Sunday, 19 April 2015

Army Focus - Warhammer Fantasy Dogs of War

It's been over a year since I last dug out one of my collections of painted minis for a photo-shoot (although there has been a couple of looks at some prepaints inbetween), this time I've settled on my Dogs Of War army for Warhammer Fantasy.

Dwarf Slayer Pirates, my favorite unit in the army

I started this collection back towards the end of 5th edition when the Dogs of War army book was released.  At the time it was a great innovation, a selection of wacky units that could either be fielded as a complete army of mercenaries or added to normal armies to add more variety (although I won't deny it was open to some abuse).  GW also continued to add more of the 'Regiments of Renown' in White Dwarf.  I enjoyed fielding this army at tail end of the 5th edition period, but one thing that always bugged me slightly was the lack of 'generic' mercenaries, everything had to be special unit, almost always led by a hero.


Then came along 6th edition, and all the previous army books were thrown out in one go and the game radically reworked.  A couple of PDF's were released with what ere supposed to be 'get you by' lists until the books were done.  Dogs of War never got a new book and I'm stuck using those lists to this day, however, the lists aren't actually that bad.

Heroes and Wizards

Inevitably with such an old list Dogs of War sit low on the power curve, but there's a lot you can do with these flexible lists.  They provide the best of both worlds, the 'Dogs of War' list is a generic list featuring normal unnamed regiments, such as heavy cavalry, light cavalry, dwarfs, marauders, pikemen, crossbowmen etc.  Then you have the 'Regiments of Renown' list which features all the special regiments from the previous book and White Dwarf, and you can use these regiments in an army based on Dogs of  War list.  It's good because you can theme a Dogs of War army however you like, but still add the wacky (and sometimes powerful) Regiments of Renown.

One of the 6th ed changes was to take the Halfling Hotpot out of the Empire army and put it into the Dogs of War army

There are two painting eras shown in this army, as easily seen by the two basing styles, the older style ones were painted when I was about 16, and the flocked ones after I returned from university.  I'd like to find the time to repaint the older part of the army, but it's not on the current priority list.  I'm not really planning on adding anything else to this army either, but it's still a collection that I enjoy and wouldn't want to part with.

5th edition; when two giants and a wizard was a suitable regiment

When being used this army is often joined by Dwarfs from my Dwarf army, Marauders from my Chaos army and any cavalry I can lay my hands on to represent light cavalry in particular, but occasionally some heavy cavalry can add a little punch.

Flying crossbowmen

Monday, 13 April 2015

Reaper Bones Great Mummy

A little while ago now Reaper ran an insanely successful Kickstarter for their new 'bones' range of soft plastic fantasy and sci-fi minis.  I was very tempted to join in on the Kickstarter, but in the end the international postage put me off.  Ever since then I've been meaning to pick up a couple of pieces to see what they're like.  Our recent obsessive playing of Warhammer Quest has given me the excuse to add a 'Great Mummy' which stands in as a Tomb King in our dungeons.

What arrived is shown above, a slightly squashed soft plastic figure.  It appears to be similar plastic to the Mantic Mars Attacks stuff that I got recently.  The squashed problem was easily solved by immersing the figure in nearly boiling water.

The detail is pretty good, better than I was expecting to be honest.  Although looking through the range the sculpting quality does seem very variable.

Next I based and undercoated the mini.  I used my normal enamel undercoat and it came up very shinny and a little bit tacky, I was a bit worried at this point that it wasn't going to take the paint well.

However once I got painting all went well and I got the result you see above.  Overall I'm really quite pleased with this chap, Reaper Bones figures are very cheap and the range is massive, as I mentioned before the quality does vary, but there's a lot of useful figures to be got, especially for filling up dungeons.  Also being soft plastic they're quite hard to damage.

One last point is that he was a bit bigger than I was expecting, towering over my classic GW mummies.  I'm not sure if this is standard for the range or not, it might be because he is a 'great' mummy.  Monsters come in various sizes anyway, but a towering bunch of humans might look a bit odd compared to other manufacturers if this is standard size.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Wargames Foundry Greek Mythology Figures For Warhammer Quest

I've slowly been collecting foundry's Greek Mythology range over the last few years and a few weeks ago I placed another order for two of the larger monsters; a Hydra and a Chimaera.  I had an extra incentive to buy them, for as well as being added to my Greek collection they are also intended for use in Warhammer Quest. 

As you get to higher levels a lot of larger monster appear and I only really had a couple of Manticores to represent them all.  As well as being cheaper than 'official' GW models they are also a lot smaller, which wouldn't normally be an advantage, but when you're fighting in the close confines of a dungeon smaller minis are actually a win.

The Hydra

The Chimaera

Wargames Foundry have this really wonderful policy of throwing in a couple of free minis with orders, this time I got a free Gorgon and a free Harpy.  I already had the Gorgons in my collection and as there are only three gorgons in Greek myth this bonus one has been painted up for Warhammer Quest too.

And finally this Harpy, who can't be used in Warhammer Quest, but does make a welcome addition to the Greek collection.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Off Topic: Eclipse Experience

I woke up to a dense layer of cloud in my section of Bedfordshire this morning and to say I was disappointed would be an understatement, but as I'm watching the coverage on the telly I decide to quickly pop outside and double check, and just at the right moment the cloud started to break!

I only got a glimpse for a few minutes, but did manage to snap the above photo try a small timelapse experiment;

Monday, 16 March 2015

From The Painting table #17

Hi there everyone, it's been nearly a month since my last post, I suppose I've not had much too say, I've still been playing a LOT of Warhammer Quest, and as I write this our party has reached level nine and we've slain our first Bloodthirster.  I have managed to get a bit of painting in here and there as well and I've a few new minis to show off.......

These are the first of my four striders for Deadzone that I've painted.  I reckon these are really rather excellent generic sci-fi walker minis.  These are for the Enforcer faction so are assembled 'vanilla' but the kit also came with options to make Rebel or Plague versions as well (I have one of each assembled and undercoated but they're a long way from being finished).  As with a lot of my Deadzone stuff these have a dual-use and will also feature in my Imperial Guard army for 40K as 'counts as' sentinels.

Also for Deadzone is this merc Aqissiaq who is a Syphr who has caught the plague.

Now we move to Warhammer Quest, starting with these 6 Nurglings that came with the set of Plaguebearers that I'm painting at the moment.  They're designed to be added to the Plaguebearers bases to add a bit of character, but as individual Nurglings are one of the monster you can face at mid-level I left them separate.  They also worked as a nice test for the scheme I'm using on the Plaguebearers.

This is an old Wood Elf Wardancer model that I took out of my Wood Elf army and repainted and rebased for Warhammer Quest.  As our time with our current party is coming to an end we're starting to think about our next party and have decided to try an all elf party, which we think will provide a greater challenge.

Also for Warhammer Quest is this classic Warrior Priest mini who is in use in our current party.

Switching to Warhammer fantasy now we have a couple of champions for my Chaos army, a Pestigor champion (above) and a classic 1980's Slanneesh warriors of Chaos champion (below).

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

This Month I Have Mostly Been Playing.......... Warhammer Quest

I've not been posting much recently, partly because I've not been buying much new stuff, or indeed painting very much, somewhat shockingly I've actually been using my hobby time to play lots of games!  Well technically one game, but many times.  That game is the absolute classic Warhammer Quest.

It was around mid-December after a discussion about the forthcoming Dungeon Saga from Mantic Games, the idea of a game of Warhammer Quest was mooted, always keen for a good dungeon bash I happily headed upstairs to get the box.  Two months and many dungeons later we've just reached level 6 (of 10), we've been playing at least once and often twice a week in sessions lasting between 5 to 7 hours.  I can't remember the last time I've done so much gaming in such a small space of time.

A hairy moment from this evenings game

I love Warhammer Quest, I think it's the best game from Games Workshop that I've ever played, and my copy of the game is one of my most prized possessions, but why is it so good?  I think it comes down to two things, one is the co-operative nature of the game, it makes a nice change for you all to be on the same side for once.  The key mechanic I think though is the one of random dungeon generation, you never know what room, monster or event is coming next or where that crucial objective room is.  This does mean that sometimes it all gets a bit much and you get swamped by masses of monsters and die horribly.  This is especially true at lower levels before you have a cart load of useful treasure items trailing behind you.

The other great thing is that even with the basic boxed game you have three distinct ways of playing.  The first is to grab the four warriors out of the box roll up a random adventure and off you go (almost certainly to your doom).  The roleplay book contains two more ways to play, the first is a 'roleplay-lite' game which allows you to level up your warriors, visit settlements and face tougher monsters, all using random tables and cards and without the need for a gamesmaster (this is the way we always play).  The second mode of play from the roleplay book is the guidelines for a proper full on roleplaying game with gamesmaster and pre-determined dungeons, this isn't for me, but adds huge scope for those with the energy and vision to create those adventures.

A starting party of adventurers soon to meet their fate
Another thing the roleplaying book provides is an extensive bestiary of baddies from the Warhammer world for you to smash your way through everything from Snotlings to Bloodthirsters.  Rules are provided for greenskins, skaven, undead, chaos, dark elves, chaos dwarves and a whole bunch of generic monsters.  These are arranged in monster tables so the monsters get harder as you progress up the battle levels.  This is important as it keeps the challenge fresh, every time you level up you end up facing new monsters with new abilities that need different tactics to beat, you have to think hard as by this point you've grown attached to your warriors and don't want to see them die. 

Even with the variety provided by the monster tables I've found in the past that enthusiasm tends to wane around level 6 (which is where we've just reached), which leads me to what was meant to be the point of this post;  Whilst the monster tables are very well done and provide a satisfying range of stuff to kill from start to finish there are two areas that start off fine but after the twentieth dungeon start to feel a little unsatisfying and repetitive, the dungeon rooms and lack of treasure variety.  Well I've gone and done something about it......

The new treasure deck nearly 12cm high!

Everyone likes to get cool treasure items, and in Warhammer Quest the clever use of the right items can make all the difference, however there are only so many in the basic game and you soon start getting the same stuff over and over again.  GW actually published a lot more treasure cards, three packs you could buy separately, plus a few cards in the lair of the orc lord and catacombs of terror expansions and even a few in white dwarf.  I've printed them all off and put them in deck protectors and the main treasure deck now has just under 170 cards in it, which should keep us going for a while!

More importantly for me are getting hold of some new dungeon rooms, whilst I love the way the dungeon generates randomly, I've always found it a bit unsatisfying that all the corridors and dungeon rooms in the main game are exactly the same, I've always felt the rooms especially needed a little bit of simple differentiation to give them that little bit more flavour.  I think GW knew this as well as both the lair of the orc lord and the catacombs of terror included some new rooms and corridors that started to add that simple variety, and I'd managed to print these rooms off some time ago, but I was still hankering for more.  So after quite a bit of searching and killing an ink cartridge or two I've expanded my room selection quite considerably.

Adding a bit more flavour to the random dungeon bash
There's a lot more rooms out there than I've printed off, but I've been quite picky.  I didn't want anything too radical, a simple special rule or new shape per room is fine.  Also I rejected a lot of rooms which although I thought the rules were fine the artwork just wasn't good enough (not that I'm claiming I could do any better), I wanted it to look natural next to the rooms that I already had.

As I was doing all this I realised that it was really about time I painted the plastic doors that are used to link the rooms together, I haven't spent too much time on them though.  Just a quick spray with the grey can and then a coating with black wash.  I  might come back and add some more details later, they're hardly works of art, but they do look a lot more 'natural' when playing the game and it's something I should have done years ago.

Warhammer Quest also provides a good excuse to pick up a few random fantasy models and still be able to use them without needing a whole army.  The Manticore above is a new addition to my collection, more for practical reasons than ooo that's a nice model reasons.  It's a plastic mini from an old boardgame called Darkworld which was a heroquest type thing.  This one came in a job lot off of ebay and is slightly damaged, and although I already have a better metal GW Manticore model this one fits on a 25mm base which makes it far more practical in the dark confines of a dungeon.  He will find himself representing a lot of cockatrices, gorgons, griffons, hippogriffs and even the odd Manticore over the next few weeks.

I'd just like to finish with a few recommendations of the websites that I found the most useful when looking for extra stuff to expand our games with:

Beyond the Grey Mountains
Quests of Legend
Warhammer Quest Chronicles
Warhammer Quest Museum

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Start of My Kings of War Nature Army

A little while I backed Mantic's Kings of War second edition kickstarter, not pledging a huge amount, but enough to get the rulebook, plus the bonus stuff, and a Forces of Nature starter army.  After the kickstarter had finished we had a quick play with the first edition rules and that whetted my appetite to start preparing for when the kickstarter package finally arrives.

Lets start with what are the only minis actually currently available to the Forces of Nature, these two special character Druids with their pet dogs.  I used my Mantic points to get these for free and I think they're rather good.

Well that's it for the Forces of Nature proper for now, but the Kings of War allies rules are flexible enough (especially since the Forces of Nature have a 'neutral' alignment) that several other bits and bobs that I'd acquired over the last few years (mainly from crazy boxes) will fit straight in.  These Elf archers are a good start, I could have just used my high elf archers of course, but I had these and am looking forward to being able to field a pure Kings of War force.

Next up is this small unit of Basilean men-at-arms.  They're not the greatest minis in the world, but I think they look OK once they've had a lick of paint on them.  I'm also not sure how useful a small unit of average infantry will be, but I suppose I will see.

I've not started them yet but the panther riders from the 2014 crazy box will definitely be a useful addition to the force.  Somehow they seem quite appropriate as forces of nature allies as well.

I also had these ogres from the 2013 crazy box that can slot straight into the army as possible allies.

That's it for now, hopefully I'll get the panther riders painted up before the new stuff turns up later in the year.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Classic Citadel Mummies for Warhammer Quest

Whilst we've impatiently been waiting for Dungeon Saga to arrive we decided to fulfil our Dungeon craving by returning to an old favourite, Warhammer Quest.  This uses the Warhammer fantasy range extensively and most of the monsters that are encountered I can draw straight from that collection, occasionally though something pops up that we have to proxy, Mummies were in that category, until now that is.

I got these four classic mummies off of ebay, these are over 20 years old and are from a time before Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings had been separated into different armies.  I remember them coming out not long after I started collecting Citadel minis actually.  They're a little two-dimensional, but I think on the whole they hold up pretty well to todays standards.  As my Undead army is Vampire Counts I've given them Warhammer Quest specific bases as that's the only game I can see them being used in.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Deadzone Wave 3

Well we got there, a year and a half after the funding target was met I've finally received the final part of my Deadzone Kickstarter package from Mantic Games.

There's not a huge amount in this package compared to the previous two, 42 minis, for the Enforcers and Forge Father factions.  What makes it interesting is that they're all hard plastic, which begs the important question; have Mantic finally managed to conquer hard plastic?

A bit of background for those not familiar with Mantic's hard plastic history, it all started many years ago with Mantics very first releases of hard plastic elves and skeletons, these were good quality and the sprues had lots of options, the sculpting was good (although the style of the elves wasn't to everyones taste), the future looked good.  Then for the next lot of releases, the fantasy dwarves & orcs and sci-fi forge fathers & marauders Mantic kept the same quality, but made the sprues much smaller and with far less options for customisation.  This was disappointing, but not the end of the world.  Then it got worse Mantic started to make their plastics in China instead of the UK, and whilst I'm sure it saved them money the quality of the Basilean Men at Arms was poor, really poor.  Since then Mantic have hardly used hard plastic, until now that is, lets see what we've got.....

Starting with the Enforcers we've finally got the basic troops sprue, each sprue contains five minis which can be made up with rifles or pistols and combat blades.  There are also optional pieces which allow you to make a sergeant and either a flame thrower or a heavy burst laser.

The plastics also form the base of these Enforcer Defenders, equipped with shotguns and blast shields.

These are the big boys, Enforcer Peacekeepers; the kit comes with a lot of options, you can have either gun and gauntlet or gun and blast shield, plus there are options for a sergeant, a heavy burst laser and a flamer.

Finally we have the Forge Fathers, these were harder to get unique poses out of and the leader was compulsory and not an option, they also come with heavy weapon options (three this time) and have six minis per sprue whereas the other two sprues had five each.

I've only built half of my package so far, but it's enough to answer the question; They're not perfect, there's still some mould lines (down the legs in particular) and all the legs have to be attached to specific bodies, which is a shame, but these plastics are a huge leap forward for Mantic and I think the future once again looks bright.  I'll be interested to see what the retail price ends up being for these and I now have high hopes for the plastics coming from the Kings of War Kickstarter later in the year.

Friday, 9 January 2015

From The Painting Table #16

Another showcase of my latest eclectic selection of painted minis for today.  December was inevitably a busy month and I really didn't achieve much on the painting front at all, but what I did manage to do somehow was play a lot of Warhammer Quest....

Which leads me nicely to this chap, who is of course a classic citadel Chaos Warrior who has had a repaint and a dedicated Warhammer Quest style base rather than my normal green flock.  The party also contains a pit fighter, a wizard and a warrior priest.  Both the pit fighter and wizard have dedicated Warhammer Quest minis already so expect to see a warrior priest in the near future.

Next we have some additions to my Darkest Africa collection courtesy of Foundry, on the top a couple of British NCO's from their Boer War range and on the bottom an explorer both on and off a donkey.

Staying with Foundry somewhat randomly we have here two ancient Greek Hoplites, why? I really don't know except that I fancied painting them.

The last Hobbit movie was an enjoyable movie if admittedly not a masterpiece like the Lord of the Rings movies were, and it gave me the urge to paint a few more middle earth bits starting with this Tauriel.  I was quite pleased with the result until I photographed it and now the hair is looking way to bright so I will have to try and tone it down a bit somehow.

Not going far from Tauriel at all we have these wood elf archers from GW Lord of the Rings range, but who would of course happily work fighting along side Tauriel and Legolas in a Hobbit game.

Now to the first finished minis from my second wave Deadzone kickstarter package.  I started with a few Enforcers, which for some reason I really enjoy painting, from left to right we have an enforcer captain, Sgt Howlett and an enforcer with fusion gun.

Finally we have these two plague corrupted enforcers.  I've a veritable mountain of Deadzone stuff still to paint and of course I am eagerly awaiting the imminent arrival of wave 3.
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