Friday, March 30, 2012

Product Review - Kobblestone Miniatures

This is a quick product review on some Kobblestone Miniatures castings which I just ordered.  I've been working on terrain for a table to go with my Haradrim army.  The two hills, covered here, are part of this.  There will be a small village in the center of the table, with walls, houses and a market.  The village will need, of course, a water source, hence a well.  I have seen many, many traditional European/North American wells but nothing that really fit what I was looking for with this table.  Until, that is, I found this.

Picture from Kobblestone Miniatures.

I went online to place the order.  I was torn between the Spanish type well.  SWMBO suggested, rather unreasonably I thought, that I just buy both.  Why didn't I think of that?  As I was scrolling through the page she said, "What's that?  You have to buy that too".  "That" is their market set, which is totally awesome as will be shown below.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The next Project II

This one is a little bit embarrassing, since the pictures are poor.  My photo foo is low today, obviously.  I have some ideas on what is causing me problems so hopefully I can improve on that.

Here's my new list:

Warband 1
Arwen - 60 pts
High Elf warrior with Banner and spear - 35 pts
6 x High Elf Warrior with shield - 60 pts
4 x High Elf Warrior with Elf Bow and spear - 48 pts
1 x High Elf Warrior with Elf Blade - 10 pts

Warband 2
Erestor - 80 pts
6 x High Elf Warriors with shield - 60 pts
4 x High Elf Warrior with Elf Bow and spear - 48 pts
2 x High Elf Warrior with Elf Blade - 20 pts

Warband 3
Galadhrim Storm Caller - 60 pts
6 x Galadhrim Warriors with shield - 54 pts
4 x Galadhrim Warriors with Elf Bow and spear - 44 pts
2 x Galadhrim Warriors with spear and shield - 20 pts

39 Models
599 points
3 Might
7 Will

The force is short on might but with two Nature's Wrath and Erestor's special rules I think it will balance out.  Now for painting and play testing.  I had to convert all of the sword and shield elves.  I've been working on that for the last two weeks and finished yesterday.  I still have to make the spears for the High Elf archers.  I'm, quite frankly, procrastinating on that since I don't want to do it.

Pictures below, I've included one of the Galadhrim, just for the sake of completeness.

Erestor, banner and Arwen.  Archers in the rear.

Painting Status III

I've been wrapping up my Haradrim army this month.  I don't think I'm going to make my goal of twenty painted models for March, but I'm really quite pleased with how these came out.  It's another twelve models.  Six Warriors with spears and then all of the heroes and specials.  I'll get my Betrayer painted up, to use instead of the generic Nazgul model I have been using, but that should be it on this army.  It's going to be used by the Traveller, while he decides if he is going to invest in the game or not.  I lent him the Fallen Realms army book so he can start making his own lists, instead of using mine.  If he chooses models that I don't have painted then I'll be re-visiting this army.  I suspect that Suladan may get painted in the next couple of weeks, for example.

Without further ado, here's the new additions.

All twelve models.  There is a ton of light on these guys, I don't know why they come out so dark.
Nuradan - front...
and rear.
Aladhi - front...
and rear.
Banner bearer front.  He is not part of the current list, but such a beautiful model...
From the rear.
The Master - front...
and back.  Every time I look at these pictures I find something I missed.
Hornblower - front...
and back.
Mumak Chieftan - front...
and back.
Six spearmen.
I'll do an army shot later today with all of the lads in one place.  It's in the seventies today so, as long as the wind doesn't kick up, I'll be varnishing this army later in the afternoon.  I had hoped to get it done by the first part of March.  That didn't work out but I'm still pleased with my progress.  Now I just need to step up the pace so I can get these 39 Elves and 104 Romans and 43 Celts done in a timely manner. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The next project

One warband for my new army.
Here's the first warband for my new army.  Twelve Galadrim warriors, four with bow and spear, two with spear and shield and six with sword and shield.  The warband is led by a storm caller, which brings us to an interesting story.

Games Workshop makes a Stormcaller model.  It used to be available as a single metal model in a blister.  With the new format they repackaged it into a box of Galadrim command and made it in resin instead.  This is totally awesome because it means not only is the individual model I want more expensive but I have to buy three other models, that I have no use for, in order to get it.  Of course by totally awesome I mean it sucks ass.

At this point the only models I'm buying from that company are one offs that I need to finish an existing army.  I have to add a few heroes due to the new warband creation rules.  I'm not going to rant here, I'm really not, but what the hell GW?

The Storm Caller is the chappy front and center.
I'm making a conversion to get my storm caller.  Everything you see here is straight out of the box.  The staff is a spear, with some work done on the hand to make it fit.  I'll dig through the bitz box to see if I have something appropriate for the end of the staff.  Worst case I'll make something, badly, out of green stuff.

The archers have had spears added to them.  The two spears, and all but one of the sword and shield elves, are straight out of the box.  The last sword and shield dude has been re-cut to make his two handed stance into a single hand stance.  It's a little awkward now but should look fine once he has the shield attached.

The other two warbands of this army are High Elves and are requiring a huge amount of converting to get right.  I've had to make shields for the sword and shield elves.  I am also having to scratch build spears for the archers, as the only way to get High Elf shields and spears is by buying the three model metal blisters of spear elves.  I'm not going to be doing that, thank you very much.

More to follow on the Storm Caller and the other two warbands.

A question of Scale

I'm considering issues of scale.  My favorite scale is 28mm.  I love the balance between detail and size.  There are a lot of manufacturers out there for all periods/genres.  The only real drawback, from my standpoint, is cost.  Other than that, this is the sweet spot for me.

The two other scales I'm willing to consider are 20mm and 15mm.  There are a ton of minis for all historical periods as well as fantasy and sci/fi, available in both.  Honestly, I'm not even looking for fantasy in anything but 28mm.  It's when looking at historicals and sci/fi that I have to give this some thought.

The largest WWII mini game is played in 15mm.  I think, for my purposes, WWII will be 15mm and 28mm.  I'll have to decide if I'm actually going to play Flames of War before I buy any more 15mm stuff.  There are several promising sets of rules for platoon or lower combat that would be great with 28mm.

Looking at other historical periods, ancients, medieval, Napoleonic, ACW, I can see the attraction of giant armies in those periods, I'm just left cold by the models.  I have several blogs in my blog roll from players who game in those systems.  I'm trying to find the attraction for them but I just am not seeing it yet.

So, where does 20mm come in?  Modern and Sci/fi.  There a ton of nice model makers out there working in 20mm.  Nice vehicles, good infantry, nice terrain.

Here's the thing.  I don't really care about collecting different scales in and of itself.  That's not the issue.  I have every intention of collecting WWII in both 28mm and 15mm.  It's the terrain that causes me issues.  I love terrain and want my tables to look great.  That means a lot of stuff, because let's face it, people don't normally fight over empty ground.

If I buy the, really tempting, stuff in 20mm, then that is a whole different set of terrain I need to collect as well, and that is what makes me hesitate.  So, if anyone can tell me what they love about 15mm as well as reasons to take the plunge on 20mm, I'd appreciate hearing it.  I'm still early in my collecting so I have not committed myself to anything.

Look what arrived in the mail

Last week I finally received my order from Warlord games.  After picking up the Hail Caesar rulebook, and looking through it, I decided that I was going to take the plunge and pick up a Roman army.  My wife ordered this for me for Valentines day.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Games for the wee ones III

Castle Fortaan got a big thumbs down from Rhys.  He doesn't even want to try it.  He still, desperately, wants to play Lord of the Rings, but he's just not there yet, understanding wise.  I'm back to looking for a dungeon crawler.  The local Barnes & Noble has two of the Dungeons and Dragons games, Castle Ravenloft and the Wrath of Ashardalon.  I would have preferred to get the Legend of Drizit, but I needed a game right now.   I settled and plumped for Castle Ravenloft.

One of my favorite bloggers, Frontline Gamer, did a review of the product which was not super enthusiastic.  The thing is, the things he didn't like about it are less likely to be problems when I am playing with Rhys.  The real thing Rhys wants is a dungeon crawler with minis that is cooperative play.  He wants the two of us to go kill bad guys and he wants it to be done with miniatures.  This game should answer the mail.

Rhys is not reading yet, so I'll be helping him with that part, but he does understand rolling dice and he certainly recognizes a bad guy when he sees one.  The mechanics of the game look simple enough.  The minis don't look like they will take paint very well, since they are bendy plastic, but I am going to hit them with a black wash to bring out some of the detail.  I'll post pictures to show you how it came out.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Another purchase in the Year of Rules line.  The candidate for March is ...  Da, da  da!.  Saga!  Oh wait.  I gave it away in the title.  Never mind.

(The picture probably detracts from the surprise as well.)

I haven't had a read through of the rules yet.  I'll do an in depth review once I have a chance to read them and bang them around a little bit.  Really I just wanted to talk about Architects of War (link here and also on the sidebar).  Normally I'm not a fan of only having one distributor, but Architects of War were fast and easy.  I put my order in last Friday.  On Saturday I got a confirmation email and it was delivered to me yesterday (Monday).  This is great service guys.

The book came in a box, wrapped in paper and padded with more paper.  The book was then sealed in a zip lock bag.  So, no chance of water damage and the box would have had to have been destroyed to get to the book.

Now, I bought the book as part of a bundle with a set of Saga dice.  I'm not at all happy about the prices on these dice, but that is not Architect's of War's fault.  Their deal gets the dice for a little bit cheaper, so I went for it.  This is my only complaint.  There was no where on the order form for me to specify which dice set I wanted.  This isn't a huge deal because I received an email from them asking me which set they should ship.  A real email from a real person.  It was nice to interact with someone that way.  I expect to see my dice soon; I'll let you know what I think of them then.

Prompt service, lightning fast even, and careful shipping.  All you can ask for. I don't know why I always buy stuff on Fridays, it usually delays things.  (I actually do know, it's pay day, duh.)  The service on this order was just phenomenal.  This was my first experience with this company but I'm looking forward to doing business with them again in the future.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Battle Report - Harad vs Isengard Part II

Nuradan had gathered the remnants of his warband and started south, with the Betrayer urging haste every step of the way.  Following the battle for the chests all five had been brought to the Betrayer, who had searched them and secreted something within his robes.  Nuradan had no idea what the object of this expedition was but they had, apparently secured it.  Now they just had to get it back to Mordor.

The scouts informed Nuradan that the Uruk Hai were gaining from the rear, and the howls of Whargs could be heard from the front.  More worryingly, the scouts reported seeing Saruman leading his forces in pursuit.  It appeared that the white wizard had more tricks up his sleeve.  Nuradan led his force into some ruins, hoping that the ruined buildings would provide some sort of advantage against the enemy.

The initial positions of the two sides.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Battle Report - Harad vs Isengard Part I

On Monday I was able to get a couple of games in against Huntsman and his Isengard army.  Huntsman was recently blessed with the addition of a little orc in the family and has not been able to play in several months.  Our first game reflected his re-learning the rules.  Our second showed that he was definitely playing attention during the first.

Nuradan was again attached to the command of the Betrayer.  It was clear that Sauron had a plan for his men, it just wasn't at all clear what it was.  The army had force marched to the north and crossed into the lands of the horse lords.  They were supposed to meet with Saruman's Uruks.  The problem, from Nuradan's point of view was that the meeting between the Betrayer and Saruman went poorly and he found himself facing an army of angry Uruk Hai, deep in doubly hostile territory.  Some days it just didn't pay to roll out of the blankets.

The battle lines on turn four. 

The Betrayer was interested in five chests, spread through some ruins.  Saruman, apprently, did not want to give them up.  This fight would be for control of the chests, but also for the survival of Nuradan and his men.  Nuradan was able to get one of the chests, on a hill, firmly under his control.  There was a second, in some ruins at the base of the hill, that he knew he could contest at will.  The other three were on the wrong side of a bunch of angry Uruk Hai and one angry wizard.

Games for the Wee Ones II

The search for the perfect dungeon crawler/mini game for the boys continues.  My stopgap, Space Hulk tiles with LotR minis, has sufficed for four or five games.  Owyn has lost interest and Rhys is struggling but still wants to play.  There's no depth and nothing to accomplish.  Goblins come on the board, they get killed.  It has sufficed to get us through the initial stages and give Daddy enough time to do some research.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Terrain Product Review

This month I bought two pieces of terrain from Gale Force 9's Battlefield in a Box line.  They will both be part of the haradrim terrain set I am putting together, though they will work, of course, for any desert table.

Appearance:  5/5.  The hill is really nicely done.  The terrain looks great, very realistic but also playable.  The colors are fantastic.  I had one sitting on the arm of a chair, in my office; every time I walked by I stopped and stared and thought, "Damn, that looks great".  I did that for a week.  When SWMBO walked into my office she said "What's this?  It's really pretty.  What can I use this for?".  When she is trying to find a use for my terrain, it must look good.  The pictures just don't do this piece justice.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Real Life

Since this is a hobby, for most of us, the real world tends to take up an awful lot of our time.  Sometimes it gets in the way, and sometimes it mugs you and drags you kicking and screaming down a dark alley to kick your ass.  This last week was one of those times.  I won't go into details as tragedy is not what this blog is about.  Suffice it to say that real world events not only took all of my time but sucked all of the joy out of the universe for several days.

Progress is being made on that point and I finally have a day off.  I'll be meeting up later today for a couple of games and I have some fun stuff in the works, which I will show off in due time. 

So.. I haven't disappeared but I did spend some time doing important things for myself and others that were not gaming related but help keep the universe in balance.

Thanks for checking back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Battle Report - Harad vs Gondor

Something a little bit different this time around.

Nuradan was feeling weak and frustrated.  His wounds were healing slowly and the Nazgul wanted to get on the road.  Nuradan's Kharna levies had fought a dozen battles against elves and men trying to keep the Dark Lord's road through Ithilien clear.  This last one had gone well, except for his own part in it.

The battle had been in the south of Ithilien, among some long forgotten and crumbling Gondorian settlement; remnant of Gondor's past glory, and the still bitter subjugation of the Tribes by the men of the White City.  The Haradrim, Nuardan's own Kharna levy as well as the Betrayer and his Abrakhan guards, had arrived first and occupied the ruins.  The heir of the Stewards, Faramir, had detected the movement of the Southrons and brought his battle company to destroy this isolated band.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Games for the wee ones

Rhys goes with me to the store on Thursday nights.  While I play or talk, he hangs out and plays with Star Wars minis on some of the store terrain or plays the DS.  Lately he has been wanting to play LotR with me.  He'll be right around the table, "measuring" things with a tape measure.  Thursday nights are special bonding time for Daddy and Rhys, but he is also starting to intrude into the games.  So far, everyone at the store has been very nice about it, but I obviously need to get Rhys his own game that we can play together.

You see, Rhys is seven and has special needs.  He doesn't grasp the rules for LotR yet.  He's, among other things, developmentally delayed about a year and a half to two years.  I've been looking for the right game for him, but have not been able to find something.  I finally gave up on buying it and decided I'd just have to make something up.  He loves the mini's and he loves the Lord of the Rings. 

I decided on a dungeon crawl game.  I wanted something simple and quick to pick up and put out.  I don't have any dungeon tiles but I do have Spacehulk.  Problem one solved.  They may be Space Ship tiles but to a little boy they are tunnels and rooms in a dungeon.

Monday, March 05, 2012

The year of rules

This is the year of rules.  I'm laying down the law...  No, not that kind of rules, I kid.  I realized that I had made a decision which will affect my wargaming this year, and therefore my blogging, but that I had not shared it with you.  This seems a little perverse, and not in a fun way, so I'm aiming to rectify that.

For years I have played GW games.  This was driven by several factors.  Availability, good IP, model quality, opponents, rules standardization.  I came into the hobby through Warhammer.  I picked up LotR when an enthusiast moved to town.  I never got into 40k.

 Now let's be clear, I've always wargamed, from when I was itsy bitsy.  I remember the fall of Saigon.  I was three years old, sitting on my parent's floor.  The helo's were pulling people off of the roof of the embassy and I was playing with my father's Civil War game.  I had the little dudes lined up and the artillery was taking great chunks out of them, as represented by my chubby little fingers.  So, one of the iconic events of our age and I don't know if I remember it because of the images on the TV or the little plastic playing pieces.

I am not saying these are the same figures, though they look this good in my memory.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Battle Report - Harad vs Gondor and Dwarfs

With the league in hiatus there were only two of us playing last night at Collectormania.  When Rhys and I arrived there was no one else there to play so he played with his Star Wars Squinkies on some Osgiliath terrain while I talked painting and rules sets with Russ and Chris.  Chris is a great painter with a really entertaining blog, which I can't find right now.  Hopefully I'll be able to dig it up or someone will shoot me the link.

Micah showed up a little after 1900 and we agreed on a game.  I had played him a couple of weeks ago, before the switch over from Legions to Warbands.  In that game he had an avenger bolt thrower and Boromir.  Two very expensive options.  His new list is led by Faramir as a ranger.  It had a Capt with five knights, Faramir leading nine rangers, a captain with six sword/board and six spear and shield and finally a Dwarf captain with five or six Iron Guard.

We rolled up Reconnoiter, which is not my favorite scenario.  It pulls me out of my comfort zone.  This is not a bad thing.  My army is designed to stay out of combat as long as possible while shooting the hell out of everything that gets in range.  If I haven't whittled my opponent down, by a lot, before we get into combat then I am going to lose.  My guys are squishy and my force is only average sized.  The opposition last night was very crunchy, and had almost as many models as I did.  Not a good place to be. 

Reconnoiter gives points for getting models off your opponent's table edge, wounding or killing the opposing general and for breaking the enemy.  His knights were a priority target.

I apologize now for the pictures.  I forgot my camera so these were taken with my phone.

Two warbands, one of which is the Nazgul and Hornblower.
The knights moving forward to try to get off the table.  Faramir, his general, with the rangers, moving up in the background.
The Gondor Phalanx followed by the slow moving Dwarfs.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Behind the scenes at GW

However you feel about GW this video has some interesting shots showing how molds work as well as some sculpting.

Video Here

Look what just arrived in the mail

I just received my Warhammer 40K 25th anniversary model.  This is a great model.  It captures the old cover art beautifully while showing the phenomenal skill that GW sculptors are capable of these days.  I cracked the box to make sure it looked like a good casting. 

I hear a lot these days about how crappy Finecast is.  I've now bought two models in the substance and both casts have been perfect.  I love the detail, it's crisp and sharp.  I don't like metal models, mainly for the difficulty of conversion and the fact that the paint ALWAYS chips on them.  This model is good to go.

All of the above is great and all.  The only problem is, I don't play 40k.  I just hate the rules.  I like the models just fine.  The IP is fun.  The rules leave me angry and frustrated.  With all of the time I've been spending, lately, on other people's blogs, one thing I've been looking for is a generic set of Sci/Fi rules that I can use instead.  There are a lot of great models out there.  I just need rules to let me play with them.

So, you ask, what will become of the model above?  It will sit in a bin in the basement with my Harry the Hammer model until I figure out what to do with my Space Marines, because it won't, likely, be playing 40k.

Lord of the Rings - Risk

Oddly, SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) likes Risk.  We have three different versions of it, including my ancient version from childhood.  Naturally I assumed that she would be as excited as I was when I found this for a good price on eBay.

Perhaps I was a little bit optimistic.  On the other hand, she did smile as she was shaking her head, so there is still hope.  I'm looking forward to playing this, at any rate.


I saw this on Sidney Roundwoood's blog, here.  It seemed like a bit of harmless fun, so I went ahead and did it as well.

We'll see how things change over time. 
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