Thursday, January 26, 2012

Viking Reinforcements!

Just finished this unit of 12 bowmen for my Saga Viking warband. The figures are Wargames Factory plastics - not my favourite figures in the world, but they do come with bows, and I already had a box lying around.

It is a very bright day here, so apologies if the photos look a bit washed out.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Return of 1/72 scale ECW...

There has been a lot of muttering from the Homunculi recently about the way I have neglected The One True Scale of 1/72. 'Airs and bleedin' graces' I've heard them say - 'jumping on the bleedin' 28mm bandwagon, Saga this, Saga that...' The discontent has naturally been most felt amongst the unpainted 1/72 brethren.

To keep the little blighters happy I have started on one of the big projects for 2012 - reorganising, rebasing and preparing more figures for 1/72 ECW, using Basic Impetus Baroque rules. I had some unpainted pikemen from Tumbling Dice lying around, so started with them. Nice figures - a bit chunky and 'wargamey', but dead easy to paint. These lads will join a Covenanter regiment. Truth be known they are probably too well armoured for Covenanters, but the priority at the moment is to just get some figures on the table and have some games. And to keep the Homunculi happy, of course.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Svein and the Lads

Latest off the assembly line are the Gripping Beast figures of Svein Forkbeard and four huscarls with Danish axes. I finished Svein a while back to be honest, but finally got around to finishing the base. Great figure - really looks like he has the St Brice's Day massacre at the forefront of his mind!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Saga Battle Report - Or, How Owain the Prudent Lived to Fight Another Day

Playing Paul the Galloglaigh on Tuesday night with my Welsh for the first time really made me appreciate the subtlety of tactics possible in Saga. Gosh it's a good game! We each fielded a 4-point warband, with paul using Vikings against my Welsh. Critically, he didn't have any missile troops, so really needed to use the Vikings' ability to counteract fatigue to get into action with my troops as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, but I have reconstructed the final move of the game below, mainly for gloating purposes. Although the following reconstruction is based on real events, the parts are all played by professional actors, and no miniature was harmed in the reconstruction of these events.

We were playing the Clash of Warlords scenario, with victory going to the first player to kill the opposing warlord.

Things didn't start well for the Vikings, who lost their berserkers early on to a shower of javelins. Paul was desperate to finish things, and I gave him the perfect opportunity in the penultimate turn, leaving my warlord and two surviving teulu retainers deliberately within charge range of his warlord and accompanying five warriors.

View from behind the Welsh lines. That's my warlord over on the right flank with his sword held back.

Paul took the bait, loading up his battleboard with dice to maximise his success in melee, then using the Side by Side rule to charge his warlord and warriors into my warlord.

Or at least that's what he planned to do. However, in my turn I left a die on the Hit and Run box, which meant that I could activate and move one of my units at the point Paul activated one of his within Medium distance. I made a bit of an error with the rules, originally planning to activate my exposed warlord and his two hearthguard, but of course I couldn't. So, telling his men that he would have songs composed in their honour, Owain legged it back behind the levies while his two faithful retainers tried to fight the Vikings and their million or so attack dice, with predictable results. The Viking warlord and his warriors were victorious, but they ended their turn horribly exposed.

Not Owain's finest hour, but now it was the Welsh turn and I could spring the trap. I put dice on Children of the Land, Taunting and Strength Lies in Numbers, as well as having one to activate my Priodaur who were on the far side of the swamp. First up I used the Taunting ability, and my Levies promptly made all kinds of gestures and ribald comments to the warriors surrounding the Viking warlord. THe Vikings weren't having this, so activated and charged my levies.

I really wanted to lose that combat, but ended up winning it, so that one surviving Viking fled back to within Very Short distance of the warlord. The bodyguard is heavily depleted - so far so good.

Next I activated the unit of warriors to the left of the swamp. Because of the Children of the Land ability they were able to ignore the movement penalty of the swamp and charge into the Viking Warlord. They all ended up within VS of him, so were going to roll 8 attack dice. However, I also had the Strength in Numbers ability, so I gained an extra die for every figure by which I outnumbered my opponent, giving me a grand total of 15 dice to the warlord's 5.

After rolling for hits and saves, I scored three un-cancelled hits. One of these was taken by the warrior within VS distance of the warlord, one was absorbed by the Warlord's Resilience, but the third hit finished him.

I love it when a plan comes together.

A Golden Hobby Day...

Just had a great 24 hours of hobbies. On Tuesday night I went over to Paul the Galloglaigh's for a game of Saga, using my Welsh warband for the first time against Vikings. Had great game. The Welsh are brilliant in Saga - there are all kinds of ways of being tricksy using the battleboards. I was able to set a trap for the Vikings that worked perfectly, ending with the Viking warlord dead in a swamp, so chalked up a rare victory against Paul.

The planets aligned on Wednesday, giving me a whole day to devote to making stuff. The Duchess went off to Latin Summer School, I dropped the twins (Assault and Battery) at day care, and Boudicca the Five Year Old is away staying with her grandparents, so I came home, revelled in the silence, made a cup of tea and got to work.

My 'Man Cave' is a couple of boxes that I get out at night when the kids have gone to bed and the dining table, so it was a rare pleasure to be able to make a mess for a whole day.

First up, I finished four werewolves from West Wind Productions for Pulp Adventures.

Next, I made five terrain boards.

These took some time, but I was able to make a start on turning a Revell Viking ship into a waterline model. You can see it on the table, looking to the untrained eye a lot like a lovely kit in the process of being ruined. Anyway, I hacked off the bottom with a saw, but I need to get some sandpaper. Finally, I made a start on some Anglo-Danish hearthguard, got up to the post office to pick up a Playmobil Viking Ship we got off Ebay, picked up Assault and Battery and even did the vacuuming.

Great day - haven't felt so relaxed in about a year.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pulp Adventures - the Archaeologists

What is this English archaeological expedition doing in a gloomy Polish forest in 1937? It looks like they are expecting trouble...

Figures are from Artizan Designs, with three from Copplestone Castings. As you can see, the two ranges match seamlessly. The Copplestone figures are the bluff chap with drawn revolver, the dour veteran with his trusty shotgun and Winfrey Hamilton, incongruously carrying his pith helmet.

Found in their wallets after The Incident were some snapshots of happier times.

A group photo on tour in Rome.

Winfrey Harrington and Lady Snodgrass explore the ruins of Palymyra.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

West Wind Productions Welsh Spearmen

I ordered some Welsh spearmen from the West Wind Productions Arthurian range to flesh out my Welsh for Saga. Unfortunately they don't have images of the figures on their website, so this is just a quick preview of the figures for others who are interested in them.

The figures come as a set of 20 for 19.99GBP, so they are good value. There are four different body types in the pack, shown above with a Gripping Beast plastic Saxon on the left and a Gripping Beast metal Viking on the far right for comparison. The pack also contains shields (of two different types) and five identical sprues, each of four separate heads.

Things to Like
The figures are very cleanly cast with minimal flash, and they will mix in well with Gripping Beast figures. The detail is very good. Proportions and poses are good.


No weapons are supplied. There are only four different bods, and it is a shame that none wear any form of armour. There is no real texture on the reverse of the shields. Like most Welsh figures (eg GB) these chaps have been given breeches, presumably to make them look different to Saxons etc. I don't know that there is any real evidence for them, but they look fine. Like the GB Welsh the West Wind bod on the left of the line has been given a short cloak, although I didn't find it as convincing. The sculptor has rendered it as a short surcoat-like arrangement, secured with a belt, although with no apparent brooch fastening. It is a bit of a shame that only four different heads come in the pack. It would be great if there was more variety, with some helmeted heads. West Wind do make some very nice ones ad part of their Separate Heads System, but you'll need to buy these separately.

These are nice figures that will give some variety to a warband, although will look a bit uniform if used by themselves.

I also ordered some of the West Wind Arthurian personality packs along with these, and they are lovely figures. Perfect for Saga apart from the helmets, which really are more 6-7th century, but you could either replace the heads, or overlook the anachronism and get a head start on your warband when Saga goes Arthurian.

If anybody fancies a swap of 8-12 of these for say, some GB Scots or mounted Welsh or Scots, let me know.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Very Private Army

Here's the next little group of figures for 1930s Pulp Adventures. Great War deserters turned mercenaries perhaps? Monster hunters? Clearly they all have a story to tell, and why do some wear items of German uniform?

All the figures are from Artizan Designs. Most of them are from the two 'A Very Private Army' packs they do, although 'The Rev' is from one of their 'Department of Paranormal Affairs' sets. Check out Aetherworks for the full range. These are lovely figures, and heaps of fun to paint. Next up are the archaeologists.

Thanks Will!

A couple of weeks back I put up some images of some Caesar conquistadores I had converted to pikemen for the Italian Wars. I was contacted by Will, who very kindly offered me some surplus pikemen from the Revell conquistadores set. They arrived yesterday, and have joined the painting queue.

So here's a huge thank you to Will!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

And now for something completely different...

In a new and radical departure from my usual historical interests, I'm putting together a bit of a pulp horror type campaign. Partly this is in response to the Duchess and Attila the Teenager playing Zombies with me, and partly a result of enjoying the Song of Blades games so much. Partly it's also just for a bit of fun painting a few different figures. I have some ideas for games involving archaeologists and various nasties in the 1930s using the Fear and Faith rules from Ganesha Games.

I ordered a few packs of Artizan Designs and Copplestone figures from Aetherworks, along with some circular mdf bases. I was very impressed with Aetherworks, by the way. I called them up to see what they had in stock, they got back to me straight away, and even dropped the figures and bases in to me to save the postage, since one of the guys lives close by. I hereby bestow upon them a (completely unsolicited) Ducal Endorsement.

First up, here is a bunch of cultists from Artizan Designs. I added a sword to the leader with the spellbook. The cult symbol may give you a clue as the the supernatural creatures they are associated with...any suggestions? The 2nd SS Panzer Division is the incorrect answer, by the way.

These figures are lovely, and a joy to paint. I particularly love the guy with the flamethrower. After all, why wouldn't a group of lunatics in robes decide to bring along a flamethrower?

But there's always one, isn't there? Deciding his nicotine addiction justifies endless breaks while the rest of the cult is busy with their mystic rites?

Friday, January 6, 2012

4 Point Warband for Saga Completed

I finished the last unit of eight warriors for my Welsh, so I have completed a four point warband for Saga.

Here are the final warriors....

....and the warband all together. I have some extra Welsh on the way from Westwind Productions, and plan to add a couple more units of hearthguard.

It's good to get them done, and well worth celebrating with some traditional Welsh dancing.

Welsh Saga Warband - the Big Boyos

Here are my first completed figures for 2012 - a unit of four hearthguard and the warlord for my Welsh warband. The warlord is himself with the cross on the white shield. I quite like how these turned out, although the fearsome boar on one shield looks a bit cute.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Making Swamps the Dux Homunculorum Way

The Duchess and I were having a bit of a clean up of the castle to celebrate the new year, and one of the things that ended up in the bin was this board book of 'In the Night Garden'. It is a lift the flap book, but since the kids have ripped all the flaps off the narrative lacked some of its former suspense and wasn't really something we could give away.

Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me that the thick board pages are probably what I have been looking for to make some terrain elements that don't warping.

I cut a rough shape out of one of the thick pages, painting it with two shades of green (lighter around the edges).

Then I put a layer of army painter strong tone over the top. This worked brilliantly. The brown adds a nice swampy foetid ambience to the whole piece, and it is nicely glossy. The border was just added with sand and PVA glue, then the whole thing finished off with some flock and tufts. Zero warping. Happy Dux.

Thanks Iggle Piggle.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone. Best wishes for a great 2012.

I'm looking forward to another challenging year of balancing a demanding job with looking after a teenager, a five year old and two-year old twins, so I will both desperately need my hobby and be fighting hard to find time for it. This is an aspirational list of things I would like to do this year. Let's see in 12 months what I've managed to achieve.

Best laid plans (in no particular order):

1. Play more games. Specifically, make it a priority to get to club every 2-3 weeks.
2. Continue to develop the school wargames club.
3. Expand my Anglo-Danish, Welsh and Viking Saga warbands to 6 points each.
4. Make another couple of Saga warbands.
5. Build more Viking age terrain. Specifically, scratchbuild a great hall and at least one longship (probably the Revell one).
6. Make a set of terrain boards.
7. Re-base my 1/72 ECW figures for Baroque Impetus.
8. Paint more 1/72 ECW, particularly for Montrose's army.
9. Paint some 28mm figures for Pulp adventures, using the Song of Blades and Heroes series of games.
10. Paint some more 1/1200 Langton ships for Kiss Me Hardy.
11. Start painting some of the 28mm ECW figures I own.
12. Find a Napoleonic grand tactical set of rules that will inspire me to get back into 1/72 Napoleonics. Perhaps Lasalle?
13. Continue building up some 1/72 Impetus armies for the Italian Wars.
14. Paint a 15mm Antrim Scots force for Irregular Wars.
14. Blog more often!

...and no doubt other things that catch my eye during the year!

Good luck to you all with your hobby plans for the year.