Friday, 20 April 2018

Gangs of (Just Outside) Rome

   While I have been doing a lot of work on my Napoleonic's recently, it doesn't mean that I have forgotten my other big projects for 2018 and Gangs of Rome is right near the top of the big 4. I have 4 gang members and 4 bases of mob already painted, I figured with a couple more gangers finished off I should be in a position to try out the rules.

Left to Right: Publius and Matida.


   With 2 more gang members painted up, I next turned to the scenery they would be fighting over. My Rome scenery collection is far below the required amount to play in the hustle and bustle of the Eternal City herself, so plan B (which was actually my plan A but don't tell anyone) was Gangs of (just outside) Rome, based around a villa estate. If years of watching Time Team has taught me anything, it is that a single villa does an estate not make, so a cheap Roman storehouse from Warbases later and it felt like I could put a convincing board together.



   So here we go, Gangs of (just outside) Rome;
   If I am learning a game by myself (i.e. my opponent doesn't know how to play either) I always simplify rules right down to the most basic level just so we can get a feel for the mechanics before adding the game's details back in, so that is what we did for our first game, no mob or denarii. Our first play through ended up (as the pictures will show) being a mass brawl in the middle which turned out to be fun, but ultimately unsatisfactory.




   I forgot to take photos of the second game but adding in the mob and some coins made a huge different to the game (and I am sure adding multiple levels and more buildings will change the game a lot more too), the mob, especially, are really good fun in the game.
   After trying the rules out at a couple of different complexities this feel like a great evening game, potentially working as a multiple player game too. The combat is bucket of dice fighting on both sides that can be pretty bloodless at times for the effort put in, but fighting and saving added to the pebble out of the bag mechanic mean that you never get a chance to sit down and wait for your opponent to do their thing, which I see as a good sign in a game.

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Off to capture a golden cockoo

   Hopefully, I'm not jumping the gun here but after spending Saturday painting an unit of British Napoleonic infantry, then spending Monday and Tuesday this week painting another unit, along with enough movement trays to keep me quiet for a while, means the Napoleonic section of my lead mountain is starting to look a bit sparse - the end feels in sight*.
   The unit below is another unit of plastic Warlord Games Peninsula War Napoleonic British from the South Essex Regiment, which now brings the total to 4 units of British Line.
*Dreading painting tartan when my highlanders turn up


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Monday, 16 April 2018

Odds and Sods IV - A New Hope

   With more job applications filled out and my man cave returned to it's hobby orientated previous existence complete with DVD playing laptop* and a proper daylight lamp which, all combined, has led to my painting motivation returning. One of the big things I wanted to do with my enforced time off, was to put some time into those 'dead' projects, the ones that when ever I talk to someone about I always say that I don't have the time for but aren't so far down my list that they are likely to just be sold on. These projects included, both, the big stuff - Sharp Practise armies - and the small, less useful, stuff - a storm trooper platoon for 40k.

*This is how I imagine the upper class live

   As I am sure I will mention in a future post, I was in Edinburgh for a weekend recently and one of the things we did while there was go into the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards museum ** and what a museum it turned out to be. So with two units of Highland Scots on their way from Front Rank Miniatures, it was high time I got some more infantry from the South Essex out of the way.
   I decided to paint just a single unit at a time, but upon realising that if I painted at least one more sgt I reckoned I would have enough troops to try a small test game of the rules, I instead added both the none private ranked models to the painting queue and got on with it. While most of my readership was out enjoying Salute, I was painting Napoleonic infantry, normally one of the things I hate doing, yet this time I found myself strangely enjoying the process and I genuinely don't know why.
   With 3 units of British infantry, a rifle unit and a multitude of higher ranks I reckon I have enough Brits painted to at least try the rules out, which is what I plan to do in the coming weeks, along with painting more troops.

**Which has a French eagle on display
 

   Next up, I step away from strictly useful painted models into pure fancy and because I wanted to territory. After going to Warhammer World for the first time in a good few years in 2016, I left with a strange sense that I had been too harsh to Fantasy Warhammer's replacement, Age of Sigmar, so in 2017 when I decided I wanted to spend the year trying as many rulesets as I could, to figure out what systems I actually liked playing the most, rather than just playing what I had always just played, it became obvious that a demo of AOS had to be in order and it turned out to be a brilliant ruleset. While getting an opponent wouldn't be hard - living walking distance from a GW store and driving distance from Wayland Games - it was also clear that to play the game regularly I would need to drop something else, so it went on the back burner as a 'play another day' project, however, this didn't mean it was 'dead', I still wanted to be in a position where when I decided to start playing I could pick up my army and just go. So, with a small list written I started buying models (generally second hand from eBay) and trying to get the list together.
   The Gryph Hounds aren't the last bits to paint but they were the ones I wasn't sure how I wanted to paint. I knew I wanted to match their colours to the army's infantry but it couldn't be a direct match as these are supposed to be natural***, living creatures, so the body is a much toned down blue, the feathers are a lighter blue than the Stormcast colours, while the ornamentation matches their armoured counterparts exactly.
***Natural magical


   Another model that has been on my desk for a long, long time is the Techpriest/Magos Dominus for either 40k or 30k. It started out as a bog standard 40k techpriest, it underwent minor conversion just to make it look different to the one I already had painted up, then after it was primed and waiting for my inspiration to get painted, I had a better plan.
   In the end the figure has had; his two handed axe reduced to a one handed weapon, been given a walking stick (the flesh is weak), upgraded his single servo arm to be a pair on his back and one on his arm and been given a rotating cannon on his shoulder.


Friday, 13 April 2018

Carrying on with Gangs of Rome

   My painting motivation hasn't been what it could be in recent weeks but I am turning a corner and spending more time at my painting desk and, while some of the bits have been completely off topic, I am trying to get on with some of the more important projects.

   First up, using my soon to be patented 'batch colour system' - this time white and blue, is another base of Roman mob. I think this base is entirely made up of figures from War Banner but I'm just not sure anymore.


   More importantly, I have also been trying to finish some gangers so I can try to get a game or two in to help motivate this project. I have quite enjoyed picking up the body I fancy working on, finding what the card says and building/painting the figure to fit, so in this batch Plautilla's description says that she always uses barbed arrows, so I knew the figure needed a bow.
  (Left to right: Manlius, Mastiff and Plautilla)


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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Holiday Villa In The Sun

   Gangs of Rome has fallen by the wayside a bit, but to be fair, a lot of projects have fallen as my hobby motivation has slowed down in recent weeks. This post is about the Warbases Roman Villa that I picked up when Gangs of Rome was announced and before Sarissa's involvement was announced.


   This villa was a model I had been trying to find an excuse to buy since I had first seen it unveiled on Warbases' blog as it looked like every villa (that wasn't a H shape) that Time Team ever dug and that was an important thing.
   I kept the painting simple using spray cans, as I suspect I will need to do a lot of buildings for GoR and I wanted it to be easy to replicate the process.




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Friday, 30 March 2018

Batman Miniature Game

   This is another of those odd posts where I talk about models that have been painted for ages (a good 2-3 years in this case) but for some reason missed my blog first time round.
   The Batman Miniatures game is a game that I knew I was going to buy into the moment I saw the models, then the more I saw Michael Awdry mucking about with the game the more carried away I got. I suspect the models missed my blog as I was trying to do a full gang post for each side and it just slipped by when they were finally finished. From being finished, each model went into a foam case and that's where they lived while I tried to get some scenery finished.


   I had been reading the various Batman series' since the New 52 started coming out - it felt like a good jumping on point - focussing on Batman, Nightwing and Batgirl, so I knew what figures to pick up. The coolest Batman figure I could find, a Robin (Damien) and Nightwing as a replacement Batman, then some cops to get some extra bodies. Albert was free when I bought the rulebook.





   Then I needed a bad guy and Bane felt like a good opponent. When painting him and building his crew I wanted a colour scheme to unite them and allow me to reuse them into other crews if I expanded my collection, so I kept the scheme as one of two things; prison orange or black and urban camo.



   In the last week or so I have been trying to cull my collection and while talking about this game to one of my mates, it dawned on me that I had spent all the time and money on getting two crews together and yet I had never actually played it. So the two of us set about trying to fix that. 
   As it was our first game we kept the crew numbers small (3 a piece) and reputation low - named character and two generics to add bodies, then proceeded to blunder our way through the rules. The sides were: Nightwing and two cops (one had a taser) vs Bane and two prisoners (one had double handguns). While we definitely got rules wrong, especially in the first game, we picked up more of the nuances as we went on to the point I think we were pretty close to how the game is supposed to run.
   As this game was on the cull list (not having been played and being an easy list of models to shift) playing a game was designed to be the play or sell designator and I, have to say, I think the Batman Miniature Game has saved itself. While it won't see the table as often as some of my other games and I doubt I will be investing in many (if any) more figures for it, the game was really good fun and that was with minimal crews.



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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

From the darkness they came

   I have been playing in a Battlefleet Gothic campaign most Mondays for the last 5 or 6 months, using my Eldar fleet (which hasn't yet made it onto this blog) but some heavy losses early on and because of the way the campaign system adds ships to your fleet, I have been unable to expand my fleet back to a sensible size and be a good opponent (I would need to literally set up and fly off the board for 4-5 games in a row which isn't fair if you have made someone drive half hour to do that), so the decision was made that my craftworld had achieved whatever it had set out to do and had vanished back into the darkness of space.
   This left me without a fleet in the campaign. The other three fleets are Orks, Tyranids and Imperial Navy, which left me playing with either my unpainted Chaos or my Space Marines. So to get me painting, I chose my Chaos fleet.

   In the novels Chaos fleets are always described completely differently to their Imperial counterparts. The Navy is described as a well oiled (if overstretched), disciplined force comprised of ships of similar designs and in a uniformed colour, Chaos on the other hand are described as a riot of colours, with next to no discipline and always on the verge of self imploding. Each ship is controlled by it's own warlord with it's own warband, uniting either for a common cause or out of fear of a more powerful warlord, so this is what I wanted to do with my fleet.


   The fleet has been bought in my normal style (for BFG fleets), which is the odd ship or two whenever they are well below the normal asking price. This has meant that I have had little choice in which ships I have picked up and I have had to drill new flying base holes in nearly all of them.
   In conjunction with buying the ships slowly I have also been painting them slowly, whenever the inspiration struck - which I will go over on each ship below.

My Nurgle ship - Cradle of Corruption - was converted and painted when the 8th edition of Warhammer 40k was released. Seeing the Deathguard colour scheme in the starter box gave me an idea, so I hunted down the painting video on the GW website and converted a ship to fit. The conversion was pretty simple, I swapped a couple of the guns out for missile launcher looking parts (that I got in a mixed pack on eBay) and cut some OO railway 'apples' in half and stuck on to simulate boils. 

A few 40k novels describe some chaos ships as being so corrupted they aren't even the domain of a warlord and his warband, while not being true daemon ships. These ships attack from nowhere filling all vox channels with their name screamed over and over to break the resolve of their target. This one is named on their theme - Kill! Maim! - and I have painted it with a rusted metal look (I don't see it going to the dry docks that often) but kept a bit on the colour on the prow to make it look less like I haven't finished it. 

 My first battleship is a Sons of Horus ship - Malign Eye - by the time of 40k all SoH warbands have been rolled into the Black Legion (Abbadon has been quite forceful in this) but I was mid way through my 30k SoH and was enjoying the colour scheme, so I did it anyway. The only conversion was a brass eye of Horus on the prow.

My Emperor's Children cruiser - The Favourite Son - is my most recent conversion. Again, a weapon swap to change the profile and some Dark Angel head wings on the bridge seemed to do the job.

The Nightlord's ship - The Last Breath - was my first conversion while reading The Red Tithe (which features one in the novel). As it was my first conversion I kept it simple, a small skull filled to fit the prow and wings taken from a Nightlord helmet to fit the theme.

The Word Bearer's themed ship - Divine Truth - was my way of breaking out of the constant stream of bronze/gold details on the ships. No conversion but I enjoyed painting it.

The bulk of my fleet is made of a single warband (the colours of my chaos army in 40k) with the ships - Dawn of Khaz'dul, Crimson Glory, The Cloven Hoof and The Black Gate. Again, no conversion work and simple colour schemes but they help unite my fleet a bit more.
 
   Sadly, this fleet isn't doing a whole lot better than my Eldar did in the campaign as I am so far behind now but it has been a good bit of motivation to get paint on ships, however, there are still ships to go!

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