Sunday, 19 June 2022

Happy Father’s Day... (from?) some scrawny ratty boys:

And here they are again, in actual natural light:

The downside to which being every flaw on these secondhand miniatures that I stripped is more visible in this picture, but for 2 points a model I don’t think I’ll lose any sleep over that. Pretend that lump on the bell is a specifically modelled clapper, wouldn’t you?

When you add the singular model for this unit I’d previously painted (last year!), we get my second complete unit for the Road to the Old World challenge:

Being that they’re only Skavenslaves, this isn’t a huge amount of points out of what I need to paint - between this and my rat dart, the running total of painted Skaven is now 85 points. Still quite a way to get to 500… on the other hand, in painting this unit I’ve now painted more models than my opponent will have to for his whole army, so who’s the real winner here?

Painting these brings the Tally to:

44 vs 46 = -2

(and also brings me a huge leap closer to my annual challenge of painting at least 52 miniatures each year to average one a week)

Now having a proper unit to shove around, I thought I’d see about making a movement tray. I dug out some materials from the basement:

And, suitably fortified with coffee, after sketching out what I wanted (a square base, with a lip around the edge that I could hopefully fold up) I tested it using the actual unit, as my ability to produce squares is not always perfect):

Then I cut it out, and removed the corners to allow the excess ‘lip’ I’d allowed for to be folded up.

Now, in my planning I’d assumed I’d be able to gently score the plasticard, fold it up, then superglue the corners in place. In theory maybe, but in practice it was much less accommodating. A quick Google suggested that heat was the best way to bend plasticard, so off to the kettle I ran, much to my wife’s bemusement.

This however was also a non-starter, and I was largely just mangling this poor piece of plasticard. so I set about drying and flattening it back into shape (additional weights courtesy of my son):

Plan B: cut out some strips of plasticard that I can glue down to form the lip. Lesson learned from initial attempts at that though is you should cut the thin strips off of a whole sheet rather than trying to trim them out of a pre-cut piece, as tiny pieces of plasticard bend and slide under your metal ruler like there’s no tomorrow when you try and cut them. I’m tempted to use matchsticks instead, but worry that they will look even more shonky than my initial plans.

I could order some from Warbases, or crack open the single pack of Warhammer modular movement trays that I have stashed, but the thing holding me back from pulling the trigger on either of those is that I’m still undecided on whether I’m going to expand the units at a higher point value, and being that my modular movement trays are a finite resource I might end up using them up to make smaller bases than I end up needing…

What’s next? Probably more Skaven, although there might be a little palette cleanser or two in there as well. The next unit might get painted in smaller batches rather than all at once - I’d probably have done more detail and highlights on this unit if they weren’t such a big blob, where it got to the point where I was just glad to see the back of them on my painting tile. Maybe five at a time for the Clanrats? But then again, that’s pretty much what the plan was for these guys, before I got carried away…

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

The Protector of travelers in the night

 Moon Knight! He’s been prepped to paint for ages (I think since the Disney series was initially announced), but finally got finished this week, as the final episode of the aforementioned series is now out…

Which is surprising, given that he’s basically one colour. 

I’m not a huge fan of painting white, but have discovered the secret to this - paint it a very light grey and then use grey to shade it, before adding white to the mix to highlight, and it comes out looking not terrible!

Well, don’t look too closely at that cape as I describe it as not terrible, but you get what I mean.

The miniature itself is an old bendy Heroclix figure picked out of a bargain bin at Salute many years ago, mostly because of having seen the character in someone’s avatar many times over the years over on the LAF (you’ll know who I mean if you ever frequent that particular forum). In the years between buying the figure and actually painting it, I got round to reading a bunch of the Moon Knight comics (the Ellis and Lemire runs, and even the Max Bemis run) and found myself enjoying them. Now, on to paint one of his iconic enemies like… I don’t know, another Moon Knight? Some sort of mercenary? Some generic dudes? Maybe I’ll shelve that plan then…

The Tally:

15 vs 46 = -31

Next, back to that unit of Skaven I’ve been working on all this time, but still haven’t got ready to show…

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Something something Tosche Station something something power converters

As is tradition, I have painted my annual Star Wars miniature for May the Fourth:

Luke Skywalker from Imperial Assault, as I didn’t have a painted version of him yet. Don’t look too closely, when adding the finishing touches I managed to dip my paintbrush in my cup of tea, and while reeling from that he ended up incredibly cross-eyed. Perfect is the enemy of done though, as they say!

He’s a little chunky compared to some of the other miniatures in my Star Wars collection, but not so much as to be unusable I don’t think:

While I’d only planned to paint a single Star Wars mini this year, as is my way I find my plans expanding - I could do with painting R2D2 and C3P0 to round out the core gang from the original trilogy, and of course after watching a couple of actual plays on YouTube I’m now thinking about painting the rest of my Imperial Assault core set, but one thing at a time…

I’ve had a couple of mail drops since my last post too. First of all, a couple of eBay wins - some Hobbit goblins to use as ghouls in Frostgrave and Rangers of Shadow Deep, as my gnolls are goblins so it fits thematically having ghouls be messed up looking versions of those, and some old plastic dwarfs, as the lot included the Warhammer Quest Dwarf and a plastic Slayer that was missing from my collection:

They’ve since had a bath and are awaiting being prepped:

Also, I received a parcel from Joe of Zabadak’s Zombie World that requires some backstory. A few years back, one of the pillars of the blogging community was Vampifan, whose prodigious output was only matched by his enthusiasm for miniatures. Check out Vampifan’s world of the undead if you haven’t before, and marvel at the blog that was long an inspiration for many of us.

After years of multiple posts a week, Bryan/Vampifan suddenly stopped posting midway through December 2019. After a month, it turned out he’s been in hospital but was looking to be on the road to recovery, but unfortunately his next and final post revealed that he was unfortunately critically ill in a hospice, and said goodbye to us all.

I don’t know the full story of what happened, but Joe/Zabadak posted earlier this year that he’d saved a fraction of Bryan’s collection, and started a series of blog posts showing it off, including a number of things that I don’t remember ever having seen on the blog originally, as well as offering it up to anyone that could give them a good home. I expressed my interest in a  couple of items, and here’s what came:

As well as some Mordheim scenery, a selection of miniatures:

There’s also a zombie in there, that I want to get or make a small display for to keep as a memorial/memento, as it was Bryan’s (huge!) zombie collection that originally brought me to his blog.

Also, this graveyard piece, that will be perfect for fighting over once I’ve finished my current Skaven painting project:

Adding everything up, the new total for the Tally is:

14 vs 46 = -32

Next time: there’s a single figure that’s almost finished, then it’s back to batch painting a regiment of Skaven! They’re all base coated now, so it’s time to crack out the washes and dirty them up…

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Oh rats

I’ve completed the first proper unit for my ‘Road to the Old World’ challenge (for those of you that haven’t heard about it, it’s a slow grow escalation challenge to paint and play some classic tank and flank Warhammer ahead of the release of The Old World - there’s a Facebook group and a Reddit, if you want to join in!), a Skaven rat dart:

Excuse the lack of natural light which is making the pictures look more terrible than they do in real life. Look at that lovely classic pack master sculpt though, beautiful.

Considering that I need to paint close to a hundred models to fill out my 500 point starter list, I probably shouldn’t have done 3-4 layers on the fur and 4-6 on the skin, but I guess a speed painter I am not.

I may come back and add some vegetation to their bases at a later date, I’m still undecided. But for now they’re done, and take me up to a mighty 25 points painted, only 475 to go!

Finishing these also takes the Tally to:

13 vs -4 = +17

Next? Some slightly more involved sculpts, in greater quantities is the plan. I intend to break up painting the units with single figures to try and keep motivation up between batch painting, as well as having some off-project figures for when my attention span wanders towards something else. Batch painting is slow going currently though, as post-covid my energy isn’t what it previously was, so I’m generally able to base coat one part of three or four figures an evening, if I don’t fall asleep putting the children to bed…

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Oh Captain my captain

Finished off while I was waiting for washes to dry on other things this week is this:

Another beautiful Westfalia sculpt from the Kickstarter I backed a couple of years back, who is going to be the Captain in my Frostgrave warband.

I love everything about this sculpt, from the poised sculpt with fingers outstretched for balance, to the knife ready to throw, just a lovely model all round.

Annoyingly I’ve seemingly only managed to photograph the back of her well, but hopefully you can extrapolate from that what the paint job actually looks like.

I plan on running her through the ‘Alone in the Crypt’ scenario from Spellcaster magazine before she joins the warband proper, so still need to paint a couple more monsters before I’m ready for that. If anyone has a sprue of those blobby looking goblins from the Hobbit game in their trade pile let me know, I think they’d make ideal ghouls but don’t fancy buying a whole box of 36 of them…

In other news, the postman has also dropped off a new friend:

A converted Skaven model that the seller presumably snapped the whip off of to fit into the envelope. I mean I’d planned on cannibalising it for parts anyway, but still…

So between one painted Captain and one purchase, the Tally now stands at:

7 vs -4 = +11

Next time: Skaven and enemies for Alone in the Crypt, barring distractions!

Saturday, 19 March 2022

The adventures of Tim the Necromancer: Dark Alchemy 3

The one benefit to having a mild dose of the covid I’ve found is that I’ve been able to get a bunch of solo gaming in, as I managed to also complete the third and final scenario of the Dark Alchemy campaign this week.

I set up the 3x3 board with plenty of rubble and broken walls:

And selected some appropriate miniatures for the scenario specified foes, the Fire Flingers:

Normally, I’d want to make and paint a specific miniature for the required creatures for a scenario, potentially delaying getting to play for weeks, but this week I’ve just cracked on and played with what I’ve got. So, robots! The same can be said for the fire templates - after looking online, considering building some, I had my daughter colour me some instead:

This scenario started off much stronger than the previous two, as I was actually able to successfully Leap my Thief over to some treasure, but then normality resumed as I repeatedly failed to cast easy spells like Bone Dart throughout. Rather than standing there getting set on fire after another unsuccessful spell, Tim decided he’d rather get up close and personal with a robot, and promptly battered it:

On the other side of the board things were going much the same - the Thief ran to grab as much treasure as she could, dashing between two advancing defenders, while the Apprentice raised a zombie to draw the fire of the three robots bearing down on them:

Even using the gloves of casting he still had to cut to get the spell off, but if he hadn’t he and the Thief had just walked straight into a crossfire between three enemies…

Unfortunately things went less to plan when the first shot absolutely vaporised the zombie, but luckily ducking and diving prevents the Thief from taking any damage (while it turns out I can only roll low numbers for my gang when attacking, when defending I apparently am on fire this game).

As Tim reduces his opponent to a pile of scrap metal, he and his Apprentice resume their attempts to Bone Dart their foes. Unsuccessfully. I took Bone Dart because I had so much success with the first time I played at Salute, but given how little success I’m having with it now I wonder if it’s success was more nostalgia than memory!

Spurred on by his master’s success using martial rather than mystical arts, the Apprentice decided to try his hand at combat rather than getting blasted with fire:

Again, in a shocking turn of events he actually managed to land a mighty blow on the robot.
While all this is going on, the Thief is taking advantage of all of the enemies being distracted to hoover up treasure tokens:

Even if it was slightly hair-raising dodging between fire templates, hoping that we didn’t get unlucky enough for them to move and potentially hit the Thief, as if they got taken out I imagine the spill of Treasure Tokens would have been much like Sonic the Hedgehog spilling rings when he gets hit…

The Tracker at this point is now the main target for the robots’ ire, but much like the Thief seems to be successfully dodging every fireball (the dice were on my side this game when it came to defence - I think the only damage any of my models took all game was from unsuccessful spell casting). The Tracker continues to play hide and seek, popping out from behind walls to ineffectually plink arrows at the Fire Flingers.


Tim, not wanting to venture too far from the edge of the board for fear of being caught in the room when it exploded, goes to grab the second to last treasure. ‘Wait a second, I’m a wizard, I’ll raise a zombie to carry that for me’ he thinks, only to fail to do so on his first attempt. The next turn he succeeds though, and bravely (foolishly?) ventures towards the centre of the room to see if he can farm some more xp make the area safer by destroying some hazardous robots.

The Apprentice, seeing that time is running out, finally manages to blast the robot that he’s spent pretty much the whole game tangling with, and beats a hasty retreat out of the room, as do the Thief and Tracker, practically jingling with the amount of treasure that they have accrued. 

Tim attempts to destroy the last enemy at range, but unfortunately isn’t able to bring it down in one hit, and so has to leave the lone slightly confused robot as the room explodes.

So, much more successful than previous games, with no casualties and a decent haul of treasure! Alas no magic items or weapons this time, but I did get some more potions, and between the gold I found and what I made from selling a agrimonies that I found of a spell I already new (Control Undead) I have plenty of options for the future! 

So, what does the future hold? I’m a specialist down with the death of my Crossbow, and should probably hire an apothecary to get at least a little bit of healing into the warband, plus I want to hire a Captain, probably playing through the ‘Alone in the Crypt’ scenario with them before they can link up with the group…

Monday, 14 March 2022

The adventures of Tim the Necromancer: Dark Alchemy 2

After getting a positive lateral flow test this morning, I found myself at home rather than work, so while my son napped I ventured back into the frozen city for the second scenario of Dark Alchemy: Skeletal Run.

I set up the board as usual:

I had initially intended to model and paint some teleportation pads to play this scenario, but went with coloured beads in order to be able to play straight away.

I think I’m going to need to make some multi storey terrain and walkways in the future, but for the scenarios set underground like this mini campaign is what I have currently works perfectly.

Before starting, I ummed and ahhhed over whether I should be able to pick a base after the first scenario. Rules as written it’s a yes, even though it doesn’t necessarily tally narratively with being trapped underground - if you can’t cast out of game spells as you’re so pressed for time, how are you supposed to be able to nip back to your base? I chose a treasury as my base, and think of it as them finding hidden caches in this underground lab, that once they escape they’ll clear out and use as their secret base moving forwards, continuing to explore it to find a scrap of something worth selling to generate a handful of gold, and the occasional treasure. Rolling for my first income from my base, I roll a 20!

This is a magic item, which turns out to be Gloves of Casting, which should come in very handy given my habit of rolling very poorly.

My intrepid band of heroes made their way boldly up the centre of the table (figuring that it would keep the furthest from any suddenly appearing skeletons)

For the first spell of the game, Tim attempts to cast Strength on my Thug, which would make him as capable in a fight as the Knight that is having to sit out the rest of the mini campaign after getting knocked out last game. He even used his brand new Gloves of Casting, to make getting the spell off almost a sure thing and free up future turns for raising zombies and impressive displays of necromantic pyrotechnics. And then I rolled a 1.

Ah well, better luck next time. Tim managed to enhance the Thug with Strength before getting leapt on by a burning skeleton, but he quickly bops it with his staff. Plan A for Tim is always raise zombie (because it’s fun and easy to make friends when you’re a Necromancer), when I realise that there are two skeletons close enough together to get blasted by a Grenade spell. Which fails to go off, inevitably. Then so remember that one action each turn has to be a move, you can’t fight then cast a spell, so I take it back, but the failure still stings. 

Tim then raises a zombie between himself and the encroaching skeleton:

Which bundles forwards to fight and is instantly cut down, leaving Tim looking a bit panicked. In hindsight, I should have just left the zombie stood between Tim and his foe to tie it up for at least a turn, but I think I got carried away after my zombie performed so well last game…

Speaking of things in hindsight, my Thug that I’d cast Strength on to make him as good in a fight as the Knight that was KO’d last game after throwing him into a combat that he should have easily won, when thrown into a combat that he should easily have won was immediately smacked down to one health:

And then taken out of action due to the skeleton being on fire:

It’s only of it happens one more time that it becomes a tradition right? 

Everyone else continued getting bundled by skeletons, with Crossbow managing to win a fight and push off their opponent long enough to make a dash for it (only to get caught by a new skeleton unluckily appearing on the pad nearest to her), and Tim continuing to stave in skills with his staff, which seems to be more effective than his magic so far.  

At this point I suddenly remember that I have the spell Control Undead, which could turn an enemy into a friend, and roll a 1 to cast it. The next attempt is more successful though, allowing me to send a skeleton to help the crossbow that has been bundled by two skeletons. On her lonesome she is able to take out a skeleton, but supported by a controlled skeleton and Tim, the controlled skeleton is destroyed, and the crossbow gets knocked out too.

Several fights later, after it looks like I might have to cut and run in order for Tim to escape with his life, I manage to whittle down the remaining skeletons to the point where I’m able to control one to haul a treasure off the board, and then Tim is able to raise a zombie to use as bait for the remaining skeletons while he and the Tracker sweep up the remaining treasure tokens and then leg it off the board…

In the after game sequence, I realise that I did it wrong after the previous game - if I’d done it in the correct order, I wouldn’t have been able to learn Strength until after this game, so I removed things to correct this (not that Strength made any difference at all to this game, so I don’t feel like I gained a huge advantage). 

Rolling for injuries, between my Thug (free to replace) and my Crossbow (expensive specialist, model painted specially for this) which one do you think survived and which one died? That’s right, looks like I need to raise some more funds for when we get out of this labyrinth and replace a specialist… I had plans to hire an Apothecary too, maybe I should have done that from the beginning! 

After that sad turn of events, it was on to my favourite part of the post game sequence, rolling for treasure. This time I found another handful of gold, as well as a couple of pricy potions that I’m likely to hold onto far longer than I should, and a Grimoire of Control Construct, as apparently I rolled the exact same random spell as I did for the scroll I found after the first game. All else failing, I can probably sell off some stuff to fund getting a Captain, Apothecary, and replacing my Crossbow - maybe with that nice Barbarian sculpt I have primed, but on the other hand my experience so far seems to be that getting up close and personal with my enemies isn’t working out too well for me…

Plans for the future did initially look like playing the next scenario tomorrow, but then both my children tested positive too…