Friday, 28 September 2012

Form a Disorderly Line

As suspected, they aren't a brilliant match in terms of scale, so a unit may well look a bit uneven. But they certainly make the champions look vastly more impressive! In a unit that contains a few GW marauders here and there, I think it should work fine. These Marauders might be quite new to the path of corruption, only just starting to get twisted. I just need plenty of gribbly bits, spikes, stakes and mutations to give that look. I'm thinking almost cultist chic rather than full bondage marauder, maybe.

Therefore, straight to work! This guy has a spider for a head, courtesy of a Warhammer Quest  monster...

...And this hooded worshipper has a head and axe from a Reaper mini plus a spare Pink Horror arm.  

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Wrath of the Northmen

Oho - I got a note from the postman today. It told me that the parcel that had arrived for me was too large for the postman to carry, and please could I go and pick it up from the nearby package office. This is a clear downside to living in a socialist paradise - postmen get treated decently.

On the plus side, the first wave of my army has arrived!

You couldn't carry this, Mr Brevbärare?
Are you ill?
I'm going to wait until I've got a few more conversion options before really getting stuck in. But after two weeks of waiting, I had to stick a couple together. If only for the scent of plastic glue - I'd forgotten that pleasure.

I've got two box sets, one of Saxon Huscarls and one of Viking Thegns. Or vice versa, as the photo reveals. It's okay, the parts are interchangeable. This gives me extra variable heads, but the bodies are disappointingly identical. All sixty four models will have one of four torsos. Nicely modelled ones, to be fair, and there's a wealth of gear to stick all over them, from shields to axes to sidearms. And the heads, especially the Viking ones, really make up for this - there's twelve to choose from on the head sprue, and they're all crackers.

The first two are brief experiments. One has a two-handed axe, the other a langsax and shield (weapons dear to my heart).


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Empire in Flames

Well, I took the only advice to hand and started up a campaign as one of the Empire states.
Lots of excellent detail in this mod, even on the loading screens.

I decided to play as Ostland. Four small provinces on the eastern fringes of the Empire, along the Kislev border. My capitol is Wolfenburg, I've got a pair of castles (Lenster and Bosenfels), I'm led by Count Valmir and his family.

I'm informed of my background fluff as I chose. Ostland has good all-round armies,
but their heavy infantry isn't much compared to other, non-human factions.
The mechanics for the game are fairly simple - each province has a main city. Capture it and you hold the province, gaining the income from whatever is built in the city and allowing you to recruit troops there too. Who you can recruit depends on what buildings you've got too, so in Wolfenburg (which starts off very well-developed) I've got a temple of Morr that allows me to train the Black Guard of Morr, for example. Castles don't create as much money but can train troops faster. You can still hold a castle even if you've lost the rest of the province, and your oppressor can't get money from it until he's ousted you. So cities are the core tax earner, castles are military defenders, in short.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Total Waargh

I already miss the Woffboot, I truly do. Perhaps it's the separation anxiety of any ex-pat, or perhaps it's just the prospect of the long and assuredly gameless months ahead of me. Either way, I wasn't just content with deciding to build a Chaos Host (it's not going to be just a warband at the rate I'm trawling through Ebay). None of my ordered models have arrived across the Poisoned Sea yet. A partly-used box of Marauders is probably going to get here by the end of the week, but I'm nothing if not horrifically impatient.

This is what you find when you type random words like
'poisoned sea' into Google Images.
It's a sea cucumber. Who knew they were so terrifying? 
I already feel the need to recreate those epic clashes in the privacy of my own bedroom.

I therefore turned to Russians on the internet.

Heard of the Total War series? No? Well, you're losing out. Gaining in terms of life achievement, of course, but still, losing out. They're the cream of all tactical computer games. There were even TV shows based on the original release of Rome: Total War.

Fully painted armies and scenery - all included in the buying price.
Damn you, GW, why won't you learn?

Nogg's Banner of Butchery

The most fearsome of all the giants who roamed the Badlands. Nogg had killed and eaten every creature who crossed his path, up to and including a lizardman carnosaur, whose flensed jawbone he wore as a trophy.

Nogg finally met his end when he stumbled across the incipient Waaagh! Bonekrunk. The Savage Orc warboss decided that he had enjoyed their headbutting contest so much, he would immortalise the titan on top of his battle standard, inspiring his boys to greater and bloodier deeds.

Quick severed head count: 11

Just a brief work-in-progress update (well, brief for you - try drilling the holes and see how you feel). My new battle standard bearer now has a battle standard.

The giant's head is one of two from the Metal Giant v2 (the first one is still atop the giant's shoulders). The way this one was sculpted - eyes half-closed, mouth half-open, tongue protruding, general expression of agony and surprise - he was just asking to be impaled on a spike.

I added some more banner effects - the tails from the wolf boyz banner (extended in the middle, so they would fit either side), and capped with the banner heads from two Savage Orc standard.

Remarkably, it looks quite promising. Even more remarkably, he doesn't fall over.

Monday, 24 September 2012

The First (Savage) Cut

Conversions aren't really my forté (or indeed, any moderately priced hotel group), but my pile of Savage Orcs did need some work doing to them before I could start on the real work of painting.

No easy snips with plastic here.
Real men work with lead and pewter.

There were three main issues to address:

  • Too many character and command group models. They're all smashing, but repetition is going to dilute the impact of them.
  • I have a couple of chariots and no designated charioteers.
  • I want my unit of Big 'Uns to have two hand weapons, and no such models exist. (I know we can wink at such things - and will have to for most of them - but I'd like to make the effort to show them).
Out with a very battered pair of clippers, a fairly useless GW-issue saw, an pin vice that has been with me from the beginning, and my trusty 30amp fuse wire!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

... The Boys To Entertain You!

A dash of flavour for Woffheim. They could be Hired Swords, they could be Dramatis Personae...

... frankly they're just any miniature in my collection that I fancied painting, to be filed under 'Miscellaneous'.

Orc's Nest - Dwarf Warrior
He got kicked out of his mercenary army.
He hopes to one day recruit a band of Dwarf Treasure Hunters
(work in progress).

Mordheim - Middenheim youngbloods
Two youngbloods: seeking the company of experienced Middenheimers.
Must have GSOH and beards.  

Orc's Nest - Invisible Thief
An invisible thief.
Her younger brother is a barbarian.

Friday, 21 September 2012

... 'Cause The Boys Are Here...

The henchmen, the guards, the redshirts, the expendables... where would our heroes be without some hired lackeys to slaughter?

Gizza job!

These are all from the same sprue as my Free Company (in fact, the reason I did these was largely because I had fun converting the plastics), and so I did a bit of snipping and filing to try and make each one individual.

I chose the colours to be deliberately neutral: browns and creams mostly, like proper peasants. It also means that they can be swapped around between mercenary bands (I plan to have all three, though I only have Reiklanders at the moment) without affecting the overall look (naturally, that is far more important to me than equipment choice or playability).

What's That Coming Over The Hill...?

It's another hill! Yes, I thought I'd take Scriptor Lord Stylus's advice and put together a proper version of my terrain hunt from the other day, along with pictures and snide remarks.

This came about because I popped into the old Match Toolshed a couple of times this week. I usually only nip in about once every two-three months, just to check I'm still an addict; three times in three days is a miserable record for me.

I can now understand enough Swedish to give appropriate replies, although only in broken Sweglish.  I had a nice conversation about how one can use bicarbonate of soda to replicate snow on miniature bases, plus much wise head nodding regarding the new-look 40k chaos stuff (a giant brass eagle, for example).

I came back the day after on discovering I'd got no functioning black paint. And I came back the day after that because the excellent Mrs Kraken had heard my cries and also nipped in to buy some black paint, so I was swapping a pot of Abaddon Black for some blue ink, in expectation of a legion of blue and yellow Tzeentchian marauders. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Meet The Gang ...

While the suggestion of Woffheim tournament continues to linger like a fart in an elevator, I thought I'd let some more of my old miniatures out into the daylight.


Reiklander gang for Mordheim
In a staggering departure, I moved away from my green-and-flock bases.

Metal gangs and plastic henchmen were the vision for my Mordheim collection. The idea being that I could bring colour into the city-designated character models, but have keep the random warriors in dun-coloured rags (and hence interchangeable).

The Reiklanders got red - although I went with a different painting technique than my armies. Chaos Black undercoat, and then only thinly applying the base coat, allowing the dark to show through in patches (even on faces and hands), or just discolour the model.

I think it worked to create a dirtier, grubbier feel to the warriors, and it's applied through most of my Mordheim stuff.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Back to Basics

Now with added bases!
I'm keeping black rims as a nod to my previous style

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Bag of Fully Enumerated Minions

Well, this trusty Adidas nylon sack has seen me proud through the Firetop Campaign. But that's done and dusted now. This very patchy selection of old models is mostly just sitting inside it, slowly falling apart.

I'd confess to being loathe (at best) to part with them - most of them are collector's pieces now, from discontinued games or lines. But just in case there's something in there that you're desperate for, here's that cast of thousands in full: -

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Lure

I feel the warp overtaking me. 
It is a good pain!

You owe me royalties for that quote.

My natural choice in any given Warhammer game, I felt bad that the proper baddies (Warriors of Chaos) were under-represented in WoffBoot VI. I've got some money coming in from the advert I did earlier in the year (which is probably going to air fairly soon, one of the many reasons I left Britain).

And you know, tiny paintable men and stuff. Always a sound investment, right?

So I've been reading up on the Warriors of Chaos list, and trying to pick out an affordable selection that I can slowly build up over the coming years. By the time it's Woffboot VIII or so, I may even have

a) completed it,
b) painted it and
c) enough time to field it.

Or not. Either way, I'm sure it'll be a grand heirloom for my offspring.

Savage Orcs: 'Ere We Go...

A mere 14 years ago, I started work on a Savage Orc army.

It was only a wee force: one unit of boyz, one unit of arrer boyz (in the good old days when they could skirmish), a small troop of boarboyz and a few stone trolls.

They were picked almost solely because I liked the 'Eavy Metal paint job and wanted to replicate it (my breathtaking originality evidenced by the photocopied banner). But it had the added bonus of giving me an extra army, so I could instruct a neophyte General Leofa all about 5th ed. Warhammer.

I think what he most took away from it was that it's no fun to play against a Savage Orc Warboss when frenzied attacks are doubled, rather than just +1.

(ahh ... HeroHammer)

Classic Savage Orc Shaman
"My hobbies include enslaving Indian children and hypnotising archaeologists."

Sunday, 16 September 2012

New Army HQ

The sheets and towels may still be in boxes, but I've got the essentials unpacked.

Don't tell Mrs Stylus ... she thinks I'm keeping work files in here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Suggestion - Woffheim: City of the Damned?

Though dates have yet to be set, the prospect of a December gathering is in the air. With that in mind, I wanted to open the floor to the format of the weekend.

One option is to stick to the 'WoffBoot' (i.e. Battle Tournament) - a straightforward league of 1,000 pt armies and all the house rules we can cram into it. Now these 'annual' events are becoming more regular, I'd opt for doing one of these a year as a minimum (but that does leave scope for other games, and so...)

Another option discussed by Gen Leofa and myself was to try out an alternative game - partly as a way of keeping things fresh, partly as a way of more closely combining the battle and RP elements of the weekend.

Which brings us to Woffheim* - a weekend-long campaign based around Mordheim (a Warhammer city-skirmish game, for the uninitiated).

Sunday, 9 September 2012

WoffBoot VI - House Rules

As a final 'final' wash-up to the WoffBoot VI, I thought we could discuss/discard/agree some extra house rules for future tournaments.
"You might recognise me from such
shows as Angel: Seasons 1, 2 and 5"

These are cobbled together from generally suggestions, so feel free to slap them down, or suggest more in the comments section.

Suggested House Rules

1. Half points for units/models under 50% strength.
Reason: with so few units per army, it doesn't feel right to get nothing if you've ground down an enemy unit to just a few models.

2. Half points for fleeing units (if also under 50%, does not stack).
Reason: similarly, a player could end the game with his entire army in flight, and still 'win'.

3. Winds of Magic dice rolled on 2D6 (re-rolling 5s and 6s)
Reason: the potential dice in the power pool felt about right, but D4 are rubbish dice for rolling.

4. Army lists submitted for general view at beginning of tournament, prior to the first game. Magic items do not have to be identified or located (a footnote just saying 'xx points spent on magic items' will suffice).
Reason: so everyone knows equally in advance what is being fielded, avoids later players having an advantage over early ones. Also allows any potential issues ('you're fielding that?' ...'what are they meant to be?') to be sorted out before it gets competitive.

Gentlemen, I yield the floor...

Friday, 7 September 2012

Gnashbad Dun Good

Second? I came second? Surely some mistake somewhere. Probably mine. To be fair, it's really joint second with the Slavish Skaven of Leofa, I'm not convinced points difference really cuts the mustard. But equally, I was robbed of a better result against the Empire, so I guess I'll take my winnings where I may.

I'm delighted with how the Orcs did, though - I really can't fault them. Fun to play, solid performances almost across the board, and some very entertaining moments. Like the Enterprise of Campogrotto, I think they deserve proper performance notes.

Gnashbad da Bad

Was it worth taking a full lord for such a small army? I should say so. Gnashbad went down a couple of times, first in an optimistic one-on-one against the Ogre Butcher with Beast of Horros in play, then later in my awful performance against the puny humans. But then, it was because his poxy unit fled so slowly.

Otherwise, he never disappointed, whether it was butchering every character the undead could send against him or brutalising his own fractious troops. 160 points for a killing machine whose leadership not only helped hold the line, but also cancelled out a lot of animosity. And he didn't even need magic items to dominate most of his combats. That extra point of Ld is not overkill in an orky army, not in my book.

Rating - Orksome, dude. 

Balance Sheet: The Enterprise of Campogrotta

Now that the dust has settled on WoofBoot VI, I thought I would reflect on how each of my units (and their commander) performed. If any of my opponents would like to share their insights on what they face, I welcome your thoughts…

The Schiltrons of Tarano

14 x Greatswords

184 points

Battle Honours

Forest Goblin Spider Riders, Orc Big 'Uns, 2 x Skink-Kroxigor units (one solely, one shared), Saurus Cavalry (partially damaged), Thundertusk (partially damaged).

My premier unit, and didn't they just behave like it. With the buffs courtesy of my Warrior Priest, I'd have confidently set this unit against any other in the field.

Their defeat of the Big Uns (and their Black Orc general) was decisive, as was their contribution against the Lizardmen. They did enough damage to make the Ironguts waver, and the Thundertusk takedown was their finest hour.

On the debit side, they failed to do enough damage to break the Skaven horde (but they was my fault for expecting them to), although their Stubborn ability (rarely used, as they usually ploughed through enemies in the first round) and armour save kept them in play until the end.

I would have expected them to do better against the Skeleton regiment, frenzied or not, and the Undead battle was probably the only one where they underperformed. The Warrior Priest, though his battle prayers were invaluable, showed his vulnerability to combat when he ducked the vampire general's challenge.

Their lack of numbers sometimes counted against them - they struggled if they needed to make a second attack against a hard unit (like Ogres) or grind away at a numerous one (Skaven and Undead). But as they were already one-third of my army points, a 15-strong unit was my limit.

They were lucky to break the Orc Big Uns as they did, and luckier still that their Stubbornness did not keep them fighting the Orges (the lone champion fleeing for the table edge saved me the points). Their Lizardmen scalps were fair enough though, and their Thundertusk slaying was surprisingly par, rather than an against-the-odds achievement.

Final Grade

They’re Grrrreat!

In terms of ‘hammer’ units, my Empire army would either need these or knights. I’d still favour these.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

WoffBoot VI

“They think it’s all Ogre… it is now!”

Vs O&G
Vs Sk
Vs DoE
Vs Lz

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Woffboot VI - Dogs of Empire v Ogre Kingdoms‏

"They're gonna kill us," said Sergeant Ricardo. "They're gonna cook us. And they're gonna frackin' eat us!"

Commissar Pendleton ignored his Schiltron officer and looked around at the battered remnants of the Enterprise of Campogrotta. It had been a hard campaign: thrashing the greenskins and those lizardmen had brought them within touching distance of their goal. But facing the ratmen swarm had cost precious time, and they had barely escaped with their lives against the vampire's nightmare host. It was time to cut their losses and go home.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Woffboot VI - Orcs and Goblins vs Vampire Counts

"Dat's not even a real army," Grobbli said, shaking his head. His green hide had turned a paler shade than usual as he looked across the wooded valley to the shambling hoard approaching them. The majority seemed to be wearing similar uniforms to the human mercenaries who'd driven the orcs off the day before, which was hardly a promising omen.

"Dey've already beaten us when dey woz alive, boss!" whined Crotch, the Redclaw chief. "And ya can't bash wot's already been deddened!"

"Cobblas," Gnashbad said, smacking the offenders with the blunt end of his axe. He underlined his point with the sharp end. "All it means is dem humies is too stoopid to know they'z bin beat already. Come on, boyz!"

Nobody disagreed. The Redclaw spearpack skittered just ahead of the Big 'Uns, chanting their battle song as they went.

"We're Red!
We're Claw!
We'll stick ya 'til ya raw!"

Saturday, 1 September 2012

WoffBoot VI - Dogs of Empire vs Vampire Counts

It was close to midnight, and something evil was lurking in the dark. Under the moonlight, the Enterprise of Capogrotta took up positions to defend themselves against the restless dead.

Commissar Pendleton was not a happy paymaster. The mercenaries were being forced to deal with yet another army vying over this bloody piece of the Border Princes. Scouts had reported that their prize, The Black Banner of Blancvik, had been taken by the vampire counts. Even worse, fighting at night meant that he would have to pay overtime.

In frustration, he aimed a kick at the prisoner Sylvio Delestro. The deserter had been recaptured yesterday, handed over by a wandering band of simpletons. Delestro had been planning to take the banner for himself, but due to his greed, the mercenaries had lost it anyway. He promised a particularly unpleasant punishment for the turncoat.

The Riders of Udolpho fearlessly galloped forward once again, peppering the legendary Black Coach. The Spitfyre volley gun followed suit and opened up with every barrel, sending two dozen shots at the nightmare carriage. Even in the poor light, Pendleton could see that the target was unaffected: the idiot gunners had forgotten to load the weapon.

"Can't get the parts, guv'nor," the master gunner shrugged.

WoffBoot VI - Ogre Kingdoms vs Lizardmen

M'grash, at camp, picked the last of a morsel of food from his teeth with a rat femur. They were a little stringy, and not much meat on each one, but thankfully the general of the Skaven had thought to bring so many that the ogres had fed well.
A worried K'mang entered the butcher's tent and explained that the supplies were running low. The ogres had feasted well, and were getting restless. There must be more of the meat out on the field of battle, so M'grash picked up his crown and spiked glove and stormed out of the tent.
"Right boys, we is 'eading back to the field o' battle; thoz runty rats tasted alright, but there werent much on 'em..."
K'mang picked up her beard and strapped it to her face, preparing herself for battle. She prepared a potion just in case she bumped into any more of those pesky vampires; and readied herself.
M'grash led his boys back to the earlier battlefield but there other interlopers who had perhaps found the same find.
Hideous blue skinned reptilian creatures skittered and picked at the corpses.
"OI! Thems my pickings lizard boy"
That was enough of a battle cry that was needed for the hungry ogres, and the bulls moved forward. The mammoth followed up ponderously, tusks swinging as its heavy feet shook the ground underfoot. The belchers, still conscious to prove themselves after their defeat with the spiders earlier were careful to lag back, loading their cannons.
As soon as the lizards considered moving the belchers lit their fuses and aimed roughly in the general direction of the bigger lizards and closed their eyes and hoped... KABOOM!
When they opened them again, two of the cavalry were falling down the hill cripped with axeblades and other weaponry embedded in them.
K'mang, passed one of M'grash one of her brews, who necked down the tasty brew and the hardy gruel tasted good.
The cavalry charged down the hill towards M'grash; and crashed into the ogre.

WoffBoot VI - Dogs of Empire vs Skaven

"I HATE the ratmen!" Captain Fagiolo spat on the ragged ground. "Come! Let us speak of them no more!"

The battle standard bearer had been in a bad mood ever since they had picked him out of the heap of ratmen corpses. Commissar Pendleton couldn't disagree. There were some in the Empire who doubted the existence of the cursed ratmen, but they were familiar foes to mercenaries of Tilea. Men who had fought in the Blighted Marshes, men who remembered the fate of Miragliano.

And three hundred miles from home, here they were again. A vast chittering horde of innumerable ratmen, teaming towards his exhausted forces. The Riders of Udolpho had done their best to distract the swarm, riding back and forth until they were finally taken down by the long-range shots of the ratmen's evil war machines.

"I HATE that volley gun!" Fagiolo ran his fingers through his bloodied hair. "Come! Let us speak of it no more!"

Pendleton scowled at their experimental war machine, leased from the mad inventor Congreave Mitman at an exorbitant price. For the third battle in a row, the volley gun and underachieved expectations. The master gunner was now staring at it, hands on hips, shaking his head and drawing breath between his teeth in the traditional attitude of a tradesman about to charge a large amount of money to repair a faulty machine.