Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Painting Challenge Begins!

And so it begins.

Good luck to everyone taking part in the 6th Annual Painting Challenge. Enjoy the warm glow of the international brotherhood and sisterhood of the brush, and may the Force be with you.

Assault on the Stronghold of S'Antar

Last Friday night saw an epic struggle through the streets of S'Antar's stronghold as two warbands of Anglo-Danes and one of Scots fought each other and waves of angry elves to pillage the riches of The Man in Red himself.

All-round excellent bloke John Shoemark invited Steve, Dave and I up for a game of SAGA with a festive twist. Essentially, we were playing something like the Feast of Crows scenario from the main SAGA rulebook, but over a table laid out with Christmassy terrain.

The target for our warbands was S'Antar's workshop in the middle of the table, wherein seasonal loot was stashed. However, every time one of our units approached a patch of woods or a building there was a chance that a unit of angry elves would appear to attack, or possibly even S'Antar himself. John controlled the Elves, using (appropriately) the Pagan Rus battleboard for them.

After a great BBQ we got stuck in, with Dave's Anglo-Dane's slowly hacking their way through fanatical elves like Russians in the streets of Berlin. Steve had more luck, making his way rapidly towards the middle of the table while causing my Scots some grief with his Anglo-Danish ability to inflict fatigue. Despite this, I had a lot of luck with my dice rolls early on, and was the first to raid S'Antar's workshop, although angry elves flinging lumps of coal rapidly massacred my Scots as they tried to escape with their loot. From that point on everything rapidly unraveled, with S'Antar emerging blearily from a building to slaughter my Levies, only to fall victim to a flurry of Steve's Dane axes. So if anyone misses out on presents this year, you know who to blame.

Thanks to John for a great night of fun, tinsel and festive slaughter!


The mini-Duchess turned 9 last week, so I put my nerd skills to work and made her a cake of the crashed Star Destroyer Inflictor from The Force Awakens. As usual, I used a great white chocolate mudcake recipe as the basic cake. It's not only delicious, but dense enough to support being carved into shapes like the Star Destroyer, which was then wrapped in fondant, had panels etched into it, and then given a wash made from diluted black fondant!

If you don't know that the crashed Star Destroyer was called the Inflictor, I recommend you read Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. I haven't read any Star Wars fiction since Splinter of the Mind's Eye about 35 years ago (!), but thoroughly enjoyed Lost Stars. Reading it was a great warm up to seeing The Force Awakens. Which is brilliant, by the way.

May the cake be with you.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Ludite, Romani!

A friend and I am keen to try out Jugula, the gladiator rules from Studio Tomahawk. I've painted up a couple of familia, using Crusader Miniatures. The first familia is made up of a murmillo, a provocator, a laqueator and a crupellarius.

The other one has a murmillo, provocator, retiarius and dimachaerus.

I really like these minis - loads of character and historically accurate details. Stand by for thoughts on the rules after we play a campaign day on Wednesday.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Teeny tiny Scotsmen

I painted some tiny little 6mm Covenanters. If you don't know it already you might be interested in following the tiny adventures of Man Cave Paul and I as we work on our ECW project over here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Alea Iacta Est

It's that magical time of year again when Curt announces the annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I've put myself down for 1500 points in a moment of bravado, which is absolute madness given how much work I need to do over the summer holidays. The best thing so far though is that three friends from our gaming club (Odin's Night) have also thrown their hats into the ring, including Man Cave Paul after I bribed him with paint and lead. I'll have to set myself some clear project goals. 6mm ECW is certainly one, but maybe some early Saxons for Basic Impetus? A warband for Muskets and Tomahawks? 15mm Brits for the Desert war? Hmmm.....

Friday, November 20, 2015

SAGA Sunday

Last Sunday I played my first game of the full SAGA rules with my little Valkyrie. As some of you may know, I have been playing a few games with her using just the activation boxes from the SAGA battleboards and the fatigue rules ('SAGA lite') to get her used to the basic mechanics of combat and movement. On Sunday though we used the full battleboards, and I was really chuffed by how rapidly she grasped the concepts of having to make decisions about using dice for abilities vs. activation.

We played a sort of escort game where my Welsh were trying to get an important Viking prisoner across the table. Although I succeeded, the mini Valkyrie had the satisfaction of defeating my warlord, so she wasn't too put out. Her basic tactical ideas were really sound - she's going to be a formidable opponent!

For me though the best bit was the way she used her model of a Valkyrie to escort each one of her fallen warriors to the pile in the corner. So cool.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Project Zama Complete!

This week I finished my Roman Republican army for the 2nd Punic War, the project I've been working on for the past 5 months. If you haven't been following my progress, the figures are based for Impetus and Sword and Spear. The legionaries are mostly from Agema Miniatures, with a few from Relic Miniatures added in for variety. Cavalry are all from Relic, as are some of the command figures. Most of the command figures are from Crusader, and the slingers are from Wargames Factory.

The final roll call:

6 bases of hastati
6 bases of principes
4 bases of triarii
5 bases of velites
2 bases of slingers
2 bases of Roman cavalry
2 bases of Numidian horse
2 bases of Campanian allied cavalry
1 base of Campanian infantry
3 command stands (for Sword and Spear)

For a grand total of 193 infantry figures and 24 cavalry

I've stayed very focused on these for the last few months, and so I'm itching to paint something different. With Paul of the Man Cave's imminent return to the gaming world it's time to make a serious push on out 6mm ECW project, although I've got a few gladiators to paint along the way.

My Romans have seen two battles of Basic Impetus so far, and been victorious in both. Here's Steve looking despondent after his latest defeat.

I'm really keen to play a full game of Impetus, so please add encouraging messages to get him to paint the rest of his army.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I really must apologise. After inventing and aggressively advertising Tanktober last year I have been completely remiss in giving it any blog coverage so far in 2015. For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, there have of course been tanks a plenty.

Fortunately, Tanktober has been getting some traction this year with the outstanding coverage from Man Cave Paul aka Sea Otter aka Captain Pugwash. Paul has managed to post a pic of a different tankevery day, most of which he has taken himself (the pics, not the tanks, unfortunately). If you haven't already, get over to his blog and start identifying tanks.

I do, however, blame Tanktober for what is turning into a dangerous sort of obsession. I'm thinking microarmour, Cold War, c. 1980-85. Reckon another project is looking likely.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Project Zama Hits the Table

Isn't it great when you've been working on an army for a while and you finally get the chance to chuck at least some of it on a table and roll some dice?

Last night at our regular Odin's Night club, Steve and I gave our Zama armies some exercise. As our armies grow they are destined to try out various sets of rules, but last night we just had a game of Basic Impetus. I used to play quite a lot of Basic Impetus, but lost a lot of steam when SAGA came out. It was great to play it again, and remember how much I like the game. It's simple, it's bloody, and it makes me think far more about the narrative of the battle than the intricacies of using rules against my opponent.

As we know, there is an immutable law of the universe that newly painted armies always get slaughtered in their first battle. Since this was the first time either my Romans or Steve's Carthaginians had taken to the table we were interested to see who the Dice Gods would favour. They smiled on me, praise their name, and I managed to win a decisive victory over the Carthaginians. Fortunately, in the deployment I was able to keep my cavalry away from Steve's elephant, neutralising it instead with some allied light infantry. My general's cavalry over on the opposite (left) flank meanwhile managed to hold off attempts by Numidian light horse to get around my flank, while my legionaries in the centre steadily destroyed their Carthaginian opponents.

So much to like in these rules! Thanks for a great game Steve, and I feel your disappointment. During the evening his mood steadily slipped from this:

To this:


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Project Zama: Italian Allies

Here's a unit of socii (allies) I finished this week to help out my Romans. Figures are from Relic Miniatures, and I've painted them to be a bunch of Campanians, hence the bull and man- headed bull on the shields. One of them even has an Oscan inscription.

As always, shields are hand painted.

For those interested in Project Zama, check out the other half of the project at Steve's blog. Yep, he's started a blog at last to help motivate his painting, so check out how his Carthaginians are getting along. Great to see you in the blogosphere, Steve!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

SAGA-lite with the Valkyrie

Had a great game yesterday with the mini-Valkyrie, playing SAGA-lite. This involves using the first column of activations on the SAGA battleboards and the rules for fatigue, but none of the other abilities.

As is her wont, the M-V played Vikings, this time led by a Valkyrie warlord she had painted. The Vikings had six points, my Welsh four. The Vikings had to break into the Welsh fort, raid the hut inside the fort to recover a magical horn the Welsh had stolen from Odin, then escape with it. To suit her divine status, the Valkyrie had armour of 6, and generated 6 dice in combat. To break down the gate, attackers had to accumulate 8 hits on the gate, hitting on a 6 with no saves.

After taking some losses from Welsh javelins, the Vikings managed to break into the fort, the Valkyrie and her followers leaving a trail of death and destruction behind them. The Vikings escaped with the magic horn, then went back to slaughter most of the Welsh. That's my girl.

SAGA-lite has been a great success in getting my M-V into miniature gaming. Next time we're going to have a game using all the battle board abilities.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Last Hastati for Project Zama

I've just had a couple of days between Army Cadets annual camp and going away on a family holiday tomorrow, but I managed to finish another couple of bases of hastati for Project Zama. This means I only have 56 more figures to paint!

As usual, the figures are mainly Agema plastics, with one metal Agema figure (the bloke crouching really low to throw his pilum). The command figures are from Relic Miniatures.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Trying Out the Battle Mat

At the games club last week I had the pleasure of trying out my new Cigar Box Battle Mat, available in Australia from Campaign Books.

As a farewell to Lawrence as he heads back to Blighty we played a 1000 points game of Battle Group Overlord. Steve and I played a British infantry division battle group with Churchill support, while Lawrence and John took the Germans. Suffice it to say, nothing much went right for us Brits. Well-sighted German artillery gave us a hard time, and our Churchills couldn't make any headway against the Panthers they came up against. Foolishly, I separated the Achilles tank destroyers from the Churchills, so the poor old Churchills didn't have any nice effective firepower to maneuver with. I like Churchills, I really do. But every now and then I forget with Churchill I-IVs that just because they are big, hideously slow and woefully undergunned, that doesn't mean they have thick armour.

Apart from the Germans, the other big winner of the night was the Battle Mat. We just chucked it down over some very dodgy foam hills, and behold! a lovely contoured battlefield. Add some lichen hedges, trees and a building and it looked pretty darn good.