Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted and even longer since I’ve played a solid “Ranks and Flanks” miniatures war game so now seems a good time to change the former as I had a great afternoon doing the latter. Despite not actually playing Kings of War for ages I’ve been working away at various units for different armies. New units (a regiment and troop of archers) had me tempted to run Undead especially as I haven’t done so since the second edition rules came out. The fact that the rest of the army is still based individually for Warhammer and scattered between three Army Transport boxes made it clear that I really wanted to run Dwarfs. Besides, I had three finished units that hadn’t been used in a game yet. Only two of those made it into the final army list, a Troop of Berserkers and a Regiment of Sharpshooters.
Okay, truth be told, I don’t often use Berserkers, other than Brock Riders, in my armies but I keep assembling units because I love painting them. Speaking of the crazed badger riders, I am busy doing some conversion work on a unit of them at the moment. I am planning on posting the step by step in the near future.
A long running grudge match on the Road of Death is between the Kingdoms of Men (led by my buddy Ryan) and my stalwart Dwarfs. It is always a close fought thing with today being no different. I believe it says something about Kings of War as a rules set when we haven’t played for almost two years and remembered how. Sure we had to look a few things up but not as many as I would have expected.
The forces were 2200 points a side and we went with a straight Kill scenario for it’s simplicity. I have to admit to some serious horde envy whenever this army gathers across from me, especially when it’s a cavalry horde. The far right of the human line was a war machine sporting a nasty ballista and a wizard both looking to crush some Earth Elementals. Next to them was a horde of Foot Guard, a HUGE ballista, a regiment of Heavy Pike Block, a mortar, the Army Standard, and the General.
To make matters worse for me, the rest of his line consisted of a horde of Pole Armed soldiers, a troop of Mounted Scouts with carbines, a horde of Arquibussiers all screening a horde of Knights. Yes, a horde of Knights (32 attacks at 3+, Thunderous Charge of 2 OUCH!). A Siege Artillery unit watched over the left flank and I was sure there were plenty of magic items scattered throughout the force. I would be proven correct in my assumptions.
Facing this lethal nightmare was my humble army of bearded warriors. A troop of Ironwatch Rifles secured the far left beside a Greater Earth Elemental, a horde of smaller Earth Elementals, a Berserker Lord on Brock, a regiment of Brock Riders, and a regiment of Bulwarkers. In the woods in the center were Bugman’s Rangers.
A bombard team set up between the woods and my own horde of Ironwatch Crossbows. The Army Standard was close beside as were my regiment of Ironwatch Rifles, and the Sharpshooters. Another Bombard anchored the right flank while the troop of Berserkers and Lady Ursula were held in reserve. In the end I didn’t have enough points for a troop of Berserkers and magic items, a common enough dilemma and why I rarely run the orange haired buggers. However, these guys have been finished in the last couple of months and really deserved a chance to prove their worth. So I went with no magic.
The first turn went quietly for both of us as neither seemed able to roll decently in our shooting phases. Almost my entire gun line emptied their weapons into the advancing horde of pole armed troops for a total of five wounds. The Greater Earth Elemental, known as Stompy took some wounds from the ballista on the war machine but we were both in solid shape as the second turn opened.
A second turn of bad shooting rolls was uncharacteristic of Ryan but the left of his line advanced steadily. My rolls were considerably better and saw away the horde of pole armed men while the troop of berserkers and Lady Ursula destroyed the scouts in a single charge. This left the knights open to charge my line. Crap.
Turns out Ryan could have skipped the shooting all together as that horde of knights was a steamroller. It slammed into my horde of crossbows and ran them down in one round before pivoting to face the regiment of rifles. The math worked out better if I charged them with everything I had left but my dice didn’t agree and I only inflicted five wounds on the armored ruffians. Following turns would see the troop of berserkers blasted apart by cannon fire along with one of my bombards. Somehow Ryan can always roll a six when he really needs it with his artillery. Mine were failing to hit anything. In the end the knights accounted for many more points in damage than they cost, destroying the Rifles and Lady Ursula before the last vestiges of the gun line could finally do enough damage to destroy them. It took the one hit my cannons scored to tip the balance.
On the dwarf left things went a little more to plan with the Brock Riders and the Earth Elementals weathering some fire before closing with the enemy. Really missed my Stone Priest with his Surge ability but they made contact with the horde of foot soldiers and helped Stompy break them in a turn. The Brockriders crushed the war machine and moved around the woods hoping for a flank charge. This came on turn six while the heavy pike was defending itself from my spear block. Fortunately for the badger riders neither Phalynx nor Ensnare work on a unit’s flanks and they helped bring down the pike block. Stompy was quite heroic in his contributions but in the end succumbed to one of those sixes Ryan rolls for his artillery and was blown to rubble at the top of the final turn.
As the miniature sun was setting on our 28mm battlefield there were considerably fewer units standing on either side than when we commenced. The horde of human arquibussiers were wounded but standing on the hill overlooking the few remaining dwarf gun units who in turn were aiming at them. The human right flank was all but gone with the army standard bearer still refusing to give up, continually firing that damned Boomstick. I’ve got to get one of those for my own army. Final score saw the Kingdoms of men inflicting almost 1100 points in casualties while the dwarfs took down over 1600 points of their enemy. Hard fought and close to the end but the dwarfs pulled off a victory. I do love how often a game of Kings of War comes down to the last turn. Considering how consistently Ryan has been beating me at cards (Dominion is another addiction of ours) for the last six months, I really needed a win to maintain any gamer cred.
So next time I will need more bulwarkers painted, my own mobile war machine, and a Boomstick. Oh, and the new regiment of Berserkers really needs to make an appearance.
Okay, not everything I’ve been working on is for Frostgrave nor is it all dwarf related (yes, there are plenty of the short, bearded fellows primed and waiting on my table right now) but I have been sticking to the fantasy genre’. My love of Mantic’s (http://www.manticgames.com/games/kings-of-war.html) Kings of War hasn’t faded and I am still toiling away in the summoning circle to bring forth my vision of an Abyssal Horde. Foolishly, said vision includes bases covered in molten lava so I am really having to improve my object source lighting (OSL) skills. My initial inspiration came from the Lava Fields bases by Secret Weapon Miniatures (https://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/). In addition to their incredible Terrain Tiles and matching bases, Secret Weapon is a wonderful resource for pigments, paints, and weathering materials. A huge bonus are Mr Justin’s tutorials. I knew from the beginning I was going to mount the Greater Abyssal in my force on one of their large round lipped Lava Field bases. I started with the lava as I wanted the bright reds and yellows to peek out of the deepest areas hinting at a barely cooled surface. This meant I had to know where the figure would be standing in order to know where the glow would be hitting him. Not really a problem because I prefer to drill all the holes and glue in mounting pins before painting even if painting them separately.
I also needed to get all of the demon that wasn’t flame painted before focusing on the OSL. The sculpt has what looks like long hair covering the lower leg right down to the hooves. Even in the early preconception drawings I saw it as flame so knew I’d be adding those as further OSL.
Once the demon was done it was time to start painting the fire and the OSL. It helps to work on these simultaneously as I can more easily match colors between the light sources and their projected light. I began with coating the flames with Citadel’s Lamenter’s Yellow Glaze as well as laying down some of the OSL.
I went with a half and half mix of Lamenter’s Yellow and Citadel Flash Gitz Yellow (which I conseder the Base Mix) for the next layers of flame, working it into the deeper cracks and lower areas. Continued to layer straight Lamenter’s Yellow onto the areas facing the flames. To know where to stop it I’ll hold the figure so the light source is behind the part I’m working on and rotate it until the light source appears. This is the same process for the shadows which I did later.
Looking at photo reference I saw that the base of the fire, the hottest part, is also the lightest. The hottest flames are bluish white but I wanted to match the yellowish white of the lava base so will save the searing blue white for a future Effrit. That said, I added Citadel’s Fire Dragon Bright to my “flame mix” and worked it into the upper half of the flames. I don’t use a wet pallet for everything but it was a huge help here. It allowed me to keep a mix of my base color moist for a long time that I could use to mix with the successive layers as well as glaze over after to further blend the differences. I continued to work darker hues into the flames ending with Citadel’s Evil Sunz Scarlet mixed in for the tips. The majority of the OSL was achieved with Lamenter’s Yellow with just a couple “hot spots” of the base mix especially on the wings.
In addition to the wet pallet I had to really keep my brushes moist as I worked. Moist isn’t the same as wet which would have a tendency to drip and pool. This is thin layers of glaze placed carefully, what Thomas (http://skullandcrown.blogspot.com/ ) calls Hummel Painting after porcelain miniatures. It does get tedious so I’m thankful I had all that Frostgrave terrain to work on as well.
I used Secret Weapon Washes, Blue Black and Soft Body Black half and half, to darken the shadow sides of the wings and back. I kept adding Lamenter’s Yellow to to the OSL surfaces right up to the point I was ready to attach it to the base. I’ve sealed it all but I am still contemplating a few more layers to really make the projected light pop, especially under the wings.
All in all I have to say I’m satisfied with this paint job. Though I’m not in love with it I do like the final result and think he will be quite imposing leading my chittering hordes out from the Abyss. Nothing to say I can’t go in and add some more Lamenter’s Yellow here and there later on but for now he is done. I’ve really got to get back to those Lower Abyssals and Succubi which I will just as soon as I finish up those Bones undead for Frostgrave… oh yeah, wanted to start another Frostgrave building…
With the funding of their second edition of Kings of War Mantic Games was able to create two new armies, the Forces of Nature and the Forces of the Abyss. The concept drawings of the demons, imps, and fiends that would inhabit the Abyss caught my attention from the first time I saw them. I had waited patiently for the miniatures to arrive though with so many new troop types and sculpts it wasn’t easy. My order included units of Succubi, Lower Abyssals, Molochs, Gargoyles, an Efreet, a champion, and a huge resin Archfiend.
Besides the monstrous infantry Molochs, the Effrit and Abyssal Champion figures are cast in metal. The sculpts are very nice with lots of movement and options and the metal they are cast in isn’t as brittle as that which the spears from my set of Bulwarkers. That is important when there are so many delicate pieces. I’m looking forward to painting these guys and know I’ll need to order a couple more so I can build both variations. Other than a cursory inspection of the Molochs I haven’t started my monstrous infantry so haven’t formed an opinion beyond,”Nice sculpts, clean castings” and, again, I’m going to want more of these guys.
What I was most interested in were the plastic sprues because I have really liked what Mantic Games has been doing with their plastic miniatures and the concept art for the new pieces was wonderful. When I went over them in detail I wasn’t disappointed. Each sprue holds enough parts for five soldiers, details are sharp, there’s parts for alternate models, and every sprue comes with two Imps (for a total of four different sculpts). That means every regiment of Lower Abyssals and Succubi comes with enough to make a unit of Imps. That they are fun sculpts is a bonus.
The Succubi have two weapons each that can be matched or mixed up, as I am doing with the first unit I’m assembling. While there isn’t an alternative unit there are extra heads. I will say that some of the parts are delicate and a little fiddly to work with but worth the effort as these ladies look deadly. Here’s the sprue before I started work.
The Lower Abyssals, on the other hand can be assembled as three different units; weapon and shield, great weapon, or fire throwing Flame Bearers and they also come with extra heads.
I have to say I’m really pleased with these. I’ve already commented on the clarity of detail but the poses have movement, the faces have charm mixed with malice, while the Imps are so much fun I’m really looking forward to getting to work on them. I’ve already started on the Efreet, Abyssal Champion, and the Archfiend.
Oh yeah, the resin Archfiend. This thing is HUGE and I love his face (those teeth!). The pose is fun and this monstrous hero can be assembled with or without wings but really… wings are so cool. Did I mention the flaming hands? This guy is awesome and really deserves a Secret Weapon Lava Fields Base ordered special.
In short, the new Abyssal army is full of fun, unique new miniatures that are a great deal for one’s gaming cash. Mantic Games has really come a long way in a very short time and I’m excited to see where they go next. There are Forge Father tanks in my near future after all. Despite this excitement to begin painting these minis I must confess to some growing trepidation as all the flames in their hands are really going to call for some serious amounts of object source lighting (OSL) and that is not one of my strengths. Only future posts will tell if I am successful.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Then the Organ Gun and crew were ready to take their posts
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!