31 May 2011

Warband Progress

Rollo The Frenzied and his warband have returned to Daneland after the recent raiding expedition to England (see here).  You may recall that while the overall battle went to plan, the Vikings suffered higher than comfortable casualties.  As a result, funeral pyres were built for Olaf the Crazed (my Berserker, shot through the throat with an arrow), and the Huscarl Osten.  Truly they fell in battle and are now in Valhalla - Odinn be praised!

During the battle, Rollo had taken charge of the party that ensured Victory by taking control of the bridge and cutting off the Saxon line of retreat.  A cunning stratagem which unfortunately this kept him pretty much out of the fray so experience wise he didn't get much, but did get to 10 Renown for the Victory.  Warband Champion Sven was well in there though and made a Level 2 Hero, and shield maiden Valaria Olafdottir was the most valuable raider with four scalps to her credit (and now leads the butality leaderboard).

In winning the field we were able to loot the Saxon dead and strip them of weapons and armour, and the haul from the village wasn't bad either (we sold the loot in Denmark).  When split evenly between the warbands we got 145 pieces of hacksilver each.  For my own, after paying the upkeep this was invested in hiring Offa (a replacement Berzerker) and Kol (a Huscarl), banking the rest.  As soon as he can rise the silver, Rollo is keen to hire a second Champion and second Berzerker (he can have 2 of each now he has reached 10 Renown).

The Lad simialrly reinvested in his Warband but had less casualties to replace.  He bought up on a new Champion and his gear, and bought helmets for a few of his Lads who had been going without.

So rested and replenished, the Lads are setting sail again this Saturday to raid another English town, and this one has a mighty fine looking Church too...

30 May 2011

Saxon Church - WIP 3

I'm now working to a deadline to have this ready for a game this weekend.  I find a deadline always boosts my productivity, but sometimes the details can suffer as a consequence.  Anyhow, painting is progressing and while I'm happy with how its coming out, its a lot grungier than I had expected.  Then again, this IS the Dark Ages I suppose...
Painting - antique white hobby acrylic on all wattle/daub surfaces, then a brown sepia style wash and an antique drybrush on top.  Wood was done in German Camo brown, then drybrushed with Ochre (no drybrushing completed when these pics were taken)

Thatch roofing (not shown here obviously) - focused on the edging, which is quite fiddly, and now starting the front entrance roof .

Haven't started the base yet, or any internal detailing - to be honest they won't get done to the level of quality I will be happy with by Sat, so I'll skip them to focus on having the externals done and do the insides another day.

The biggest issue with a project like this is all the drying time the thatched roof requires - at least five different coats/layers/edges with at least a day to dry between each.  I'm on schedule for Saturday though!

Find Part 2 here: http://tasmancave.blogspot.com/2011/05/saxon-church-wip-2.html
and Part 1 here: http://tasmancave.blogspot.com/2011/05/saxon-church-wip-1.html

29 May 2011

Viking Trilogy

Just finished reading this series; Odinn's Child, Sworn Brother and King's Man, by Tim Severin.

Basically its a saga about one man's journeys around the turn of the millennium.  Focused mainly in the Norse world, he also travels across most of Dark Ages Europe from Ireland to Constantinople/Miklagard.  I admit it took me awhile to get into these books, but one I did I really enjoyed them.  Its a series much more focused on the cultures of the times, as opposed to a running thread of battle sequences, and the main character finds himself at the centre of the most significant events of the age (like Flashman, but without the comedic and cad-like behaviour!) .

If that sounds appealing to you then I recommend these books.  Read more about them here: http://www.timseverin.net/viking.html

28 May 2011

Building terrain boards

At the moment I'm using a veteran GW gaming mat (which has never had a GW game played on it...) but I've always had a hankering to make some terrain boards.  Storage is the main problem for me, though I might do a limited project, with modified ones for build up a coastal line.

At any rate there is a very good step-by step tutorial here:

and some more great hints and planning ideas here:

Looks like a good project  NOT do in the lounge room then....

27 May 2011

Dark Age fortified village

As I continue to add to my Dark Ages village, I know that in due course I want it to be fortified to resist those pesky marauders who keep appearing.  I'm prioritising on the Church and a longship first, but in due course it will happen.

I was therefore delighted to find this rather wonderful step by step WIP of a Dark Ages fortified Celt village - very inspiring!  Its diorama style is too cluttered for gaming on as it is, but there is some wonderful detailing in it and I particularly like the half built hut.

Perhaps if I give up work I'll have time to build all things I want to!

26 May 2011

Dark Age casualty bases

These ones are by 'mikeygees' at TMP - beautifully cinematic aren't they!  More for my 'to do' list...

24 May 2011

75,000 Hits

Thanks all- the comments and clicks keep up the motivation! Cheers!

23 May 2011

Ambush at Bruthweald - Part 2

See Part 1 of this Battle Report for scenario, terrain setup and objectives here

To start the engagement, Lord Uhtred led the Saxons across the bridge, intent on destroying the hated foe in the village (click for bigger pics.  Note: Sorry about the pics - there was a blackout when we played the game, so the lighting wasn't very good.))

The Vikings setup with some initial forces pushing around the looted baggage, with some men, including the sorcerer, in cover.

With the Viking reinforcements hidden in the woods to the south, the Vikingr could only steel themselves to absorb the fury of the initial Saxon rush

All did not go so well for the Northmen this time, with several men crushed by superior Saxon numbers.  Even the sorcerer went down with a spear in his gullet.  Then the sound of war horns drew everyone's attention to the woods as a ragged but fearsome line of raiders emerged:

Closing time at the Pubs pushed Olaf's lads out into the cold - and they were angry!
ooh-err: thats a whopper!  The raven banner flies proudly as the Northmen spring their trap

But the Saxons had time to redeploy to meet the oncoming foe, especially as the charge was slowed by the crop fields.  Several more viking were felled by arrows including a fearsome Berserk;
Its only a few measly Saxons lads- have at 'em!
Hmmm...there seems to be a few less of here now...
Meanwhile, the Lad had an archer up next to the Church who was giving a rather remarkable demonstration - he felled four archers  with his arrows - an hitherto unseen lethality at medium to long range.  Ken had dispatched a trio of men to investigate the mysterious statue in the forest.
Cthulhu fhtagn!
Upon arrival, they searched for valuables, but in gazing upon the old one's visage, their minds were assaulted by unspeakable horror - one cracked up, one gained berserk fury, and the other is now mildly insane! (we rolled on the psychological war wounds table for each!)  However, they did gain a valuable artifact (a small Cthulhu idol) to add to the raid booty.

Back at the main line of battle, some of my warband shifted to the left flank to take the bridge, cutting off the Saxons retreat, and all became a whirling swirl of melee.
Hack-Slash-Chop: a good day out in the Dark Ages!
The Battle as seen from Chapel Hill (note the idol on the wagon on the extreme left)
But with their retreat cut off, and being pressed form both sides, the Saxons broke and dispersed into the swamps.  They had bloodied the Vikings but failed to drive them off, but at least the Church was intact.
As the so-called Arthur King would later say: Run Away!
Meanwhile the Vikings were victorious, but it was a costly battle and many casualties had been taken (including my very expensive Berzerker I might add).  The dead were stripped of weapons and armour and the Norsemen made their way back to their ships.

22 May 2011

Megalithic Barrow

As you know, such things were littered around Britain and Europe during the Dark Ages.  I think it would make a great side show for a Skirmish game, as a sorcerer's hideout or perhaps a lair for the likes of Grendel.  This one is a limited run production, but provides inspiration for a scratch build.

 These pics of the West Kenneth Long Barrow near Avebury are also pretty cool.

21 May 2011

Ogre 6th Edition Update

from the SJG Daily Illuminator

Here’s an update on the progress of Ogre 6th Edition.

Yes, we’re definitely going to do it. There was a lot of distributor support at the GAMA Trade Show, and I have gotten more mail about this game than about any announcement we’ve ever done before. So the game will happen, and it will go through the regular distribution chain. That means that you will be able to get it through your hobby shop.

Many of those letters said things like “If you want to do this game, don’t let anything stop you.” I appreciate that support very much.

Currently, we plan to print 3,000 copies, plus some extra maps and counters as a W23 offering. The retail price of the game will be an even $100.00.

Many of you have asked about pre-orders. Right now we’re not taking pre-orders for any new releases. What we have done is set up a mailing list. You can subscribe to it here. This will be a very low-volume list. We won’t spam you, but we’ll update you on important milestones, tell you when it goes to print, and tell you when you can order it.

Answers to frequently asked questions, in my mail and online:

• When will it come out, exactly?
Good question. When I first started to write this Illuminator, more than a month ago, it said “it will happen this year.” I’m not sure about that. I spent the better part of two weeks sick, at a bad time, and then that interesting Secret Munchkin Project opportunity appeared and distracted me from everything else. Now I’m about to go to Brazil. Distractions, distractions. But we’ll keep working.
• Will it be in a scale big enough to use the Ogre miniatures?
 Yes, absolutely. The map is made to work with the minis.

I’m going to buy two copies!
That’s not a question, but at least a dozen people said that. Now that’s support! Thank you again.
-- Steve Jackson

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20 May 2011

The Cabbage Patch

I've discovered so much inspiring terrain around the www that its becoming depressing that I dont have time to build it all!  This time its something a little different, but timeless in use - a cabbage patch. Very simple techniques yet really effective, and very well explained at the Barking Irons website (by Tony of  Dampf's Modelling Blog)

Find Part 1 (How to Build) here:

and Part 2 (How to Paint) here:

Steve has had a crack at a very nice cabbage patch at his blog too:


19 May 2011

Ambush at Bruthweald - Part 1

The scenario for this month's Dark Ages game was a battle scenario, in which the Vikings try to trap a Saxon force, who in turn were trying to trap a Viking force, at an isolated village.  The Players were given separate briefings, and slightly different victory conditions.

I used the Burning Farm scenario at the "Command Tent" blog as the basis for this game, scaling it up for Age of Blood: thanks for the inspiration Dan!  Ken and the Lad were the initial Viking forces facing off against Peter's Saxon warband.  My Dane warband entered later in the game as Viking reinforcements, so I could remain (mostly) impartial in the opening turns.
Some of the Lads skipped the battle and went directly to the Victory feast!

Saxon Briefing


Following the harvest moon and taking advantage of the weather, pagan raiders have been landing and ravaging the local area with impunity.  Your local lord, Ealdorman Aelthelm, knows that if such misdeeds are not brought to a swift end there will not be enough food to last the oncoming winter.  And if he is not seen to be reacting adequately, there is a very real threat of a peasant uprising.  Keeping up his tax revenue is always of benefit too…

Accordingly, Ealdorman Aelthelm has dispatched you, Lord Uhtred, with your own huscarls and a force of retainers to track down and destroy the raiders.  As the harvest has only recently been gathered, the fyrd are dispersed on their farms and not available to assist.

Yesterday, our scouts reported that Viking longships have landed near the village of Bruthweald.  From the number of ships sighted, you can expected three or more warbands to be raiding the surrounding area.

Depart immediately and intercept them before they can re-embark in their ships.  If we can deplete the numbers we may ward them off for the remainder of the season.

If you prevent them from taking all the valuables, you will be permitted to keep a portion.  Noting the King’s devout Christian beliefs, Ealdorman Aelthelm would also be pleased if you could protect the church from destruction (then he won’t have build a new one to keep the King’s favour).

As you approach the Avon River bridge, you see black smoke rising from what can only be farmhouses being burned by heathen raiders….

Saxon Mission:
Destroy or drive off the Northmen. 
Prevent the Church from being destroyed, if you can

The village of Bruthweald lays to seaward of the Avon River.  To the north and east are extensive marshlands.  To the south lies a range of low, forested hills.

The raiders will need to re-cross the bridge before making their way back to their longships.  Use this to your advantage.

Lord Uhtred and warband

Contingent from Ealdorman Aelthelm ’s house guard.

Viking Briefing


Your warbands have been ravaging the coastal areas taking advantage of the full granaries after the harvest.  Apart from the looted wealth, the additional food stocks will be very well received at home for the coming winter months.

Your spies in the Saxon capital report that the local Elderman has dispatched a force to trap and destroy your warbands.  As the fyrd are away on their farms, the Saxon force is expected to be mostly comprised of retainers: which means they will be well equipped, but relatively few in number.    Should the Saxon force be destroyed, they will be forced onto the defensive, allowing our forces to raid at will.

With multiple Dragonship crews in the area, the situation is well suited to ambush the Saxons.  We landed in daylight yesterday to ensure that enemy scouts saw us and made a show of marching toward the village of Bruthweald, which has now been sacked.  We expect the Saxons to deploy a force to intercept us.  Allow them to do so, and then trap them between two forces.  If this proves unachievable, escape to the boats with your booty.

Valhalla or Victory!

Destroy or Evade the Saxon force
Protect the booty from the sack of Bruthweald, if you can.

The village of Bruthweald lays to seaward past the Avon River.  To the north is marshland and to the south a low range of forested hills.  The way back to the boats is back over the Avon River.


Half the force is to be deployed in and around the village of Bruthweald, and may commence the battle in concealed positions if you wish.

The remainder of the force is hidden in the forest to the south, and will arrive as reinforcements when directed.

Terrain Layout
The battlefield as seen from Church hill
A raven's eye view of the area.
In the forest an unknown horror lurks...
 Tune in shortly to read Part 2 and see what unfolded on the Day of Battle!

18 May 2011

Beached Longboat

In doing some research on 28mm Longboats I came across this model by Justin Taylor of Veni Vidi Vici.
He says 'I used a Gripping Beast longboat cut in half to create two beached long boat 'ends' that I use in my games'.  Expensive materials - awesome effect!

17 May 2011

Saxon Church - WIP 2

The pace of construction (if you missed Part 1 look here) has slowed due to work commitments, but I have progressed the thatched roof.  I'm going for a layered effect this time, so have been putting the teddy bear fur down in strips, each then glued down over the other.  I'm pretty happy with how its coming along, but I haven't tidied up the edges yet.

The entrance roof I am leaving until the painting is done, so the thatch doesn't get any errant colour on it.  Though that also presents an option for a small section of shingle to really mix it up a bit.  not sure yet - recommendations welcomed!

New WW2 German Zombies

Multi-part hard plastic jobs by Studio Miniatures. Love the Zombie Officer (which is a white metal fig)

From their website:
These multipart plastic miniatures are in 28mm. With two bodies, three sets of arms, 1 spare head and a German Army field cap per sprue you have over 100 different possible variations and that’s even before you use the same arms but in different positions.
These miniatures come in a box set of 15 sprues giving you 30 different miniatures per set and 30 25mm round plastic bases at £20 per box set.

16 May 2011

Paint your Wagon

Recently, the lack of a wagon model forced us to use a giant wooden rabbit as a treasure conveyance (see The Battle of the Bridge here).  Naturally this had to be rectified so we could move on to new silliness.
Presenting my scratch built wagon, made from offcuts in the bits box.  Its mostly balsa wood, which I scribed with a Biro to make the planking effect, matchsticks for the uprights, plasticard and more matchsticks for wheels and coffee stirrers for the limber.  The method is described in detail in Wargames Illustrated Issue 279

I sprayed it black, did some brown dry brushing, added some mud splash effects and filled it with some resin barrels and crates I got from Fenris Games.  Overall, I'm really happy with how it came out, and put it directly to use in a recent game (in which the Lad was saddened by a complete lack of giant wooden rabbits!)

15 May 2011

Essential Reading for young Vikingr

Packed full of fun viking facts, stories and anecdotes, the Lad loved this Dark Age primer.

Who says wargaming isn't educational!

He doesnt know it yet but I've also ordered him 'Smashing Saxons' and 'Stormin' Normans' too!

14 May 2011

Awesome Man Cave

Cringe and cry in envy - or raise a glass in toast - to this magnificent Man Cave mecca of gaming!


Thanks to the Uber Geek for showing off his regular gaming haunt.  I've gotten some great ideas from this for rebuilding my own Man Cave gaming table when I get back to Canberra next year.

10 May 2011

If your Dad doesnt have a beard, you've got 2 Mums

Spurred on by the recent reappearance of my traditional winter growth, I've lately been getting into the South Australian band "The Beards".  All their songs are beard related, and usually quite amusing.  In particular is this great video clip (warning: there is one f-bomb near the end)

Commando Polar Bear

09 May 2011

How to Magnetize Terminators

I found this very neat and useful article at the  The War Blog here

How to magnetize AoBR Terminators

For my Warhammer 40k AoBR Blood Angels force I decided to magnetize the right arm of one of the termies, so that I can swap the stormbolter for a special weapon (assault cannon or heavie flamer) in the future. I have seen some tutorials on that but I thought I document my version so you guys can quickly replicate it if you want to. Btw, big question, what do you think is better the assault cannon or the heavie flamer?

Anyway here is the tutorial:

What you'll need:

AoBR Termi; Glue; Magnets; Drill Bits

First you want to remove the little bolt where you would normally attach the arm.

Next you need to drill a small pilot hole for the drill that is the same size then your magnets.

Then you can drill the big hole for the magnet.

After that just glue the magnet in place 

Take the arm you want to magnetize...

...drill the hole for the magnet...

...and glue it in place.

Let the glue set and then you can attach the arm to the body.


If you have any questions, feel free to ask me down in the comments below!