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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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13
Nov

Quarrelers, surly maybe but not quarrelsome.

Drummer

The drummer’s roll calls the regiment of Ironwatch to battle.

Hasslefree Miniatures’ dwarf hero Gromli had been sitting in my collection for quite a while now. As is often the case, I had liked him from first glance and picked him up with a random assortment during one of the company’s sales. I knew he would find a home in my collection one day and his stalwart stare and solid pose marked him as a dwarf possessing serious leadership skills.

 

Hasslefree Miniatures Gromli

Hasslefree Miniatures Gromli

 

Once I began thinking about building my regiment of crossbow armed Ironwatch I knew I wanted him to lead them, Gromli’s Gang. That he is armed with a great weapon and carrying a shield on his back rather than a crossbow seemed minor issues especially as Hasslefree has a great selection of bits and pieces for converting and personalizing miniatures. I’m still considering how I might best use the lovely sets of helmet wings they tossed into one of my orders last year. I try to add a couple crossbow armed dwarfs and some extra weapons packs to every order so have developed quite a little “bits box” of Hasslefree pieces as well as enough troopers to build another Kings of War regiment (twenty soldiers strong in the rules). It took little to no effort to shave down the nub on Gromli’s back, used for attaching the shield, and cover the spot with a crossbow and quiver of bolts.

 

LeaderPrime1

Looking frosty

LeaderPrime2

Can’t even tell he was supposed to have a shield.

 

The standard bearer was a pretty straight forward conversion being a weapon swap (for the banner pole) and removal of another shield nub from his left arm. That was just a matter of drilling out the hand when I drilled the wrist for a connector pin and gluing a griffin headed top on the pole. After he was finished and primed I realized the banner pole was way too tall to fit into the foam tray I already set aside for storing the unit so had to remove it from the hand, cut it down, and reattach it. That done, he was ready, again, for paint. The banner I drew onto a nice piece of 100% cotton paper then painted. After it and the bearer were dry and sealed I cut it out and attached the flag to the pole.

 

StBrr1

Shortened banner pole.

StBrr2

Better start designing the banner.

 

The drummer was a slightly more involved conversion job but very basic in the skills and problem solving employed. The drum is part of a set of instruments I ordered from Reaper Miniatures online store and glued to his front . You can even order individual sprues from the set in the Boneyard section (thanks again, Necron99, for spotting that resource!). I cut the weapon from a right hand before drilling out both hands to hold drum sticks which I made from the discarded spear butts I had cut off to make my longer spears hafts. With a little cutting down they turned out to be perfect for the job at hand, so to speak. Again, a coat of white primer and he was almost ready to start the long roll.

 

Drummer3

The spear hafts make great drum sticks.

Drummer2

Might be a little long but I like them.

Drummer1

Ready for paint

 

While I was getting the command squad sorted out I was also working on the base. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that standards and musicians no longer serve any purpose other than aesthetic in Kings of War but I think units look much better, more complete, when they are included so will continue to do so in my constructions. Maybe it’s my Oldhammer roots showing, I don’t know, but it is too deeply ingrained for me to change now. So, as before, I used an old, plastic movement tray as the foundation of the unit and combined layers of cork with Scibor Miniatures bases and sculptural details from the same line as my previous units and characters. This helps tie all the units in my force together visually, despite being of mixed manufacture, and adds to the back story of my force patrolling the borders of a shattered dwarf realm.  I built up the back half of the base as I pictured the rear ranks aiming over the heads of the front.

 

Assembly1

Brought in a recently finished dwarf to check the size of the different parts.

Assembly2

Such nice details on the Scibor bases.

Assembly3

Made sure there was no overhang on the right side so I can set another regiment against it to create a horde.

Spackle1

Spackle in place and ready for texture.

 

After the glue had plenty of time to dry I began coating the surface with Light Weight Wall Spackle. This smooths out rough areas and hides the joins between parts. I also use it to cover details I don’t need, like a lot of the skulls that are scattered around the bases of the statues. Once I start my Abyssal Dwarf units I’m sure I’ll want more of them showing but prefer to keep them to a minimum with my traditional dwarfs. While the spackling was still wet I pressed in ground charcoal I harvest from water filters. It makes for great surface texture and when combined with the spackle creates a solid surface for painting and gluing to. Once everything has dried for twenty four hours I spray primed it white and began applying color.

 

Paint2

Back view waiting for stain.

Paint1

Stain will really bring out the details on the various statues

 

I am finding that these bases are less about painting and more about weathering, using washes and stains, rather than dry brushing and stippling. I did try to match the tiles and mosaics to what I have already completed but other than that go with my gut reactions for the rest of it. When it was done I flocked the base with an earth tone mix I make before spray sealing it. The plants and grasses would be added after the figures were glued down.

 

Painted1

Front view just waiting for some dwarfs.

Painted2

Back view shows lots of space for plants as well.

 

Breaking with my usual habit of only painting a couple figures from any project at once, I worked on six to eight crossbow armed dwarfs at a time as I was excited to get the unit assembled. Besides, my games of Kings of War so far had shown I needed more ranged attack regiments to deal with the hordes of cavalry and pike that Ryan usually fields. This had the side effect of really speeding up my painting through repetition. Now I can churn through four of the quarreler dwarfs in about two hours. That’s going to be helpful as I have a second regiment’s base ready for priming.

 

RtSideClose

The color scheme came out well and paints quickly.

 

Each miniature has the plug on their feet clipped off during prep, a hole is drilled in one of the heels, a wire is glued in place, and the entire thing is attached to an old plastic base with white glue. This holds the figure in place during painting yet comes right off before I attach them to the unit base. Much easier than trying to paint everything already attached to begin with. It was at the stage of gluing soldiers down that I realized I needed to paint two to three more to fill in some gaps. The unit just looked a little under manned, so to speak. I’ve got several minis on the table almost finished that I plan to attach as soon as they are done.

 

IronWatchclose1

Varied texture and plant life help with a natural look.

ReadyAim1

The assembled unit.

IronWatchReg2

Gromli is perched on a fallen statue keeping an eye on the lads.

IronWatchReg1

Woe to anyone they take aim at.

Got space for a couple more in the back.

Got space for a couple more in the back.

Right side

Right side of the unit

Left side of the unit

Left side of the unit

 

In addition to finishing up a few more troops to fill in some gaps I’m going to keep painting them for the second regiment so I can choose to combine them into a horde.  I’ve also started a regiment size base for a unit of berserkers I’ve had in mind for a while.  Then there are the brock riders I just primed oh and the Warsmiths.  Good thing my Abyssal army is still on a boat heading to the US because I have no idea when I would paint them.

 

Leader1

We’ll be ready for those devils once they are painted, Lad. We’ll be ready.

 

 

 

22
Oct

Dwarf Artillery Pieces

CrewClose5

Ready…Aim…

 

Since they are such a good price I had picked up two of Mantic Games’ Dwarf artillery pieces, planning to assemble one of each the Organ Gun and Cannon.  Once my friends and I started playing Kings of War I knew I needed to base them as complete units, besides, the Undead catapults had been so much fun to make and paint.  I started with the same wooden discs I had picked up for the Balefire bases I had made previously and the assembled miniatures to draw the outline of the siege works I wanted my dwarfs to be entrenched in.  I tried to plan for some of the extra bits like powder boxes and beer tankards.  I decided this project was the perfect opportunity to paint and use the ancient flame cannon and crew I’d been saving for years so added them to the queue.

 

Drawing2

The whole team fits with room for fortifications.

Drawing1

Love the extra bits and details Mantic include on the sprue.

Fitting

Been looking for an excuse to paint this team for decades now. Good thing they are a perfect fit.

FlamePainted2

Look even better painted.

FlamePainted

Drawing the outline of the siege works

 

While the machines and crews were being painted it was time to start building defensive positions.  Back in the day, dwarf armies had engineers that could build fortifications so I’ve always liked the idea of hiding my fragile artillery behind defensive works. Yet another project for using up the scraps and clutter on my desk is always a good thing.  I assembled the walls first out of bits of wood and glued planking down where the war machine would be seated.  When the walls were dry, I attached them to the base using cork to help hold them in place. This would also be the foundation for the piled up dirt.

 

Assembly2

Cork holds up the walls while it all dries.

Assembly1

Trying to keep the planking from looking too neat and even

GlueDrying

Double checking that the wheels fit on the boards.

 

Once the glue had all dried I applied light weight spackling to fill in gaps and add texture.  Then the extra details were glued into place before priming everything white.

 

TextureAndDetails4

Thought the boots with leg bones would work well with the flame cannon considering how many times mine had exploded in the Warhammer days.

TextureAndDetails3

Got great hammers ready for trouble.

TextureAndDetails2

Lots of room for crewmen.

TextureAndDetails1

Cannon balls are the heads of straight pins pushed into the base

 

Then I painted them up and textured the bases with mixed flocking.  It was while they were drying a thought began forming in the back of my mind.

 

Ready for habitation

Ready for habitation

CannonClose2

Ready for the base

CannonClose1

Still needing crew

 

The units had been through the regular painting process and were waiting to take up residence in their new homes.  The flame cannon crew had been finished before I even started their base as I was so excited to have a reason to work on them.  I had cut the disc bases off of the feet of the miniatures so they could be glued directly to the base.

 

First the cannon and crew

 

Move it into place, Lads.

Move it into place, Lads.

CannonDone1

Time for drills

CannonDone3

Looks pretty good

CannonDone2

Mashed the tops of the posts to make them look hammered into the ground

OGDone5

Ready to shoot enemies

 

Then the Organ Gun and crew were ready to take their posts

 

Our turn, Boys.

Our turn, Boys.

OGDone1

Like it was custom made

OGDone4

I think they deserve to count as in cover

OGDone3

Taking a range reading

OGDone2

Now…Fire!

 

First unit painted and the last base finished but finally it was time for the Flame Cannon crew to move their advanced weaponry into place, preferably without any explosions.

 

Carefully, carefully! That's volatile stuff.

Carefully, carefully! That ammo’s volatile stuff.

FlameDone4

Those boots are what’s left of a clumsier crewman.

FlameDone3

The barrel looks suitably singed

FlameDone2A

Can’t be too careful with these engineer guild contraptions

FlameDone1

Looking forward to seeing what this does on the field

 

Now that I had one of each of the artillery pieces available to my army (the Driller and Behemoth are both Monsters) the earlier thought came to the front of my mind.  What about all the war machines I had already painted? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a couple of empty emplacements for pieces from my finished collection? So I built a couple more siege works with beer steins and weapons handy for any crewman I temporarily assign duty there.

 

We need to bring in the veteran crews.

We need to bring in the veteran crews.

Extra2C

Accidentally used slightly larger circles but that makes them more versatile.

Extra2B

Beer tankards handy because it is thirsty work.

Extra1A

Even room for figure bases.

Extra2A

Left space open in front as some of my old cannons are low to the ground

Extra1C

More cannon balls

Extra1B

Hmmmm, about the right size for a bombard now that I think about it

 

So once I saw the power of Indirect Fire used against me by the Kingdoms of Men I knew I was going to need some dwarf bombards of my own and rather than make more bases I think these two will be drafted into use.  Of course that means I have to get and paint some Mantic Jarrun Bombards.  I’m sure I will end up making more of these especially as Kings of War Second Edition recommends 50mm square bases for war machines.  Then again, my attention is already shifting toward Berserkers and Hordes of Bulwarkers so it might not be right away.

 

Nothing to see over here...

Nothing to see over here, not even sure whose boots those are…

Now go and paint some Bombards, Lad.

Now go and paint some Bombards, Lad.

18
Oct

Going a Little Mental Over Elementals

Elementalfrt

Reaper Bones bare plastic after a good scrubbing and being attached to a base.

Elementalbk

Looks sort of like a Snow Elemental right now.

 

Now that I’ve seen what Duane, my Greater Earth Elemental, can do in Kings of War it is clear I need another of these guys.  Heck, I need a Horde of Lesser Earth Elementals but am still seeking the right minis. Until then Duane and the guy above will have to hold their own.  I am really pleased with these castings and it just reinforces my belief that big things with shallow details is what Bones plastic is best at.  Even though they tower over the rest of the army (not hard as they are dwarfs) they are light weight.  Add their low cost and they are the perfect choice to add some punch to my dwarf army.

 

EarthEl1

Duane the Earth Elemental

EarthEl3

Despite being made of rock the miniature has nice movement.

EarthEl2

Tried to mix up the earth tones of the figure while blending them with the base.

EarthEl4

That’s some serious reach on the guy.

ErElClose

I love the fossil embedded in the stone of his shoulder.

 

Duane was a fun one to paint and fairly easy to prep not to mention very fast paint job.  As with other Bones figures I find it easiest to shave along mold lines with a brand new x-acto blade.  The rocky surface made it easy to see most of the imperfections. The new guy on the other hand is all textures and shapes.  Of course that also made him quite the enjoyable undertaking.  Too bad I don’t have any 25mm squirrels to add on to him.

 

NatureEle1

No name yet but he’s ready to go

NatureEle5

Those big fists are going to bring the smack down.

NatureEle3

Like Duane, this fellow is covered in tiny details and natural textures.

NatureEle4

Like the forest floor just got up and started walking.

NatureEle2

I’ll need more Stone Priests to help them shamble faster.

NatureElTop

I added some Army Painter grass tufts and flowers

NatureEleClose

Be seeing you on the battle field.

18
Oct

Micro Arts Bases Update

Finished painting Belit and her first officer.  They have other names on the Hasslefree website but they currently escape my memory.  I also finished the two dwarf spearmen I glued to my new plastic Micro Arts bases.  I have to say I am so pleased with them I am looking to purchase more especially the Graveyard line I skipped first time around.

 

Belit

Belit

Belit's back

Belit’s back

Nubian Guard goes to sea

Nubian Guard goes to sea

Back of first mate

Back of first mate

 

The last two Hasslefree dwarfs I had armed with my extended spears were finished so got glued down to two more of the Ancient bases.  I like how scattered bits of masonry and tile work look a little like my Kings of War army bases.  Ties them all together even though they aren’t for the same game system.  All from one great kingdom no matter what system or scale.  I’m a bit odd that way.

 

Bases

top view

Dwarf2A

Adds nice bit of height to the base

Dwarf2B

Without distracting from the mini

Dwarf2C

The fallen leaves are a nice detail

 

Dwarf1D

They are also great fun to paint.

Dwarf1C

I went with Autumn colors to echo the decline of the ruins

Dwarf1B

Ready for action and matching his comrade.

 

Not only am I going to need to some of the Graveyard bases they just released but will need more of the Ancient for my growing dwarf force.  Then there is the Frostgrave gang that will need to go on the Enchanted bases so I’m sure there will be more pictures in future.

 

14
Oct

The Battle at the Travelers’ Inn or The Beer is Mine!

Bugman's Ranger Advance

It’s OUR Beer and we ain’t been paid yet!

Read more »

8
Oct

Some More Finished Reaper Bones

The patina begins

The patina begins

 

Some of the first figures I tackled when my box of rewards from Reaper Miniatures second Bones campaign on Kickstart arrived were what I called the Hero-on-Big-Base figures.  Very characterful figures mounted on large, sculpted bases. Fairly easy to see why they appealed to me right away.  The names I use are entirely of my own making so don’t try looking them up in the catalog.

Ghoul Lord

The first was a ghoul like character whose visage was miscast to the point of offending the camera.  No, really, it is a terrible casting with a concave face that I was able to build a bit of a nose onto with green stuff.  Came out alright but the rock is my favorite part, truth be told.  I don’t see him leading my Kings of War Undead anytime soon.

 

Ugly with a capitol Uggg

Ugly with a capitol Uggg

Better in Profile

Better in Profile

Even Better from behind

Even Better from behind

The Rook

Since this guy is covered in pieces of castle and appears to be standing on a tiny tower I thought of him as The Rook. There is just something fun, goofy really, about the exaggeration of these minis and wearing big bits of architecture seems perfectly acceptable. Sort of medieval meets anime’ really. Just look at the size of the blades. Despite all the masonry, Rook is a fairly simple figure so I kept the paint job simple and finished in just under an hour.

 

Rook1

Who uses that tiny door?

Rook2

Nice how the arch and portcullis fit over his upper arm.

Rook3

Blade is almost as wide as he is.

Rook5

He does look vigilant

RookCloseUp

He’s wondering who is going to help him out of this parade float of an outfit.

Demonblade

I’m no sure why all the male knights in this set are bald but it is what it is. Must have something to do with the helmets none of them are wearing. Demonblade ,or DB to his friends, has lots of fancy armor so I figured the shoulder plates should be differentiated and went with bronze. Weathering them was half the fun. Like Rook this fellow was kept simple and finished in just under an hour.

 

Demonblade5

Probably trying to figure out where to set the sword

Demonblade4

The runes and diagrams cut into the rock are a nice touch.

Demonblade3

The cape was fun.

Demonblade2

Another nice view of the wards he’s standing in.

Demonblade1

Such a fun anime’ pose.

DBClose

He said what about my sword?

Hammertime

If there was any doubt as to the influence of anime’ on these sculpts then this cleric’s hammer should banish them. I’m guessing it would weigh more than the holy warrior and his armor combined. Must be some divine inspiration or magic that makes up for the physics. It was the rough stairs of the base that first drew my attention to this miniature and where I started work. A dunk in a mug of hot water before a bath of cold to straighten the shaft of his weapon and he was ready for painting. I had such fun with his various layers and materials that I went well over my self imposed time limit. The shoulder pad was especially useful for some heraldry.

 

Hammer5

I had such fun painting the steps.

Hammer4

Okay, the fabric was fun too.

Hammer3

The metal bits turned out to be very engaging because a hammer that large has to look like it’s been around.

Hammer2

…and the heraldry. I like the heraldry.

Hammer1

Silly weapon or not, this was a blast to paint.

HammerShoulder

Can’t go wrong with fleur de lile.

Hammerclose

Rather pleased with how he came out. Bet he ends up in a Kings of War army or part of a RPG.

Chaosgrrrl! and Rojo.

One of the last ones I painted from this set as I really wanted to spend some time working on her charming shield. Another massive weapon but at least she has some armor covering the side of her not protected by the tower shield. With the anime’ influence it seems that female costumes can often be as small as the weapons are large so this was a step in the right direction. Her navel maybe exposed but those spiked plates on her armor aren’t just for show. I named her shield Rojo and saved the bound demon for last. I liked the idea of him having opinions, arguments, and conversations with the lithe chaos warrior so tried to paint them eyeing each other. Sort of a twist on the whole Elric/Stormbringer relationship.

ChaosGirl1

She does not look happy.

ChaosGirl5

She’s slender but strong.

CGClose2

I said we should have turned left…

CGClose1

I’m not having this discussion.

ChaosGirl4

The plinth would make a great base for minis used as chess pieces

ChaosGirl3

Might be her best side as well

ChaosGirl2

ChaosGrrl and Rojo

 

Firecrest

The heavily armored warrior woman looked rather Greek in her crested helm so I opted for a Spartan color scheme besides, I had intended to patina her armor when I saw her picture in the campaign and there was already a lot of red on my wet pallet from working on Rojo.  That I got to play with the natural aspects of stone and ivy was a bonus really.

 

FCWiP1

Basic paint job done

FCWiP2

Now to make it ancient

Firecrest1

Looking better but not finished

Firecrestclose

Crest is…okay

Firecrest4

But something is still missing

Firecrest3

Maybe another polish to the armor…

Firecrest2

Maybe some plants?

 

She was looking pretty good but just not complete and it wasn’t just the bad photos.  She needed something else but I decided against adding any outside materials.  I was also trying to keep each Bones mini under an hour but regularly stretch that on fun figures like this one so I compromised and put her aside over night.  After coffee and breakfast I picked her up and just began painting.  The wet pallet I’ve started using was very helpful with this I can tell you.  It is super useful for unit painting but that’s a whole different post.  I might still add a red gem to the hilt of her sword but all in all I think she really came out well.

 

FinFireCrest1

Now that’s looking finished!

FinFireCrestClose3

The two tone crest looks much more dramatic

FinFireCrestclose2

Even the statue needed more work.

FinFireCrest4

No spit but definitely polish.

FinFireCrest3

Some more highlighting, a couple of horizontal stripes, and it’s working.

FinFireCrest2

Now to find her a heavy pike block to command. Heck, give her an army.

 

Having painted a fair number of Reaper Bones to date I have formed a few opinions.  While the material has short comings it definitely has some big benefits.  First problem issue I’ve found is that fine detail (like women’s noses, fingers, the Ghoul Lord’s nose and eye) can be mashed up or missing.  The second is the mold release used sticks around and messes with paint adherence.  The latter issue is solved by my better cleaning the minis beforehand while the former is harder to solve.  Now the positives begin with the price of figures being downright cheap. So cheap I don’t mind taking chances on color schemes or painting techniques as well as picking up figures I might not otherwise (I’m looking at you Bugbear and Gnoll troops) so now have a big collection of dungeon dwellers ready to go When Dungeon Saga arrives.  Another plus is the wide variety of minis Reaper has already produced so one is spoiled for choice regardless of genre’.  Storing them before or after painting is aided by the fact that they are light weight and when you start collecting miniature war gaming armies that starts to matter.  My favorite aspect, so far, is that once finished the acrylic paint seems to bond with the bendy plastic and flexes rather than chips.  I do love how the terrain pieces paint up with the bases in the above post as examples.  Honestly, I’m more excited about working on the ruins included in Dragons Don’t Share than either the adventurers or the dragon.  All in all, I like the material though I think I may limit future Bones purchases to architecture and BIG monsters.  Those come out wonderfully and really benefit from the light weight.

 

29
Sep

Breaking Shields and Making Tall Banner Poles

Mac's lads are ready for action

Mac’s lads are ready for action

Though my Shieldbreakers didn’t survive their first Kings of War battle they proved to be both brave and effective.  You gotta love those high Nerve Scores combined with Headstrong and Crushing Strength (1).  Interesting that I never really looked at them as a first choice in my army lists before because they are quite a good value for their points.  Many thanks to Skrapwelder for trading his unpainted Hasslefree Dwarf collection for my unpainted Oldhammer Dark Elves as it made me readdress some of my original opinions.  That and I REALLY wanted the dwarfs! The smallest group in the collection were the dwarfs with great weapons (Nain is name given by Hasslefree Miniatures), provided with various heads and weapons they seemed the natural place to start to work.  After I’d cleaned up the flash and mold lines I removed the tab on their feet, drilled a hole in the heel of one of them, and super glued in a piece of brass rod before using white glue to temporarily attach the figure to an individual base.  I find the gel form of super glue easiest to work with and I’m less likely to get it everywhere.

 

Okay, banner is nearly done now I need a unit to stick it on.

Okay, banner is nearly done now I need a unit to stick it on.

TestPaints

Color scheme finalized

 

While I was prepping the miniatures I began assembling the unit base.  I actually built two bases at the same time as I knew I wanted to construct a regiment of crossbow armed dwarfs as well.  Working on both simultaneously also helped keep them looking like they were set on the same battlefield.  I used bases and decorative details from Scibor Miniatures just like my previous units as I love the appearance (they are second only to Secret Weapon Miniatures in my opinion) and want the army to look like a force that is reclaiming ancient dwarf lands. The mosaics and ruined statues go a long way toward that.

 

BaseBuild3

Test fitting pieces

BaseBuild2

I like the tiles to look like they are from the same floor

 

After playing miniatures games since Warhammer second edition and buying Mantic Games undead from their just about initial release (boxed sets used to come with Renedra movement trays), I have acquired quite a pile of standard size movement trays so find them the perfect starting place for building Kings of War units.  After experimenting with different materials from my scrap boxes I’ve settled on wood and cork as a great combination for strength, texture (yes it matters!), weight, and ease of use.  The wood is all reclaimed balsa and such leftover from various projects so each unit base cleans up a little of my workshop as well. Bonus!

 

Basebuild1

Looks like it meets with his approval

Yeah, put some paint on it and we'll take it.

Yeah, put some paint on it and we’ll take it.

 

I like to keep an appropriately sized miniature around to test the look and size of different parts and before I’d painted any of the actual Shieldbreakers I had a converted spear armed dwarf handy to do the job.  Doesn’t hurt to test fit a few of the actual inhabitants, once their glue dries of course. Can’t have their temporary bases attaching to their permanent one.

 

BasePaint3

First colors down, ready for stain

Back view though hard to tell at this point

Back view though hard to tell at this point

 

After deciding where the bigger parts would be placed and gluing them down I covered the base with Light Weight Drywall Patch.   While this was still moist I poured the charcoal mixture I get out of used up water filters.  This makes for a nice texture while blending the various bits and pieces with the cork rather nicely.  This also creates, after spray priming, a solid surface for painting and gluing whereas the filler alone can be a bit delicate and spongy. Just like the miniatures I base coat, wash, and highlight the piece before applying mixed flocking materials and spray sealant.  Lots of spray sealant.

 

BaseDone3

First scattering of flocking in place.

BaseDone4

Bit of narrative even without any minis.

BaseDone2

Even looks good from behind

BaseDone1

Gyrocopter’s view of the base

 

When I’ve finished painting and flocking the base it is time to start gluing down the finished individual soldiers. I suggest starting at the front and working back as it is easier to fit them that way. As I hadn’t finished the command crew yet I had to take a more freeform approach with the ones I had.  Once they are glued in place and had time to dry I go in and touch up the paint on their feet as well as add more flocking and tufts of grass.

 

Gluing1

Call the lads. We’re ready to move in!

Closeup

I think this place has prior tenants still in it.

 

The figure I chose as the unit leader is actually one I already owned but with his huge, two handed hammer thought he’d be perfect to lead Mac’s Lads. I’ll probably end up getting another for use as a role playing figure.  The standard bearer and musician were regular troopers with a bit of conversion work.  The musician simply involved gluing on one of the horns I got in a pack of instruments from Reaper Miniatures.  They have some great little bits and pieces and many of the sprues can be purchased separately.  After all those spearheads and gripping hands I’d dealt with it was no problem to cut off one of the weapons, drill out the hands, and glue in some brass rod as the banner pole.  I topped it off with a piece I cut off of an extra Iron Guard banner.  In previous posts I’ve mentioned the wisdom off planning for storage while working on terrain.  I didn’t take that into account with this banner pole and will have to add yet another thicker tray to my Army Transport bag.  Of course that means I have room to make some more tall units now.

 

Mac and the unit musician

Mac and the unit musician

BannerDone

Banner bearer done

After I had glued a couple of troopers on with Mac I waited until the rest of the command staff were finished so I could attach them in front before adding any more regular soldiers.  This matters if you make big flags like I do and don’t want to lose figures behind it or have bent unnaturally.  Once touch-up paint and secondary flocking were done I added tufts of grass to break up the surfaces and add a further overgrown quality.  As mentioned in the previous post, they weathered shelling, took a charge from heavy cavalry, and still helped take down said horsemen before succumbing to Ryan’s artillery and magic chicanery PLUS nothing needed re-gluing after the battle.  All in all, a most auspicious beginning for this unit which, by the way, I think came out quite well.  Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some crossbow armed dwarfs that need my attention… and another elemental.

 

ShieldBreakers1

The finished unit ready for inspection

Side2

Left Face!

TopView

About Face!

Side1

Right Face!

Closeup1

CHARGE!

 

28
Sep

Not That Berserk!

Shieldbreakers Advance

Mac’s Lads advance.

 

Not only did I just get to try out the Kings of War second edition rules but I finally got to field several of my completed dwarf units for the first time.  These included the general (Lady Ursula on bear), a troop of gunners, a troop of crossbows (with back up to form a regiment), a Stone Priest, his buddy the Greater Earth Elemental, the Ironguard, and the Hasslefree Miniatures Shieldbreakers Regiment I had just finished.  While one can’t expect them all to survive their first encounter with conflict or even win the day, I just hoped they looked good and held their own.  The dice always have their own say of course.

 

Dwarf right

Dwarf right

Dwarf Left

Dwarf Left

 

Hordes really come to the fore in second edition army construction. They are the key to diversity in your army as each Horde taken allows four Troops units and one of each Hero, Monster, and War Machine. Whereas each Regiment opens up only two Troops and one of Hero, Monster, OR War Machine.  As always seems to be the case with my miniature collections, adjustments would have to be made.  So my two Regiments of Bulwarkers became one Horde despite being of two different manufacturers (yes, it hurts the eyes) while a movement tray and ten figures helped my Troop of Crossbow become a Regiment.

 

Shieldbreakers, Ironwatch Handgunners and Lady Ursula advance into their first battle.

Shieldbreakers, Ironwatch Handgunners and Lady Ursula advance into their first battle.

 

Doing this allowed the right combination for me to field all the new units I had painted especially the Earth Elemental and the bear riding hero.  This meant I only had one artillery piece but they had all been bloodied before so weren’t a priority anyway.

 

Kingdoms of Men left flank

Kingdoms of Men left flank

Kingdoms of Men center

Kingdoms of Men center

Kingdoms of Men right flank

Kingdoms of Men right flank

 

Ryan, being far more pragmatic, wrote a force containing two siege artillery pieces and two cannon, two heavy cavalry, and blocks of troops armed to crush dwarf armor.  To make matters worse, he got the first turn and his cannon were painfully accurate.  Must have had fresh powder because all four hit their targets, wavering my gunners and wounding the Shieldbreakers and Brock Riders.  Ryan doesn’t like giant badgers.

 

Knights crush the shot up Brock Riders

Knights crush the shot up Brock Riders

 

The Headstrong rule worked for the gunners even if they couldn’t shoot and dwarf army advanced.  The Rangers on the far right were able to Waver the archers facing them, the crossbow armed dwarfs wavered a troop of men armed with the same but the cannon crew were wishing for some of Ryan’s powder because they couldn’t hit anything.

 

Turn Two Opens

Turn Two Opens

 

On the dwarf right flank the wounded Brock Riders found themselves brought down by the Thunderous charge of knights on barded horse while the Shieldbreakers, braced in difficult terrain, barely held against the other mounted unit.  This was already proving to be a fast and bloody game.

 

Shieldbreakers take massive damage but manage to hold AND mke their Headstrong roll

Shieldbreakers take massive damage but manage to hold AND make their Headstrong roll

 

With the Brockriders gone there was plenty of room for the EarthElemental and Berserker Lord to charge into the knights, stone fists and rune hammers breaking open plate mail leaving the knights Wavered and backing up, quickly.  Lady Ursula lead her Ironguard and the Shieldbreakers against the second unit of knights and wiped them out (even with a reroll from his Army Banner).  The Rangers, moving up the flank, routed the archers with bowfire while the Bulwarkers moved forward through difficult ground preparing to face the Horde of pike advancing toward them.

 

Ironguard on the flank!

Ironguard on the flank!

 

Then things went berserk, no really, the human berserker unit charged the dwarf berserker lord wounding him but not wavering him from his goal of chasing down the knights that had killed his lads.

 

Knights back up while the berserkers catch the mounted lord.

Knights back up while the berserkers catch but don’t deter the mounted lord.

 

The human infantry with polearms attacked Lady Ursula while a human hero stepped around the unit of spear to blast the Shieldbreakers with his Boomstick. The cannon behind him did the same for emphasis.  That was enough for the dwarfs and despite the re-roll provided by their general they fled the field, carrying their wounded with them.  Lady Ursula fared better repulsing the charge but was left wavered and unable to make her headstrong roll.  Fortunately the Ironguard and gunners were able to come to her aid engaging two units and holding the left flank.

 

Knights defeated

Knights defeated the infantry surge forward that gap is suspiciously wide enough for a cannon ball.

 

The berserker lord, stone priest, and earth elemental took down the knights then pushed toward the cannon, dreading the shot they could see being loaded all while under fire from the siege artillery on the hill. The Berserkers turned around and prepared to charge the Bulwarker horde in the flank even while the crossbow unit of dwarf poured down the hill to do the same to them.  Even taking a cannon ball to his granite chin (Ryan rolled one point under-whew) the elemental took out the cannon crew with the berserker lord then turned to support the mayhem transpiring in the center.

 

Knights defeated but now caught in a hail of artillery.

Knights defeated but now caught in a hail of artillery.

 

The human horde charged their dwarven counterpart with the support of their insane brethern causing wounds but not shaking them.  Thus the pitched fight to control the center began.  The battle shifted back and forth, massive piles of dice flying with all the flank attacks but the disordered charges from difficult terrain and Ensnare of the human horde made for a smaller percentage of hits.  Even then, miniature blood was flowing.

 

The clash surges back and forth.

The clash surges back and forth.

Despite the loss of the handgunner troop Lady Ursula and the Ironguard were victorious if bloodied as were the Bulwarkers and crossbows. Unfortunately with their opponents dead or routed the wounded dwarf spearmen were an obvious target for the remaining siege artillery which saw off the survivors, routing them from the field with well aimed shelling.  The characters from both armies then squared off while the berserker lord charged toward the reloading crews on the hill. While his massive badger mount was able to move out of their minimum range he wasn’t able to defeat Ryan’s ability to roll a six when needed and the tattooed dwarf was blasted off his mount by the lone cannon left on the human right flank.  A truly epic shot. Did I mention that Ryan hates my badgers?

 

Dwarf Horde victorious but very tempting to artillery.

Dwarf Horde victorious but very tempting to artillery.  Too tempting.

 

In the end the human artillery on the hill saw their general killed by a female dwarf riding a bear and the Ironguard take down the Boomstick wielding hero in revenge for blasting apart the Shieldbreakers.  The dwarf crossbows and rangers had moved into range and were taking aim at the mortar crews when, at the end of turn six, Ryan rolled a three indicating the game was over.  Dwarfs had taken the field.

We had chosen to play the straight forward Kill scenario and there was plenty of killing on both sides. It was an absolute blast with the battle lines shifting, great narrative moments, and much laughter. I really like the new rules and can’t wait to play again.  Now I’m really going to have to name more of my units and characters, especially the elemental.  He rocks, literally!

 

Survived his first battle!

Survived his first battle!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11
Aug

MicroArts and CoolMiniOrNot bases

All sorted and ready for minis

All sorted and ready for minis. It looks like I have room for more bases even with the Secret Weapon ones added.

 

MicroArts Studios (http://microartstudio.com/index.php), in conjunction with CoolMiniOrNot (https://www.coolminiornot.com/), recently used crowdfunding (Kickstart- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/coolminiornot-base-system-featuring-micro-art-stud/description) to begin producing themed plastic base inserts.  These varied widely with everything from Desert to Forest and Tech to Chaos Wastes, each included a number of three different sizes (20x 30mm bases, 12x 40mm bases, and 2x 50mm bases).  Being the base obsessed nut that I am I picked up several of these but of course no where near as many as I desired (really wanting some of those Desert bases once they hit the general market).  My collection includes; Planking, Tech, Arcane, Jungle, Pipework, Mystic, and Ancient.  The last two looking perfect for my dwarfs as well as general role playing while the rest either fit other genre’s or just appear fun to paint (I’m looking at you Jungle set).

 

Plug fits right into the base

Plug fits right into the base

 

The pieces are designed to plug into a round base but could easily be used on their own if one prefers a more streamlined look.  Personally, I have become very fond of this style of presentation as it feels like a matted frame around a nice piece of artwork and is large enough to hold interesting details and create a micro environment for the figure to exist in.

 

... and hardly any mold lines to clean up.

The one on the left is from Planking and the two on the right from Ancient.

 

The bases’ sculpts are creative, beautiful, and nicely varied within each set I received.  The injection molded plastic holds some very crisp detail and the mold lines are barely visible so make for very fast clean up.  That they have the potential to be much cheaper than resin is very exciting to an addict like me.  There are all kinds of fun bits to entertain the painter and viewer alike.  Everything from scorpions on the desert theme and magical pools on the Arcane to wires and piping of Derelict and the lush growth of Jungle.  As soon as I saw them I had to put a couple together to paint up immediately.  Besides, I had several figures that have just been waiting for the right presentation.

 

Belit has been waiting for a decent base.

Belit has been waiting for a decent base.

 

As I had two converted Hasslefree dwarf spearmen left over from my Kings of War Regiment (see previous posts) I picked out two of the Ancient set.  I also pulled out two of Planking to attach a couple of Hasslefree pirates I have been itching to paint. The Ancient two painted up easily and look great all on their own.

 

Painted bases

Painted bases

Same bases, different angle

Same bases, different angle

 

As I already had the pins in the figures’ feet it was simply a matter of finding where they fit best without any trimming.  I’ll adjust and remove details on future figures but wanted my first to be unadjusted. They really set figures off beautifully and will tie warbands together wonderfully in addition to personalizing role playing characters.  I am hoping we see even more themes in future but have plenty to keep me busy for quite some time.

 

BasesFront

Perfect fit

BaseBack

Even look good from behind.

 

I’ll be posting updates as I use more of these as I really love working with them.  Besides, Belit and her first mate are coming along well and deserve a photo shoot of their own.