Monday, August 24, 2015

Rats & Ruins

This week I finally managed to join the Mordheim league in our club. I decided to play Skaven, basically because they looked like fun.

My intention was to minimize my investment and to try and build the whole warband out of one box of Clan Rats. Sadly, I had to wait almost 6 weeks to get the box delivered and missed the first couple of weeks of the league... I therefore decided to go for better weapons instead of more bodies to have a better chance against warbands which already gained a couple of upgrades.

My warband started like this:

Assassin Adept - Weeping Blades, Sling

2x Black Skaven - Fighting Claws

2x Night Runner - 2nd Dagger, Sling

2x Verminkin - Sword, Sling

4x Verminkin - Spear

(The league rules limit ranged combat weapons to 5 per warband).

When the box finally arrived I realized that the left arms are all sculpted onto the body and that there are only two different right arms with Fighting Claws. Luckily I have some Instant Mould so I just made primitive push moulds of the parts to copy them:

After a bit of cleaning the result wasn't too bad:

I cut away most of the Green Stuff and fitted the claws to the bodies:

The Assassin Adept needed some conversion, too. I cut away the left arm and replaced it by one from a Perry Miniatures British soldier:

The new arm is too small, but I will hide it under a sleeve made of Green Stuff.

I made some slings out of Green Stuff, too:

Last, but not least, I used more Instant Mould to make a mould for the bases:

By now the warband is completely built and partly painted. As I mentioned above, I've had a first game that ended with mixed results. It was a 5 player game with only one objective in the middle of the table and I got steamrolled by a large warband of Marienburgers. Both my Assassin Adept and one of the Night Runners took a crossbow bolt to the face and two of the Verminkin were taken out of action by a frenzied swordman and a blunderbuss. So my warband broke in turn 4 with only causing one casualty.

Nevertheless, I was lucky when I rolled for the after game actions. I found 3 shards of warpstone and an overturned cart, resulting in 63 gold crowns. My Assassin Adept earned Horrible Scars and now causes fear. The Night Runner will miss next game, and both Verminkin survived. Not too bad ;)

I am not quite sure what to do with my new fortunes. Maybe I get some crossbows...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Top 5 Companies for Frostgrave Miniatures

Although the official Frostgrave range is very good, some miniatures do not exactly work for me, for example the Apothecary and the Barbarian. The plastic soldier box is good, too, but there is a certain lack of alternative parts, especially for left arms (And I don't really want four guys holding the same lantern in the same way as if there was a latern sale at the local merchant's hall...)

Luckily, there are heaps of companies producing alternatives. Here are my current Top 5 (and a half):

Honourable Mention - Black Chapel Miniatures

A very limited range so far and some of it is too "modern" with blackpowder guns and "Renaissance"-style clothing, but I really dig their new Alchemist who has good chancs to become my Apothecary, and the Ice Wizard can be used as an alternative Witch or Elementalist.

#5 Reaper Miniatures

You need something? Reaper has it. Most likely multiple alternatives. They have an awesome Figure Finder. Looking for a female human showing off some spell effects? There are five of them. Human Knight with a hammer - chose out of seven. Sadly, sculpting quality is not always great, but if you want everything you need from just one source - go to Reaper.

#4 - Footsore Miniatures

Great and reasonably priced Dark Age miniatures, sadly a lot of them with spears. But they have a nice "rabble"-vibe to them.

#3 Hasslefree Miniatures

These miniatures just ooze character and they are amazingly well done. I especially like their female Barbarians.

#2 Fireforge Games

The Frostgrave plastic soldier box was designed to be compatible to the Fireforge boxes, and many of the miniatures shown in the rulebook are converted with Fireforge bits. Especially the Foot Sergeants are almost a "most-buy" for every Frostgrave player. The Teutonic Infantry is a great supplement, too, especially for building "specialist" soldiers like marksmen.

#1 Otherworld Miniatures

The classic D&D-style is perfect for Frostgrave, and the miniatures have a nice "down-to-earth" realistic look. Also a great source for all kind of critters!

So what's your favorite company for Fantasy Adventurers?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer Project - 6mm Late War Germans

My forum of choice is the german-language Tabletop Welt, although it started to struggle about year ago after a sub-optimal software update and a change of ownership which came with a new staff of admins and moderators, too.

Anyway, some of my favorite things about this forum are the Project 500 and the Summer Project.

Both are friendly painting competitions aiming at motivating gamers to finish a project within a given timeframe. The Project 500 usually runs from November to April and includes 4 "blocks". Each block is 6 weeks long and participants are supposed to paint at least 500 points of miniatures within each period. So after 4 blocks you'll have painted 2000 points. There are slightly different point limits for different systems, but over all the 500 points work for most games.

There is nothing at stake, you just do it for fame and glory and the motivation.

The Summer Project is a "Project 500 light" and only runs from June to August with three blocks of one month each. And because people are less likely to spend a lot of time painting when it is 35°C outside, you only have to paint any 6 miniatures to pass a block.

My summer project for this year is 6mm late war german armor for Blitzkrieg Commander (or Spearhead, which seems to be more popular around here). More precisely Kampfgruppe Peiper of Battle of the Bulge "fame".
The local wargaming club bought a huge collection of 6mm WW2 miniatures from somebody and sold it to the members for very little money, so I was able to get around 120 vehicles for 25 US-$. And they still made a bit of profit from that! The quality ranges from GHQ and CinC to things somebody might have carved out of a block of lead with his bare hands.
But after some sorting and paint-stripping I am very happy with this purchase ;)

So painting six 6mm vehicles in a month isn't much of a challenge, especially when it is not 35°C outside (I live in the southern hemisphere and rather have the problem that I can't go outside to use spray cans due to rain and/or frost). Anyway, it is a nice motivation to sit down with a brush at least every other week and get some painting done.

My project is roughly based on the marching order of Kampfgruppe Peiper. It was lead by the 1. Abteilung SS Panzerregiment 1 with Panthers and Panzer IVs, followed by the SS Panzergrenadierregiment 2 and all the way at the end, the Tiger IIs of Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 501 (Peiper didn't believe that these massive tanks could navigate the narrow forest tracks with sufficient speed and was actually not too enthusiastic about having them in his force).

The first two blocks are finished by now:

Block 1 consists of a CO element (Panther and Sd Kfz 251), three Panthers and six Panther IV H/J.

Block 2 has a HQ element (Sd Kfz 250 and Schwimmwagen), 3 Sd Kfz 251, 3 Maultier halftracks and 3 Grille SPGs.

The final block will be another HQ element (Tiger II and Kubelwagen) and 6 Tiger IIs.

I quite enjoy painting those tiny miniatures. In the past I painted modern Syrians and IDF as well as some 1980s BAOR in 6mm, and it is much more fun than one expects!
Another interesting part is that late war german vehicles offer quite a lot of variety in color. Base color can be sand, olive green or oxide red, depending on production date. Most vehicles show a simple striped camouflage or the rather elaborate "ambush" pattern, but mixing in some less often used schemes is a nice way to make painting more interesting and challenging (all patterns shown are "authentic", although some have been borrowed from Eastern Front units).

Half way through the final block I only managed to put base color on the Tiger IIs, partly because I spent some time trying to replace the rather "bendy" gun barrels (don't try it. It is a horrible idea and you will curse yourself for even trying...).

Also shown are three Wirbelwind AA tanks and a Kettenkrad. The turrets are not primed yet, but I will paint seven Krupp-turrets and three additional Porsche-turrets for variety.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Frostgrave - Soothsayer Warband

I put together my first Frostgrave list. This is actually a little bit more complicated than in other games, mainly because you'll have to chose the spells for your wizard. Every wizard starts with 8 spells, three from its own school, one each from their aligned schools and two from any neutral school he is allowed to use.

  Soothsayer Wizard
  • Dagger (5)
3 Soothsayer – Combat Awareness, Reveal Secret, Awareness
1 Thaumaturge - Shield
1 Chronomancer – Fast Act
1 Illusionist - Glow
2 Enchanter/Summoner/Necromancer/Elementalist/Sigilist – Enchant Weapon, Bone Dart

These spells give him a good mix of buffs like (Combat) Awareness, Fast Act and Glow, combined with Enchant Weapon against those pesky critters and Bone Dart to support alles from afar. And Reveal Secret allows him to place an additional treasure token in a convenient spot.

  Apprentice (200)
  • Dagger (5)
An Apprentice can use the same spells as the wizard, but less effectively. They are kind of a back.up to give you a second chance to cast an important spell. Their stats are also directly dependent on those of your wizard, and when he becomes a better fighter, your apprentice does, too.
Marksman (100)

The Marksman comes with a crossbow, hand wepaon and mail armour, combined with good fighting and shooting skills. In my opinion the best soldier class in the game, able to deal with alomst anything.

Treasure Hunter (80)

The cheapest soldier with a fighting skill of +4, and fats enough to keep up with the Thieves.

2 Thief (2x20)

Thieves are faster than most other soldiers so they are best choice to go collecting treasures. Especially when backed up by a Treasure Hunter

3 Thugs (3x20)

Well, you should always have some expendable guys around to keep your opponent busy

Warhound (10)

Just because there were 10 points left.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Frostgrave - First Steps

One of my latest acquisitions was Frostgrave by North Star Military Figures and Osprey Publishing. Frostgrave is a Mordheim-style skirmish game. The background is pretty simple: a bunch of wizards hire some soldiers and go adventuring in the ruins of a long-lost legendary city.

Today, I'll just want to share some pictures of the miniatures for the game.

Up first, the Chronomancer and his apprentice. Chronomancy is the youngest of the magic schools and considered to be a short-cut to power. Of course, with great power comes great resp... eh, risk.
As masters of time their spells are all about slowing down and hastening. If they are really ambitious, they can even try to store some time for later use.

Next a pair of Soothsayer. They are specialists in awareness and mind control, revealing secrets and making their opponent forget spells.

Last, but not least, Witches. Curses, potions and controlling nature is their speciality, and if all goes downhill, they can shoot some poisoned Bone Darts at their enemies.

Wizard have access to a lot of different henchmen, called soldiers.

Thugs are the lowest in the food chain. They are just some rabble armed with hand weapons. I made two groups of Thugs from the plastic Soldier kit:

To make them a bit more distinguishable I arme one group with swords and one with axes. This is a purely cosmetic choice because weapons do not grant any special rules.

Thieves are faster than Thugs, but only armed with a dagger. I built two, and decided to make them twins:

Archers are the cheapest way to add some ranged attacks to your warband. They fight as well as Thungs in close combat, but also have leather armour:

Infantrymen have two-handed weapons and leather armour, making them better and more resilient fighters than Thugs. Their two-handed weapons give them a bonus on damage, too :

Men-at-Arms have leather armour and shields, giving them a very good armour value. They are armed with hand weapons:

I also received some metal miniatures as rewards for pre-ordering the game, i.e. a Knight and a Templar.

A knight is an excellent fighter and with shield and mail armour he has the highest armour value of all soldiers. But he also costs five times as much as a Thug.

 The Templar changes the shield for a two-handed weapon which makes them the best damage-dealers in close combat. Next to him a metal treasure marker:

Talking about treasure markers, the pre-order deal came with five generic and three special treasure markers, too:

The weapon rack is broken due to a bubble in the resin, but nothing that won't be easily fixed.

My first impression is very good. The miniatures are well designed, although the plastic Soldier kit has a distinct lack of useful left arms, making it necessary to use parts from the bit box or to have some repetition. This is a general problem of this box, for example three of the four Thugs with axes are converted in some way.
On the other hand, the set was designed to be compatible with Fireforge Games boxes, and mixing the Frostgrave soldiers with a box of Foot Sergeants will give you an excellent base to build you warband(s). Alternatively, Gripping Beast's Dark Age Warriors or Arab Foot Soldiers shoudl work fine.

My plan at the moment ist to build and paint two warbands (I always try to get two forces for each new game, it is much easier to get people to play that way ). One of them will have a black and red color scheme, the other one (most likely) white and blue.

Here is a WIP of the two Thieves:

The faces need some more work...