Sunday 31 December 2017

That end of year post - 2017 edition

   So here we are again, another year over, another about to begin and another chance to look back and work out what went to plan and what didn't. So, it make sense to start with my resolutions from last year;

This year I'm keeping my gaming aims small:
  1. I'd like to try some more rulesets out this year too. The average gamer can only play a limited amount of games in a year and I would like to try out as many as I can so I can settle down onto those few that I enjoy the most. In this list are: Age of Sigmar, Sharp Practice 2, Chain of Command and Dux Britanniarum, all games I have heard great things about. - I managed to play 2/4, Age of Sigmar (much better than I expected) and Chain of Command (as good as I expected).
  2. I also want to play a game of 40K Apocalypse. I've been playing skirmish or platoon sized games for the last 2-3 years and have a real urge to play a properly massive game. - This was in the planning and then 8th edition hit and killed the plan.
  3. Carry on my aim of playing the equivalent of a game a week - only just managed that this year due to a few weekends where I played multiple games on a single day. - 105 games this year, with most due to being part of a few gaming groups - extra thanks to Neil here for inviting me round his house every month for a catch-up and a game or few and really expanding what I was playing.
   2017 ended up being a great year but probably the busiest of my life (I lost count of the amount of times I had to say no to a planned game as I was already doing something that day) with 6 new countries visited (including two Viking ship museums I never thought I would ever get to), 2 new jobs, D&D becoming more regular and expanding my normal gaming opponents. 

I played 105 games using 30 rulesets with my most played games of this year being;
  1. Thunderbirds - 16
  2. BFG - 14
  3. Bolt Action (Last year's winner) - 12
  4. Imperial Assault - 6
  5. (Joint) Dead Man's Hand, Bloodbowl, Thunder Road & Here, Kitty Kitty - 5
   Interestingly, this means that of my top 8 played games, 5 are technically board games, with only 3 being full wargames and all of my top played games have low figure counts, with Bolt Action being the one with the highest number of figures required - usually somewhere in the 30's/40's for most armies.

Carrying on tradition, here are some gaming highlights from this year;

2017 was the year I really discovered board games 

Chain of Command demo - thanks to Chris 

 Poseidon's Warriors - thanks to Neil

 Battlefleet Gothic

Dead Man's Hand Down Under - had to be done after seeing the real armour in Melbourne Library  

One of the best show games of the year 

Also the year I got back into Blood Bowl 

Baby footsteps into Flames of War 

Napoleonic naval warfare - thanks to Neil again 

One of two Bolt Action tournaments I lost at. 

Imperial Assault 

Star Trek Attack Wing - my most played game for two years running then gathering dust for nearly the whole of the next 2

So this year I want to focus on some key resolutions:
  1. Keep my 52 games a year target - as I now work from home making sure I get out of the house at least one day a week is extra important.
  2. Paint more than I buy - I managed this, this year and would like to keep getting my lead pile down, either by painting it, or by selling it off.
  3. Finish some key projects; 15mm armies for Sword and Spear, Napoleonic British for Sharp Practice, Sons of Horus 30k and my 5th company of Space Marines.
  4. Start far far less new armies. Not sure how to quantify this as a pass or fail but if I don't own any models for an army already, I don't want to get carried away with it and keep disrupting my painting queue.
I am also excited to try and play a few key games this year, some of whom tie into painting projects in the list above:
  1. LotR Battle Companies - I picked this book up a couple of weeks ago and it looks to be everything I remember from the White Dwarf version released a good 13-14 years ago. Pure nostalgia and I just can't wait to get it onto the table (plus no painting required as I have the troops).
  2. Sword and Spear - I got the rules for my birthday but I have been coveting them for a lot longer than that, but lacking the (painted) armies it has been on the back burner.
  3. Sharp Practise - this is on the verge of being a sore point. Having started painting the French troops long before the book's release, I am now (finally) the proud owner of a painted French army, however, the same cannot be said of the British army I have sitting on my shelf and in bags next to my desk.
  4. 30K - this is a theme that I have dipped into regularly ever since Black Library started releasing the novels just before I went to uni in 2006. The books are just so well written (on the whole) that it is hard not to be inspired and I have started building an army a few times before getting distracted by one thing or another (mostly price to be honest!). However, 2018 marks the year that both my normal gaming mate, and I, turn 30, so it feels appropriate to get the project finished before then. I own nearly all the models I need for the planned project, so what is stopping me?
  5. Saga 2 - while I still stand by my opinion that Lion Rampant is a far superior game to Saga, my normal gaming group are strongly in the mind set that a set of rules without official figures can't be a good game, so Saga has become the main Dark Ages ruleset. As I have said before, the Dark Ages are my favourite period in history and Saga scratched that itch, while being a low enough model count that you can dip in and out of armies without too big an expense in either time or money and I look forward to trying out it's new edition in the new year.
  6. Lords of Waterdeep - 2017 was very much the year of the boardgame for me and I doubt 2018 will see them go away. One game I got given for Christmas that I am very excited to try out is Lords of Waterdeep, the premise of which is that instead of playing as an adventurer in the D&D world, you are one of the guilds hiring them to do the jobs. Like LotR Battle Companies, this is a game that I own and don't need to paint anything for, so I hope to see it on the table early this year.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great 2018.

Friday 29 December 2017

The Fearsome Women's Institute

   As we are near the end of 2017 we are again at that point where we look over the year and plan what we want to do better next year, this post, however, is not about that, but is about one of the things I wanted to make sure was done and out of the way before 2018 reared it's head*.

*Plus I didn't want my last
painting post of 2017 to be
about movement trays

   When I painted up my Women's Federation Toxophilite Club it was my attempt to get a unit to represent what happens when 'ladies who organise'** get involved in conflict, in this case, instead of organising a knitting circle to knit socks for the boys on the front line, they take up arms and show them how it is done. So when Footsore Miniatures released an armed WI unit, it was pretty much a must buy.

**Thinking Sybil Vimes here
of Discworld fame.

Footsore Miniatures VBCW armed women operation sea lion sealion

   I picked up the command pack and 2 packs of regular rifles as this gave me the full 10 woman squad right from go, with no leftovers or scrabbling online to fill in that last spot of two which a lot of packs give and, obviously, the banner was a must have. I painted them to include details like the white rose of York (in their hats) and the odd purple detail to make sure they looked Albertine.
   Next step for this unit has to be some kind of personal transport, I see the leader as the sort of battle axe who could scare up anything she needed, even in a time of low resources.

Thanks for reading

Saturday 16 December 2017

Lion Rampant Movement Trays

   Between work taking over and another quick get away, my hobby time has been MIA for a couple of weeks now, but with a big game of Lion Rampant looming and a mix of not being happy with my current choice of movement tray and needing more to cover both of my dark age armies, I decided to start a fresh. Obviously, this meant a quick trip to Warbases and I picked up the perfect bases to make a shieldwall unit.*
* Although historically it seems
that even the smallest shieldwall
was 3 men deep . . .

 Possibly the least exciting first photo for a blog post ever.

 My current Anglo-Saxon army on their movement trays. This is starting to look a lot like a shieldwall to reckon with.

My current Vikings on their trays.

Because of how I was painting these armies and what I plan to do with them in the future, there are painted models that don't fit into these trays and a few** more left to paint that will then need trays of their own, so this project isn't entirely finished yet.
** Quite a lot

Thanks for reading

Saturday 2 December 2017

Another misguided new project . . .

   With the planned models for my Saxon project finished and packed away waiting for their first proper game (some have been used in Saga already bulked up with my old plastic models to make sure I played with a fully painted army), I wanted to paint some models that are not from the Dark Ages for a bit before I start to paint up the odd new batch from that era. 
   So the last few months have seen me move jobs, again (twice in a single year), and my wife has implemented her '12 in 12 challenge' to go to 12 new countries in 12 months. So between the two my hobby time has changed quite a lot, but I now have monthly doses of new things to inspire me; two of the trips have been to Viking ship museums which explains the sudden invasion of Vikings to this blog, but there are other things simmering in the background, namely a possible Moorish army and a Hungarian WW2 army.

   In September we traveled to Budapest (I had only found this out a week or so before hand) and it was a city that I didn't know what to expect from, but boy did it get some ideas going. The resistance museum, ruins pubs and the history of the city I read in the build up and while there, all got me to a point that they felt like an interesting project for a Bolt Action army. In gaming terms they aren't the cheese fest that some of the smaller nations are, looking at you Finland, nor are they irrelevant like some of the others, they played a big part in their theatre, plus it means that we could play a game where the Axis weren't just German again (we don't have a single Japanese or Italian player in our gaming group).

    The models are from Outpost Wargames and, while they are not the best sculpts in the world, they are reasonably priced, can be bought in whatever number you need (stopping you having to buy multiple boxes to get enough MMG's as Warlord loves to do) and the customer service is great. The figures are a touch on the smaller size, so I don't plan to mix them with any other ranges but as a unit, I think they look the part. One squad down, I had better get on with the rest before I get distracted again.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Sound of the Axe-work

   I've not done a huge amount of hobby recently but I was determined to get my Saxons finished before the end of the month, so I could spend December painting up anything else that I fancied. This post is the last of my Saxon backlog;

The various Saxon Warlords, 2 Anglo-Dane and 1 I will use as Anglo-Saxon (Hereward the Wake is just too cool a model not to have as an Anglo-Saxon Generic Warlord). 

The last of my current Anglo-Danish Hearthguard, although I plan to add a single blister of the new Warlord Games one when they are released. 

 The last Anglo-Saxon stragglers

So that brings my Anglo-Saxon force up to 27 points for Lion Rampant (with a few extra Heartguard) and about 9 points for Saga, while my Anglo-Danes lag behind slightly but will be expanded in the future. I just need to get my movement trays painted up for both forces.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Hearthguard to me!

   As the weight of numbers, dwindling enthusiasm* and work start to take their tole I am glad to be near the end of my Saxon project, the end is in sight. I am really looking forward to seeing the whole army set up as a shield wall, but that will have to wait at least another week. In the meantime, here is another couple of batches of Saxons that have left my paint table.

*Not deviating from a project
is really hard at the best of times!

 More warriors, levy and archers. They are mostly from my Gripping Beast top up but there are a few Footsore Miniatures still mixed in, along with a couple of Shieldwall Miniatures too.
I am particularly pleased with the guy on the far left with the axe on his shoulder, as I ruined his hand drilling a hole for the spear and had to improvise, creating one of my favourite models in the army in the process.

Hearthguard - including the first repainted Anglo-Danish models and another banner. These are mostly Gripping Beast but I think there is a single Footsore Miniatures model at the back.

Thanks for reading

Thursday 9 November 2017

Call in the Fyrd

   The last week or so have been really busy with work as the pressure has started to ramp up, but I have managed to keep putting some time aside nearly every day to get some painting done and my Saxons are starting to look like an army rather than a few armed guys taking a flag for a walk. I am still painting my Dark Ages figures in same colour batches and it is really starting to pay off, both in terms of out put, helping me to keep the figures in manageable numbers and in the final look, while some batches are easier to pick out than others, they start to get lost as the numbers start to grow, with the shield designs really helping to break them up.

The warriors and spear levy, a mix of Gripping Beast and Footsore Miniatures - along with the second banner of the army (more to come!).

 Next few archers, as with my Vikings I don't need to much in the way of missile troops (all Gripping Beast).

The hearthguard are a mix of Gripping Beast and Footsore Miniatures again - it was nice to paint a figure who wasn't carrying a spear or bow.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Form the shield-wall

   So, another weekend and another trip to a Viking ship museum, this time in Denmark, add in the weird fact that most of my normal Bolt Action opponents are buying Saga armies all of a sudden and my Dark Ages painting motivation is in full swing. I had always planned to replace my Viking and Saxon armies with new, better painted models and with the initial stages of my Viking army finished, my attention is now on getting my Saxons (can double as Anglo-Saxons or Anglo-Danes) ready for the table. Like my Vikings I am painting in batches of models from a mix of units and the aim of this first stage is an army that can double as a full 6 point Saga force and a full 24 point Lion Rampant army.

   With no further ado, here are the results of the first few batches, a mix of figures from either Gripping Beast or Footsore Miniatures.


 Levy archers.


Thanks for reading, and please check out my wife's blog post on our August trip to Oslo, it is worth it for the photo of me paddling furiously in a fjord.

Friday 27 October 2017

Zomtober 2017 - Week 5

Zomtober zombie count: 10

   I am going in early this week with my last submission for Zomtober* and, as ever, the last week is always a struggle, more so in a 5 week month! So, this week I have decided to throw a curve ball, instead of zombies or survivors, I have gone for undead farm animals. . .

* See my wife's new blog to

   So a few months ago I saw a kickstarter that had a zombie cow as one of it's rewards, even with the postage starting to make buying a single figure seem expensive, I couldn't say no, so when they added a zombie sheep and pig I was already in, so why not? As this is a shorter painting week, I have aimed low, with only the sheep and pig on my painting table, but the cow will come in due course. I have kept the colour simple to for a similar reason, I want to focus on the zombie side of the models and not worry too much about getting the breed spot on.

Thanks for reading and if you have some time, please read my wife's blog, she is a much better writer than me.

Sunday 22 October 2017

Zomtober 2017 - Week 4

Zomtober zombie count: 8

    It's that time of the week again, so here are my next 3 entries for Zomtober 2017, the last 3 zombies from the Walking Dead; Walkers booster. I had planned to paint the booster as a single week's entry but as I quickly painted up the 3 I had ideas for, the remaining ones took longer for me to get going with.
   The end result was a slower painting process where different parts of the models made sense at different times; with the black girl being inspired by Colgar6's first zomtober entry *, the redneck in the middle screamed southern Trump supporter (make America great again hat, tattoos and all) so has been painted up as such, while the last model was the result of a google search to give me ideas.
   Although the last couple of these models proved a struggle to paint, I would rate them higher than most of the plastic zombie ranges I have come across so far, only held back by availability issues if you don't want to buy loads of survivors to get the zombie models - I would definitely buy another walker booster if Mantic bought a new one out.

*I'll be impressed if you
can work out how

Thanks for reading

Thursday 19 October 2017

The Great Nottingham Pilgrimage

   I have not been in a massive painting mood recently and it is pretty much been zomtober keeping me going while I build up to the next project, although I made the pilgrimage up to Nottingham on Saturday nominally for Warlord Games' Birthday Bash but also as a general day out with my dad to a few of the wargaming places that are all in the same area.

   This isn't going to be a show review as I am sure there will be much better ones out there and I didn't take that many photos but I have a few things to say about the show;
  • The show was nowhere near as big as I expected (not having been to the venue before) but they filled every space they possibly could.
  • There were less people there than I expected.
  • There were less demo games than I thought there would be. Even their newest game (Blood Red Skies) only had a single table and the Beasts of War crew were filming their interview and demo on it for most of the time we were at the show (we left just after lunch).
  • The other sellers were hidden in a different part of the building and I think there were more staff in there than punters at any one time.
  • The tour of their manufacturing units, however, was almost worth the trip by itself - photos below.
 Resin moulds as far as the eye can see.

Resin casting room. 

 Metal casting room.

   We left Warlord Games just after lunch after spending about 2 hours at the show and proceeded over to North Star, which turned out to be the unit opposite. This trip was two fold, partly I wanted to pick up my Frostgrave Archipelago book (apparently I was the first person in the UK to receive a paid for version), partly to buy something I asked for Nick to put behind the counter and mostly curiosity, wanting to see where so much of my hard earned money goes. 
   Like the metal casting room at Warlord Games, the trays of metal figures waiting to be sorted were basically heaven. It took every fibre of my being not to have a rummage through them, figuring it would probably look far more dodgy than I would have intended.

   Once more of my money, than had been planned, had been handed over to Nick (really nice guy) we left in a hurry and headed over to our last stop; Warhammer World. As anyone who reads this blog regularly will know, I play barely a handful of current GW games a year but the universe and appeal of what they have created is something I reckon I will be stuck with forever, so Warhammer World has become about as close to a holy site as I think I have and as an added bonus their food and beer is amazing.
   After a not so quick lunch in Bugman's Bar, we headed up to the exhibition, which is well worth the £7.50 entry fee. It is one of those places that I don't even think the most ardent anti-GW person could come out of without being even a little inspired, 4 rooms of massive dioramas and cases of models, just make you leave with ideas floating about in your head.

   One thing I did pick up at the show was a Burial Cairn from Arcane Miniatures. I was a little bit surprised to see them at Warlord's show as I couldn't work out where most of their range fitted into what Warlord are trying to push, but I am glad they were there as I picked up a bear for Frostgrave and a couple of bits of scenery, one of which I got painted up in time for this post. I have a vague plan to use this in LotR scenarios set in Angmar or Rohan and in Dark Ages based games.

Thanks for reading

Sunday 15 October 2017

Zomtober 2017 - Week 3

Zomtober zombie count: 5

   With no major projects on the go at the sec, I have had more time to enjoy painting some zombies and try out some ideas. These three are from The Walking Dead All Out War game Walker Booster and was a pretty reasonable way of picking up extra zombies, at a few pence over £2 a model, they have also turned out to be some of the most enjoyable models I have painted for quite a while.

   I used these three to try out a few ideas I have been toying with. Black skin was my first big one as I never got it looking right, until I found a recipe from one of GW's Eavy Metal painters and I quite like the result. Second was trying out old blood, so far all my zombies have had Blood For The Blood God splashed over them, which is fine for recent blood but old wounds dry a horrible brown colour, so I tried to do something like that for the guy in the middle, as that can't be a recent injury. The last thing I wanted to try out was being a bit braver with my detail, the guy that painted my Somali Pirates for me managed to get numbers and names on them, while I can't manage that detail the black guy's t-shirt was calling out to have something on it, so I found an NFL team's shirt I thought I could paint.

   Just in case anyone was wondering about scale I have included two Studio Miniatures zombies as a comparison and while the All Out War model is slightly chunkier, I am really not worried about any differences in their sculpts. This pack should fit into my horde really nicely.

Thanks for reading