Sunday, 22 May 2011

Painted Vikings and Arthurians

As promised, here's a few pictures of the Gripping Beast plastic Vikings painted by my wife, now with proper LBMS shields. She has urged me to point out that it's been around 8 years since she seriously picked up a paintbrush. But regardless of that, I'm really pleased with them and happily take an army of them to any event!
GB Plastic Vikings
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A closer shot.
GB Plastic Vikings
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And another.
GB Plastic Vikings
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I'm sure you'll agree that they look superb! Plus they're a great start to our collection of figures for GB's forthcoming 'Saga' Dark Ages skirmish set.

I've also managed to squeeze in a bit of painting too. Though with my rather troublesome hands it's proved difficult going. Anyway, here's a picture of 4 Artizan Arthurians (sans shields!).
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They've turned out ok really. Here's the cloaks.

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The figures come as a pack of 8, and I think they'll blend in well with my GB, Musketeer and West Wind figures. To be honest I wouldn't get any more of these Artizan figures as they're all in a very similar pose, i.e. standing at the ready. But they are good rear rank troops. The pack comes with a mix of round and rounded oblong shields, but I'll be giving them all round shields so that they can be used either as Romano-British or British & Welsh Kingdoms.

I'm hoping that I'll soon be able to get with a unit of GB Milites and may be a few more scenic bits for the Dark Ages village.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Dark Age Village

We picked up these splendid resin buildings at Salute from Gripping Beast. I think they're actually made by Grand Manner for Gripping Beast. Anyway, I reckon that no Dark Ages battlefield can be complete without a few nice looking thatched buildings!

All painted for me by my wonderful wife :o)

Here's a wattle and daub thatched hut. Note the GB plastic Vikings, also painted by "She who must be obeyed", more of these will appear in a future post.
GB Resin Buildings
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Now a larger thatched building. The thatch has been painted to represent newly laid thatch. We spent quite a bit of time looking at real thatched buildings during a recent weekend break in Devon to get a good idea of colours.
GB Resin Buildings
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And again.
GB Resin Buildings
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These Vikings clearly think that some pesky Saxons might be hiding in this small hut!
GB Resin Buildings
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The hurdle fence was made as something of an experiment. I glued cocktail sticks in to the strip of MDF, then got my eldest daughter to weave some thin string between them. A couple of coats of PVA sealed the string ready for painting. I fairly pleased with the result but it does still look a bit "string-like", so I've been trying out other materials - see later.

The largest of the buildings - a Lord's hall perhaps?
GB Resin Buildings
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The village so far. I intend to make a range of scenic extras such as tables, baskets of food, fire pits, dung heaps, lots more hurdle fencing, a hurdle 'dunny' (a la Jorvik), animal pens, log piles and maybe even a smithy or a pallisade.
GB Resin Buildings
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Since I want to use these buildings for a range of Dark Age settings, e.g. Arthurian through to Vikings, I decided to keep the buildings as is rather than affix items such as shields and weapons, etc. These can be added by using the scenic items I mentioned above. Thus the buildings can be themed to the appropriate era. This may all sound a lot of work but I really do like my scenery to look good - it really adds to the enjoyment.

Here's a work in progress animal pen. After the not entirely successful "string theory" experiment I found some flexible garden wire. As before, cocktail sticks are glued in to holes in the MDF base. The woven wire is given a couple of coats of PVA - this keeps the wire in place and fills in some of the gaps.
Animal Pen
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Here's another test, this time using bristles trimmed from a garden broom. I think it will give the best result but sorting the bristles and weaving them took far longer than using wire.
Hurdle Fence
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Will post more pics when I've made some of the extra scenic items. But now I really ought to get on with painting some models so I can play a few games with all this new scenery.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

WAB 2.0 and other rules

I still like WAB.

I know that it seems to be rather neglected by Warhammer Historical at the moment (in fact I'm not sure if GW even has staff for WH any more!?) but I still enjoy playing the system. I've played Warhammer in one form or another since 1987 and I'd like to continue.

All this excitement about Clash of Empires, Hail Caesar and War & Conquest is very enjoyable but I do feel a little sorry for poor old WAB being almost relegated to a Cinderella role whilst everyone heads off to the ball! I'm sure that these new systems will prove popular and will generally be a 'Good Thing', I'm particularly looking forward to War & Conquest. Thus I'm sure I will branch off in to new rules territory for Romans vs Celts.

For Dark Ages / Arthurian era games I think WAB has just the right atmosphere. However, there are a few things that do annoy me about the latest edition...

I can see why the rule about requiring line of sight to be able to throw javelins, shoot bows, etc, has been retained but in the last game I played we found ourselves spending too much time faffing around to get figures lined up in order to shoot. Therefore, we've decided to keep things simple and allow all the figures in the unit to shoot regardless of precise line of sight. If players are going to use very large units of skirmishers, e.g 15-20, then allowing all to shoot would be ridiculous but we tend to use small-ish units, i.e. 9-12.

Light Infantry
The current rules state that such units are able to skirmish but that this must be decided before the battle starts and the unit must remain either formed or skirmishing. I do not like this and cannot see the rationale for this rule. I very much prefer the idea that units can disperse as required, but to form up the unit requires a musician and must pass a Ld test. I can imagine that a unit of troops would break formation in order to search a farmstead, but then when the leader spies enemy approaching he sounds the recall and tries to get his troops ready to fight again. Though perhaps some are too busy chasing chickens, or glugging the farmer's ale to heed their leaders call. Hence the Ld test to form up again.

There are a few other little things too, but off the top of my head I cannot think of them.

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I'll post a few pictures of my newly completed Dark Ages village.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

WSS Issue 54

It's been a long time since I was really impressed by a Wargames magazine, but the latest issue of the newly re-published "Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy" ticks all the boxes!

The re-launch of Wargames Illustrated under the control of Battle Front was OK but after the first 2-3 issues I've bought only the occasional issue. The amount of Flames of War articles does rather get on my nerves - though to be fair it's their game and it's their magazine too. You pays your money and takes your choice so to speak.

Anyway, getting back to WSS ... this is not intended to be a proper review ... here are some of the good points

Look & Feel
Full colour throughout, naturally, with a clean and stylish layout.

For this issue it's "1688 - The Glorious Revolution", yet the theme does not dominate as it sometimes does in other publications.

A good mix with Ancients, Dark Ages, WW2 and of course 1688. Well written with obvious enthusiasm. The 1688 era is not really something I'd wargame, yet the articles are still an interesting read.

Regular Columns
With columns by Rick Priestley and Richard Clarke they are bound to be of wide interest and worth reading.

Not too many - and no FoW! ;o)

Miniature, book and game reviews that appear honest yet generally positive - along with good clear pictures of the miniatures - always helpful.

Now, you might be thinking that I've got some sort of undisclosed interest in WSS ... but no I'm just a wargamer who has found a really interesting read.

Go and pick up a copy now!