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!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Barak Khazad! Part 2

Finished the next contingent of Dwarves this weekend. 8 huscarls and the Dwarf King with guards will give me two more 6 figure units of elite foot and another hero.

The king came with 3 spear carrying guards. Since that isn't enough for a shield wall I turned them into flag carriers.

The Royal Standard is from the door to Moria as depicted in The Fellowship of the Ring:

This one is a mix of the Bear of Berne, Viking standards and Celtic bears:

This one is supposed to be a Celtic dragon biting its tail:

Pinterest was very useful for searching for graphic inspiration for the above. I like the intricacies of Celtic inspired art, and I think that would appeal to Dwarven craftsmen too.

One of the standard bearers gave up his shield for my hero with the shiny sword. His stance and one handed grip just made me feel he should have a shield too.
Being a hero, he gets an elaborate shield design.

Here is my Dwarf King:

This completes Wave 2. This also brings the dwarves up to a decent strength; four units of elite foot and two heroes. Tooling up the heroes with magic armour and enchanted weapons would take the dwarves up to 44 points.

I would like to add some spear armed shield wall troops and some bow armed scouts to round them out.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Entish Addition!

I've been thinking I needed another Ent to bulk out the Elves.

So I've been searching the web, and good looking (to me) Ents are hard to find. The Reaper Ent looks like a piece of broccoli.
With the demise of Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Lord of the Rings, Games Workshop Ents have gone from the market.

This fellow from Majestic Bear Enterprises looks the business (and he's pretty big), but at GBP24.99 plus shipping he's a bit too dear.

So I did a search on eBay, and found this fellow in France:

For 8.80 Euros, including shipping. So Cdn$13.06, which is about what I'd pay in gas to drive to London or Kitchener and maybe find a Games Workshop LOTR Ent in stock at a game store.

A week and a half later, a small padded envelope arrived in the mail. So here's the figure on a half inch grid:
Yup, pretty basic and what I paid for.

Assembly was easy. Not a lot of flash, and really, is it a mold line or bark? A bit of super glue and a 40x40 card base I had precut and voila!

OK, kinda puny compared to the older Games Workshop Ent. But still tough. Perhaps make the new guy a lesser warbeast and the old figure a greater warbeast.

And there he sat for a few weeks.

But when I did get around to painting it was fast. A few shades of brown. A brown ink wash and then dry brushing with a mid-grey finished the skin. Patches of leaves were done in two tones of green and then given a green ink wash. The eyes were dotted yellow and hit with some green ink at the same time.

Here are some quick snaps right from the flocking tub.

Enough to scare an orc, I think!

Meanwhile, Pete spotted a batch of Vendel elves in the Lead Adventure Forum trading board. So a significant reinforcement for my elves will be coming in a few months!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Orc Raid!

Garshak, the Goblin chieftain, sat in his dim, smokey hall, gnawing a gristly chunk of mutton. Two of his uruks were fighting while the rest egged them on. He had a headache and then he chipped one of his dirty brown fangs on a bone.

He cursed and threw the offending bone at the head of the nearest of the fighting guards. "Stop that you maggots! We're goin' ta get some bacon!"
Gandalf was caught by early snow in the passes on the wrong side of the Misty Mountains. He'd hoped to spend Yule in Rivendell, but the halls of the men who lived between the mountains and the Great Wood along the Anduin would have to do. Fortunately the beer was good and Erkenbard, the local headman was a fairly decent draughts player.

He sucked on his pipe while studying the board. Suddenly the door at the far end of the hall banged open. A wild-eyed herdsman stood panting in the open door. Just as someone was about to protest he summoned the breath to blurt out one word.

Garshak lead his raiding force along the foot hills, taking unsuspecting hamlets and farmsteads unawares. But as the columns of smoke and fire leaped into the winter sky word of his raid spread and some of the villages were better prepared. Soon it would be time to take his loot of smoked bacon, barrels of ale and slaves back to his caves.

But the trolls were still hungry, so one more village.

I played this game of Dragon Rampant solo on the weekend. I used the "Sausages and Mustard" scenario from Lion Rampant. The Orcs get 2 Glory Points for each building looted and set on fire, the Men get 2 GPs for each building left standing. The Men are mostly Light Foot with short range missiles, plus a unit of skirmishers. Erkenbard's Hearthmen (the unit with the Boar banner) are heavy foot. My new Elf archers also joined in as Light Missiles. Both warbands came to around 28-30 points each. Because my men are on multi figure bases, I used the red bingo chips to mark hits, and then I decided to leave them on table to mark the blood and mark where I'd removed Orc figures as well.
Initial deployment, Men enter from lower left, orcs from upper right
It was a hard march through the snow. Erkenbard had his company of Hearthmen, the best fighters, hunters and biggest farmers in his community, plus as many other warriors as he could muster. Quicker youths ranged ahead scouting.

Gandalf stopped to lean on his staff. "Erkenbard, look! I don't think you will fight alone today." Erkenbard turned to look where Gandalf was pointing. A column of cloaked figures were marching swiftly from the forests to the east and joined them.
Elves from the Great Wood. "We saw the fires of the Orc raid and came to help."
Initial deployment from the other angle, orcs on left, men upper right
Garshak had his warband formed into a rough line. Nothing fancy. Straight in, smash 'em up, grab everything they can and burn the rest. 
"At 'em boys!"
With a growling of throats and the blaring of harsh horns the Orcs swept forward over the fields.

Orcs advance

Men off to a slow start

Early moves

Alford stood quivering. The old, young and women had been sent into the forests with everything they could carry. But they had to protect the huts and remaining stores of food, or they would all be dead from hunger and cold by spring.

Like the others he had a hunting spear and a couple of light javelins. As he watched the dark mass with ragged black banners like crows wings come at them over  the fields and through the orchard he felt his guts turn to ice. The wattle fence didn't seem like very much protection.
Attacking the village
A few black feathered arrows fell among them. They answered with a roar and a volley of javelins. Several Orcs went down, staining the snow black. More arrows filled the air around them. Men went down screaming. Somewhere a wolf was howling. Looming over the Orcs they could see the great horrible shapes of trolls stomping through the orchard. 

"Trolls! Save yourselves!" someone shouted starting a panic. The men of the village fled.

Erkenbard swore in disgust as the villagers ran past him screaming.
"Doesn't matter lads. If we don't stop this filth here then they'll be burning our homes next! Forward!"
Help arrives!
The scouts skirmished through the village raining javelins onto an Orc company. "Bugger dis! We've 'ad enuff!" the Orcs shouted and fled.
Too late! Village defenders panic and the Orcs are in the defences
"Right lads! get to lootin'" Although it seemed to take his boys a while to stop squabbling and sort out who was taking what. The snow wet thatch took forever to catch fire too. A javelin took the uruk closest to him in the throat. Men were counter attacking! Where'd they come from? After an initial close fight where the heavier armour of the Orcs gave them the advantage, the men backed off and harassed the Orcs with javelins and quick stabbing forays among the huts keeping Garshak's uruks distracted and off balance.

Fighting in the village

Erkenbard was going to bring his Hearthmen around the edge of village to hit the Orcs in the rear when a giant howling Wolf charged at them! His warriors started to fall back and looked ready to run when Gandalf's voice was in all their ears "Stand fast! Here is where you defend your own hearths!"

Erkenbard's warriors steadied and reformed their shieldwall. The Wolf attacked again, but enough spears had pierced it and it slunk away into the trees leaving a trail of blood.
Erkenbard's men attacked by the Giant Wolf

Culain and his Elf warriors were sweeping around the other side of the village, trying to get to a spot where their archery could get a good field of fire. Orcs and the Trolls moved to attacked them.
Elves sweeping around the village
"Draw. Loose!" Culain shouted and volleys of grey fletched arrows slashed into the advancing black waves. The young men skirmishing from the edge of the village also dashed out to hurl javelins into the flank. Soon the snow was black with the blood of Orcs and Trolls. The remainder fled over the fields and back to the mountains.
Trolls go down in a hail of arrows and javelins
The Men had been driven back a bit and Garshak had some breathing space. A chance to loot more of the village.
With the barn finally on fire, Garshak tries to loot the next building 
One of his Uruks grabbed his sleeve in a panic. "Hey Boss! De Trolls iz dead!" He looked over to the fields on the left. "And where iz all de uvvers?" the Uruk asked, echoing his own thoughts. A voice was snarling in every hairy, orcish ear "Doom! You'll all die here in the cold!" Panic set in and the uruks fled from the village squealing.

Garshak managed to stop a complete rout in the field beyond the village by generous use of his whip and lopping a couple of heads from shoulders. 
"Back into line you maggots!"
But the men were advancing steadily, shields to the fore, spears down, a fighting boar banner snapping bravely overhead. To his left Garshak could see the elves advancing through the wreck of the rest of his warband.
Garshak's last company of Orcs are driven from the village
He didn't fancy being picked apart by those damned elf arrows and simultaneously spitted on the Men's spears"Right lads. Let's get out 'uv 'ere!"

Gandalf had a quiet word with the Elf captain, sending his best hunters after the trail of wolf blood. Erkenbard organized the putting out of fires and tending to the wounded. The scouts ranged into the woods to find the gathered loot and slaves the Orcs had been unable to carry off in their panicked flight.

Gandalf pulled out his pipe and got it puffing. "Now then, Erkenbard. Perhaps we can return to that game of draughts? I think I've almost got you!"

The Orcs were hampered by some pretty bad Courage tests leaving Garshak's company on it's own. The Men had trouble activating. Only the Orcs trouble with flint and steel kept more of the village from burning.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Unified Land Operations and the Siege of Gondor

This is funny. And informative.

A military blogger, The Angry Staff Officer uses the siege of Minas Tirith to illustrate Unified Land Operations concepts.

Since it combines Lord of the Rings with modern military stuff, I had to share. Plus it's interesting to see how the fictional battle works under modern military doctrines.