Saturday 29 January 2022

Shield Shall Be Splintered or Mission Creep Pt.1

    I started painting the next batch of Riders Of Rohan and, like I mentioned in the last post, I added the horse from another batch into this one to keep a mix of horse colours going without doubling up on effort for the colours I planned and I also added Dernhelm as I wanted her to match my regular riders as she is hiding amongst them. Before I knew it my batch of 6 riders was now 8 riders and 2 infantry (might as well do the foot versions of Eowyn and Merry at the same time).

Rider Of Rohan Banner

Lord Of The Rings Dernhelm Rohan miniature

   Once I had finished those, I got it into my head that I might as well do the Fellowship version of Merry too so that his hair colour matched, then I got it into my head to do the Fellowship version of Pippin too . . .

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Wednesday 26 January 2022

Spear Shall Be Shaken

   The next unit that I should have been painted before I distracted myself so astoundingly well is another unit of Riders Of Rohan. The colour scheme hasn't changed but this batch has grey horses instead of brown*.

*I also did the horse for one of the Royal Guard just to make sure that unit gets a bit of variety too

   As there isn't much to say in this post I thought I would mention something interesting about the rules. As part of this project I thought I would finally update from the blue book and source books that I've been using since the early 2010's (?) to the modern combined Middle Earth Battle Games where you buy a rules manual, your personal LotR or Hobbit flavour army book and any campaign book that is appropriate for your gaming. I've picked up Gondor at War and War in Rohan to go with my Rohan army and sat down to work out how many points I need for certain scenarios, but that's where its got interesting. In the last edition a scenario might specify a hero that has to be included but otherwise it would say pick X points using the following restrictions or from the following army list, this edition lists the exact models down to wargear and includes a lot more compulsory heroes.

   So, the long and the short of this, if I want to continue my plan of using the scenarios in the new book, I need an extra Mumukil (to a grand total of 3!) for the initial planned game and a lot more named heroes for scenarios going forward. I'm holding fire on ordering anything until I've got a plan in place but it looks like I'll be visiting GW at some point in the near future.

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Tuesday 11 January 2022

Is It Autumn Again?

   I won't lie, this wasn't a planned army. I mentioned in the 15mm werewolves post that I like the idea of element bases of hordes that can just be added to any army, so when Alternative Armies sent me 4 giant spiders as a free gift when I bought a few bits in their sale, I test fitted them onto a base and liked what I saw.

   So early one sleepless morning sitting in a chair with a baby that wasn't sleeping in his cot, I was doom scrolling on social media when I saw Alternative Armies also did bigger spiders and it dawned on me that a spider army could be a cool idea. A little order later, including more free spiders and I was swimming in the 8 legged monsters.

   Its barely half way through the first month of the year and I'm already breaking my 2 projects at any one point rule, but in my (weak) defence, this army was taking up a lot of space on the shelf behind me and it's an easy first finished project for the year.

   I plan to use Dragon Rampant with the following stats; the smaller spiders will use lesser warbeasts with the venomous rule, medium spiders will use greater warbeasts also with venomous and the big beastie will also use the greater warbeast stats with venomous and cunning to give it a bit of a kick. Its an expensive army in points, but it should do some serious damage.

   When the big spider arrived I was slightly unhappy to have received one of the bodies with open sores on the side (its a lucky dip of 3 different bodies) so I had to rethink my plan. I didn't want it to look wounded as it would be out of character compared to the rest of the 'army'. In the end I decided as the brood mother that the open sores would be a massive sack of eggs erupting out (well aware that this isn't how spiders normally do it) to try and make her threat look even worse.

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More Rising Kingdom

    I've set myself a non-official challenge of only painting units from 2 different projects a month in an attempt to keep to my finishing projects goal, but I have no doubt this will go by the way side when it doesn't suit, or be made to fit what I'm doing*. So, with that in mind, this post doesn't count towards that 2 project metric as it was finishing a unit that I had started last year. . .

* Is an army a project or are both sides the same project**

** I suspect it will depend on which suits me better

   I've been having a shuffle around, mostly in terms of getting my painting shelf clear of stuff that I'm just not going to paint anytime soon or whole projects that I can't fit into my plans in the immediate future, but this unit had been started (only one coat of one colour but it was enough) and it made sense to me to get it finished and out of my way. Again, nothing clever that I didn't do on the last unit of New Kingdom Egyptian infantry, so not much to report. I've got another 3 units of infantry plus chariots to do for this army but it won't be mega soon.

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Friday 7 January 2022

Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!

    As its the start of a new year, it feels like the right point to enthusiastically make plans that won't survive until the January. I've got a few games I'd like to play this year and one of the projects that has been in my head for a few years now is replaying the charge of the Mûmakil at the battle of Pelannor. I bought the first Mûmakil back in 2019 (I think) along with a couple of sprues of Riders of Rohan but did nothing else with it*.

*I was speaking to other LOTR gamers at the time about a group project where players either pick a Mûmakil or a similar pointed Rohan warband and we played a big game, but it went quiet very quickly

   With December 2021 being the 20th anniversary of the release of The Fellowship Of The Ring, my social media feeds have been full of Lord Of The Rings content and it's given me a kick up the arse to get on with the project. I've had a little bit of a buying spree (at the end of the 2021) to make sure I have enough figures for both sides and a few extras for the future, I've written a painting order on my hobby spreadsheet so I know what needs to be done and I've got some colour schemes ready. Its now just a case of getting stuff built and painted in good time. I'd like to be playing this in late February so I'd better get moving.

   First up is the first batch of regular Riders Of Rohan. I've not done anything special with these guys, just tried to keep a similar scheme to how GW have painted theirs. 

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Tuesday 4 January 2022

The Lure Of The Chaos Gods

   I'm was on a bit of a painting run the end of 2021 but completely unfocused, this led me to paint figures and units that probably aren't important or worth being at the top of my list. With that in mind, here is the second unit of my traitor imperial guard. . .

I've got loads of stuff coming once I get my act in gear that I'm excited to show. I really think 2022 could be a good year.

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Saturday 1 January 2022

That End Of Year Post - 2021 Edition

   Going to have to start this end of year review with another blast from the What A Year foghorn. What a weird year. In a year where I've bought more figures than any other year - and a few of them combined - I've got figures out onto the table less than any other year on record. Online gaming - D&D - and a smattering of quick boardgames (looking at you, One Night Ultimate Werewolf) have made my gaming numbers look artificially high - and were mostly played at the start of the year. My 30k gaming group stayed quiet even after the restrictions ended (only played 5 games of 30k in 3 meet ups), my weekend gaming group was hit by various medical issues and with the strain of a toddler, I rarely went to my after work gaming groups.

   So what have I been doing this year? Honestly, at this point, I'm still not sure where the year went. 2021 could easily be broken down into 2 or 3 completely separate units to analyse. The first part had a surprisingly high amount of painting but only online gaming. The second painting died a death as painting couldn't be left out and tiredness was kicking us hard, but gaming did start to head up. Then third can be categorised by a complete lack of games, but a resurgence in painting, although its 5 or 10 minutes here or there instead of a solid few hours in the evening.

   I have painted a lot of figures (1564) but as they are mostly in bulk batches of 24 in smaller scales, its a lot less impressive than it sounds, and the vast amount of those were at the start of the year when painting was a bit easier to fit in. I've read a lot of books (132), down from last year, but I've broken the habit of a lifetime by nearly exclusively reading books I've never read before instead of a revolving group of favourites and have found some amazing books in the process.

Targets from the start of the year

1. Play 25 games - I want to keep this low as I would like to spend a bit more time at home early this year. I'd rather set an easy target that I smash than spend the last half of the year chasing numbers when I should be at home. - Dubious Success - 72 played but only actually 14 wargames
2. Paint more than I buy - again, for obvious reasons money will be a lot tighter this year, so I'm not really aiming to buy any more than the odd top up for a unit or army if I find I am really missing something. I purposely built up my backlog to make life next year easier. - Fail and I bulked up that backlog
3. Play a big game - I want my gaming in 2021 to be about quality rather than quantity (he said saying he wants to play a big game). I'd like to go out once in a while and play a really good game and chat with real mates than be rushing out at every opportunity and losing a once in a lifetime chance to watch someone grow up. - Fail in the big game, but success on the reasoning?
4. After saying all that, I would also quite like to see if I can get a non-30k army to the top of my most played this year, but not going to purposely break the spirit of Targets 1 and 3 to achieve it. - Technically a success as D&D was my most played game, although some of those sessions were only an hour of gaming due to time constraints
5. Add much more gubbins to my projects - I want every project to have at least something in the way of wagons, civilians, camp followers and scenery. I'm getting much better at this but I'm still lacking in a lot of places. - Nothing to really report here, so Fail?

Gaming photos from the year:

Something I did on my review last year was include a few books/series I really enjoyed. This year there have been less really stand out book series, but:

1. Damoren - Urban fantasy with holy weapons and so much more than I can explain fully

2. The Expanse - I've heard mixed reviews on the tv series but from being midway through the second book, this might be in my top 2 or 3 sci-fi series (probably knocking Honor Harrington off second place)

3. Iron Druid Chronicles - I've started reading a lot of urban fantasy and they can be very samey but, while not quite as good as Damoren above, it still stood out as worth reading


4. The Tide Child - honestly don't know how to explain this, but dark fantasy in a world where the bones of an extinct dragon fish are the only way to build boats and wage war

   So thinking towards next year, what are my aims?

1. Definitely need to start focussing on projects a bit more. I have so many half finished things and while painting numbers in 2021 were high, the actual number of usable armies that came out of this year are shockingly low. Minimum of 1 finished project a month.
2. For the love of whatever deity is up there I need to buy less figures. Have a strict 2:1 painting to buying ratio and cannot buy more figures than are painted at that point.
3. No new projects unless for playing someone who is already invested in a game - don't want to be starting loads of new stuff in 2022.
4. If 2022 is going to be a repeat of 2021 in terms of wargaming I want to focus on prettier games. Only agree to a game when I have finished all the figures, have scenery and the time to get the game in. Aim for 12 photogenic games.
5. Play more smaller scale games - I still think that smaller scales might be the right way for my hobby to go, but I only managed to get 2 games in with a smaller scaled army, so I've not proved anything to myself or anyone else. Aim for 12 games in 15mm or smaller.