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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the things I have learned from playing Mantic Games’ Kings of War is that I need more mounted dwarfs. I’ve got a good supply of Brock Riders, with more waiting to be painted, but only one mounted Berserker Lord. I had been thinking about getting another of the Mantic models and swapping out the top half of the rider. The alternative was to find another manufacturer’s figure to substitute. So my excitement was understandable when the Bones 2 Kickstarter campaign added mounted adventurers, one of them is a female dwarf on a bear, to the stretch goals.
Now Reaper has tried to make the Bones bases more than plastic ovals by sculpting details onto them but I wanted her to fit into my Kings of War dwarf army so would need to build an entirely new base and had to remove hers. Bones plastic cuts very easily and like shaving the mold lines one should use a sharp blade and cut away from one’s own body parts. I have more than a few scars in my left hand reminding me of that core principle. I started my building with a Mantic 50mm base as that is what comes with their Berserker Lord on Brock model then added a couple of 25mm Scibor Ruins bases that match the rest of the army to see how it would all fit together.
Two blank 20mm bases in opposite corners evened out the surface before I glued down the rocks and tree stumps finally coating the “ground” with lightweight spackle. Since she was riding a bear I felt there needed to be some indication of being in the woods. Secret Weapon Tree Stumps really do the trick and for some reason look more real than real twigs though the rocks are genuine. No really, right out of my back yard.
The bear and rider, which come as one piece, were washed in watered down dish soap, rinsed thoroughly, and left to dry while I sprayed the base with white primer.
I’ve painted enough of the Scibor Arcane Ruins for this army so far that it doesn’t take me long to match the color scheme.
Having never seen the original figure in person before Reaper cast her in Bones plastic, there were details I only discovered as I was prepping the her (She has an eye patch?) and even more seemed to emerge as I started the base coats (There’s a patch riveted over one eye of the helmet and she’s wearing a scaled cloak?). The Bones plastic is so very white that some details just don’t stand out until another color changes the texture and shadows. That and my eyes, like the rest of me, are showing signs of age. I decided to make Paddington a black bear rather than a grizzly because they are smaller, like dwarfs, do well in rocky mountainous terrain, like dwarfs, and I had never painted one. Really, that’s a relevant reason in my mental math.
I kept my base coats clean mostly because it’s easier than cleanup later and that appeals to my inner laziness. This also makes it easier when applying washes. Once these are dry I built up two levels of highlights using the base color followed by a lighter version. The bear is highlighted with dark brownish grays, black can be a pain to highlight. Once both the base and figure were done I sprayed them with sealant before gluing them together with super glue gel.
I left the glue to dry overnight before adding clumps of static grass and brush. I try to avoid using one single color as that tends to look like a golf course so I mix up the shades of grass I use. This is another of those jobs made so much easier with the gel version of superglue and a pair of tweezers. I wanted it to look overgrown and long abandoned without obscuring either the figure or the details on the base. Much the same thinking as my Bugman’s Brewers base without the statues.
In the end I am really pleased with how this project came out. Lady Ursula and Paddington will join my Kings of War force as a Berserker Lord (Lady) on Brock (Bear) equipped with Ensorcelled Armor. The figure has armor, it makes her different than the other Lord on Brock (he carries a Blade of Slashing), and who wouldn’t want a DEF of 6? I’m looking forward to getting her on the field though I really think I need at least five more Brock Riders painted to give her some back up and benefit from her Inspiring Rule. Okay, maybe fifteen more in the long run but that will require a few more conversion decisions before starting the last unit.
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.
Picked up two of Mantic Games’ Iron Guard sets to build a troop (ten figures) of the elite dwarfs for my Kings of War force. As is my habit, once they were assembled and primed I kept two or three on the painting table until the unit was finished. Not needing a second musician I only had nine figures but since I planned on using one of the Scibor dwarf head statues that wasn’t a problem.
I did want to make sure the figures would fit together after I was done building the base so I test fit them before gluing the Mantic bases to the movement tray. I didn’t glue the figures to the bases yet.
Mantic uses a disc instead of a tab connecting the feet which is then glued into one of their bases. Between the thickness of the disc and the thin ankles I decided to use them rather than pins and built the base using Mantic bases. This meant there was no room for the Scibor bases I had been using on most of my other units. So I dug through the bits box, found some Mantic bases I had cut up for a previous base. Nipped some corners, gouged some parallel lines and I had passable broken tile bits to add into the texture.
Then it was just a matter of painting it like I would any other miniature. When that was done I sprayed it with sealant before gluing the finished miniatures to it. I find that super glue gel is the easiest to work with in this endeavor.
Finally I glued down patches of my flocking mix, lichen, and clumps of grass to finish the look. I think the scattering of undergrowth adds a natural look to the whole unit.
I picked up a Troop (5) of Mantic’s Dwarf Berserkers recently. Once I realized the strips left over from my Warhammer unit trays were perfect bases for them I dove into my unpainted collection to create another one. Building them in strips of five Troops just makes sense as they can be combined to a Half Regiment and even if not playing Kings of War they are a full rank of five in Warhammer. Slayers die in droves, if they are achieving their goals, and many are the battles when I have had to remove far more than five at a time. Ryan’s Chaos Knights have a number of lines, okay… pages, in my Book of Grudges.
As is my habit now, I drilled (after clipping the tabs off) and pinned the feet of the Games Workshop figures onto temporary bases using white glue. This gives me something solid to attach to my painting “handles” and quick and easy to attach once done. The Mantic Berserkers, however, had smaller feet and bigger bases and as one of my goals is to keep any new projects moving across the table I decided expedience was the wisest choice and glued five of Mantic’s bases onto the unit strip leaving the circular tabs firmly attached.
Stanley has accurately described our group as “Chipmunks on Crack” as we jump from one game system to another, trying out various genres, scales as well as materials (see my Wooden Wars posts if in doubt). Truth be told, we just love games, especially if we get to paint and build stuff. So my table is a scattered mix of things at any one time. I have found though that if I have twenty of one thing in front of me all at once I can get frustrated so instead I keep two or three cycling through at all times until the group is complete.
Since I had used Scibor Miniature’s bases on my other recent dwarf units I decided to do the same on the strip of five Games Workshop figures as well. To help tie into the Mantic strip, which had none, I only used two Scibor bases and it ended up looking as ancient and overgrown as the Rangers’ base.
I primed and painted the textured base just as I would a mini. Since there wasn’t any detail to paint on the other I glued the standard bearer on before primer as it would be a more stable base to hold onto. Metal standards can be quite top heavy and I cringe remembering the number that have fallen off the Blu-taked handles in past. Always when most focused on final detail painting and never into the soft lap but rather the solid floor. Then it was simply a matter of gluing figures on as they came off the line or Finish Basic Training as I like to think of it.
I flocked the bases using green and brown mixtures of Woodland Scenics turfs and finished them off with some grass clumps. I’m so pleased with them I’m already going through the depths of my unpainted vaults to find more slayers. I think two more strips of five should do it. Haven’t decided whether I want another set with standard and musician or just crazed nutters. Probably have enough unpainted that the answer will end up being both. Of course any those will have to wait for me to finish the Hasslefree Dwarf crossbows but that’s for an entirely different post.
The Brewers had long been a guild as secretive and respected as the Engineers in Dwarf society and the two guilds found themselves often working together. When the vast plains with all their crops, towns, cities, workshops, villages, and breweries had been destroyed in civil wars followed by volcanic eruption and floods, they were forced to join their brethren in abandoning the ancient homelands, scattering into the wooded mountains of the southern borderlands or the trackless deserts of the east. Only the dark hearted ones went north but that is a different tale. Many clans and their brewing secrets were lost in the wilds before survivors began finding their way to the lush fields and valleys of the Crescent Bay. Like the other surviving dwarf clans here they were able to rebuild, even flourish, creating vast terraced farms of hops and barley, linked by trails and tunnels both to each other and the quickly growing underground cities.
Dwarfs have long memories to match their beards and lifespans so no matter how well they were doing, no matter how fine a barrel they brewed, there was always talk of the lost clans and their legendary recipes. Soon stories began to circulate of wandering brewmasters or hidden caches of ancient ale or, best of all, a written recipe of a long lost brew. As is usually the case, most of these turned out to be hopeful speculation but enough of them proved to be true that the Brewers Guild formed the Rangers to seek out the lost clans and their secrets. Now every Brewers clan send units out into the wild lands, mountains, and even tunnels on that very quest. No one knows exactly how many there are or even where their missions take them but it must be a considerable number because it is never a surprise to find them in the armies of the borderlands where wise commanders take heed of their counsel.
One of the best parts of Kings of War, from a modeler and painter’s perspective, is the opportunity presented by unit size bases. With the Bulwarkers it really aided in setup and storage as well as movement on the table, and, as seems all too often to be the case, removal from the table. With the Rangers I wanted the base to look like the wilds of the borderlands while still tying in with the rest of the army. I had a set of Games Workshop Bugman’s Brewers (I believe they are the second version of that legendary regiment, easily my favorite) sitting in my unpainted collection and demanding attention for over a decade.
I used one of the plastic unit bases that used to come with Mantic sets, upside down Mantic bases, some Scibor dwarf statues, Scibor Ancient Ruins bases as well as Secret Weapon Tree Stumps. The Scibor Ancient Ruins bases look a lot like the floor tiles around the statues so make a good pairing and can be used in future unit bases to help unify a force that will be assembled from models made by multiple manufacturers. Mixing a number of the different sizes together means I only need a couple on each base to look like the troops were moving through similar long abandoned structures on the very edge of the kingdom. The Scibor Dwarf Statues made it clear who had built those structures and still laid claim to the lands around them. This was going to be fun.
Part of prepping each figure became cutting off the base and drilling out a foot for a pin before temporarily attaching it to a base for primer. Being of the ancient line of actual lead figures, the drilling was rather easy if time consuming. I planned to assembled the painted figures on the base after painting so wanted to minimize the handling of them post sealant.
After assembly, the base was covered in textured acrylic medium which, when dry, was coated with super glue and dipped in charcoal taken from water filters. I had so much fun with it I built another, smaller one (1×5) from scraps and two Scibor bases for a planned Berserker unit. Once dry these were sprayed with primer. As I had already started using some of the Ancient Ruins Cavalry bases for my Brockriders I painted the new ones to match.
When the figures were all painted and sealed, they were removed from their temporary bases (Elmers glue is what I use to tack them in place). The unit base was not only painted and sealed but then I weathered the statues using Secret Weapon pigments finished off with their brush on pigment sealant. I liked the idea of the unit carefully making its way through long overgrown ruins so added undergrowth around their feet as I glued in each row navigating around the trees and statues. I stuck the champion out on the corner in front of the ancestor stone in part because he is one of my all time favorite sculpts but also because it looks like he is peering into the shadows, watching for attack.
It isn’t just the ancient adversaries that have lines in the Book of Grudges. Indeed, the younger races can do plenty to earn the ire of dwarfs. Lately, the humans have drawn the attention of the dwarf king through several border skirmishes that show their artillery has improved over the years. Have played three games of Kings of War by Mantic Games in the last week all against my friend, Ryan, and his Kingdoms of Men army.
I’d already faced Necron_99’s Basileans once in past so thought I had an idea of what humans were like but Kingdoms of Men have hard hitting, armored cavalry, cheap hordes of pike (+20 attacks!), ogres, and artillery that hits on 5s with neither range nor cover modifiers. Ouch, and they are so much cheaper than dwarfs.
The first two battle were fought back to back with the first as a Kill scenario and the second as a Kill and Pillage scenario. When playing Ryan it is imperative to get the first turn because if he does, whatever army he’s running, he is unloading ranged death. His artillery proved accurate numerous times while he deftly skirted hills to avoid mine. Very frustrating for one who’s army relies on its guns.
Ryan was able to keep pounding my forces with accurate artillery while moving his forces forward behind hills and forests. I was able to take out one unit of knights before the other crashed into my Berserker lord on brock. When the infantry units finally closed on one another the bloodshed began in earnest. The game went to twelve turns and ended with a close victory for the humans. Hurrumph, upstart races.
The second battle found us trying to end with units closer to objective markers as well as kill each other. That seems to be a recurring theme in our games, no matter the genre’, now that I think about it. This one was much closer even with his horrifyingly accurate artillery fire raining death from on high. I swear, I don’t understand how the humans get so many indirect fire weapons. I’m just glad the dwarfs finally got one in the form of the Jarrun Bombard. Typical of dwarfs, it is very expensive (100points) so I haven’t added one yet, not yet.
Since he blasted apart my long range artillery on his first turn (did I mention it sucks when he goes first?) it all came down to the combats on my left flank. I was able to kill off just about every scoring unit he moved into the village square but he kept dropping rocks with such accuracy that he even took out the army standard bearer (rolled a six!). My berserker lord was able to take out the rocket team holding an objective and the game ended in a draw. Now, in hindsight, if I had trusted in my Headstrong and not used my Inspiring to make Ryan reroll the Wavering result the unit wouldn’t have been wiped out when he rolled an eleven. Sigh, if I had a dollar for every time I miss judged that I could pay for the next pizza.
I decided I needed a few changes in my force after those last two close ones. We have been playing 1000 points a side and I have really been struggling with whether the regiment of Brocks is worth the points. It is nice to have a high Nerve(20/22) and 30 Attacks but it eats up a lot of points (280 with Brew of Strength) and really needs another fast unit or mounted character to back it up. Again, a lot of points for a 1000 point force. In the end, paint jobs won and the regiment of brocks stayed. I switched to two cannons, dropped the army standard bearer, and traded the crossbows for rangers while kitting out some units with magic. Still felt like way too few units when I saw his army.
Despite getting the first turn, Ryan, rather uncharacteristically, rolled poorly for his artillery, barely wounding one cannon and leaving some wounds on the rangers. Just to show what a fair player I am I also rolled poorly with all my shooting and his knights slammed into one of my cannons while artillery finished off the other. Another game where I would have no long range shooting after my first turn. Meanwhile his other knights charged the rangers. This time he rolled really well on his attacks and Nerve so they routed. My infantry did take some revenge on both units of knights but knew they were all just sitting targets now. The Berserker Lord tore one apart by himself. Everything had to advance or be blasted where they stood. By the end of turn nine I had my Bulwarkers, my Brock Riders, and the Warsmith remaining, everything else was dead or routed so I advanced, The Brocks closed the distance so the artillery couldn’t target them while the Bulwarkers moved forward to face the pike horde.
Ryan’s Priest and my Warsmith went one on one, neither able to score a wound, the two phalanxes faced off, and the Brock Riders, carrying over 15 wounds at this point started laying waste to artillery. At the end of 12 Ryan rolled a five and the game went another two turns. His Priest was just able to reach the Brocks, scored a single wound then rolled and eleven on their Nerve, finally wiping them out. Damn, they were about to charge the sole artillery piece, the rocket launcher. To add insult, the pike block skewered the Warsmith, guaranteeing I had nothing to do on my final turn. My entire army was gone and it looked like and overwhelming defeat until Ryan pointed out he had less than 300 points remaining on the field, those pike horde are cheap, so it was only a close loss. Still, it’s going into the Book of Grudges because my short warriors are going to need some pay back.
In conclusion I must say I am really enjoying Kings of War. It is fast paced, simple, and a lot of fun. We played two games in one afternoon. The time to set up, play twice, and put all the tables and terrain away was just over four hours and that includes lunch. I just have to find a better balance to my army construction. I will have my revenge, Mr Ryan, rest assured. I will have my revenge. Now, back to painting more dwarfs…