Friday, 26 August 2016

Dungeons and Dollshouses

Continuing my foray into different manufacturers miniatures and scenery; I decided to get some sets of furniture from 4ground, which can be used as furniture for my dungeon tiles, I'm kinda building up a tavern scene in my mind... It's nice to have a few professionally made bits alongside my own scratchbuilt efforts, which are on-going and slightly laborious.

So I purchased a few sets of chairs, tables and stools and spent an evening putting them together. They are of course tiny and quite fiddly, so a pair of tweezers are essential. I found that the application of pva can make the smaller components even more fragile, especially if you use too much, as they moisture in the pva weakens the wood. But once dry they are pretty robust. Of course I had to make the tables a bit more interesting, so I added a chequerboard and card game using small bits of card and candles out of plastic tubing and some little brass whatevers which I found in my garage.

As I was putting these little kits together, it reminded me of when my eldest got her dolls house and the furniture and the correlations between her playing with her toys using her imagination and me doing the same, were not lost on me, in fact it spurred me on to buy some small dolls house rugs which could furnish the floor of my growing tavern scene.

I think I need to break up the blue tiling on this floor by adding another colour within the pattern. Note a few gold coins left on a stool (purely by accident, that fucking glitter gets everywhere)

A birds eye view to show the furniture off and to get a sense of the modularity of the vignette

And how they all look together, without any distractions, when viewed sideways

So next up I'd like to scratchbuild a bar and some large kegs to complete the little diorama, I may have to investigate dolls house furniture in more details for some ideas. I'm certainly thinking of putting a few paintings up and maybe positioning a little plant in the corner...
Of course I already have the relevant npc miniatures, ready to paint, but there's always something else jumping to the front of the queue so that my project ideas can be completed in the "correct order". You see I don't want to paint the miniatures and not have a completed bar/tavern to photograph them in.
I need to get a grip! Right lets look at some dolls houses on pinterest....

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Dungeon doors

So with a-level results day done for another year (one of my department's most successful too), I've been able to come home to an empty house and have a bit of time to finish up some painting and take some documenting photos and a few show-off ones too. Over the last few posts on my dungeon project, I've been referring to a range of manufacturers models that I've used; for example Grendel Scotia for their scenery, Dark Arts Studios for their treasure chests and Milton-Bradley for their original Heroquest furniture. Today it's the turn of Mantic and their relatively new dungeon doors which I picked up recently from eBay (after some poor attempts at scratchbuilding). You can see that I've added a magnetic strip to the bottom of the doors so I can incorporate them to my modular dungeon tiles:

They are really nice simple sculpts and you can see you get two of each door design. I decided to add some detail from my bitz bix  on some of these, that may help add an extra narrative later to my games:

" the end of the dank corridor you see a small, aging door with a white cross painted crudely over the bare wood. If you wish to open the door turn to page 231, if you would like to blow your bone whistle, turn to page 94 or if you have spoken to the hunchback,  turn to the appropriate page  number".

I've been rereading some of the dungeon based Fighting Fantasy novels - Creature of Havoc, Deathtrap Dungeon, Trial of Champions - actually in numerical sequence from 1-300, just to pick up some nice detail from the written word as much as the illustrations to add to my dungeon oeuvre. I've written a whole list of ideas that i can add to my walls, future doors etc and I've also noted down all of the monster encounters with this vague idea of collecting, painting and gaming with some sort of combo of 3rd Ediion Warhammer, Frostgrave, Heroquest and Fihhting Fantasy stats. More on this in a seperate post. Needless to say that my copy of Out of the Pit has resurfaced to be left in different spots around the house as I pick it up and put it down.

So back to the doors. These were painted very quickly. A quick tidy up of some small mold lines. Primed grey (the actual pieces come on a brown plastic) and then black washes on the stone. When this is dry I drybrushed some lighter greys over the top with the lightest colour (almost white) applied to the corner edges of each stone. For the wood I used a combination of lots of different washes from chestnut ink for the redder doors, to sepia, Browns and greens for the other colours. I usually apply the washes after highlighting, but I decided to work the other way around, and it was actually much easier.. So after the washes on the wood were dry and then chose the appropriate wash colour, mixed in some white and painted on no more than three accessibly lighter lines that followed the grain of the wood. Done. Details that I added from my Bitzbox and that were already on the doors, like hinges etc needed a bit of time (I always curse my previous self for going over the top on adding extras when my current self has to paint the bastards) and then some wearhering washes using the same colours as on the doors were applied over the stone. Not including drying times, I reckon each door took 20minutes tops.

I will return to my scratchbuilt attempts of doors, but I need to move on to some other manufacturers stuff to add to my stuff....

Friday, 12 August 2016

Goldhammer. A noble and his dungeon coinage

All gamers need piles of gold, either to expand their collecting habits in the man-cave or for a gaming focus in a dragon's cave. The gold tokens and chests I've used here are a combination of Dark Arts studios and an old citadel lead one (a contrast in weight and detailed texture) and painted simply before the addition of some craft jewels and some gold glitter to add the sparkle that all adventurers seek. I've seen a few other blogs do something similar and the affect is very appealing and easy to achieve and will look great for games of Heroquest, Frostgrave or even for a 3rd edition WFB scenario...

I've also painted up a Citadel merchant/noble to accompany the coins, who'll act as an npc in games, I can imagine him counting the coins with real lust and then commanding some underling dungeon minions to distribute them across the dungeon on behalf of Baron Sukumvit or some such ....

Monday, 8 August 2016

BOYL 2016 - The Storming of Perlsea Fort (A Warbands Game).

An excellent weekend unfolded at the annual BOYLfest, where a ton of lead was carried to the excellent hosts that are the Foundry and dozens of fantastic games were played amongst awesome scenery, with some stunning miniatures and of course with some great people. I tried to live up to these high standards by running my own Realm of Chaos warbands game using my own scenery and with a narrative scenario for the three gamers who joined in, Greg, Ian and Steve. They all came with great looking warbands and embraced the idea behind the game (even though it took much longer than I expected, no-one seemed to mind!)

So each of the players were given an opposing objective which was based around the Necromancer named Roudan the Hollow:

Objective 1:
The Necromancer, Roudan The Hollow, has taken up residence in the ruins of Perlsea Fort, where his dark incantations have not gone unnoticed. His power and influence in the area is growing and I believe he has hired some mercenary orcs to assist him. Proceed with both caution and haste as I would like to see whether we can procure his services for our own ends.

Objective 2 was the same, but with the need to assassinate the Necromancer

And Objective 3 was to try and discover the ancient relic which was giving the Necromancer all of his powers..

The players turns were randomised so as to keep them on their toes and in a few rounds it became very important as to who went before someone else... Next time I'll develop this so that it's not random, but perhaps based upon initiative or something.

Here you can see the set up of the game. Roudan the Hollow ensconced inside his castle with some of his undead experiments wandering around. His Orc mercenaries, Rogboth's Boyz, are based around their lookout tower
The player's warbands entered from the corners of the table.
Here are Ian's beautiful Khorne warband, with a unit of thugs led by a Chaos Warrior, a couple of Beastmen, an Ogre and three Chaos Dwarfs. It was funny to see that the model Ian had used for his champion was exactly the same one I had used for the Necromancer! So another layer of sibling rivalrly was added to the narrative. Ian's objective was to destroy the Necromancer in typical Khornate style.
Steve's wonderful Chaos Cultist warband, with two mages, familiars, Chaos Goblins and a unit of Human Chaos Cultists. Steve had to try and recover the powerful relic which was purported to be kept in a sarcophagus.
And Greg's amazing warband, which was made up entirely of pre-slotta models. He had a level 10 Chaos Hero, 3 lizardmen, 6 Half-Orcs (just poking around the wall) and a unit of Beastmen.
Before the game started I suggested to the players that there should be an rpg element to the game, in that the scenery and npc's should be interacted with. Ian's beastmen decided to look inside the cottage, only to discover a sleeping and aged barbarian. A guttural conversation ensued before any axes were swung, and the beastmen convinced the barbarian to join them with the promise of ladies and gold. He was a level 5 hero frenzied hero who actually went on to do a lot of damage.

As Ian and Greg's warbands approached the burnt out church, the noise made by the braying beastmen and the hissing lizardmen, caused a load of ghouls who had been feasting on remnants of bodies, to run out and investigate who the interlopers were.

Meanwhile Steve's approaching Cultists were engaged by the mercenary orcs as one of their kind was sent back to the castle to inform their paymaster. Potshots from the chaos goblins (including one who had a bolter) all missed their mark. One of the mages cast Undead Hero and Raise Skeletons who were charged by the remaining Orcs.

Sid the aged barbarian was making short work of the ghouls, who even with T5 and poisoned attacks could not harm him or the tough beastmen. The lizardmen joined in the spree too.

During the battle I noticed a spiderweb that had been spun whilst the church had been stored in my garage. Definitely beyond my sculpting skills, but quite apt for the haunted ambience of the scenario! You can also see how beautifully painted the lizardmen are. Btw, they're tiny sculpts!

The Mercenary Orcs killed off the skeletons but ran away from the fearsome Ogre. The orc runner managed to alert the Necromancer who began raising some extra defenders as the warbands approached his castle. The ghouls were all quickly dispatched. Not one of the players warbands had even suffered a wound at this point and all the GM's toys had been quite easily defeated.

From inside the castle you can see the undead minions leaving to engage the approaching warbands. Just look at his supply of bones, swept into neat piles by his minions.

And look there's even sarcophagi.

As expected there was a mass combat outside the castle gates, here between some skeletons and the chaos thugs. The half-orcs kept failing their fear tests to charge anyone and in the end decided to use a ladder to climb the walls. Who would leave a ladder there? The necromancer was way too busy with his spells to even consider practicalities such as this. or maybe he was way too confident in his abilities...?
In the background you can see Greg's lizardmen had charged Ian's warband, they failed an intelligence test and decided that was a better option than following their leader and his primary objective. You can also see that Greg's hero has been wounded by a goblin short bow. Ouch.

The ogre was incredibly tough and rightly feared by all. Here is approaching the fighting.

More undead were raised by the necromancer to swell the dwindling numbers (so many instability rolls were made by me) and the Cultists re-cast the Undead Hero spell to add some beef to their attacks.

Just a close up of some wonderful looking models together.

A pool of water reflecting the summer's day...

Right back to the game... Greg's beastmen fled from the fearsome ogre (he really needed to have his turn first), however his hero stayed around to fight (briefly). Ian's Beastmen and Dwarves were in awe of Sid's slaying abilities as his frenzied nature (you can see it in his pose) cut down the lizardmen

Up until now the Half-Orcs had been incredibly ineffective. But they managed to climb the ladder and breach the ramparts. In the background, the Ogre kills Greg's hero, however the Necormancer, scared of the Ogre, casts a reanimate spell to bring back the Hero as an Undead champion. Unfortunately at the cost of 2 toughness...

However he manages to wound the ogre and saves his remaining wound on a roll of a 6 on his chaos armour.. The goblin's shortbows also cause a wound on the ogre!

Having disposed of some annoying rats, Steve's cultist mage climbs the east side of the castle ramparts in a race with the Half_Orcs. The necromancer, has risen an undead wolf and did not spot the intruders. In the background the thugs charge the annoying Goblins.

A spooky glowing from the walls of the castle, it must be the eye of the gods.... With Greg's undead warband leader finally killed by the ogre, the half-orc champion becomes the warbands leader. He automatically receives Khorne's gift (plus an extra attack and pip of leadership) as well as an attribute - silly walk! This all happened as the Half-Orcs were descending the ladder. They charge the remaining zombies as the Necromancer desperately takes control of the Undead Hero to protect him.

Steve's other mage is killed by the undead wolf, the thugs kill off the goblins and Ian's hero makes a last ditch move to kill the necromancer before the other's can complete their missions. In the background Beastmen confront each other in a stalemate battle where there is lots of pushing back from side to side.

It all kicks off in the final turn. Greg's half-orcs kill the zombies and want to begin talking to the necromancer, however Steve's mage (just out of shot) cast's Assault of Stone to try and kill the necromancer (his objective is to get the hidden relic). The necromancer stays alive by passing his chaos armour save and Ian is just about to line up a charge to kill the necromancer, one turn too late. Amongst al this the Half-Orcs manage to eloquently convince the Necromancer, with impending doom surrounding him, to join forces with the warband and in a bid to save himself, he agrees! Greg was the winner!

Here's you can see all the participants leaders and how close they each were to completing their objectives, only for Greg to pip them to it. We didn't discuss how the Necromancer and the half orcs escaped as we were all keen to have a break and see the other great events going on at the Foundry.

And how the final battlefield looked.

It was a very fun game to GM, with three guys who got really immersed in the game and played in a wonderful spirit. It took about 3 hours, but was well worth it, before we moved onto other events at BOYL.

This included a wonderful game of Advanced Heroquest (sorry I didn't take any photos) but it was wonderfully GM'd by Mike who had a great set of miniatures and some brilliant scratchbuilt scenery.

I also made some purchases - these for my forthcoming baggage train:

And these two unreleased Citadel wizards which had been cast up specifically for the event. I'll use these as npc's for future games.
I also spent some time with Kev Adams and a couple of pints as he sculpted my head onto the Morcar miniature which was especially commissioned by Fimm for the event. It was great to see Kev at work for the 30minutes it took him, even on a wobbly table, in a hot marquee (that affected the maleability of the greenstuff) and lots of interruptions, his sculpting skills were a marvel to behold and a real treat for me to witness over the weekend. He raised a lot of money for cancer research and it was great to hear his opinion on subjects such as hedgehogs, acl injuries, poor eating manners, his family and how some of the people he does commissions for are can be bloody selfish...:

Curtis, as always is a great bloke and gave every attendee an Oldhammer miniature:
And a box of his miscasts for free, which I rummaged around in to find some parts for a forthcoming scratchbuilt spacecraft:

I was also lucky enough to win runner up in the painting competition for my unit of ogres:

And had a good chat with Harry about a Fighting Fantasy/Dungeon Crawl/Roc Warbands mash up for next year - imagine Deathtrap Dungeon and Trial of Champions based scenarios, with a band of heroes fighting each other, recogniseable foes in a dungeon setting using our tiles and Fighting Fantasy stats? Well that's what we're aiming for...

Finally a huge thanks to all at the Foundry who make us feel incredibly welcome every year and go beyond what you would expect from a host, Gaj for doing so much of the organising and the go-to man for the event and all the other people there that share my passion and enjoyment of gaming with thoughtfully collected and skilfully painted miniatures and who always consider that the opponent should be having more fun than yourself in any given environment.