Sunday 23 April 2023

Salute 2023!

So, after a long time away (having not been since 2018, as in 2019 my son’s due date was the same time as Salute, so I skipped it, and then a global pandemic made it tricky to attend large gatherings) this year we were back to our annual pilgrimage to Salute, this time with an additional party member, my oft-alluded to friend that derails all my projects by showing me cool stuff (see Rangers of Shadow Deep, Inquisitor…)

Said friend drove us up to Canary Wharf, so this year was a much less bleary eyed trip than our usual break of dawn coach! 

After spending almost no time at all queueing, we paired off and started our preliminary tour of the stands. I wanted to run straight to Mantic to make sure I was able to secure the show exclusive Hellboy release, and then signed up to play a game of Silver Bayonet, as it’s on the project list:

I ended up taking the Russian unit, by dint of them being closest to me when it was time for our slot to begin at 10:30:

(This is before I’d annotated the sheet with brief descriptions of each model so I knew who was who, and also what colour we were using for the skill and power dice)

After we’d had the rules and scenario (troll bridge, with a hint of zombie villagers) explained to us (as three of us had never played before), it was time to begin! Everyone else made cautious advances on the objectives, hugging cover, but I figured it was the time for guts and glory and threw everyone bar my rifleman forward (who hung back and managed to land a fairly telling hit on my friend’s officer - I felt kind of bad about that, but he was the only figure he could see!)

My poor Light Cavalryman (who had so far mostly been tasked with standing in front of my Officer as a human shield, as he was the only one of my pistol armed troops that didn’t also have oil and torches, which I suspected might be handy against a troll) was then tasked with grabbing the clue marker, which of course brought the troll into play:

From this point on my only objective was to take down that troll. My rifleman popped out to snipe it, and everyone else cocked their pistols menacingly. My Officer had originally planned to shoot it before charging in heroically to slay it in hand to hand, but then I remembered that the icy river was difficult terrain so he’d have to forego his shot to have any chance of reaching it, so instead rather sheepishly moved behind the Light Cavalryman to prepare for a slightly less courageous but slightly more tactically sound counterattack next turn. Which was probably for the best, as the troll hurled a rock at the Light Cavalryman which (thanks to my opponents on the other side of the board spending Monster Dice) absolutely exploded him (cue ‘Team Rocket blasting off againnnnn’ quote as I remove him from the board).

While all this was going on, the players on the other side of the board controlling the French and Austrian units were cautiously closing on each other, with an Occultist doing their spooky thing whilst a Dhampir charged in to fight the opposing officer only to bounce off. My friend (controlling the Prussian unit), was much more tactical than I was, using cover and tactics to try and swoop in and steal my kill:

As the guy running the game explained, it’s not who does the most damage to the troll that gets the XP…

At this point, with my counterattack poised and ready to take down the troll, our slot came to and end, and I found out I’d have only needed to do 4 more damage to have finished it off! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and so Silver Bayonet might see a little bump up in priority up the Project list… one brief highlight was looking up during the game to see the designer Joseph McCullough watching us play, so I gave him an excited thumbs up! Also, that troll was quite a nice looking miniature… 

They also had a copy of the first expansion on hand, despite it not being out until next month, but I only managed to have the briefest of flicks through it after chatting with one of the other players before we had to head off to make space for the next batch of players.

Once we’d finished our game, it was time to do the rounds! The original plan was to do a lap first of all to scope things out, before swinging back to select stalls, but in the end we’d only seen about half of them by the time we stopped for lunch, and then rest took us pretty much to the end of the day! I was apparently also bad at taking pictures throughout the day, having a chum to chat to as I went round rather than my usual lone wolf approach, so what follows is only a tiny fraction of the goodies on offer at Salute.

There was a glorious Mordheim table, complete with glowing comet crater, and a ton of cool looking warbands:

Not bad for a game that’s been out of print for two decades!

Brief aside: every year, the tradition is that we have a picnic lunch sat on the grassy area just outside the Excel centre. Alas, this year we discovered that it was now a building site:

Bad Squiddo released a giant squid that is frankly impressive that it all fits in the blister:

I took a picture of this Batman game, as we were reminiscing about a previous Salute where I and another friend got overly excited and made a number of elaborate plans (and purchases!) for the Batman Miniatures Game. There have been multiple editions of that game since, and we’ve still not managed to play a game of it…

Giant barrel of dice:

The guy at the stand cut me a great deal on the fistful of dice I had at the end of the show!

Other things of note were thinking that I’d somehow missed the Hasslefree stand, only upon hunting it down after lunch to discover that they weren’t at the show (which outs a dampener on my plans for May the Fourth!) , and having a nice chat with Karl at Crooked Dice about plans for filling in gaps in their range, and the Doctor Who Miniatures Game (must remember to email him about that Preachers pdf!)

And so, to the meat of any Salute post, the loot: 

I took out a chunk of cash in the morning, to avoid having to deal with the terrible signal at the show and also for budgeting, which I only went slightly over.

I got:

The Limited Edition Lobster Johnson for the Hellboy game
A variety of scenery bits from Renedra, including an old barn and some fencing that I thought would work nicely as Mordheim walkways without their fence posts,
A sprue of Napoleonic Brits to round out my Silver Bayonet unit
A Frostgrave ruler, offered in consolation when I asked if there were Wizard Sheets for Second Edition and there weren’t
Some new clippers from TTCombat, as my GW ones have vanished and replacing them is insanely priced, as well as a pot of reasonably priced superglue
Plenty of Crooked Dice minis to fill gaps in my Who collection
A blister of Penangalan miniatures, as they’ll do nicely for my Ronin of Shadow Deep project
A 3d printed greenhouse to go with the set of gardening supplies that I’d picked up from Bad Squiddo
The same troll miniature that had been used in the Silver Bayonet game that I played in,
Some dice, including one with a rubber duck in,
Some bases, because I seem to have run down my stash of those,
A selection of minis from Tritex Games for my son to paint,
A not-who set from Tangent Miniatures that came with a song,
A selection of Burrows and Badgers miniatures to see if my daughter is ready to take the step up to metal miniatures and maybe play some games,
Amongst a number of other odds and ends!

Adding it all up, the Tally now stands at:

11 vs 41 = -30

Also noteworthy was grabbing Pat from the YouTube channel The Painting Phase as he was minding his own business doing some shopping to tell him how great I think the channel is, me being offered a peg:

Which got me a querying look from my wife when I posted on Instagram that I’d been pegged…

So, what does the future hold? Fortunately, due to the excitement of having miniatures that are explicitly his my son demanded that we do some painting today, so I was able to prep a couple of miniatures for painting at the same time…

Monday 17 April 2023

Urban decay vol 1

As my Last Days campaign moves out of the forest and into the city, I realised I’d need a city! While the buildings themselves are less progressed than I might have hoped, I have managed to finish off some scatter terrain for the April game:

A nice mix of blocking terrain and detail bits to busy up a board and make it look a bit more lived in. I’ve got a bunch of fantasy scatter terrain, but until now my modern scenery was somewhat lacking.

The cars are from the Walking Dead game that Mantic used to produce, and are a wonderful example of weathering making everything better - they were looking pretty ropey at the base coat stage, but a grubby wash and a lot of dabbing at things with sponges worked wonders!

The bins on the left I believe are from Fenris, and have been basecoated for lord knows how long, but I imagine it’s somewhere between ten and fifteen years ago! The big bin on the right is a Heroclix accessory, from a kit that I definitely won’t be picking up another of having seen the price of it on eBay!

These are a mix - the door barricade is from Mantic’s Mars Attack game, and while slightly smaller scaled than everything else isn’t so much smaller that it’s unusable. The washing machine is from Black Cat Bases, and I think the cones are too - a number of them are mildly miscast, but I quite like the additional character it gives to them, making them look worn and used! 

One last bit of (completely unnecessary) detailing:

There’s absolutely no reason for it, and it would have been fine to be finished without it, but it’s the sort of thing that makes me smile!

Saturday 8 April 2023

Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann…

As longtime readers will know, one of my many ongoing projects is a solo Frostgrave campaign. After the death of my crossbow specialist whilst running through the Dark Alchemy, while the sensible thing might be to replace them with another sniper sort to pick off enemies from a safe distance, I really really like this barbarian miniature from the official Frostgrave range:

What a glorious sculpt! I went with striped trousers, to give her a little gaul-ish flair, and you can just about make out my shonky attempts at tattoos using a micron pen in the picture (she also has triangular designs on the shaved dodge of her head).

Ugh, there’s pictures aren’t the greatest, but they were taken nearly a week ago so she’s safely put away in the fantasy minis box so they’ll have to do for now. Looking at the sword, I wonder if my GW metallic paints have seen better days, and wonder if I should branch out to another brand…

Completing her brings the Tally to:

11 vs 10 = +1

And accompanied by an apothecary that I’ll use a previously painted miniature for should take Tim the Necromancer’s warband back up to full strength. While the initial plan was to tackle the solo campaign in Perilous Dark, I’m tempted to play an interim scenario that doesn’t need me to build and paint an entire set of monsters before I can play it - while I love them all, one downside to Frostgrave solo scenarios is that you often need to make a bunch of monsters like Vapour snakes that you may never use again…

Thursday 6 April 2023

Sage advice

And now for something completely different…

The same chum that I challenged to paint a 500 point Warhammer army, having finished that (as he only had to paint 18 miniatures, whereas I’m 40 odd in and only about halfway finished) messaged me asking if I’d heard of Inq28. I tried getting something similar off the ground a couple of years back with little success, but am always game for a new project, so popped some paint onto this mini that had been languishing in the painting queue for a few years:

It’s one of my favourite of all the miniatures released for 40k, as it’s such a simple yet characterful miniature, as well as being a non-combatant, which is rare enough in and off itself!

With him painted, the Tally moves to:

10 vs 10 = +0

And let’s me take this family photo of all my completed Inquisitorail henchmen so far:

My chum also sent me a link to Acolyte, a fan made rule set that uses the Kill Team rules with a heavy sprinkling of Rangers of Shadow Deep to make a campaign based game. While I love everything about that, in it’s intended form it’s about an Inquisitor’s acolyte and some generic mooks getting into scrapes, whereas I’m after something that lets you use some of the more interesting things, so I’m going to adapt it a bit:

The plan is to expand the variety of henchmen that can be taken, whilst also leaving them generic enough that they can be used to represent a variety of character archetypes - so, you’d have mostly generic henchmen:

Canid - dog!

Frateris - a close quarters mook, that can represent zealots, mutants etc (maybe I should write some mutation rules?)

Militia - same as the Frateris, but for shooting, for making guardsmen, gangers etc

Combat servitor - does what it says on the tin, but can also be used to make pit slaves etc

Sage - you’d select when creating whether it would be a savant (non combatant that gets bonuses to completing mission objectives) or a chirurgeon (medic!)

Familiar - cherubim etc - not sure if this should be a character or a piece of equipment though truth be told…

As well as a limited number (two?) of specialists:

Sororitas: choose whether they’re close combat or ranged (with accordingly different skills, stats etc) on creation to make repentia or sisters

Arco flagellant: can represent chrono gladiators etc

Xenos - basically just choose one from another kill team! Open to abuse, but don’t play with the sort of person that would do that rather than using it because they want to put something cool in their warband…

Assassin - death cult ftw!

Gunner - militia, but with a special weapon

Which is pretty much all I have so far. Most stat lines are adapted from other stuff in Kill Team, although I need to work something out for the Sage. I’m tempted to add more, like mechanicus and daemonhosts and rogue traders and all the other cool stuff from the old rulebook, but I think that might be overkill for this level of play - essentially an inquisitors favoured pupil being sent on errands with a few of masters resources. On the other hand, my co-conspirator has built a model to represent a blank, so I should probably work out a way to make that work!

Monday 3 April 2023

Quarantine zone scenery

As featured in my last post, I’ve completed a set of modern ruins:

Cast your mind back to March of 2020. I had my copy of Zona Alfa, and dug out this set of Mars Attacks ruins that I’d previously bought from North Star’s Bargain Basement. I’d seen people jazz them up (on Borthwick Family site and especially this article on Tabletop Terrain) and so set about making a green stuff stamp to fill in the connector holes in the walls:

I cut a notch out of the stamp for ease of alignment:

And before long I’d churned out a bunch of wall pieces:

I’m sure you could make a perfectly serviceable set of terrain using the connectors as intended, but I preferred the look of this style, less ‘kit-like’.

Then it was just a case of making some ruins on rectangular bases that I’d cut out.

Not all of the wall pieces aligned perfectly, so I took this as an opportunity to add some more character by making the ruins extra ruined! Using the brickwork as a guide, I cut down corners here and there, and cut in some extra detail.

I also cut out all of the broken glass, as I figured I’d do something else for that rather than trying to create the effect with paint.

At this point, we went into the first lockdown. In the days before it was announced, my wife stocked up on vital supplies while I was at work, such as foam board (as I’d been watching a lot of YouTube videos on making Mordheim terrain, and planned on going back to that as a lockdown project alongside Zona Alfa).

So, finding myself with a sudden glut of free time (when we weren’t homeschooling, but that’s a whole other story), inset about continuing to make my ruins for Zona Alfa. I cut down plasticard strips to cover some of the joins:

Which wound up looking like this:

Then I added detailing, like carved cork to represent broken concrete floors, and using coffee stirrers to make broken floorboards:

I only did broken floorboards on one of the buildings, but I wish I’d done more in hindsight, as they came out looking pretty nice once I’d painted them!

I also decided that I wanted to add some rubble to make them look more ruined (although not so much that they weren’t playable wargame terrain). So, I spent an evening watching the Witcher and cutting tiny bricks out of cork sheet:

I wasn’t too particular about size, cutting by eye rather than making fully identical bricks. As a side note, I wildly overestimated how many I would need, and am still using up this supply of tiny bricks on modelling projects three years later!

Once I’d cut plenty of these, I then made up some rubble paste, using a mix of cork bricks, sand, crushed eggshell, filler, paint and glue:

Which I then globbed onto my bases in artfully arranged mounds like so:

I also added piles of bricks and other cork debris here and there, before finishing off the bases with a mix of sand like usual.

I have zero recollection what I was doing in this next picture, which is included purely as a historical record:

As my daughter paints a birdhouse in the background, I’m assuming that’s a dilute mixture of glue and paint, but to what end? 

Then it was a case of undercoating in the garden ready for painting:

Ahh, those sunny days in the garden during the start of lockdown. The only issue being, during one of these mornings while I was sat in the garden sketching some ideas for Mordheim terrain, a buddy (the same one that I challenged to paint a 500 point Warhammer army) introduced me to Rangers of Shadow Deep and threw off all my plans as that became my lockdown project as my focus swung to solo gaming…

Fast forward two and a half years. 

Deciding to play a year-long Last Days campaign, I thought I needed some city terrain for my band of survivors to battle zombies in. Figuring it would take a long time to make a whole city, I decided to finish off these pieces to tide me over until I made some other pieces, rationalising it as the ruined outskirts of the city where the government had bombed in the hopes of stemming the advance of the undead and creating a quarantine zone. 

So I set about painting them up with mostly Wilko tester pots and some heavy applications of homemade wash (a la Skankgame), a process that I apparently took zero pictures of.

Then came the least useful but also most vital bit of work on a piece of tabletop terrain: adding tiny broken glass from cut down blister packaging:

Entirely impractical (and to tell the truth the smaller piece on the above picture has already been lost) but they just look so cool!

I mean look at this:

Some grubby wash over the windows completed the effect, and then I had great fun seething up some poses shots to show them off:

To quote an old poorly translated advert that my wife and I still quote today “you can use it multipurpose”!

And as you’ve seen, they’ve already had their first outing in the Last Days campaign, so they’re definitely fit for purpose.

As well as finishing off long overdue terrain projects, the tally also took a hit as I won a twitter giveaway organised by @art_renewed, so am now the proud owner of the old school Commisar Yarrick sculpt:

Which brings the Tally to:

9 vs 10 = -1

But don’t worry, we’ll be back in the black soon enough…