Friday, August 31, 2012

End of Year Review

End of year?  Well, yes, I first started keeping track of my progress with painting the leadpile at the beginning of September 2009, so it’s now the end of year three.

This year, my records tell me, I’ve completed
·         23 buildings and terrain modules
·         32 various game markers
·         Two 28mm vehicles
·         48 25mm or 28mm figures
·         136 20mm figures
·         19 6mm scale infantry, cavalry or artillery units
·         14 6mm scale vehicles
·         Three 6mm scale aircraft, and
·         Four groups of 6mm scale farm animals.

I find the number of 20mm figures painting quite pleasing.  Looking back through the diary they are down to three things; getting together some figures to use with Sharp Practice, the Rommel’s Route to Verdun project, and sorting out my old Airfix ACW figures and some WW2 Indians for sale.

The number of 28mm figures I’ve painted this year is something of a departure.  In theory it’s a secondary scale for me.  The plan was only to use it for Gloranthan Hordes of the Things armies but apart from finishing the Morokanth army, this year has seen my Wars of the Roses figures moved over to Impetus basing and a few figures added to the collection.  I’ve also made some progress clearing the unpainted bits and bobs for use with Song of Blades and Heroes.  SOBH is great because a few figures suddenly represent a useful "warband".

This time last year (and indeed the year before) I could congratulate myself on having completed more than 100 6mm elements but that was during the 18 month push to get all of my cold war kit based up.  I think I might aim to do the same for my WW2 micro models in the coming year.  

Berkeley this weekend and then I'll have a think about targets for 2012/13.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Basic Impetus mini lists

Jamie and I are off to Slimbridge on Saturday morning to play in the annual Berkeley Hordes of the Things tournament (it's called Berkeley but it's played at Slimbridge; it's complicated; don't ask).

I actually find myself more enthused by the prospect of running a teach-in on Basic Impetus on the Saturday evening.  I've created four small Basic Impetus armies to make use of the various bits of 6mm ancients I've cobbled together and, in honour of Tony Bath, I've given them Hyborian names.

The Hyrkanians  (VDT = 14/7)

Nr    Type    M    VBU    I    VD   Notes
1       CM      10     4        1     3
3       FP         5      6        1     3      Pilum
2       S           8      2        0     1      Javelin

This army uses some Irregular Miniatures republican Romans I obtained amongst a load of other figures in margarine tub full of lead bought from Wargames Emporium years ago.

Hyrkanian heavy foot.
The Vendhyans  (VDT = 14/7)

Nr    Type    M    VBU    I    VD   Notes
4        CGL    10     4         1     3     Various weapons
1        FL        8      4         4      2     Impetuous

The chariots are some Baccus Egyptian and Syrian chariots I bought (again years ago) for conversion and use in a Roman chariot-racing game that I never got round to writing.  The foot are some Irregular Minis barbarian types.

Vendhyan war chariots.
The Aquilonians  (VDT = 15/8)

Nr    Type    M    VBU    I    VD   Notes
3       W        5        5        0     3      Various weapons
1       CP      10       5        3     2    
2       FP       5        5        1     2       Long spear

Yes, three Wagenburgs!  Left over from my old Irregular Miniatures Hussite army, which never saw much use.  The cavalry are Irregular Celts and the spearmen some Irregular early medieval infantry; Normans perhaps.

The Cimmerians  (VDT - 14/7)

Nr     Type    M    VBU    I    VD   Notes
6        CM      10     4        1     2
1        FP         5      4        4     2      Impetuous

These guys use some Irregular Miniatures cavalry that Alan Slater painted as green cloaked Rohirrim and a base of Ancient British infantry also by Alan.

Cimmerian Foot.
All in all they are a pretty mixed bunch but I think that rather fits with the feel of Tony Bath's take on Hyboria.  There's also a nice mix of troop types to give a feel of some of the variation that Impetus allows.

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Outing for the Morokanth

Jamie and I had a couple of games of Hordes of the Things this evening to try out my new Morokanth army.

In the first game Jamie used my Sun Domers.  Probably a mistake given their preponderance of Spears (Spears don't much enjoy fighting Warband).  The battle turned into a slogging match with Jamies Spears opposing my Warbands.  His Hero, Shooters and Riders made a left hook whilst my Magicians hung around at the back whilst I failed to acquire enough PIPs to do much with them.

Fortune (in the form of a 6:1 dice result) favoured the Morokanth and Vega Goldbreath (Paladin) went down beneath a tooth-spiked mace.

This was the key to my rolling up the Spears and when I finally rolled 6 PIPs I was able to ensorcel the Champion of Garhound and win the game.

Game two saw the Morokanth take on the Wolf Pirates (Hero General, Hero, Paladin and six Warband).

This was a much closer battle with both sides taking heavy casualties.  The Morokanth Khan was killed but they fought on without their General and eventually got the Pirates down to 12AP to win the game.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Morokanth Army Completed

It's taken a few years of scrabbling about for suitable figures (and the kind contributions of several friends) but I've finally got my Morokanth army for Hordes of the Things completed.

The army has been designed from the start to have no two identical castings.  Given that only a small number of Morokanth models have ever been made, I've had to do some conversion work and some scratch-building to get there.  There are fifteen Morokanth models in the army and they're made from six different base castings.  Most of them are in the five Warbands that make up the main battle line:

There's a Warband General to start with:

Left: modified Citadel casting with a new scratch-built spear and a shield
from a Foundry hoplite.  Centre: the Khan - Tabletop Miniatures body with
home-sculpted head and limbs. Right: Tabletop Miniatures casting with
its head rotated through 180 degrees and its spear converted into a flail.
Because the Morokanth are foot troops usually opposed by mounted nomads they tend to fight from positions on rough, high ground where they can't be charged in the open.  Several of the bases show this raised elevation:

Left: unmodified Tabletop Miniatures casting. Right: unmodified
Tabletop Miniatures casting.
The Morokanth are keen slavers.  From his manacles and clothing we can tell this is a captured human, not an animal herd-man.

Left: unmodified Tabletop Miniatures casting. Right: Citadel Miniatures
with Green Stuff clothing and hat from a Foundry cowboy. 
As usual all of the pictures are clickable.

Left: modified Tabletop Miniatures (the figure with the mace) head turned,
spiked mace from the spares box, shield from a Foundry Apache.
Right: unmodified Citadel.
I only have the one Herd-man so far.  I'd like to add more, perhaps to the Stronghold.

Left: unmodified Lamming chariot driver. Right: unmodified Citadel - the
only one of this casting I could find.
The army also has a couple of Lurkers starting with this Morokanth leaping from his camouflaged ambush pit:

Morokanth: bits of the model that donated the Khan's body.

I decided to use a Hyena casting I had available about three days before I came across a reference in one of the Glorantha books to the Morokanth training them as guard dogs!

Hyena: Black Tree Designs (I think).

Finally, the army has three Magician elements representing tribal shamans and their summoned spirits.

Left: Tabletop Miniatures casting with home-made coup stick and head
transplant.  Right: sculpt by Gregory Privat from one of his own moulds -
Thanks Gregory! 
Morokanth: unmodified Tabletop Miniatures chariot driver.
Spirits: Citadel? Second hand purchases.
Feathered Shaman: completely home sculpted.
Zombie vulture: a bring and buy purchase.
Finally, there's the Stronghold.  This has been seen before but it now has an all Morokanth army to go with it rather than having to rely on other Praxians as allies.

Morokanth: modified from Tabletop Miniatures. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Mussy-la-Ville Road

Last night we played the third of the scenarios from Rommel's Route to Verdun.  Again, Andy and Richard played the Germans and Jamie took the French.  This was, I think, the smallest Arc of Fire scenario I've ever been involved with; just seven German figures against fifteen French blundering around in the fog.

On the morning of 22nd August 1914, just an hour after the clash at Hill 325, Rommel was leading a small reconnaissance party when he encountered French troops resting on the Mussy-la-Ville road.  Being Rommel he immediately attacked them despite being outnumbered!

In our game Rommel started behind the barn (bottom left) and eventually
ended up in the house with the black roof engaging French troops
deployed in the orange-roofed house. 
Game turn 1 saw a random event which game Rommel's small platoon HQ (led by Richard) get a third activation in the turn.  They used it to dash across the wheat field towards the Mussy-la-Ville road.

Rommel (front right) flanked by Sergeant Ostertag and
accompanied by a couple of runners, approaches the road.
One game turn two Rommel's HQ was followed by another scout team (Andy), this time of three men enter the board.  They set up after Rommel and were crossing the wheat field as Rommel's HQ advanced along the road across their front.   Fortunately, the two sides recognised each other and avoided a "grey-on-grey incident". 

Game turn 3 - the German approach march continues.
On game turn 4 there was a sudden burst of firing.  Rommel's HQ had strayed into range of the French squad resting in the orange-roofed house.  The dice were rolled and Rommel took two kills!  It looked like the Desert Fox would never reach North Africa until we suddenly realised that we'd forgotten the scenario special rule that reflected the French troops' unreadiness for action.  They treated all first fire as at triple the actual range!  We decided to reroll the dice and Jamie ended up killing Rommel's two runners instead.  He would subsequently wound Sergeant Ostertag too.

Rommel and Ostertag are suddenly alone on the road.
I wish I'd thought to use my dead/wounded figures for
the visual effect.
Game turns 5 and 6 saw both German units (now depleted) scuttling for cover in the black-roofed house.

Ostertag (red wound marker) takes cover while Rommel fires his
pistol through a window and the scout team leader (blue Advance
Mode marker) backs into cover.
In the end all the Germans could do was maintain fire against the French squad in the orange-roofed house.  Jamie sensibly kept his second (smaller) unit hidden in the fog - they weren't needed and he didn't want to take unnecessary casualties.  The game ended with twelve unwounded, unbroken French troops still on the table.  This meant that the Germans fell one enemy casualty short of achieving their victory conditions.

The French scored 9 VPs to the Germans' two.  The overall campaign score is now 25:15 in favour of the French as we prepare for the final scenario of the campaign - Shoot-out in Bleid.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Feelings of Inadequacy?

My friend Will McNally reports that he's reached 24,000 painted 20mm scale figures.  Good grief!

A quick count-up suggests that I have 1,212.  Here's a random pic of one of them.

Looks like I may be Lithuania to Will's USA in the Olympic medal table of volume painting.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On the workbench: Morokanth!

Until last week I was planning on bringing a previously used army to the Berkeley Hordes of the Things tournament in a couple of weeks' time.  However, a sudden rethink made it feasible to get my Morokanth army finished in time for the event.

The Morokanth are non-humans who herd men on the plains of Prax in the world of Glorantha.  My army uses the very limited stock of suitable castings from Citadel and Tabletop Miniatures and my ambition all along has been to have no two identical figures in the army.  This has meant a good deal of conversion work and, up to now, the inclusion in the army of non-Morokanth allies in the form of Rhino Riders.

The breakthrough has been to plan some more Magician elements in the form of tribal shamans.  This figure is to be one of them:

He started off as the Tabletop Miniatures casting with two maces.  I repositioned his right arm and added a coup stick made from brass rod, cotton and Green Stuff.  I also added a Green Stuff ear-ring.  These pictures don't show it well but I'm pleased with the subtle shading on his tunic.

Next up is a figure that will probably join an additional Morokanth Warband element.  He's a conversion of a relatively common Citadel casting.  I've given him a long spear from brass rod with the head from a Tabletop Miniatures slave impaled upon it.  I've also done a head swap with another casting and added a Green Stuff neckerchief to disguise the join. 

Finally, for now, there's this rather plain figure.  It's a much rarer (as far as I can see) Citadel casting.  It was the donor and recipient in the head swap for the chap above.


Monday, August 13, 2012

What I did on my holidays

Well, back from a week on the edge of the North York Moors, refreshed and ready to go.

Not much wargame-related stuff was done, though Jamie and I did manage a game of 15th century Italian Wars Impetus using my miscellaneous 6mm toys (sorry no pics) and we also played a first game of the Lord of the Rings skirmish game.

On the way home we went to Eden Camp Military Museum near Malton where I managed to take some pictures.  Some of the kit on display was in doubtful colour schemes and some of the labels were questionable.  For example this:

Was described as an all-welded SdKfz 251 Ausf D built by Skoda in Czechoslovakia.  The rear hull shape is wrong for an Ausf D and it has an armoured roof over the crew compartment. I suspect it's actually a post-war OT-810.

Rather more kosher was this ex-RAF Spartan APC.  It rather confirms that I've got the shade of green about right on my 6mm scale British armour.

Another interesting exhibit was this Carrier.  I saw the four road wheels and thought at first it might be a Loyd Carrier but walking round the front I discovered it was a Universal T-16 Mk.1, not a model I was previously familiar with.  It was depicted towing a limber and a 25pdr gun.  It would be interesting to know if it actually had this role - I'm not aware of 25pdrs being towed by carriers.  Research needed I guess.

There were lots of other vehicles (though I was doubtful about the paint schemes) including a T-34/85, and a Churchill (a Crocodile without the flamethrower trailer) and various artillery pieces.  Worth a visit if you're in the area.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Contact at Hill 325

Last night we played the second scenario from Rommel's Route to Verdun.   Andy and Richard came over and took charge of the Germans whilst Jamie looked after the French.

Contact at Hill 325 sees two German squads and Rommel's three-man platoon HQ attempting to cross the board from east to west.  The pic below shows the battlefield with Hill 325 in the foreground.  The line of gravel shows the crest.

The battle was made more interesting by the Germans having to locate at least one of the three defending French units and the fog that meant visibility was limited to about 60 yards (six inches on the table).

We started off with moves planned on the map but soon had the figures on the table when the Germans encountered Jamie's platoon HQ in the small woods in the centre.

The forces of both sides marched to the sound of the guns and soon there was a fierce little fire-fight going on around the woods.

Those red pantaloons stand out nicely and provide a splash of colour to early WW1 games.  Of course the French army soon came to realise that they weren't great on a modern battlefield and replaced them with the 1915 bleu horizon uniform.

The French platoon commander and his bugler were shot down by the Germans but "Claude" (seen lying down in the woods above) proved to be a magnificent shot, killing three Germans before deciding that discretion had very clear merits and breaking off precipitately.

The last survivor of the platoon HQ having retreated off table and the main French squad having been "disrupted"...

... the Germans were able to march off to the west,  gaining a victory by 10 Victory Points to 4.  The campaign score is now 16:13 in favour of the French but the Germans have two attachment credits towards a future action.

Next game is The Mussy-la-Ville Road, set just an hour after the events in this game.