Monday, November 21, 2016

Hobby WIP: Militia and Mounted Scouts (Bows)

During this past week I started really hobbying on some Militia; 4 Troops worth, which should be enough to run them as anything I want (though honestly, chaffy 50-point Troops is probably going to be their lot in life). On Saturday, I was sitting around, enjoying the day, bemoaning a bit that the weekend was over and I had to go back to the office the next day. I am a moron.

So Sunday was basically an unexpected bonus day, which, being the adult I am, I mostly spent playing video games and hobbying. I got a lot done!

Half of the WIP Militia. The other pic was blurry.
I decided that I am going to try and multibase the Militia on full-fledged Troop-sized bases… so basing is going to take some extra effort this time around. I’m going to try to use some Milliput to create some uneven ground to camouflage their little stands… so yeah, more to come on these guys, but I’m making good progress!

The Militia models are mostly Fireforged Games Foot Sergeants, though I do have a handful of extra Roman minis making appearances too. The accompanying Romans are mostly spare banner/musician models from all the boxes of Romans I have acquired, since I have not been using musicians at all in any of my Roman units. These visitors got the kitbash treatment, acquiring spare weapons and such from the Foot Sergeant sprues. With a little more work, the units should look just fine.

The Militia models have a variety of armor (Roman, scale male, cloth, padded/leather), which gives them a good “unprofessional” feel to the unit. I think this rag-tag look will be contrasted by the similar shields, which, being largely white, will help visually unify the unit. We’ll see how it turns out.
Roughly a billion shields for the Militia, and a bunch of pieces of the Scouts.
As I was thinking about that idea (uniforms are whatever; unify the unit with shields), I remembered my Mounted Scouts, languishing unfinished in a box because I could not decide on how to paint their wrapped tunics all those months ago. The night was young, so I pulled out the Scouts and set to work, and a few hours later, was pretty happy with my progress.

Originally, I was going to paint their tunics purple and white, and give them rugged cloaks... and the whole endeavor promised to be a nightmare for my brush positioning, so I kept all the bits separate, as you can see above. I should have at least glued the bow arm to the torso before jumping into painting the brown... oh well.
Group Shot! With Ra 5+ ... I may need this whole group to do a wound. We'll see....
The Scout models are all from Fireforge Games. The leaders from their “Heavy Cavalry” pack, and the rest from their “Mongol Cavalry” box. If anyone else is looking to build up some Mounted Scouts… I’d suggest just buying the box of plastic minis. The material used for the heavies is really brittle, and despite looking cool in that extra armor, the horses are not a great sculpt, and I’m not sure how long they will last, as again, they are pretty brittle models. I may have some repair work to do in the future…

And a close-up shot. The plastic models are fantastic - really dynamic!
They all still need one more touch of paint (for the glorious moustaches), and then shading/washing but these Troops are progressing well too. Will hopefully have all these done by this time next week!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Battle 7: Baddies in the Badlands

There were rumors of new dangers in the Badlands, and so the nearest garrison dispatched a patrol. The Regnum Aeternum would not be caught unaware. The men grumbled, but the Army Standard Bearer knew the Beast of War could use the exercise. And the fresh air of the countryside. Close quarters with such a beast for any length of time was... unpleasant.

The patrol marched for two days among the dry wilderness before skirting around a mesa, and stumbled up these vicious-looking enemies. Hordes of fetid flesh shambled forth, supported by equally numerous smallfolk, with beady eyes and what looked like whiskers poking out from their long noses.

A cry ran through the ranks of men, and they formed up quickly. They could not march to safety with a such an army so close behind. They would first need to fight - and win - before they could return home and warn their comrades...

I had been trying to play an intro game with an Undead player for... well, most of October. We finally were able to squeeze in a game, and even bring another player along for the ride. They suggested each bringing 500 point lists to fight 1000 points of my KoM, in an attempt to keep the game small and quick.

Horde of Zombies
Regiment of Skeleton Archers
Troop of Skeleton Warriors
Troop of Revenants
Necromancer (Surge 8; Lightning Bolt 3; Heal 3)

The undead player made his list beforehand, and it has all the buzzwords of the undead; zombies, skeletons, and a necromancer. My opponent did not catch that each caster can only cast one spell per turn... so it's oddly a little magic-heavy while simultaneously lacking the usual Bane-Chant.

Horde of Warriors with Dwarven Ale
Regiment of Blight
Death Engine

We built the Ratkin player's list at the shop in about 5 minutes. He has a beautifully painted army, and we decided to take the Death Engine out for a spin, and build the army around that. Ratkin are also numerous, so in went a horde... the unit of Blight, and I added the Swarm-Crier to teach them about Inspiring. The list wasn't well thought-out, but it would suffice.

I was a bit worried about facing down two hordes at once, even if they were more on the rabble side of the scary scale. It was going to a lot of effort to beat those, either by sustained withering fire from afar or an overwhelming group of charges. Maybe even both....

TastyBagel's List:
Regiment of Spear Phalanx
Regiment Crossbowmen
Regiment Mounted Sergeants
2x Troop of Knights
Troop Pole-Arms
Army Standard Bearer on Horse
Beast of War with Light Ballista

I built my list back in early October, and it sat in a box until last night. I wanted to run a bunch of regiments and get away from my troop-heavy lists. The goal was to keep a large number of units and models on the table while hopefully avoiding the points bleeding that I had been experiencing with all my troops. I added the Beast of War (honestly) to show it off a bit, and highlight the game's pretty loose approach to models. Lastly I avoided magic because it was letting me down there the last few games, and magic items, because I wanted my opponents to face off against a very mundane list, to keep it simple for them. I'd totally run this list again.

The goal of the game was to introduce Kings of War to these players, so we did a few unorthodox things to save us some trouble. Since I arrived first, I set up a quick table. I also deployed my entire list first, and then let them deploy theirs. Lastly, they just got to go first, because I wanted them to be rolling dice and making decisions as soon as possible, rather than watch me play. I'd totally do all aspects of this approach again. It saved so much time!

Starting on my left are the Regiment Mounted Sergeants, sitting there, ready to scream up the field if given the chance. Next are the knights, who could support the Sergeants or the center, depending on how my opponents deploy. Chaffy Pole-Arms are next, ready to step up and die or charge in to support as needed. The Beast of War holds the center, with Regiments of Spear Phalanx and Crossbowmen nearby. Between the rock, the Beast, and the nearby mounted ASB, by center should be hard to move unless I get antsy and run them up the field. Lastly, my remaining Knight troop sits off to the right. More than likely they will march up and threaten some flanks.

I really liked my deployment, and with my stuff on the field, my opponents devised a strategy and began deploying all of their stuff; placing the two Hordes front and center, to hopefully support one another and steamroll right up the center of the field.

Turn 1: Team Eeevil
The first turn was pretty uneventful. Stuff moved up, but only a little bit. The rats mainly decided to keep pace with their shambling zombie counterparts, who then ended up scooting ahead a bit due to Surge (the spell, not the drink, though hey, modeling idea for you folks). The Death Engine and Blights started shifting towards the far left to deal with my Mounted Sergeants and Knights there. Considering that I realllly wanted to sling my Sergeants down the far side of the field and try for some rear charges this game… that was probably a good idea on the Ratkin player’s part.

Team Eeevil moves up. Slowly.
Turn 2: Team Human
I move literally nothing. I’m happy with my deployment versus their lines, and they are far enough away I don’t want to change anything just yet. So I just sit back and shoot, targeting the Ratkin Horde of Warriors since I know they can’t Heal or Life-Leech it away. We end up getting side tracked discussing the staying power of typical Hordes and Nerve Checks, and how units accumulate damage, but stick around and remain fully potent until they are eventually routed. My opponents get gleams in their eyes and are liking the theoretical resilience of their mammoth units.

Turn 3: Team Eeevil
Their second turn is much the same as their first, with stuff largely just scooting forward. My undead opponent is super-excited to have both units that can move and units that can shoot. His archers decided to do both this turn, and even manage to slip a wound through on the knights on the far right.

Hoold!! Hooooooold! Team Eeevil approaches!
Turn 4: Team Human
….And we’re in typical BR territory here. It’s a pivotal turn, and so I completely forgot to snap a picture of the action. Sorry, everyone.

On the right, I decide to charge my Beast of War, my Regiment of Crossbowmen and my Troop of Knights into the menacing Zombie Horde. I argue that my knights get a front charge; my opponent thinks I’m in his flank, and we roll off, and they end up in the front. That's how we roll.

I’m expecting to do some decent damage, but not expecting to win the fight. They are Zombies, and they’ll take some effort to remove them. In order to focus on the Zombies for the next turn or two, I need to delay the Ratkin Horde, and so I park my trusty Pole Arms Troop in front of the rats. The Spearmen pivot, and shuffle up a bit, getting ready to offer themselves up to delay the Ratkin Horde on my next turn... which will hopefully allow me to deal with the Zombie Horde.

Combat is brutal… and when we go to roll the nerve check here, I realize that I have Brutal on the Beast of War, and with that little bonus, end up getting exactly what I needed to Rout the Zombies. Things are off to a very good start for me. My victorious forces shuffle back D3.

On the left, my Knights and Mounted Sergeants both charge the Death Engine, but bounce off. The armored monstrosity in unfazed.

Turn 5: Team Eeevil
The Ratkin Horde (And Crier) charge the Pole Arms troop, looking to reform afterwards in order to hold the line with the still shambling undead. They do so easily, and the Horde reforms to avoid any nasty flank charges, while the Crier backs up.

All the Ratkin charge!
On my left flank, we talk a little tactics, and we all convince the Ratkin player to charge the Death Engine into the Troop of Knights (I seriously thought it hit harder, and was expecting it to crush the Knight troop), and charge the Regiment of Blight into my Regiment of Mounted Scouts.

Bit of a mixed bag for the Ratkin.
Unfortunately for my opponents, the Death Engine rolled up a good number of attacks, but failed to really bring the pain. Additionally, both Nerve Tests were low, and so the Ratkin assaults on my left bounced.

That said, the Ratkin on my left weren’t in a terrible position. Everything was grinding now, but I had lost Thunderous Charge on both my cavalry units, which is usually their death knell. It was a grind, but one that the Rats could conceivably win, particularly with the resilience of the Blight Regiment.

Turn 6: Team Human
I continue the scuffle on my left flank against the Ratkin. The Knights, even without TC, are apparently quite keen to “get some” and deal an unreasonable amount of new wounds (like 6?) and, combined with the accrued wounds from my last turn, are able to see the Death Engine off. The Sergeants, without Thunderous Charge and fighting against Ensnare don’t do much, but my human units now outnumber the Rat units on the left. I still haven’t gotten a feel for the Blight, but I’m liking my chances there.

Fighting on my left flank. Games sure are better with painted models.
In the center, I excitedly commit to fighting the Ratkin Horde a turn earlier than expected, and so in go my Spear Phalanx, the Beast of War, and the Crossbowmen, because apparently shooting is just too mainstream for them this game.

Cue the epic music. There's a nifty battle at hand. With a dinosaur!
Everything rolls pretty well, and again, Brutal comes into play, and uh... again, I luckily get exactly what I need to rout the Horde (9), twice, since his Crier was within range. Ouch. Yeah, so the dice are on my side this time. Far better than the last time I tried to introduce players to KoW, play a big list and write a BR.

The Knights are unfortunately too far away to charge the Skeleton Archers, and decide to ignore what turn out to be lowly Skeleton Warriors on my far right, and charge the Revenants, who turn out to be kitted defensively (I thought he would have given them the Crushing Strength Weapons and such, being a little troop). The Knights bounce, but that’s not a bad position for them to be in at the end of the turn.

The Ratkin take some big losses this turn... and I have yet to reform.
Turn 7: Team Eeevil
Things are, unfortunately, not going well for my opponents. Both their Hordes are gone, as is the Death Machine. I meanwhile, have only lost my Pole Arms Troop.

What Team Eeevil inherited for Turn 7.
The Ratkin Player is the worst off of my opponents. As the Blight Regiment again tries to dispatch my mounted Sergeants, the Crier skitters over to Inspire them, as the Knights are definitely going to come crashing in next turn. The Blight do some damage, but unfortunately don’t Rout the Sergeants, and the writing is on the wall for those sick rats.

The Skeleton Warrior Troop meanders around the little mesa on my far right, and after some discussion, the Revenants crash into my damaged Knights alone. While the Skeleton Archers do have a flank charge against the Knights, at 6+ to hit, my opponent decides to have them shoot instead, and they, along with the Necromancer lob arrows and a Lightning Bolt at my Beast or ASB. I don’t remember which because no shots landed.

The lone Revenant Troop bounces off my Knights… BUT leave them Wavered. It's a (very) small victory, however, the overall situation of my opponents just went from bad to worse, because now it’s my turn.

Turn 8: Team Human

What I have to work with at the start of Turn 8. Things are... going really... really well.
My Regiment of Crossbows charge the wandering Troop of Skeleton Warriors because seriously, who even shoots with Crossbows? That's so much work! All that cranking and aiming…

I feel like I'm cheating at this point. This has never before come up in game. My wavered Knights get to roll for Headstrong. Usually they just die to some ancient dragon. But here, in this game, they do their best to channel T Swizzle and just shake it off. They and the Beast both charge into the Troop of Revenants, with the dino getting into their flank. The Revenant Troop are summarily ground to dust.

Pictured: Apparently the single best use for crossbows. As clubs. Also a fabulous combat for my dino.
On my left, the Sergeants fight with the Blight as the Knights crash into their flank. Needing double 1’s to hold… statistics prevail even with the forced reroll from the Crier, and they are obliterated.

Turn 9: Team Concession Speech
My opponents concede, and that’s that. The two big dice-rolls to break the Hordes both went my way, and there is not much they can do at this point.

The enemy hordes were broken, but the dead do not remain idle for long, and who knows how many other Ratkin were lurking in the lands nearby? The Regnum had won the battle, but two new fronts had been opened in their war of reclamation… 

Deploying back was a good call for me, and is something I will continue to do for the foreseeable future. I should also stress the luck factor in this game. I got incredibly lucky this game, and was able to break both Hordes before they managed to do anything. A few pips lower on those rolls, and the game would have gone quite differently.

While they did (unfortunately) get trounced, both my opponents really liked the game. The clean, intuitive rule set really won them over, and very quickly we had pulled our noses out of the rulebook and had our focus primarily on the table, discussing stats and strategy – which is what we all want in a war game. Tactics for the win!

They both have pretty deep collections to draw from already (and lots already painted up really, really nicely), so we should be able to ramp up the points-level pretty quickly. They both learned a lot in just this first game. I for one am looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hobby Basics: Tundra Basing and Simple Snow

I did a sand/gravel + snow basing scheme for my old Warriors of Chaos, but the Herd is really doubling down on the theme in an attempt to wysiwyg the "Pathfinders" special rule. I figured the basing scheme would make a good quick tutorial.

Most of these Herd models are old Games Workshop Beastmen models, and as such, don't have any kind of pseudo-base added to the model's feet. Therefore, the big base was done up separately from the model, and we can focus more on it (to start).

This kind of basing works well with the larger unit-sized bases... with multibasing and Kings of War... these bases should look pretty cool when all finished. Let's get to it!

Part One: The Old Snow

Step 1: Add your additional terrain features, such as rocks or trees. For this step, I've added some pieces of cork board to the base (with superglue). Cork board is a really simple way to get some rocks and texture to your bases, and can usually be picked up cheap (as a sheet) at a lot of stores. If you pick up an actual framed cork board... it's going to cost more. I picked up my at a CVS, of all places.

After I glued the cork, I decided to to try something new. A pen had just died on me, so I used a hobby knife to split it roughly down the middle, added a thin layer of green stuff to it, and then tried to carve it to look like a fallen tree.

Step 2: I'm using the Vallejo White Pumice paste. Again. The more I use it, the more I like it. I'm down to about a 1/4 of a tub left...

It does well as sand, but it also is pretty great at being old, hard, crusty snow. I was't too particular with it's application, and you can see how the paste slopped all over the cork and trees.

I could be cavalier in the application, since I plan on doing a Part 2 of this basing scheme and know what that entails. If you decide to do just Part 1 on your minis.. be more delicate with your application, or conversely, you could add more paste to really hide the transition from one terrain piece to another. A prime area for more paste would be the left side of the logs on the left base, and really camouflage where the tree ends..

Step 3: With the foundations of the base done, it's time to prime! Despite a good argument for priming in white (You're going for snow, you dummy!), I still opted for black, on account of the rocks. They look really weird primed white, and no matter how I've tried to cover that up in the past, it's never worked out. Gray could work, but I had black on hand, so here we are.

Step 4: Once primed, you paint. I took an old, larger brush (detail is really not important at this stage) and added diluted white paint to basically anywhere there was paste, as you can see from the left base in the picture.

Once that diluted coat of white paint dried, I added a light blue layer of paint with a wet brush (so, this paint coat is also diluted, but less so), painting over much of the now-white-again paste areas, which you can see from the right base in the picture above.

The cork rocks got a coat of dark gray paint, and then a layer of light gray paint to give it some contrast. The logs got a brighter brown color, and then a dark brown wash to set off those knots and bark recesses.

With the other terrain features done, I returned to the snow. With a dry brush, I added another layer of white paint to the snowy paste areas. The aim is to cover the highest parts of the paste, and leave a little bit of blue left when you are done.

The picture is after alllll this painting is done.

The rocks are a nice and easy way to add a little to the model, and something I've done for a while now. The trees turned out ok for an impulsive idea.

In future tree-related things, I'll focus on adding little branches, sculpting better bark and knots, and making the end of the tree more irregular, A few tweaks of that process, and I think my future trees will look pretty good. Anways, this brings us to the end of Part One.

Part Two: New Snow

Edited 10/8/17

Previously, I had been using just glue and baking soda for snow effects. However, after about a year, the glue starts to yellow, and no amount of "yellow snow" jokes could save it.

My new approach, using white paint now, with the glue and baking soda, can be found here, or through the Hobby Basics tab.