Sunday, 18 March 2018

Chaos Hounds

The recent Arctic vortex weather had me thinking about my snow based army, the Chaos Warriors. I felt inspired to paint up a unit or maybe more, so I started with these chaos hounds - mini beasts from the East. They are relatively quick to stick together and paint, the time prolonged a little by my decision to not use the provided ears but fill the holes with a little sculpted fur.

When it came to painting I googled a few images for inspiration, with half a mind on them being useable as hell hounds/flesh hounds in other settings - unlikely given the snowy bases but there you go, forever optimistic. I settled on a ruddy skin colour, with black fur and glowing eyes. I primed black rather than my usual white, thinking it would save time with the fur. But then I seemed to spend a good while recoating the skin a light colour before applying the flesh colour. In hindsight I should have stuck with the usual white primer.

I used nine of the ten figures, this gives me enough for games of Saga and most other systems we tend to play. Most of my units in the chaos army are either five or six wide, so two ranks of five will suffice. No doubt the mathematically talented have spotted a flaw here. Yes, there's a spare slot in the unit, now who could possibly fill that space?.....

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Chaos Marauders Spot the Difference

Can you spot much difference between these two marauders? They both have very large axes, horned helmets and a pair of trousers. And they are both built from the plastic bloodreavers kit, right? Well, almost.

The figure on the right is 100% pure bloodreaver kit - apart from the mdf base of course! The figure on the left has head and arms of the same origin, but the body is the older marauder kit. The reason I have this one built is that I picked up a sprue of bloodreavers, built all ten but wanted twelve for a unit, so had to improvise a bit using some old bits. He's a bit scrawny looking and the shoulder join is not perfect, but lurking at the back of the unit, who's to know?

As you can see, the unit champion is no shrinking violet hiding from the limelight. He towers above his compatriots, even if he is cheating a bit by standing on a handy pile of skulls. I have them arranged here in an old move tray, that I use when assembling to make sure the unit ranks up. WHFB lives on in my dreams.....

And here is the unit in a more contemporary formation, just milling about in random fashion, hoping for a game of Saga perhaps. I like the ranked up look, really must try to get in a game of Warhammer again sometime soon.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

A little interlude

It's been a quiet month on the hobby front, with nothing to show for my meagre efforts. So here's a little filler post, something I painted up for Mierce Miniatures last year. And when I say little, I mean about nine inches high! There's a special offer on the site at the moment, buy one monster, get one free, so if you want to add this beast to your collection now is the time to get him. Smaller monsters are available.

More pictures on my facebook page. And hopefully a return to more productive hobbying very soon....

Monday, 12 February 2018

Stone troll

A Stone Troll, from the days of yore. I have recently started to collect greenskins from 1992, the year I started playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I got a bit nostalgic over the Christmas period when I re-discovered all my old White Dwarf magazines in the loft with the xmas decorations. Then I discovered the Middlehammer group on facebook, and it escalated quite quickly from there! Now I have about a dozen each of the orcs and goblins, plus a few other models. I couldn't resist picking this model up too and started to paint it up just as soon as the old paintwork had been stripped away.

I was torn between painting it in the old school style or giving it my own interpretation. It started as grey skinned and evolved from there. It was a real blast to paint, pretty easy too being so large. It was mostly glazing and shading up from white as I usually do, with lots of areas roughly stippled for speedy progress. The bulging eye I never really liked, so I painted it as blind to divert attention to other areas.

There are more pictures on my facebook page, more angles to view.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Saga 2 First Game

It's time to try out the new version of Saga, with my Vikings taking on Matt's Anglo-Saxons. These are two of the simplest factions to use, perfect for a first game with a new ruleset. We skipped terrain setup and just launched straight in, not being particularly competitive types.

The game looks and feels and plays very like the previous version. Changes have been made to streamline gameplay, there's less fiddly measurement involved and far more action. I would describe the changes made as subtle, none game changing on their own, but they all add up to a slightly different game.

The first change of note is generating Saga dice. All units now generate one Saga dice, though warriors and levy cease to do so once they fall below a certain size. No more single warriors hiding in woods generating dice! You can also leave Saga dice on your battle board and not affect the number of dice thrown, useful for building up a cunning plan.

Movement has been tidied up, again not in a major way for casual players. Units can activate for free if they are more than L from enemy units, which allows stranded units to get back into the thick of the action without spending Saga dice. There's greater explanation on how to charge units.

Melee has been tweaked a little, again not by much. There is a clear step by step guide on how to execute combat, generating combat dice, using abilities and fatigue, withdrawals and such like. Defenders get the chance to close ranks, losing half their attack dice to benefit from a better chance to cancel hits. Again, it's not a major change and you will find melee tends to play out as before. This lone viking would have struggled in the previous version as he did in the new game!

Probably the most significant change is the way Warlords operate. They still gain a free activation, and can gift a nearby unit with one. They now generate eight dice in combat, but must fight alone, there's no more With Me rule. When he takes wounds he can spend fatigue to ignore it, or pass it on to nearby hearthguard. If you keep your Warlord and his bodyguard close by you will not notice a huge difference to how it pans out.

The fatigue system has probably changed the most. All units now take three fatigue before they are exhausted. You can spend enemy fatigue in the same way as the previous version, but there's also the opportunity to spend two fatigue to cancel an activation.

I think that's the bulk of the most noticeable rule changes. We got along fine given our previous experience. The game was more action packed as it's easier to keep units in the thick of things. I found it a little smoother, no more fiddling with VS measurements in combat which was always a bit laborious. It's too soon to say how the factions have fared after just one game, but those Anglo Saxons sure seem to have picked up a few melee moves, my vikings were slaughtered. They are keen to exact revenge, maybe for the next game I will switch things around a little, teach those Saxon dogs a lesson!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Saga Age of Vikings First Impressions

As it's Thorsday, it's a good day to have a first look at the new Saga source book, Age of Vikings. As with the new rulebook, I picked this up over the weekend at the Vapnartak wargames show in York. I have had a brief flick through, looking particularly at my own two factions, the Danes and Vikings. These are just my first impressions, an overview of what you get for your hard-earned danegeld.

The book is hardcover, A4 size, 72 full colour pages. In addition you get twelve faction battle boards, printed on stock card, which is possibly a little thinner than the original dark ages boards. These follow the standard design of basic activations along the top, with more advanced activations below. They are clear and easy to read.

After an introduction, each faction gets four or so pages of commentary. This is usually one full page colour photo of some minis, then factions rules and force selection, followed by a question and answer page on the abilities. Coverage of the twelve factions takes up the bulk of the contents.

There is then a section on Friends and Enemies, in which more obscure factions are highlighted and how they should be used - for example, Germanic peoples can be included by using the Aetius and Arthur Saxons battle board. A one page explanation of War Banners follows in the section on New Equipment.

Swords for Hire is, as you might expect, a section detailing the mercenaries available to each faction. Here you will find units such as shieldmaidens, Breton cavalry and Flemish mercenaries. There is also a list of various personalities and  troops you might hire - scouts, a priest or a personal champion perhaps.

Finally, there is an optional section on relics and artefacts, detailing items such as the sacred banner, the ancestral sword or the famous steed.

At first glance, the battle boards have not changed drastically. I have mainly looked at the two boards I am familiar with, Danes and Vikings. On the whole, the abilities are named as in the previous version of Saga and work in the same or a similar way. It will take a few games with the new rules to see just how much (or little) this aspect of the game has changed in conjunction with the updated rules. I have a game coming up over the weekend so will be able to make a better appraisal then. In the meantime, here's how a typical faction is covered in the book.

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