19 August 2019

August Hobby Update

The last few weeks have been good hobby wise.  I came home to find Alan had painted us up matching forces for Mortal Gods so we have been enjoying that a great deal, pitting his forces from Megara against my polis of Melos:
Naturally, all the hoplons are hand painted

Alan laments are rare setback on the battlefield
Reilly and I rediscovered our Blood Bowl treasures and had a few games. 1 win to him and 1 tie but lots of fun all round. Now considering playing in the upcoming MOAB tourney...

A painted a couple of fun things from 1st Corps:

There is a black sheep in every family!
I just had to have this priest for an Objective marker in Mortal Gods

And I found out there will be 2nd edition Frostgrave released in June next year, which is very exciting! https://therenaissancetroll.blogspot.com/2019/06/frostgrave-second-edition.html

And now I'm off on a holiday to Norway for a few weeks - cant wait!

29 July 2019

Home Again

Many adventures were had on the seas and over the beaches during the last two months.
All very exciting but its always wonderful to get back to hearth and home.

08 June 2019

Zeppelin Raider

A few years ago I came across a U-Boat board game series which I loved : The Hunters.

Indeed, it captured my imagination so much that I had long email exchanges with the author Greg. I subsequently assisted the development of a Pacific theatre version (Silent Victory), and contributed to the research for a potential future Italian Navy expansion in the Med.  We also met up at Fall-In one year as well which was brilliant (https://tasmancave.blogspot.com/2016/04/silent-victory.html)

Subsequently, I suggested to Greg that his game system would work well with minor adjustment for simulating WW1 Imperial Navy Luftschiff operations: the concept for Zeppelin Raider was born!

So now after a few years of research and playtesting, the game has now been published by Compass Games.  Always great to see you name on a game box and I cant wait to get my copy delivered.

You can read more about the game at BGG, where there are a number of reviews, AARs and errata:

Thats it for me blogwise for awhile - away again with work for a few months.
A small pile of hobby books will keep me company in the interim.

30 May 2019

Outremer: Encounter at al-Hindar

Keen to use my new Outremer figs and terrain, this week we played Scenario 3: Capture the Flag.

My newly finished Mud brick house was the key terrain of the hamlet of al-Hindar, with my Templar Warband facing off against Saracens under Alan’s command.

Our forces entered from opposite directions with the Templars rushing towards the cover that the ramshackle house offered from Saracen arrows. Brother Michael provided covering fire with his crossbow, dropping one of the Arab bowmen, but was taken  down in turn by an enemy archer.  However, he had bought enough time for the Templars, weighed down as they were by their arms and armour, to get to the structure and take cover.  

The Saracen swordsmen approached from the other side and the combat got up close and personal. 

The first to cross blades with the enemy was Brother d'Avesnes, storming around to engage the closest enemy.  The enemy Arif ran to join the fray and Brother d'Avesnes was sorely pressed to Defend himself against both attackers. Some enemy strikes cut through his guard but he was armoured with the True faith and his protection held strong.

With the sun glinting brightly from his menacing two handed Sword, Serjeant Albrecht rushed to join the fray but was intercepted by a Saracen en route (actually the Serjeant failed the faith test for the charge and was then intercepted). They clashed blades briefly before the Albrecht struck him down and then moved to attack the Arif, the large blade slicing through the enemy commander’s armour to wound him.  Taking advantage of this distraction, Brother d'Avesnes rallied, striking down his opponent and then turning to finish off the Arif with righteous fury.  The remaining Saracen archer scuttled away rather than continue to face the wrath of the Templars.

(Those wondering what part Templar Commander Wulfred van Gistel played in the battle, will be bemused to know that he failed 3 faith tests in a row (despite his the Loner rerolls) and spend the entire battle either observing his team or fleeing as Saracens arrows pinged off his armour without penetrating)

In the aftermath of the battle, Serjeant Michael was found dead with a Saracen shaft sunk deep in his chest - another martyr in the cause of keeping the Holy Land safe for pilgrims (he rolled a 1 on a d20 for effects of being Taken Down!) It was a sorrowful conclusion to what had otherwise been a strong Templar victory, and his remains were recovered for a proper Christian burial on sanctified ground.

Game notes: 

·         Shield bash as a second attack – second roll made at the same time? If conducted as a second attack with opposed die rolls, then the defender has another chance to hit in return. We played that the Attacker rolls the two attack die at the same time, to the defender’s single defence dice.

·         Multiple Combats: a 2 v 1 matchup is well documented in the rules, but what happens when a reinforcement joins to make it a 2 v 2 combat? We just split the engagement into two separate 1 v1 melee actions.

28 May 2019

Templar Warband for Outremer: Faith and Blood

I've now finished painting my first warband for Outremer: Faith and Blood. I have gone with Templars and enjoyed putting them together. Overall they form a small, heavily armed and armoured group.

Figs are Crusader metals, an old (1996) Reaper Mini, and the crossbowman is from the Frostgrave line.

Groundwork is sand, base coated Sail Colour (Mr Hobby No 85), Army Painter Soft Tone Wash, brushbrushed Vallejo Dark Sand.
During their first encounter against the Saracens, Wulfred took down an enemy, while the Sergeant Michael was taken down by a mounted Saracen before he could loose a single bolt. Brother Albrecht and Sergeant Gervaise also took down an enemy each, but then Wulfred had his horse shot from beneath him by enemy archers.  After counting their booty and paying for their upkeep, they have a purse of 98 Livre.

Stats wise for the game, my force has the following lineup after expanding the retinue with another Sergeant to boost their numbers. God Willed It.

Wulfred van Gistel – Templar Knight of Flemish heritage
Heavy Armour, Large Shield, Great Helm
Skills: Fast Leaner, Loner Sunder shield
XP:48 (Turcopolier Level 1)

Brother Henri d'Avesnes
Heavy Armour, Large Shield, Helm
Skills: Take Cover, Sneaky
XP:8 (Knight Brother 1)

Gervaise, Templar Sergeant 
Heavy Armour, Short Shield, Great Helm
Sword, Mace
Skills: Huge Build
XP:11 (Sergeant Recruit 2)

Albrecht, Templar Sergeant 
Heavy Armour, Helm, Great Sword, Sword
Skills: Nil
XP:0 (Sergeant Recruit 1)

Michael, Templar Sergeant
Skills: Nil
XP:6 (Sergeant Recruit 1)

25 May 2019

Building a Mud Hut

After some tutoring from club mate Marty, I thought it time to give the airbrush a go in earnest on a 28mm plastic Renedra Mud Brick House to start my Crusades era terrain. So this is definitely not a Tutorial or "How To" post, rather a review of "What I did".
 First up, this kit was a challenging to put together. Beautifully detailed, it feels like the kit was designed and then the rendering added afterwards.
As a result, nothing fits together well and lots of green stuff was required to fill the gaps - luckily it is ramshackle in nature so it didn't detract badly.  I built it including additions from the optional extras pack that Renedra sells separately.

After construction, I went with a black basecoat and based it on mdf with ground work textured from a combination of wall putty and sand.

I then splodged (I think that is the technical term) white over most raised areas to help dapple the next layers.

I then iteratively went through layers of colour though I was too heavy handed with the airbrush, so all I really did was cover the whole thing over and over again. But it was fun and felt like progress nonetheless!

After all those layers it looked annoyingly uniform in colour!
In the end the whole thing looked broadly (and frustratingly) uniform anyway, so a bit of a wash was needed to bring out some detail (Army Painter Strong Tone on the ground, Soft Tone on the building)

At this stage I decided some more traditional drybrushing was needed - using a sandy colour for the base and a beige/white colour for the walls. This nicely brought out the detail of the kit.

I also picked out some detail of the exposed mud bricks to make them more prominent
Finally, it is starting to look like we are getting somewhere!

An awning (from the extras pack) helped bring the building to life, with some striping adding a splash of colour. Then some dried tufts and desert bushes, plus a few odds and ends to make it feel lived in:

So thats the start of my 28mm desert terrain and the beginnings of my airbrush adventures. Definitely very useful for larger works like terrain or base coating a large stack of miniatures.  Looking forward to developing my skills further.
I really like how the airbrush has goven a dusty layer to the bottom of the building, like the bottom of the door.
Ready for action!

20 May 2019

Hamburger Hill - 50 years on

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Hamburger Hill, 20 May 1969.

Over 10 days men of the 101st Airborne assaulted the heavily fortified Hill 937, Dong Ap Bia, The Mountain of the Crouching Beast.  The NVA fiercely resisted, with the attacking paratrooper companies sustaining 50-75% casualties, including 72 KIA and 370 WIA, before they took the hill on 20th May.  This casualty rate earned the Hill its nickname, echoing Pork Chop Hill from the Korean War.

The action was made particularly controversial because the US quickly abandoned the position after the engagement, generating public outcry in America of what was seen to be a senseless battle in an increasingly unpopular conflict.

26 April 2019

Outremer - first game and thoughts

My small Military Order warband (using Steve's lovely GB models).
A mounted Knight, mounted Sgt, Foot Sergeant and a Crossbowman
Outremer: Faith and Blood is a skirmish  game that was released by Osprey as part of their "blue book" series a year or so ago, though it seems to have generated less fanfare than some of their other titles.


Players can select from Crusader/Frank, Military Order or Saracen forces. In additional to the tactical rules, it is an RPG lite style progressive campaign system, set in the early Crusader era - not unlike Necromunda, Frostgrave or Mordheim. Figures progress along a range of skill trees, accumulating loot, equipment, wounds and traits along the way.

This week we sat down at the club for a quick 2 v 2 game to try out some of the mechanics, with two Military Orders facing off against two Saracen warbands.

My warband moves up to observe the approaching Saracens
Mechanics wise, the game uses a full range of dice types from d4 upwards, which is a system I inherently like though it really only suits smaller games like this.  Outremer also uses a card mechanic to randomly activate individual figures.

We quickly added in an end of turn card (aka Tiffen card from Too Fat Lardies Games) which added another element of friction and which worked well.
This didn't end well for Saracen foot slogger...
The game plays straightforwardly, though a QRS is needed as we found some of the target rolls are a little buried in the rules.  Combat uses an opposed die roll mechanism which keeps both sides engaged is rather decisive once joined, and while good armour and strong faith (aka Morale) can tilt the odds in your favour, nobody is immune to injury.  Long range crossbow fire and compound bows can also really ruin your day (and leave you quickly without your beloved warhorse).

My crossbowman was taken down by this cheeky Saracen, though he got his comeuppance in the following turn
I'm know we didn't get everything right but the system was broadly intuitive after a few turns - a fun game that we will be returning to as I think the real value is in progressing your characters across multiple battles.

If you are interested in this game check the author Jamie Gordon's Outremer blog here:  http://outremerfaithandblood.blogspot.com

And the game's Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/162855534382686/

22 April 2019

A couple of Fields for the tabletop

I invested a bit of Easter Hobby time to build a couple of additions to my terrain collection: a corn field and a vegetable patch. A bit of fun with Slowpainter John on a sunny Autumn afternoon trying some new techniques and then a few days to finish them off.
I spaced the rows so I can fit a 28mm figure in between them - a small compromise between realism and playability

Both are mounted on mdf coasters using DAS clay to build up the plant beds. Stone wall and fencing are Renedra products (actually the small stones are leftovers from this project here), and all the plants are commercial products.

They are deliberately period agnostic so as to be useful for all sorts of gaming, but our FIW collection in particular.