Saturday, 13 September 2014

Guest Post - Nagash vs Dungeon Saga

My mate and occasional guest blogger on here Mike has another rant to get off his chest, it's the old familiar topic of pricing at Games Workshop, however a couple of recent releases have really made the scale of the issue come to the fore, over to Mike.......

Being an old Undead/ Tomb King’s gamer I always fancied having a Nagash model, but somehow I never got round to buying one one. The old metal model was not a priority buy back in the day and they are quite hard to find now, even on ebay. Games Workshop have recently brought out a New Nagash, and it is you would expect quite a spectacular model. Actually its little too spectacular for my taste if the truth be told (I disagree I think it's fantastic - Keith). It might even look a bit out of place next to my old skeletons, and I’d be frightened of knocking it over (really, if you knew me)(There is no clumsier human being - Keith). No seriously, it does look really nice and I wouldn’t mind one for my shelf. The really bad news is its £65. Sorry Games workshop I’m just not going to pay that for a Nagash. As I understand it that’s £65 for just the model too, no add ons, extras or freebies. The rules for Nagash appear in a separate book and you have to pay a lot of extra money. Interest over. 

This is admittedly an Awesome model

 Fortunately I was alerted to a new Kickstarter project by Mantic a couple of weeks ago and it cheered me up a lot. The quality of Mantics previous Kickstarters and the sheer amount of money being pledged to this one alerted me that it might be something to really look forward to. This Dungeon Saga game seems to be something like Warhammer Quest, where the player battles their way through various rooms and challenges meeting various cool baddies on the way. You know the script. We don’t know for sure of course because the game is still in production, but when I saw what comes in the box I went for it immediately. It turns out that for a pledge of $100 (that’s £4 less than Nagash) I will be getting an entire gaming system, packed with new models. Mantic have also Thrown in art prints, bonus scenarios, digital adventure books and all of the Dwarf King’s Hold scenarios for people like me who didn’t get around to buying those games first time around. That’s worth waiting 12 months for in my opinion. The Mantic crew who usually seem to have their finger on the pulse, have even included a mystery ‘undead demonlord’ model. Good move Mantic, I haven’t thought about Nagash since.

How much stuff?
I have to admit I made the same decision and I am eagerly awaiting the chance to play Dungeon Saga.  The 12 month delay is a slight issue, but once you get started on kickstarter being the way to get new games you have a steady supply of big boxes coming, before this arrives I'm expecting Deadzone wave 2, Mars Attacks, Deadzone wave 3, and Dreadball extreme.  And despite a few missing bits (that always get replaced eventually) getting the big box of kickstarter goodness is always a joy.  This is Mikes first kickstarter and I hope he has a good experience and helps fund more products that I also want to buy!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Belgians In The Congo

Todays minis are an addition to my ever growing collection of colonial figures from late 19th century Africa.  Two packs from Wargames Foundry's darkest Africa Belgians range, a pack of officers ad NCO's and a pack of Askaris for them to lead.  As with all my other minis from this era I plan to run some pulp adventures or possibly dino hunting games at some point, these Belgians will provide a third European faction (along with adventurers and the British Army) to contend for the spoils.

Officer Types

NCO Types (I think the guy on the right looks like John Hurt!)


Some great characterful minis here I think, but now time to get a bit serious;  Obviously these models are for games loosely based on the historical period 'the scramble for Africa'.  What got me to thinking was the title of the pack of officers; 'Darstardly Belgian Officers', which seemed a bit harsh on all Belgians and rather stereotypical (although I cast no doubt on the fact that many atrocities were committed in the Congo Free State under the rule of Leopold II of Belgium).  I couldn't help but then wonder if any sort of colonial gaming was somehow glorifying colonialism and was in its way a bit racist.  I'm a white Englishman and I'm just after a bit of fun in a pseudo-real world of exploration and adventure, trying to recreate something like the adventure stories of Haggard or Kipling on the table, but I can't help but start to wonder how a 'Darkest Africa' game would look to a African and what they would make of our little bit of harmless fun.

I'm not sure what the answer is, I'm not entirely sure that there's even a problem, thoughts anyone?

Monday, 1 September 2014

R.I.P. Boltgun Metal - Hello Vallejo

Finally my last pot of Boltgun Metal citadel paint has been used up, this was a sad day for me, I've been using Boltgun Metal since my very first paint set over 20 years ago now, and it's been used on nearly every model as base for all metal parts ever since.

Oh well off I go to my local GW and I come back with a pot of Ironbreaker from the new citadel paint range, it might be a slightly different shade, but surely it will be fine I think.  How wrong I was, possibly I got a dud pot, but this is awful.  It's so thin and the pigment seems to clump and not give a smooth colour.  It takes at least two coats to achieve anything and then still looks awful and sort of pale.  Not happy I go off to ebay and try to find another alternative.

I find and order this pot of game color chainmail silver made by Vallejo.  It cost around the same as a pot of GW paint but is 17ml instead of 12ml, which is actually a significant saving.  Upon trying it out I'm happy enough and will be continuing to use this, it's not quite as dark as the old Boltgun Metal, but at least it goes on properly and provides a perfectly good metallic base for highlighting/applying copper/gold over.

As I was trying out my new Vallejo paint I realised something; that paint was pretty much the only thing I ever bought from GW now (almost all GW minis entering my collection now come second hand off ebay).  This paint disappointment might be the thing to help me make that final break from a company whose products, whilst mostly great, I simply can not afford any more. 

Rest in peace Boltgun Metal, you will be missed.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

From The Painting Table #14 - This Month I have Been Painting.......

All sorts of random things really, none of the stuff belongs to specific projects or armies/warbands that needed work, I just fancied pulling a few models I liked the look of out of the pile and painting them up.

First up is this pack of 'Hollywood heroes' made my warlord games for the anglo-zulu war of 1879.  Of course based on the main characters from the awesome film 'Zulu', now I don't normally hold with minis of bona fide historical personalities being given a Hollywood makeover, but Zulu is such a fantastic movie I'm willing to make an exception in this case.  In case you needed telling from left to right we have; Private Henry Hook, Lt John Chard, Lt Gonville Bromhead & Colour-Sergeant Bourne.
I've also painted a selection of what would have been termed 'Imperial agents' back in the day (like 20 years ago I know) for warhammer 40K, after painting them I did think they would make a nice little inquisitorial warband, I might have to dig out the old rouge trader inquisitor I have in my collection and give him a lick of paint too.
This is a classic Adeptus Arbite armed with a bolt gun, rather than their characteristic shotguns.  I've been trying to get hold of a full squad of these at a reasonable price for ages, but have failed miserably, seems I'm not the only one who likes them.  I'm not sure what it is about them either, they are old and very flat posed, and technically not very good models, but something about them still screams cool to me.

I'm rather proud of how this callidus assassin came out, I think one of my better paint jobs.  Vindicare and callidus are my two favourite assassin temples, who doesn't love polymorphine.

An Imperial Guard colonel here, painted to match the rest of my Imperial Guard detatchment.  Although it started as an allied contingent I've managed to acquire enough Imperial Guard for them to form a small army on their own now, if only I could face up to painting another 50 or so guardsmen.

And finally for the Imperials this Inquisitorial scribe.

Some more classic citadel now, this time for warhammer fantasy in the shape of these 3 classic Norse miniatures.  These were spares I had when I picked up a whole lot of classic Norse minis for a Mordheim warband, these didn't find a place in that warband, but again I just really like the models and they've found their place on the shelf.
And finally another random Airfix kit that I bought, this time a British Bofors 40mm gun and tractor from WW2 in 1:76 scale.  I like these little airfix kits with more than one element too them, it makes for an interesting build and looks good on the shelf.  The tractor was a slightly more challenging build than I was expecting as well.  I've painted this one for action in northern Europe after D-Day, not for north Africa as it is on the box, just because I prefer it in green!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Warlord Games 28mm Anglo-Zulu War Plastics

A little while ago Warlord games were doing a half price sale on single plastic frames from several of their ranges and I couldn't help but pick up a few bargains. I ended up ordering a total of 5 sprues each with 4 figs on for £2 each plus £2 postage, which works out at £12 for 20 miniatures, which I was rather pleased with.

I went for a sample of the Anglo-Zulu war range and ordered 2 sprues of British infantry, one sprue of Natal Native Contingement, one sprue of married Zulu's and one sprue of unmarried Zulu's.

British Infantry

Natal Native Contingent

Married Zulus

Unmarried Zulus

Now I'm not planning on collecting armies for the Anglo-Zulu war at this scale as I already have an extensive collection in 1:72 scale for the conflict, I've bought these with the aim of doing some pulp skirmish adventures along with the Darkest Africa adventurers that I bought from foundry last year.  This was going to be a project I was going to try and write rules with from scratch, but amazon also had a sale recently which allowed me to pick up 'In Her Majesty's Name' (ospreys Victorian sci-fi rules) digitally for around a pound, so I will probably now be basing the project around these.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Wargames Illustrated 322 - The Great War for Flames of War

I stopped doing a monthly look at the wargaming magazines I was buying a while ago, I can't really remember why even, but like many things it slipped by the wayside, but this month I'm bringing it back as a one off to look at issue 322 of Wargames Illustrated.  This is because I was really impressed with it and wanted to recommend it to my readers, especially those with an interest in gaming WWI.

The big news this issue is the release of battlefront's Great War Flames of War supplement and the magazine come with a 36 page booklet which provides all the rules for playing this new version of flames of war.  This means of course that the main magazine also has some articles around the background of this supplement with a look at some of the myths of gaming WWI and a look at great war tanks, which lets be honest are of course the main attraction when gaming in 15mm scale.  What I've always liked about wargames illustrated is that although they are promoting the latest flames of war release there is always plenty of other varied content as well.

The magazine also features a couple of Napoleonic articles, the first a fascinating overview of the Polish armies of the era, the second a look at one groups take on the battle of Quatre Bras.  Some eye-candy is provided courtesy on the salute 2014 painting competition.  The other stand out articles were on the history of the Russo-Japanese war and it's implication for WWI and a look at the new 'The Crescent and the Cross' which is the expansion of the 'Saga' gaming world into the era of the crusades.  I haven't played any Saga, but it's something that I've been keeping my eye on for a while, maybe one day.

The booklet that comes with the magazine takes the familiar flames of war rules (which you will still need a copy of) and gives them a new twist.  It starts with a brief overview of the great war and then moves onto all the special rules for fighting in this era and for using the great landships.  There are then late war lists for the British and the Germans and finally three scenarios to play.  This supplement is of course for the western front in Belgium and France from 1916 onwards, I'm hoping the French with their FT-17's will get added at some point as well.

I haven't decided if I will be buying a flames of war WWI army yet, but I have to admit that I'm very tempted.  the other option that I'm considering is using the rules in the booklet, but using all the 1:72 scale figures and tanks that I already have lying around.  Only time will tell, but I do want to do some WWI gaming over in the near future and I now have a ruleset that I could make a start with.

Friday, 1 August 2014

From The Painting Table #13

I've had two quiet months in a row now on the blog, and although it wasn't planned I often find gaming and painting takes a back seat in the summer as my life fills up with other things.  This time the main culprit is the fact that I bought a second hand Xbox 360 which came with Skyrim, and I've got a little bit addicted to it, couple this with holidays, family stuff and a new role at work and I've found it difficult to find much spare time.  All this aside I have painted a few bits over the last month or so...

First up we have this addition to the Eldar army for 40K, a squad of wraithblades, great models, not so sure about the rules, a mere one attack seems to limit their potential.  I tried a bit of an experiment with the energy shields and gave them a coat of gloss varnish , I think it works.

This is a bit of a random LOTR figure I dug out from the pile, mainly because I wanted a Legolas for my Hobbit collection, but didn't want to pay the price of the new one, this one does the job nicely.

Next we have one of the new dwarf Gyrobombers for my warhammer fantasy dwarf army.  It's not a bad piece at all but I was a bit disappointed when the new Dwarf book came out that the dwarves didn't get one of the really big impressive kits that absolutely every other release seems to come with at the moment, where's my dirigible GW?  having had that little moan overall I'm pleased with the new book, nothing radically changed, but lots of little tweaks that make the army that little bit more competitive and also fun to play with.

This is what I really want!

The Gyrobomber was a pain to paint with lots of intertwining runic decoration, and another big thing for me was that this was the first time I'd seem a new style GW flying base with round attacher.  You wouldn't believe how happy I was when I first saw this piece of plastic tumble out of the box!

The joy this piece of plastic bought me is indescribable

Finally we have the last two mercenaries that came with my first deadzone package, the forge father woman Freya and the psychotic Judwan assassin Wrath.  They're probably the worst models out of the set, which is why I left them till last.  The second package from the deadzone kickstarter is due soon and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

More For Flames of War #2

It's been a quiet month on this blog, but it's been sunny and I've been enjoying myself outside a lot.  However that doesn't mean that I've got no hobby done, we've played some good games and I've painted a bunch of minis, I just haven't felt the urge to write about them for some reason.  Today I finally photographed the latest batch of minis for flames of war, as usual from a mix of companies, not just 'official' Battlefront ones.

Lets start with this British TOG 2* which I bought after seeing the real one at Bovington earlier in the year.  It's a true beast of a tank, ridiculously big and impractical, but I think fantastically cool, I'm rather proud of the camouflage paint job as well.  The TOG 2* wasn't used in combat and was an experimental tank which is included in the Mid-War Monsters book.  We're playing and collecting late war, but can't help adding a few of the nuts vehicles from this book into our games, just because we can really.

These are two infantry command stands to act as company HQ and 2inC stands for when I field a British infantry list.  I think that they're from the Italy range, but look generic enough to me to fill in for almost any formation.

Switching to the Germans now for these two armoured cars.  Here we have a Sd Kfz 223 (radio) from battlefront and a zvezda Sd Kfz 222 (2cm), I already have one of these cars so can now field a recon platoon.

The next four tanks came as a single lot off of ebay, the auction said they were made by 'peter pig' which isn't a company that I'm familiar with, but they came at the right price and I now have four more tanks for my German force.  Starting with this Tiger, which is awesome just because it a Tiger.

The bulk of the lot were these Panzer IV's.  They're not the best minis ever and the side plating seems to be attached at a slightly off angle, but they will do their job.

Somehow this means I seem to have acquired a German army without particulary intending too.  If I take out the tiger I get a list coming in at just under 1500ptsusing the SS panzer division list from Atlantik Wall.  I've no idea if this is a reasonable list, but lots of tanks is fun.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Isle of Wight Costal Defenses - The Needles Batteries, Bembridge Fort & Others

In Victorian times the Isle of Wight (and the whole area around the Solent) was heavily fortified by the Palmerston Government.  This wasn't because they were that concerned with the island in itself, but it's capture would seriously endanger the Royal Navy's home base at Portsmouth.  The same logic of course applies to defending the entrances to the Solent and the Isle of Wight proved to be the ideal place to situate guns to do this.  On my recent trip to the island we couldn't help but visit several of the sites of these defences.

The first evidence of these defences were the sea forts in the Solent that I featured briefly in a previous post, a couple of days later though we made our first dedicated trip and this was to the New and Old Batteries at the Needles.

Entrance to the Needles old battery
The needles are of course THE iconic isle of wight location and there was no way we could go on holiday to the island and not visit them, however the more interesting part of the trip was the battery.  There is actually two battery's at the needles, the old battery and the new battery.  The old battery is nearly complete and overlooks the needles themselves.

The parade ground of the needles old battery

The site consists of a parade ground with one battery (originally 5 guns, now 2) which faces to the north to guard against any enemy ships attempting to enter the solent, an observation tower and a bunch of magazines and other buildings that the picture above was taken from on top of.  There used to be other buildings in the parade ground, the outlines of some of which can still be seen.  One of the coolest parts is a small tunnel that goes down from the parade ground to an searchlight post that overlooks the needles.  It's an interesting site, but a little pricey considering it's so small and that you have to pay for parking separately as the car park is owned by someone else, I'd still recommend it overall.

The Needles New Battery

Also at the needles site is the Needles New Battery, there is nowhere near as much to this site, a single large low concrete structure to hold the guns (all gone), however it's free to look at and in the basement there is an interesting exhibition on the British space program which used the area around the Needles as a test area for rockets.

Hurst castle & Fort Albert guarding the western approach to Portsmouth (click for a bigger image)

There were several observation huts around the Needles Old Battery and one of these gave this fantastic view of Hurst Castle on the mainland (my favourite castle to visit actually) and fort albert on the isle of wight.  So even if you got past the needles you were a long way from being able to hit Portsmouth.

The Entrance to Bembridge Fort.

The other major site we visited was the Bembridge Land Fort, this is owned by the national trust (like the Needles batteries actually) and isn't open properly to the public as its in rather a poor state and actually has a chemical factory in it, however once a week the NT do open up for guided behind the scenes tours at the price of £3.50.  If you have an interest in military history and are on the Isle of Wight I can't recommend this enough.  The fort is on top of Bembridge down, which is on the other side of the island to the Needles.  Whilst Bembridge mounted eight large guns these weren't for attacking ships but for controlling the area and the east coast of the Isle of wight, in the victorian era it acted as a command centre for all the batteries and forts along the east coast of the isle of wight and would have served as a last refuge if these costal defences were attacked and taken.

Caponier Outside and Inside
The guided tour takes you into the heart of the fort down dark tunnels and into basement magazines, there is still rubbish everywhere and on occasion you need to use a torch to see where you are going.  It's a very different way to see a historical site than the usual sanitized version.
Interior of Bembridge Fort

Bembridge was occupied in both world wars and was particularly busy in WW2 which saw all three services using the fort for various observation and training purposes.  after WW2 the fort was leased out to be used as a factory, some of the buildings you can see in the pic above.

Fort Victoria

If you managed to sail down the Solent past the Needles and then through the narrow gap defended by Hurst castle and fort Albert you would then have to get past the guns of Fort Victoria.  Nowadays only the casemates remain the rest of the building having been demolished.  The casemates now house a variety of 'attractions' including a planetarium, an aquarium and a tea-shop.  You can walk along the top of the casemates and this gives a great view along the Solent.
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