A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big Trouble in Little Germantown

Howdie.  Shortly before Fall In I finally managed a small Colonial Horror game at our local gaming spot, the Comic Store West.  The rules as written parallel Where Heroes Dare, but with a different emphasis on abilities and characteristics.  My first tested scenario, Big Trouble in Little Germantown, was written as a combat and goal game, pretty straightforward, meant to test these skills and traits.

As usual, I forgot my camera, and, as usual, Dieter managed to photograph a few things.  The board is set with terrain and mysteries locations (places to search and solve), and is themed in the 1750-60's.  There were four adversarial parties, the local militia backed by Scottish Highlanders, an Iroqouis raiding party, a band of witches, and the King of the Pumpkin Patch and his ghoul retinue.

It seems, one Thomas Orhme, a feared necromancer, once ruled this valley until his grisly death at the hands of his neighbors.  60 years later, the valley was resettled.... much to the woe of the settlers!  The race is on to reclaim, or, finally destroy, the legacy of Orhme...
Each party was given personal objectives.  Dieter chose the colonists, Yabu chose the Indians, Al chose the Pumpkin, and that left me with the witches.  The Indians scored additional points for the deaths of the colonists (as they intended to reclaim this territory), the Pumpkin King and Ghouls scored points for killing, well, anyone else, the Witches scored points for casting magic, and the colonists scored points for the death of the Witches.  Each party also had an additional, random task to complete.  For the Indians, this ended up being collecting harvest items (vegetables, and such)... luckily enough for Dieter, the colonists drew "burn the meeting house down", a task they set to promptly...
The colonists not only managed to burn down the meeting house, but were successful in killing a number of opposing models.  My witches, on the other hand, had a heck of a time.  They very rarely succeeded in casting magic though the Green Hag did manage to use Arise to summon undead amidst the graveyard (the below picture is of the graveyard, but not of the undead... notice the gnarled hand of the Pumpkin King... and Jay Strongbow collecting harvest goods in the background)...
The Indians quickly searched a cave near the stream, and ransacked the house on the hill.... before finishing off my Green Hag at the site of the lonely grave....

... and for the witches, it was hardly a moment too soon, given their horrid luck.  The Puumpkin King remained standing, though his ghouls (who became encumbered by the poltergeist of Orhme early in the game) were cut down with very little effort.  The Indians scored some points, and at least had some presence on the table at the end of the game.

The clear victor were the colonists and their Scottish saviors.  Not only did they collect the most mysteries, finding the means to dispel Orhme once and for all, they scored big with the wiping out of the witches, and their burning of the meeting house.  Sometimes you have to destroy that which you love, in order to save it.... ???

Once again, my thanks for the inspiration provided by the excellent blog Geektactica, and for the players willing to try out my still somewhat rough system.  Tastes good,  needs more salt :)  Once the game play is ironed out, I can move on to the more challenging task of game narrative... but that is a blog for another time...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Marching Armies

Well, given that I have been posting images of armies, here are a few more.  These are going with me to Fall In to sit on the table....

25mm (28mm) Battle Honors WWII Bersaglieri in European dress.  I like these guys, and through the years they have seen a fair share of campaigning.  The best thing about them is that in European uniforms, you can fight just about everyone else... Russians, Americans, British, Germans....  I typically mix the look of the uniforms, shades, colors of harness, which to my eye gives a better overall appearance than everyone exactly the same.  Included are a BH field gun team (which is not Bersaglieri), and a pair of Army Group North resin vehicles.  I still do not know why I chose to paint the Semovente in desert tan... maybe I thought of it as a vehicle that came back from North Africa...

25mm (28mm) West Wind Vietnam, VC and Americans.  I have a large number of Battle Honors Vietnam PAVN (NVA) and Americans which get on the table whenever I can.  When one of our club guys decided to sell these West Wind ones, I bought them up to run larger games.  At this time, I think I can go on with just my original Battle Honors stuff.  I use BH casualties, on a base painted red, for my suppression counters.

28mm Persians, mostly Foundry, with some Old Glory infantry and some Essex cavalry.  Years ago, we were gaming Chipco frequently, including for historical actions.  I was collecting a Carthaginian army and basing it for Chipco, and somewhere along the line traded a fellow gamer for a mound of Persian lead.  I painted these up very quickly, choosing bright alternating colors in large patterns over smaller, more detailed (but much harder to complete) patterns.  I think they turned out pretty well.  And at one time these guys saw a number of battles, managing to win more than they lost.
I used to have a Greek mercenary contingent, about 8 bases worth, but sold them several years ago.

These are all armies that need to march.  I have plenty of Vietnam stuff, plenty of WWII stuff, and no need for the Persians anymore (though gaming those ancients battles were a real blast).  I'd like to get back into 15mm Napoleonics, so I need to make room.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Army of the Four Winds

Howdie.  The past few months have been busy, filled with one small crisis after another, but I am hoping to get back into regular posts on Miniatures of Wrath.  To ease back into it, I thought I would share some photos and background on my last big fantasy project, which I stopped working on and gaming with about 8 years or so ago.  I gamed a Wood Elf army for Warhammer in the 80's, somewhere in the late 90's started playing Warhammer again, but was unsatisfied with the look of the old miniatures. 

Previously, my wood elves were painted in shades of green and brown, but I wanted something different.  After all, if the wood elves are rustics in tune with nature, they'd have some connection with the changing patterns of the world around them.  Taking some inspiration from Vivaldi's Four Seasons (one of my favorite compositions) I began to repaint Scarloc's Wood Elf Archers (the habitual core of my Warhammer army) with winter colors.  Then, I started to paint the supporting spears the same way... but redirected into bright fall colors.  And thus began the Army of the Four Winds...

I wanted to bring together all four seasons, dividing the army into units painted for each.  Here are some images of Scarloc's Winter Tempest....

Unfortunately, my camera tends to wash out the colors, these are really sharp looking.  Though I originally painted these for Warhammer, somewhere in the early 2000's I switched them over to group basing for Chipco Fantasy Rules.  Here is the supporting spears, Autumn Leaves Falling (yes, I gave specific names to each unit, nerd that I am)...

Summer of course was still represented, with this cavalry unit Sunlight on the Meadows (I know, the names, right?)...

Where I stopped was the second supporting spear unit, painted for spring, Silent Rain ...

Now, I did want to add some more strength to the army, so later on, I painted plastic High Elf archers, to go with some heavy cavalry.  The heavy cav would be visiting High Elf nobles or merchants, the archers are a stand of personal retinue and two stands of ships companies or marines.

Of course, being wood elves, they should find cooperation from their animal neighbors, at least those with the size and strength to assist.  From the old days, I had a couple of Grenadier giant eagles (Fantasy Warriors), though I lost one rider.  The rider below is not attached.  These never fit very well for me with the Warhammer army, but made great flying monsters for Chipco, as my Lords of the Skies.  I found a large scale toy Elk for a large Chipco monster, the Lord of the Forest.  I had a dragon that I was going to include as either the Lord of the Mountain or the Lord of the Lake but never repainted.  Also, I had an old Zoat Mage which I also never repainted (looks a bit shabby next to the rest), but included as a magical Chipco character.

There are a number of other bases of miniatures that I never repainted and am not showing here, as those old 80's paint jobs just don't cut it.  So my final images are of the Four Winds themselves...
the Winter North Wind
the Spring East Wind
the Summer South Wind, and
the Autumn West Wind
which I represented with scratch built chariots, using mostly Grenadier models for the crew.  The horses came from a a private collection that I purchased, and chose to use in creating the chariots.  These four chariots were a extremely effective strike force in "one" version of Warhammer for me, and continued to be a visual treat in Chipco.  So here are the Four Winds...

The Army of the Four Winds represent the epitome of my painting, and design theme ability.  It is the only theme army I created, and obviously I created it before I had children (ha!).... I can not believe that I could commit this time and energy into any new project again.  But it hasn't been gamed with in about 8 years, and has sat in storage for the past three years, so... I am taking this army with me to Fall In 2011.  Iron Ivan Games will have a vendor table in the dealer hall, and I will be trying to sell this army there.  Honestly, it will be a little sad to see them go... but I don't have much time for gaming anymore, and have made that dreaded decision to cut back and focus only on the games that I enjoy the most.

Thanks for sharing in my nostalgia, I hope that it was worth your time.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Highway to Hell: Soviets in Afghanistan

Howdie.  A few weeks ago, I shanghaied Dieter, one of our local club members, into squaring off with me in a "everyone loses" scenario (these are the kinds of scenarios I am best at) for Seek Out ,Close With, and Destroy.  A Soviet mixed column would have to fight their way through a valley controlled by Mujahideen.  The object for the Soviets was to exit the board... the object for the Mujah was to kill Soviets.

The Mujahideen had a partial hidden deployment where units were placed in certain areas as they activated on the first turn.  The Soviets had chances to spot some of these prior to game start, and were required to list their vehicle order secretly.  The Mujah nominated a specific point at which a command detonated bomb had been placed, and chose blindly which vehicle in order would be targeted.

Dieter chose the Mujahideen, I ended up with the Soviets.

The Soviets rolled poorly for spotting additional units, and the game was started with a bang as the command detonated mine ripped through a Soviet truck, completely annihilating it.  As the first Mujah activation, Dieter revealed his B-11 --the "B" stands for big, by the way :) -- and managed to acquire, hit, and destroy the lead vehicle, a BRDM-2. 

What followed was a mad scramble by the Soviets to deploy their infantry sections (out of the sitting duck targets of their BMP-2s) and begin to engage the Mujahideen that began to spring into action on all sides.  The Soviets took casualties, but they also dealt them out too.  A Mujah DShK team (a particularly dangerous weapon in this game) was depleted to the last gunner, but was never eliminated. Fortunately for the Soviets, that opening B-11 shot was it for them, as they were pinned throughout most of the rest of the game.
Here you see one Soviet infantry section crossing a shallow stream to engage the DsHK, with another section prepares to storm a Mujah held hill.  The Soviet command were engaged while still in their truck, and while the truck was not destroyed, they were pinned and bailed.  This forced me to choose another unit to act as command... I picked the rearmost infantry section (and they would remain in command for the rest of the game).

Here the Soviets begin to push forward.  That T-62 at the end of the column was missed once with an RPG-7, but was hit a total of three times by the same RPG-7 team... and somehow managed to survive!

Dieter's Mujah tracked the lead BMP-2 with an RPG-7, and pinned my "assault" section.  This, I did not enjoy.
Despite this, that infantry section did rally and storm that hill.  They caused considerable damage to the two Mujah units, but were eventually eliminated in a hail of gunfire from multiple directions.  I commend my opponent's use of angles... its something I routinely do in my gaming, but many gamers seem to lock into the four sides of the table, and tend to overlook angles of opportunity.  I must do something about this before I game Dieter again.... and never let him game a sniper.  He popped up his sniper and began shooting at my command section.  My command section stayed pinned, and eventually lost the Lt anyway... as well as a couple of other models.
Yes, here is that command section.... and the infantry section that was forced to step up.
That infantry section began to roll  up the Mujahideen defenders, and while the Soviets drained away, so too did the Mujahideen.  A later view of the game, showing large patches of empty space where models used to be...

Look, some of my enemy on the run!
In the end, there was no clear victor (we had a later start, and should have had 2 more turns completed before ending).  I thought the Mujahideen were winning, Dieter thought the Soviets were winning.  As he pointed out, we were both beset with hard decisions throughout, and that made for a tense and completely interesting game.  I think in final analysis, that it would have been harder for the Soviets to claim victory if Dieter could have gotten his B-11 back into action.  But it was a hell of a fun game for us... not so much fun for the forces involved.

Persian Gulf Wars: Iraqi Armor

Whoa son, has it been a busy month.  I have a number of catch up posts, and will be starting with my progress on the Iran Iraq War project.  Totally intimidated by the sheer volume of Iraqi infantry I need to paint up, I admittedly took the coward's path and started with the vehicles.

This was partly due to the fact that I have several diecast models, already fully painted and ready to go... and partly due to the fact that I like the multipurpose nature of my chosen vehicles and paint scheme.  For the majority of these, I have kept with a sand and green paint pattern that shows up on vehicles used by a number of different nations.  Specifically, I want most of these to also be usable by my 20mm 1980's era Soviets for fighting in Afghanistan.

If I ever want to get the chance to throw these on the table in a Seek Out, Close With, and Destroy game, I need to get a move on.... here is the entire Iraqi armor force, plus 3 uparmored Soviet BMP-2s that I painted at the same time, in the same paint pattern.  The BMP-2s are from Liberation, they are great models, BUT, I regret purchasing them as they are really only appropriate for use in Afghanistan.  I should have bought 3 standard BMP-2s instead.  Still, they are a useful addition to my Soviet forces.  Though this kind of thinking might seem like heresy to some, its a great way for a gamer on a limited budget to get the most out of his dollar (or euro or yen...).  So my Falklands British fight my 80's Soviets which fight my Mujahideen... and these vehicles can show up in more than one theater.  Pragmatic, maybe.  Cheap, definitely.

For the base coat, I used a desert yellow designed for hobby use.  The problem is that it is indeed yellow, I should have more of a whitish-tan.  Some extra paint applied improved the look, but its probably still too yellow.  They turned out well enough for the likes of me.

This next image shows the diecast component, including 3 T-55s from Hobbymaster, painted for Iraqi service already.  I may decide to paint over the Iraqi markings to make them more general purpose.  Also included are 4 T-72s from Forces of Valor, also painted for Iraqi service.  I did repaint one, with tan and green, which helps tie the group into the rest of the vehicles, and also gives me a vehicle to nominate for command function.  These T-72 models are really for later wars against American led coalitions, but they should do fine here in the 1980's.  In the war against Iran, the T-72s were formidable tanks, and the Iranians had difficulty fighting them.

To complete the lot are 2 T-62s, from Combat Ready, and my armored transports, 3 BMP-1s.  These two groups are very useful, and can show up in a number of places as needed... I think that I will need another group of transports eventually.  Maybe something specific to the Iraqis.

Any of these vehicles could show up in Iranian hands too, as captures... effectively doubling my Iranian vehicle pool.  The most likely candidates would be the T-55s and BMP-1s, I think the T-72s would be the least likely to be employed as captures.

Whew!   One step closer to completion.  Thanks for viewing... and look for some quick follow up entries on my Soviets.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

King of the Pumpkin Patch

... the Red Executioner, and a Coven Full of Witches. 

You painted an oven full of witches? 

A coven of witches, not an oven!

Part of the madness of my Horror project is that it has three distinct "scenes"...  I want to game 18th century Colonial America, established with the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the Salem Witch trials, and other period bumps in the night.  I also want to game late 19th century Gothic European style Horror, this being Dracula, Werewolves, and mad abominations.  Finally, I want to game the 1920's-1940's HP Lovecraft style Horror, the Things That Should Not Be.

All of the miniatures I select will fit into one of these three scenes.  For the Colonial America Horror, I have plenty of 28mm FIW and AWI miniatures to start me out.  Otherwise, there is plenty of work to do.  Last week, I painted three Ghouls, which conveniently can fit into all three of the scenes.  I ordered a few West Wind Gothic Horror packs, and a Blue Moon werewolf set.  Previously, I scoured my collection for miniatures that would fit into at least one of the three horror scenes, and have managed to paint up  a few more, and relocate several previously painted miniatures. 

The following seven miniatures were all part of a large personal collection of a local gamer I purchased years ago.  I sold off various elements of the collection, but certain miniatures stuck out, and I put them aside in case I could find a proper use for them.  Had a little time today, so managed to paint all seven.

These first three are "Bill Wavesword", the King of the Pumpkin Patch, and the Red Executioner. These being, an old OOP Citadel ghost (Travelling Players era), a model that looks like a Jack O Lantern's revenge (someone chime in if you know where this came from), and a Reaper miniature of a headsmen.  Bill Wavesword I painted quickly in an unoriginal but still effective way, making him look ethereal and non-threatening.  He could potentially fit in all three scenes.  The King on the other hand, looks all about the menace, and is going to be strictly limited to Colonial America.  Its a nice figure, the colors don't show very well in the photo.  For the executioner, I decided on dark brown flesh, and red leather instead of the typical pasty white skin and black leather.  This way, he can be fielded as a cult bravo, an exotic executioner, or even possibly a good guy monster hunter.  I think he could fit into the 1920's Horror scene, or as a Pulp character.

And here we have the Coven Full of Witches, also scrounged from that collection.  I am fairly certain these are West Wind's Storybook Witches.  They will definitely only fit into the Colonial America Horror scene... but, I like these old gals a lot.  They have character by the cauldron full.  I like the small details, like the spell components and pet cat (painted cream, as a black cat would blend in too much).  I did paint the witches with a base of Payne's Grey (being a very dark bluish grey), which doesn't come through the photo very well.  They look good in person.  Solid black from a distance doesn't look like anything.  My kids will love these, by the way.

The following 5 miniatures are all ones I previously painted for Fantasy gaming.  I decided to try to fit them into the Horror project.  The first two are a "spook" from RAFM and a Wraith from Reaper, definitely see a difference in style.  They will work as ghosts or other spirits, potentially in all three scenes.

 The last batch are three Reaper miniatures, a Green or Swamp Hag, Jean Du'Champ (I think?) Werewolf, and a Battle Nun Superior.  These remind me that in the old days, when I had more time, I could paint fairly well.  The Green Hag works as a more feral witch, she has potential for all three scenes, but more likely for the Colonial America or Gothic European.  The werewolf works anywhere.  The thing is, this model is much much smaller and finer detailed than the Blue Moon ones I ordered, I am looking at this model as a potential good guy shape shifter... we'll see.  And the Battle Nun is just a cool miniature.  Her weapons and armor are all Fantasy, but she has potential too, as a good guy monster hunter or Pulp heroine.

 So, the madness grows... Cold Wars is next weekend, we'll be attending.  Afterwards, I 'd like to get back to the Iran Iraq War project, but will continue to work in painting Horror figures as a break.  It's been fun so far.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls Night Out

...to eat meat, to eat flesh, its their destiny.

Ok, enough of the music backflash.  I planned on getting something else posted, but this weekend turned busy and brutal, and didn't get around to it.  Then, about three hours ago, a little before I started cooking dinner, I decided to grab a few miniatures and just do ANY painting on them.  What I grabbed were 3 Ghouls (well, 2 Ghouls and a Ghast) from Reaper that I bought years ago (like 7 maybe?).  These were sprayed with a grey paint, and have been shifted from one box to another since then. 

As part of a project I am working on, they recently were pulled from obscurity.  They were originally bought as monsters for D&D.  They now will serve as ghouls in a different setting.. the ghast filling in as a ghoul leader.

Like I said, three hours ago, interrupted while I started and finished cooking dinner.  Relied on very fast drybrushing for most of it, otherwise I never would have finished them tonight.  I did employ heavy washes of dark brown paint for the remnants of victims, followed by hilights of antique white for the bone and bright red for the bits of flesh left hanging on. Obligatory skin breechclout for one of the fellows, acquired green cloth breechclout for the leader.

I have not decided on the flocking (if any), I likely will wait until I have some other figures for this project finished before I choose the flocking... so they will appear more uniform.  Obviously not going to win and golden demons with these, but I was impressed I could work them up so quickly, and while occupied too!  BTW, luckily my wife saved dinner once when I almost let something cook over.  But otherwise, I completed dinner on time too.

These figures are very nice, the detail is solid.  For someone taking more time, these could turn out very well.  For me, the hardest thing to paint were the intestines.  I have seen gut piles before, there is something about that glistening grey-white tone that is very difficult to replicate with paint.  I ended up using a light bright blue mixed with a tiny bit of medium brown, and while not exactly right, its good enough for me.  In the images, the color is too close to the flesh of the Ghouls, but it looks distinct in the "flesh" so to speak.

And it looks like my new take on a light box is working better, but its still crude.

Thanks.... another project started!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Giants ... Lost and Found

As I slowly unpack, I continue to uncover and reclaim forgotten treasures.  Undoubtedly many of you out there have gone through the exact same process. Though this post is not terribly exciting, I thought I would share one set of miniatures I found again.  The Giants.

I used to game Warhammer frequently with friends, at homes, at stores, in basements, sometimes all night long.  Ahhh.. the energy of youth.  For Warhammer and D&D I collected all kinds of mythical creatures and monsters.  What I have here are three Giants, all of which for the time they were issued were quite large miniatures.  Many of the Giants in the early days were pretty small (note the paradox).... and of course these days you can find Giant miniatures that are enormous (note the redundancy).

These had been packed away, actually in storage at my previous home for a few years even before I moved, not exactly lost but certainly out of sight and mind.  I really have no use for them anymore, probably I will take them to Cold Wars and try to sell them, but before I do that, I wanted to look them over.

Here are the three Giants, flanked by two old GW Wood Elves (from the Scarloc's set) to give a sense of scale.

The miniature I had the longest was this Frost Giant, pretty sure this is a Ral Partha from the mid 80's I think.  At the time I was learning to paint, so accents and hilights are definitely missing here.    But its a decent model, has some action and menace in its pose, and is suitably large.

The next one is from Grenadier I think, a bit later.  Its sculpted well, but the pose is somewhat passive.  I think it is a Storm Giant, so possibly the pose is intentional, showing the Giant's magnanimous poise.  Its the heaviest of the three Giants.  I can see how I was experimenting with accents, some hilight, some drybrushing...

The last is a Giantess from Grenadier, part of the Fantasy Warrior line.  I don't remember, but I think it was part of the Amazon range for Fantasy Warrior.  Some of those were very nice, I liked the Amazons and Barbarians and Wood Elves... probably should have fielded an Amazon army.

Anyway, this is my favorite of the three Giants.  She is not sculpted "cheesecake sexy" which I think is a good thing.  There are some distortions to her proportions in some places (arms for example), but I like her pose, greatsword prepared for action.  The screaming face of rage is a nice touch, she looks like she is both ready and willing to fight any and all...  I still wasn't with the latest on painting skills, but its nice to see I was starting to dabble with the "gems and jewels" accents.

Now, digging out a couple of those Wood Elves has me rounding up the rest of that army (which is currently based for Fantasy Rules! from Chipco).  My good friend Doctor Merkury wants to help me out with my photography, some tips and maybe an actual light box.  Perhaps after that I can share some photos of the rest of the Wood Elves.