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Posts from the ‘War Gaming’ Category

5
Apr

The Peace is Broken

It’s our first battle so we better make a good showing, lads.

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.

 

Mixed Citadel and Avatars of War figures on a Customeeple base. (www.customeeple.com)

These guys must go through tons of hair product.

 

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.

 

Only five but they are deadly.

I almost went for camo on the cloaks but dwarfs don’t hide. Could explain why they didn’t survive the battle.

Nice to have tower shields to hide behind.

 

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.

 

Humans’ Right Flank

 

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.

 

The Left flank or as I dubbed it the “Death Star”

 

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.

 

Just couldn’t afford a full horde of spear plus I need to paint more.

 

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.

 

That dwarf line just seems awfully thin when I look at that mass of soldiers bearing down.

 

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.

 

On turn two the Knights are still completely screened from my fire.

 

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.

 

WHAM!

 

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.

 

Brocks attack the war machine.

 

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.

 

Still waiting in the barracks

 

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.

 

 

20
Jul

Frostgrave terrain on the table.

Winterwillow and Mooncrow have returned to the ruins of Frostgrave seeking treasure.

Winterwillow and Mooncrow have returned to the ruins of Frostgrave seeking treasure.

 

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.

 

One of the battlefields ready for treasures to be deployed

One of the battlefields ready for treasures to be deployed

Setup2

Brian M. has made some great walls and risers from insulation foam that is very versatile.

Love how our group's pieces all work well together. Really expands the collection at get togethers.

Love how our group’s pieces all work well together. Really expands the collection at get togethers.

 

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.

 

Grabbing an early treasure.

Grabbing an early treasure.

Archers cover the crossroads shooting down a wizard but not before he summoned a demon.

Archers cover the crossroads shooting down a wizard but not before he summoned a demon.

"Looks clear. Send Lynx the thief up the ladder for a treasure and clear field of view.

“Looks clear. Send Lynx the thief up the ladder for a treasure and clear field of view.”

Lynx can see the demon being summoned in a far courtyard. This is just got a lot tougher.

Lynx can see the demon being summoned in a far courtyard. This is just got a lot tougher.

Not easy to get to but I'm thinking a teleport spell will help.

Not easy to get to but I’m thinking a teleport spell will help.

Another tough one to claim but exactly what I designed the terrain piece for.

Another tough one to claim but exactly what I designed the terrain piece for.

Carefully1

Lady Mooncrow and her Templer guard follow the hounds into the ruins.

 

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.

 

Taking aim, can just see the head of that apprentice upstairs.

Taking aim, can just see the head of that apprentice upstairs. Zap!

 

12
Jun

Gazing into the Abyss

FINISH ME NOW!

FINISH ME NOW!

 

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.

 

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

 

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.

 

GAStarted4

Went with a cool grey for the body with bluish blacks on the wings

GAStarted2

Those are some massive wings.

GAStarted3

Starting to realize how big a project this is going to be.

 

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.

 

GAContinues11

Let’s light these candles!

GAContinues10

Going to have to pay attention to the undersides of the wings.

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.

 

GAContinues6

Tried to accentuate the texture of the flames. The OSL is beginning to show on the thighs and arms.

GAContinues3

The sculpt has such nice curves to catch the light.

GAContinues9

Not much showing on the back yet but then most of it will be in shadow.

 

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.

 

GAflames1

The sense of movement in the sculpt is really starting to show.

GAflames2

Reapplying the base coat mix over the fresh layer really breaks up the line. The left leg has been blended while the left hand flame has not.

 

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.

 

GAAlmost1

Glow is starting to show on the horns and jawline.

GAflamesClose1

Added Ivory with the base mix to tip the bony spikes that were lit.

 

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.

 

GABased5

The OSL on the lower body works so much better with the base under it.

GABased4

Got some nice textures and details brought out by the high contrast.

GABased3

Nice surface on the wings but not sure they’re dark enough.

GABased2

Hmmmmm, the tail might need a tad more yellow.

GABased1

Nit picking aside, he is quite the imposing model.

 

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…

 

Alright, now get my soldiers finished.

Alright, now get my soldiers finished.

11
Jun

Frosty Bones

AWolf3

This guy looks like he’ll do a lot more than huff and puff.

 

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.

 

AWolf1

He looks hungry

AWolf2

Not surprising this was a quick paint job.

 

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.

 

PurpWorm1

That’s a lot of purple.

PurpWorm3

That mouth is big enough to swallow a 25mm miniature.

PurpWorm2

It can even be used in dungeon crawls and role playing games.

 

Once I painted a giant worm I realized I really needed an even bigger bug because… well… because it’s bigger.

 

Gribbly3

Hello, folks, I’m just happy to be here.

Gribbly2

Fun sculpt and another quick paint job.

Gribbly1

As big a bug as he is I have another ever 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.

 

Bigger is even better

Bigger is even better

This guy could eat a horse.

This guy could eat a horse.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19
Apr

Frostgrave Terrain- Third Work In Progress

I like the Wooden Wars soldier peeking from the third floor window.

I like the Wooden Wars soldier peeking from the third floor window.

 

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.

 

Roof will have to wait.

Roof will have to wait.

 

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.

 

Still need some roofs but it is ready for color.

Still need some roofs but it is ready for color.

 

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.

 

Watch your step

Watch your step

GluingBridges3

I’m sure that’s safe

GluingBridges2

Looks like it’s right off an old Hollywood set

GluingBridges1

Practically designed for soldiers to plummet from.

More Bridges drying

More Bridges drying

 

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.

 

Number2C

Really have to get more of those Mordheim doorways

Number2B

Just enough stairway left to get to the second floor.

Number2A

Not too bad, all in all.

 

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.

 

First coats of color

First coats of color but far from done.

 

 

22
Mar

Frostgrave Terrain- Second Work in Progress

Really glad I cut off the roof to insert another floor.

Really glad I cut off the roof to insert another floor. The deck is coming along nicely.

 

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.

 

LongRowBack4

Just enough flooring to move miniatures along.

LongRowBack3

Got the side and back of the pass-through attached so I could work on that floor as well.

LongRowBack2

Back view of the Long Row.

 

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.

 

LongRowBalcony

Going to be a great location to place a treasure token on.

Stairs installed along the

Stairs installed along the outside wall.

LRClose

Okay, this end is just about ready for paint.

 

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.

 

FGbuildingDone3

Nice result though the blank wall over the ground floor doorway might need a painting or sign or name…something.

Three usable levels though I should have added stairs. What? I like stairs.

Three usable levels though I should have added stairs. What? I like stairs.

 

 

18
Mar

Massive Cold Front Engulfs DundraCon 2016 or The Gang Plays Lots of Frostgrave

The ruins of Frostgrave beckoned over Valentine's weekend at Dundracon 2016.

The ruins of Frostgrave beckoned over Valentine’s weekend at Dundracon 2016.

 

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.

 

Worm1

The worm bursts forth just outside the abbey!

Worm2

Don’t recall which game this photo was from but it looks great and I love the scrum in the center.

 

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.

 

The necromancer leads his band toward the Silent Tower

The necromancer leads his band toward the Silent Tower.

Lady Mooncrow heads toward one of the entrances to the Silent Tower.

From the opposite direction Lady Mooncrow heads toward one of the entrances to the Silent Tower.

Silent2

While her apprentice, Winterwillow leads her team to a different one and a treasure token.

 

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 coffee stirrers represent bridges.

The coffee stirring sticks represent bridges connecting to the central tower. I need to build ramps.

 

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.

 

The Well2

My barbarian covers the escape as the thief and thug haul their treasures off board. The war hound moved up the flank.

TheWell3

Both wizards move toward the magic spring. Ryan’s archers on the second floor made life very difficult. In the end only his wizard was able to reach the center and drink from the magic spring.

TheWell1

No, the henchman isn’t wounded. That’s just how far she got down the stair in one turn with the treasure (the penny). She made it of the board in the end.

 

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.

 

Ice toads awaiting basing and final sealant. Should have ordered more...

Ice toads awaiting basing and final sealant. Should have ordered more…

 

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.

 

SisterChartruese

My gang’s Templer. She is no light weight and has more than a few kills to her credit.

 

17
Jan

The Dark Water Chronicles Part One

GyroView1

The dwarf army moves out, gyrocopters scouting routes through the monstrous caverns.

 

And so it was that the great clans united to send a force deep into the mountains to reclaim the great underway, the Ungor Watt, from the depths and darkness in which it had been lost.  Through smoke and fire the great campaign was fought and every victory paid for in treasure and blood.

 

We got time fer a cuppa?

We got time fer a cuppa?

 

It was the miners, in their relentless underground explorations, that first came upon the foundations of dwarf ruins, the remains of settlements lost in the great quakes and volcanic eruptions that had proceeded the great orc wars.  Many holds had fallen, their populations slain and scattered, but others had survived, rebuilt.  Some had even expanded and founded new colonies but none forgot the stories of the ancient underway that had linked the dwarf people.  When ancient warehouses and barracks were discovered the explorers knew they had found one of the way stations of the great road way, the Ungor Watt.

 

GenRavengaze

Thane Darlun Darkeye sends out the call for volunteers

Longbeards known as the Darkwater Veterans

Longbeards would become known as the Darkwater Veterans because they fought there for so many years.  Some had arrived in the beginning as young warriors.

Darkwater Ironbreakers

Ironbreakers had arrived with the miners. They set up the base camp in the ancient barracks.

The commanders of the brave Quarrelers

The commanders of the brave Quarrelers, crossbow armed troopers who had the amazing habit of making the most difficult of saves more than once.

More Quarrelers arrive with the reinforcements.

More Quarrelers arrive with the reinforcements.

Thunderers march through the ancient halls to aide their brethren in the Darkwater battles

Thunderers march through the ancient halls to aide their brethren in the Darkwater battles. Chaos armor is tough and the extra punch of those guns will help.

Colonial Rifles take position

Colonial Rifles take position at a crossroads.

The call goes out. The slayers gather!

The call goes out. The slayers gather!

Dragonslayer

Prince Garius the Dragonslayer took down dragon ogres.

Giantslayer

Giantslayer Yurni Stonejowl scouts ahead of the main force.

 

Almost immediately a vast cavern filled with an underground lake was located within marching distance of the main camp.  Unfortunately so was a force of heavily armed and armored, blood worshiping humans who had arrived via a cavern on the lake’s northern end.  Immediately battle ensued with the dwarfs pushed back to the the perimeter of their own camp.  It was only the stubborn refusal of the Quarrelers to break and the timely flank charge of Prince Garius and his band of Slayers that saved the dwarfs.  Soon many more slayers would arrive and the battles for Darkwater Cavern would go on for a very long time.  In the meantime word of the ancient water source made its way to the Rangers and they knew how to turn that water into beer.

Let's go, lads! It's Our Water! It's Our Beer!

Let’s go, lads! It’s Our Water! It’s Our Beer!

 

 

 

19
Dec

Elemental, my dear Watson

The very stones rise up in defense of the Dwarven homelands

The very stones rise up in defense of the Dwarven homelands

 

Seeking some diversity for my Dwarf army in Kings of War I’ve wanted to add some units of Earth Elementals for quite some time.  Since they are the cheapest horde available on my army list with Crushing Strength 1 and unwavering they are very attractive.  That I would only need three per unit and they should paint up quickly made them almost irresistible.  The only problem was the Mantic doesn’t make any models for them.  So it was going to be a quest!

 

StoneBrow9

Brother Stonebrow is called upon to bring forth elementals

StoneBrow8

My newest Stone Priest

StoneBrow6

Another wonderful Kev White sculpt that was a blast to paint mounted on a Secret Weapon base.

 

It quickly became clear that I could easily spend a lot of money on some incredible models but that was not anywhere on my plan, the spending lots of money part.  I wanted decent minis.  These where joining my dwarf collection after all.  The models couldn’t be larger than Duane either as he is technically a Greater Earth Elemental, listed as a Monster (50mm base) while these were to be Large Infantry (40mm bases) and I wanted to build four Regiments of the guys which would require twelve miniatures.  I wanted a selection of sculpts and styles because I saw them as being very individual. So it was off to eBay.

 

I envisioned a mix of textures and colors as varied as the ground beneath them.

I envisioned a mix of textures and colors as varied as the ground beneath them.

 

I had already gone through all my Reaper Bones looking for any elemental or golem that might work and found none.  There were a couple of metal models that looked the part on their website I’d have to watch for good prices on.  Plastic Dungeons and Dragons figures from Wizards of the Coast showed a lot of promise as well, having a wide selection of both ranges and styles.  Since I didn’t play anymore and paint my own toy soldiers I had only been vaguely aware of these prepainted plastic models so wasn’t sure of the exact sizes of any of them.  Multiple finds from a couple of sellers kept postage down and gave me a selection to choose from and compare.

 

Hello, nice to be here.

Hello, nice to be here.

Hmmm, just not feeling it.

Power to the Earth!

Testfit1

Not bad but a little crowded

 

In the end one was too small, one was way too tiny, and one was too tree like but with a metal Reaper mini to round things out, I had enough to start work.  Among the mix I had four nice solid looking fellows called Elemental Walls I could spread out one per base, a couple of Medium Elementals sporting green gems that looked like they were bursting through the ground, and even two that reminded me a little of Jack Kirby drawings of The Thing.

 

Alright, guys, try and get it together

Alright, guys, try and get it together

 

I cut unit bases out of thick plastic card and used super glue to attach the figures.  I then used my favorite standby, lightweight spackling, to create the ground and hide the round bases attached to the feet of the minis.

 

AddingPatch

Applying ground work

BaseCovered

Ready for Texture

 

As soon as this was in place I poured crushed charcoal (reclaimed from used up water filters) over it, pressed it down then tapped off the excess.  Once these were done I set them aside to dry over night.

 

Textured

That metal guy is looking a little snowy.

 

Painting was as straight forward as I assumed it would be.  Bases were coated in a dark brown I touched up the basic paint job the figures had come with.  Well, obviously the metal figure was primed before being base coated in grey and brown.  All the figures were washed with Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil.  Then it was matter of highlighting and weathering.

 

Base coated and drying

Base coated and drying

Stained and highlighted

Different unit stained and highlighted

Just needs some ground works

Just needs some ground works.

 

Here’s another place the wet palette came in very handy. Fresh paint of various greys and browns arranged in a circle for easy mixing made short work of the last three regiments, the first having been assembled and painted as soon as I had three minis I liked together.  I glued down some mixed flocking here and there before spraying them all with sealant.  When that had dried I glued on tufts of grass and small brush for a more natural look and to match my dwarf force.  I had skipped adding the architectural bits and pieces my dwarf units have as I wanted these guys to work in a Forces of Nature army as well.  I do have an antique army of painted Wood Elves packed away after all. So I have four finished Regiments of Large Infantry to bolster my army.

 

Reg4F

Reg4B

Reg3F

Reg3B

Reg2F

Reg2B

Reg1F

Reg1b

 

Not only do I have four regiments but I can also combine them into two Hordes.

 

Horde2

Horde1

 

Once I’d located the minis I wanted these units were fast and fun to paint.  I think they fit together nicely as well and will look great along side Duane and Brother Stonebrow.

 

Alright, lads, let's go!

Alright, lads, let’s go!

Close1

Who says we’re all lads?

ElementalsArrive

Oh quit complaining and shamble.

OntheMove

Shamble, shamble, shamble.

 

 

 

25
Nov

The Beast of Blood Hill

RightFlank

Dwarf right flank lead by the Rangers.

 

“Trolls? They’re hiring trolls?”, asked the Dwarf king incredulously,” I find that hard to believe even for this human oath breaker.”  In response the wizened Ranger said,”All our reports show them camped near the orc village.  What else could they want there?  Doubt they want anything to do with those pig riders and there’s been no sounds of fighting.”  The king didn’t like it, didn’t like this at all.  If it wasn’t undead clawing at the borders it was orcs and goblins terrorizing villages.  Now, to make things worse, the fractious human kingdoms, who had previously been happy to peacefully kill each other, had been united by an upstart prince with dreams of conquest and his sites on dwarf lands.  Rinn Ursula had clashed with his forces more than once already so the dwarfs were keeping their eyes on him.  Unfortunately she was busy elsewhere as were much of her cavalry so fast recon was out of the question.  No, if he was going to get any answers it was going to be handled the old way; Guns, Stone, and Steel.  Besides, it sent a clear message.  The king turned, looking his old friend in the eye, “Alright, here’s what we’re going to do…”

 

HFDuke1

Hasslefree Miniatures figure

HFDuke2

I didn’t actually have a place for him in this army list.

HFDuke3

But he makes such a nice visual for the narrative he insisted on being included.

 

I recently took advantage of a day off, packed up my dwarfs, and met my buddy, Ryan, on the field of battle (okay, his living room).  Once again we chose Kings of War by Mantic Games as our rules system and picked forces of 2200 points simply because we had heard that is a popular tournament choice. I was excited to be fielding TWO newly trained units, my new Greater Elemental from Reaper Bones and Regiment of Hasslefree Miniatures Ironwatch armed with crossbows.  The latter looking much more complete with the two more minis recently glued to the base.

 

NatureEle1

My new Greater Elemental ready for his first fight.

ReadyAim1

Fresh from the last post and my painting table, the Ironwatch Crossbow are ready to prove their courage though photographed before recruiting two more troopers.

 

With a new Elemental to field there were fewer points for mounted dwarfs so Rinn Ursula and some of her Brock Riders were patrolling the northern borders instead of investigating this rumored alliance.  What this force lacked in speed it made up for in bang, fielding two bombards and an Organ Gun.  Despite claims of the scouts, there were no trolls in the human force. In fact, the entire orc village at the river’s fork had been cleared out for some time.  There was some strange, smoke belching machine parked among the trees but no greenskin mercenaries.  Oh good, nothing to worry about.  The two armies lined up facing each other across the river which was relatively low this time of year.

 

LinesDrawn

Two forces that are becoming quite familiar with one another prepare to face off once again.  That is an awfully big armored horseless wagon.

 

Once the troops had deployed the Rangers used their Vanguard rule to move up into the woods.  While this gave them a commanding view of the ford it also made them a prime target for the human guns. On the first turn they were wavered, ducking down as mortar shells burst overhead, shredding the tree tops, and the second turn they routed off the table.  Sigh, not a good start for my bearded force.

 

Rangers move into forward position

Rangers move into forward position

Fire on the Rangers!

Only to be targeted by the human left flank and the Beast.

 

They were around long enough to report seeing a strange contraption in the enemy lines.  Ryan was running a Citadel Steam Tank as his Kingdoms of Men Beast of War unit.  I just call it the Beast.

 

What is that thing? Think it will be a problem?

What is that thing? Think it will be a problem?

 

There seemed to be a tank in the human army and I was worried it was going to take more than two Greater Elementals to deal with.  It would take a lot more in the end and take even more down with it.  Beast.

 

WallofSteelandHorses

Mounted Scouts lead the way firing into the dwarf line.

MenCrossLeftFlank

The human right flank moves across the river.

 

Both sides moved their flanks forward to engage the enemy and fired every cannon, mortar, ballista, handgun, and crossbow at each other any chance we got.  While the human Mounted Scouts scored some early wounds it was the Brock Riders and Elementals that scored the first kills with Mounted Scouts and Heavy Infantry crushed in the opening turns.  The cannon, Ironwatch with handguns, and organ gun blasting the regiment of knights in the center helped soothe the pain of my poor Rangers shelled out of the forest by mortar and gun fire.  The fifteen attacks of the organ gun got a lot of unwanted attention even without a Warsmith to make them elite.  A unit of Mounted Scouts charged straight up the hill to try and silence the deadly war machine.  Now they were in my deployment zone!

 

Charge those guns!

Charge those guns!

With the heavy infantry gone the elementals are obvious targets.

With the heavy infantry gone the elementals are obvious targets.

SnappingLumber

And the new guy takes the hit!

 

The Greater Elementals on the dwarf right flank proved why they are to be feared taking down the heavy infantry in their charge only to see the new guy crushed beneath the steam powered wheels of the Beast. Duane charged it in retaliation only to bounce off, bracing for the counter charge.  The Arquebusiers kept the Ironwatch Wavered which their Headstrong roll failed to shake.

 

The Ironwatch Waver but can't break the Mounted Scouts

The Ironwatch Waver but can’t break the Mounted Scouts

Being just inside their charge arc the Mounted Scouts found themselves charged in the flank but the rookie Ironwatch were only able to Waver the accursed riders. and the Berserker Lord was too far away to help.

 

LeftFlankScrum

The dwarf left flank becomes a giant scrum.

 

The Beast crossed the river, crossbow bolts bouncing off its armored hull and cannon balls flying overhead.  It quickly ran down the crossbow wielding dwarfs before backing up to home in on the regiment of gunners.  Now they were in two of my flanks.  Arghhhh!

 

TankCrosses

Having survived Duane’s charge and crushed the new guy, the manling tank moves across the river.

 

The human infantry on the dwarf left flank, unshaken by the deaths of the Mounted Scouts in front of them, crossed the river and slammed into the Brock Riders destroying them.  The Shieldbreakers and IronGuard charged the two human units in retribution hurting them but not worrying them in the least.  Thus began the back and forth on the river’s edge, neither side seeking nor offering quarter.  We were both able to roll well in combat but seemed unable to do more than Waver the other (Ryan’s Nerve Checks were uncharacteristically bad) and I actually made my Headstrong rolls so we just slammed back and forth.

 

MenSurroundLeft

Mounted Scouts dead or otherwise engaged it is up to the human infantry to charge the dwarf left flank.

BrocksSlain2

The Inspiration of the Berserker Lord isn’t enough to overcome the massive amounts of damage meted out by the two units of men.

ManoAMano

The human general wounds the Berserker Lord but can’t slow his attacks on the infantry.

 

In the end the combined efforts of the Ironguard and Berserker Lord were just able to take down the Elite, Ensnaring Phalanx regiment while the Shieldbreakers went down fighting. They inflicted almost a dozen wounds on the horde of heavy infantry before succumbing to their superior numbers.

 

DodgetheHorde

Phalanx finally killed the two dwarf units are able to advance just out of the horde’s charge arc.

 

After he survived the Beast’s counter charge (Ryan rolled a three!) Duane charged into the Arquebussiers mostly to keep them from shooting him and did astounding damage.  To give me hope I rolled boxcars on the Nerve Check!  I was so excited, glad it had at least caused the Waver  not realizing it was actually enough to destroy them.  Unfortunately, Ryan’s Standard Bearer caused a reroll which was just shy of even the Waver.  Crap, at least they wouldn’t be firing those Piercing(2) handguns at point blank range.

 

DuaneAngry

Frustrated by the tank, Duane charges the arquebusiers.

Meanwhile, in the center the horde of Bulwarkers advanced across the river under a steady hail of fire from the horde of arquebusiers and sporadic cannon fire.  They were saved some grief when their own artillery took out the enemy mortar while the human canon had to focus on the organ gun whose crew had just reloaded and were preparing to enfilade the stubborn cavalry.  Sadly they never got to fire the shot as an enemy shell landed directly on them leaving nothing but their boots.  Damn, change of plans…again.  Despite mounting casualties (and my own forgetting they could Move At the Double at the ford) the dwarf Phalanx horde slammed into the human horde and another back and forth began.  As with Duane, the Bulwarkers were just glad to slow the gun fire.

 

HordesClash

Advancing through constant fire the Bulwarker horde finally hits the horde of arquibusiers.

 

The Beast was able to run over the dwarf hand gunners, again few shots could wound it and I couldn’t roll well. The damage 12 Attacks with Crushing Strength(2) AND Thunderous Charge (2) is overwhelming.  Even Ryan’s low rolls (though stubbornly not double 1’s) couldn’t fail.  In the end, literally on the bottom of turn Six the Bombard crew was able to blast the thing to pieces.  Fortunate as the game went to seven turns and they would have been left as wheel ruts.  The rookie Ironwatch regiment took down the Mounted Scouts before being overwhelmed by the badly wounded horde of Foot Guard who in turn were killed by the remaining Ironguard who had to go it alone as the Beserker Lord had finally succumb to the wizard’s fireball spells.  Really making it Blood Hill.  The Stonepriest Surged Duane into the Standard Bearer out of spite more than anything.  He was running away after all.

When turn Seven closed it was far easier to count the survivors especially as the Kingdoms of Men were left with nothing but characters.  Of course there wasn’t much more left on my side either, a horde, some guns, a Stonepriest, and Duane.  The difference was just under 500 points giving another very narrow victory to the dwarfs.  What a blast.  The more I play Kings of War the more I like it.  That all the rules and army lists are in one book mean we only have one place to look up questions and really don’t anticipate much of that in future given the simplicity of the system.  What I am seeing a lot of is trying out new forces.  The subtle differences in stats plus the scattered special rule really makes for characterful units and races without needing completely separate tomes.

 

ElementalsFord

“Uh, where did that heavy infantry go to? Perhaps I should wait back by the arquebusiers, way back, way, way back”

 

The king took another long pull on his tankard while re-reading the battle reports.  It had been a close run affair, probably closer than any of his commanders wanted to admit.  The Stonepriest and his rocky friends had again proven their worth as had the retooled organ gun.  It was the drawings of the steam powered human contraption remains that intrigued him most.  Even the broken and blasted bits showed amazing promise on the part of the human engineers.  They had missed, in the eyes of the king, a wonderful opportunity.  He finished off the stein of cold beer and reached for the speaking tube attached to his desk.  “Call in the Master Engineers,” he commanded his assistants on the other end,” tell them I have an idea I want explored immediately.”  The noble dwarf turned to the Stonepriest who had delivered the reports from Blood Hill. ” Tell me more about your friends the elementals. I have some ideas for them as well.”