Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted and even longer since I’ve played a solid “Ranks and Flanks” miniatures war game so now seems a good time to change the former as I had a great afternoon doing the latter. Despite not actually playing Kings of War for ages I’ve been working away at various units for different armies. New units (a regiment and troop of archers) had me tempted to run Undead especially as I haven’t done so since the second edition rules came out. The fact that the rest of the army is still based individually for Warhammer and scattered between three Army Transport boxes made it clear that I really wanted to run Dwarfs. Besides, I had three finished units that hadn’t been used in a game yet. Only two of those made it into the final army list, a Troop of Berserkers and a Regiment of Sharpshooters.
Okay, truth be told, I don’t often use Berserkers, other than Brock Riders, in my armies but I keep assembling units because I love painting them. Speaking of the crazed badger riders, I am busy doing some conversion work on a unit of them at the moment. I am planning on posting the step by step in the near future.
A long running grudge match on the Road of Death is between the Kingdoms of Men (led by my buddy Ryan) and my stalwart Dwarfs. It is always a close fought thing with today being no different. I believe it says something about Kings of War as a rules set when we haven’t played for almost two years and remembered how. Sure we had to look a few things up but not as many as I would have expected.
The forces were 2200 points a side and we went with a straight Kill scenario for it’s simplicity. I have to admit to some serious horde envy whenever this army gathers across from me, especially when it’s a cavalry horde. The far right of the human line was a war machine sporting a nasty ballista and a wizard both looking to crush some Earth Elementals. Next to them was a horde of Foot Guard, a HUGE ballista, a regiment of Heavy Pike Block, a mortar, the Army Standard, and the General.
To make matters worse for me, the rest of his line consisted of a horde of Pole Armed soldiers, a troop of Mounted Scouts with carbines, a horde of Arquibussiers all screening a horde of Knights. Yes, a horde of Knights (32 attacks at 3+, Thunderous Charge of 2 OUCH!). A Siege Artillery unit watched over the left flank and I was sure there were plenty of magic items scattered throughout the force. I would be proven correct in my assumptions.
Facing this lethal nightmare was my humble army of bearded warriors. A troop of Ironwatch Rifles secured the far left beside a Greater Earth Elemental, a horde of smaller Earth Elementals, a Berserker Lord on Brock, a regiment of Brock Riders, and a regiment of Bulwarkers. In the woods in the center were Bugman’s Rangers.
A bombard team set up between the woods and my own horde of Ironwatch Crossbows. The Army Standard was close beside as were my regiment of Ironwatch Rifles, and the Sharpshooters. Another Bombard anchored the right flank while the troop of Berserkers and Lady Ursula were held in reserve. In the end I didn’t have enough points for a troop of Berserkers and magic items, a common enough dilemma and why I rarely run the orange haired buggers. However, these guys have been finished in the last couple of months and really deserved a chance to prove their worth. So I went with no magic.
The first turn went quietly for both of us as neither seemed able to roll decently in our shooting phases. Almost my entire gun line emptied their weapons into the advancing horde of pole armed troops for a total of five wounds. The Greater Earth Elemental, known as Stompy took some wounds from the ballista on the war machine but we were both in solid shape as the second turn opened.
A second turn of bad shooting rolls was uncharacteristic of Ryan but the left of his line advanced steadily. My rolls were considerably better and saw away the horde of pole armed men while the troop of berserkers and Lady Ursula destroyed the scouts in a single charge. This left the knights open to charge my line. Crap.
Turns out Ryan could have skipped the shooting all together as that horde of knights was a steamroller. It slammed into my horde of crossbows and ran them down in one round before pivoting to face the regiment of rifles. The math worked out better if I charged them with everything I had left but my dice didn’t agree and I only inflicted five wounds on the armored ruffians. Following turns would see the troop of berserkers blasted apart by cannon fire along with one of my bombards. Somehow Ryan can always roll a six when he really needs it with his artillery. Mine were failing to hit anything. In the end the knights accounted for many more points in damage than they cost, destroying the Rifles and Lady Ursula before the last vestiges of the gun line could finally do enough damage to destroy them. It took the one hit my cannons scored to tip the balance.
On the dwarf left things went a little more to plan with the Brock Riders and the Earth Elementals weathering some fire before closing with the enemy. Really missed my Stone Priest with his Surge ability but they made contact with the horde of foot soldiers and helped Stompy break them in a turn. The Brockriders crushed the war machine and moved around the woods hoping for a flank charge. This came on turn six while the heavy pike was defending itself from my spear block. Fortunately for the badger riders neither Phalynx nor Ensnare work on a unit’s flanks and they helped bring down the pike block. Stompy was quite heroic in his contributions but in the end succumbed to one of those sixes Ryan rolls for his artillery and was blown to rubble at the top of the final turn.
As the miniature sun was setting on our 28mm battlefield there were considerably fewer units standing on either side than when we commenced. The horde of human arquibussiers were wounded but standing on the hill overlooking the few remaining dwarf gun units who in turn were aiming at them. The human right flank was all but gone with the army standard bearer still refusing to give up, continually firing that damned Boomstick. I’ve got to get one of those for my own army. Final score saw the Kingdoms of men inflicting almost 1100 points in casualties while the dwarfs took down over 1600 points of their enemy. Hard fought and close to the end but the dwarfs pulled off a victory. I do love how often a game of Kings of War comes down to the last turn. Considering how consistently Ryan has been beating me at cards (Dominion is another addiction of ours) for the last six months, I really needed a win to maintain any gamer cred.
So next time I will need more bulwarkers painted, my own mobile war machine, and a Boomstick. Oh, and the new regiment of Berserkers really needs to make an appearance.
KublaCon2016 gave my friends and I a great opportunity to pool our terrain collections and play some Frostgrave. I’m not going to go into a full battle report as there were a number of them and I don’t recall all the details. I’m just delighted with how good the terrain and figures look on the table and not just my own stuff. All my friends, at all skill levels, have made good looking warbands, imaginative terrain, and it all looks great together.
The close ups are fun and make me want to work on some narrative photography at home. Yet another way to play with painted toys.
I’ve got a few ideas of what I want to build next and I still have a couple of Matt’s unfinished houses to problem solve. I do think I need to come up with some hill sized rubble piles as well as smaller ones for scatter. In addition, I am still trying to figure out how to add more vertical height to the battlefields. Then there is the Breeding Pits supplement that will introduce Gnolls and underground terrain due any day now. Seems there will be any number of new projects to work on.
Okay, not everything I’ve been working on is for Frostgrave nor is it all dwarf related (yes, there are plenty of the short, bearded fellows primed and waiting on my table right now) but I have been sticking to the fantasy genre’. My love of Mantic’s (http://www.manticgames.com/games/kings-of-war.html) Kings of War hasn’t faded and I am still toiling away in the summoning circle to bring forth my vision of an Abyssal Horde. Foolishly, said vision includes bases covered in molten lava so I am really having to improve my object source lighting (OSL) skills. My initial inspiration came from the Lava Fields bases by Secret Weapon Miniatures (https://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/). In addition to their incredible Terrain Tiles and matching bases, Secret Weapon is a wonderful resource for pigments, paints, and weathering materials. A huge bonus are Mr Justin’s tutorials. I knew from the beginning I was going to mount the Greater Abyssal in my force on one of their large round lipped Lava Field bases. I started with the lava as I wanted the bright reds and yellows to peek out of the deepest areas hinting at a barely cooled surface. This meant I had to know where the figure would be standing in order to know where the glow would be hitting him. Not really a problem because I prefer to drill all the holes and glue in mounting pins before painting even if painting them separately.
I also needed to get all of the demon that wasn’t flame painted before focusing on the OSL. The sculpt has what looks like long hair covering the lower leg right down to the hooves. Even in the early preconception drawings I saw it as flame so knew I’d be adding those as further OSL.
Once the demon was done it was time to start painting the fire and the OSL. It helps to work on these simultaneously as I can more easily match colors between the light sources and their projected light. I began with coating the flames with Citadel’s Lamenter’s Yellow Glaze as well as laying down some of the OSL.
I went with a half and half mix of Lamenter’s Yellow and Citadel Flash Gitz Yellow (which I conseder the Base Mix) for the next layers of flame, working it into the deeper cracks and lower areas. Continued to layer straight Lamenter’s Yellow onto the areas facing the flames. To know where to stop it I’ll hold the figure so the light source is behind the part I’m working on and rotate it until the light source appears. This is the same process for the shadows which I did later.
Looking at photo reference I saw that the base of the fire, the hottest part, is also the lightest. The hottest flames are bluish white but I wanted to match the yellowish white of the lava base so will save the searing blue white for a future Effrit. That said, I added Citadel’s Fire Dragon Bright to my “flame mix” and worked it into the upper half of the flames. I don’t use a wet pallet for everything but it was a huge help here. It allowed me to keep a mix of my base color moist for a long time that I could use to mix with the successive layers as well as glaze over after to further blend the differences. I continued to work darker hues into the flames ending with Citadel’s Evil Sunz Scarlet mixed in for the tips. The majority of the OSL was achieved with Lamenter’s Yellow with just a couple “hot spots” of the base mix especially on the wings.
In addition to the wet pallet I had to really keep my brushes moist as I worked. Moist isn’t the same as wet which would have a tendency to drip and pool. This is thin layers of glaze placed carefully, what Thomas (http://skullandcrown.blogspot.com/ ) calls Hummel Painting after porcelain miniatures. It does get tedious so I’m thankful I had all that Frostgrave terrain to work on as well.
I used Secret Weapon Washes, Blue Black and Soft Body Black half and half, to darken the shadow sides of the wings and back. I kept adding Lamenter’s Yellow to to the OSL surfaces right up to the point I was ready to attach it to the base. I’ve sealed it all but I am still contemplating a few more layers to really make the projected light pop, especially under the wings.
All in all I have to say I’m satisfied with this paint job. Though I’m not in love with it I do like the final result and think he will be quite imposing leading my chittering hordes out from the Abyss. Nothing to say I can’t go in and add some more Lamenter’s Yellow here and there later on but for now he is done. I’ve really got to get back to those Lower Abyssals and Succubi which I will just as soon as I finish up those Bones undead for Frostgrave… oh yeah, wanted to start another Frostgrave building…
In addition to building terrain and treasure tokens for Frostgrave there were a number of creatures on the random encounter chart I didn’t have any miniatures to represent. So I searched through my vaults of unpainted minis for inspiration and discovered several in the Reaper Bones section. Okay, so it’s really boxes in a closet but vaults just sounds so much more dramatic. One of the first ones was the dire wolf who I decided should be white to match the theme. Besides, it gave me an excuse to use snow on the base.
It isn’t really listed on the chart but the purple worm just seemed to fit into the group and could be used in a couple different scenarios.
Once I painted a giant worm I realized I really needed an even bigger bug because… well… because it’s bigger.
One of the very last things I finished painting before the game convention was an even larger bug called a Frost Worm. He’s so large he barely fits on his own base. Now, unlike Necron99, mine is a playing piece, not a medal winning paint job so I concede to him on this one. Still, I think he looks threatening enough to dominate a Frostgrave table.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I do own the HUGE worm/bug/monstrosity that is Mashaaf from Reaper Bones as well but have no plans on putting brush to it for some time. Then again, I might have to write up a multi-bug scenario and who better to play the boss.
The statue painted up in minutes, no surprise there. I used Games Workshop patina on all of the metal parts and highlighted in silver when it dried. Some staining, weathering on the stone work and it was done. Now to get some fountains and troughs. Got to have cover from all those bow carrying underlings.
I painted the interior of the stone building first. Once this was done I could enclose it and finish off the roof, the interior of which I also prepainted. Then it was a matter of working my way from one building to the next keeping my work neat to minimize clean up though some mess just made for nice distressing. A wide, flat brush is a must for this with smaller flats for the trim. The rougher masonry was painted with an old, beat up flat as were the shingles.
In addition to using different colors on the building fronts I tried to break up the colors of the interiors. It may have no effect on the game but I like the look. It just gives it more of that lived in look or formerly lived in as the case may be. The rubble was the most time consuming to paint because in addition to soaking up the paint there always seemed to be a part I missed. Everything got a coat of a base color and highlighting though I still want to add more weathering in future.
I finished the long row off with my own mix of flocking and tufts of brown grasses. So far this is the piece I’m most excited about using in games. It just has so many opportunities for cinematic moments and dramatic duels. It also fills the last open space in my second “Frostheim” terrain box. I’m either going to have to start a third box or reorganize what I have. Who am I kidding? I’m going to reorganize into three boxes because I know how much more stuff I’m working on, like the columned ruins, and my modified Witchfate Tor.
I have been going through my collection of unfinished terrain projects with an eye for things usable in Frostgrave. With KublaCon coming up in Burlingame, CA at the end of May I have a self imposed deadline. Among a number of things I came upon a set of resin columns with base and extra broken pieces. I recall picking them up years ago at a convention flea market with the idea of adding them to my Tomb Kings Necropolis collection but they will really work with a number of different games. I found some plywood ovals that looked close in size and thickness to the resin base big enough to glue a couple the broken column pieces to each.
The tiles on the original were of varying thickness so found a couple different sheets of rough cardboard and cut them into one inch squares to match. I then coated a wood oval with Tacky Glue and started gluing them into place.
I didn’t worry too much about overlapping the edges as I was going to trim them later. I tried to scatter the thicker ones randomly across the surface.
I left the bases to dry over night so they would be solid when I tried trimming them.
As always, sharp blades are essential so I changed mine regularly. Once the bases were trimmed they were ready for details to be attached. I am going call the piece the columns sit on a plinth just to avoid confusion in this post. The original plinths looked like they had been cut from the extra thick foam core. As I don’t have any of that I doubled up regular foam core and used light weight wall patch to seal the edges and add texture. Inspired by a friend’s experimentation with insulation foam I decided to use some of the blue stuff to make my scattered bricks. Again, very sharp blades make all the difference between success and frustration. As with the tiles I made pile of these as well as bigger pieces to play the part of large marble slabs. These larger parts were also coated with wall patch for stone texture.
With everything glued together it is time to paint them. Since the propellants used in spray paint will dissolve styro foam and my airbrush isn’t set up yet I went with brush on primer.
I knew I’d regret not cutting out all the windows before I started gluing everything together and the tower proved me right. Of course as an expected hassle it wasn’t too frustrating but, sadly, I have enough wisdom to know I’ll make that mistake again. Oh well, chalk it up to spontaneity. I did get to use a resin doorway I had picked up in a collection on eBay ages ago for the covered stairway.
Began building the covered stairway on the end of the pass through. I think I can avoid building all the stairs though the area right at the top will show through the doorway so I will have to think of something before I glue the roof on. That will have to wait until I’ve finished painting the interior so I still have some time to contemplate. Added some walls and rubble to the back of the long row which really helped get it closer to painting. Used up an old pack of “green stuff” to sculpt the stone arch.
Been making more ladders and bridges as well. Little personal victory when I realized that two end bits of scrap could be turned around and turned into a broken board.
While working on the long row I finished painting the second building. I would have added a great deal of rubble for looks but it would have interfered with the gaming uses which defeats the point really. In the end I did add a little flock, as a compromise, to break up the surface of the floors. Now it just looks like a well kept ruin.
While cleaning out the closet I came upon a number of forgotten projects. One is a bunch of resin columns and the other is an extra statue from the Gardens of Morr from Games Workshop whose original purpose I can’t recall. Now it will join my terrain collection.
Once the third floor had been added I began working on the deck and exterior stairway in earnest. Got in the new flooring quickly as well as the roof of the middle building. The pass through on the far end got much of it’s exterior glued on and it’s floor in. I know I’m going to regret not cutting open the windows on that building before I started gluing things together. I want to build a covered stairway along it’s exterior side but that is still in the conceptual stages. If I do it right I won’t have to actually make more stairs just the box they are inside.
To break up the front of the tall building on the long row I used the same stirring sticks as the floors on the exterior. Of course I thought of that after attaching the balcony (sniper’s nest) so had to work around that.
The First Building is done and sealed. Heck, at the time of this writing it is already put away in the big plastic box in the garage with the bridges and ladders.
Here’s the opening stages of the one I call First Building. Not very snappy, I know, but it is an accurate description.
The one I think of as Building Two simply because it was the second one I started working on. Not sure why but the hole at the bottom of one of the walls didn’t work for me so I patched it up with some lightweight spackling compound. One of the criteria for the first couple of buildings was that I wouldn’t have to do much construction and could go straight to painting. As I was already spending the time patching a wall I didn’t see any harm in adding a little more detail but did compromise by making a partial stair.
The Long Row is going to take a lot of planning and work but I think it could become a wonderful piece and add verticality to our battle fields. I started by rearranging some of the interior walls to make room for stairs, glued in foamcoare where the floors would be as well as gluing the entire thing to a piece of thin plywood. Narrow, wooden coffee stirring sticks make wonderful flooring but have no strength so get glued on top of the foam core. The ends of the planks extend past the edge of the foam core which will be painted in dark colors helping with the illusion.
I use Tacky Glue for everything because it works on all the materials I’m using, the thickness greatly reduces oozing, and it cleans up with water. It also remains a little flexible after it dries which I find adds durability to terrain pieces. I used scraps, off cuts, and found items to build most everything but especially the bridges/ramps and ladders which are assembled largely from the scraps left from working on the buildings. One can never have too many of these items so I will be making many more of them in future. I even have a short bridge AronBC made and gave me to add to the collection. I put improvised railings here and there to look good and maybe reduce figures sliding off. Think I’m going to have to glue some skulls and shields to some future constructions.
After struggling with how I would gable the roof to make a platform for the exterior stairs I planned to build I realized most of my problems would be solved if the end building was just another floor taller. So I cut off the roof and glued in another floor. Not only did this give me more height and two more windows to shoot out of but the end of the attic was screaming for a balcony. You just can’t have too many odds and ends for figures to fire from or be shot off of in my opinion.
A wide flat brush combined with a wet palette makes short work of the bridges and ladders. Good thing I’ve got plenty more scrap to build more. We are going to need them.
I try to get to the three closest game conventions each year as they are the best places to interact with most of my oldest friends, meet new ones, and light my creative fires all in one very entertaining weekend. This time was no exception at DundraCon 2016 (San Ramon, Ca) with the highlight being all the Frostgrave we played. For those who may not have heard of it, Frostgrave by Osprey Games is a fantasy skirmish game in which players run a wizard and their band of adventurers seeking the arcane knowledge and treasures of an ancient ruined city (think Mordheim) that was destroyed in an icy, magic cataclysm. It is supposed to be frozen and snow covered but none of my terrain is so I figure there is a brief thaw in the neighborhood. I was delighted to break out long neglected Mordheim terrain and share figures from my also long neglected Role Playing Miniatures collection. Learning a fun new game was bonus.
One table had two gangs fighting it out over the treasures while a giant worm burrowed around under them. Eventually it burst out and much mayhem ensued. When we get together everyone pools their miniatures and terrain, especially the terrain. We all have little projects, okay, some of us have numerous projects that might not fill a three foot square battlefield but added up really look great. Plus I’ll jump at any chance to use the Abbey AronBC built based on a scenario in an old Citadel Journal. This time he had brought a figure from our ancient youth, a giant millipede and, like myself, he was happy to have it get table time.
I was ecstatic to game with so many of the beautiful Hasslefree Miniatures I had painted simply because I loved them. Now they had names and missions. Just to ice the cake, now I really need to paint three from the Unpainted Box to round out the gang. Who knew I’d need a thief? The game uses opposed rolls with twenty sided dice for spell casting and combat. If the caster/attacker rolls higher the number they rolled is also the damage caused. My first game started out well when I rolled a twenty on a twenty sided die to cast Elemental Bolt at my opponent’s wizard who happened to be in the open from where my wizard stood. Modifiers, armor figured out and BOOM! One dead wizard on turn two. We decided to set up and start again because it was about to get very one sided and to have that happen when one is focused on learning a new game seems ridiculous. Besides, there’s no fun in that.
The second game was a closer run thing with both of us hugging terrain and taking shots where we could. The silent tower and it’s connecting buildings are not only a major objective but also a magic null zone so the wizards were quite limited. A couple of henchmen were taken down here and there but it ended with both wizards deciding discretion was the better part of valor and backed away warily as the gangs hauled in their swag.
One of the things I really like about the game is the easy campaign aspect. It was always my favorite part of Mordheim and Necromunda as well because it encourages me to paint miniatures I might not get to as well as creating character and narrative. In this case not only did we use my wild boars, bear, and familiars but the Stone Mountain troll finally found a game use, granted my opponent used Wind Blast to immediately push him back off the table but he got on the table. It also moved the resin toads I’d picked up to the painting table.
So, a fun system that was much easier to learn than I thought it would be. The campaign book, Thaw of the Lich Lord looks very entertaining not to mention creatively inspiring. Now I have a list of old figures and projects to dig out and dust off. Going to to be making buildings, ladders, and bridges for a while.