting left well behind as more get released, but you have to be realistic).

I painted it purple because that’s what I remembered the book as describing it as, but revisiting it, there’s no mention of colour. I think I must have been thinking of a D&D purple worm.

A lot of people have used more dragon-like creatures, but this maggoty thing from Ramshackle Games is just perfect. The bestiary says “They were originally bred to clean the city’s sewer system, devouring all of the waste“, so a bloated, blind creature, with a mouth like a waste disposal unit, fits the bill, and for £5, it’s good value for something that can tower over a luckless adventurer.

Ramshackle Slag Dragon Maggot

 

Genestealer hybrid with flamer

Last year Rowan bought a box of Deathwatch Overkill to form the basis of a hybrid army. The Neophyte and Acolyte boxes have further swelled their numbers, but that still wasn’t enough, and there are plenty of spare parts on the sprues. So, to supplement the hybrids in mining gear, we’ve also been doing some cultists – rich purple robes, a bit more ragged and mysterious. This one is based on a spare cast from my own range.

Genestealer hybrid with flamer

I took the head off with side cutters, pinned on a spare plastic hybrid head and then added a green stuff hood to fill the gap. A little bit of ‘genestealer pattern’ in light blue livened up an otherwise fairly plain model. He also had a very normal looking foot protruding from his robe, so I whipped that off and replaced it with a claw.

The original cast

Antares battle at Warlord HQ

Rowan and I went to Warlord Games HQ in Nottingham for their fortnightly Antares games night last night. They are open till 8.30pm and there are four tables available, such as this rather nicely sculpted desert. We played two games, which were against each other as we were first to set up, but all four tables were in use by the end, one for Bolt Action. Ghar seem very popular, being 3 out of the 4 armies on the other tables. In our first game I took 750 points of the store’s Algoryn army and faced off against our newly painted Ghar.

Algoryn prepare for the onslaught

I took the Algoryn, who are heavily armoured, but their base guns use mag technology which isn’t as good as the plasma weapons that Concord have. Critically their penetration is too weak to cause pins on the Ghar battlesuits, so they are reliant on the Ghar rolling a zero on a d10 when hit (not very likely). Rowan fielded 3 squads of battlesuits and a squad of outcasts with a disruptor cannon. His outcasts (being puny goblin creatures) dug in at the back in some rocks, while the Ghar trundled forward, my mag rounds pinging off their armour.

A lucky shot from my command group took down one Ghar on my right flank, but other than that I caused no casualties. In the following turn the command group was obliterated when a Ghar shot deviated from its intended target of the skimmer. The skimmer which carried my only substantial weapon spent most of its time ‘down’ and didn’t do much. The game ended on turn 6 when I lost over half my command dice and my army broke altogether. Total Ghar casualties – just one battlesuit.

Ghar close in on their luckless victims

In the next game Rowan took the Algoryn and I used Concord. This time we played a scenario in which I had to capture at least 2 out of 3 objectives on his back line. I had 4 Concord squads plus two support squads consisting of two light support drones. All had buddy drones – these are spotters which allow you to re-roll any misses, which makes them very useful but they do die immediately if your opponent rolls a 1 (low is good) when firing at your unit. I hung back and used my superior firepower to blast him. Again the Algoryn skimmer didn’t do much. It got pinned and then rolled badly to activate several times. The Algoryn right flank was weaker, so I concentrated fire there, putting just enough fire on the other flank to interfere with their firing. One Algoryn squad was destroyed and another seriously weakened. I had lost the odd trooper and quite a few buddy drones, but was winning the firefight. With time running out, one Concord squad started to rush forward but took a couple of casualties and went down near the Algoryn troops, however, with supporting fire from another undamaged squad, it got back up again and sprinted for the first objective on the far right of the Algoryn line. With one turn to go, I had to clear his command squad and advance the depleted lead squad into the middle of his deployment area. Some lucky shots blew away the two troopers and his general failed his break test, so my squad could sprint to the second objective and secure a last minute victory.

All in all a good game, and we might well be back in two weeks time.

 

Antares arrives

Not many posts recently – I’ve been busy, so here’s a quick update. I’ve finally finished off a massive building that I started around er, 15 years ago. It could do with more detailing etc. etc. but I thought it was best to just press on and get it finished.

I’ll post a bit more detail on how it was made soon. I’m particularly pleased with the staircases (which can’t be seen in the photo).

Rowan has bought the starter set of Gates of Antares, after being inspired by our visit to the official opening of the Warlord games store a  couple of weeks ago. We’ve already painted the entire contents of the box – 38 models. The style is much more hi-tech sci-fi than the techno barbarity of 40K, so a bit of aesthetic culture shock at first but I’m warming to it. The drones which are used quite extensively for spotting, are a great addition to the usual selection of sci-fi infantry and are very believable as part of future warfare.

Ghar advance

Here you can see two squads of Ghar (degenerate, savage abhumans in primitive powered armour), advancing to crush some luckless Concord (conventional humans) in the distance. The rules play well – they are fast, a small game can be finished in an hour, but there are a reasonable number of tactical options. The turn order is decided by randomly picking dice out of a bag – whichever side’s colour comes out, they can activate a unit. Units become pinned when shot at, making it harder to move them and less effective when firing, and if subjected to enough incoming fire can break even before everyone has been killed. Another neat rule is that a natural roll of 1 (low is good) is always a success and often carries some bonus over and above just succeeding – e.g. if you roll a 1 to hit a unit, you can choose the specific unit member to hit, so you can pick off a leader or heavy weapon. Likewise if you roll a 0 (=10) then you well and truly fail, and may take an additional penalty. This adds an extra layer of unexpected outcomes without too much complexity.

Having been used to skirmish games where scenery is WYSIWYG, and each model manoeuvres independently, Antares, being very much squad based, feels a bit imprecise, but it is just a different scale of battle and at that scale it seems to work very well.

Back to the hive

After many months of being covered in miscellaneous junk and boxes of models, after weeks of picking away at the debris, I finally gritted my teeth and cleared the table in the shed. 4′ x 8′ of glorious emptiness. It was time for a game.

Finally cleared

Rowan had found rules for a Genestealer Hybrid gang in Necromunda, and was keen to give his new army an outing. He could only afford a very small gang – 1 Magus, 2 Purestrain, a hybrid and two Brood Brothers. I went with an 11 man Delaque gang. I got to pick the first mission and picked Raid, because it sounded interesting. It was only when I looked at the scenario details I realised what a tough proposition it was – he had his whole gang but I could only pick five of mine. Worse still, we were using the dangerous terrain from Outlanders, and this battle was taking place with an unstable roof dome above. If I fired my Heavy Stubber, there was a high chance that I would bring the roof down and kill everyone.

Necromunda table

In this scenario, the attacking gang has to sneak up on the objective while the defending sentries mill around aimlessly. The objective was the staircase in a mesh box visible at top right. Rowan had positioned it in fairly open ground right in the corner of the map – very difficult for me to get to. Ideally I would have opened up on it from the other side of the map with the Heavy Stubber, but I couldn’t do that because of the unstable roof.

Ready to fire on the objective

I crept closer, and still at a respectful distance from the Stealers I opened fire. 3 hits on the objective, but with T6, they did no damage at all (I needed 6s to wound). The alarm was raised and the Stealers bolted towards me. I retreated hastily, hoping that the Genestealers would become sufficiently far ahead that I could pick them off. Things got worse when the Magus used a hallucinogenic mind power on my flamer. Thinking his buddies had betrayed him, he turned round and flamered the gang, taking down two of them and I bottled.

Stealer on guard

The second battle was a shoot out. This looked much more promising. We had three gangers each – in this scenario they walk towards each other and the first to lose his nerve and open fire loses victory points. I had my Leader, a Flamer and a Heavy Stubber.

Gang stand off

We were both going slowly until I realised that my flamer needed to get into range and sped up – but too late; the Stealers triggered the shoot out. The Magus and my leader fired first – he missed and I took out a Brood Brother. Then the hybrid missed, and finally it was the Heavy Stubber’s turn. With two shots on each of the remaining targets he took them both down.

One win each – a straight gang fight next..

Rusty debris

I love to make scenery out of found objects. These rusty bits of debris are exactly that – rusty debris. There was an old farm implement rusting away at the end of the garden, and before I took it to the tip, I noticed that some of it was actually flaking apart into these fragments. Just the sort of corroded and unidentifiable remains that the underhive would be littered with.

Rusty Necromunda debris

I stuck them to scraps of hardboard, covered the base with sand and then all I did to paint them was to give them a very light orangey brown drybrush on some of the edges. All the colours and patterning were already there. They aren’t very large (I wish I’d salvaged a bit more now), but they have great texture and a satisfying weight.