Monday, February 28, 2011

Battelore with Princess Jessica

With weather reminiscent of Ice Station Zebra, I spent the weekend indoors, painting, watching curling and playing with my daugher. She saw Battlelore out last Wednesday when Bruce was over and asked if we could play. We've played some reasonably complex games (Carcassone, Forbidden Island) for a seven-year-old so I thought what the hell.

We played three games, two of Agincourt to learn the rules and then one game of the next scenario. I threw her the first game by not playing very hard. The second game I played much harder and only helped her select the right cards to play. I lost with some bad dice, although it was close.

By the third game, she was mostly selecting good cards. I figured I had her (below) as I closed in with a bunch of units and sought to use the hex grid against her to focus my attacks. But suddenly the dice turned--I rolled about 14 dice and got nothing! Then she turned around, stomped one of my units and it was over.

Up next: Well, apparently more more Battlelore if she's keen. I also made some progress on the 28mm vikings with a few hours spent working on their shields. I expect these fellows will take me the rest of the week!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

28mm Saxons hordes and cavalry

I finished off my 28mm Saxon DBA army last night. These are an addition to the huge armoured Saxon horde I finished in early February and when I get a minute I will post up an army page.

First up was a 3Cv base. These fellows are plastic Conquest Games Norman knights. I swapped the heads out for some Wargames Factory Saxon heads, used the round shield that came with the knights and chose the lighter, padded armour bodies.

These fellows are a bit beefier than the Saxons foot I have but maybe that is because they get to ride into battle, instead of slogging it? As an aside, I'm quite chuffed to see the Norman foot that Conquest Games is promising for late summer.

I also finished two bases of 7Hd. That is a lot of painting for a quasi-useful element! These are Wargames Factory "dark ages warriors" with no mail.

Here they have turned in unison ("right face") to show off their shields. I ended up using some kite shields from the kit which is not really accurate for the Saxons, but whatever. Maybe they plundered the dead? Finally, below I built one 2Ps base using bows-armed figures.

Up next: I have nearly 50 28mm vikings built, primed and with the chain and flesh done. So onto clothes. I also ran down some nice viking shield patterns. Thereafter likely some 1/72 War of 1812 figures. Then maybe back to the vikings to finish them off?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

28mm Celtic Chariot

As the month draws to a close, I'm pushing a last few projects out the door. First up a 28mm plastic Celtic chariot by Wargames Factory. I picked this one up from a fellow online (thanks!) to finish off my Gallic/British DBA army.

I decided to go with two crew in case I ever need to differentiate the chariots between light and heavy. I also managed to trade away the remaining sprues of Celts I had in the basement for some medieval knights.

I've been painting up a storm these past two weeks. This is very encouraging as there is a buttload of miniatures in the basement to paint up, most in 28mm. I'm aiming for 200 or 3000 figures done this year and 300 per month is a good pace to start out at.

Up next: I'm almost done assembling 47 28mm armoured vikings (mix of Wargames Factory and Old Glory with a couple of GW figures in there I think) as the first half of a later Viking/Leidang DBA army. Lots of chainmail with these guys! I also have the remaining pieces of my Saxon army drying and I'll post them up tomorrow--two 7Hd, a 2Ps and a 3Cv. Pushing their way to the front of the queue are a bunch of 1/72 HaT Napoleonics that I'm going to use for American troops in the War of 1812. I picked up two nice source books so the uniforms will be less daunting.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Battlelore

Bruce dropped by last night and I hauled out Battlelore again. I was eager to try the magical aspects of the rules. We started off with the learning scenario where we each had a single wizard and used the restricted deck.

I managed to eke out a win in the first game. Hot dice trump magical cards any day! We continued to struggle a bit with telling green and blue standards apart despite different light sources.

Game two saw us play with full lore councils and a pretty full deck (so to speak). Bruce put a nasty beat down on me in this game as he rushed the bridge to snag the last banner he needed to win.

He had lore to burn in this game and I didn't have much luck using mine to any great advantage. I think the depth of the game is going to come out when we can construct our own Lore Councils. We also need to try out the Monsters feature but likely Battlelore will take a break while we try something else for a few weeks.

Up next: I have a 28mm Celt chariot and the remainder of my 28mm Saxon DBA army painted and dipped--I just need to find some time to base them this weekend. I have my MayDay game pretty well worked out and need to give that a playtest--maybe in mid-March. I will hunt about the basement to see what needs to get painted next.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More 1/76 ACW from Battle Cry

I completed the other half of Craig's Battle Cry game--the confederate troops. To make these fellows look different from the northern troops, I primed them grey, gave them a black wash, highlighted, details and then dripped. I'm not sure the difference in the end was all that big, but it was a bit more work than using a black primer.

There were three cannons in the set. There are also three mounted generals (not show). The flags continue not to adhere to the figures or even to themselves (they are glue-backed). Craig will need to glue them by hand--as I don't know what kind of glue they use, I don't want to mess about. White glue with a clothes pin (to hold them while the glue sets) would likely be the easiest solution.

The bulk of the troops are foot, with 40 of these fellows. All of the figures are identical to the union figures.

There are also nine mounted troopers. I found horses harder to do with a grey primer than a black.

Up next: I have some Battlelore scheduled for Wednesday. In the meantime, I have a 28mm celtic chariot almost done. And I have finished building the rest of a 28mm plastic Saxon DBA army, including converting some Norman cavalry and putting together some skirmishers and hordes. I think I will paint the shields separately this time and then glue on at the end.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I picked up a game of Battlelore in a trade and hauled it out to Bruce's last night. I am sure I have played this before (Calgary, I think). We decided to try out the rules without the magical component to see how it played compared to CCA and CCN.

We managed two games, including set up and rules orientation in 90 minutes. That said, the rules orientation amounted to "Like CCA but no leaders and you retreat one hex". We had once close game and one blow out. The rules seemed to mirror medieval combat pretty well--you get stuck in and you are stuck.

The game uses plastic figures rather than blocks. I like the figures, although the blocks make it easier to identify who owns what. Battlelore uses horizonal and vertical flags which are okay but not a clear as block colour. I also found it slightly challenging to differentiate blue and green units--the angle of the flag and the shading makes the colours slightly indistinct in the lighting we had. But that is a minor quibble.

We had a series of devastating cavalry charges (lucky dice) in the second game where Bruce's left flank got pruned by two beat up units that were hell-bent for leather. We added in mercenaries (goblins in this case) and they seemed to be a nice enough addition--a bit of colour but not too many extra rules. I'm keen to add in the lore (magic) component as well as monsters next time. The production values of Days of Wonder (versus GMT) are pretty lush.

Up next: I'm working on some 1/76 ACW confederates and I also have a 28mm Celtic chariot constructed that needs priming and painting. Thereafter, probably more Saxons and maybe another game of Battlelore next week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

1/76 ACW from Battle Cry

Craig recently purchased the re-release of Richard Borg's ACW Battle Cry game. He asked me to paint the figures and I started with the union side. The figures are a little smaller than 1/72--some folks suggest 1/76 but I'd say even smaller than that (when compared to old Airfix 1/76). Not quite HO scale, but maybe 1/80?

In any event, there were a fair number of these fellows. Below you can see one of the three generals. I used a basil colour on the base to try and get them to blend into the board some. I had a bit of trouble with the lighting--they are not this dark! There are also three cannons with a total of nine crew (not shown).

There are nine mounted cavalry in the set. I appreciated (from the perspective of assembling them) that they were one-piece casts.

There are also 40 infantry. The flags are not sicking together that well and Craig might need to supplement the adhesive on the back of them with some glue.

Up next: I'm going to spray prime the confederates grey this afternoon and get to work on them. Also I have a Celtic Chariot out on the work bench to finish up--I might do this one as the general's chariot with some fancy paint. And I have a game of Battlelore booked for Wednesday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

28mm Roman skeletons

Despite a barfing child, I finished some 28mm skeletons last night for my MayDay game. I needed a few reinforcements and I wanted to "Roman-up" my troops to help with the Teutoburg Vlad theme of the game.

With warmer weather, I now work with the window cracked and can again hear the scintillating conversation of the junior high students as they walk by. This has inspired the following description of the MayDay game:

"Varus, like gimme back my legions, bitch."

"Oh, you want this back? Yeah, do you? Okay, here are your legions bro. But they be all dead and zombie-like, bitch."

"Oh, that's totally ass, man. You turned those dudes' corpses against me. Oh damn, that weirdo in the window's got his slingshot out again. Run, bitch! Run!."

Overall, I was happy with these. Not as nice as the Zvezda figures but a lot less work in assembly. Only issue seems to be the big shields are a nice long lever which easily snaps off the skeleton's arms.

I have also been horse trading up a storm with packages going hither and yon and have just received my first returns. It includes Battlelore (which I am pumped to play) and a bunch of 28mm plastics. Anyone need some WF Romans or Celts?

Up next: Craig's union infantry are about half done. And I am considering priming the confederates with grey (must look about for a can of that). Thereafter, maybe some 28mm Saxons? I also have a 28mm Celt chariot to build which sounds less daunting!

Friday, February 11, 2011

15mm WW2 US Artillery

With the glue now dry, I've packed up four 15mm WW2 artillery pieces and shipped them off. These are Battlefront models based for Flames of Wars. I think they are a battery of 105mm howitzers.

After a trip to the art store, I think I finally got the uniform colour right. Overall, a fairly easy job with nice castings that went together crisply.

The crew were nice but there was one too few guys holding a shell and one too many pointing downrange. I opted to give the radio guys fall jackets for some variety of colour.

Up next: Some 28mm skeletons are in the midst of being based. And I'm painting on some 1/76 ACW union troops. Assuming the weekend is not too busy, I should finish the painting by early next week. Then I think I am back to working on some 28mm Saxons. I also need to start scoping out my MayDay game in some detail.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CCN: Waterloo

With gaming Tuesdays messed up by swimming lessons, I drove out to Bruce's last night to get in two games Command and Colors Napoleonics. Bruce set up the Waterloo scenario and we each took a turn with the French.

Above we see Bruce's brave charge with the French cavalry up the middle. Fortunately, I dug into my bag of gamey CCA tricks, cut off his retreat and managed to stop them before they rampaged too much. This was a nail biter with the British winning a close game. As a strategy, I would call the British approach rock'em-sock'em as I attacked with whatever card seems most likely to cause a short-term win. Sometimes this works!

We switched side and then I played the French who started out with a massive traffic jam. I spent the first six or seven cards sorting that out and responding to a British thrust on my left. I then moved up the right and got three lucky banners. And then responded to Bruce's cavalry charge (he always charges!) with a counter charge and managed to grease enough of his horse to win. Again, a lucky win but one that came from careful planning and hoarding of a key card until the right moment.

Here you can see Bruce's hands in motion as he tries to stave off defeat. Not quite a quick as a Young Chuck Norris, but close. Below you can see some new 15mm sci-fi guys Bruce showed me--these are meant to be "space dwarfs" or something like that. They look great in person!

Up next: First, getting the grease spot of the lens of my camera! I have some 15mm WW2 US artillery done and awaiting photography. And some 28mm skeletons need basing. I primered some of Craig's union infantry black last night. Should I use white primer on the confederacy?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

15mm Kappadokian DBA Army

I completed a commission 15mm Xyston Ariarathid Kappadokian (II/14) army last night. I know nothing of Ariarathid Kappadokians but they did not appear to have much in the way of colour or decoration so the painting went fast. I did find a hilarious auction for them though.

There are five bases of 3Ax which forms the core of the army. I was requested to mimic the nice paint scheme on the box art, including the cowhide shields.

There are all three bases of 3Cv, including a CV General in armour. The spears were supplied by the owner and are plastic. He also (bless him!) drilled out the hands--which is on the one part of Xyston armies that I loathe.

There are a pair of 2LH.

And we round out the light troops with a pair of 2Ps skirmishers. An interesting army: lots of bad going troops combined with a fair bit of mobility.

Up next: 15mm WW2 artillery is being based. I am painting some 28mm skeletons for my MayDay game. And, when the temperature rises tomorrow, I will spray prime some of Craig's 1/76 ACW fellows from the BatteCry box. Hard to say after that--perhaps the remainder of the 28mm Saxons army will receive some attention? I also have a game of CC: Naps with Bruce scheduled for Wednesday night.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

28mm Saxons

I finished off a batch of 28mm Saxons this weekend. These are a box of Wargames Factory Thegns leavened with a few metal Old Glory figures (who may be Vikings) that I got from Dave in a trade. There are 44 figures on 11 bases which comprises the bulk of the Old and Middle Saxons lists and can serve as 4Wb or 4Sp. With all of the chain I'd say there are more of late Saxons army, though.

Neldoreth notes, in his comparison of the Wargames Factory and Gripping Beast Vikings, that you can have much more pose variation with the WF set--but this also means much more room for anatomical error. I was fairly unhappy with how many of my poses turned out (although not enough to cut them apart!).

The WF set also has a lot of square on poses (shoulders squared to the viewer) and I was pretty happy to have some Old Glory to mix in (for example, the fellow in the front row above in the right) where the poses is narrower. I expect the WF are closer to anatomically true but the OG have a nice beefiness to them.

I have mixed feelings about the shields. Some of the patterns turned out nicely. And some look like hell--what happened with the yellow dots on the blue shield?!? I'd swear they were round when I put them on--I wonder if this is some sort of angle distortion? I will make more of an effort with the Vikings' shields. There is another box of Saxons (Fyrd) to make up some light troops as well as some Conquest Miniatures norman horse I will convert to make a mounted unit in order to complete this army. But I have a few other projects to attend to first.

Up next: A 15mm Greek army is being based as I speak and I've just finished painting some 15mm WW2 US artillery teams--they need a dip. Some 28mm skeletons are drying after being primed--these are for my MayDay game. And there are annoying bugle calls from Craig's box of BattleCry figures. After that--who knows?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

15mm Hittite DBA Army

This weekend I completed a 15mm Hittite DBA army for Barry. These are Essex figures and were lovely clean castings with the exception of a wicked issue with the spearmen shields. The mold line ran down the shield and were misaligned. This didn't show up until I had painted the shields white and I saved this by doing the half-and-half red/white design.

There are six bases of 3Sp that form the core of the army. There were two poses and I chose to go with mono-pose stands. Some of you will notice I have finally figured out the colour balance issue I had with the new camera.

I tried to pull out the cloth folds a bit with some strong shadows and careful painting. Hard to know if I got it right.

There was one base of 7Hd. This stand shows off the buff coloured grass I went with. I had opened my usual green static grass and decided at the last minute to go for a more arid look.

The last of the foot are two 2Ps bases (slingers). Nice enough figures but a bit flat. I tried to address this by mounting them at an angle.

The army included three heavy chariots. These were nice to put together with sturdy and plumb wheel joints (unlike Old Glory which are a total crap shoot). The General stand is the chariot on the right (guy with the feather on his helmet).

There is also one light chariot in the army. Essex differentiates the chariots by adding some horses (but not changing the yoke?) for the heavies as well as adding crew. That seems like a fairly economical choice.

Up next: I had some time this morning so I finished 90% of the painting on some 28mm Saxons. I also built, primed and did the flesh on a 15mm Greek DBA army and some 15mm WW2 US artillery bases. I will focus on these (a commission) and look to get them out this week. On build table, I have twenty 28mm skeletons necessary for my MayDay convention game. I may spray prime these guys tomorrow if the weather cooperates.