In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Magnetic Movement Trays

I've been thinking that my Middle Earth armies have been big enough that moving single figures is impractical for some time now.

I've been pondering different configurations of sabot bases and probably would have bought some at Hotlead if it had happened.

Then I saw on the Wargaming in Middle Earth Facebook group a game with these nifty flat card movement trays. I inquired and was told they were magnet glued to MDF then painted.

I've been using magnet sheets to line my figure boxes already. This seemed a natural progression. A couple of 12"×12" magnet sheets cost me $8.


I did a test with some scrap bits. So far so good.

A 12"×12" sheet gave me 12 of these 4"×3" pieces.

Which I glued to 4"×3" pieces of stiff card.

I then spray painted them and here they are doing a demo.


Happy to see that 4"×3" is one size fits all.

For the second sheet I'm going to make some more 3"×2" for elite infantry or units of 12 that I want to have in a wider, 2 rank line, and the trolls like them too it seems.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Vendel Goblins


"Watza din boz?" Grablotz the goblin asked, climbing onto my painting bench, leaving a trail of dirt and things I hoped were just dirt behind him.

"Yeah" chimed in Snakz, "watza din?" Snakz grabbed the rim of my brush holder with dirty, ragged clawed fingers, tilting it to look in. "Got anayfing for etz?"

"Oh yeah" said Grablotz, licking pointed teeth. "Oi cud murda a noice bit o rancid bacon!"

"Wif fresh maggots!"

"What can I do for you boys?" I asked patiently, brushing mud from their boots into the garbage. Setting the brush holder firmly back in its place I added "No bacon today.  You helped me eat it all this weekend with the Padre, remember?"

"Oh yeah.... dat geezer wot wif a' da fancy words 'n such. You member 'im Snakz?"

Snakz picked his nose thoughtfully. "Yeah... he brought dem Isengard boyz. Tough buggers dem."

"But we done arrit, dinnit we, boz?" asked Grablotz sheepishly. 

"Oh yes!" I replied heartily. "Much better than I expected for brand new troops with their paint barely dry." I was rewarded by a pair of snaggle toothed grins.

"Grablotz, your mob caught a lot of arrows and stuck it out longer than I expected." Grablotz danced about, slapping Snakz on the back, and tossed his dirty red cap in the air. 

"What about my mob, boz?" asked Snakz, straightening his red hood so he could see again. "We stuck a few arrers of our own into dat mob, dinnit we?"

"Yes you did" I smiled,  full of benevolence. "And for that you get both lovely banners and grass tufts on your bases!"

The two goblins began capering about, waving their caps and knocking over paint bottles. 

"Alright,  alright" I chided. "Now get on the back drop so I can take pictures of everybody for my blog."

"Gunna put us on Tweeters too boz? " asked Grablotz as he hurried to form up his mob. "Datz where all da kool kidz are!"

"Yes, yes. Now everybody fall in and say 'maggots!'"






Better view of the banners, inspired by Iron Mitten's work on his Middle Earth armies .

Some extras to lead wagons or baggage animals.  Although I may just get 8 more each of spears and bows, then field 2x 12 figure units of each. Until then I've got 6x extra Oathmark goblins who can join them to make another 12x figure unit. 


Comparison shot. L-R: Vendel goblin, Oathmark goblin, Vendel small orc and Vendel large orc.

Comparison shot. L-R: Vendel goblin,  Oathmark goblin, Vendel small orc

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Giving Oathmark a Spin: Game Review

My Oathmark plastic goblins take Mike's Orcs in the flank.

Pandemic restrictions are being slightly eased here in Ontario, so the Mad Padre came down for a quick overnight visit to eat Indian take out and have a game or two. Mike was keen to try Oathmark, the shiny new rules that all the cool kids are playing. So Friday night, stuffed with curry, we did a small game just to work out activation, combat and shooting. Saturday morning we gave it a bigger spin around the table with bigger armies using equal points.
My army of evil. Left flank.

Right flank. New Vendel goblins in the foreground

Not coming from the Warhammer Fantasy background, these rules are a bit problemmatic for me and my Dragon Rampant armies. They require frontages of 5 figures and multiple ranks, so big WFB armies that have been languishing, can get out and play again. 10 figures is the maximum size for cavalry and 20 figures is the maximum size for infantry units, and small units really just shouldn't bother, they don't seem to have much resilience. So my troops organized by 6s and 12s have issues.
Mike's army of evil. His right wing.

His left wing.

There are some subtle nuances in the design which are interesting. Champions can do some cool stuff, but they aren't overpowering. Generals have interesting command rules. Units within 6 inches of the general's unit get an extra activation dice so are less likely to fail, but also if the general's unit activates then he can immediately activate up to two more units within 6 inches, letting him deliver quite a decisive punch in the middle of the normal each side takes turns activating units.

My Nazgul general leads the human heavy cavalry in a charge smashing through Mike's center.
OK, not quite "smashing". Took a while to bludgeon him down. The wolf riders should have been squishier, but I rolled poorly.

We managed to sort out 1600+ point armies and then play a game within about 3 hours. The unit profiles and math to get to your shooting or combat target numbers can be intimidating at first, but you get the hang of it,or at least I did, and I find math hard at times. But it helped that we were both using orcs and humans. Humans, elves, orcs and goblins are all subtly different which can have an effect once you start rolling the dice. The initiative and activation rolls use 2d10, which is nice. You only have to win one roll, so rolling 2 dice helps avoid the constant roll offs when you tie. For activiating you are also more likely to succeed with 2 chances (or 3 if close to the General), but the Mad Padre and I certainly had our share of dud activation rolls, so friction will still happen. We didn't try magic or special magical items though. But it seems from a cursory look that each race has different magic spells, giving each a different flavour.

Pluses:

  • friction in the unit activation
  • flanks and ranks
  • subtle, but distinct, differences between assorted races
  • champions aren't overpowering
  • commander's main battlefield role is to actually, you know, command


Minuses

  • big units (or maybe this a plus for some readers)
  • got to be able to make ranks of 5 figuresso rebasing might be required
  • lot of math
  • army lists are very pointsy and you need a calculator
I felt honour bound to use my Oathmark goblins and I also deployed my new Vendel Goblins, all in (to me at least) big, chunky 15 figure units. To my delight, none of them totally embarassed themselves in their first game. The Oathmark archers, played as orcs, actually finished off Mike's Rangers and the spear orcs got a couple of good charges in. My Vendel goblin archers managed to kill a few of the enemy too, which made them very happy.
Oathmark plastic archers sieze the hill!
Vendel goblin archers sieze the other hill

Oathmark plastic goblin spearmen drive rangers from the woods, where the archers can then shoot them down.

So will it replace Dragon Rampant, for me? Probably not. I don't want to go down a rabbit hole of bulking up units to 15 or 20 figures and rebasing to allow 5 figure frontages. Will I happily play it with others though? Definitely yes. So if you've got a horde of WFB Night goblins or Skaven looking to get out of the box, Oathmark might just be for you.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Ride for Ruin and the World's Ending!


I have now, it appears, a tidy little force of Rohirrim  (or Goths, depending upon who they are fighting). Plus my lonely Games Workshop Rider, who I bought 18 years ago as an indulgence, now has friends. Freinds are good, right?
If I tool the GW figure up as a hero, give the foot javelins and add in my ubiquitous early medieval archers,  I can field a 40 point eored/retinue/war band without much trouble.

I dislike the monochromatic look of the movie Rohirrim, and I do want these to be convincing Goths, so I have varied the shield and clothing colours. Horse motifs show up a lot naturally, but the Goths were a horse people so it seems legit to me. Plus there are some serpents or dragons and a couple of birds to add variety. You will note that there are no black horses, that's because Mordor has stolen all the blacks.













As you can see with the infantry,  I figured out how to make a decent spear fighting pose and managed to get enough for two 12 figure units with 7 extra. I've based the two units on 40mm square bases to get a properly crowded shieldwall look. The 7 extras are on the usual 25mm washers. They can wrangle baggage, stand sentry,  make a unit of skirmishers or join my 5 female villagers to make another 12 figure unit.




The infantry, being lower status, have duller clothes and simpler shields. Except for the captain on foot, with mail, a helemmet and gold shield design. He is made from a Wargames Factory Celt chieftain body, WF German head, Gripping Beast Goth helmet plume and a metal shield from my bits box.

Looking at my Games Workshop Rider now, I think he needs a base redecoration.







Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Ride of the Noldor!


My elvish host has some cavalry at last. Technically these are in the Vendel listings as "Men of the West Cavalry  MOWC1". But I liked the cloaks, which seems very elvish to me, and variety of poses. So much to Will Hupp's puzzlement, I ordered these instead of the "High Elf Cavalry HEC1".


Being elves,  they have to be on white horses, and grey cloaks get mentioned a lot by JRRT in connection with elves too. White plumes tie them into my mailed spearmen. This limited palette meant that any colour would draw the eye, so tunics and trousers were kept neutral with raw linen and medium brown. 


The white lances are striking. The shields are painted with Tamiya acrylic air brush paint for the brightness and clarity. I originally wanted to have the star held by the Two Trees of Valinor but that got crowded and silly, with the trees ending up looking weedy. So just the simple bold star.


When I told my gamer friend at work about painting the horses white his reply was "Do you hate yourself?"

Well, no. Fortunately a very talented friend gave me a private tutorial many years ago on painting greys, which I haven't really used up until now. Burnt umber undercoat. Mid grey over top. Then dry brush lighter greys until you get to white. Finally I used a very thinned out white over top to blend the layers together and smooth it all out. Pay special attention to the large muscles and the neck. I highlighted the noses, eye ridges and edges of the ears too.


These are 25 or 30 year old sculpts, and it shows on the horses. There is a lot of flash between the legs, but as you can (or can't ) see, it's not noticeable and I just cleaned up what I could. 







The last thing some orcs will see. "Elendil!"