Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year in Review

'Tis that time of the year. I didn't do this last year, but thought it might be beneficial for me to do a recap of sorts this year. So, armies progress and hobbying first! What have I accomplished in the last year?

Regnum Aeternum (KoM)
The Regnum kicked off the blog, but started out as GW repaints. However I don't currently count those models in my collection of Kingdoms of Men. Mid 2016, I shifted from repaints to the Roman/Byzantine style I wanted. I've added around 1500 points of things in 2017: more infantry and some knights, and the General on a Winged Beast.

It's a respectable collection at juuust over 3000 points (again, this excludes all of my old GW Empire models). I have a few more things in store for this army in 2018, as well as a few ideas for possible new plastic to buy if the mood strikes. Fireforge is adding some Byzantine models that I have my eye on... especially if they release some honest-to-goodness cataphracts!

The Halflings were a small (sorry, sorry) project I started for fun in 2017 as I searched for knightly/cataphract models for my KoM. I liked the idea of a "little brother" army for the Kingdoms of Men, and the idea snowballed from there.

I've painted up a little over 2000 points of Halflings now, and am boxing up the rest. The models aren't that great to hobby on, and I have more than I think I need at this point for a fun army. We'll call them 2000 points painted.

My Undead started in the tail end of 2016, working up a few Skeleton Warrior and Archer units. In 2017, I've added a lot. Wights, Wraiths, Vampires, characters... with a ton of Zombies, some more skeleton units, and more characters all on the way and already in various stages of progress. The end goal for the Undead is to hit somewhere around 4000 - 5000 points, and to have a nice collection of Undead to draw on. All told I'm a little over 3000 right now, with about 2500 points being added in 2017.

The Varangur were my big project in 2017. This year, I've painted up well over 5000 points of Varangur. Lots and lots of armored units, as well as some monsters and characters! I have about another 2000 points of things still sitting around, so I will have more Varangur coming in 2018.

The eventual goal with the Varangur (and Herd, and Abyssals) is to run a huuuge game sometime, with the Varangur taking center stage and supported by the quick Herd on one flank and the ranged Abyssals on another. I think this trio of baddies would look really cool on the table, and provide for a great, fluffy battle report.

A few test units were finished up on 2016, but most of the work has been done in 2017: some Tribal Longhorns, Guardian Brutes and Beast Packs all ready to hit the table. I'd say about 500-700 points has been done in 2017. Let's just call it an even 500 though.

Despite some purchases, the Abyssals haven't gotten a single unit table-ready yet. That's ok though, as I still don't have much of a plan for the army as a whole. I don't want a large collection; just 2000 points or so. I already purchased a horde of lower abyssals earlier in the year, I should be able to get this army going in 2018 with a little planning.

So, for hobbying/painting, I've painted around 11,500 points spread over 5 armies this year. I don't recall making any particular hobby goal last year, but I'm guessing I would have exceeded it.
How about gaming? You know... the reason for all this hobbying?

Well... I had a rather modest goal of playing 12 games in 2017. I really like Kings of War, and figured that I could probably fit one game in every month, rotating through the friends I know who play and not bugging any one person too much. However, I fell far short of my goal, and I only managed to play 5 games all year, with most of them under the typical 2000 point level. Shucks.

And now... what will 2018 bring?

Hobbying-wise ...probably not as much as 2017. I like hobbying, but I painted a lot of things and don't think I can duplicate that in 2018. I have a loose goal of painting up 6000 points or so. This would finish up a lot of the armies and projects and plastic I have in the works. The Undead will get another 1000 points or so; Herd and Abyssals probably about 2000 apiece. The Regnum is pretty well set, but could have a few things sneak onto the table. And we'll see about the Varangur.

Gaming-wise, I will again aim for 12 games. I wasn't all that diligent in pestering folks for games, and I can probably achieve this with a little planning and persistence. If I can't do this locally... I may have to check out a tournament sometime this year. (Oh shucks.)

And, the last, miscellaneous goal for 2018... is organizing and playing a big mega battle. Huge group games is what really hooked me with Warhammer Fantasy. I think Kings of War will scale up much, much better, and now that I have all these armies painted up and available, I think this would be a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

That's it for me. Happy holidays, happy New Year, and I'll see you all in 2018!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Hobby Update: Halfling Army

My collection of Halflings started off accidentally. I picked up a box of Cataphract minis on a gamble, and found that they were about half the size I needed... and then the idea took root. I decided to build up a "little brother" army for the Regnum, using 1/72 minis to represent Halflings from KoW's League of Rhordia army.

Here is my list. Well, really my collection. This is everything I have ready, and all I really want for the foreseeable future, as I don't want to "main" the League.

As mentioned elsewhere on the blog, the models almost exclusively come from HaT minitures, purchased indirectly, through a third-party online store. The only exception to the above are the volley guns, which are Games Workshop Helblasters from their old Empire range.

The models here are at a 1/72 scale, which makes them a pretty great size to represent halflings for Kings of War! I decided to add various green stuff "tufts" around their feet, to try and represent the notion of halfling furry feet home, and give the army a little personality. The prettiness and effectiveness of the end result is debatable though.

On paper, the League of Rhordia looks to play much like the Kingdoms of Men. Both are broad armies; not specializing in any one thing, but rather having access to a wider variety of tactics and units, like armored knights, gunpowder and a gradated range of infantry and ranged units, from chaff units to tanky units to killy units.

The League gets even more options by mixing halflings into their ranks, who serve as chaff/specialists (Halfling Scouts and Ranger Cavalry), artillery (Halfling Howitzers, Volley Guns), monster handlers (Halfling Iron Beast) and very cheap tar-pits (Halfling Spearlings, Braves).

Despite all these options, I decided to be a weirdo and go with halflings-only. And while they can field a variety of units resulting is a legal, generally balanced army, halflings all on their own is a rather underpowered army...

Under-powered, but not under-staffed!
The halfling infantry is decidedly sub-par. Stealthy is an alright special ability, but the halflings lack both stats and special rules to really endure or deal damage in melee either. The cavalry options are better. While slower than what other armies can field (and losing Stealthy), the halfling cavalry can at least compete, with near-average stats to allow the Rangers to serve as good cavalry archers, and the Knights to serve as decent medium cavalry.

What would make halflings-only real contenders are their "special" choices: things like the Howitzer, Volley Gun and Iron Beast. All of those choices have a lot of damage potential and can be unlocked cheaply, given the overall low-cost of the halflings. However, I didn't want to build a gunline, and things like the Max Duplicate Rule for Clash of Kings could hamstring such an army in an event setting. 

Having only fielded the halflings indecisively in smaller games, I can't speak yet to the tactics this army will adopt, but generally speaking, this army is meant to go out and try to do things, even if that is the more difficult path for these little dudes. The guns will blast; the knights will charge; and the infantry will (hopefully) hold the line.

The few outings they have been on have been really fun, as fielding they kind of demand to not be taken seriously. I hobbied them up with an eye to playing them in any intro games I run, and I think that's probably the best place for them. Again, this is not really a competitive list, and the army isn't geared that way. Win or lose, I play to have fun with folks, and this army exemplifies that approach. Can't wait to field these donks again sometime soon.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Hobby Update: Last of the Halflings

One last thing I was hoping to get done (hobby-wise) before 2018 rolled around was finishing up my Halfling army, which I started on over the summer, as a bit of a joke. Halflings-only is a bit silly... Surprisingly, I'm going to make it! Another post will focus on the army as a whole, but for now, here are the last three units I needed to finish up.

Halfling Spearlings

Like the rest of my Halflings, the models are from HaT miniatures. These are their Romans, at a 1/72 scale - too small for a "normal" Kings of War scale human, but pretty great for halflings. The spearmen are from a few different boxes, ass mixed up. Since the Halfling Braves are 4+ Defense, and the Spearlings 5+, I decided to cut the shield parts off of the minis. They would probably look far better with their shields, but I think this resulted in a good feeling of fragility.

Kind of a bad pic.. but the paint-job isn't all that much better in focus. These are definitely just to a basic tabletop quality.
Like most of the other halfling-themed units utilized by the League of Rhodia, they have the Stealthy special rule, which will make it harder for them to be removed from missile fire. Interestingly enough, in the few games I've played with the halflings, my opponents typically decide to shoot at something else. Gamers don't tend to like penalties to their rolls!

Stealthy makes them more likely to survive and get into combat... but they are still halflings. As mentioned above, they only have a 3+ Defense, so most things will tear right through them. Additionally, they don't have a great chance to hit back with no Crushing Strength (or Thunderous Charge), and only a 5+ to hit.

My plan is to run them as a horde. The extra Nerve should let them stick around for a few turns and actually tank something. Fortunately, they are really cheap!

Halfling Archers

While their stats aren't great (5+ to hit; no offensive bonuses), they do have Stealthy. This should let them more efficiently trade shots against other archery units, somewhat mitigating the bonuses of 4+ elves, and getting a bit of an edge against other basic archer units.

As mentioned elsewhere and shown here... I'm not sure the furry feet really turned out all that well either.
This is my second archery regiment for the halflings. I don't expect much from either of them, though the occasional wound would be welcome. I think I will use them mostly to sit on objectives. Their regimental size along with Stealthy will make them harder to dislodge with ranged attacks or lucky Nerve checks. Plus they can still shoot.

The army could probably use a touch-up here or there, but is ready for the table. I've got a little over 2000 points of distinct units, but combining a few regiments into hordes can get me to an even 2000 point list, which seems like a great place to stop.

I probably have another 600 points of halflings sitting around, but I don't really feel like expanding the army more. The "foot fur" effect I tried is really tedious, and has dubious results aesthetically. The plastic itself is soft and a little difficult to work with too (so soft it was impossible to file off mold lines; the whole model just got mangled). Painting them up also turned into a bit of a chore. Hobbying is supposed to be fun, so it's a good time to give them a break and move on to other things.

That said, these 1/72 scale models are cheap. HaT's boxes were around $10, and had tons of minis. There are also tons of companies producing at 1/72, and covering a wide variety of timelines and regions.

All in all, this was an alright project. I probably bought too much (I would have liked to have kept this around 1000 points), but they will see the table sometime I hope. If you have a League of Rhordia army, and want some halflings... check out stuff at this scale! Army update coming soon...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Coloring Vallejo Paste

I am a big fan of Vallejo pastes, and have used their pumice and sand pastes in my basing for a while now. Recently, a reader asked if it would be feasible to color the paste before applying it to the base of a model. The thought had never occured to me, as so often I paste and then prime the base. It seemed plausible to me, but I wasn't sure. So I set up a little test to see how well it would work. Dan, this post is for you!

Clock-wise from the upper left: black; a mustardy yellow; brown; and a kind of sky blue.
I decided to use a few generic acrylic paints to mix. Such paints can be acquired cheaply as part of a set (indeed two of my test colors came from such a set), or as larger tubes. If you are painting up an entire army's bases, these paints (especially the tubes!) will both last through your project, and not cost you much. That said, Reaper or Army Painter paints could be viable alternatives, as their bottles are pretty cheap and can squirt their paint out. I think I'd avoid the GW paint pots though...

A day later, everything has dried out alright.
As it turns out, you can totally mix paint and paste to save some effort! One thing to be aware of though, is that the wet white paste will tint the color you are working with. You can see it most strikingly with the blue color above, but all of the test ended up a little lighter and whiter than the original color.

So, it is completely viable to mix paint and paste. That tinting, however, is somewhat bad news, on two fronts. First, you will need more paint in order to make the mixture. I tried to ballpark a 1:1 ratio with paint to paste. Second, it will make duplicating your new colored paste more difficult. If you want to mix up paste in order to base a new unit a month later, or a year later, it may be difficult to get that exact color again.

But it works! If you want to save yourself a little effort, you can totally mix paint with Vallejo paste. 

I also tested out one more thing. I scooped up some of the unapplied mixture, and placed it in a small plastic portion cup, like you might get from take out or food cards. I covered it with plastic wrap to try and make it more air tight. The intent was to see if it would be possible to mix up some paint/paste, and save it for later.

A day and a half later, and the mixture is still nice and damp and workable. This is good news! Provided that you take steps to prevent the mixture drying out, if you mixed up a big enough batch, it should keep for a long while, and you should be able to use it as you need it. Heck, if you knew you only needed one color, you could probably just dump some paint into a Vallajo tub and mix/store it there.

With some planning ahead, creating colored Vallejo paste is completely viable, and may save you some precious hobby time. Thanks for the idea Dan!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Varangur: Sons of Korgaan

One final update for the week. I still have a bunch of old Warriors sitting around, all with big nasty-looking weapons, which I intend to run as units (three regiments, probably) of Sons of Korgaan. Most of the models need to actually be assembled, primed, etc, but this unit of Khorne Warriors was actually painted up fully back in my Warhammer days, and I figured I could transition this unit over pretty quickly while ill/recovering.

The unit is a little crowded..
I was right! Some washes here and there, and a few touchups and we're all set. As mentioned before, I have a lot of these Warrior models. Anything with the smaller weapons from the kit I'm running as Bloodsworn. These bigger halberd-toting models, are Sons.

Game-wise, they have a solid stat line and can both take and give hits freely. In fact, looking at these guys, I am reminded of my lengthy post from yesterday regarding Mounted Sons of Korgaan and Direfang Riders.

This is an interesting unit to add to that discussion.

Mounted Sons are still Knights; fantastic on the charge. Their slower counterparts on foot are similarly durable, (same Nerve even) but better able to grind out fights, owing to their Crushing Strength attacks. 

That... sounds familiar. The Direfangs were grinders as well, so these Sons on foot almost seem like a  (slightly) cheaper version of the Direfang Riders: something durable (again, exact same Defense and Nerve), slow, and murderous. Both can serve as powerful anchors in an army.

The Sons are cheaper, and will put out respectable damage while they hold the line.

The Direfangs, however, I think are meant to be the Varangur's best counter-punching unit. It's as tough as they come, but with those extra attacks and Strider to help make sure things get hit. It is meant to not only hold your line, but actively and fiercely push back.

Again, this is all theory; I have not gotten a game in with these units, or in a while. I will have a lot to test when the Varangur hit the table next time!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hobby Update: Direfang Riders

I've been off of work this week, and although I'm just now getting over a nasty cold (some week off), in between numerous naps and bowls of soup, I am also making some blog and hobby progress, as evidenced by all these recent posts.

After posting yesterday, I was tidying up, and I realized that there was one project in-process that got a lot of painting done in November, but I had not touched on in the blog yet: Zombies!

So there are (heh) 69 Zombies waiting to be based... this will take some time.
My girlfriend has been hobbying on these bloody guys for a few months now, and finished the blood effects up on the last of the models a week or so ago. So now... I just need to base them. I am planning on basing these guys on four regimental and two troop MDF bases; and running the whole gang as a Horde and a Legion... eventually. I had hoped to get started on this this week, but 5-6 hazy days of a cold made me forget about them entirely. I'll finish them off as soon as I am able... hopefully by the end of the year.

I have gotten some repaints done though! Here are two brand new hordes of Varangur Direfang Riders!

The first group.

The original models were painted up in very Khorne fashion. Silver for the metal joints of the Juggernauts, red armor all-around and gold/brassy metallic highlights for all the raised metal accent bits. Very Khorne.

The second group. I think this one turned our better, spacing-wise.

I don't have a consistent paint job for the Varangur, but I wanted the new paint job to be different for these guys. I browsed online for a bit, and found these guys painted up by someone known as Flint13. They were crazy well-done. I knew I couldn't hit that level of a paint job but I figured a scheme like that would fit in well with what I have already. I mean, I already had some things with black armor and some with white armor... As expected, my painting is no where near as good as Flint13's, but it works. 

Game-wise, they are a bit of an odd unit. I am obviously tempted to compare these to the Mounted Sons. Both are mounted dudes, after all. 

Here are the stats for those unwilling to open up their book or a new tab. See? Look at all those similarities! Same Nerve values; same option for Gifts; same exact costs for the smaller and larger unit sizes... a comparison is begging to be made!

The obvious difference, Large Cavalry vs regular Cavalry, isn't that big a deal. Frontages gets a bit bigger with the Large Cav, but they grant more unlocks, if you need them. Not much to say.

The first big difference in these units, is Speed. The Mounted Sons are typical knights, with a decent 8" threat range. Direfangs apparently have stubby legs, and are gimped 2 inches, making them barely faster than normal 5" infantry. Ouch. So, right off the bat, Sons are knights, good charge-you-from-far-away cavalry. The Direfangs? Cavalry really in name only.

The second big difference is the attacks. Mounted Sons are pretty typical knights. They have a few more attacks than a normal knightly unit, but hit on the typical 3+ for comparable knights. They can be stuffed up by terrain or phalanx units. Direfangs, however, seem to be more berserker-oriented. Like Elves' Hunters of the Wild; or the Varangur Reavers; or Abyssal's Succubi, the Direfangs shift to a 4+ to hit, and then gain a more attacks. They gain Strider to make sure they enter combat unhindered, ready to unleash all they have. 

The third big difference in these units is how and when they can deal damage. Whereas again, the Mounted Sons are pretty typical knightly units, relying heavily on Thunderous Charge, the Direfangs rely on Crushing Strength, meaning the 'Fangs can grind out combats more, and aren't nearly as concerned with getting the initial charge.

So... how would I run these units? Well, the Mounted Sons I'd still run as normal Knights and your typical heavy cavalry. That's what they are, and how they perform. These new Direfangs... I'm not entirely sure. So permit me to brainstorm a bit.

Gift wise... I still think Lifeleech 1 is generally not worth it. Depending on your list, you may be able to eek out some use from it on these guys.. but you can probably do better if you have the points to invest. Given their high number of attacks and CS2, Brutal is probably overkill. They'll be doing enough damage to break things, particularly if there is any other unit helping out. I think giving them Headstrong and Fury would be the way to go. You need them to do their damage, and their low speed means that they may be hurting by the time they reach combat. Giving them the ability to make a final counter charge could be huge.

In a faster list, with chaffy wolves, Horse Raiders, and some Mounted Sons... the Direfangs could be that final push. A unit or two of them, any size, advancing slowly behind the rest. Whatever survives that first onslaught, still has to deal with them.

In a slower list, say an infantry list, they could simply anchor your line... a stalwart horde with a solid 5+ Defense and 16/18 Nerve tying up important enemy units while Bloodsworn, Sons and Warbands clash alongside their savage bastion. Or conversely, a group of Thralls or Warband could tarpit something in order to allow the Direfangs to crash into the enemy flank. Imagine that. A whopping 60 CS2 attacks against something...

Ok, so, howsabout a more typical list. A mixed, balanced, toolboxy list. One that brings some light and heavy cavalry, light and heavy infantry, chaff units, and maybe a spooky monster or two? This is probably a good place for the Direfangs. Your faster elements are more likely to both chaff things up and draw early game fire, allowing the Direfangs to either arrive later and then support/clean up fights, or just be free to do other things with the mid-speed Monsters and slower infantry. Their biggest liability is their speed. In a list with other, speedier, more imminent threats occupying your opponent's attention, the Direfangs should arrive in combat mid-game largely unharmed, and given their durability, serve you until the end of the game, deleting units all the way. 

Enough theory for now; I'm rambling. I will be giving these a try sometime, in a mixed list. They seem like a pretty powerful and unique unit to explore. And, I'm glad they're done!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hobby Update: Herd Tribal Hunters & Varangur Chieftains.

The Herd have not gotten a lot of love recently, and even this attention is pretty mediocre. No new paint. Not technically even a new unit. Just some rebasing.

Uh.. yay?
I painted these guys up over a year ago. Back then, I still wasn't decided on basing, so one troop was largely based individually, to give me some flexibility. Since then, I've decided that 1) I like multibasing for Kings of War, and 2) I don't want to use these minis for D&D. So I spent an hour or so semi-recently redoing this troop.

So, not a big update for my Herd. I have about 1000 points of Herd painted, out of a goal of 3000. That said, the majority of what I have ready right now are Troops... so I can't legally field the entirety of my collection. My intention is to run a bunch of Lycan units as my primary unlockers for the army, and I was hoping to have some ready by the end of the year, but I think that finishing those is probably unlikely. So, the Herd trudges along.

The Varangur also didn't get a lot of love in November, but that's ok, they've got 4000+ points of stuff already this year, and even more on-deck. Up now though are two new Chieftains done up in late November to help lead the Varangur to victory.

My WHFB Chaos army made heavy use of core chariots. While most of these were converted Tomb King chariots, I did pick up some actual Chaos Chariot kits, one of which was cannibalized for parts. The chassis for that kit became a Warshrine, and the Gorebeast and warrior were built up into this Slaanesh hero.

Originally, I wanted to add chains to this guy, and have the rider yanking his mount around, but I gave up on that idea. Instead, a few blobs of greenstuff was added and colored green to suggest magical control of the beast via the little rod in the warrior's right hand.

Another component of my old Chaos army were two units of Skullcrushers, because they were just so darned powerful! Then, like now, I wanted a big collection in the hopes of playing bigger group games, and ended up buying 3 kits, to make 2 units of up to 4 Crushers and have a hero to spare. All are being transitioned over into KoW right now.

All my Khorne heros were painted with black armor back in the day, so this model didn't get any real touchups; just a new base. I don't have a unified color scheme for the Varangur, so I'm not too worried.

Game-wise, these are not a bad choice at all. They have an pretty impressive stat line, as you can see here. They can take a hit very well and will take some concerted effort to remove from the game.

On the offense, they've got a great number of attacks for a 50mm frontage, and a lot of special rules that will help them really bring the pain. Strider is helps them get there, Hindered Charges can really ruin things. Elite also helps the attacks land. Mix in Crushing Strength 3 to all that, where all but Def 6 is wounded on a 2+ roll... and you have a hero that is leading by example. 

Additionally, being able to take a Gift is also a boon (Brutal would probably be my top pick). Lastly, the lack of Thunderous Charge is another benefit, meaning that this guy can grind out fights if needed. All around, a very powerful unit.

There are a few strikes against him though. First up is the Speed, which at 6, isn't stellar. He can keep up with Infantry, but struggle to keep up with the faster elements of a Varangur list (Fallen, Mounted Sons). The second strike against him is the cost. While quite powerful, he will not be worth it for everyone. Still, I look forward to seeing these chiefs on the table sometime.

And... this actually brings the blog current with the things I was working on in October/November. With the time off of work, I've been hobbying up some more Varangur, which will be posted soon, and hopefully the Halflings will be finished by the end of the year too... but we'll see how that goes. There's just so many little models to paint for them...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hobby Update: Undead Wraiths

Another post in my attempt to get caught up. This time I have some Undead! This "little" collection is growing!

The original. Has a more blended look. And more green.
I picked up part of a box of these a year or so ago for fun and painted two of the three models up for fun. In October, I decided that I could easily run these as Wraiths for Kings of War, and picked up another box to make three units of two models each.

The newcomers. More drybrushing at the end, so it has a bit of a layered look with white highlights.
I wanted to do these up quickly with an eye to getting some ghastly painting experience for the Coven Throne conversion I still have yet to start on. I still have a number of other units to finish up before I start that project though. Contrary to most of the evidence in the blog, I do have a little hobbying self control...

On the field, Height 1 could provide some line of sight issues, and Shambling could hamper their positioning for the desired flank charges. However, I think they have the potential to do quite well. Clever deployment could help mitigate the potential issues mentioned above. Their Shambling is much better than most of the Undead Shambling, and Fly gives them immense reach to threaten things once they get to where you want them to be. In a typical Undead list with a fair number of anvil units in play, getting that flank charge shouldn't be too hard methinks. They seem like one of those units that anyone could use decently, but could really dominate a game in the hands of a really competent general.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hobby Update: KoM Infantry

Back in September I had started hobbying on four regiments of infantry for the Regnum Aeternum. Now, they are ready for the table!

First up are the Shield Wall regiments, who are models are from Warlord Games, with some kettle helmet headswaps from the Mounted Sergeant and Man-at-Arms boxes from Fireforge. I figured this would free up a lot of Roman-style heads for possible future conversions, as well as give them a distinctive look to separate them from m other units.

Game-wise, the Shield Wall have a lot of 4+ stats, so are a nice "well-rounded" melee infantry unit. However, at 4+ Def they are not tanky enough to really tie things up for long, and without Crushing Strength, their attacks at 4+  are unlikely to punch through anything on their own. Like most KoM units, these will need to work alongside other units, and their biggest selling point is their low cost. At 100 points, these Regiments are mostly cheap unlocks and relatively dependable stumbling blocks to use against my opponent. Happy to call them done.

Also ready for the table are two regiments of Foot Guard. I painted them up in tandem with the Shield Wall, but based them later, and I'm glad I happened to do it that way. One thing that I did not like about the finish Shield Wall was how scattered they looked. All but two models in the Regiment have shields... and both are front and center in their units, leading to units that looks almost nothing like their namesake. In retrospect, I wish I had gotten a little more creative with multibasing to get more shields up front.

While not a huge improvement looks-wise, I do like how the Foot Guard turned out. The standard bearer is still up in front, leading the charge and flanked by two soldiers on each side. The unshielded commander is a rank behind, coordinating things. Head-on, the unit looks more organized and professional, which is a good thing, considering they are my elite infantry.

Their stats are a step up from the Shield Wall in every respect, so they should prove to be reliable units. The 5+ defense should let them tank many things decently for a turn, and slightly better Nerve should help them stick around to counter charge. Hitting on 3+ should get a point of damage or two through on the attack statistically. Their better stats makes them ideal targets for friendly magic, like Heal or Bane-Chant to get a little more mileage out of the unit. Very eager to get these guys on the table sometime.

I still have a more hobbying from October/November to get caught up on blog-wise. Should have more posts up soon!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hobby Update: Halfling Battle Shrine

Oh my, the last post here was a month ago... Time has gotten away from me. I have done some hobbying, albeit in a number of different directions.

My October hobbying goal was to finish up the ~400 points of Halflings I had in process, and get that army up to 2000 points. Like most of my hobbying goals, it was almost immediately ignored. Instead, I worked on some Vampires, and then added a number of other things to the table. Oops. The good news is that every army of mine has some new things coming soon! The bad news is that the Halflings still aren't up to 2k yet. They are one step closer with this though, their Battle Shrine!

As my Halfling collection broke 1000 points, I decided that I really liked the idea of the halflings dragging around some kind of Ark of the Covenant or Mikoshi-style shrine that they could rally around while it would liberally dispense lightning to their enemies. I decided I had neither the ability nor the patience to modify any of the remaining soft plastic figures, so having halflings drag the shrine around themselves was out of the question.

Fortunately, I had a spare dino toy sitting around, and was able to build a platform relatively quickly, though as an Eagle Scout I'm aware and ashamed of the "lashings" I did here. I mean, flat rope? No frappings? C'mon... Also, yeah, the statue would probably slip off in real life. okay, engineering-wise, this model is clearly lacking. But it is painted, so that counts for something.

With the platform done, I needed something to worship, and decided on a statue. My girlfriend has me hooked on From Software games right now (Bloodborne and Dark Souls 1 down so far; Dark Souls 2 in process...) I was finishing up DS1 while working on the Shrine, so I decided to take a little inspiration from the game for the statue. (For those familiar and/or curious, I ended up Praising the Sun with a very, very janky dex/faith guy wielding Quelaag's Furysword or Iaito.)

I used a spare Warlord Roman body for the statue, and then glued shredded bits of a green scrubby to a pila-throwing arm to try and emulate the iconic Lightning Spear line of spells. I considered trying to green stuff or paint something to serve as the ubiquitous Grass Crest Shield, but decided against it. I didn't think I could easily do something interesting with a flat, blank shield, so grabbed a spare Fireforge Mongol Cavalry shield, because I figured it would look cool with some shading effects.

It turned out ok! But the halflings still have a long way to go. An second Archer regiment and a horde of Spearlings are still in process, which is 50+ figures. Every model there has some paint on it right now, but yeesh.... I still have a long ways to the table for those units.

Closer to completion are some infantry for Kingdoms of Men, Direfangs for the Varangur, some Wraiths for the Undead and a few odds and ends for the Herd. Most of these are nearly finished, so I'll have some more updates soon!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hobby Update: Vampires

My Undead army started out as a few spare units I figured might be fun to have on hand to lend out to my Undead-playing friend. That's still their main purpose, but the collection is growing. Here are 1000 points of vampires!

That really is 1000 points. Vampires are expensive...
The vampire hero is just a Reaper model, and has the benefit of being cheap, dollars-wise. In game, she’s pretty expensive! This isn’t a great sculpt, but I already had picked it up a while ago for some Dungeons and Dragons, so I decided to paint her up while I was finishing up the units. She can now pull double-duty. Reaper has a number of more… practically-dressed vampires, which I may splurge on at some point down the road.

The Soul Reavers are Perry Bros Foot Knights with some head-swaps from Mantic’s Ghouls to showcase the vampirism better. These models are fantastic. They also make a similar-looking mounted knight kit, which I may pick up at some point for fun.

36 of the 38 models come on copies of this sprue. Then there is 2-body sprue for a kingly model and a potential bannerman.
I chose the Perry Bro's kit because of its "gothic"-looking armor. I thought it would lend itself nicely to a vampire aesthetic and guide my future undead hobbying in a later-medieval direction. I really like these models. Each body has a slightly different pose, which actually you build a pretty dynamic unit. I would highly recommend these, and I was anticipating a great deal more head-swapping, but the knights had a lot of Sallet helmets, which, with the open jaw area, I kept. They seem fantastically appropriate for vampires!

Not too much to say about these with respects to the game. They are a very strong unit; with a staggering number of powerful attacks, Lifeleech, and pretty good defense too. However, they are also a very expensive unit, and still just infantry, meaning they may get picked apart by artillery or other ranged attacks or hit by speedier cavalry or monsters if not property protected. Most Undead lists I see online shy away from them, so having three regiments on hand is probably overkill by several magnitudes for a practical, balanced list, but oh well. I like how they turned out, and they should provide a very powerful addition to my little collection of Undead!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hobby Basics: Water/Mud Effect

There are more advanced tutorials out there to get you some splash effects or ripples or sea foam or wading pools and such, but this method embraces my simple approach to hobbying; providing me with a neat little effect for very little time, money or effort.

My hobbying experience is largely limited to wargames, so I am not familiar with a lot of things at your typical craft shop. After trying a few different clear nail polishes trying to get this effect, I ended up buying a bottle of what I suppose can be termed a "glaze" product. I ended up with Winsor & Newton's Artists' Acrylic Glazing Medium, which promised a transparent, glossy finish. And it worked well to create the muddy effect, so I'm sharing it with you.

You will need:
-A painted, finished base, with flat spots (presumably the water or mud).
-An older, flatter brush
-The glaze
-A small test base, to see how thick you need to apply the glaze

The process here aims to do one thing: make things glossy. I assume your muddy or watery spots are painted the way you want (and dry). I recommend these areas also be flat, because of gravity and realism.

Some spooky Soul Reavers traipsing through rocks and mud and blood... it helped to use a few different colors for the mud, to give it a more deeper, layered look prior to glazing.
Apply some of the glaze in varying amounts to the spare base in a few spots. Let it dry overnight. This should clue you into how thickly you need to apply it to your bases, and approximately how long it takes to dry without wasting a ton of your time. 

Out of the bottle, the glaze is a milky-white fluid. I you apply it to thin, it looks transparent from the start, and doesn't dry well. I applied it until every area I wanted glazed had a kind of milky-white look to it, and let it dry overnight. It was fine by morning.

When you are ready to work on your bases, simply apply it to the parts you want glossy, in the amounts your test determined, and let it dry When everything is done and dry, you should have a nice shiny effect without obscuring the paint job below.

You can almost hear the squelches...
In terms of "technique" this is pretty easy: just apply it. Good job. The  difficult parts are all the prep and planning stages: making sure your have enough smooth or flat terrain on your base to use this effect, and then painting the effect (along with a few brush strokes against the feet of the models to "sell" it). 

All in all though, this is still a pretty simple effect to replicate, and one that I am happy to both have in my repertoire and to share with you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hobby Basics: Basing with Stands

A lot of the models I have been working with lately (Mantic Undead, Warlord Romans, Halflings, etc) have a stand as part of the model. While this small disc helps with painting, as you have a spot to hold while you paint the model, it can be a pain when it comes to basing the model, particularly with regards to multi-basing.

One could do all the basing first, blending little hills or rocks among the stands, and then paint everything. However, that seems crazy to me. Depending on the models, or size of the unit involved, it could easily be a nightmare to get the paint brush between legs or around weapon tips and into those middle models to paint. And that’s even ignoring the frustration of trying to paint any details (belts, gems, etc).

So, we'll have to paint and then base. Still, we'll need to deal with these stands. How? 

There are three basic approaches I have been using recently, regarding basing models with stands, which I figured I'd share here. Nothing below is particularly revolutionary, but a new hobbiest may find something helpful.

Basing with Paste

I still really like Vallejo paste, and am still using it frequently.  If you want to use the paste with your stands, it’s actually pretty easy, and I've been doing this currently, with a lot of my halfling units. I start with painted models.

-Base the stands of the models with the paste, and wait for it to dry.
-Paint the now-based stands
-Glue a rank of the models to the base.
-Add paste around the stands of that rank. Stopping short of where you want the next rank to be. I use a toothpick to move the paste around narrow areas, like in between feet. (It’s a cheap tool.) 
-Repeat. And repeat. And repeat… Keep adding a model or whole ranks, and pasting around it until you are done. Wait for it all to dry.
-Paint the newly pasted areas from above.

Add a rank... add the paste.
Above is a WIP pic with some halfling ponies I was testing out the process on. These models had been pasted and then primed and painted. This eventually led to a mismatch in color, with the parts under the ponies being darker than the surrounding areas due to the black primer on the stands. While painting can overcome this, it may be easier to paint first, and then add the paste, so all the paste starts out as that uniform color. 

Finished! Using a few shades of paint helped to blend the disparate paste color.
Using paste is relatively simple, though depending on the stand size and height, you may need to add another layer of paste to certain areas to better camoflage the stand, or you could be lazy and use grass tufts to obscure the bumps.

Basing with Milliput or Sculpting Putty

Greenstuff is usually the putty of choice for hobbiests, as it holds detail well, however, for basing, I prefer Milliput as it is cheaper and easier to smooth out. Whichever two-part putty you use, the general process should be the same: combining a bit of each part and kneading it together. For basing, we are looking to gently grade an area around the stand of the model, and have a "rolling hill" kind of result.

-Knead the putty, and just add little bits around the model. Use a wet tool or wet fingers to press it around the stand and smooth it all out. Wait for it to dry.
-Paint it up.

Milliput won't do much to make your base interesting on its own.
On the left, you can see the combined efforts of putty and paste. On the right, you can see an earlier stage. Some models have been puttied; the rest of the models have pasted, and are waited to be glued to the base and pasted around.

The putty doesn’t add a whole lot of interesting things on its own, so you should add flock or static grass or pebbles or something to get it to look interesting at the end. I

Remove the Stand

Depending on your dexterity and/or tools, you may be able to deftly slice the stand from the feet of the model. A sharp hobby knife or small hobby saw should be enough to deftly cut it, but ankles are generally weak points on models, so you have to be very careful. Additionally, it can be hard to get the cut flush with the stand, so you might clip a few toes accidentally… Depending on the model involved, this can be a difficult approach. However, you can prime/paint whenever you want with this approach. Priming/painting prior to cutting helps, as the stand does give you something to hold on to while you paint. Basically, the final steps are:

-Cut off the stand
-Finish all your basing, whatever it may be.
-Glue model to the finished base.

This technique can help you group your models closer together for a visual effect (like a swarm of tightly packed zombies), or if you only cut off a few models, it could allow for easier painting of the base itself, as you could glue these models on after everything else is painted.

To make a more interesting base, I’d recommend you combine some of the techniques above. Below is the start of a third Soul Reaver regiment. The models have been pasted, and glued down. I'm just about ready to add paste around the stands. Off to the side, you can see a model who has had their stand cut off, so I can still them close to the horse.

The last pic, below, is all three regiments of Soul Reavers, still works in progress. The back two had a combination of milliput and paste to create some rocky ground and flatter, muddy-looking areas, while the front unit had that, plus a few stands clipped to get the vampires closer to the slain horse. The work was spread over a few evenings to allow things to dry: the first the putty; the second to paste; the third to paint. Even combining all three approaches, this was a pretty painless way to work. It just took a little time to get it all squared away.

Not quite finished, but close. The bases aren't fancy, but they work.
So there you have it. Some basic tips for working with models with stands. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hobby Basics: Snow Effect

I've been meaning to write this up for a while. Previously I did snow bases with just Elmer’s Glue (basically PVA glue) and lots of baking soda dustings. However, the process was terrible. It took a lot of time; was messy; and arguably most importantly, after a year the glue starts to turn yellow as the glue got older. All in all it was a bad system.

That approach was pioneered a few years ago. In the interim, I’ve grown a little as a hobbiest.. so here is my new method for snowy bases. Admittedly it is probably similar, if not identical to anything you will find on the internet regarding snowy bases. You will need the following:

-Painted, Finished bases
-Elmer's Glue (PVA Glue)
-Baking Soda
-White Paint (Don’t use paints for your miniatures; buy a tube from an art store, it's cheaper)
-Something to mix everything up (toothpick, or a plastic utensil, or something else)
-An old brush to apply it to the base.
-A disposable picnic plate. Mixing everything together there and throwing it all out when you are done is nice and easy.

Behold! Supplies!

The itself process isn’t difficult, and you can experiment a bit with the proportions to see what you like. I start with roughly equal portions of paint and glue, and start mixing it together. Then I stir in baking soda... adding more and continuing to stir until the mixture starts to look grainy. If it is too thick for your liking at any stage, a few drops of water can dilute it.

A pile of stuff to mix.
Once the mixture is all ready, take an old, broader brush, swipe it through the mixture, and start applying to your bases. The mixture basically destroys brushes, so use an old brush, and rinse it out frequently (I usually rinse after each base) to prolong the life of the brush.

Some bases drying, along with my current snow brush. The bristles have flayed out due to the mixture...
If you want a “wind swept snow” feel, brush only in one direction, similar to dry brushing. The mixture will cling to the basing. You can also just slop it on thickly, more akin to deeper snow drifts. The mixture takes some time to set, but should be ready to go after an hour or two, depending on how thickly you applied your mixture.

This approach works easiest with stand-less models (where you can do up the base, and then just glue down the painted models at the end). If you models have stands, get your basing and models painted and finished, and then use a smaller brush to apply the snow mixture as a finishing touch.

Some finished, snowy units.
This is producing far superior results to my earlier approach. The process is quick and the materials are cheap... all contributing to a nice, simple basing effect.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hobby Update: More Halflings!

The halflings had an enjoyable first outing, and since games tend to drive my hobbying, instead of focusing on finishing up other projects already in process, I’ve been hobbying on some more halflings. Oops. I’ll get back to my other projects later…

The new recruits!

My goal with the halflings was to build a fun, slightly under-powered army for me to field for smaller introductory games, which I’d say has already been achieved. 

However, I still have a ton of models sitting around from my original purchases. This surplus, coupled with the game, has led to the formation of a second goal: boosting the army up to 2000 points! I still have a goal of playing some epic, large-scale games in the future, and I’d like to have the Halflings guys on hand as additional good guys.

The new recruits (3 Troops of Halfling Rangers, a Regiment of Knights, a Troop of Knights, a Volley Gun, a mounted Sorcerer and two Master Sergeants) bring me up to about 75% of my goal for the halflings. Up next are:

-A Horde of Spearlings
-A Regiment of Archers
-A Battle Shrine

I have all the models (and still more to spare), so thankfully, no new purchases are needed to reach 2k, so it’s just a matter of time and hobbying effort. I’m hoping to finish off one unit a week, and be done with the halflings soon. We’ll see how that goes… More to come soon!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Battle 13: Ankle Biters Unite

Work has been bonkers lately, so I gladly embraced some escapism and played an intro game of Kings of War. The game was to be a group game: me and some Ratkin vs a large host of Undead. I decided to bring the Halflings along, to see what they could do. Here is the list I ran:

Halflings-only is a bit rough for a list. Their “knights” are only Thunderous Charge 1, and they lack any units with Crushing Strength, as well as access to Bane-Chant. Dealing damage was going to be an issue for me. Good charges with the knights had potential, but most of the heavy lifting was going to need to be done by the Halfling Volley Gun, as it has piercing. My general plan with the army was to stick the infantry and volley gun together, and then deploy my cavalry on a flank to try and intercept the enemy.

My Ratkin ally brought his splendidly painted army, though I am hazy on the details of the list. The gist should be a Mutant Rat-Fiend, a Warlock, some regiments of Blight and Shock Troops, and I believe a Crier. I think a magic item was taken to cover the last few points, but I do not know which item.

Our Undead opponent brought a rather legendary army. (Possibly as a result of me forgetting to remind him that I have some undead units sitting around for him to borrow… my bad.) Mhorgoth the Faceless and Lady Ilona, along with an undead ASB let the host, which consisted of a regiment of Skeleton Archers, a regiment of Soul Reaver infantry with Blessing of the Gods, a horde of zombies with the Brew of Strength, a horde of Werewolves, and a Balefire Catapult. Totaling that up, he too likely had another small magic item to cover the difference, though again, I do not know which item.
Long view of most of the table.
When I arrived at the shop, the board was already set up, so we quickly got down to it. Deployment was a bit of a mess, in that we decided to alternate deployments… but also decided that each player would drop something in each round, so that the Undead player didn’t get too obnoxiously out-deployed. The Undead took the center of the field.

The center. Undead left-to-right: Werewolves, Ilona, Soul Reavers, ASB/Catapult, Horde of Zombies, Mhorgoth and Skeleton Archers.
The field had a fair amount of obstacles, which looked like it would serve to funnel the action into corridors and the middle of the map. My early deployments were my knights and mounted halfling ASB on the far left. I figured my ally and I would have a bit of a my-side/your-side thing going on, but that was not the case, and I soon had some rats near my knights and in the center… so my infantry and remaining forces took the other side of the board. As a result of me occupying both flanks.. the pictorial reporting is a little rough, as I spent most of my time on the right flank.

The ranging cavalry quickly found themselves surrounded by a chittering swarm of rat-folk, cut off from the trudging infantry. However the ratkin seemed more interested in eliciting the aid of the halflings than fighting them, and the reason was soon made apparent. Shambling into view on the other side of the grassy field was a large host of undead! With no time to reform into their respective armies, the halflings sounded their war trumpets, falling into line, shoulder to shoulder with the rat-folk…

Turn 1: Ankle Biters

Not wanting to get immediately flanked, the Undead player elected to go second, hoping we would meet him half-way and his large units could slog it out.

The view from the hill. The Halfling ASB forgot his flag.
On the left, the halfling knights took the hill, with some rats in tow, trying to methodically take that flank away from the speedy werewolves. The center, with the regiment of Blight and Mutant simply held, while the halfling braves inched up to occupy the rocky terrain just ahead. The Warlock loosed lightning at the Undead ASB, but the distance was too great, and the slack-jawed skeleton remained untouched.

The Ankle Biters have a cautious center...
Too far away to hit anything, the war machine and archers elected to hold, though the halfling sorcerer inched forward, eager for an opportunity to contribute to the fighting.

Turn 2: Undead

The Undead advanced trying to maintain a line of battle as much as possible. The speedy werewolves repositioned to try and scare off any flanking actions from the Biters’ left flank, while the Balefire Catapult lobs a shot and connects with some Ratkin Shock Troops, dealing 4 damage. A high neve check threatens to route them… but the Crier prevents disaster.

.... almost as cautious as the center of the Undead. 
The Skeleton Archers advance, but find that the stealthy halflings are really hard to hit with all the penalties involved. However, the practiced undead sorcerers bring their skills to bear; and Lady Ilona zaps the Mutant Rat while Mhorgoth does the same to the halfling sorcerer, each suffering 1 damage. Both hold.

Turn 3: Ankle Biters

The halfling sorcerer sped up into the flank of the undead. At this point, I don’t really have a plan for him. I had deployed hoping that something would be gunning for my Archers/Gun, and that I could push it away with Wind Blast. That wasn’t happening, so the vague goal was to get him in the flank this turn, and into the thick of the undead next turn to hopefully mess with things.

Softening up the zombies was an option… but they were supported by two casters, so I figured anything I did to them would be undone in the next turn, so the Archers and Volley Gun unload against the Skeleton Archers, dealing a fair amount of wounds. Following the halfling’s lead, the Ratkin Warlock also shoots at the archers, though the unit holds.

The center of the line stays put, and the left flank continues to inch forward, claiming territory bit by bit while staying outside of the range of the speedy Werewolves.

Turn 4: Undead

The Werewolves again reposition, looking to protect the powerful regiment of Soul Reavers as they move onto the rocky terrain to anchor the undead line. If charged, the Soul Reavers would prove very hard to move from here. The Zombies shamble forward, and two Surges from the legendary casters are aimed at them… but the grasping horde falls far short of connecting with anything.

The Undead approach!
Turn 5: Ankle Biters

The two regiments of halfling braves charge the zombie horde, and the Mutant Rat Fiend follows them in. While the braves hack at the shins, the Mutant lays into the rotting host, and the zombies are obliterated in one go. We discover later that the zombies had the Brew of Strength, so it was really fortunate we were able to take that out in one go. Victorious, the Mutant Rat repositions, and one unit of braves advance while the other falls back to the safety of the rocks.

A crushing multi-charge against the zombies.
Meanwhile, the regiment of Blight advance into the rocks to face the Soul Reavers. I don’t remember if it was a tactical decision not to charge, or if it was a range issue. Regardless, they stopped directly inform of the vampires, taunting them will all that rat blood flowing in their veins…

Unfortunately, the left flank is just too slow to do much. With battle starting in the center, one regiment of knights positions to try to make a break for the balefire catapult next turn, while the other inches forward as well… both units still trying to avoid the larger charge range of the werewolf horde… The rats on the left continue to shuffle around, probably mulling over whether they really want to attack the undead or take the halfling knights from behind…

On the right, the mounted sorcerer gets directly behind the skeleton archers, though is too tired from the quick march to do any casting…. Still, he is around now, and in the thick of the undead as planned. In the coming turns, I’m thinking that he may be able to push away a source of inspiring, or push the werewolves or soul reaves into harm’s way and force an engagement. The ineffectiveness of my left flank is starting to frustrate me… as we have a lot of points tied up there doing nothing.
C'mon guys..
The Volley Gun and Archers take another go at the skeleton archers… though both fail. I don’t think the archers hit at all, and the Volley gun only gets 3 hits/2 wounds. A low nerve check, and the archers stick around for another turn. Shucks.

Turn 6: Undead

Losing their nasty tarpit, the Undead are forced to hastily counter attack. Lady Ilona charges the Mutant Fiend, and will slip 6 damage through.

Before combat... unfortunately
The Werewolves and soul reavers decide to charge the Blight regiment, do an amazing amount of damage, and easily see them off the table. Both undead units victoriously advance.

Mhorgoth zaps the Ratkin Warlock for a few points of damage, and wavers him.

End of turn 6. Not bad for the Undead... though the left flank is starting to wake up.
Turn 7: Ankle Biters

On the right, the halfling archers and volley gun make up for the last turn and really lay into the skeleton archers, dealing over 10 new damage, and routing them.

The mounted halfling sorcerer is just having a rough go contributing to the game. Now, with most fot he undead in combat… I opt to have him push the Balefire Catapult towards the advancing halfling knights. Whoopie.

The Mutant Rat regenerates much of the inflicted by Lady Ilona, and strikes back. One regiment of braves charges the Undead Standard bearer, and slips 3 damage in, though is unable to rout him. The other braves advance and pivot, hoping to somehow get in on the action next turn.

On the left, one unit of knights goes wide, hoping to get to the enemy catapult soon… but they are robbed of the last few inches this turn by the wall. Meanwhile, the last unit of rats slowly swings towards the center...

Sportsmanship claims another victim. Poor Werewolves.
The werewolves are within charge range of the injured Ratkin Shock Troops, which slam into the flank of the hairy beasts. It’s too close to call on the halfling knight regiment, and my opponent graciously suggests a roll off to see if they can charge in too or not. I win the roll and in they go, contributing 8 damage to the fight. The Ratkin also connect, and the werewolves are routed!

Turn 8: Undead

The Undead standard bearer counter charges the halfling braves, but is too busy holding the flag to connect with his single strike.

The braves watch as the Mutant Rat is cut down. It's creepy, so they are kind of glad it's gone, even though it was technically on their side.
Lady Ilona is healed my Mhorgoth, and she and the Soul Reavers charge the Mutant Rat and eviscerate the writhing beast. The Soul Reavers reform to face the finally-advancing left flank of the Ankle Biters, and Lady Ilona reforms to threaten the halfling braves.

The balefire catapult lobs a shot, but misses. The war machine has struggled (well, failed) to hit anything after that first resounding impact.

Turn 9: Ankle Biters

The positioning of the outriding halfling knights is rough. They would clip the edge of the stone wall obstacle… preventing them from moving at the double towards the catapult, and are just of of range for charging. They canter past the wall, and pivot to face the flank of the war machine, getting out of its line of sight. There actions against the enemy artillery have been... underwhelming.

With nothing much to do, the halfling sorcerer pushes the catapult closer to the knights with Wind Blast.

There he is. The super awesome sorcerer everyone has been ignoring all game.
The volley gun and archers fire at Mhorgoth, land some lucky 6 hits and inflict a few wounds, but the master necromancer easily holds against the nuisance.

The halfling braves continue their scrum against the undead standard bearer, again dealing three wounds, but roll just shy of seeing him off the table this turn.

The other regiment of braves spy their chance, and rear-charge the Soul Reavers. Unfortunately the positioning is such that their charge is over the rocks, and they are hindered. Despite rolling lots of 5s… only 3 damage slips through.

The Braves are stoked. A rear charge means lots of Achilles tendons just waiting to be played with!
Other units also charge the Soul Reavers, hoping to bring down the vampires with a hog-pile approach. The halfling knights charge… but are hindered by the other grouping of rocks, and contribute little to the fight.

With the Halflings hindered, the Ratkin Shock troops are left to try and carry the fight, but it is too much to ask. The Soul Reavers hold (on the reroll though, it was close).

Turn 10: Undead

The balefire catapult fires off a last, desperate shot, before the halfling knights can overrun them.

Ilona attacks the flank of the reckless braves, and cuts the halflings down. Meanwhile the Soul Reavers trounce the Shock Troops. A combination of Lifeleech and Heal from Mhorgoth sees them recover most of their damage…

The Undead are clawing their way back, and even the Undead ASB scores a hit against the braves who have been stabbing him, though the halflings hold.

End of the game.
We started the game a bit late, so with the shop starting to wind down for the night, and us not remembering what turn it was, we decide to call the game here as a draw. While I do lack the exact lists… a draw is fairly accurate. The Undead lost about 505 (Archers, Zombies w/ Brew, and Werewolves) and the Ankle Biters lost about 535 (Braves, Mutant Rat, Blight, Shock Troops). Not a bad outing for some rusty players!

Much of the Undead were back in the ground where they belonged: hamstrung by their tiny foes. But their champions still stood tall. Unable to prevail against them or their last contingent of mighty vampire warriors, the short fighters disengaged, fleeing and withdrawing to the safety of their respective burrows, while the necromancers began the tedious and gruesome work or raising a new army…

I am always happy to get a game in, and we all had a good time.

I will concede that it was an odd game though, mostly stemming from a very odd deployment phase. The Ankle Biters deploying 2 for every 1 Undead drop was goofy, but not terrible. I think the Undead player did himself a disservice by deploying in the center... but that may have been due to group dynamics. Turtling isn't fun. The Ankle Biters had our own deployment woes, namely having the rats deploy all willy-nilly. If the two units (and hero) that deployed with my knights had deployed more towards the center instead, nearer the rest of the rats and making a solid battle line, or a line with reserves, I think we could have had far more decisive moves against the Undead, particularly against the Soul Reavers.

I forgot to remind my opponent that my Undead collection was available to him, so I think any of his list’s shortcomings (using legendary heroes; using only a few huge units) can be pinned on me. Downgrading even just those heroes for more units would have served him well I think. Hopefully he has more units next time!

Given my limited understanding of and experience with the Ratkin, I felt my ally brought a good list for game. Likewise, I was happy with what I brought, even if it didn’t perform as well as I would have liked. I attribute the under-performance to user-error. I think playing objectives, or deploying differently would have let the list perform much better. Oh well. I’ll just have to play it again sometime I guess!

Wind Blast: Wind Blast still intrigues me… but this was a horrible test game for it. The split deployment really messed with my general plan for the list, and the sorcerer ended up facing off against nothing I wanted to push around. Putting him with the Knights or even in the center to push the Soul Reavers away/around would have been a far more interesting use of him. I’ll try to do better next time…

Halfling Knights: These were sort of frustrating to use. I felt I had to play very conservatively here to contain the werewolves, and with their little ponies they always seemed to be an inch short of what I needed. I think if I added some Ranger Cavalry or a troop of knights to help screen the larger regiments I could be bolder with them and would probably have more success. Despite the lower speed, they are still cheap light cavalry, and should have been more useful that they were. I’ll have to use them better too.

Halflings overall: As units, they struggle to deal damage, though I think they could be a simple, viable army on their own with some tweaking. I still have tons of models leftover from my original purchases, so I will likely expand the army eventually.

The main goal for the halflings right now though was to have a fun army for me to play for intro games with, and I’d say I nailed that. The halflings were definitely fun to play despite their *ahem* shortcomings, and provided a lot of amusement for us. They also got some nice comments from 40k players at the shop, who dug our game.

It was a good game and a fun evening. Can’t wait for the next game!