Ogres for HotT

9 April, 2014

I’ve finally got a new tripod for my camera, the camera I know how to use. I had to get the manual out to remind myself of how to use it, though. Here are some pictures of some lovely Splintered Light ogres that I’ve been wanting to paint for ages.

These chaps boast a really nice collection of clothes and equipment.

These chaps boast a really nice collection of clothes and equipment.

Another angle.

Another angle.

From behind.

From behind.

I may use these with the Vikings when they appear in the Hesperian HotT campaign if it ever comes to fruition.

Dragons and other flyers

23 March, 2014

A menacing dragon.

A menacing dragon.

With my dark age figures having been rebased, I’ve started to work on HoTT versions of these armies, or HoTT opponents of them.

A not so menacing dragon.

A not so menacing dragon.

There are (or will be) fantasy versions of my Dark Age Celts, my Vikings and my Feudal Europeans. Currently, these are light on fantasy elements, but I will work on making them soon. You can see some progress to date on these armies on My Armies above.

Valkyrie allies of the fantasy Vikings.

Valkyrie allies of the fantasy Vikings.

Then there are the straight fantasy armies, Goblins (the only one ready for the table, though still without rebased hordes), Elves and Dwarves. The Elves and Dwarves have their allies ready, and I have the figures to paint, but they are not ready otherwise. You can see progress on these armies on their pages at My Armies above.

Centaur allies of the Dwarves.

Centaur allies of the Dwarves.

On the Painting table

23 March, 2014

When I last wrote, I said the next project would be to paint seven 4Pk for my successor armies. Well, they’re over half done, but others have jumped the cue.

  • Rebasing

The biggest project has been to rebase all my old armies. I had started this before I went to Adelaide, and a lot of my HoTT elements were all but done, just waiting for the flock. The impetus to restart this project was a desire to see how knights and spears compared under DBA 3.0. This got me redoing my first two armies, the Normans and Anglo-Danish. I also flocked the HoTT elements while I was at it.

Next, I rebased the Welsh, Irish and Vikings. This has taken quite a while, and is now almost completed. I’ve innovated by using No More Gaps to hide the bases. It adds more time to the job, but is worth it.

In the process of rebasing I got enthused with my Dark Age armies and the potential to use them for HoTT. I’ve now got the Scots Isles and Highland army complete again (it was demobbed for SBH figures. This started with the plan to create a Thegn general for the Prefeudal Scots so that they could have a 4Wb general with rear rank support and flanked by pike, something that’s likely to tear holes in most lines of foot. When I learned that the Scots Isles and Highland army is going to have a lot more choice in DBA 3.0, I decided to paint up the four elements of 4Bd I needed to get this back on the table. I’ve also painted a few more archers in mail to make their 3Bw more imposing. I also repainted the 5Hd.

So that’s some of what’s been jumping the cue for painting. I’ve also done a few HoTT elements, some Prefeudal Scots and Irish Lurkers — skirmishers on a 40×30 base along with a dog each. Finally I did a Cleric element — three medieval monks. Magicians and Heroes will follow.

  • Song of Blades and Heroes

I’ve also been painting a few figures for SBH, actually quite a few. I’ve now finished thirty foot, and three mounted knights and a Hippogriff rider are close to being done. Most of these are Essex early medieval figures, dismounted Norman knights and Norman spearmen and archers. This adds some useful variety to my SBH range, but also is a way of getting started on painting some of these figures for an Essex Norman army. The rest are six halflings, two mailed Highland archers and a Druid from the Tabletop range. I’ve got more figures from Tabletop’s fantasy range. They’re a little larger than most of my figures and are very much ‘adventurers’, as they all have backpacks and other equipment. The wizards won’t quite look right in HoTT, but will be useful for SBH.

A halfling crossing the new bridge over the new stream with some of the assorted terrain additions doted around.

A halfling crossing the new bridge over the new stream with some of the assorted terrain additions doted around.

The other big activity for SBH is making terrain. I made a river (or a stream) using No More Gaps on a T-shirt. I rounded this out with a small bridge and then added a few tokens for treasure — chests, barrels, etc. I’ve done a tent and a small hut. And I’ve also made some hedges using Scotch Brite on iceblock sticks. The next stage for SBH is really dungeon tiles when I get a chance.

Another angle.

Another angle.

He hasn't seen the two dragons, though!

He hasn’t seen the two dragons, though!

REally just seeing if the timer makes a difference with the camera. I think it does.

Really just seeing if the timer makes a difference with the camera. I think it does.

 

 

  • Plans

Those seven elements of pike should be finished next. Then I suspect I’ll be working on HoTT stuff: heroes, wizards, but also a dwarf and an elf army. More fantasy SBH figures may get done as well. I’ve started putting together a 3Cv for my Welsh; the North Welsh can have a South Welsh ally, who has to include the general element. I find this a bit odd — Welsh with two 3Cv seems too much. I might also work on the Normans, but I reckon the elves and dwarves will be more attractive.

The other night I got to have a game of DBA with my friend Steve, who was briefly over from Melbourne. I used my Komnenans, as they are now complete (though the latest units are still awaiting flock). Steve used my Goblins, opting for the Shamanid list over the Gobnovids. This has few options, and he took 3x3Cv (1=cmd), 1x2LH (spider), 1xEl (Trolls), 3x4Sp, 1x2Ps, 1x3Ax and 2x3Bw. I took 4x3Cv (1=cmd), 4x2LH, 1x4Bd, 1x3Ax and 2x2Ps. The Ax and Ps option seemed better than the 3Bw for dealing with the elephant.

I was the defender and went for very little terrain, a central gentle hill and two small woods. I deployed with all the light horse on the right wing, the cavalry in the centre and the infantry on the left. The Goblins deployed with the auxilia in the woods, followed by cavalry (and the general), the trolls, the spear and finally the archers. On the right flank wolfriders and the spider were in reserve. In response to this I swapped two of the light horse for a psiloi and the auxilia.

Initial Deployments: Komnenans on the left.

PIPs were plentiful at the start  (as were the photographs!)  and we advanced rapidly.

Turn 1: 6 PIPs apiece.

Turn 2: more high PIPs; those goblin auxilia ZOCed me in such a way that I couldn't contact them this turn.

Turn 3: PIPs continue high. the Goblins retreat and it's the turn of my auxilia to do some ZOCing. Out of camera the two light horse have shot around the woods.

Turn 4 (Goblins): the auxilia hold off the supported attack by the wolfriders.

Turn 4 (Komnenans): the PIPs dry up (1 PIP), which the Varangians use to destroy some archers. If that 6 had been rolled by the auxilia, it'd have been bye-bye wolfriders.

Turn 5 (Goblins): the spear put an element of Kavallarioi to flight and the auxilia (and their support) are now overthrown.

Turn 5 (Komnenans): Eek, another 1 PIP; the Varangians only recoil the other archer.

The Goblin wolfriders and trolls now attacked, as did their spider, which the fearless Varangians put to flight. The trolls recoiled the Kavallarioi they faced, but next to them the wolfriders, even with overlap support, were driven back.

Turn 6: (Goblins): No great success for the Goblins.

In response The Komnenans had 4 PIPs and retired their Kavallarioi. The Goblins then got only one PIP, which they used to try to shoot the Varangians from behind, without success. The Varangians got to use the only Komnenan PIP to go after these unsportsmanlike Goblins.

Turn 7: PIP drought all round.

The Goblins used their 2 PIPs to straighten the line and to recall the spider from its flight. The Komnenans then got 5 PIPs and went after those archers with hammer and tongs, straightened their line and moved the stalled light horse.

Turn 8: Some signs of movement by the Komnenans.

With three PIPs the Goblins advanced their main line and retreated the wolfriders on their right. The Komnenans had 6 PIPs and tried to pick off the auxilia on the Goblins line, while chasing wolfriders and spiders with their light horse.

Turn 9: The auxilia hold firm.

With two PIPs the Goblins start to close in on my light horse. When he 6-1s one, it starts to look very grim! The auxilia continues to stick.

Turn 10 (Goblins): Oh dear, those light horse are not in a good spot!

The Komnenans are desperate to win this turn before the next light horse goes, but it’s all too much of a forlorn hope; there are no sure kills. Although the auxilia are recoiled, the wolfriders resist the combined attacks of the light horse on the left wing.

Turn 10 (Komnenans): Lucky dice don't save the Komnenans.

Two PIPs are enough for the Goblins, and they close on the light horse; the commander slips in front of the spider, freeing from the light horse’s ZOC and allowing it to flank the light horse. Despite rolling a 6, the light horse are destroyed, and on the left flank the wolfriders in similar straits continue to hold.

Turn 11 (Goblins): Game over, as the second light horse is destroyed.

  • Review:

Sending the light horse around the flank was a big mistake. They could have kept my auxilia alive and killed his. Their unsupported, PIP-sucking death was what cost me the game. When I finally got some PIPs, they should have turned back and supported the main battle, getting back into command range. Some learning to be done there!

Although I lost, I felt that the Komnenans were very competitive, and it was mistakes on my part that undid me. That said, those Goblins are proving tough to beat; in DBA they’re still unbeaten!

Last Saturday I got round to John’s for a game of DBA. We took a while to settle on armies. I was feeling fed-up with preparatation for IWC, so when John decided to use his Later Swiss, I looked for a historical opponent that my Goblins could mimic. As they have only four mounted (here having to be 3Kn), a lot of the options were out. However, Free Company or Armagnac (IV/74) proved doable, and I went with them. They had the option of dismounting knights, which I played as already dismounted, giving me: 4x3Kn (1=cmd), 1x3Bd, 2x4Sp, 4x3Bw, 1x2Ps. The spear were taken, as I didn’t have any more that could pass muster as blades. John took the 6Kn instead of the 6Bd.

Despite having aggression 4 I was still the defender. I went for two gentle hills and a medium-sized wood. Sorry no pictures. John got the wood in the middle of my set-up area, so I put most of my army on one side of the woods, and three 3Kn on the other. John had the two hills nearer to him. He responded by placing all his pikes and the knights facing the three 3Kn; on the other hill he had the 2LH and the two 2Ps to defend the camp. However, I swapped out two 3Bw for two of the 3Kn, and suddenly the camp looked a whole lot less secure.

An approximation of the initial deployment (red = Swiss). Some of the proportions are right, but perhaps the terrain is too big, as I couldn't bring myself to place the deployment the correct distance in, as it looked too odd.

Indeed, when the Swiss kept rolling almost nothing for PIPs, things got even worse. However, 3Kn aren’t that fast, and by the time they were getting close to the Swiss crossbowmen the 6Kn was already ZOCing them and pikes were moving across too. In fact it could have got very sticky, but at this point the dice were exceptionally kind and I 6-1 a 2Ps (didn’t really need so much, but clearly they weren’t sticking around) and then when the 6Kn attacked I 6-1’ed them too! Not bad for the first two rounds of combat!

At this point, however, the Swiss pike started to chase my knights, and I was falling back from them as fast as PIPs would let me. I lost a knight to his light horse, but by that time I had two elements of archers in range of the light horse and the remaining crossbowmen. I killed the light horse and kept recoiling the 2Ps, but couldn’t quite kill it.

Meanwhile, in the centre I was reforming a line at an angle. The two knights had retired to the side of the advancing pikes (they were advancing to my left) and the spear and blades were now facing the pikes. On the other flank, the other four pikes were advancing and were met by the two bow and the knight. Having lost most of his mobile forces, John was pretty well rooted, and the end came when my archers destroyed a pike with shooting.

The Goblin impersonators continue their unbeaten record!

  • Review

The Goblins acquitted themselves well to being knights. That extra 100 paces makes a real difference to the mobility of 3Cv, and if I’d had 3Cv in this set-up I reckon I’d have got across the battlefield in no time. As it was, it was really the bad dice at the start of the game that lost John the game, particularly the 6-1 on the 6Kn. Had that gone the other way, and had I had a drought of PIPs at that juncture, my commander may have encountered John’s, and the odds would have been pretty grim! All in all, though, it was an enjoyable game. John’s starting to want something a bit more mobile!

Painting Progress

1 September, 2010

Last month was my first back in painting since the overseas trip in June and July. A lot of my effort has been going into rebasing, a project that is still not even halfway completed. I started work on my early feudal Essex figures, rebasing what’d I’d already done. I then prepped the remaining figures. However, though I’ve got a couple of elements of knights almost complete, I’ve more or less decided not to continue with these, but to go back to classical armies. I also rebased a whole lot of goblins, allowing me to use them as pseudo-Ghaznavids and Samanids. This involved a small amount of painting. I’ve also started rebasing my Pre-feudal Scots, who are now just waiting for flock, a job that seems to take a fair amount of effort to do!

I’ve got fairly skilled at rebasing. I’m lucky that I used PVA to glue the figures to the base. I soak the bases off in shallow water and then brush the old sawdust flock off the bases in water; doing this over the sink the last time made things a lot faster. Besides using MDF bases and a new basing mix, the rebasing allows me to be more careful about positioning the figures, trying as much as possible to keep the ‘hands inside the bus’.

The other project for this month was completing the Komnenans. These are now only waiting on a 2Ps, which Steve kindly donated, as I underordered, and a 4Sp, as well as a couple of figures for camp followers. This is the last Outpost army I’ll do, as I find them quite a lot of work to paint. The variances in scale between figures also offends my sensibilities. Therefore, I was very happy that I was able to sell the two other Outpost armies that I’d bought. It’s good to think they may actually get to see a wargames table.

Shifting the two unpainted armies spurred me into a frenzy of reorganization. I have a box with about sixteen small drawers on it that each can hold the figures of an average army. This had filled up last year, and new figures were in various boxes, recently sorted into a filing box. This wasn’t terribly effective, as a lot of what was in the drawers was never getting looked at. I’ve now shifted all the fantasy figures to the box and filled the drawers with the historical figures. At last the figures that I’m most interested in, the classical ones, are easily accessible.

This reorganization, in turn, got me going prepping the classical figures (which is why those feudals got filed again!). I’ve now prepped my Southern Italians (Bruttians, Campanians, Apulians and Samnites). This involved drilling hands for a few hoplites, which thankfully went much better than my first efforts on the Komnenans. I made some hoplon-style shields for their cavalry using green stuff and some dark age round shields. Getting the green stuff out got me going on the Gladiator phalangites, which now all have similar shields. They just now need their pikes. The last bit of serious prepping is doing the spears on the hoplites, but I reckon while I’m in this frame of mind I’ll tackle it before I do any painting. Of course, then I’ll be overwhelmed by choice. One option is to do the Spanish; they’re lovely figures, and their mounted are done (as is the camp, if they can get it off the Carthos!). But the Campanians are looking interesting, as I’m keen to see how their hoplites paint up. And then there’s the Syracusans (and all those hoplite morphs they’ll allow), the Later Macedonians (and a similar wealth of morphs), and the Polybian Romans. Which will it be? Do I have the discipline to finish one, or will I do a bit of each?

I’m planning to paint a Komnenan Byzantine army with Khurasan figures at some stage, but although I’ve finally started, and nearly finished a stand of Normans for the Latinikon, and they paint so easily and look lovely, I reckon I’ll hold off on them until I’m done with the classicals. I’ve more or less decided that I’m tired of allowing preparation for IWC next year dictate what I paint! The Outpost figures should do just fine if I don’t get around to painting a Khurasan army.

Anyway, I’ve got a graph of painting progress. I rearranged the spreadsheet it’s drawn from by excluding figures I’ve sold or consider surplus (they’re not waiting to be painted if I don’t intend to paint them!). However, this changes the quantity of figures purchased, as these purchases are as though they never happened! Anyway, that saves me from recording a negative purchase for last month, but is less than ideal, as if I sell a painted army the purchases for some time in the past will be retrospectively adjusted. All likely to be of little interest to the reader, but keeps me amused!

Figures purchased and painted by month

Figures purchased and painted by year. If I counted figures sold as a negative, this year would be the first I'd painted more than I'd purchased. Can I avoid any big purchases this year to make that still happen?

Last Friday my Goblins had another outing at John’s. I was going to trial the Samanids (III/43c). John had decided to surprise me by fielding some Eastern Patrician Romans rather than his Swiss. These are a very attractive mix of Khurasan and Splintered Light figures. However, they weren’t painted, but only blutaked to the bases. Cries of horror all around! As the ‘Samanids’ had a fairly unconventional appearance themselves they made no complaint. Both are low-aggression armies and on this occasion the Shamanid Goblins were the aggressors. The terrain was something of a wall of woods with a gentle hill to one side and a road on the edge of the field. I managed to get the woods running along the table rather than between us and watched as the Romans deployed: 1x3Cv (cmd), 2x3Kn, 2x2LH, 2x4Bd, 2x4Wb, 2x4Ax and 1x2Ps. They met this with 3x3Cv (1=cmd), 1x2LH (Spider), 1xEl (Trolls), 3x4Sp, 1x3Ax, 2x3Bw and 1x2Ps.

The armies deploy: Goblins on the left. Oops, no flash!

I wanted to stop the Auxilia from getting into the woods on my side and advanced my spider (2LH) to do this. This created a standoff in the open between his two Auxilia with psiloi support and my auxilia and spider. I intervened with my wolfriders against his psiloi which evened the odds, but got the wolfriders close to his knights. This was a move that was on the edge of legal; there was about a millimetre in it to allow legal contact with the psiloi. The difference that such measurements can make is one of the downsides of DBA and is probably more extreme in the 15mm scale. The battle went the goblins way, though narrowly.

The first time in a while I've won the opening combat—a refreshing change!

The Romans countered by attacking on that flank with their knights and the Auxilia. The goblins were ferocious and drove the knights back, avoiding a ‘buttocks of death’ situation.

Look at those 6s—can it last?

In reply the Goblins had only 1 PIP and tried to win against the Auxilia, but the attack was thrown back (as it had been the first time).

The spider is repulsed again.

The Romans advance at speed on their right flank, while trying to incommode the Goblin auxilia, but events on that flank reverse the outcome of the previous combat.

This time the Auxilia fall back. Note the Roman commander on the hill moving into command range for his right flank.

Again the spider attacks, and again it is repulsed. The Goblin commander moves up to support his wolfriders, and the other wolfriders attack the Roman light horse, but only recoil them.

Indecisive combats on each flank.

Then the Romans try to snare the wolfriders on their right flank, going at them with warbands in the rear and the flank, but the Goblins hang on for a ‘stick’, much to the displeasure of the Roman commander.

Goblins unfazed by hordes of smelly unpainted Germans.

At this point I decided that warbands were too attractive a target for Trolls to ignore (sporting be damned!). Despite the support from the Trolls, the wolfriders couldn’t keep up their resistance and were destroyed, but so was one of the warbands. Attempts to change things on the other flank had reached an impasse; clearly the Auxilia and the spider weren’t really interested! I attempted to beat the knights by sliding my commander in front of them and moving the wolfriders around to provide overlap; I was at 4-3, but think I was recoiled, though it’s out of the camera shot.

Urgh, squished Germans!

The Romans now attempted to destroy an element of spear, and they planned it well: uphill against a cavalry general with a light horse in support, but if they were hoping for dawn at Helm’s Deep, they were disappointed, these Goblins didn’t break, but threw back the cavalry in disarray! The Roman knights have the wolfriders at 4-2, but only recoil them (again, largely out of camera).

Grrr, sissy horseboys!

And then it was all over! The Trolls went after another set of Germans (yum, yum!), and Goblin archers, after spending the whole battle trapped behind the spear, get to turn around and double some clearly disaffected light horse.

Victory to the Goblins!

Gracious in victory, the Goblins made a tasteful cairn of the skulls of the dead Germans on the hill, and tucked in to a nutritious meal of horsemeat (not stinting on human flesh either, it has to be said!). The Roman commander, as his forces retired in defeat, cursed Fortuna (much to the disapproval of accompanying clerics).

  • Review:

After the analysis I did of the dice rolled in the last game, I did the same with this one, and the results were interesting (I missed a combat that were outside of the zoomed-in camera, but it was inconclusive). My total combat rolls were impressively better (52 to 38 in 15 combats). Accordingly they favoured me in 9 of the combats and John in only 4 (two were tied). The distribution of each dice result should be 5 of each number, but there were slightly more 1s, 2s and 4s (7 of each), slightly fewer 3s and 6s (4 of each) and only one 5. Isn’t Excel fun! It’s interesting that the 1s were overrepresented and the 6s slightly underrepresented, as those numbers get noticed. Who ever notices that 5s aren’t being rolled?

Anyway, the results do confirm John’s complaint that the dice were against him. They kept my surrounded wolfriders alive for one turn and they saved a beleaguered 4Sp (but 4Sp have a refreshing habit of doing that for me); all of which gave me time to win. Having said that, it would have been a different game if the legions had faced the Trolls and not the warbands!

The moral of the story is don’t expect the dice to favour unpainted figures! The better they’re painted the better they fight, though John warned his figures ominously last week they’d have to earn the privilege of paint!