Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Second up are some buildings. Most of my 28mm scale scenery will work fine for Western Europe: trees, hills hedges and so on; however buildings are a different matter. These two are resin models from Airfix. They're described as 1:76 scale, so look a little small next to most models up close, but at gaming distance they should be fine. Longer term they could probably do with being mounted on bases with some rubble.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
I've painted them in something vaguely akin the the M1943 uniform (although a handful are in older style colours), so these guys are either late war or fresh arrivals to Europe post D-Day. US uniforms in this period are the cause of some confusion when it comes to picking colours!
I've also added a bit more German infantry, this time some old airfix models, and started detailing a couple of Armourfast Stugs (not happy with it yet, so no photos).
Monday, 8 November 2010
No really! If she hadn't gone shopping with my wife in Derby, I wouldn't have found myself in Modelzone in the Westfield Centre, contemplating what I could do with a 1/72 scale die-cast Sherman tank at £3.99! Or two...
Like many gamers I guess, the seeds of the hobby were probably sewn on childhood carpets, playing with soldiers from the likes of airfix and matchbox. And yet strangely enough I've never done any WWII gaming. Well thanks to those Shermans, and a pile of old model railway terrain inherited from my Grandad (and which has to come out of the attic soon anyway, so the builder can get to work) that's the plan. The aim (optimistically) will be that this will be a project with low time investment. Apart from buildings, I can mostly use my existing scenery collection; by using 1/72 scale figs (many of which are hang overs from those old carpet wars, plus some additions) I hopefully won't get too precious about paintjobs; and for vehicles I'm going to use a mix of die-casts (there's a good range out there these days) and stuff from the likes of armourfast.
I'm also going to try and keep that inner button counter under control. If I want to have a 76mm Sherman on the table and all I have is a model with a 105, I shall not give a fig!
Here's the first batch, the beginnings of a German infantry platoon (I'm working on two Armourfast StugIIIs for support). Next up should be some US Infantry.
Well I now have quite a collection of these models, some from my original army, some recent additions from ebay, and I finally got around to slapping some paint on. I succumbed to nostalgia and went old school with a mid grey uniform which, as well as looking pretty good, was also incredibly quick to paint. There are still some details to be done, like eyes and unit markings, along with the bases, but progress has been good. I'm going to do these minis in batches, a few at a time between other projects, so I don't get that jaded feeling that sometimes comes from doing whole units (and is why I haven't finished those Tau, and myriad other projects!).
And so, on to the obligatory piccies...
First up was finishing my Copplestone Castings Neo Sovs. I'd already prepared a few of these, but had quite a few left to go, including most of the command models, and all the basing to do.
Here's a family photo. Mark Copplestone's figures are a joy to paint, nice chunky models that have simple but effective detailing. There's loads of character to these guys too, with some great expressions. The only problem I had was choosing the right camo scheme. In the end the last few got a different scheme to the first few. I may go back and change the old ones, but for now I'm happy enough, they're not dramatically different from 'table distance' and it just looks like some have had a more recent issue of kit. The front row includes the commanders and two snipers.
The guy with all the medals is probably only going to turn up on tables occasionally, possibly as an objective! The radioman on the right is a pretty straightforward conversion using a GW Tau backpack and green stuff (for the headset), and is wearing the 'new' camo. The 'political officer' (on the left) was a really quick model to paint, but has really effective (in my opinion).
Monday, 1 November 2010
So what did I think? Overall I'm liking the new rules. The emphasis is definitely back on infantry, and I like the balance of the new magic rules. You really need an understanding of how your units will perform in different situations to help decide whether to take advantage of the 'horde' or 'Steadfast' formations. So what were the specific thoughts about how my Empire army was affected?
Infantry: The new steadfast rule really helps Ld 7 infantry, if you can fit in large enough units! The changes to Initiative and second rank attacks really help to narrow the difference between units as well, but without removing all the flavour. Still no solution to the problem of the Empire's signature weapon, the halberd, being bland and unattractive though.
Not sure I'll be taking Flagellants very often though. Now that they will be on the receiving end of more attacks (at least two ranks worth), that T3 and no save makes them look very expensive for troops that will inevitably die in droves as a speed bump (especially now most core infantry can effectively be stubborn).
Cavalry: Knights have taken a bit of a hit. The random charge move has reduced their ability to make sure of getting the charge in, and units sizes mean they don't generally get to benefit from the steadfast or horde rules. They're going to be less of a 'first strike' unit, and more used to throw in a tip the balance at a crucial point. Makes it tactically more interesting.
Pistoliers I'm undecided on. As fast cavalry they're still pretty flexible. Pistols are now longer ranged, but the negative modifiers for moving and firing at long range soon stack up to reduce their shooting effectiveness.
Artillery: One word - Mortars...
And the High Elves?
I do think GW have got the 'Always Strikes First' rule badly wrong, allowing units to re-roll misses, combined with the change to initiative and extra rank attacking, mean that High Elf units can cause some serious damage (spears attacking in four ranks at WS4, re-rolling misses, you do the math...). It would have made more sense for this rule to simply mean that they acted in initiative order, reducing the number of attacks they would take in return, but not making them cause more casualties. This would seem to sit with the description better.
That said, they're not entirely unbeatable, but its trickier.
High Elf spearmen are quite scary now, attacking in 4 ranks! (and for less points than a Dogs of War pikemen, bit that's another rant...)
First up, continuing the saga of my Empire army for WFB, are you sitting comfortably?
Right then... After a bit of a break form Warhammer while I was at Uni, I got back into it with a friend when I was living in Portsmouth. Initially using my old army and 3rd edition rules, I got repeatedly smacked by his Skaven. It was the decision to add some more spearmen and handgunners, my first trip to a GW in years, and discovery of the plastic sets that then got me back in the habit. Combined with meeting more dedicated gamers when I moved to Derbyshire (and found Warhammer World nearby) of course.
One purchase of the 6th edition rulebook and the Empire army book and I'd started a completely new army...
I'm not one for designing an army list and then collecting to it. I'm always adding models and units I like the look of or fancy painting, so it's more of a work in progress. I'd been sceptical about the landsknechte style that had started to appear just as I was dropping out of the hobby, but before I knew it, it had grown on me and puffy sleeves were everywhere.
Here's how things stand at the moment.
Depending how you calculate it, there's something over 6-7,000 points there.
Back Row: Steam Tank, 2 units of 5 pistoliers, 10 knights, 13 knights, 5 knights, 6 White Wolves, Mortar
Second Row: 2 (yes, 2) volleyguns, 20 swordsmen (usually used as detachments), 24 spearmen, 24 greatswords, 24 halberdiers, 20 flagellents, Great Cannon
Third Row: 14 archers, 40 halberdiers (formed in detachments of 10), 20 crossbowmen (formed in units of 10), another Great Cannon
Front Row: 3 mounted wizards (lores of metal, fire and heavens), 3 engineers, 4 warrior priests (one mounted), Mounted general, foot captain, Battle Standard Bearer, Grand Master, 4 foot wizards (heavens, fire, shadow and death), 3 more mounted wizards (life, death and beasts).
Since I took this photo I've added enough troops to bring my halberdiers, spearmen and greatswords up to units of 30 to get the most out of the 8th edition changes, as well as a mounted battle standard bearer (to match my foot one)
There's also a pile of part and unpainted lead and plastic waiting to be added, including a hero on Griffin (a chance to combine with one of my other hobbies, birdwatching, it's going to be part Osprey, or maybe Red Kite...), unit of free company (which will recycle some of my old models), several units of knights, including some of the metal Reiksgard and Knights Panther, and just a little bit more artillery (mainly because I prefer the older, metal models to the current plastics).
I have to admit though, the more recent releases (plastic flagellants and greatswords) have left me a bit cold. And don't get me started on the awful mechanical horse...
Be nice if they produced some updated knights though.
Of course there's also the Dogs of War army, but I'll leave that for another time...
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
And I must admit that the release of it's 8th edition has got me all excited about the subject again (it may be a marketing ploy but so what? find me something in life that isn't!), and reflecting on armies past present and future and, in particular, my strange, ongoing relationship with the Empire.
The Empire wasn't even my first attempt to collect an army (it didn't even exist when I first got into the game), that was an undead army, made up mostly of miniatures from the now defunct Grenadier range. Unfortunately I soon discovered I couldn't paint skeletons and they never got finished (they're still up there, bending the ceiling as I speak, must get them down and try again someday). However, when the first army lists came out, in the original Ravening Hordes book, it was the newly created background of the Empire that caught my eye. I couldn't say with 100% certainty why I felt drawn to that particular army, but I strongly suspect it was an existing interest in history, and the excuse to have knights in armour (I blame lazy Sundays watching films like Ivanhoe and the Knights of the Round Table). Even back then, units were appearing that we still see today, Imperial Guard (although they included archers back then), big blocks of Halberdiers and the Knights Panther.
Anyway, I'm rambling... and will continue to do so... My first Empire army, for second edition, was always a bit of a mish mash of stuff (including home cast stuff using moulds from Prince August) and I never quite managed to have all of the right units or numbers. The first, proper, 'legal' army I managed was actually under the excellent (if detailed) third edition and it's 'Warhammer Armies' book of army lists (back when an army could be described in a dozen sides of A4, and all the armies could be found in one book). That was a great list, and was largely responsible for defining certain elements of the Empire army that have always stuck with me. In particular it had a really Germanic flavour, with all of the units being given characterful names, like Helblitzen (halberds), Hohensknechtes (knights) and the tongue bending hakbutschutzen (handgunners) and temple ritterbruden (templar knights). This was an army of aloof religious knights, robber barons, professional infantry and grubby town militias, and you could even bring the baggage train to the party!
I still couldn't win games with it though...
I still have most of that army, although some elements have been cannibalised for other uses, or even incorporated into my current armies. It even turned up during a recent sort through of the attic, and was brought out for a nostalgic look and photo opp. I must say my paining has improved though...
Kriegsritter, Temple Ritterbruden, Hohensknechtes
Reiks Kanone Batterien, Helblitzen, Reiksgard, Helblitzen, Nuln Landsknechtes (mercenaries)
Lots of Armbrustschutzen!
I also had a unit of 'Ersatzsolder' (militia, basically), and mercenary Border Horsemen, some of which still feature in my armies now.
Sunday, 27 June 2010
The most recent completion was one of the excellent Crow Landers from Old Crow models. Nice clean, hard SF look, and well cast as usual, this will get used in games of Fast and Dirty.
I'd already assembled the model (only took minutes, although I'd advise pinning the wings for security), and taken a first crack at painting it with an airbrush. However, I'd mucked up the proportions for the green camo, which ended up blotchy and horrible, so decided to start from scratch. This time I went with a base coat of Humbrol spray enamel Sea Grey, which I then masked off with blu-tac before spraying with Dark Green (although it doesn't look that dark!). This was the first time I'd used this technique, and it worked a treat!
This was followed up by a quick paint of the details. Plain black for the cockpit, and metallics for the jet pipes, landing gear and turret weapon. A quick drybrush to highlight the details, and shading the panels with black wash finished the painting, to which was added some spare decals from old aircraft kits. All in all, I'm pleased with the result for minimum time, although I might return to it and add some more weathering at some point.
Monday, 19 April 2010
A while ago I started what was supposed to be a simple project to build some basic box cargo sections to fit on my Old Crow Provider Transports (here). The construction phase was quick a simple, but the painting...
For some reason the UK seems to be suffering a chronic shortage of olive drab spray paint (at least my part of the world is). In the end I've settled for a light olive that doesn't quite match, so I've done some very rough and ready camo stripes, hoping for a look that gives a bit of an improvised look, as if the trucks have been put together in a bit of a hurry. Hopefully it looks OK.
Of course, just as I complete them, Old Crow go and do this...
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Personally, I blame Matt of the Mottblog. All I did was paint up a handful of Tau ('A fistful of Tau') and he had to go and say, I've got 1500 pts of Marines I don't use, fancy making that into an army?
So here I am a few weeks later the proud owner (thanks to ebay) of 22 fire warriors, 4 pathfinders, 8 drones, a devilfish and a Hammerhead gunship. I've never actually played 40K in its current form, so with this as my starting point, I'm going to begin with a basic force of about 1000pts, to which I can add more as I get some experience. Here's my first attempt at playing with a list, to give me something to aim at:
Commander - Shas’el, Cyclic ion blaster, Shield generator, Command and control node, Hard wired drone controller and marker drone - 125pts
2x Bodyguard - Fusion blaster, flamer, targeting array, hard-wired multi-tracker, hard wired target lock - 142 ptsTroops
3 teams of 7x Fire Warriors and 2x Gun Drones - Shas’ui with markerlight and drone controller, Photon Grenades - 351pts
Pathfinder Squad, 4x pathfinders (1 with Rail Rifle 3 pulse carbines), 2x Gun Drones - Photon Grenades, EMP grenades, Shas’ui, Bonding knife, Drone Controller - 99pts
Devilfish Transport - Smart missile system, Disruption Pod - 105pts
1x Hammerhead - Targeting array, Railgun, smart missile system, disruption pod, target lock - 150pts
What I really ought to do is get rid of a project as a kind of 'gaming karma', maybe those epic Orks I've never really done anything with.
Watch this space for progress...
Sunday, 21 February 2010
I know the two on urban bases look a bit out of place, but I fancied trying the GW resin basing kit and these two just looked right on them. I've christened the guy with the chainsaw as 'Dimitri "The General"' and his right hand henchman (with the heavy stubber) 'Yuri'. Don't know why, they just looked like them.
Along with also completing the basing on my long awaited Empire General (the rider is nearly 20 years old), and spraying the boxcars for my Old Crow Providers, I've pretty much cleared the decks for my next project, what shall it be?
Friday, 19 February 2010
My wife, Melissa, and I had decided to take short break in Cumrbia/Lancashire, so that we could visit the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss. We'd heard that they sometimes get large numbers of starlings roosting in the evening so decided to stay around for a bit to see if they would come in. Now, the starling is a bird most of us are probably familiar with as a somewhat noisy, and sometimes argumentative garden visitor, but they have another side.
As dusk set in, starlings started to gather from all directions, first a few hundred, then more. Flock after flock came in until there were, quite literally, hundreds of thousands of starlings swirling about in a stunning display of synchronised arobatics, right over our heads. It wasn't just us who had turned up to witness the spectacle either, as peregrines and sparrowhawks also dived in to the writhing mass in hope of a meal. Each time a predator flew in the starlings would change formation to confuse it, at one point even drawing in, and then closing up around the poor, confused bird!
The first starlings turn up,
That's a sparrowhawk circling just beneath them
A tiny portion of the final flock, this just doesn't do it justice!
So, next the next time you see some bedraggled, squawky bird squabbling for space on the bird table, look again, and maybe, if you get the chance, go and see what he can do when accompanied by a few thousand friends...
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Matt (The Mott Blog), has written a short set of campaign rules for Warhammer (based on gaining territories and earning revenue from them), that we thought we'd try. First job was to sort out the map, a random affair that led to us both starting out in control of Marshes!
TURN 1 - SPRING
The campaign started in Spring, with us rolling up a pitched battle as the first game, and so it was that 2000pts of the Empire's finest lined up against Matt's infantry heavy High Elf army (the early stages have restrictions on the availability of heroes and special and rare choices).
Lined up and ready for action
Well, what can I say? I had one of those games... Knights with paper armour and rubber lances (who couldn't pass leadership tests on a Ld9 either), and Matt's always strike first elves mowing down troops before they could hit back meant I conceded early, giving the first game convincingly to Matt. In particular, he's developed a clever and very tricksy tactic involving small groups of 5 or six swordmasters roaming the battlefield, like mobile landmines! With WS6, 2A and S5, they buzz-sawed through units like they weren't there.
My knights yell their battle cry, "Run away, run away!"
TURN 2 - SUMMER
Summer saw us roll up a flank attack. Struggling out of their marsh, my Empire army found themselves outflanked by the swifter elves. As defender, and not knowing where a flank attack might come from, I deployed tightly in the centre of my table edge, my flagellants and volleygun protecting the left flank, my knights the right, with my infantry (spearmen and greatswords, each with a detachment of swordsmen and handgunners) in the centre. Matt decided to put his two units of Seaguard into the flanking force, with his archers holding his right flank and his spearmen, swordmasters and bolt-thrower the left.
The initial set up
Unfortunately for Matt, his reserves didn't turn up until the last minute, too late to influence the result of the game. However this also meant that he had two completely unharmed units left on the table, and when combined with one of my units of knights having their usual paper armour problem, I was only able to pull out a draw.
The seaguard turn up too late, and these guys have navigated across the oceans?
TURN 3 - AUTUMN
For our final game before winter shut down all campaigning, we rolled up 'last stand', with the Empire as the attacker. With Matt starting with only 1000 pts to my 2000 it should be easy, but of course he only needed 501 victory points to force a draw, which would still leave me a territory down overall. Better keep my knights away from him then...
In the end I did manage to pull it off, thanks largely to my volleygun, which beat the odds to cause lots of damage with only one misfire (resulting in a temporary jam). I even managed to keep both units of knights intact. It was far from a walkover though, the loss of even one high value unit, with characters and banners, could have been disastrous for me, and Matt could afford to throw away units without concern. The result was a very tactical game, with me trying to keep a running list in my head of how many VPs I'd given away and calculating each move and attack very carefully.
The win gave me a new territory, a plain. As winter set in we were neck and neck on territory, with a plain and marsh each, and both of use with one win, loss and draw under our belts. However Matt's early win had given his treasury an extra boost, putting him closer to being able to buy upgrades.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
But, however poor the paintjob, working on them reminded me of those days. 40K, in its Rogue Trader incarnation was my first ‘SF’ wargame (I originally got into wargaming via Warhammer). Back in those days there were no army books, or set vehicles, so you pretty much made up your own forces. In fact my first army was of space pirates. Yes, you heard me right, ‘Space Pirates’! No army books back then, remember! These guys were mostly made up of models from the old mercenaries and pirates ranges, backed up by some heavy weapon equipped squats, and regularly took on Orks and marines. They were usually backed up by their grav tank, ‘The Pig’ a somewhat shoddy scratchbuild based on an old deodorant bottle. Sadly this has long gone (although I might have a piccie somewhere).
Anyway, I fell out of gaming 40K before the second edition came out and have never really got back into it, the ‘modern’ lists and style of army just don’t have the right ‘feel’ for me. If I want lots of tanks on the table I’ll play Epic, and don’t get me started on using swords as anti-tank weapons… But in a fit of nostalgia I have picked up a second hand copy of the Rogue Trader rules, and started picking up some extras from ebay for my other old army, Imperial Guard. Who knows, maybe I’ll get some games in using those Tau I’ve painted, carrying on the tale of the beleaguered planet Curwen, that Matt and I recently fought over using the Aeronautica Imperialis rules.
Friday, 5 February 2010
I also have a few drones and a handful of pathfinders that I might paint up. I may even then dig out some of my old Imperial Guard models and have a few games set on Curwen, using either the old Rogue Trader rules (I've recently picked up a second hand copy) or Necromunda (say what you like about GW, making the specialist games free was a GOOD thing).