Friday, 23 June 2017


Usually when I personally talk about gaming nostalgia it's around role-playing rather than miniature games.  The truth is over the years because casting technology and materials have improved so much and most 'popular' items have never truly gone away they just get re-done there hasn't been much in miniature gaming for me to get nostalgic about.  But every rule has its exceptions...

Back in the 80s when I was new to hobby gaming Games Workshop didn't take their IP nearly as seriously as they do today.  It was the time that produced snotlings, and Fighting Fantasy and Blood Bowl and all kinds of fantasy an sci-fi silliness and to be honest I really liked it that way.  On the note when I first started reading White Dwarf there was a comic in it called 'Thrud The Barbarian' which featured a typically meat-headed barbarian character who was cartoonishly out of proportion with the other characters in the story.  Thrud was super fun but I hadn't given him much thought over the past couple of decades.  My affection for plastic RPG miniatures got me into the Zombicide range and low and behold one of the special guest artist packs was by Carl Critchlow and featured Thrud!  I had to have it!

Being a mostly classic fantasy barbarian Thrud is somewhat reminiscent of a variety of Warhammer Quest figures and some Khorne figures I already own, but his helmet is distinctly Thrud and I just had to add him to my collection.

One of the ways in which Thrud stands out from my other barbarian figures is that even by fantasy barbarian miniature standards he is HUGE.  In the picture below he is standing next to a 28mm Chainmail model on a 25mm slotta-base.  You can see how much bigger than normal man-sized he is.  In fact I'm fairly certain that he's roughly the same size as a current Games Workshop ogre.

It was fun to do something new that still scratches that nostalgia itch.  I've got another one-off coming up that's another older GW character but nowhere near as old as Thrud.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

For The Watch!

I took a break from the Lannisters to get a couple more Nights Watch figures done from Darksword's Game Of Thrones line.

These are two of their "tribute" sculpts, which is basically Darksword putting their sculptors into the world of Game Of Thrones (which I think is an awesome idea).

The smaller guy in the mail shirt with a sword and dagger is their Kev tribute while the bigger dude with the axe if their Tre tribute.
I can picture tons of uses for these two figures.  Side-by-side they give off a very Fafhrd & Grey Mouser feel.  I also like the fact that the Tre figure has a loaded backpack and bedroll as one of the things I personally find lacking in a lot of RPG 'adventurer' figures is their actual gear and stowage.  I'm hoping to actually use the Tre figure as my own character model in an upcoming game.
Night Watch figs are also great for Frostgrave as they are all typically attired in warmer clothes with heavier gloves and boots. I just need to paint something that photographs a bit better than guys in 3 different shades of black...


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Happy father's day from one of fantasy fiction's most infamous fathers; Tywin Lannister!

Tywin is the Lannister family patriarch in Game Of Thrones and definitely steers his family down their respective paths through the first half of the series.

In addition to Jaime and Cersi, Tywin is also father to Tyrion Lannister, known colloquially as "The Imp".

I've got to admit that even though he's not a character you're supposed to like I really enjoyed Tywin and in particular Charles Dance's portrayal of him on the show.  In spite of the fact that you know he's a bad guy there are moments where you can't help but respect him.

And look at it it this way; at least he's not Denethor.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Shoggoth.....or maybe something else.....or maybe lots of other things.....

Awhile back I picked up a Reaper Shoggoth model intending to use it in my Ravenloft game as a similar but slightly less Cthulhu-y monster for a pre-amble to Curse Of Strahd.

I had been playing online on Roll20 but since that game concluded I've been thinking about running a game around an actual table top (like real people!) and for that I'm going to need to get some models done.  I can easily see myself using this model for a ton of different RPGs and miniature games so even though I don't need it right away I'm sure it will get used a lot in the future.

One of the things this has gotten me thinking about is trying to build up my collection of  'monsters' for D&D.  I have a lot of humanoid creatures (orcs, gnolls, goblins, etc) but I could use more of the larger monsters (Hook Horrors, Umber Hulks, etc), after all every mid-level encounter I run can't always be Owlbears.  Hopefully there's some more creatures in my near future.


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Four more members for Kilo Squad

In advance of my first game of Shadow War Armageddon tomorrow I have (I think) completed my initial force of Arbites.  I actually need to math it up and make sure I'm done but I feel good about what I have so far.

My basic troopers will be armed with shotguns but if I try different rules down the road a bit I may swap out a couple for bolters.

I've also decided that the basing you see here will be how I base the new models I paint for my 40K sized Arbites army....nothing says 8th edition like 1st edition figures :)


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Sandor "The Hound" Clegane

While I was waiting for some washes and basing material to dry on my next 4 Arbites I was able to crank out another Game Of Thrones model; Sandor Clegane.

As I've referenced before one of the things I like about Game Of Thrones is that a lot of the heroic characters are flawed and a lot of the villainous characters have redeeming quality.  At this point I'm honestly not sure which of those two categories The Hound fits into.  During the first season he does some pretty terrible things (he's on the GoT list of child murderers) but by the sixth season hes trying to be a better person (although still violent and profane).

My favourite feature of this model is that is actually comes with 3 separate heads.  The first is a bare head showing Sandor's scars, the second is wearing his helmet with his visor up, and the third is the one I used where his helmet is on with the face-plate down.

I liked this option the most as it was the most unique and sinister looking.  I also figured if I wanted him to be a nameless/faceless nemesis in a future RPG that helmet is pretty intimidating.

Okay, my Arbites look dry, back to work.


Crypt Ghast Courtiers

The release of Age Of Sigmar skirmish has me re-energised for painting my Vampire Counts miniatures for Age Of Sigmar.  The truth is I've been trying to get worked up about painting a force since the General's Compendium came out but after years of painting skirmish sized forces I was finding the prospect of 50-100 models really daunting.  Skirmish on the other hand invites me back in with a much smaller investment of painting and time to prep.

I decided on a "Death" force but then realised if I wanted to play through the Shadespire campaign (and I do) that I didn't really have any heroes cheap enough to lead my force.  I had been planning on doing some ghouls for a while so I decided to do a couple of Crypt Ghast Courtiers.

I really like the idea of a hero level ghoul, but I have to admit when Games Workshop re-released the ghouls as a 20 figure box as opposed to the old 10 figure box I wish they could have re-tooled the sprue to include 1 more generic ghoul upper body.  As it stands each sprue makes 9 ghouls plus either a Crypt Ghast (unit champion) or Crypt Ghast Courtier (hero).  This would be fine except by the General's compendium ghoul units are bought in increments of 10 and most boxes will result in a unit of 19 unless players ignore the inclusion of the extra fancy-style body once every 10 models.  Having said that I love the figures and definitely think there are more in my future.

I'm off to consider my next 9 points/reknown for my Death warband!


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Review - WizKids D&D/Pathfinder Miniatures

Last night while chatting with my friend Stan online he asked me if I had painted any of the new WizKids line of miniatures for D&D and Pathfinder.  It's funny because I bought some about 2 months ago but hadn't actually painted one yet, so I decided to bust one out late last night and see how they painted up and held detail.

The first thing to call out about these figures is that they are similar in price and material quality to the Reaper Bones line.  For some people this is a huge plus (the price), while for others the softer material can be a big downside.  I will say that the same issue as Bones exists where longer narrower features (primarily weapons) can come out of the package with a bend.  Having said that the detail is much crisper on the WizKids figure I worked on than any of the Bones figures I've done to date.  I'm not sure if the cuts are marginally broader or deeper but even after 2-3 layers of paint and 1-2 washes I hadn't lost any perceptible detail.  The other big positive I can call out is that these figures do in fact come pre-primed.  I painted mine directly over the existing coat of primer and had no issues what-so-ever.
Here's the cleric I painted in about 45 minutes.

Overall I don't think there's much mystery in who these figures are for.  If you're price conscious and need some classic D&D characters and monsters I think this line is really good value for money.  If hyper-detailed figures for painting contests are your thing these are still slightly (but only slightly) behind hard plastic, resin or metal.  I would recommend this line for gamers on a budget or those who don't want to put tons of time into each individual model that they paint.  I bought about a half-dozen packs and can personally easily see myself buying more.


The Adventures Of Konnor - Chapter 2: The Ghost Of Lion Castle

Last night I played through Konnor's next solo adventure 'The Ghost Of Lion Castle'.  It was a roller-coaster of successes and failures but more on that in a bit.

The adventure is set in a small town that has a school of magic and is therefore heavily populated by apprentice wizards.  Konnor is one of the apprentices in  town and after a night of carousing at the local pub Konnor draws the lucky straw and gets to be the next adventurer to explore the (probably) abandoned and (supposedly) haunted Lion Castle.

The adventure is extremely well structured both for solo play and for replay-ability.  There are very few truly fixed encounter locations with most of the action and combat being driven by an innovative use of the wandering monster table.  The player starts with a partial map of the castle which helps with basic navigation but there are some areas that randomly teleport the character to new areas.  I found it to be a nice change from the traditional simple 'choose-your-own-adventure' format of solo play RPGs.  But how did Konnor do?

Konnor approached the castle from the southern side and unfortunately due to some poor spell choices had to circle around and enter through the trapped gate-house.  In spite of Konnor's Dexterity being one of his best attributes he triggered EVERY trap on his entry to the main building and had to camp out and heal up before even really getting started.  Once inside Konnor was able to freely explore the castle and started piling up quite the haul through defeating the creatures populating some of the castle's rooms and hallway.  Shortly before finding his way to the final chambers of Sargon (the castle's former master) Konnor made one poor choice (which I will omit to avoid spoiling it for anyone who plays the adventure) which resulted in him losing ALL the treasure he had acquired up to that point!  What had Konnor found and lost?  Here's the list:
-321 Gold
-5 gems totalling 1660 Gold value
-3 spell scrolls
-an Elven Cloak
For a third level character that is an unreal amount of treasure to have....and lose.
The final encounter with the ghost of Sargon replenished some of the monetary treasure but the Elven Cloak was gone forever.

So overall mechanically how was this play through?
It went a lot more smoothly than my previous attempt as every creature I encountered had a counterpart in the current Monster Manual so I didn't have to guess at any stats.  On the downside, some of the monsters were far less powerful than they had been in D&D Basic (I got the Elven Cloak and 135 Gold from a monster I defeated in a single round), while other monsters were almost invincible for a single level 3 character (I fought an Ogre that I had to use most of my special abilities to defeat and still ended up with 1 Hit Point when the fight was over).  Overall though it was easy and fun to play and translate.  The only downside I see is that if someone was going to use a character that played through this adventure in an ongoing campaign you could easily end up with an absurd amount of treasure and powerful items for a low level character.  I enjoyed it and if played as intended its a fun RPG diversion for a few hours.

So what does Konnor look like now?  Levelled up and ready for his next adventure:

One thing that worked really well is that the adventure (if fully successful) ends with the character automatically levelling up and then adding their earned XP on top of that so Konnor is now level 4 but has a head-start on his way to level 5.

Also a question for anyone with more experience with the current system of D&D than I have; I assumed that when a multi-classed character has a combined character level of 4 they get their first stat increase, is that correct?

Next up is Lathan's Gold by the same author as Ghost Of Lion Castle to I'm looking forward to that.  After that the well is dry unless anyone reading this can suggest any other solo adventures?


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The start of my kill-team for Shadow War Armageddon

I'm still a bit behind on my goal of getting a squad done today (got 3 of 7 models finished) but atleast I'm making progress.

Today I started my Kill-Team for Shadow War Armageddon.  I'll be playing Adeptus Arbites and using some Necromunda Enforcer models from the old Necromunda range.

Today I got my team leader and two specialists done, there are still four shotgun armed troopers sitting on my desk looking for paint.

The plan is to use the Imperial Guard rules and give everybody carapace armour.  If that doesn't work out I might try swapping my specialists and switching over to the Space Marine Scout rules but I want to give this a go first.  The other great thing about this is that it gives me an opportunity to experiment with how I'm going to base my Arbites army going forward as I'm still trying to get at least four more squads done for them.


Monday, 5 June 2017

"I am Dungeon Master, your guide to the world of Dungeons & Dragons!"

If like me your first foray into Dungeons & Dragons was the red box basic set with the Easley art (awesome by the way!) on the cover you probably also watched the short lived Dungeons & Dragons animated show.  The show was about a group of kids plucked from the real world and dropped into the world of the game.  One of the narrative devices on the show was that there was an actual character called Dungeon Master who would send the kids on quests, fill in some backstory, and occasionally interact with the show's main villain Venger (more on him in an upcoming post).

Antediluvian Miniatures which produces an amazing line of pulp models also has some D&D animated show inspired models available.  They've got the main cast re-imagined as adult characters, pig-faced orcs, Venger and Dungeon Master.

I decided to start with Dungeon Master as he is a single small figure I could get done quickly and I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with some larger painting projects lately so this seemed like a good way to get something done.

I've seen the figure used in games as a gnome illusionist and a wizard but honestly I think he's just a cool model that's going to sit on my shelf for now.

Awhile back the animated series was released on DVD with a D&D 3.5 edition sourcebook included so I may also dig that out and see if the current D&D would be a way to run that content.

Hopefully this means I'm back to painting over the next couple of weeks as I need to get a few units done for some games fairly quickly...oh and Venger.