Sunday, January 31, 2010

Progress Continues

I got in my box of Warriors of Minas Tirith, though not the heros.  GW does their blisters as direct only.  The direct only guys are not exactly Johnny on the Spot when it comes to packing and shipping.  I should have them in the first part of next week, which will mean that I have all of the models for my Gathering in the Desert army.

While I was waiting for the new models I got the ones already painted, based.  I am finishing up the WoMT as I write this (the glue is drying on the sand).  The Rangers and Knights are all done.  I have taking pictures as I go so I will post up a tutorial on how I do my bases.

I spent most of my hobby time yesterday de-flashing the new WoMT.  Like, I suspect, every other gamer in the world I HATE de-flashing.  I use three tools.  Most of the work is done with a file.  I only use an X-acto knife in the spots the file won't fit.  I also keep a toothbrush handy to clean all of the plastic crap off so I can see the model as I work on it. 

They are clean and have the first bit of primer on.  One more coat and some touch ups and they will be ready to start painting.  I will begin that tomorrow. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I got my FoW tanks assembled.  They were quite easy as they are the starter set tanks.  Super glue the barrels onto the turrets of the Shermans.  Super glue the barrels into the divot on the front of the StuG's.  Done.  Bob's your uncle.

I am going to like the 15mm scale I think.  The tanks are awesome and the infantry are ok.  Mainly, I can have a LOT of each.  This is a good scale for WWII as you can fight some good sized fights. 

I also like that you can have a good looking table.  There is no real way to do this with Warhammer because the terrain rules are so bad.  Terrain brings most units to a screaming halt, so putting it on just means you can't really play in that area.  In FoW, on the other hand, terrain does not bring the entire game to a screeching halt.  You can build a great looking, diorama quality, table to play on.  I am looking forward to that.  A lot.  I love terrain.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The best laid plans......

I'm sick.  Deathly ill.  I slept all day and I'm going back to bed now.  This is going to affect my painting schedule.  I am still ahead though.  I have some flexibility.

I also just had a comforting realization.  I have painted more than I have bought this month.  That has never happened before.  If I can keep up even half the pace I have been going I will actually be able to get some of my armies painted.  Now that is an insane thought.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Painting Countdown VI

I complete eight spear & shield armed WoMT tonight.  All I have left is my horn blower and a single WoMT who will be armed with a sword and board but is currently broken.

Once the last two are done, tomorrow if all goes according to plan, I will need to dip these.  I am hoping that it will be nice on Wednesday.  If not then I will have to figure out some kind of box/shield/sack to shake the dip off in.

Following the dip will be any highlights and touch ups, followed by the bases.  You can see the first step of the bases done in this picture.  The brown will be covered by sand and static grass.  I paint the base anyway in case anything shows through.

Here is a shot of all of the WoMT together.  Once I finish the last two guys I will do an army shot so far.  The list is as follows:

Warrior of Minas Tirith with Horn
8 x Rangers of Gondor with Spear
9 x Rangers of Gondor
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
9 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
5 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
4 x Knights of Minas Tirith

As you can see there is not a lot left to paint.  I still need to do the display base and I would like to do an objective counter as well, though I am not sure what I will do for that yet.  I am pleased at my progress though.  This is already more models than I have ever painted in a six month period before, and this is two weeks worth of work.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Flames of War - Taking the plunge

I broke down.  I bought the starter set.  For $40 you get the rules, a quick start booklet, three Shermans, 2 StuG's and five dice.  I have the tanks all set for gluing.  All that needs to be done is to glue the guns on them.  Unlike the standard sets, which have separate tracks, these are one piece hulls.

Since I do not have much painting left to do until my next order of dudes comes in I may take a look at the rules this week.  On the other hand I may just use the time to re-read the LotR rules and get in some practice games.  We'll see how it falls out.

Painting Countdown V

I completed seven more of my Warriors of Minas Tirith last night.  That makes eight total.  That means I only have a few more models from what I currently own. 

Warrior with Banner
Warrior with Horn

6 x Knights of Minas Tirith
6 x Horses for the Knights
8 x Rangers of Gondor with spear
10 x Rangers of Gondor
8 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield
9 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield
12 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield and Spear
I am changing up my list some, now that I know what the scenarios are going to be for the GitD.  I need a character that can actually kill things since Contest of Champions is one of the games.  In that one you pick one of your heroes.  The game is decided by how many kills each champion has.  My Captain of MT was just not going to get enough kills to compete in that scenario.  The above list would have required me to kill off my opponent's champion with bow fire to have a chance.

This is the list I am going to play test over the next couple of days.

Warrior of Minas Tirith with Horn
8 x Rangers of Gondor with Spear
9 x Rangers of Gondor
17 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield
13 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with shield and spear
4 x Knights of Minas Tirith

This list will give me more hero support but I have to give up the Banner and a couple of Knights to keep my numbers up.  I think that it will balance out, and leave me with enough Knights to compete in the Seize the Prize variant.  In that one you have to grab a prize from the center of the board and get it off of your opponents side.  We'll see how the list does in testing.

My camera's macro is not 100% what I would like.  I am having a hard time getting good shots.  I'll keep experimenting until I figure it out though.  You just can't have a mini blog without pictures of minis.

Warhammer Warbands

We played the second round of our Warhammer warbands league yesterday.  We had fourteen players.  The games are very small, only 250 points yesterday.  When we play again in two weeks they will be 300.

I started this league because there were only three of us who played Warhammer at the store.  I gave a lot of thought to the best way to get people to play and decided to give this a try.  The response has been a lot better than I had hoped.  Over twenty people have signed up and we had sixteen the first day and fourteen the second.  There have also been a lot of games during the week.

The nice thing about Warbands is that you start off small.  We began at 200 points.  This gives people the who are just beginning to try out Warhammer without a huge investment in time and money.  One or two units and, perhaps, a hero and you can start playing.  This size force is also less intimidating to get painted, though it is not a requirement that everything be painted to play.

The other nice thing about a league is that people can try a whole bunch of different units and tactics before they buy a lot of models.  It has been interesting to watch people pick units that they think will be great and then to see how they work on the table.  A lot of players are discovering that the unit either isn't all that they hoped or that it doesn't fit their play style.

The bad thing about Warbands is that the armies are not designed to work at this level at all.  Everyone has been playing in the spirit of the warbands rules, ie, it is for fun.  Everyone also sees how much better their army could be if they had more points.

I actually think this is a good thing.  In dating and hobby organization it is always a good idea to leave em wanting more.  If they are thinking about how great it would be to be able to play with more points, then they will want to play bigger games, which means they want to play Warhammer, which is why I did this in the first place.

This league is just for fun.  No money involved.  That gives me the opportunity to modify it as we go along.  I have already increased point levels once.  Yesterday was supposed to be 200pts, not 250.  I also decided that we would just play for the first month.  No league points or anything like that.  In the future I can increase the points, or even push us up into small Warhammer sized games rather than large Warbands games.  We'll see where the community sits on that but I am pretty sure that, model collections allowing, that is where everyone would like to go.

Of all of the players signed up only four or five have played before and they may be the only ones who have the rule book.  The rumor mill is pretty sure that 8th Edition of the Warhammer rules will be coming out this summer so no one is willing to fork out the $$$$ for the rule book.  There are still quite a few instances where people are surprised by the rules, usually to their detriment.  There have also been a lot of people having trouble because the rules are similar to 40K but not the same.

Now that we have had a couple of practice weekends I think we will be able to really get rolling next month.  I'm very pleased with the whole thing.  It has been well worth the time and effort on my part.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gondor play test game #1

Thursday night I actually played a game with my Gondor.  I was playing against Keith's Fiefdoms army with Imrahil, Beregond and a mounted Captain of Dol Amroth leading four Knights of DA, a bunch of foot Knights, some Rangers of Gondor, guards of the fountain court and Men-at-arms of Dol Amroth. 

We played  scenario from Legions of Middle Earth in which you start with a corner, 18 inch deployment zone and the game ends when one side had more models in their enemy's deployment zone than they do.  There was a big hill right in front of my zone with a couple of odd pieces of terrain in the middle of the table and a big stone arch on the edge of his zone.

I had WoMT on my left flank with the Knights behind them.  The rest of my army was on my right with my Rangers grouped up so they could volley the first turn or two.  Keith had a couple of Knights, Beregond and a block of mixed foot on my left with Imrahill and two thirds of his foot on my right.

With eighteen Rangers I was putting out a lot of shots a turn.  The first two, with volley fire, I accomplished very little, but once they were able to shoot normally they started to take a toll on Keith's models.  He was rushing across as fast as he could to minimize my shooting.  On my left we settled into a Mexican Standoff and really didn't do much until the last turn, when he charged just because the game was almost over.

The real action was on my right.  Everything in his army had fight 4, which meant he won a lot of the fights.  He also had great defense which meant I was wounding on 6's for almost everything.  Imrahil was a monster, of course.  This fight eventually sucked in most of my Knights and Rangers in addition to the WoMT and Captain who were supposed to be the battle line.  Imrahil just blasted through, though he was out of Might and still had a ways to go to get the objective. 

Keith did get one Knight to within an inch of my deployment zone but he was shot off of his horse just short.  I had my horn blower in position to get into it and one Knight in the zone in position to charge his, now dismounted, Knight of DA.  I won priority the last turn and we called it because we had reached the two and half hour time limit.  We did not figure out the points losses but he was closer to breaking than I was, though I was no where near his deployment zone.

I learned a lot about my army in this game.  The Rangers did about as well as I hoped and had an even greater psychological effect than I had expected.  Keith is a very experienced player, including quite a few tournaments.  If he was afraid of my shooting than it is probably good to go.

I had too many of my troops on the left flank.  This side didn't really matter so I should have placed more strength at my most important point.  I did have a lot more models than Keith which was big advantage to me, even with his better troops.

I used my Knights as a mobile reserve, which worked out well for me and kept me from losing the game.  They do not hit a lot better than Rohan, but they are better protected and do have Lances, which makes them more likely to get a kill if they do manage to win a fight.

According to Keith there are likely to be a lot of horde armies there.  My model count is just about average.  I was hoping that there would be more small, elite forces.  I can not horde as well as Tim's Moria Goblin army with 75 models.  My only real advantage is my horn, my Ranger shooting and my good defense.

The other thing Keith said, which was discouraging, is that one of the scenario's will be Contest of Champions.  This is won by the player whose best hero gets the most kills.  My Captain will not be very good at this one.  I may have to invest the points in a better hero.  Not only will I need to buy and paint that guy but it will cut down on my model count as well.

The last bit of scenario info was that we will be playing one of the scenario's with an important modification.  There is a scenario where you have to get an objective marker and get it off of your board edge.  Tim Kulinski, who is the organizer for this tournament, and I played it last spring, when he came out to visit.  I won a major victory even though he killed all but a couple of my models.  This was because my Rohan army was able to get to the center of the table quickly, grab my objective and move it off quickly.  After that it was all about keeping him off of his objective long enough to get away.  This scenario will be modified so that you have to get the objective off of your opponents table edge.  According to Keith this is a direct result of the game Tim and I played.  If true, that makes me feel pretty good.

I will have to do some list testing and, probably, buy some new models, but all in all I am pretty happy with what I have.  Still a lot to do, and I have not gotten any painting done the last two nights.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Painting Countdown IV

More progress on the painting front.  I finished my six Knights of Minas Tirith.

That puts the count at:

Warrior with Banner
Warrior with Horn
6 x Knights of Minas Tirith
6 x Horses for the Knights
8 x Rangers of Gondor with spear
10 x Rangers of Gondor
17 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield
12 x Warriors of Minas Tirith with Shield and Spear

I am very pleased with my progress so far.  I still have to buy another box of WoMT.  They are on order.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flames Of War

My local store has just gotten in Flames of War.  This is a 15mm WWII game.  It is not, strictly speaking, super historically accurate.  It is the first historical game to earn widespread acceptance.  I do not accept DBA and DBM in that category.

I have been planning to paint up a U.S. rifle company from the 90th Infantry Division, for a couple of years.  My Grandad, who died three years ago served in that Division.  I was going to do this weather or not I ever played a game.

A couple of the other guys at the store, and I, have been talking about the game for awhile.  The other two have even ordered their armies.  The manager finally decided that it would be worth a shot to see how well it sells and ordered in $1000 bucks worth of new toys.

The order came in today, but is not out on the shelves yet, as Tim has to decide where he is going to put it.  I rummaged through the box, behind the counter, and found the rifle company and the starter set.  $50 for the rifles and $40 for the starter.  It will have to wait a bit. 

I am not super fond of the 15mm.  As Angus Konstams says, 28mm is the only true wargaming scale.  Having said that, I appreciate the ability to get a big force on the table and to build a large army for not a whole lot of money.

I am looking forward to exploring this game once I am through with my army for the GitD.

Painting Countdown III

Another night of good progress.  I completed all six horses and one more Ranger.  I am done with both of those now.  I have also finalized my list.

Captain of Minas Tirith - Shield, Bow, Heavy Armor  60 pts
6 x Knights of Minas Tirith  84 pts
Warrior of Minas Tirith, Banner  32 pts
Warrior of Minas Tirith, Horn 28 pts
17 x Warriors of Minas Tirith - Shield  136 pts
12 x Warriors of Minas Tirith - Shield, Spear  108 pts
8 x Rangers of Gondor - Spear  72 pts
10 x Rangers of Gondor  80 pts

56 Models
2 Might points
1 Hero
1 Standard
600 points on the nose.

This is going to play as a horde army.  The Ranger's shooting should be able to put a hurt on most enemies.  They also have fight 4, but a truly craptastic save.  The WoMT are there to soak up casualties and swarm over the enemy.  The Captain will hang in the rear and wait for that perfect moment to call a heroic move.  The Knights are going to hammer enemy infantry.  The horn will help with terror tests and, sadly, with break tests once I get below 50%.  The banner, of course, is to help win fights.

I have not played with this army yet.  I don't even have all of the models yet as I need to buy another box of WoMT.  These tactics can win, I've seen it done with Moria Goblins.  I don't have any heavy hitters in the list.  What I do have is nasty shooting and lots of hard to kill warriors.

It should be fun, anyway.


I use one brush.  I paint everything with it.  I have gone back and forth between Citadel (GW) and Privater Press.  The brush I have been using is starting to shed.  This means that it is losing bristles and getting a lot of bent bristles, which have to be trimmed off. 

I bought the giant paint set from Vallejo five years ago.  It came with several brushes.  They are synthetics.  There is a debate about synthetic vs sable.  I'm not sure how there can really be any discussion on this.  Sable is so superior that it blows synthetics out of the water.  The cost difference is just not worth the difference in quality.

Having said all that, both GW and PP make good brushes.  I have just worn out a PP brush, after using GW brushes for years.  As it happens, when I went in to buy a new brush today they did not have the PP size I have been using.  I bought the GW "yellow handle".

I hope it works out.  I have a lot of painting to get done.  I will use my just retired PP brush to paint the Quickshade on my Warriors of Minas Tirith.  There are two schools of practice among dippers.  (Perhaps there are more that I don't know about).  There are the pure dippers who actually dip the models in the dip.  This involves shaking a lot of excess dip off of the model, wasting dip, making a mess and making sore arms.  The other school, to which I belong, paints on the dip.  I avoid all of the above problems and it gives me more control over where the dip goes, and often more importantly, where it does not go.  The draw back to the painting method over the dipping method is that it takes longer.

I did not realize how rough the old brush was looking until I held it up next to my new one.  This should speed things up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Painting Count Down II

I am making rapid progress.  Today I completed nine more Rangers of Gondor.  I took some pictures but they did not come out at all.  I will have to work on that.  Can't have a toy soldier blog without pictures.  The more the better.

I also completed my first Warrior of Minas Tirith.  I have not dipped him yet though.  That will probably happen tomorrow.  I started on base coating his fellows.  Eight warriors with shields and eight with spears as well as the six Knights.  There are also the three command models, Captain, banner and horn.  I will need to buy another box of Warriors of Minas Tirith and the army will be complete.

Once I have everything painted I will do the bases.  I prefer to do these assembly line style as they are very involved.  I'll detail my process once I get to them.

In addition to the painting I picked up a tray to use for the army base.  By me I mean my wife bought it for me.  She shakes her head and sighs a lot, but she supports me.  I also got the foam core.  Now I just need to figure out what I want the tray to look like and plan that out.  I am thinking of either a wall or a cliff with troops in front of it and on top.  The reason I want part of it raised up is so that I can build a pocket into the back to hold the mini rulebook, dice, pens and army lists.

I am ahead on my painting at this point so I should have time to do the display board.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Army Painter

Army Painter is a new line of paints from the Netherlands.  They are colored primers and Quickshade dips.  I love these products.  Colored primers save a huge amount of time.  I used to use gallons of the Games Workshop bleached bone primer.

I have, so far, used the desert yellow, green and plate armor primers.  The desert yellow has worked flawlessly.  The Green has had some issues with pooling.  I have not used the quickshade dip yet, though I bought a can and I am retiring my Minwax. 

The coverage on the nozzels is perfect.  I only need a single pass to coat the model.  There is no loss of detail at all, unless you put too much on, which is true of any paint.  The nozzle doesn't clog up and the quality is consistent across all of the cans I have bought.  I have had issues with Privateer Press's primer being inconsistent between batches, and sometimes from the same can over time.

These primers save a lot of time, whether you use the dip or not.  They do not allow some of the shading techniques that are favored by expert painters who use black base coat, but they are fantastic for getting an army painted quickly. 

Dipping is a technique that some love and other hate, much like raw oysters.  If you use dipping then these primers are really a no brainer.  At $15 they run about the same as GW primer.

Gathering in the Desert

The Gathering in the Desert is an independent tournament for The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game.  It is held in Phoenix AZ in the middle of February.  This is the third year.  It will be my first time attending.

I am going to be taking a Gondor army.  This is an army of normal dudes with good armor.  I will be running a single captain, a whole bunch of Rangers of Gondor, who are good at shooting, and a bunch of Warriors of Minas Tirith with a banner and horn bearer.  There will also be six Knights of Minas Tirith.  I am still tweaking parts of the list, but I need to get it sorted ASAP as I have to get it painted.

I also want to do a display board.  One of the lessons I learned at the con I went to last year was that it is really nice to have a display board to move your army between tables.  If I have the time then it will be a nice piece of terrain.  If I do not then it will be something much less impressive.

I have to paint two models a night to be done in time.  So far I have eight models done in four days.  I'm on track, but that doesn't include time to work on the display board.  The good news is that the models I have done are the Rangers who, I believe, are going to be the models that take the longest.

Pictures will be upcoming soon.

Back at it

I walked away from this blog after a couple of weeks.  I just wasn't spending the time on the hobby that I needed to.  Things change.

I have a lot more time for this type of thing right now and the desire to update this.  The real catalyst was two things.  First was the slew of "this is what I did last year" posts on various blogs and fora.  I realized that I am not actually sure what I did last year.  Second was that I am entered into a Lord of the Rings tournament in February.  I have to paint my entire army from scratch.  I have not a single painted mini for Gondor.

I was working on my Rohan last year.  I still have the army but I am moving on.  The list is just so bad.  I don't mind losing all of the time.  I hate that my dudes just suck so much.  I will revisit them later, once I have gotten my Gondor up to strength.

I ramble, forgive me. 
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