Saturday, September 24, 2016

Along The Black and Blue Danube

In late April of 1809, Feldmarshal Lieutenant Ludwig VonSourkraut finally began moving his division across the border of Bavaria despite delays caused by confused orders, poor roads and his own personal battles with the gout. On a crisp Sunday morning, his forces stood ready to cross one of the smaller tributaries of the Danube but a reinforced French garrison under the command of his old nemesis, Marshall Pierre Camembert, stood in his way. The Frenchman's resolve was the only thing stronger than his body-odor, and Ludwig knew he would be in for a grueling fight.

The view from the Austrian controlled South.
The Austrian objective was to push north across the river and secure the small town of Wasserhaus. Doing so would give them a minor victory. If able to push on to and occupy the town of Brunnenburg, the Austrian army would claim a major victory in the opening stages of the War of the Fifth Coalition. This past week, three friends and I got together to recreate this important fictional battle.

The French deployed in strength in the two northern towns.
For Napoleonics, we us a homebrew set of rules that is really easy to teach and learn and gives good results in a reasonable amount of time. We played a game with over 1000 figures on the board in about 3 hours - with plenty of time for drinking and conversations along the way. It was a great time and really fun battle.

Each player is responsible for commanding a brigade of troops, and our generals' personalities and abilities were randomly generated. My buddy Stu and I commanded the French side and these were our generals:

Men of refined culture and taste, obviously.
Our Austrian opponents, commanded by Ron and Alfonso, were ably led by Sir Connery and Sir Murray. With two knighted Generals, how could they fail?

The Austrians should never have let non-Germans lead their men!
The first several turns involved the Austrians jockeying for position. They concentrated their assault on the bridge at Wasserhaus and the Western flank, even going so far as attempting a sweeping cavalry assault by no less than eight squadrons of hussars.  The battle was incredibly bloody as Austrian infantry attempted to press towards the bridge and a wall of horses forded the river into a nest of waiting French Grenadiers.

Austrian Hussars begin their turn towards the Western flank.
French Carbiniers race foward to reinforce the bridge.
General Trejo leads the Grenadiers toward the Western bank.
Bavarians defend the Eastern flank of Wasserhaus.
French Carbiniers cross the river to push back the Austrian advance!
French Skirmishers desperately defend the watchtower at the bridge.
The Austrians attempted to bypass the bridge entirely and just ford the river.
The French Grenadiers held firm against the onslaught of the Austrian Hussars.
After several hours of fighting, the battlefield was littered with the tiny corpses of toy soldiers, empty beer bottles and the air hung heavy with cotton wool smoke markers. The Austrians just couldn't fully breach the river and were held at Wasserhaus. The French had won the day! It was an awesome afternoon and a great chance to get all my toy soldiers out on the table. I look forward to the next battle.

As a bonus (and because everyone always asks) here are all the rules and cards for my home-brew system. It plays really well and assumes that everyone involved behaves like an adult and has played a war-game before. And how many blogs offer you free rules?! (Don't answer that.)


Page 1
Page 2

Page 3

General Sheet 1 - print once and cut out.
General Sheet 2 - print once and cut out.
Special Event Cards 1 - Print once and cut out.
Special Event Card 2 - print once and cut out.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

More Work On The Silver Tower!

My hobby time this week was taken up entirely with working on models from Warhammer Quest The Silver Tower. So far I've been focusing on the smaller guys - its almost like painting 15mm or 20mm stuff - and everything is painting up nice an quick. At this point I've got over half of the set done. I expect a slight slow down on the project as I tackle the more detailed hero and villain pieces. Even before those I need to work on the Tanzigors, which are the last of the minions.

First up are the Tzeentch horrors. These models assembled and painted up really quickly. Having a model be 90% one color makes painting them really fast - its just a matter of basecoating and shading and I was almost done.

Warrblegarrbleboo! These models have a lot of energy in the sculpts.
A burble of Blue Horrors! 
Towards the end of the week I worked on the Grot Scuttlings. These are fun little models and an interesting re-imagining of classic GW gobbos. I'm not sure I'd want these to be a permanent aesthetic for goblins in Age of Sigmar, but as a one off or a unique unit in an army they appeal to me.

Eight legged freaks!
The last of the familiars got done as well. These are adorable little models that remind me of some of the classic GW familiar models and it's really nice to see this kind of stuff included on a frame.

Have you heard the Word of the Good Book?
This brings the total models I've painted up for Silver Tower to 36 out of 50 in the set. Not too shabby for about 3 weeks worth of work. I hope to get the whole box done and play some games in the next month.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mixed Bag 4 - More Silver Tower, Shipping Containers and Kill Team!

This week saw me grinding through a little bit more of my Silver Tower box. I managed to finish up the two Skaven models and a handful of the Familiar models. So far, the amount of models in the set is perfect for me - not so many that I get bored painting the same model over and over and not so few that I have to labor over each one for a couple hours. At this point I've got 20 some odd models done which is almost half the set. If I can maintain that level of momentum I'm confident that I should be done the whole shebang in a couple weeks.

Yep. That's two models. Not just one photo bashed together.
I put these guys on special bases since last week.
Insert your own Mac-the-Knife jokes here.
A discussion on FB emerged that you didn't need two of each familiar models. Luckily, this occurred AFTER I had painted them all. And it turned out, you do need two of each model. I THINK.
I don't care what this cat's name is supposed to be. He will always be called Fishy Joe Gillman in my home.

I also painted up some great scratch built shipping container models from my buddy Alfonso. He put up a video a while ago on how he built them - check out his Shipping Container tutorial - but I was lucky enough to get them from him since he felt he wasn't using them. I love these models because they painted up great and from a gaming perspective they really eat up some tabletop real estate and block Line of Sight nicely.

Now with 100% less skulls. I like that I can use these across multiple game genres.
Varying up the colors really adds to the character of the table.
4 of these will really break up the tabletop.
Finally, I got a chance to play some of the new Kill Team rules for 40K against my buddy Marky's Tau army. My Orks continued their tradition of getting their asses kicked by the Tau on this blog. It all started out so well - I had a lot of models, Marky was rolling very poorly, I was advancing quickly - but then Overwatch occurred and it turned out I had actually just been feeding my Orks into a blender.

The Orks advance on the dug in Tau forces. Probably not the best battle plan.
The Orks made cunning use of cover. Unfortunately, I had to poke my head out at some point...
Marky's Tau were more than ready. He laid down a lot of initially disappointing fire, but in the end the gun line did its job.
I spent several turns executing a clever flanking maneuver! Only to be gunned down moments before I could launch my attack.
Killing the Battlesuit was probably the most satisfying moment of the game.
I had a lot of fun playing Marky because we usually always have a fun time playing any game system, but I wasn't too impressed with Kill Team as a rule set. I've always looked at these versions of 40K as "Hey, do you wanna play 40K but not use all the cool robots and tank models?" and the latest iteration of Kill Team didn't do much to change my opinion. The game just needs something more - more narrative or evocative scenarios, a campaign system, SOMETHING. Otherwise, its the same old clunky 40K rules, just with less models. As a veteran player it doesn't really offer me much I can't get from a full game of Warhammer and if I was a novice I'm not really learning much about the tactics of the larger game. I'd certainly play again, but I'm not champing at the bit to get in more games of Kill Team. I dunno, your own mileage may vary but its not the game for me. I like stompy Dreads and clanky tanks in my games too much I guess.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

First Steps into The Silver Tower

After owning it for a couple months, I finally started assembling and putting some paint on my copy of Warhammer Quest Silver Tower. Painting this set is going to be… interesting… seeing as each particular set of minions and heroes has its own unique color scheme. I won't be able to rely on my old tricks for creating a single color scheme and sticking to a particular formula to get an army painted. I'm a little worried that not being able to approach this project in my usual manner could slow me down. On the upside, I shouldn't get bored having to paint the same models over and over. The first group of the Gaunt Summoners' minions I decided to tackle were the Kairic Acolytes.

Skraaaaw! Hawk-men, DIVE! NO! Wait. No wings. Damn.
These are just really cool models. I really like the Egyptian theme and I think they aren't so crazy mutated that you could use them in a variety of games. I could see them in a John Carter of Mars - style game as Martians if I were so inclined. They painted up pretty easily - I managed to crank them out in two days or so. A half-day at work before the Labor Day weekend helped a lot. I've also managed to get a lot done on the little Heat Miser-type fire imps as well. WQ Silver Tower is packed with a lot of small models with big character, so grinding through them should help me feel like I'm maintaining momentum on the whole set.

"He's Mister Green Christmas! He's Mr. Sun! He's Mister Heat Blister! He's Mister 101!"
Before I started on this project, I swung by my local Games Workshop and spent a little extra money to pick up two items that I'd been wanting to try out:

I decided to get all three - no point in only trying out one.
The new gem paints are essentially glazes with a gloss finish added in. Layered over a base of silver or gold, they produce a nice almost pearlescent effect quickly. I'm not sure that they will replace my usual old-school method of painting gems, but for this project they'll do just fine. If I was painting a Heresy-era 40k army such as the Alpha Legion, these paints would be top on my list to get.

More than enough bases for the entire Silver Tower set. And then some.
I also picked up a pair of Shattered Dominion base sets - the 25 and 32mm set and the 40 and 65mm sets. Painted up in vibrant colors, I think these will look really nice on the Silver Tower board. I saw some lunatic's review of these bases where he felt that the detail wasn't as pronounced as it is on the box photos, but I think its just fine. The box photos are pro-painted and yeah, they emphasized the edges like pro-painters generally do.

At the end of the day, both products are just time savers. I could make nicer bases and I can paint jewels that look better, but it would take 2-3 times the effort. And yes, it would be nicer but it would mean that I don't get to play a fully painted board game for close to six months. I think its a good idea to make products that relieve some of the burden on the average hobbyist. And give some of us old hands a shortcut if we want to take it.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mixed Bag 3 - Time Bandits, Trolls and Terrain

"You see, to be quite frank, Kevin, the fabric of the universe is far from perfect. It was a bit of botched job. We only had seven days to make it. And that's where this comes in. This is the only map of all the holes. Well, why repair them? Why not use them to get stinking rich?"
     - Randall


This week I turned my attentions to the Time Robber models from Northumbrian Tin Soldier company. I scooped these models up the moment I saw them, and they have been languishing on my painting table for quite some time. Oddly, I was a little paralyzed when it came to putting paint on these models. I even considered reaching out and getting them painted by an actual pro-painter. But this week I finally found the gumption to do them myself as part of an effort to clean up all the little projects sitting on my paint station.

Strutter, Wally, Randall, Fidgit, Og and Vermin

I love Terry Gilliam's films, but I think Time Bandits is my all-time favorite of his work. The movie really spoke to me a kid - I was interested in history and would have loved a chance to escape my rural homestead for an adventure. Watching the movie as I've gotten older has only made me appreciate it more - the dry humor and commentary on good and evil gives the film more depth than I thought it had when I was younger.

These are great, chunky old school sculpts.
Painting the whole crew was an exercise in varying shades of brown. Randall and Fidgit were a nice break.

I plan on using these models in a Napoleonic scenario - an idea immediately suggested by my buddy Rob - where each player receives a Time Bandit and must traverse the table collecting loot and avoiding The Supreme Being all while also commanding a brigade of troops! Should be a lot of fun and will add a nice mini-game to the larger battle.

The Supreme Being and the Time Gate are just 2D elements printed out and mounted on bases (with a little
cotton batting added for the Supreme Being!)

I also made some time to re-base some old GW Stone Trolls for Age of Sigmar. Lovely sculpts that just drip with character. I'm usually not too nostalgic when it comes to old sculpts, but these really do it for me - they are quintessentially what I think of when someone says the word "Troll". They were part of an old Ork and Goblin army I owned, and were name Bill, Bert and Tom after the trolls in The Hobbit long before those atrocious movies were made.

I've always loved these models and I'm really happy to press them into service once again!

I also cranked out another electrical box scifi building - some kind of warehouse from the rolling garage door on the front. I'm getting quite the little collection of these going. I'm going to have to give thought to building some taller ones and maybe playing some Necromunda again after a long, long time.

Don't forget to bring a Tau!
I also managed to get the last squadron of hussars done for my Hessen-Homburg regiment for Napoleonics. This brings me to 40 of the little blighters, so I think I am done painting that color scheme. Hopefully.

Soooo many colors.

I've really got too many projects going on at one time. I need to knuckle down and focus on just one - I've been promising Warhammer Quest Silver Tower for weeks now. UGH!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Waaaagh Garlslob!

I'm now at 1,000 pts of Orks painted for the current edition of Warhammer 40,000. I feel like a complete lunatic for starting this project - it was mainly an out growth of wanting to paint some Orks from a dusty copy of Assault on Blackreach and its taken on a life of its own. I had a very large Ork army over a decade ago (which is now probably melting in an attic at my parents home) and I guess I just missed painting the goofballs.

Waaaagh! Garlslob in all its glory!
I'm trying to get in some games of latest edition of 40k to see how I like it. I'm sure as always it will have more to do with the company I'm playing with than the actual rules themselves. Otherwise, I feel like I can still use them with more generic rulesets and have a great time. Here are some "glamour" shots of the last units to enter the army:

Da Doc. He'll fix ya roight up!
The Nobz mob'z Waaagh Banna. I tried duplicating the boss pole
on the plastic Warlord model to keep a theme.
I'm torn between naming him Pinchy or Stampey. Time will tell.
The 'Undred Orkfirst Airborne. These guys are added to my other Stormboyz to make a semi-proper sized unit.
And here's a little gallery of them all together:

Da Shootaz
Two units of Sluggaz.
Da Dread and da Stormboyz
Deff Koptaz!!!
Garlslob'z Nobz Mob

I still can't believe I got back into painting 40k after all these years. I will say that the plastics were a dream to work with and convert. Having had to saw and pin metal in the past, and then pray it doesn't get knocked apart; I'm really chuffed at having an all plastic force. I may miss the weight, but I can get it in other games I play.

I did manage to get a couple of games in - my buddy Brian and I played a game of fast-play scifi rules I wrote up using my Orks and Tau. It went really smoothly and despite the fact that I got boot stomped hard, I'd really like to play some more games using the rules.

A few days later I got a "proper" game of 40K in against the wonderfully painted Ad Mech army of my friend Simon. Its been a long, long time since I played 40k, and the game hasn't aged well in my eyes. We had a great time playing a scenario I made up on the fly, but I think it was more due to the company than the rules. I'll still try to get some more 40k games in though - its the 800b gorilla of gaming so I feel like I shouldn't just dismiss it out of hand.

In the meantime, I've been cleaning up a few models sitting on my "to do" shelf. Once those models are done, I'll crack open Warhammer Quest: The Silver Tower and start putting paint on that.