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Posts tagged ‘miniatures wargames’


The Peace is Broken

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

Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted and even longer since I’ve played a solid “Ranks and Flanks” miniatures war game so now seems a good time to change the former as I had a great afternoon doing the latter.  Despite not actually playing Kings of War for ages I’ve been working away at various units for different armies.  New units (a regiment and troop of archers) had me tempted to run Undead especially as I haven’t done so since the second edition rules came out.  The fact that the rest of the army is still based individually for Warhammer and scattered between three Army Transport boxes made it clear that I really wanted to run Dwarfs.  Besides, I had three finished units that hadn’t been used in a game yet.  Only two of those made it into the final army list, a Troop of Berserkers and a Regiment of Sharpshooters.


Mixed Citadel and Avatars of War figures on a Customeeple base. (

These guys must go through tons of hair product.


Okay, truth be told, I don’t often use Berserkers, other than Brock Riders, in my armies but I keep assembling units because I love painting them.  Speaking of the crazed badger riders, I am busy doing some conversion work on a unit of them at the moment.  I am planning on posting the step by step in the near future.


Only five but they are deadly.

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

Nice to have tower shields to hide behind.


A long running grudge match on the Road of Death is between the Kingdoms of Men (led by my buddy Ryan) and my stalwart Dwarfs.  It is always a close fought thing with today being no different.  I believe it says something about Kings of War as a rules set when we haven’t played for almost two years and remembered how.  Sure we had to look a few things up but not as many as I would have expected.

The forces were 2200 points a side and we went with a straight Kill scenario for it’s simplicity.  I have to admit to some serious horde envy whenever this army gathers across from me, especially when it’s a cavalry horde.  The far right of the human line was a war machine sporting a nasty ballista and a wizard both looking to crush some Earth Elementals. Next to them was a horde of Foot Guard, a HUGE ballista, a regiment of Heavy Pike Block, a mortar, the Army Standard, and the General.


Humans’ Right Flank


To make matters worse for me, the rest of his line consisted of a horde of Pole Armed soldiers, a troop of Mounted Scouts with carbines, a horde of Arquibussiers all screening a horde of Knights.  Yes, a horde of Knights (32 attacks at 3+, Thunderous Charge of 2 OUCH!).  A Siege Artillery unit watched over the left flank and I was sure there were plenty of magic items scattered throughout the force.  I would be proven correct in my assumptions.


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


Facing this lethal nightmare was my humble army of bearded warriors. A troop of Ironwatch Rifles secured the far left beside a Greater Earth Elemental, a horde of smaller Earth Elementals, a Berserker Lord on Brock, a regiment of Brock Riders, and a regiment of Bulwarkers.  In the woods in the center were Bugman’s Rangers.


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


A bombard team set up between the woods and my own horde of Ironwatch Crossbows.  The Army Standard was close beside as were my regiment of Ironwatch Rifles, and the Sharpshooters.  Another Bombard anchored the right flank while the troop of Berserkers and Lady Ursula were held in reserve.  In the end I didn’t have enough points for a troop of Berserkers and magic items, a common enough dilemma and why I rarely run the orange haired buggers.  However, these guys have been finished in the last couple of months and really deserved a chance to prove their worth.  So I went with no magic.


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


The first turn went quietly for both of us as neither seemed able to roll decently in our shooting phases.  Almost my entire gun line emptied their weapons into the advancing horde of pole armed troops for a total of five wounds. The Greater Earth Elemental, known as Stompy took some wounds from the ballista on the war machine but we were both in solid shape as the second turn opened.


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


A second turn of bad shooting rolls was uncharacteristic of Ryan but the left of his line advanced steadily.  My rolls were considerably better and saw away the horde of pole armed men while the troop of berserkers and Lady Ursula destroyed the scouts in a single charge.  This left the knights open to charge my line.  Crap.




Turns out Ryan could have skipped the shooting all together as that horde of knights was a steamroller.  It slammed into my horde of crossbows and ran them down in one round before pivoting to face the regiment of rifles. The math worked out better if I charged them with everything I had left but my dice didn’t agree and I only inflicted five wounds on the armored ruffians.  Following turns would see the troop of berserkers blasted apart by cannon fire along with one of my bombards.  Somehow Ryan can always roll a six when he really needs it with his artillery. Mine were failing to hit anything. In the end the knights accounted for many more points in damage than they cost, destroying the Rifles and Lady Ursula before the last vestiges of the gun line could finally do enough damage to destroy them.  It took the one hit my cannons scored to tip the balance.


Brocks attack the war machine.


On the dwarf left things went a little more to plan with the Brock Riders and the Earth Elementals weathering some fire before closing with the enemy.  Really missed my Stone Priest with his Surge ability but they made contact with the horde of foot soldiers and helped Stompy break them in a turn.  The Brockriders crushed the war machine and moved around the woods hoping for a flank charge.  This came on turn six while the heavy pike was defending itself from my spear block.  Fortunately for the badger riders neither Phalynx nor Ensnare work on a unit’s flanks and they helped bring down the pike block. Stompy was quite heroic in his contributions but in the end succumbed to one of those sixes Ryan rolls for his artillery and was blown to rubble at the top of the final turn.

As the miniature sun was setting on our 28mm battlefield there were considerably fewer units standing on either side than when we commenced.  The horde of human arquibussiers were wounded but standing on the hill overlooking the few remaining dwarf gun units who in turn were aiming at them.  The human right flank was all but gone with the army standard bearer still refusing to give up, continually firing that damned Boomstick.  I’ve got to get one of those for my own army.  Final score saw the Kingdoms of men inflicting almost 1100 points in casualties while the dwarfs took down over 1600 points of their enemy.  Hard fought and close to the end but the dwarfs pulled off a victory.  I do love how often a game of Kings of War comes down to the last turn.  Considering how consistently Ryan has been beating me at cards (Dominion is another addiction of ours) for the last six months, I really needed a win to maintain any gamer cred.


Still waiting in the barracks


So next time I will need more bulwarkers painted, my own mobile war machine, and a Boomstick.  Oh, and the new regiment of Berserkers really needs to make an appearance.




Elemental, my dear Watson

The very stones rise up in defense of the Dwarven homelands

The very stones rise up in defense of the Dwarven homelands


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



Brother Stonebrow is called upon to bring forth elementals


My newest Stone Priest


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


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


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

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


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


Hello, nice to be here.

Hello, nice to be here.

Hmmm, just not feeling it.

Power to the Earth!


Not bad but a little crowded


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


Alright, guys, try and get it together

Alright, guys, try and get it together


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



Applying ground work


Ready for Texture


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



That metal guy is looking a little snowy.


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


Base coated and drying

Base coated and drying

Stained and highlighted

Different unit stained and highlighted

Just needs some ground works

Just needs some ground works.


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











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





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


Alright, lads, let's go!

Alright, lads, let’s go!


Who says we’re all lads?


Oh quit complaining and shamble.


Shamble, shamble, shamble.





The Beast of Blood Hill


Dwarf right flank lead by the Rangers.


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



Hasslefree Miniatures figure


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


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


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



My new Greater Elemental ready for his first fight.


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


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



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


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


Rangers move into forward position

Rangers move into forward position

Fire on the Rangers!

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


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


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

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


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



Mounted Scouts lead the way firing into the dwarf line.


The human right flank moves across the river.


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


Charge those guns!

Charge those guns!

With the heavy infantry gone the elementals are obvious targets.

With the heavy infantry gone the elementals are obvious targets.


And the new guy takes the hit!


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


The Ironwatch Waver but can't break the Mounted Scouts

The Ironwatch Waver but can’t break the Mounted Scouts

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



The dwarf left flank becomes a giant scrum.


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



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


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



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


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


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


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



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


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



Frustrated by the tank, Duane charges the arquebusiers.

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



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


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

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



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


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










MicroArts and CoolMiniOrNot bases

All sorted and ready for minis

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


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


Plug fits right into the base

Plug fits right into the base


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


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

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


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


Belit has been waiting for a decent base.

Belit has been waiting for a decent base.


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


Painted bases

Painted bases

Same bases, different angle

Same bases, different angle


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



Perfect fit


Even look good from behind.


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






Shoulder to Shoulder


Stand Firm, Lads! Let them feel the bite of our spears!

With another game convention coming up and interest in Mantic Games’ Kings of War ( growing in our little gaming group we decided to all come together for a big battle where each commander provides 500 points. With that we can either play fast one on ones or mix them up for a massed battle of alliances.  Being nostalgic for the BEST campaign our group has ever played let alone completed (thanks largely to Aron and Nils), set underground in the world of Warhammer, we agreed to try and theme our armies to what we ran those many years ago.  An excellent reason to break out the Spring of Darga One Eye, incidentally, as I will be running Dwarfs!   Time to pull out the boxes of “unpainted troops” and start assembling new units and I do mean assemble because without the game mechanic of removing figures as casualties I can make whole units on a single base.  Almost like little dioramas.

Looking over the finished figures before the gluing begins.

Looking over the finished figures before the gluing begins.

Now understand, I have loved most things dwarfish since seeing Disney’s Snow White at age four. These deeply honorable, hard working, hard partying, master craftsmen just lit  something that Bilbo’s companions fanned to an inferno by the time I was in fifth grade.  Once I was introduced to RPG figures (I’m talking Ral Partha, Grenadier and Heritage here for my Original Gamer homies- pouring some enamel paint on the ground in tribute) and preslotta Citadel (thanks, Necron_99, for getting me addicted to war-games) I was hooked on the bearded short guys.  So having made that clear it can be assumed I have amassed a decent and varied collection of painted troops in the intervening decades and can assemble a force for most games out of what I own regardless of system.  I even have a navy and air force. What I didn’t have were any of Mantic Games’ Dwarf Bulwarkers and if I was going to run a KoW Dwarf force then that wasn’t going to stand for long, besides, they were perfect to be led by the Mantic Warsmith and Army Standard Bearer figures I had long wanted to get out of my unpainted collection and into a unit.  So how to prep, paint, and build these figures into a solid block without going crazy or gluing my fingers together (again)?


Spear armed dwarfs cycling through the table glacier.


Base coats done ready for stains, highlights, and details.


Yet more spear on the table. Felt like more than the twenty I had assembled for a while there.

As much as I like the bits and pieces that Mantic includes on the sprue to make the commanders I have had the metal Warsmith and Army Standard Bearer figures from their boxed set for quite some time.  They are among my favorite of Mantic’s dwarf models, right behind the hero on a giant badger but that is for another blog and I digress.  I checked to make sure they would fit both the shield wall and character of the unit.



Thane Stoneoath

Thane Stoneoath


Maybe the detail won’t show once the unit is assembled but I’ll know it’s there.


The standard is assembled from various trinkets in my “Unpainted Dwarfs” box and represents the unit’s history.

Unit Standard

Unit Standard from behind.

 The first issue I faced was the fact that this is one of Mantic’s hybrid kits, plastic dwarf sprues with pewter spear wielding arms included.  While this leaves one with lots of extra pieces to drop in the “Bits Box” it does mean only clean joins and super glue (cyanoacrylate) will bond the pieces.  I found the spears to be a nice length and thickness which was fortunate as it was also a little brittle.  I found I had to drill and pin about half of the “two handed” spears though this actually made it easier to adjust the angle before attaching to the bodies.  Fortuitous headache.  The second issue I saw right away was painting and basing tightly ranked soldiers.  I decided to use one of the old unit bases I had laying around and attach individual bases to that thinking it would help hide the little discs the figures are standing on as well as help rank them up. Next time I’ll just use glue them to flat plastic and save some frustration as flock hides a lot and trying to fit the finished figures together and into the holes was just unnecessarily fiddly.


Oh, I’m sure there is plenty of room on there for all those little soldiers.

After I had painted the entire unit I had to reassemble it to see which dwarf fit where.  Typical of me, I had complicated the issue by adding in the bulkier metal commanders and my Gamer OCD required that the two trooper on the front corners also have spears rather than hand weapons.  I realized part way through assembly that the shields were probably designed to be held rather than embedded in the ground as I had done but I feel they look heavier and more imposing this way. I can imagine thick stakes holding them in place.

Tower shields glued in place and flocked

Tower shields glued in place and flocked

Test fitting the unit. Looks like a couple are drunk.

Test fitting the unit. Looks like a couple are drunk.

Going to look good from the side if I can get them to all fit and stand up straight.

Going to look good from the side if I can get them to all fit and stand up straight.

I sprayed all the finished figures and shields with matte sealant to protect their paint jobs from all my handling and to make sure all surfaces were covered before the soldiers were glued shoulder to shoulder. Some folks like simple sand texture on the bases while others will create entire ecosystems at the feet of their toy soldiers.  For my war-game dwarfs (and undead) I like to use a mix of several Woodland Scenics’ brown flocks, mixed ballast as well as charcoal from a water filter. I decided to flock all around the finished shields as well as each figure’s little disc to begin with.  Then I would glue down the front row of troops, flock all around it before gluing down the next row. When this was finished they were ready for another coat of sealant. I will probably go back later and glue on tufts of grass.

Time for flocking

Time for flocking

Halfway through gluing and the paint is down for the next round of flock.

Halfway through gluing soldiers and the paint is down for the next row.

So here they are, Thane Stoneoath’s Bulwarkers.  I really like how solid the unit looks and am looking forward to moving it around the table as well as finding out how well they do in Kings of War.  I think I may need another unit eventually just because they look so cool but until then there are a couple of artillery pieces I’ve been aching to get done and some nice wooden circles the perfect size turn them into little dioramas.

Finished unit as viewed from the news gyrocopter

Finished unit as viewed from the news gyrocopter

Looks like a formidable force.

Looks like a formidable force.



Of Starships and Peanut Wars



Met some friends at Game Kastle in Fremont a couple weeks ago for Peanut Wars. Two whole days of miniatures gaming in a huge game store. It was the first of what I hope becomes a regular event because I want to attend both days next time. I saw some big games Sunday that were quite impressive.


Tom’s rules are still a work in progress

The first in that list and first I played was Starship! built, painted, and run by Thomas Foss ( who, of course, had also written the rules.  He is the creator of the highly entertaining Wooden Wars ( which I have written about in previous posts. In addition to glorious minis and easy to learn rules the game is designed with three dimensions in mind, it is space after all. So it may be easy to understand why I’d been looking forward to this. It really helped that Tom had provided all the ship stats for the players.


Alien Assault Force

Liquid shields shimmering the aliens swoop in on the colony.

The brave human defenders

Necron99 joined me in running the brave human fleet in defense of a colony under alien attack.  Tom and another good friend, Nils (, faced us across the void (well, the table actually but, again, it is a space game) and commanded the scarlet ships of the alien fleet.  Now, the aliens have a name but I forget it at the time of this writing so bear with me.

The flagship Yarmoth

The vigilant Hussar leads the way

I took command of the Battleship Yarmoth and her escort the Hussar while Necron99 commanded two carriers packed full of fighters and missiles. Another friend, Brian M, commanded the orbiting station, bravely facing the bulk of the invaders single handedly as we took the fleet around a small moon to attack from the flank to engage them piecemeal.  He was able to inflict some devastating damage on our opponents before overwhelmed by swarms of Mecha, who tore holes in the hull and exploded the engines.

Our fleet moves round the moon. One can just see the orbital station in the upper right hand corner.

Meanwhile, under constant fire, those aliens have some nasty long range Disruptors, I brought the massive broadside power of the Yarmoth into position.  In addition to range and speed, the alien ships boasted liquid shield technology that allows them to shift damage around.  If it wasn’t for the Hussar’s continual barrage and the clouds of fighters we launched I know the battleship would never have survived long enough to bring its powerful, short range guns to bear. Between those and the previously mentioned fighter wings we brought down both of our targets before turning back toward the main enemy fleet.

All stations fire! Note the Mecha being held at bay by our brave fighter pilots.

Take that, invaders!

Take that, invaders!

It was at this point that the relentless volleys of Mecha, missiles, and torpedoes took their toll, finally overcoming the defenses of the battleship and the valiant Yarmoth exploded. A pyrrhic victory as the humans were able to claim victory at the end.  A very fun game made all the more so by the gorgeous toys Tom provided. Now, back to the painting table because KublaCon is coming…