Wednesday 30 November 2011

Targets for December

Can you believe it's the 1st of December tomorrow? I need to get the Milkybar advent calendar up (if only I was joking).

Apparently people enjoyed looking at my attempts to recreate corporate logos in the last post, and I won the Tale of Gamers contest for November. Not bad going there, if I do say so myself! Because that went well and I enjoyed doing it, I'm going to carry on in the same theme for December's target.

I need to remember that I'm going to have barely any time in December though, what with, you know, Christmas and everything. With that in mind, I'm going for some pretty open ended goals for the month, but with some measurable aims:

1) Add some more groups to Flashbang by writing rules for Riot Police, Rioters, Zombies, Special Forces and OPFOR. (You'll have to take my word on progress for that, can't really take photos of it)
2) Paint the model I'm going to use as Harald Godwinson for Saga
3) Finish off the fencing for Flashbang
4) Start on the "bank" - I've decided that one of the Sarissa buildings can be a bank and I want to get going with that. I suspect each building will be more than a month though, I want to put some effort in there.
5) Paint the remaining 4 armed criminals and hostages for Flashbang
6) Get the Norman cavalry I won ready for painting.

I really doubt I'll get through all that, but I'll aim high and see what I can accomplish by the time I get turkey poisoning!

Sunday 27 November 2011

I couldn't come up with a funny title to do with logos

We're nearing the end of the month, and it's been a fortnight since I last updated, which is a dashed poor show! 

I'll try to right that wrong with a recap of where I've got to, including some new bits done in the last couple of days.

If you're reading this blog regularly and taking copious notes (I assume you are, and if not, why not?), you'll be aware that my aim for November is to get Flashbang, my homegrown close quarters battle modern skirmish game, ready for use at WFC. That's an important step for me as it's where I play probably 95% of my games of anything, so if I want people to start playing Flashbang (and I most certainly do), I'll have to be able to play there.

The first stage has been to update the rules. This ended up being an almost complete rewrite. I can't show any pictures for this unfortunately, but I've spent a fair bit of time revising the rules and I think they're now ready to be playtested again. I've changed a lot of things since playtesting the first time round, but I think I'm close to having it cracked now. I decided I wanted to make it really flexible, which I think I've now achieved, but time will tell. 

Next, the terrain. WFC has a rule that only allows painted models to be used, and a nice looking table really helps to make people want to play a game in my experience. I already had the models for SWAT and criminals painted, so to get a nice table I needed some terrain. Since you're an avid and attentive reader you'll know that I bought some lovely multi-part lasercut buildings in Derby a couple of months ago. Well, I haven't done anything with those yet. Ha!

Basically, because the aim is to fill a table as quickly as possible, I didn't think I'd get the best return on the time I invested by tarting up the Sarissa buildings. I want to make a nice job of those, which I won't do if I rush. So, I went online, and found a few free cardstock bits and pieces. Print 'em out, stick 'em together, get 'em wrong, start again using different glue, and Bob's your uncle!

Those buildings will fill part of a table, and block some lines of sight. I also mentioned earlier in the month that I wanted to do a shipping yard - the thinking there was that it's a good place for criminal types to meet up, and you could create a lot of little alleyways and hidey holes with ISO containers. 

I made a dozen of the containers, and I might yet make more as they're very easy to put together. I'll admit that they don't look fantastic (there's a bit too much white card showing for my taste) but the effect of a lot together is pretty nice.

You'll have noticed the fencing in the last couple of photos - that's been today's job. It's made from the standard aluminium mesh that everyone uses for this, which I've mounted on some small bases I got from Andy - five stuck together for each fence section. I used wooden coffee stirrers (Subway never knew what hit them) for the fenceposts, and a bit of drilling allowed me to run some barbed wire across the top to finish them off. I'm really pleased with these and I have the bits to make the same amount again, which will be done at some point.
The fences need to be painted and based - one thing I've noticed is that a lot of people make something like this and then seem to decide it doesn't need to be painted. I've seen two different model manufacturers with unpainted fences on their websites alongside beautifully painted models, and I really don't get it. For some reason, people think that the mesh looks convincing as it is. Alright, it's metal, but then you paint the swords on your models don't you? Mine will be painted!

My revised Flashbang rules allow vehicles to take part in the game, so I've painted up my SWAT van. "Is that it?" I hear you cry... well, yes it is. Some internet research has shown me that police in the land of the free tend to use two types of vans for SWAT teams. There's the big, square, armoured thing that you can steal in GTA and says POLICE SWAT on the side... and there're also smaller, almost civilian looking vans, that are armoured but don't have markings - the idea being that you don't instantly inform the suspects that you're about to storm the building they're in unless you have to. My model is definitely the smaller type, and the photos I could find online suggested that black was easily the most common colour, so there it is - a black van.

I used gloss black to paint the bodywork, then used minimal highlights and just let the reflective paint do the highlighting for me. A nice if not particularly exciting model!

The SWAT van done, I wanted more of a challenge, and I found my vending machines. I really enjoyed doing these, and put in more effort to get them right than was really sensible, but I'm very happy with the result. First, some research pictures...

And now my version:

These were a lot of fun to do, and I can tell I'll enjoy doing the rest of my Ainsty bits and pieces!

Finally, a load of rubbish...

 I thank you!

Sunday 13 November 2011


Yep, there's been some.

If you remember, I had two goals for the month - getting ready for the Saga tournament today, and preparing enough bits and pieces to allow Flashbang to played at the club, which requires some terrain.

I've already posted about the Saga stuff, so let's have a look at what I've been doing towards Flashbang.

Because I want to get a reasonable amount of table ready scenery done fairly quickly, I've been using some cardstock pieces that I've found available for free on the internet.

These are from Germy I think - the little booth on the left I changed by copying on more windows to obscure some 40k related parts that aren't appropriate for modern day scenery.
I've also made half a dozen of these ISO containers - these are very easy to do, so they're going to be the main part of the terrain set I use for the first few games at the club. The plan is to have at least twice this many (probably more than that) as they can then be set up in almost any configuration to create various closed off sections which suit what I'm trying to achieve in Flashbang.
The cars are 1:43 scale - the Jag on the left is actually an employee of the month award I won last year at work, just happens to be ideal for this... at some point in the future I might weather the mini a little, but for now it's table ready, which is all I want to achieve for the moment.

Then I got bored of cardstock buildings, so I started work on these extra criminals, and the hostages. Getting the hostages done would be a big help as it will allow rescue scenarios.

These parts (all from Ainsty Castings) are all the "outdoor" bits that I want to get done. The dumpster, pile of rubbish and SWAT van shouldn't be too hard, but I'm going to try to get some real logos onto the vending machines, so who knows how well that will go... I'd really like to get these done by the end of the month, but I've got less free time than I normally would so I doubt I'll manage it. Still, doesn't hurt to try!

WFC's First Tournament!

 I've been down at the club all day today, at Wargames Free Company's first tournament, "Winter is Coming" - a Saga all day event.

Over the day we had four games to play, so here's the very quick run down of how I did...
The first game was a straightforward fight - a clash of warlords against Andy's Vikings. I thought I did pretty well in this, and during this game I realised that the combination of being able to change the facings of dice, add fatigue to enemy units and remove models from exhausted enemy units from the Anglo-Dane battleboard is pretty potent. It's countered by the Vikings' abilities to remove fatigue though, so you have to be able to do everything in a single turn against them or they'll remove the fatigue (and gain bonuses doing so!).
I think we were pretty evenly matched during this game, but Andy beat me on victory points - if I'd just kept my levies safe it would have been a draw!

The second game was a duel, against Craig's Vikings. In this scenario the two warlords start next to each other in the centre of the board with 12 wounds each, and the rest of the forces are at the back of the board.
Craig went first and moved most of his warband towards the warlord, but didn't attack. On my turn I pushed two units into combat and did some damage to the warlord, but not enough to be decisive.
The remainder of the battle basically took place in the centre of the board, but neither of us really gained the upper hand, despite some close calls on either side. The eventual outcome was a minor win to Craig - his warlord had 3 wounds left to my 2.

After a surprisingly substantial lunch (half a roast chicken was involved), the third game was the escort scenario, against the (you guessed it) Vikings of Paul, a player not from the club. I was escorting, and was able to divide my opponent's forces by deploying the baggage at the extreme edges of the board. Some use of defensive abilities on the battle board and a bit of luck allowed me to wipe out the force facing me on the left flank with 2 baggage markers alive there, so I forced marched these off the board before the Vikings could regroup and won this game. You'll notice I forgot to take any pictures of this though.

The final game was the 4-way Feast for Crows scenario, against Tom's Normans, Craig's Vikings and Paul H's Anglo-Danes.
Tom's Normans dominated the early part of the game with long ranged shooting, doing lots of damage to the Vikings while the two Anglo-Dane forces faced off against one another without really getting too close. Eventually though, I closed with Paul's force and wiped much of it out, but by this point he'd already done a lot of damage to me and taken some of Tom's cavalry too. Craig managed to more or less wipe out Tom's force, but took very heavy casualties himself.
This was another close game, but eventually I finished bottom of the four of us - Paul grabbed the win, much to his own surprise!

So, I think I managed some lower-mid table mediocrity in the scores, but the highlight for me was the obvious lapse in judgement on the part of the painting judges, who awarded me the prize for best painted warband!

I had a choice of prizes, and decided on some Norman Milites. These are going to form a good chunk of my next Saga force!
I've been planning to build a Norman warband in the new year already, so this is a big help - I might even be able to play a few small games once I get these painted up and add a warlord to them. I figure I could use some old Bretonnian archers with them as well, but that's a blog post for another day...

Monday 7 November 2011

A load of baggage

Following the Roman baggage train a couple of months ago, I'm back on the baggage again - this time for the Anglo-danes.

I needed to make 3 pieces of baggage for Saga, which I dutifully put together and painted. This was before I realised that I had another model that was much more interesting, I'd already painted it, and just needed to stick it on a base to make a baggage piece - so that's been based up as well to give me 4 baggage pieces. Which I don't actually need, but hey ho.

Slightly more baggage than is needed, but it all looks fairly nice.
As a side note on the baggage - the piece on the back left is a stack of bales of cloth. I've painted those in fairly drab colours because I don't want the baggage to stand out too much, and also because I couldn't work out whether or not cloth would have been dyed before it was baled up or not at the time. Bit of a shame really because if I'd been more confident about it I would have followed the range of colours for dark age cloth that were being shown on the Saga forums a while back.

Yep, they're out of focus, but you've seen them before anyway, so shush.
I've also finished the repairs to my Anglo-danes, meaning I'm now ready to lose at the WFC Saga tournament at the weekend!

Tuesday 1 November 2011

November's targets

November the 1st then, let's get another target ready.


While I do have a huge amount of models lying around that need painting, I have other gaming goals that I'd like to progress towards.

First of all, there's a Saga tournament on the 13th that I'm participating in. That means I need to fix all the bits of my Saxons that got broken during the Triples participation game, and get three baggage markers ready. Here's the baggage markers as they are now:

The repairs to the other models shouldn't be too difficult, just not very interesting!
Anyway, that will all need to be done by the 12th, so I'll still have the other half of the month. That I'm going to spend getting my own game, Flashbang, to a state where it's ready to be used at the club. That will definitely mean some terrain done to the point that it can be used on a table. I'll also need to update the rules (I have some changes I've been meaning to make for a while) and, at a minimum, base up the SWAT and criminals I've already painted. If i want to do a hostage rescue game I'll need to paint the hostages too.

For the terrain, I'm planning a shipping yard. Stay tuned for what I come up with...