I have a fair number of miniatures that I buy simply because I want to paint them not because I have any game use in mind. This is often the case with sculpts by Kev White. His dwarf character pieces lead to my starting an entire Kings of War army but that’s for other posts. This is about some of the wonderful female figures he has created that demanded paint as soon as I had them in hand. These examples come from his own company Hasslefree Miniatures (http://hfminis.co.uk/) as well as Reaper Miniatures (http://www.reapermini.com/). The bases are from Secret Weapon Miniatures (https://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/) as well as MicroArts Studios (http://shop.microartstudio.com/battle-bases-c-3.html).
Bunni (with a heart dotting the i)
So, there are a few of the pieces I’ve finished that were sculpted by Kev White. I hadn’t intended on focusing on his work initially but once I started going through my pictures I realized I had plenty by just him. That means I’ll have to do separate posts for the Bombshell Babes or other pirate minis I’ve been working on. Until then, it’s back to the painting table. There’s always more dwarfs to paint after all.
I try to get to the three closest game conventions each year as they are the best places to interact with most of my oldest friends, meet new ones, and light my creative fires all in one very entertaining weekend. This time was no exception at DundraCon 2016 (San Ramon, Ca) with the highlight being all the Frostgrave we played. For those who may not have heard of it, Frostgrave by Osprey Games is a fantasy skirmish game in which players run a wizard and their band of adventurers seeking the arcane knowledge and treasures of an ancient ruined city (think Mordheim) that was destroyed in an icy, magic cataclysm. It is supposed to be frozen and snow covered but none of my terrain is so I figure there is a brief thaw in the neighborhood. I was delighted to break out long neglected Mordheim terrain and share figures from my also long neglected Role Playing Miniatures collection. Learning a fun new game was bonus.
One table had two gangs fighting it out over the treasures while a giant worm burrowed around under them. Eventually it burst out and much mayhem ensued. When we get together everyone pools their miniatures and terrain, especially the terrain. We all have little projects, okay, some of us have numerous projects that might not fill a three foot square battlefield but added up really look great. Plus I’ll jump at any chance to use the Abbey AronBC built based on a scenario in an old Citadel Journal. This time he had brought a figure from our ancient youth, a giant millipede and, like myself, he was happy to have it get table time.
I was ecstatic to game with so many of the beautiful Hasslefree Miniatures I had painted simply because I loved them. Now they had names and missions. Just to ice the cake, now I really need to paint three from the Unpainted Box to round out the gang. Who knew I’d need a thief? The game uses opposed rolls with twenty sided dice for spell casting and combat. If the caster/attacker rolls higher the number they rolled is also the damage caused. My first game started out well when I rolled a twenty on a twenty sided die to cast Elemental Bolt at my opponent’s wizard who happened to be in the open from where my wizard stood. Modifiers, armor figured out and BOOM! One dead wizard on turn two. We decided to set up and start again because it was about to get very one sided and to have that happen when one is focused on learning a new game seems ridiculous. Besides, there’s no fun in that.
The second game was a closer run thing with both of us hugging terrain and taking shots where we could. The silent tower and it’s connecting buildings are not only a major objective but also a magic null zone so the wizards were quite limited. A couple of henchmen were taken down here and there but it ended with both wizards deciding discretion was the better part of valor and backed away warily as the gangs hauled in their swag.
One of the things I really like about the game is the easy campaign aspect. It was always my favorite part of Mordheim and Necromunda as well because it encourages me to paint miniatures I might not get to as well as creating character and narrative. In this case not only did we use my wild boars, bear, and familiars but the Stone Mountain troll finally found a game use, granted my opponent used Wind Blast to immediately push him back off the table but he got on the table. It also moved the resin toads I’d picked up to the painting table.
So, a fun system that was much easier to learn than I thought it would be. The campaign book, Thaw of the Lich Lord looks very entertaining not to mention creatively inspiring. Now I have a list of old figures and projects to dig out and dust off. Going to to be making buildings, ladders, and bridges for a while.
“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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
The second edition of Kings of War is getting closer to arriving and I need a lot more ranged units for my dwarf force. I had seven Hasslefree dwarfs armed with crossbows and I figured with some Scibor bits that would be enough to form a Troop. Gave them a rough test fit and I started painting dwarfs and building a base for them.
With only seven miniatures, the painting went rather quickly. Hasslefree minis are such nice little sculpts they really are a joy to paint. That’s probably good as I have a dream of assembling an entire army of them.
With the soldiers finished they needed their base. I assembled it using a plastic movement tray (I’ve been collecting them for years), cork, mixed sands, and a resin fallen statue. The texture is actually the carbon and other grains from used up water filters. I glue it on the base after all the assembly is finished to add a natural texture and even out all my errors and odd shapes. I use superglue to add strength. Then it is simply a matter of primering, painting, and flocking like I would for any miniature. I think they make nice pieces even without miniatures on them.
After sealant, each figure has a hole drilled in the heel of one foot in which a piece of brass wire is inserted to pin the miniature to the base. I use the gel form of superglue as it is easier to control plus it is great for the lichen and grass tufts. After the figures have been glued down I touch up the paint and add small tufts of grass and little clumps of lichen around their feet.
Again, being a small unit with neither standard nor musician they assembled quickly. Being Kevin White sculpts they are quite dramatic and look great together.
They really make an attractive unit when all finished. In fact, I like them so much I’ve already started planning the Regiment of crossbows I want to build next as well as the Regiment of shieldbreakers. Then, if I can get those two units finished I’m already picturing a Horde of Bulwarkers that need to join my army.
Hasslefree Miniatures (http://www.hfminis.co.uk/) make some of my favorite figures in every genre they produce but especially their dwarfs. Big surprise to any who have been following me along this journey. I have wanted to build a unit of spear using Kev White’s wonderful sculpts since the first time I saw them. I would like to build an entire force with HF dwarfs but that’s another conversation entirely. The only problem I saw was that I wanted much longer shafts for their weapons. Kings of War offered an opportunity for building a unit of twenty with fewer figures and to add the Scibor Miniatures statues and bases I’m so fond of unifying my mixed manufacturer dwarf force. So, I broke out the pin vise, brass rod, and super glue to begin assembling figures and base.
I do want to say that I don’t find anything wrong with the original spear length, I just wanted more of a phalanx look to the unit. I’m actually now considering a unit or two in future using the shorter length. I began by drilling a hole in the forearm to pin the hand. It was only by the third hand I had finished that I realized that it is much easier to drill the wrist in the hand before cutting off the spear shaft, gives you something to hold. The real fiddly bit was drilling out the spearheads. Super Glue Gel with a spray of Zip Kicker to instantly set it makes up for errors. I drilled the hole for the spear shaft all the way through the hand for the brass rod to slide through before gluing all the pieces together.
The base was built on one of the old unit bases recently given to me by a fellow dwarf lord. I used two of the larger size Scibor bases as they had stacked pieces that would add a little height to the back ranks. I had to have an ancestor head as well because I like the look and it gives me a handle for moving or lifting the unit rather than the figures. I covered the base with light weight spackling into which I then pressed a mixed texture. Most of which came out of exhausted Brita filters. Once it had dried it was ready for primer.
I didn’t assemble all the individual dwarfs at once. I think all that drilling with a pin vise would rive me crazy. No, I assembled them much as I paint them, in small groups, which helps both my attention span and arthritis.
I did need to make my own standard bearer and musician to join the commander I had picked out. The standard was nothing complex, just a longer brass rod topped with an anvil from my bits box. The banner was painted on a piece of printmaking paper and glued onto the pole. The easiest conversion I could think of was to add a drum from the previously mentioned bits box to one of my warriors and put drumsticks in his hands. It actually came out better than I had anticipated.
Once I had the command group finished and a few more to back them up I began gluing them to the finished base. I have found these unit bases are easier to assemble if I start attaching troops at the front and work back in rows.
I really like working with these Scibor bases as they allow me to arrange the figures at various levels, adding movement and height. The fact Hasslefree Miniatures are so beautifully sculpted doesn’t hurt either. I painted the shields separately and glued them onto each figure before attaching his feet to the base.
As I glued each row of troops on I added flocking and tufts of grass. I even have some growing in the ancestor stone. It has been there a very long time after all.
I already loved the figures but I am very happy with how the unit came out. Have a Hasslefree Dwarf King waiting to lead them but think I’ll save him for a future post. I am happy to report that the unit served bravely in a recent Kings of War tournament Black Cavalier hosted at his birthday party. They survived two of the three battles they fought in and helped secure victory in all three! I do believe I see two units of Hasslefree crossbow armed dwarfs making their way to my prep table. Just in time because we are beginning a Kings of War campaign and I know these Bulwarkers will need their flanks covered.