31 January 2009

Feburary Challenge

In January, I started with a "painting challenge" that some people came up with on the forums at Warhammer Empire. Basically, you just pledge to paint a certain group of figures during the month, and then try to fulfill your challenge.

In January I went for:
12 romans
30 gallic warriors
10 german cavalry
1 organ gun
1 Empire captusus
1 Beast 09 (Warmachine)
2 bolters and 7 dwarf crew
6 dwarf thunders
6 medieval mounted crossbows

I got everything except the 30 Gauls done.

So I'm going to start listing these here, as personal goals. From now on I'm going to try to leave myself a little leeway, in order to accommodate surprises and my painting-mood-swings.

So, February:

8 Gallic Slingers
9 Early German Skirmishers
5 Burgundian Crossbow
10 Burgundian Longbow
3 Burgunduan Gendarmes
4 Burgundian Coustilliers
and finally, a wildcard: 20 figures from the following: Romans, Gauls or Burgundian halberdiers.

28 January 2009

Foundry German Cavalry

I finished the first 10 German Cavalry. My original "dream" was a German army, but I've been sidetracked and lured away by various other figures and deals. But the goal remains to be able to field a fully German army at some point. In the meantime, I will work on small groups to field as allies to Caesar or the Gauls. I have no Gallic cavalry (yet), so figured I'd start with the German cavalry.

As usual, click the pics for larger views.

25 January 2009

Safety First!

Always remember, let the blade do the work and make multiple cuts with moderate pressure, rather than try making a single cut and forcing the blade. Otherwise...

Well, you might scream obscenities and run through the house to a sink and dripping a trail of blood just as your spouse's new students (mother and 9 year old son) arrive for their first vocal lesson.


It can happen.

22 January 2009

Unrealized Ancients (updated)

I just got another email advertisement from Black Tree Designs announcing their new lower prices. Obviously they're trying to make sales.

I am potentially a great customer for them. I've got a number of ancients projects I'd like to work on, they've got nice looking figures at affordable prices.

But here's the catch: I still haven't received the first order I put in over a month ago. My account was charged, but no figures. So although their new lower prices sound great, why would I order more products from them?

I've heard mixed reviews of their service. Some people have problems, some people get their orders right away. I thought I would personally give them a chance with a small "trial order," and more to follow if there was a problem. There is apparently a problem of some sort.

Between Wargames Factory's Vapor-Celts and Black Tree's lack of delivery, it looks like my German/Celt/Roman project is indefinitely on hold. I had a feeling I should have just gone with Foundry's holiday deal on their Ancient Germans, but thought I'd give BTD a chance. My mistake.

So it looks like I will either be waiting for next December for bargain sales, or wait to get lucky on eBay or Bartertown or the flea market at Cold Wars or whatever.

In the meantime, I'll probably be heading back to medievals and some more commission work.


Came home from work today (Friday) to find 1/2 of my BTD order waiting for me. Progress. I've got the Celts, but no Germans yet. There was a note included stating that they would be on the way soon.

Siege at the Tower

I drove down to Columbus for the second year in a row for the Siege at the Tower, at the Guard Tower, run by the C.O.W.S.

I managed to pull off the number 7 spot in the final standings. I'm not quite up for a full blown battle report this time. I went 1-1-1:

Game 1: Win vs. VC
Game 2: Loss vs. VC
Game 3: Draw vs. Lizards

I tweaked my army slightly from what I had been running, and added the following:

Captain of the Empire, full plate, lance, pistol, Casket, and pegasus. Affectionately known around Warhammer Empire as a Caskasus. (As opposed to a Captasus, which would be a captain without the Casket.)

I'm still figuring out the finer points of using him in games. I made horrible (if any) use of him so far. Between that (155 points) and another 40 points of new items that I forgot about in all three games (and a friendly game at Recess, tonight) I've been fighting with one hand tied behind my back. Or 200 points, at any rate.

It was a good time, though. The first game was a massacre for me. The second game was a massacre of me. The third game was a bloody meatgrinder of a draw.

Tonight's game, since I mentioned it, was another draw. I played a local player who was also at the Siege tournament. We both played what was more or less out tournament lists. He was playing DoW. Somewhere around turn 3, just as both armies were about to clash, they both suffered from mass panic and fled in opposite directions without many casualties. Strange but enjoyable game -- good for more than a few laughs.

08 January 2009

Rome for the Post-Holidays

I recently wrote the first part of a review of Wargames Factory's Caesarian Romans. Here's the remainder of my comments after finishing the rest of the unit, including command...

Again, I've got to admit that I'm pleasantly surprised. The rest of the figures painted up pretty quickly, it was just more of the same with the exception of the command figures. I've got to say they are the weak point of the set.

I'm not fond of the faces on the centurian or optio (especially the optio). All four of them had a strange junction between the legs and the lower portion of their armour & shirt, like you could see a cuve of plastic connecting the legs when they should have looked more like they abruptly disappeared into the clothing.

One issue I've previously read about was the lack of depth on the fur. When I looked at the unpainted figures, I thought the same thing. When I primed the figures, I noticed that some of the other details were more apparent (as others have also said), but thought the fur just looked like a slightly rough blob. But in the end, I used a light touch when painting them, and using only a base coat, wash (two washes on the wolf pelt) and some quick drybrushing and they did't turn out as bad as I had expected. The faces on the pelts are still a bit lifeless, but I don't think the texture on the back turned out bad at all. So again, I had low initial expectations, but was pleasantly surprised.

So that's about it for now. I'm hoping to get the remainder of the set painted up in the near future and I'm considering picking up a second set (at least) in order to field a full blown Roman army. Even considering the more involved prep time of plastics, I think I can paint up enough for a full army quickly, and affordable (or at least the legion infantry portion of it.)

I had been set against it previously, but I've just signed on for a bunch of the WF "Liberty & Union" sets. I'm still a little bitter about the Celts, but I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt regarding future releases. I could easilly see plaing 3-4k games of WAB affordably using WF figures for a fraction of the cost of a more "standard" sized 2k army in metal.

05 January 2009

Paint Brushes

As I was painting tonight and thought I'd post pics of my brushes. More serious painters might be shocked. I've been reading quite a bit of advice about buying and taking care of expensive brushes...

I don't think any of mine were more than $2-$3, most have been used for years. I'm honestly not certain how much better I would paint if I spent $20 per brush and conditioned them.

I've been given the advice to use the largest brush possible when watercoloring. I guess I already do that when painting miniatures. Not the same thing, really, but it's probably part of the reason I paint fairly quickly. The smallest brush in the pic is a 10/0 and is used almost exclusively for eyes. I believe the rest are 1-4. The bottom brush is the one I currently use for the bulk of my painting.

Empire figure shown for scale. Click pic to enlarge.

Just felt like sharing...

04 January 2009

Burgundian Ordonnance vs. English

I got another 2500 point game in with the Burgundians, this time against Wars of the Roses English -- the Yorkist pretender variant.

The photos are pretty bad, but I just snapped a couple and didn't really look at them to see how they came out, for the sake of not interrupting the game. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

So, deployment...

The marshy ground was all considered open terrain. To the left, in the photo above, are a small wood and small hill, on the right are another small hill and some difficult terrain.

The English deployment, from left to right, were some Hobilars, archers and knights. Just to the right of the woods are a small unit of billmen, some more archers, two multi-barrel guns with a unit of mercenary pike and small unit of galloglaichs behind them, more archers with another unit of galloglaichs behind, another gun with more galloglaichs behind it, them another unit of archers with some billment behing them. On the hill was a slightly larger unit of archers, and more hobilars behind the hill.

The cunning Burgundian deployment, again from left to right, consisted of... Coustilliers with gendarmes behind them (two separate untis), handgunners screening dismounted gendarmes and low countries pikemen, and skirmishing archers screening two units of ordonnance archers (with hand + half swords) and ordonnance pikemen (between the archers). To the right of them, more or less behind the rough ground, were a light cannon and a unit of crossbowmen.

So my plan was to hope to carry the left flank, stall on the right, and advance as quickly as possible in the center. I had to resist the temptation of shooting with my longbowmen for fear of being outgunned by the English. This more or less worked. I tied up his hobilars with my coustilliers for a few turns, chased his archers off and smashed into his knights, who crumpled in one turn under the glaring brightness that is the star of Burgundian chivalry. ;)

In the center, I weathered the hail of arrows and multi-barreled guns pretty well. It helped that my opponent rolled like crap for his archers, but I do have to say that now that I've seen the multi-barrel guns in action, they are NASTY.

Rolling up the left flank was helped by a single turn of panicking of the English billmen near the woods which put them in a bad spot and let my cavalry and low countries pike overwhelm the remaining troops on the left side of the English center. On the right half of the center the gun crew were more or less chased off, but at the cost of my rightmost archer unit. (They did survive but took heavy casualties but panicked and then rallied.) The ordonnance pikemen and archers spent a few tense moments locked in combat with the Irish, but eventually my larger units won out.

And I think that's where one of the subtle differences came in. The English had a lot of small units, the Burgundians had fewer but larger units. Due to the clogged English deployment and static nature of the shooting-heavy list, he couldn't bring his advantage of manuever to bear, so I was able to hit individual poitns on his line and win out even when I got bogged down. He was even a bit crowded to react quickly enough. My cavalry on the flanks helped this too.

So this was a total reversal from my game against the Swiss, in which I was more passive & tried to shoot them up before they impacted my line. Similar results -- some heavy casualties on the way in, but once the aggressor hits, the trouble starts for passive army.

Another good game. Both of us again agreed that we're preferring WAB to WFB right now. We're talking about doing some Classical era stuff in the near future, but for now I am more than happy with late medievals, and think that 2500 points is a really decent size but still allows for a very quick game.

01 January 2009

End of 2008

The end of 2008 and here are a few things I've been working on over the holidays (and before.)

The hunter was actually earlier. I just haven't got him back to the friend for whom I was painting him. I didn't paint the lion tiger things. I just based them to match the Hunter.

The Khador figures are more commission pieces for the same person for whom I've previously painted Khador figures. I've got one more (Beast 09) to finish, so another pic coming in the next couple days when he's finished.

And finally an orc I started a year or two ago. Since the photos were taken I've painted over the blood splater. I'd like to try a better second attempt at it, but we'll see.