Monday, 30 March 2020

Elves & Ogres and Deep, Deep Dungeons

My painting has slowed a down a bit compared to the past couple of months. But that's because I've been getting in to some solo gaming with Rangers of Shadow Deep and I've been writing up my blog for that and making terrain for it.

But today I have some new figures in the form of Elf Scouts. These have been kit-bashed from Conquest Games - Dark Age Archers and the Oathmark elves set. They're a little bit chunky for elves but they look okay (besides that, these give me 6 extra elves from some old sprues that were doing nothing).
Did I say Ogres? Well what about 3 photo's of the same ogre? This is a Reaper Bones figure. I thought this figure looked really nice when I bought it. Then I mounted it on abase and I thought: Meh... It's okay. I started painting and I thought: It looks crap. Then I finished and now I think he looks very nice. He will now join the Erlking's Army (or the Army of Faerie).
That's some sort of tribal tattoo thing on his shoulder.
I also had a think about how I was going to do the terrain for the next RoSD mission and decided to go for card terrain. I could have done some cheap and nasty stone walls out of cork tiles but I thought I'd make the effort to do something that I can use for various other things in the future.

I'm using the Fat Dragon Delux Dungeon PDF terrain from DriveThruRPG. It has plenty of options but for now I'm just making some basic walls, corners and doors.
Print them. Cut them out. Fold them and glue them.

 A size comparison with a 28mm figure.

The structure is held together with bobby pins. Simple but effective.
On top of my new terrain board.
 And the the doors work too!
When the basic rooms are done I'll do some decorative bits to flesh out the rooms. Print terrain sometimes looks a bit odd but I've found that if you do a table with about 90% printed terrain then it looks really good. It's when you start mixing it with modeled/3D terrain that's when it starts to look weird.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Quick Nasty and Cheap Terrain Board

I've been getting into Frostgrave and Rangers of Shadow Deep lately and I see the need for a small table. I was going to go for a 4' x 4' but opted instead for a 3' x 3'. I had two 4' x 2' x 50mm foam boards in my garage. So that's where I started.

I cut both boards to 3' x 2' and then split one of them into two 12" x 3' sections. I then glued one 12" section the 3' x 2' section so that I had a 3' x 3' slab. I used Liquid Nails glue to do this.

I then decided to score the foam with my hot foam cutter and coat the finish result with grey caulk.
But I soon got jack of that and made a coffee and sat down for a re-think. I didn't have to think too hard and when I had re-thunk enough, I decided to use vinyl floor tiles with a sticky back. I'd need 9 of them so I went and got them. They cost about $17.

I took them home, peeled the backing off them and one by one, I stuck them on the board. This took about 5 minutes - Less time than it took to buy them. I then gave the foam a slight trim.
After these pics were taken, I gave it a  few coats of mat spray varnish take the shine off it (making sure not to spray the edges).

Now, I could have stopped there but I thought (I've gotta stop all this thinking)... I thought: "Why not do a basic flat outdoors side too. So I did.

I wanted the foam to be pretty sturdy so I thought I'll add a surface of green marine carpet. I bought lots of this 20 odd years ago for covering some 6' x 4' table tops. I peeled it off the tables long ago and I still have some of it so I used the final a 3' x 4' piece I still had left over. I glued it on using Liquid Nails again.
I first made up a mix of light brown caulk, pva gule and water. I brushed this concoction onto the carpet and threw lots of different types of flock on to it. I have a lot of flock. I learned to make it about 5 years ago and I made lots. I've never needed any flock since, but the time is coming where I'll need to make another few batches.
 The brown caulk...
When it had a good overall covering of flock, I rubbed it into the carped fiber. I then made up a watered down pva concoction and sprayed the whole thing several times whilst adding more detailed types of flock (stones, gorse, shrubs, etc.). Make sure you pat this stuff down if you decide to add them and give them some close up bursts of pva spray.

And here it is. It's still damp at the moment but we're having a nice patch of weather so it will be fully dry tomorrow. I had all the materials for this part ready to go. If I were to put a cost on it, I'd say: $15 for the caulk and the glue.
A shot of the surface detail.
So there you have it. It took about 3 hours all up with several coffee breaks (and one of my teeth fell out - It was cracked and due to be removed in three days time anyway). Now I have two new gaming tables. Because it's constructed on foam it weighs in at about 2 kilos and I'm hoping to use it on the kitchen table because it has no sharp edges or abrasive surfaces. Or I might even buy a card table for it.

Also, I might put some sort of seal on the edges. Then again, I might not.

Hey, I took a little video. I don't know if this will work because I'm a bit of a tech numpty. But I'll try:

UPDATE: It was dry this morning so I gave it another heavy spray of watered down pva and put it in the sun to dry. Now the grasses are as solid as a rock! I put some black gaffa tape on it for some easy edging. Nothing special but it looks tidy.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

It's all bull, I'm tellin' ya!

I'm locked away like everyone else with the difference being that semi-isolation is my usual state of being. Which, if you've ever wondered, is why I manage to get quite a bit of modeling and wargaming stuff done so quickly when I put my mind into it.

So, what have I got that's new?

I have a bunch of Bull Legion Infantry. What are these you may ask? I sculpted these for Eureka a few years back for their Moocock/Hawkmoon range. I've had a couple of hese sitting on my desk for a couple of years with the intent to paint them and I finally did. I decided a half dozen would make a good Elite Foot unit for Dragon Rampant. Heavily armoured guys with big hammers.
They are fairly hefty figures, all armed with heavy striking weapons like hammers and axes. But there's only three variants. The one with his weapon over his shoulder has empty hands and can be fitted with various weapons. He comes with the hammer as shown but I did make a weapon sprue with a 2 handed sword, battle axe, spear and a basic flamelance.
I also made up a couple of extra Oathmark orc archers to make up a 12 figure unit of bow (or two 6 figure scout units). Like the others that I did a few weeks back, these have been painted fast and rough because I think this style gives them a course and dirty, orcish look.

I also started a new blog - If you look above at the heading you can see a new button called A Ranger of Shadow Deep. Clicking the button leads to a separate blog where I'm going to chronicle my Rangers of Shadow Deep solo campaign. It seems I chose the right time to start solo wargaming.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Easy Terrain for Frostgrave

Having played a couple of games of Frostgrave on the fantastic terrain maide by Neil from NWA, I decided to make some myself. I unashamedly stole his idea and concept (I did tell him I was doing this). My reasoning for that is to give all of us players in our campaign a bit more of the chance to to play on terrain that is made to fit the setting. I also want to make some terrain pieces that are scenario specific.

When we have 8 players (thus 4 games all playing at the same time) and only one terrain builder it can get a bit much for one person. Besides all that. I do like to make & own my own stuff and so now, I have some or any other of campaign games.

That said, these first few pieces that I've made are pretty basic and they're far from the really nice set piece stuff that Neil has already made. But they'll help set the mood and make the other tables look more how Frostgrave should.
These pieces are made from a mix of high density white foam and compressed orange insulation foam. I bought a straight foam cutting knife to do the majority of the cutting and I also use my handheld wire cutter for some parts. All pieces are glued together using Liquid Nails (called Hard as Nails in some countries).

Each piece has had two coats of watered down (but still quite thick) dark grey caulk. The bases are just corrugated cardboard with masking tape folded over the edges. The bases also had two coats of caulk with a third thinner coat that I sprinkled with sawdust for texture.
I next gave them a heavy dry brushing using some light grey acrylic emulsion paint that I had on the shelf in a tester pot.
The snow is bi-carb... Now this is not what I was going to use. I didn't intend to use bi-carb because of the inevitable yellowing effect. however, I read on another blog about "cleaning bi-carb". This stuff is different in that it is not for food or kitchen use. It's strictly used for cleaning. As a result it doesn't contain any starches with is what causes the yellowing of standard bi-carb. It's very fine to the touch, almost like talcum powder.  I bought it in the hardware store. It adheres very well to pva glue. I applied the pva unwatered and thick.
And here's my start on my next piece. This one is a specific piece for Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign. I read bout this terrain requirement in the book and decided to make a bespoke piece. In the scenario The Ghoul King is sitting on his throne which is placed on the central pedestal and I have just the thing...

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

King, Queen & Jack

What? Have I decided to shun the wonderful world of miniature wargaming and modeling and, instead, turned mine eyes towards the iniquitous world of gambling? I hear you ask.

Nay. let it be not so! And so it ain't.

But, every kingdom needs a king and every king needs a queen and every queen needs a Jack (in case she needs to change a tyre). And so the Army of the Erlking also needed an king. An Erlking, to be precise!
The Erlking and queen are from the Oathmark range. They're metal figures and I found them to a bit lackluster, so a bit of kit bashing was required. The king has had the most extensive work. He has: a plume from Eureka Miniatures - A Celtic shield from Warlord, a plastic Oathmark elf sword (+ hand) and a cape from the Fireforge Teutonic range.

I think he came out looking more like an elf king should look. His armour & helm have a lot of pieces that, I think, are supposed to be pieces of armour or metal. I decided to paint them as gems and it was like I was back to painting GW Eldar after all these years. I think they look nice though.
The Queen of Faerie looks okay from some angles and a bit odd from others. From the front she looks great. The only thing I added to her was a Fireforge cape. It gives the figure a bit more dimension because it's a bit flat and insignificant in its own right.

Other than that she's quite plain but in my book that's okay as I'm not a fan of really busy or cluttered figures.
The Prince in the Scarlet Robe - I kit bashed him from a plastic Norman knight torso that I found in amongst the junk on my desk. I trimmed some Oathmark Elf arms to fit, added another Foreforge robe/cape and then an Oathmard head. I think he came out really nice. In fact I prefer him to the regular Oathmark elves.

There wolf... There castle!
Yes, it's an old one but a good one...Thank you Mel Brookes.

I made a Werewolf unit to go with my Dragon Rampant goblins/orcs/evil guys army. The idea of this came from listening the the audiobook version of The Silmarillion whilst painting. A few times the stories mention werewolves fighting in the armies of Morgoth, so I thought why not make a reduced figure unit of them. I'l make them Lesser Warbeasts or something and give them the venomous trait to make 'em mean.

All three of these are Reaper Bones. They took me only a few hours to paint and I think they look great. They'll certainly put the fright into their enemies. As a unit they came in a $19.50 (one cost $7, one cost $6 and one cost $6.50). Gotta love the price of those Bones.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Two Arrows ~ Two 20's

This week at the club we played our second game of the Frostgrave ~ Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign. Due to the terrain not being ready for Scenario 2 we moved straight into Scenario 3 (S2 will follow in due course).

It was my pleasure to play against Andy. This scenario was Loot the Cart. A broken down cart in the center of the table with 4 Death Cultist guards. The cart contained 4 treasure tokens. Two other tokens (one each) were placed on the table by us players.

Because we're playing at the club and our resources are a little bit limited, our table was somewhat... greener than the expected frozen, stony ground of Felstad (Frostgrave). So, in order to compensate, I have decided that a 1980's wargaming magazine atmosphere was required: thus slightly out of focus, badly set up, B&W photos are the order of the day.

Into the Frozen City...

The Magus Mandrax has sent an imp, summoned from the very depths of Heck, and sent it out to watch the comings and goings in the frozen city. It has found a treasure cart broken and stranded guarded by naught but a handful of Death Cultists. The imp reported back to it's master but also reported the approach of the Warrior Wizard, Elric of Melnibone and his band or neer-do-wells. 
Hmmm... I've heard that name somewhere before!

Mandrax's warband at the bottom of the pic and Elric deployed at the top table edge.
Before the game I cast some "out of game" spells: Familiar - Both Mandrax and his apprentice Joquettes were successful and both gained a familiar and 2 extra Health Points (HP). Mandrax was also able to cast Summon Demon and Bind Demon because I added a Summoning Circle and Arcane Candle to his Wizard's Lair following the previous game. As a result I gained an imp as part of my starting warband.

Both parties were aware of the other and approached the treasure cart with caution.
Surrounded by archers, Elric the albino sorcerer urges his warband on to loot the treasure cart.
The hobbits Ned Undersack and Maximus Stinkfoot lead the way the the treasure.
To show the Melnibonean the extent of his magical power, Maximus ascended some high ground and cast a Bone Dart spell at his enemy. With a successful hit of 13 HP the red eyed albino was sorely worsted and forced to stagger into cover and use his own magical powers to heal himself.
With the, so called, White Wolf and his men cowering in fear of the Magus Mandrax's impressive spell casting, the treasure was his for the taking. In the center the two hobbits approached the cart. Undersack took out a Death Cultist with a well paced arrow whilst Stinkfoot grabbed a treasure and prepared to withdraw. Mandrax sent the imp of Heck to protect the successful thief.

Meanwhile Joquettes lead a smaller group around the other side of the cart. He cast a Telekinesis spell and drew a treasure token closer to his own men.  As this was happening Goz Lame, the other thief in the party, took possession of another treasure and began hauling it back to safety.
Feeling the surge of magic in the air, and understanding that his apprentice was employing the stratagem designed by the master, Mandrax also cast Telekinesis and drew forth a treasure for his men to retrieve.
Hired thugs, Bert and Ron get stuck into the thick of it.
Then below, the apprentice Dyvim Slorm, braver than his cowering simpering master, stood forth and cast some sort of elemental power spell at the Magus and smote him heavily (7HP) staggering the wizard. "I'd better get off this bloody hill." he thought. 
On the right Joquettes, set the brothers Doug and Ted to guard the way whilst the treasure was sent back to safety. First Doug the Thug took on a squat axeman and smote him to the ground. Ha, ha, ha...! Bring on the next one!
And so... throughout the game so far, Elric's archers, including the famed Rakhir the Red, had shot dismally with every shot going awry. The archer with a bald axeman, saw his friend hewn down by the hairy thug but decided to run forward, take a precarious aim and loose an arrow at Joquettes the Magus's apprentice: 20! (+2)... 12 points of damage and the apprentice went down with a strangled cry. Errrrrghhhh! 
In the center, the thug Bert charged Rakhir the Red and hewed him to the ground with mighty stokes of his axe. He turned to the now healed Elric who had come out of hiding, only to be beset by a Death Cultist who he threw back with a bloody wound.
Seeing that all was going well, Mandrax set Bert and Undersack to hold off Elric's men whilst the rest withdrew with the treasure. Mandrax himself retreated into cover and aided the ranger Thursen with a Leap spell to get him out of danger (only because he had a treasure).

In helping the ranger to secure the treasure, the Magus Mandrax had sacrificed an opportunity to either heal his wounds (healing potion) or escape from the area. Instead he fell back to some cover... What a noble gesture.

Do you see that archer waiting in the top of that building?
Neither did Mandrax.
This is what the archer saw: Straight ahead. Dead center...
Right at the very limit of his bow range... And these archers don't have a great track record...
And he rolled a 20! (+2)... Another 12 points of damage, and the Magus Mandrax fell to the frozen earth with an arrow jutting from his breast bone and breathed his last...

In the center, holding the rear guard were Doug the Thug and his mate Bert. Doug fought hard and sorely wounded the templar that charged into him but was no match in the end and was smote to the ground.  
Bert, after fighting off the Death Cultist was brought low by the crushing power of Elric, who struck him down with Stormbringer! The Black Blade itself. And Bert saw no more. (Andy cast Elemental Hammer on the sword to emulate its power). 
Somewhere around this time a swarm of ghouls had arrived and charged into the warring parties (They should have arrived at the end of turn 3 but Andy and I - without the campaign source book - got a bit lost. So they arrived at the end of turn 4). My surviving men were falling back to consolidate their treasure. The Melnibonean's men led by a certain, Moonglum, were trying to chase them down to loot their dead bodies. But the arrival of the animated dead bodies of the ghouls drove into them and forced them to also fall back after Moonglum was beaten down by one of the undead creatures.

Ned Undersack, leads the thugs Ron and Ted out of the ruins and back to safety.

Thus ended this dramatic and somewhat bloody affair.

It was a bit of a bloody game. Andy and I both lost 4 men, and two of mine were my wizard and apprentice. We rolled for casualties and for Mandrax I rolled... a 1!!!!

No. It was 11. But for a moment there I thought... So Mandrax the Magus drew another painful breath and staggered back to his lair.

He was okay. Joquettes rolled 8. A close call and he lost all of his items (a sword and healing potion so not too much). All the rest were okay except for the thug Bert who did roll a 1. This was a bit of a shame because he did well during the game. He beat Rakhir the Red archer, beat up some cultists and got the chance to go toe to toe with Elric. But the black rune-blade ran him through and ate his soul and he died a grizzly death. I guess it was appropriate really.

Mandrax was fully healed and okay. He didn't gain a huge amount of experience points but enough to lift him to 4th level. Whist my guys beat up the majority of the death cultist, it was Andy's guys that delivered the final blows in all but one instance. Being out of the game my spell casters couldn't cast more spells and gain more xp. Also, my remaining troops didn't kill any ghouls because they just ran.

I left the table with most of the treasure (4 out of 6) and now Mandrax is quite wealthy and has an abundance of magical grimoires. Lucky his lair is set in a library.

Because the campaign ranking is done by XP and not wealth Mandrax, with 410xp, is currently sitting at 6th place in a field of 8.

Edit: Again, because I lacked the campaign book and because of my general inexperience with the game (only my 3rd game) I calculated my experience incorrectly. I now sit on 530xp - 5th in a field of 8.

As a result of this game I bought the pdf version of the Thaw of the Lich Lord. I figure I can print off the required scenario's as we play them so at least I'll know what the set up, special rules etc, are on the night. Because we also had to jump a scenario due to a lack of the correct terrain, I figure I can also read ahead and try to make some of what's needed, or at the least, provide things from my own terrain collection.

P.S> I almost forgot... Here are some colour pics stolen from Russel. They'll give you and idea of how green our Frostgrave really was, as well as some of the other players games going on at the same time.