Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Spanish Civil War Figures for Nick and Christopher

During our last Painting Challenge I had a fun brush duel with Nick, Christopher and Phil to see who could paint the most points of Spanish Civil War figures. I really thought I had it in the bag by establishing an early lead, but Nick took the prize in the last few weeks with a tremendous entry which, try as I might, I couldn't manage an effective riposte. Well done Nick!

So, here I present my tribute figure to Nick for his well-fought win: a Republican dinamiteros preparing to throw his pipebomb IED. 

This figure is from the excellent Empress range. 

I'm also sending along a LMG team as a belated reply to our Annual Friendly Figure Swap.

These guys are from Wargames Foundry's French partisan range which I think work very nicely for Republicans. If you squint a little, the Bren becomes a period appropriate Czech ZB vz 26. :)

AND for Chris, a Canadian standard bearer from the 15th International Brigade for being such a great supporter of the Challenge all these years.

Again, another Empress figure. He's carrying the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion colours

I'll be following up with a figure for Phil in a few weeks. That one I plan to hand-deliver later this autumn when we visit Crisis in Antwerp (SO excited). Now, how's that for service!

Next Up: An AAR from our '43 Italian campaign

Monday, August 28, 2017

Epic 30K Mechanicum Ordinatus Sagittar and Ulator (or, 'For heaven's sake man, speak English!')

One of the many cool things about Epic 30K/40K is that you can field groups of models that would normally be grossly be out-of-scale, if not entirely out-of-budget in 28mm. 

In Epic's 1/300 scale, one can have squadrons of huge super-heavy tanks, detachments of hulking siege automata and of course entire maniples of the enormous god-machine Titans, and all with a tabletop relationship between formations that meshes wonderfully, providing a terrific looking game. As an added bonus, a collector can indulge in a wide assortment of tiny 'ginormous' vehicles without taking out a second mortgage or having to find a family lawyer. 

Accordingly, here are two additions to my Epic 30K Mechanicum force, a pair of Ordinatus super-heavy weapons platforms: the Sagittar, armed with the shyly named Volcano Cannon and the Ulator sporting a 'it goes to 11' Sonic Destructor.  Suitably silly, but tremendous good fun.

My good friend Greg likes to call these 'compensator cannons' due to the ridiculous size of their armament, and so, along the same vein, I've named them 'Peter' and 'Ron'. :o)

As you can imagine, the game effect of these weapons is pretty ridiculous. Basically when these things power-up, the lights in the surrounding planetary sector dim and the gunners prepare to be swapped out for a fresh crew that has functioning vision and hearing. 

The funny thing is that these two are the SMALLER class of Ordinatus(!), with the REALLY big ones being kept in reserve when things get 'a little more serious' (like an impending Imperial audit, or something). Yes, like I said, it's kinda silly.

To give you a sense of the scale of these fellas, in this last image you see both Ordinatus next to a Krios Venator tank and a group of human-sized tech-thralls. Compensator Cannons indeed.

Next Up: A few lads from the Spanish Civil War 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Italian Wars Swiss Pike from Bern, Appenzell and Solothurn

Yooray! Another unit added to my Italian Wars collection. This time out we have a mob of Swiss pikemen from the cantons of Bern, Appenzell and Solothurn. 

The majority of figures from this unit were commissioned from the very talented John over at Jacksarge Brushes & Battles. 

Usually I prefer to paint my own figures, but I wanted to get this collection to a playable state sooner rather than later, so I've enlisted some help from a few pals from around the globe to assist me in getting them done.  I've already blogged about Brendon's Spanish jinete light cavalry and Chris' Lucerne pike; well, later this year you will see some work from two other paint condottiere whom I'm very happy to have as friends. I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag until they're all done and based-up - so more on that later.

As I enjoy doing the composition, banners and basework, I had John focus on painting the figures and I'd take care of the rest.

I actually received these figures around a year ago, but the Painting Challenge and other projects sidelined me from getting them properly based-up until this summer.

As you can clearly see John does beautiful work. I'm very, very pleased with them. 

These figures are Perry Dave Andrews sculpts from Wargames Foundry. While they are a little long-in-the-tooth I find that they are really lovely castings; nicely proportioned and conveying a wonderful sense of movement. 

To be honest after my Landsknecht pike I wasn't really keen on doing another formation in a charging pose as they are complete swine to base and take up about twice the space as a regular unit, but I couldn't help myself when I came across these models while browsing the WF catalogue. Oh well, I reason that these levelled-pike units can be used to denote veteran or particularly large-sized units so I'm okay with having a few in the collection. 

I painted up a few more models to help round-out the unit. There's a standard bearer buried in there that's mine, the horn player, the mounted hauptmann overseeing the lads and the poor landsknecht out in front, having a little lay-down.

The banners are from Pete's Flags

In this last shot you see the pikeblock being screened by a unit of Bernese halberdiers and led-in by their mascot, 'Daisy'.

Next Up: A couple of Big Guns for the Mechanicus.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Worst Case Scenario #14 - 'All Along the Watchtower' - A Scenario for 'Top Billing' A Pulp Game of The Golden Age of Cinema

Several years ago I created a set of simple skirmish rules to reflect the madcap stunts and off-the-cuff storytelling experienced behind the scenes of a movie set during the Golden Age of Cinema.

The first edition of the rules were titled 'Leading Man', but over time I've settled on a somewhat more gender neutral title of 'Top Billing'.

I dusted the rules off a few weeks ago, tarted them up a bit, and put on a game for The Friday Night Raconteurs.

Here is the scenario which I read to the players at the start of the game:

All Along the Watchtower

June 15th, 60 A.D. Watchtower XII, Camulodunum, Britannia

Messengers arrived last week, informing you that Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was extending his time away, campaigning on the island on Anglesey. You along with other elements of Legio IX Hispania would remain around Camulodunum, watching over the growing settlement of discharged Legionnaires located there.

Two Roman citizens, a pair of beautiful of sisters, have emerged from the forest several hours ago, road weary and terrified. They say they are family acquaintances of Paulinus himself, and frantically describe a Barbarian ambush of their villa. During the melee they were cut off from their house slaves and managed to slip away.

While they are clearly distraught, you believe it was a small localized attack, and not worthy of mobilizing the Legion reserve, near Londinium. Wanting to make your guests as safe and comfortable as possible, you have provided quarters for them in the local watchtower.

This small excitement aside, you and your fellow centurions from Legio IX are enjoying the tradition of the monthly dice game by the campfire.  You all gamble and drink until the early morning hours when you and your comrades hear the whinnying of horses, the stifled shouts of alarm, and the braying of warhorns…


This is the story, BUT it is not reality.

The reality is that it’s 1968 and you are all on a film set. It is the last scene of an epic Swords & Sandals movie, directed by the notorious and tempestuous impresario David Mean and his genius cinematographer Fredrico Fellacio .

‘The British are Revolting’ (working title) is to be one of the last studio blockbusters to be jam-packed with top-tier actors. Each one of you is a YUUGE Hollywood star, and as such you are unaccustomed to sharing the spotlight. To add a fly into the ointment, the film has gone way over budget and the studio executives are arriving later today to shut down production. With this being the case, the David Mean is shooting as much film as he can manage and is allowing the actors to improvise and impress him with their skills. 

So, the stage is set, the Director is mad, the budget is through the roof, egos are raging, the script is unfinished and each of you is determined to have Top Billing!

David Mean on set capturing the ignominious retreat of one of the actors from the barbarians, er, extras.

The game focuses on the players attaining ‘Top Billing’ status by either having the most Fame Points by the end of shooting or being the last character to 'survive' on-set. The stars with the top three scores will have Top Billing on the movie playbill and be able to bask in the cinematic glory. 

But here's the rub, in the effort to gain as much Fame by the end of the movie, the actors will be forced to use their Fame to gain the Director's attention and foil the plans of any competing actors. 

An actor single-handedly attacking a group of barbarians with the camera capturing the action for maximum Fame Points. 

With this, the actors have to strike a balance between protecting their Fame while also seizing the moment to burnish their reputations. For example, any actor can interrupt the action of another by suggesting (read: demanding) a screen re-write. These re-writes can range from choreographing a complex stunt, making another actor look the fool or seizing the camera unit to get a closeup as they give a plithy line of dialogue. These 're-writes' are entirely up to the imaginations of the players and always create a huge amount of good-natured fun. In addition each screen re-write can be challenged by another star sparking an 'Ego Trip' where the conflicting stars try to convince the Director (GM) why their approach to the scene should be favoured.

One of the actors, striding by and taking a pose for the camera. 

Boudicca made her entry, ran over a few actors and later became a love interest(!)

At the start of the game I provided the players a wide selection of 1960s movie stars to select as their character. I played around with the actors' names and provided each with a special ability, unique to their cinema personality. Most of the actors' names and abilities I can't repeat here due to the joyous, puerile and prurient fun I had creating them. But as a tame example, Marlin Brando became Snarlin' Mango whose special ability was being able to confuse all actors and extras within 12" with his improvised lines and impenetrable speech (which the owning player had to exhibit during the game). Suffice it to say, some of the special abilities were pretty rude...
Boudicca's daughters causing a bit of mayhem in the watchtower.

I won't go into any detail on the game itself, but to say that the guys seemed to have a lot of fun with the madcap chaos set out by the scenario. Many ego-trips were had and the story-line was in complete tatters by time the studio executives arrived on-set to shut down production.

As the guys were such good sports, I awarded each with an Academy Award for their work on the film. 

The 3D printer comes through once again.

'I'd like to thank all the little people who made this possible...'

I'll tweak the rules a bit and perhaps roll out with another blockbuster this winter.

Next Up: More tall and pointy things for the Italian Wars

Monday, June 12, 2017

For Fathers Day: 'I betcha my dad can beat up your dad...'

Just a small update this week. This time we have a VERY large Deep One who has come ashore to remind his Innsmouth brethren of the eldritch power of Father Dagon (and pick up a few groceries for the missus).

This big fella is from Uncle Mike's 'Strange Aeons' range of figures. A very nice lump of resin that went together without a hitch and was a pleasure to work with. 

The other Deep One hybrids are from Brigade Games which I did a post a few years ago which you can see here if you like.

Thanks for dropping by folks! I hope you have a great week - enjoy Father's Day next weekend.

Next Up: Some Bad Boys from Bern.