Monthly Archives: March 2014

Recent Figures

Buck

Every town needs a statue, and Granville is no exception.  I found this Revolutionary War figure in the flea market at Cold Wars with the idea of making a statue for my pulp town, Granville.

After painting the pedestal, I painted the figure with a green patina color.  Then I dry brushed over it with black.  Finally I dry brushed over the black with gold.  I think I like the effect.  I am going to make some sort of plaque to go on the front of the pedestal.

To get ready for our NASHCON GASLIGHT game, I threw some paint on the various fish men from Bones today.  I think they turned out okay.

I like these last ones the best.

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Cold Wars 2014 After Action Report

Rob Dean

Cold Wars has come and gone again. At least I was able to make it this year; last year’s convention was pre-empted by an unavoidable business trip.

Things were still uncertain at the time that games needed to be scheduled, though, so I was conservative in what I signed myself up to do. I booked two sessions of the same scenario, a Dark Ages Saxon/Viking skirmish. This was an extended version of the one I ran as a solo game last summer. I elected to do one session at 2:00 on Friday, thinking that would give me a shot at doing my shopping first, and probably time to do a turn through the flea market as well, even if I had to drive up on Friday morning. I set the second session for 2:00 on Satuday.

Due to procrastination, and influenced by the work/school schedules of my sons, I didn’t end up booking a room. I commuted up by myself on Friday, and then drove up with both sons on Saturday. Sunday is pretty quiet at HMGS conventions, so it wasn’t worth going up for one game in the morning.

Anyway, I had my three scenery boxes and three figure boxes (two humans, one farm animals) stacked and ready to go, so I was able to be on my way at a reasonable time in the morning. After dealing with an issue about my badge and membership status, I set my game up.

I’m not quite finished in that shot, still needed to put out the two main farm buildings. After completing the setup, I hit the dealer’s room for some serious shopping. I was a little disappointed to find that only one of the three or four possible dealers in 1/72 plastic attended, as my main objective was to fill out all the Greeks and Persians I want for my next project. I gave it my best shot, though, and came home with all but a few boxes, as well as several boxes of assorted 1/72 fantasy figures for the current small project. I placed an order after the convention to finish things off, and was a little distressed to find that HaT Persians are apparently not currently in production.

My first game of Athelric’s farm went well. I had five players rather than the eight I had room for. Possibly this was due to the timing; 2:00 turned out to be the opening time for the flea market, always a large crowd draw. After much ferocious fighting, the Viking players eventually carried off the livestock, though at the cost of two of the three Viking leaders. Given that I had to drive home, I didn’t really want to play an evening game. My Saturday game was the next game on the same table, so I packed the troops and left the scenery set up and headed home to meet the kids.

I remarked to them on the light crowd, wondering if I was started to exhibit the grumpy old man syndrome of thinking that things had always been better in the past. I will take this opportunity to say that I don’t think that I am. Saturday was as crowded as one might wish, and we had a hard time finding a parking space at 9:30. I was glad that my scenery was already in place. I dropped off a box of flea market goodies which one of the other HAWKs agreed to set out on his table, and took my soldiers back down to the HAWKs room to set up.

Norman also had a 2:00 Saturday game, one of his award-winning Bronze Age chariot scuffles, as described in his blog. When we had things squared away, we took a look at the flea market. My best find was not miniatures related, but a nice crisp copy of 1st edition Gamma World. I have been having some fun with 1970s RPGs lately, and my copy had gone astray some time ago. Of the 1970s games I used to have, Gamma World has the dubious distinction of being the only one not legally available in a .pdf edition, so I was glad to scratch that itch at a reasonable price.

I didn’t take very many pictures this convention, so I’ve only got one shot of my Saturday game worth posting:

Here the Saxons, aided by a few continental mercenaries hired by the local lord (generally to the right) defend their shaggy cattle against the Vikings. This game went better for the Saxons, who managed to kill the Viking leader and evacuate most of the livestock. I filled this game, and turned one walk-up player away, so the player/game ratio seemed a lot tighter on Saturday. I also found that I had somehow been listed in the program as a “kid friendly” game. I was using Knights and Magick, an old rules set that my group started playing when I was a teenager, so they aren’t especially kid-unfriendly, but “kid” here means middle-schooler, or surpervised late elementary schooler, not pre-numerate five-year-old. After some discussion, I was also compelled to suggest that the game would not work for the aforementioned five-year-old and his father. I will need to look into this in the future and see what the algorithm for making this determination might be. I used to be on the other side of that conversation, so I would prefer that correct information is out there. But the kids do grow up eventually…

Overall, it was a good convention, and we all came home energized for our projects…

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Goblins Completed! Figures 71-73 of 265

Chris Palmer

     This week I finished the last three of the Goblins from the Dungeon Attack set.  As I mentioned in my previous Goblin posts,  I didn’t want to paint them the same old green that has become so common for Goblins, so I consulted the D & D Monster Manual, and read up on Goblins.  It said that their skin color ranged from yellow, to dull orange, to brick red…nothing about green.  So, I decided to go with the middle of the range and paint them a dull orange-ish.
      To begin with though, I prepped them in the usual way; soaking in water with a bit of dish soap added, giving a gentle scrub with an old soft toothbrush, then rinsing and drying.  Afterwards, I primed them with Krylon Camouflage Flat Black with Fusion.  I then glued them to 1” fender washers with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued the washers to a tongue depressor with a coupe small dabs of Elmer’s white glue, for ease of handling during painting.

     Like each time before, I began by painting all their exposed skin areas with Accent “Golden Oxide”.   I then painted their Tunics with GW “Graveyard Earth”, and the padded jerkin on the archer with GW “Scorched Brown”.  I also painted  the fur areas on the neck of the mace Goblin, and the boots of the spear Goblin, with the “Scorched Brown.”  I then dry brushed these areas with Folk Art “Barn Wood”.  I then painted their hats with Americana “Alvacado”.

    Then I did the backs of the shields with Ceramcoat “Walnut”, and then all the straps and belts with Americana “Asphaltum”.  The Quiver I painted with Accent “Real Umber” and the arrow shafts with Crafter’s “Spice Brown”. I then painted the handle of the mace, bow, and spear shaft with the “Spice Brown”. Next, I painted the fletchings by dry brushing them with the Folk Art “Medium Gray.” The facings of the shields I left plain black this time. I painted the boots of the spear-wielding Goblin with GW “Snakebite Leather”.

     My next step was to work on the stonework bases they were standing on.  I painted these with Duncan “Slate Grey”, and then painted the blobs of vegetation sitting on the stones with DecoArt “Forest Green”.  Next, I painted their teeth and the claws on their feet with Americana”Buttermilk”.  Lastly I painted the metal armor, weapon and shield parts, and buckles with Accent “Princely Pewter”.

    When all the paint was dry,  I washed the figures completely with some watered down Winsor-Newton Peat Brown Ink

     When the ink wash dried, I added highlights to their skin and clothing by repainting some of the raised areas with the base color.  I also added some highlights to the metal parts with Ceramcoat “Metallic Pewter”, and highlighted their teeth and claws with the “Buttermilk”. I also painted their eyes with the “Buttermilk”, and added black pupils.  Then, after everything had time to dry, I painted on a coat of Ceamcoat “Matt Varnish”.  When this had dried I flocked the bases.  Even though they were sculpted to look like dungeon floors, I wanted to use my Goblins in outdoor settings, so I flocked them to look like perhaps the Goblins were standing on parts of old ruins or an overgrown path.  After the flock had dried, I sprayed the figures with Testor’s Dullcote.


     I’m pleased with how these last three turned out, and am happy to see the Goblin chapter  finally closed.  Below is a picture of the whole gang of them, and I think they make a nice mob of malicious Goblininess. 🙂

Figures 71-73: Complete

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More Hinterland Female Hussars

Buck

Some months ago Hinterland released additional figures in the line of female hussars and sailors.  At the time, the budget wouldn’t permit an order, but a month or so ago, I finally got around to ordering them.  This weekend, I finished painting the figures.

The picture (above) shows the female sailor pom-pom crew.  The crew is just three figures, the officer in pith helmet, the gunner, and the woman carrying another box of ammunition.  The fourth figure in the background is a sailor from one of the earlier releases and is not part of the crew.

This picture shows the artillery crew.  The crew does come with a gun.  Most of us have extra guns sitting around that can be conscripted into service.  Now my female hussar force has some organic, heavy support.

Princess Celeste

Princess Celeste

The princess is quite proud of her unit!

The female hussar unit is not just a bunch or pretty faces, suitable only for parade duty.  They have had a good record on the tabletop in GASLIGHT games.  In addition, they are early adopters of “modern” technology.  In this picture you can see the only non-female member of the regiment, the robotic hussar armed with a Maxim-like weapon.

In these two pictures you can see the entire force, including their new support weapons, self-propelled armored coaches, close air support, and mounted forces (both on horses and on raptor-looking “Death Jaws”).

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300 Years In Schlegel’s Ferry

Von Greg

As part of our HMGS Cold Wars line-up, the Schlegel brothers, I and several other HAWKs ran a series of games set at 50 and 100 year intervals during the history of the fictional town of Schlegel’s Ferry. I was there for most of it…

Remember that TV show where the guy from “Game of Thrones” lived forever  as long as he remained within New York City? Well, neither do I, but I guess this would be a close approximation of that experience.

In 1664 at Schlegel’s Ferry

Official Game description:

Fri. 2:00 PM, 3 hrs, 6 players
GM: Buck Surdu and HAWKS
Age of Reason 25mm, Rules: Blood and Swash
Dutch and English settlers vie for control of the vital trading post and crossing of the Chesapeake Bay at Schlegel’s Ferry.

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GM Buck Surdu explains the scenario and objectives while Eric looks on with grim determination…

As part of the Pennsylvanian force, my troops took up position on the left northern flank and prepared to raid the town.

Photo Mar 07, 2 08 39 PM

Yes, we’re called the pink team…and we want you to respect our life choices!

I managed to move my archer to the wood’s edge and had a good sniping position to lob arrows at the force, but I failed to do any real damage.

Photo Mar 07, 2 21 19 PMThings went pear-shaped after that, and the Marylanders quickly closed upon and dispatched three of my troops.

Photo Mar 07, 2 59 25 PM

My musketeer didn’t last long either…

I'm not left-handed either!

I’m not left-handed either!

After my quick demise in the first hour and a half of the game, I took the next 200 years off, did some shopping and wouldn’t return again until 1914.

In 1914 at Schlegel’s Ferry

Official description:

Sat. 2:00 PM, 3 hrs, 10 players
GM: Eric Schlegel and HAWKS
WWI 25mm, Rules: Blood and Swash Everyone is nervous, as the Great War has begun in Europe and wild reports of German spies in the area abound. US Marines, government agents and members of the local law enforcement agencies are sent to investigate.

The town has changed a lot in the last few centuries...

The town has changed a lot in the last few centuries…

This game was a mad-cap romp with a beached German U-boat, dastardly spies, corrupt cops, G-men and the Schlegel’s thrown in for good measure.

I took the role of the turn of the century Schlegel family whose goal was to capture one of the German sailors running about the town. The G-men and I joined forces to make our jobs easier, but we were soon dodging blazes set by the firebug “good” cops.

Hmmm...do you smell something burning?

Hmmm…do you smell something burning?

Just as in the last game, things didn’t go so well for my guys. A running shoot out with another faction of cops cost me two of my crew and learning that I actually had to catch the sailor alive had me doing a mad scramble at the end of the game. The german U-boat captain shelling the town with his deck gun didn’t help at all either!

In 1964 at Schlegel’s Ferry

After a brief dinner break, Eric Schlegel and I reset the table and then set up for my 7:00 game where Doctor Who (William Hartnell incarnation) comes to town…

Official description:

Sat. 7:00 PM, 3 hrs, 8 players
GM: Greg Priebe and HAWKS
Modern 25mm, Rules: The Doctor Who Miniatures Game 2nd
Edition
A mysterious blue police box materializes in the junkyard on the
outskirts of town and a string of strange occurrences immediately
follow. Doctor Who collides with the world of Schlegel’s Ferry in
a madcap caper to mark the 50th anniversary of the Doctor’s
greatest foe.

Photo Mar 08, 6 12 29 PM

The basic gist of the game was that a few nights before, a meteor crashed nearby and showered the town with glowing green fragments. The Doctor, UNIT, and International Electromatics all raced about trying to collect the rocks. Meanwhile during all of the chaos, a team of bank robbers (who no one really ever paid attention to) landed by boat and tried to steal a shipment of gems from the new local bank. The other plot was that Schlegel’s Ferry was in the running for a “Best Town” award with the cops and some mysterious hooded figures ran about trying to keep order and repair any vandalism that would inevitably occur.

I used a rule modification from Crooked Dice’s campaign game that had the players playing for points that once earned, could be traded in for Luck Points if their situation proved dire.

the "facilitators" steam towards the dock

the “facilitators” steam towards the dock

Contrary to the playtest, this game started off as the least bloody of the series, each faction started far enough apart so that they could go about completing their objectives without much interference from the other players. The kid playing one faction of the police seemed a bit preoccupied with arresting the Doctor and his companions and completely missed the fact that the robbers had broken into the bank, but most player’s actually believed their far-fetched stories about being either inspectors for the contest or FBI.

International Electromatics goons speed around in a car stolen from the church parking lot and snatch up metor fragments

International Electromatics goons speed around in a car stolen from the church parking lot and snatch up meteor fragments

the robbers easily break into the back door of the bank

the robbers easily break into the back door of the bank

Things eventually heated up when Kurt, playing the Schlegel family, completed his objectives of delivering a shipment of moonshine and pulling down a town statue, and then decided to rack up points by eliminating members of the rival factions. Several instances of vehicular homicide occurred.

the Schlegel boys, in Granny Schlegel's 1949 Woodie, careen towards the mysterious hooded figures

the Schlegel boys, in Granny Schlegel’s 1949 Woodie, careen towards the mysterious hooded figures

In the end, International Electromatic’s nefarious plot is revealed, as a damaged Dalek is repaired and emerges from their warehouse at the edge of town. It soon goes beserk (can a Dalek really do that?) and tries to exterminate everyone in it’s path.

EX-TERM-IN-ATE!!!

EX-TERM-IN-ATE!!!

As the game winds down, the Doctor does manage to fashion a weapon from a few meteor fragments and car parts, but the cops finally get to doing something and crash their car into the diabolic pepper-pot from hell. Unfortunately, the Dalek shrugs off the impact and the car’s passenger’s are sent through the windshield to their deaths. Everyone though all was lost until out of nowhere, the surviving Schlegels slammed into the Dalek again, this time with a 1959 Chevrolet 300, which proved too much for the angry squid’s compromised armor.

In the final tally, the Schlegels won with 11 points, with International Electromatics and the Robbers tying for second place with 9 points each.

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Dark Ages On The (Comparatively) Cheap – Part 2

Von Greg

In part one of the story, I set about to build up a 28mm, SAGA-compatible, all-metal warband that would still provide enough troop variety to flesh out either Battle Troll or Song of Blades and Heroes games. With HMGS Cold Wars Convention approaching, I did the research and the math and thought I had a pretty good handle on what the market had to offer.

Hitting the dealer’s hall when it opened on Friday at noon, I made a B Line over to the Age of Glory stand and started combing through the Crusader miniatures rack. Going through the SAGA rules, I decided that the Anglo-Saxons or the Scots matched my playing style the best, but after mentioning my Norman ancestry (Willy’s my 28th great grandfather) the dealer gave me a look and asked why the heck I wasn’t going with the Normans.

As luck would have it, Steve from Age of Glory had worked up some special SAGA sets composed of the Crusader lines that matched the Gripping Beast boxed sets almost exactly and the Normans were marked down from $76 to $67. Since it was nearly twenty bucks less than the comparable Gripping Beast Pack, I grabbed an additional 8 pack of Normans with Crossbows  (DAN005) too.

So what’s in the box?

8 mounted milites (hearthguard) built from sets DAN100, DAN101, and DAN105

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1 mounted warlord (the sword wielding bloke from DAN105)

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8 dismounted spearmen in chainmail (warriors)  built from a mix of DAN001 and DAN002

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12 Unarmoured archers (levy) built from DAN006

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So the normal “butcher’s bill” for a force (minus the crossbowmen)  this size would be around $79 (still a good price vs GB), but getting it at a discount made it a complete steal.

Tales from the basement:

Quite pleased with myself, I returned to the HAWKs roost in the Lancaster Host’s Paradise Room and thinking my mission complete, waited for Wally’s Basement’s flea market to open…this is where the insanity ensued:

On my first visit, I ran across someone selling four packs of Black Tree Designs Normans, two 12 packs of the unarmored slingers and two 12 packs of the unarmored archers and while it would give me way more peasant levy troops than I would ever need, I couldn’t pass up the price of $30 for the lot.

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If that weren’t enough, on my Saturday morning visit, ran across a pack of Crusader 8 Norman Spearmen in Quilted Armour (DAN003) and a pack of 8 Unarmored Norman Spearmen (DAN004) and snatched the lot of them up for $12.

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What next?

I will definitely tackle the Crusader miniatures before moving onto the Black Tree. i will probably draft the flea market find Quilted Armor guys as my primary dismounted warriors with the unarmored guys as back up and leave the chainmail for the rare occasions my milites have to dismount or use them as “counts-as” Flemish Mercenaries to assist with the rather gallopy-shooty Normans’ lack of ground staying power. The crossbowmen will fill another warrior slot for the time being.

As for as the peasant levy, i will obviously paint up the Crusader ones first so I can be all matchy-matchy. the slingers can’t be fielded by the Normans in SAGA, but will be great as throw-away troops in “Song” or “Battle Troll” or I could loop them into a future Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Danish army as young-uns who haven’t grown beards.

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Dark Ages On The (Comparatively) Cheap – Part 1

Von Greg

Vikings vs Welsh during the HAWKs February Dark Age Derby

I recently hosted a day of Dark Age battles for the HAWks club in order to play-test several popular rulesets for the period. The results were inconclusive as to which was “the best”, but it reawakened my long term interest in the genre enough to go out and build up my own army.

Since SAGA is the most particular of the bunch, I set out to create a force that could count for at least 4 points in that system, while still being diverse enough to provide a variety of troop types for use in the other two.

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Dark Age Gaelic skirmishers converted from Wargames Factory Vikings and Numidians

I attempted some kitbashing with a few backlog Wargames Factory Vikings and Numidians, but the CAD-produced sculpting left the detail less than desirable and while cheap, it really drove me batty trying to assemble them, so plastic was out and metal was in.

If you are going the plastic route, you have to check out SAGA Tapestry’s excellent guide for making the most out of the Gripping Beast and Conquest Miniatures plastic box sets.

With HMGS Cold Wars fast approaching, I threw myself into doing my research and tried to figure out what would be the best way to get the most bang for my buck, without having to resort to figures that either looked bad, or we so fiddly to assemble, that I’d quickly lose interest as I had in the past. That being said, here were my results:

Gripping Beast:

As the publishers of the SAGA rules, this is the go to place for those who want the right-out-of-the-box forces. I have mixed feelings about the sculpts, since the older items that get mixed into the packs seem to be suffering from an all-body case of fluid retention bloat, but the newer items are really nice.

In the States, my convention favorite, Architects of War sells $53.00 for a metal starter army of 25 foot troops  which comes out to around $2.12 a figure

Wargames Foundry:

While they lapsed into the Bugatti Veyron price range for a good part of the last decade, Foundry has recently lowered their prices back to something that us mere mortals can afford. Their old Dark Ages line has a nice selection, but they are old (Perry?) sculpts and can be a bit on the “wee” side. The newer Vikings are very nice, if not for the odd inaccurate horned helmet, and would be great for your showcase figures such as Warlords or champions (hearthguard for you SAGAmites). As an added bonus, they have a decent selection of civilians and lady vikings, not all of which are scantily clad if you’re looking for your Lagertha!

Currently listed on their site as $18.00 for 6 infantry, they still tip the scales at $3.00 a figure, but if only used for your “set piece” troops, that’s still relatively reasonable. The older range is $18.00 for 8 infantry which would be $2.25 a piece.

Crusader Miniatures:

Age of Glory, one of my other favorite retailers stock the entire line of these and  I really prefer the crisper poses over the “official” SAGA line. With a few exceptions, they have all the options you would need for most of the SAGA factions, even odd ones like the Irish dog handlers.

$14.00 for 8 foot troops so we’re now talking $1.75 a figure

Black Tree Design:

Successor to the Harlequin miniatures line, Black Tree does have a small, but decent Dark Ages line and you might even be able to use certain packs from their ancient Picts to supplement your Gaelic armies of the Dark Ages. This line goes on sale quite often, and the extent of the discount can make these prices vary greatly.

Typically, if you are signed up for their free email club, a minimally discounted army like the Normans will sell for around $7.23 for 4 minis, bringing their individual infantry miniature price in at $1.81, just above Crusader, and just below Gripping Beast.

Saxons are slashed to 25% off right now ($6.23 for 4) making them quite a bargain at $1.55 per mini so you could kit out a 4 point SAGA force for under $40, and if you buy the Saxon Kings set and use the armoured guy as your Warlord, you also have the harp playing figure that can easily pass as the “Wandering Bard” special character.

Old Glory:

This has always been the wargamers go to choice for cheap metal, with the caveat of some really dodgy sculpting at times and they also tend to be on the smaller size of the 28/25mm spectrum so you have to some visual inspection before throwing down the cash.

I’ve dealt with the main line of Normans/Vikings/Saxons and they are pretty bad.Too many “Hey Steve!” pointing command figures and rigor-contorted poses turned me off from finishing an army decades ago. On the other hand, their newer “Somerled the Viking Slayer” line shows some promise, especially if you are aiming to do a Scots or Irish force.

Usually, you’ll get 30 infantry for around $35 and you can order directly or pick them up at one of the many HMGS East cons. Each troop will cost you a mere $1.16. Add in the 40% Old Glory Army discount (which will cost you $50 annually) and that drops to paltry $0.70.

Tune in next time, and see if the research survives an encounter with the dealer hall!

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Grave Wraith: Figure 70 of 265

Chris Palmer

This week, as I revealed in last Monday’s post, I painted the green translucent Grave Wraith from the Haunts set.  Unfortunately,  one of the worst head colds I have ever had set in last week, and kept me from going to Cold Wars; as I was just too sick.  I was, however, able to finish painting the Grave Wraith.
     As usual, I began by washing the figure in a bowl of water with a little dish soap added.  I then rinse it and let it dry.  Afterwards, I glued it to a black-primed 1.5 inch fender washer using white tacky glue, and then I glued the washer to a tongue depressor with a couple drops of plain white glue.

  I began by giving the whole figure a wash with very thinned Iron Wind Metals “Dark Green Ink”.  I then painted the “face” as well as the sword and hand, and gravestone and base, with black paint.

Next I drybrushed the gravestone with Folk Art “Medium Gray”, and painted the blade of the sword with Folk At “Metallic Emerald Green”.  I ended up giving the blade three coats of the green to make it really brilliant. You can see the difference in the blade in the photo below with one coat, and the photo that follows it with the three coats.

 My next step was to do a lighter drybrush on the gravestone with Americana “Dove Grey” , and then I painted the hilt of the sword with Ceramcoat “Bronze”. This was followed with doing light highlights on the fingers of the sword hand with GW “Shadow Grey”

I finished up by going over the hilt of the sword and adding heavy highlights with Ceramcoat “14K Gold”. I then painted the rune details on the sword with GW “Golden Yellow”, then I went over them again and added a bit of “Apple Barrel “Yellow” in the center of each rune. Lastly, I painted the skull by the gravestone with Americana “Buttermilk”, followed by heavy highlighting with plain white.
     When everything was dry, I gave the figure a coat of Ceramcoat “Matt Varnish”.   When this was dry, I flocked the base.  Lastly, I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcoat.

As usual, photographing these translucents is a bugger. However, I am pleased with how this one came out, and in general I think the photo gives you the idea of what I was going for.  Also, as you can see, the blade on this figure was miscast, missing a section at the top.  That didn’t bother me too much, as being the weapon of a dead warrior, I can easily imagine that it was broken in battle.

Figure 70 of 265: Complete

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Cold Wars 2014

Norman Dean It’s been a busy few months for things not gaming-related, but I am still alive. (And in fact, I have managed to get a certain amount of painting done—I hope to get a post on that done sometime before the end of the month…)

Anyway, Cold Wars report time! On account of my brother’s class schedule, he and I did not make it up to the convention until Saturday morning, by which time it appears that the parking situation is pretty dire. We do find a spot eventually, and head over to registration, where I am thankful that I have a game to run, as the line for gamemasters is basically nonexistent, whereas the line for general admission is a figurative mile long.

My game is not until 2:00, so I have a couple of hours to spare—not enough time to play much of anything, but plenty of time for Dad and I to look through the flea market and dealer’s area. The only thing that grabs my attention is a set of something called “CastleBlocks,” pretty much like the one shown here. Dad notices it as well, and after a little discussion we decide that we can probably find something to do with it, especially for just $10. (More on my plans for this later.)

Over in dealer’s hall, I pick up a box of Orion Cossacks, as I’d been thinking of restarting my “With Fire and Sword” project. Unfortunately, when I open them up later, I find that there has apparently been an error—despite the box art, it actually contains Orion Basmachi, and a number of the horse legs are broken. Fortunately, I was able to get back down to the dealer’s hall and get a refund before it closed for the day. So it appears the Cossacks will have to wait for another day.

Anyway, I head back up to our club’s room and set up my game—a Bronze Age battle, using my N.U.R.D. rules, basically a repeat of the one I ran at Historicon. A few people wander by and comment on the figures, which generally make a pretty favorable impression. I’m still not sure why I don’t see more 20mm plastic stuff being played at conventions. By 2:00 I have my six players all lined up, and we get started.

Everyone seems to catch on to the rules pretty quickly, and by the time the game ends the players seem to be handling most of it themselves, which I usually take to be a good sign. Now that I’ve run this a few times, I’m starting to contemplate a minor overhaul of the rules, but that’s a topic for another time.

As far as the battle itself, it ends up being a very tight Egyptian victory. The Hittite allied light chariots over on their right started by charging straight at the Sea Peoples mercenaries on the Egyptian left, who I think may have been a tougher target than they expected. The maryannu chariots did a fair amount of damage, especially to some of the lighter units on that side, but were unable to crack the elite Sea Peoples. (Presaging the historical end of the Bronze Age, perhaps…)

In the center, the Hittites fared somewhat better—the Hittite commander there managed to keep periodically pulling back and rallying his units, which left him with a fairly intact force by the late game, and probably helped him grind down the Egyptian chariots opposing him.

The Egyptian chariots fared much better on their right against the Hittite left—the Egyptian commander there kept his chariots together and used them to punch through several units of Hittite foot, while his own infantry did a somewhat better job of keeping the Hittite chariots tied up.

Table set up pre-battle

The Hittite players confer.

The young Pharaoh is advised by his commanders.

View from the Egyptian side.

Chariots advance.

View from the Hittite right.

After putting everything away, I had some time to stroll around and watch other games, and to find some dinner. (This was also about when I discovered the issue with the not-Cossacks.) William and I had signed up for a naval game in the evening, so we headed over there. We found the table all set up, but the allotted time came and went and there was no sign of the gamemaster or any other players. At last we decided to go see if any of the H.A.W.Ks needed spare players, and so it was that we found ourselves in the seedy 25th-century space bar aboard the Space Station Accipitor, the site of many a dastardly plot against Buck Rogers and innocent bystanders.

As the villainous Killer Kane, I had demanded a ransom for the release of Buck’s lady-friend Wilma Deering—except that Wilma had actually been kidnapped by my somewhat unstable compatriot Princess Ardalla. (Who had plans for winning Buck Rogers’ heart by bisecting the helpless Wilma with a ray-saw.) Anyway, for once everything went off without a hitch—the gullible good guys came right up and handed me the ransom money, then dashed off to rescue Wilma while I slipped away up the elevator. Even my Tigerman minions managed to escape unscathed—a vanishingly rare occurrence  in a game of Blood & Swash.

Princess Ardalla and her trussed-up captive.

Blue and Green Tieko-men don’t much care for each other…
Wilma narrowly avoids the ray-saw.

A Depth-man who tries to stop me gets zapped into smoky fish-sticks.
All in all, a fun convention, and I’m looking forward to doing more miniatures stuff in the near future. Hopefully I’ll be posting again soon with a painting rounds up and my plans for those “CastleBlocks”…

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War Horse IV Con Gaming Day

Chris Palmer Two Saturdays ago, a bunch of the HAWKs went up to War Horse Con, a gaming day hosted by Sam and Kathy Fuson at their place near Gettyburg, PA.  Sam invited a bunch of his friends over, and along with a crew from the HAWKs, we had a fun day of gaming.  This time we had four games in Sam’s spacious basement; in the morning Sam’s friend Ed Duffy ran a modern skirmish featuring US forces vs Terrorists using his own homegrown rules (unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of it), while in the next room, Dave Wood and Buck Surdu ran a Napoleonic game using “Fate of Battle” rules on a large “L” shaped table. This game was a scenario of the Battle of La Rotheire in February of 1814, and was a playtest of a game they were going to do at Cold Wars.

Buck and Dave setting up their Napoleonic game.
A shot of the French defenders on the right end of the line.

A look at the left wing of the battle

After a quick lunch break, we reconvened for the afternoon session.  Sam ran a fun Sherlock Holmes inspired GASLIGHT game that had some cool innovations in it; such as searching for, and finding “clues” that were either Scrabble tiles or puzzle pieces. The players then had to assemble the tiles into correct words or assemble the puzzle pieces to reveal messages written on the back.  This was his first time GM-ing a GASLIGHT game, and he did great.
    In the other room, Duncan Adams ran a WWI Look, Sarge, No Charts game.

Sherlock Holmes investigates the Castle door, while his associates wait nearby.  Meanwhile the gangsters in castle open fire.
An overview of the table.
The Baker Street Gang interrogates some of the locals.
The Villain makes his escape.

Here’s some shots of the WWI game.

Duncan’s WWI game.  German defenders dug in on the outskirts of a town.
An overview of the WWI battle
French forces advance towards the town at the top of the picture.

All in all it was a fun day of gaming, and I look forward to the next one!

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