Tuesday 31 December 2019

That end of the year post - 2019 edition

   So, I know a lot of people aren't fans of the end of the year review style posts, but sadly for anyone like that, I love them, so here is mine;
  1. 52 games target - classic and a good thing to keep to - Smashed it with 157 games played. It helped that I've played a lot of board games with a few different groups of mates and a fair few quick party games.
  2. Paint more than I buy - damaged my backlog last year, so want to keep that up - This was going to be a massive success again until late November when my mate Neil sold me two whole armies, so Failed.
  3. Not to buy into any small scale skirmish games this year - esp not fad looking ones - I'm going to say I failed this one too. I bought into Burrows & Badgers, Aeronaticus Imperalis and the new Necromunda.
  4. Finish some key projects (again) - Sword and Spear - Failed, at least one of my Dark Age projects (I have 3 that need most of the army painted) - Finished one, almost finished a second but bought a third and 2.5k of 30k Ultramarines - Only 2k finished at the sec but they have been on the table.
  5. Play some key rulesets - Sword and Spear (been meaning to try this since it came out) - Failed again, bigger games of Sharp Practice 2 - Not actually played Sharp Practice at all this year, more 30k (still loving playing this) - Definitely passed, Titanicus  - Played but not a huge amount, Kill Team - Played a couple of games but nothing properly yet - this list could go on and on.
   The long and the short is that the year started to target but it went off the rails really quickly. The big thing I have done this year is really rediscover my love for the Lion Rampant family of games (The Men Who Would Be Kings, Rebels and Patriots and Pikeman's Lament) which has led to quite a few new armies for the above games. I think the big thing, is that I don't regret some of these big projects - ACW for example was really good fun to paint, made for easy pick up games and has inspired me to convert my Napoleonics over to Rebels and Patriots for 2020.
   While I think I said that 2017 was my 'year of the boardgame', 2019 has definitely stolen that title, with my stats showing I've played the same amount of different board games as I have wargames rules. This was helped by starting a few occasional board gaming groups some of whom could supply their own games which expanded my opportunities massively, but really getting back with my old club, SEEMS, has massively helped me game more this year.
   In pure stats I've had a middling year in terms of figure painting and I think I can confidently say that I have never started as many new projects in a single year as I have this year, but this has been more than made up for in terms of the sheer variety of gaming and the amount of books I have caught up on - hitting my non-hobby target of 100 novels in a year.
   2019 was also the year that The Mournival Podcast started up, which has been really good fun to be involved with.

   I always end up saying that *insert year here* has seen me play less pretty games, and I think this year has been no different on that front. I have played some brilliant looking games, so I don't want to take anything away from them, but I definitely need to up my game for next year.

   Looking forward to 2020, what do I want to achieve? This is something I have thought about a fair bit over the last few weeks and I think the answer will just be a variation on last year's aims;

1. Play 52 games - of with 26 must be 30k - As I am on a 30k podcast I really need to know what I am talking about and make sure I don't have a dry spell like 2019
2. Paint more than I buy - Especially after failing in 2019 and going to add that my bought figures must never go higher than painted numbers
3. Really must not buy into too many more projects - Ultimately this will tie into aim 2 as this is another backlog aim
4. Look to finish some older projects properly - Baggage, non-coms, appropriate scenery etc all make a battle feel more realistic - just painting 24 points of a Lion Rampant army doesn't quite cut it
5. Replay (mini versions of) famous battles - 2019 saw us play a mini (and it really was mini) version of Hastings, and this is something I'd like to do with other periods. Get a feel for what each side had and what the conditions were, then replay it, so looking at Agincourt, Nasby, Towton, maybe even Bosworth?*

   I had also hoped to get another post in before the end of December but the month ran away from me, so this is the best point to talk about Cavanuary. Towards the end of the year I always get thinking about some strange stuff and this year's strange thing was how much cavalry I have waiting to be painted, so I've decided to only paint and post about cavalry units** in January, with any units painted at the end of December being held back until February to post about.

*Although that'll be at least a couple more new projects
**I plan to bend that definition at times

Thanks for reading

Monday 23 December 2019

Armiger - Knight in Training

   I've spoken about doing an imperial knight army a few times on the Mournival Podcast as a daft 'one day' idea, but somehow it has since gained traction and became a daft idea that I am actually doing. I've got a few knights that I am in different stages of work on and due to the size of this model, it got to the front of the queue a bit quicker than the remaining ones.
   As the Armiger is something like a squire or a knight on probation, I've kept the knight free of heraldry, the pilot has to earn it before they can show it. Although, judging by the weapons on this one the household already has some thoughts on the suitability of the aspirant.

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Friday 20 December 2019

Blacken the sky with arrows

   Following on from the first unit of men at arms we have the famous English and Welsh archers, without whom the history of the period wouldn't be the same. Like the foot men at arms, these guys are Perry Miniatures with a Front Rank metal archer at the front*. I'm painting them in batches as per normal and trying to pick uneven numbers of archers that have the colours of a certain captain and those of uncertain loyalty so that by the time I have finished it should just be a mess of different colours.

*Yes, I know the swearing myth is incorrect, but its too good a model not to pick up

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Tuesday 17 December 2019

The fewer men, the greater share of honour

   As usual, when I should be painting the last unit I need to finish a project off, what do I do? Start a new project . . . While my last unit of Norman cavalry languishing on my painting table for another day, this new project is the late 100 years wars - notably Agincourt but going right up to the fall of English France.
   I've started with the English - simply because I know slightly more about them - and as this project is going to be a big one*, I plan to break it down into at least 4 chunks. The first two chunks will be getting enough figures for both sides to be able to play a game of Lion Rampant at about the 26-28 points mark, with the last two chunks expanding both forces both for a bit of variety and for playing much bigger games.

   The first unit finished was a unit of English Men at Arms (using the rules for expert foot sgts in Lion Rampant) as once I spent a bit of time looking at the models they seemed fairly quick to paint and I wanted to get something finished quickly to give the project some real sense of movement. As mentioned below, the models are Perry Miniatures men at arms but they use the same sprue for their 'English knights' too, so I'm not going to be too hung up on terminology as the two groups would be pretty close to being identical**. The banner in the unit is Sir Matthew Gough, for no other reason than it is one that I had.

*Buying about 6 boxes of Perry's plastics off a mate and looking to buy another
**My knights will have a mix of the Perry 'French knight' sprue and a bit more bling to stand out

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Tuesday 3 December 2019

Solid block of infantry

   As I said on the first of this quick trilogy of Norman posts, I was a lot busier in the last week or so with my hobby than my blog has suggested, but now I am starting to slow down again, it felt like the perfect time to get back up to date with the posts.

    I always like the idea of at least two solid blocks of infantry in a game of Lion Rampant, so when I was planning my Norman I knew I would be buying more spearmen. The Gripping Beast starter box set comes with 2 units of Horsemen, a unit of archers and a unit of crossbowmen and I already had a unit of spears which were bought to be mercenaries for my late Saxon army. So another quick trip to Gripping Beast got me the numbers I needed to boost units from Saga to Lion Rampant sized units and got me the extra infantry unit I wanted.

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Saturday 30 November 2019

Norman Crossbows

   Following on from my Norman archers is a unit of Norman crossbowmen. For my Dark Age armies, I wouldn't tend to run two shooting units but both came with the Gripping Beast 4 point starter set (although I had to boost this unit's numbers for Lion Rampant) and I'm not going to leave them unpainted just because I have archers already, however, I have slightly more than 24 points worth of troops, so I can leave a unit out if I want to play a 'standard' sized game*.

*Although, we rarely do

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Thursday 28 November 2019

Norman Archers

   I've been fairly busy lately which has slowed down getting finished units onto this blog, but I'm going to try and sort my game out and start posting regularly again.
   First unit to post about are my Norman archers to carry on my Norman army for Lion Rampant / Saga. The figures are all Gripping Beast from their 4 point Saga starter box. They have been painted alongside my other Norman units in my normal batch painting method.

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Thursday 14 November 2019

The Professor

   This is another of those cart before the horse posts but here we go. A month or so ago I placed an order with Great Escape Games to pick up a new gang for Dead Man's Hand and as I'd had the professor (definitely not the Doc) in my basket for ages, it seemed daft not to pick him up as well. The plan was then to do a post about the new gang and then to tag this on at the end, however the new gang is sitting waiting to be painted while this has been finished and made it onto the table.

   The professor is a nice contained little set, it has a bit of scenery and the mad inventor himself, but also comes with cards and 2 linked games to play out something suspiciously like a certain film's plot. So that's what we played last night. Sadly, in the opening scene where the professor is being roughed up and his plucky sidekick comes over to help, didn't happen in quite the same way and (we'll call the sidekick Matt) Matt was killed before he had even moved.
   However, in the second scene, the professor, with help from the townsfolk, managed to stop his workshop being burnt down and defeated the bad guys, so all was not lost. Unless you are Matt.

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Wednesday 6 November 2019

Rangers of the wldlands

    Again, while I should have been getting on with the big projects (and I promise that I am) another small project that has been sitting on my shelf for way too long has managed to jump the queue. In this case, it is the rangers that were the reason I actually did the Midlams order, with the gnomes, earlier this year.
   The idea behind these was that I could play a themed warband for Rangers of Shadowdeep, Open Combat or Frostgrave but I'm now also thinking of adding my other two rangers and using them as an elite unit for Dragon Rampant as part of my 'Baratheon' army. Either way, it'll look like a good little unit for fantasy games.

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Monday 4 November 2019

Zomtober 2019

   I had been putting zombie figures aside all year in anticipation of the fabled Zomtober, but I decided just before the event that I didn't want to commit myself to the rate of painting required and instead I would paint a zombie whenever I had an idea for a colour scheme or I just fancied painting one*. This didn't turn out to be many.
   Mainly, what it turned out I fancied painting was the spare zombies from the Walking Dead: All Out War sets, I'd picked up but that had fallen by the wayside. I keep meaning to buy more packs, but the price for 3 figures keeps putting me off by the time I have a few in my basket. We'll have to see what next year holds.

*I couldn't miss out of the fun of Zomtober entirely
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Thursday 31 October 2019

Whose Fyrd Is This?

   As I am currently working on at least 2 projects at the sec, it made sense for me to add a few backlog figures from a different project to the front of the queue . . . No Wait . . .
   Let me restart. I've had the last couple of Saxons sitting on my painting desk for ages, but for some reason I've struggled to find the motivation to finish them, however, with my Normans working their way past my paint brush it was easy to put aside the next group for a bit and do the Saxons instead.

   In the photo, the ones that were finished last weekend are the banner bearer and the armoured guy at the front. In my head, this unit has become a thegn staying within his fyrd for the battle, rather than joining a more elite group of his peers. This is now my Saxon project complete until I buy more - which will happen . . .

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Saturday 19 October 2019

Horse power to run the invasion

   While they weren't finished in time for the game, I knew I wanted a unit of the knights finished early in the painting schedule. I still enjoy sitting down in an evening with a base coated batch of infantry to start on than a base coated unit of horsemen, but that tends to be a good reason to make sure the horsemen aren't left for last, and I'm glad I didn't, as I am pleased with how they have come out.
   Again, they are Gripping Beast Normans and a mix of a couple of packs. the bit I enjoyed the most in the process was while building them, I was looking to see if each model had his sword still in the scabbard so I could make sure they were armed correctly.

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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Another invasion force

   It came to my attention a few weeks back that we were right in the middle of the anniversaries of the battles of the 1066 invasion period. It was the anniversary of the Battle of Stanford Bridge when I realised and this meant I had a couple of weeks before Hastings itself. So I proposed a Dark Age game at the club using Anglo-Danes vs the Normans. My mate, Neil, had a painted Norman army and I had a painted late Anglo-Saxon army, so we had the bases covered, but more troops is never a bad thing, so I dug into my Pile of Potential and found my languishing Norman army.

   The first unit (and the only ones finished in time for the game) were a unit of Norman spearmen. The models are all from Gripping Beast and are a mixture of different Saga races and packs, although I think they all actually come from the same Norman range in the long run. I've mixed heavy armour and no armour in the same unit, and plan to do the same for any of the following ones too as I think it looks better on the table.

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Monday 14 October 2019

Making the Avenging Son Proud

   I've always found in my hobby that projects that are the most important thing on my painting list this week, can fall to the bottom of the queue with next to no warning due to no fault of their own. This is such a project.
   The Ultramarines were a project that I started last November so that I could have a loyalist legion but they were started just before I had my big 30k wobble and as a result, the project was sacrificed in favour of carrying on with my first legion just to keep me in the game. I was due to go to a 2000 point heresy event in November, which is a low points level for a standard game of 30k, and this lead to one of my podcast mates challenging me to buy a loyalist ticket and taking my seemingly dead project. Part of the reason the project was abandoned was due to the similarity between the proposed list and what I tended to run for my Sons of Horus, which with the cost of Forgeworld models just seemed a waste of time and money, but with a renewed interest I went back to the drawing board and wrote a list that felt like my play style, but had enough differences with what I already have to be worth buying.

   First up are my infantry (some of which you will have seen on earlier posts) three units of the ubiquitous tactical squad. All three are 10 men, armed with extra weapons and have sgts equipped with a power sword. As my Ultramarines are running a much more multiple small unit style army, each unit has to be able to deal with bigger targets than itself and a tooled up tactical squad can do just that.
  All three units (and all my other infantry units) are also equipped with Rhinos. This was another of those things that I wanted to try to set this army apart from my Sons of Horus and it's met with mixed success but having 6 rhinos gives me options as the army grows.

   Second are two squads of melta gun armed support marines. Both are 5 man squads, again, kitted out with extra weapons to make sure they don't go down in a fight without making their opponents regret their choices. I really like my support squads in my Sons of Horus army, but I wanted to do something slightly different with them in my Ultramarines, so I went with melta guns rather than plasma guns.

   Next up, we have my hitty unit. The HQ's bodyguard of apothecary and 8 veterans, armed with various fun weapons. This isn't the combat monster of a unit that you would expect to see leading a heresy army but it's the closest I am likely to run, especially if you listen to the Mournival Podcast. I've not included my Centurion himself as I'm not hugely happy with the model and am looking to do a replacement asap.

   Lastly, we have a complement of tanks, a pair of vindicators and a predator. I wanted to have some big guns to go alongside my tanks and units that can move and shoot and are mounted on rhino chassis just made sense for the theme.


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Monday 30 September 2019

The scenery bug

   This post is a bit of a cart before the horse situation but I'm going to do it in this order anyway. Something that comes up a lot when I get chatting with the other guys on the Mournival Podcast is what sort of inspirational photos we all store on our phones. The other three guys all just store pictures of figures, while I store mostly photos of scenery and gaming boards and this got me thinking about all my half started scenery collections.
   I have tried in the past to collect enough scenery to fill a 4/4 or 6/4 table to suit whatever I am playing but in the last couple of years or so, I seem to have become really lazy when it came to both carting it to Wayland Games and actually finishing the stuff which is why there haven't been as many photos from my normal games - as they simply aren't as pretty. So with a couple of big figure count painting projects now behind me, I want to focus on the boards I play on again, I have at least 3x 30k/40k boards worth of scenery to do, a jungle board that I started, scenery to go with my Adeptus Titancius, my Saxon village, a modern city board that was destined for Batman and my Gangs of Rome scenery that is gathering dust. So, a fair few things to keep me quiet.

    So, back to the first sentence of this post. The Mournival guys have been planning a 30k campaign for months now and it had been decided that I would play on the loyalist side, so I dutifully got on with getting my Ultramarines finished and I meant to do a post or two on that project before the first weekend of gaming, but instead of blogging I got on with the scenery as I needed to supply at least two of the three tables. The first of the tables was already finished and I had just been waiting to get it out so I could take a decent photo of it, while the second was in various states of painted, unpainted and, in some cases, unbuilt and with a deadline looming it seemed like the perfect time to make it my priority.

   First up I thought I would focus on the Space Port table I started a few months back as it is the one that was already finished and is less likely to have anything major added to it. This table has been going on in the background since December with me painting another batch of Munitorum Container whenever I had the enthusiasm, although, I've not been putting any pictures of them on the blog before the first two batches*. I then added a SkyShield Landing Pad to ram home the space port theme and make sure the table had a big centre piece bit of scenery.
   The table will get some more scatter terrain in the future and maybe the odd extra container or two but it is essentially finished as it is. I'm aiming for my tables to be a mix of open and heavily enclosed so that no single army has a massive terrain advantage throughout an event, if we see a particular army is suited to a type of table and keeps rolling over their opponent's, we can swap them onto the opposite type for a game or two.
*I wasn't convinced 2 or 3 posts in a row showing near 
identical blue boxes would keep anyone else's interest, let alone mine.

   The second table is one that has grown from a different project. I initially planned to do a space depot board and a city fight board, and I still plan to, however, the city has gone on the back burner while the Mechanicum gantries are finished first. The Mechanicum scenery was originally bought to just be a small Kill-Team board's worth as I had seen what other modellers were doing with the kits and I wanted have a try myself, but as in many cases, it has spiralled way beyond the project's remit. I still want to do at least a couple more solid structures to really fill the board up but as it stands, with a few plasti-card walkways to connect the buildings up, this creates a really dense Kill-Team board which I am really excited to get some use out of.
   The buildings are mostly black washed metal, without too much colour, because when they are on a dense board, the colour really stands out and I didn't want it to look too busy. Getting this board done on the day before the event has got me thinking about what I want to add to it, so expect to see more of this one in the future.

Sector Mechanicus Ferratonic Incinerator

Sector Mechanicus Ferratonic Incinerator

Sector Mechanicus Sacristan Forgeshrine

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