Thursday, 29 March 2012

War & Conquest Gaming Day

War and Conquest is a rather splendid set of rules so what better way to spend a pleasant Sunday than to enjoy a few games of the aforementioned rules? A dozen gamers descended on the sleepy village of Iron Acton to re-enact battles of the ancient world. Rome clashed with Rome, and with British Celts, and with hairy German types, whilst Greeks traded blows with Spartans and Persians, and vice versa.

Yes, this was the first (of many I hope) War & Conquest gaming days! Naturally I took along my EIR to impose the Pax Romana on the unwashed, hairy hordes. One of the great things about these gaming days is the opportunity to play against someone new in a very relaxed atmosphere where simply rolling a few dice, pushing some toys around the table and having fun is everyone's main aim.

My first opponent was Ken. He was leading a compact band of Roman legions against my rather mixed Legion/Auxilia force. Here's a pic early on in the game.

The very evenly matched armies clashed and ground against each other for several turns before my slight advantage in numbers began to tell.

By the end of the battle I held the advantage - but only just! Given that it was Ken's first 'proper' game of W&C, he played very well indeed, with a strong sense of good sportsmanship, so I look forward to another game soon.

Lunch ... kindly (and very generously) provided by Scarab Miniatures elite sandwich brigade (a.k.a. Barbara) was next on the agenda. Very good it was too, with most of us heading outside to enjoy a spot of warm, fresh air.

Game two saw my Legions face off against the German barbarian horde of Kevin. Now, I've fought against German ba-ba's a few times and believe me they're a fearsome bunch! So when Kevin deployed a large warband of noble cavalry on his left flank I knew I needed to deal with them or risk my flank being crushed and rolled up.

Here's our deployment.

I had planned to fight a refused right flank using my auxilia to hold up the barbarian horde whilst my elite legions (on the Roman left) dealt to the enemy. But like most military plans, it didn't quite work out!?

Here my Legion prepare for the onslaught, with their commander looking on.

On my right the Auxilia were very hard pressed to hold off the German horde. But supported by a smaller skirmishing unit of Auxilia they held their ground for several rounds, destroying the cavalry, before their depleted ranks were overwhelmed.

With time marching on, the games were halted so it was technically a draw, but it was clear that one or two more turns would see the Germans victorious. Another splendid game.

With barely moments to re-order the ranks we launched in to game three. This time it was a "grudge match", Dave's British Celts against my invading Romans. Last time they met it was a narrow win for the British so this time I was determined that Rome would be victorious. However, with time of the essence (I didn't want to miss dinner back at HQ) I decided on a very aggressive plan of attack, mainly on the left flank, with the idea that I could knock half of the British out of the battle before the others got a chance to get stuck in.

Here's the deployment.

You'll notice that the British left flank consists of lots of chariots and cavalry, when I was counting on lots of slow moving infantry ... oh dear!

Above we see that whilst Rome pushes her advantage on the left, so does Britannia - on her left. Those Legion recruits and Axulia suddenly found themselves embroiled in swirling melee of horse and chariot.

Dave has made some interesting little extras for his army. Here's one of them ... nice chest eh?

At this point I feel it moot to point out that Dave has more than a few scantily clad types in his army. I assume this is to try to put the enemy off? Here's the same chest from a different point of view.


Anyway, at 4:30 we called a halt and it was clear that once again the British had thwarted Rome's plans. Another close and very enjoyable game with a splendid opponent. But rest assured Mr Stone, your Celts will get a damned good thrashing next time!!!

As I mentioned earlier, there were lots of other lovely armies in action, mainly with a Greek / Spartan / Persian theme, so here's a few pics (apologies but I simply can't recall which army belonged to which player)

So, another splendid day of gaming!

W&C seems to offer a more complete gaming experience than some other rules. After the first set of games (which I should point out were the first 'proper' game of W&C for some) the rules queries were fairly few and far between. This suggests to me that the basics are quick to pick up, which is ideal. The general atmosphere of the day was very laid back with everyone focussed on simply enjoying the battles. I look forward to the next W&C gaming day.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Early Imperial Roman Command

Whilst I have plenty of painted Romans, Auxiliaries, etc, I always lacked a proper command group. Until now that is! I've painted a Legate and Aquilifer. Here they are.

Both figures are from 1st Corps, actually the Roman Civil War range. The Legate is the Pompey figure.

These figures are slightly smaller in scale than my BTD Legion figures, but as they're mounted and on their own base any difference is not noticeable.

Painted using my wash and highlight technique. Block colours, highlight skin and armour, apply AP dip with brush, matt varnish, then very quick highlights. They're not quite as tidy as some of the figures I've completed recently with this method, but I needed to complete them in a hurry as tomorrow is the inaugural Scarab Miniatures War & Conquest gaming day! The two main themes of the day will be Rome and her enemies, along with Sparta and Greece. Hopefully pics and report to follow soon.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Vikings ... (for Mother's Day!?)

Some say it with flowers, others with chocolates... but Mrs Matt was delighted with these Vikings. All Gripping Beast figures. This means she now has a 6 point warband for Saga.

All painted using my dip and highlight technique. Which is basically as follows.

o Undercoat white
o Metal - black then heavy drybrush with GW Chainmail or GW Shining Gold.
o Flesh - GW Dwarf Flesh then drybrush with any light flesh colour (I use Foundry Base Sand Light)
o Everything else gets one block colour mostly using the lighter shades from the Foundry range.
o Apply the dip (AP Strong Tone) with a brush taking care to avoid pooling.
o Leave 24 hours to dry!
o Brush on Windsor & Newton Matt Varnish (more reliable than sprays)

Finally, here's the stage that makes all the difference. Use some of the original colours to highlight tunics, hair, fur, etc. This stage is surprisingly quick and very easy as the shading from the dip shows you exactly where to put the highlights

Here's some closer shots.

The shields are Little Big Men Studios of course!

I reckon these figures take me about a third of the time of my usual black undercoat and layering method. Plus I find the technique much easier.

An extra axeman to fill out a hearthguard unit.

Here's the warlord, named "Snorri Ragnarsson". I did a little extra highlighting on some areas - he is the boss after all! The figure is the GB limited edition Viking Warlord figure that came with the early Saga deals. A real pleasure to paint.

As he's a warlord I put him on a larger base as suggested in the Saga rules.

This gave me an opportunity to make the base a little more 'scenic' than usual.

As with all newly painted figures he didn't make it through his first battle but in the second game he (with the help of his hearthguard) tore through a unit of Norman Serjeants and then slaughtered a group of knights; like a successful Viking Warlord should.

Saga is a simply superb game! I cannot recommend it highly enough. It really is eaasy to learn but will prove very difficult to master. There are so many potential strategies and ploys. Give it whirl!

I'll be posting some pics of our warbands along with battle reports in later posts.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

More Dark Ages Scenery

As promised in the last post, here's some more of my recently completed scenery for Dark Age games, principally Saga. All scratch-built from MDF, cocktail sticks, garden wire, balsa, glue and sand.

Here's an animal pen. Like much of my scenery it was painted by my lovely wife.

Another view.

This is how it looked before painting.

The basic method is to cut a piece of MDF to slightly larger than the desired shape, then drill 2.5mm holes around the edges at intervals of about 5-6mm. Glue cocktail sticks in the holes; I also used a few pieces of slightly thicker kebab stick for some of the corner posts. When totally dry, weave garden wire back and forth until it's about the right height - have a few models to hand to check this. Next, give the wire several generous coats of PVA glue. This gives it more strength plus it fills in some of the gaps.

Here's another animal pen with a bit of garden. The tree stump is simply part of an old shrub I cleared from the garden. (The Great War blasted trees I posted a while back were made from the same shrub)

Another view.

They were jolly good fun to make and will look splendid on the table. Plus they're a fraction of the cost of similar resin models, i.e. Grand Manner.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Dark Ages Saxon Church

Here's the latest addition to my scenery collection for Saga, the Gripping Beast Saxon Church. A Father's Day present; it was recently painted for me by my wonderful wife! (Although I did do the base).

I wanted the corner stones painted in grey to make them more noticeable as they are properly 'dressed' stonework and so probably looted from a crumbling Roman building.

The thatch has been painted to look fairly new as this sort of building might have been given a little more attention than more ordinary dwellings.

I added some plasticard stone slabs outside the front and back doors. Somewhere for the Thegns and Ceorls to stamp off the mud and dung!?

I also added some 'mini-natur' grass and flower tufts to the base.

Next, I'll be working on some scratch-built hurdle enclosures, more fencing and a small Saxon turnip patch.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

BEF Battalion for The Great War

At last ... I have a complete battalion for The Great War!!! It's taken me far longer than I expected but here it is.

Some closer shots, here's Red Company

And here is Blue Company


The Highlanders

Supporting troops

Most of these figures have previously appeared on the blog as each group was painted, so if you're interested in how they were painted, based, etc then please have a look back through the blog.

Is the army finished? Hmmm... is any army ever really complete? No. I plan to add quite a few models to this army in the future. For example, increase all the platoons to 12 men and have two Lewis Guns in each. I'd also like to add a Whippet, possibly an 18lb-er. Then there's trench raiders, snipers, armoured cars, etc. Not forgetting Gripping Beast's lovely range of WW1 figures that would provide some Kiwis. :o)

However, I think I'll be taking a little rest from painting WW1 figures as I intend to focus on getting my Saga warbands complete. So get ready for some dodgy poetry as I venture in to Dark Ages Britain to write my own heroic Saga.