Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year's Dungeon Bash

After this summer's dungeon crawl I was eager to make some tweaks to the rules and run it again. The holidays seemed like an awesome time to get some friends together so we grabbed some beers and dice on New Year's Eve and ran a wintery dungeon crawl. All the details after the jump.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Year End Round Up

If it's not lead, it doesn't count as adding to "Lead Mountain", right? Right?

It's a new year, so time to review my hobby accomplishments this year and plan for next year.


This year I completed:

  • 28mm Foot: 67
  • 28mm Cavalry: 20
  • Elder Gods: 1
  • Small Buildings: 4
  • Dwarven Forge Dungeons: 7 sets and countless bits of dungeon scatter
  • 15mm Vehicles: 8
That doesn't seem like a ton compared to previous years, but those dungeons took up lots of time to complete, I painted and repainted the 15mm vehicles a few times as I learned how to use my new airbrush and weather tanks, and I have dozens of painted figures that just need to be based before I count them as complete.

I've tried not to add to my lead pile (although the Christmas presents pictured above that arrived this year aren't helping, but that's not my fault!) and worked to steadily chip away at it as I can.

I attended four conventions this year, including Barrage, my first small local con. With my work and family vacation schedule tying me up during the HGMS cons, I'm looking to branch out again to some smaller local cons to get in my quality gaming.

Unfortunately I've come to realize that my usual gaming group isn't going to be able to get together for sessions as regularly as I'd like. Distance, work and family obligations certainly put a crimp in our free time, so I'm trying to locate some wargamers a little closer to home.

On an encouraging note, my son is really picking up steam as a game opponent. I don't post most of the games we play, but we're usually rolling dice with a board game, RPG or card game most weekends. It's nice having an opponent in house :)

This year I managed a few games of Hail Caesar, we finally got into SAGA (which is a blast), and I ran two of my home-brewed Dungeon Bash games. Not bad, but I'd certainly like to be playing more in 2015.

I'm going to remain conservative this year, and concentrate on projects and periods I've already started. I still have a massive amount of Reaper Bones to work through, quite a bit of Roman and Celtic lead to paint up, an expansion of my SAGA/Hail Caesar 1st through 3rd Crusades figures, and a handful of Martians to tackle. That's plenty to keep me busy for the year.

The real trick is going to be finding folks to play with. Oh to live in England where you can't throw a stone without hitting a beardy fellow wargamer (or so I hear). So how'd you do? Did you complete your 2014 hobby projects, or is the 2015 Backlog just that much longer now? 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

All the Single Ladies

Christmas saw the arrival of several boxes of figures to replenish Lead Mountain, which means I need to get cranking on some existing miniatures to make room.

This week I finished up few female fantasy figures from the Reaper Bones kickstarter. I've painted quite a few so far, enough to notice that Reaper Bones are great for hordes of monsters or large creatures that would be too expensive to produce in metal. For man sized characters, the quality is a bit hit or miss. The rogue and witch from this group (for example) had pretty soft facial features that were quite a chore to deal with, while the barbarian had lots of character in her face. I can't tell if this is an issue with specific moulds, but these defects aren't nearly as noticeable in crocodile faced lizardmen, or similar monstrous creatures.

Female Rogue

Pathfinder Barbarian

Pathfinder Witch

Female Gnome Wizard

Dwarven Fighter

Fantasy figures always have such weird shield designs. Would prefer a smooth face to detail myself.

I'm still happy with my Reaper Bones, but I think in the future I'll likely pick up metal figures for heroes.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tabletop World Windmill

I just finished painting up a windmill by the Croatian vendor Tabletop World. What a great little kit! I love Tabletop World's work... details are deep and exaggerated, making painting fun and the final result full of character without getting too cartoony.

Assembly was simple (the arms of the windmill are separate pieces that must be glued into the roof assembly, but that's it) and there was virtually no mold lines or bubbles to deal with.

A coat of black spray primer, lots of shades gray, brown, blue and tan for the stone, and various washes, pigments and drybrushing to pull out details and weather it and it was done.

Tabletop World is running a Christmas special currently, and while shipping does take a while their stuff seems worth the wait.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Force Awakens: X-Wing Miniatures Battle

My son and I were psyched to see the new Star Wars trailer for Episode VII, and after seeing the Millennium Falcon perform some aerial maneuvers in battle over Tatooine, we had to break out our X-Wing Miniatures and recreate the battle.

Check out the clash after the jump.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday and Holiday Wargame Deals

Lot of great deals this year. Let's get to it!

Wargame and Miniature Holiday Deal

  • Warlord Games: Lots of great deals from Warlord but the best seems to be the FREE TANK with the order of the D-Day Firefight boxed set.  Want to go whole hog on your armor? Between Thursday and Sunday, buy three tanks and get 20% off. They also have deals on nearly all of their other lines as well. Amazon also carries lots of Warlord games and figures if you want to take advantage of free shipping or your prime membership. If you are ordering from Warlord directly, be sure to check their ship dates to get your packages by Christmas. UPDATE! They've extended free shipping until the end of the year! UPDATE 2! Now, half off sprues! Wow! 
  • Mantic: Several different Christmas bundles have been posted on Mantic's site, mostly Deadzone and Dreadball. I've been thinking about putting together an undead fantasy army, and I've heard good things about Kings of War. While it won't ship in time for Christmas, Mantic is wrapping up a successful kickstarter for the new edition of Kings of War with lots of great deals on their armies.
  • Architects of War: In addition to offering their own "All Quiet on the Martian Front" figures and rules, AoW offers figures from Conquest Games, Gripping Beast, and more. They are running discounts on lots of their figures for Saga, All Quiet and terrain, with deep discounts on Otherworld, Copplestone and Woodbine Sci Fi figs. Architects of War is also offering free figures and terrain for orders over certain sizes starting at $100.
  • Newline Designs: 25% Christmas Sale. 20mm ancients through WWII, 28mm ancient Samnite, Indian, Celts and Spanish.
  • Legio Heroica: 15 and 20mm medieval and renaissance figures. Until Dec 23rd, 20% off orders over 50 Euros, 25% off orders over 120 Euros.
  • The War Store: UPDATE! The Black Friday sale is up and it looks great. Free gifts for orders over $50, 5% off your order when you enter code "Black Friday" during checkout, and big discounts on Flames of War, Privateer, and Foundry (! Vikings! Saxons! $1 per figure is crazy!) but I didn't see any details as I was writing this up. In past years he's thrown in free sprues and miniatures, offered bundle deals and had vendor specific offers.
  • Victrix: My interest has been piqued by their plastic Republican Romans and upcoming Carthaginians, but currently Victirx is offering 25% off their Napoleonic French and Austrians until November 30th. 
  • Agema Miniatures: I'm a big fan of their Republican Romans, and currently they are offering FREE worldwide shipping (until December 5th) on orders over £50 GBP. Check it out, their Republican Army deal qualifies, totally great if you are starting a Republican army. 
  • Manor House Workshop: I've never ordered from this Italian terrain vendor, but their modular ancient/medieval/renaissance buildings certainly look sweet. Until November 30th they are offering 15 to 20% on everything in their catalog.
  • Table Top World: Some of the most beautiful terrain I've seen, and now with some great holiday deals. Orders over certain thresholds qualify for free goodies. And check out their new mansion. Beautiful. Buy it and say, the merchant's house (sans groceries) and get a free cottage. It's a chunk of change, but these are real art pieces and totally worth it.
  • Fantasy Flight: Deep discounts, but this year confined to mostly Dust figures and vehicles. Not quite the bonanza of past years, but you could pick up some awesome 28mm walkers or terrain for just a few dollars. Good deal.
  • Crossover Miniatures: 30mm superheros. Enter 'cyber' into the coupon code field on the cart screen to get 10% off any in-stock models 
  • Wargames Factory: Announced they'd be running a Black Friday sale starting on Friday with discounts of 25% or more on all their figures. They've really been expanding their AWI line, and I've been wanting to take a crack at their orcs and skeletons for a while.
  • Miniature Market: Their Black Friday sale includes lots of CCGs, Board Games (Game of Thrones! Netrunner!), RPGs, but on the wargame front they have discounts on Wings of War, Dust, some Malifaux, Dreadball and a bit of Warmachine. 
  • Reaper Miniatures: Reaper tweeted they were prepping a holiday sale, but I haven't seen anything on their site yet.
  • Games Workshop: No sales that I could find, but they did have a helpful Christmas shopping page for beleaguered moms trying to find little Timmy a unit of Khorne Bloodletters.
  • Black Tree Designs: 10-50% off figures, changing daily! You'll need to register with the site, but it's free. I have some of their ancient germans and celts which are quite nice.

Wargame Gift Guide

There are tons of great figures that you Santa can wrap up and place under the tree, but I thought I'd dig up a few more gifts the discerning wargamer would be happy to receive.

Brushes don't sound like the most exciting of gifts, but the tools really do make a difference. I switched to Windsor and Newton brushes last year and won't ever switch back to cheaper craft or hobby brushes. I love my Winsor & Newton Series 7 size 1 for base coating and my Winsor & Newton Series 7 Size 0 for detail work.
From the chatter on message boards, it looks like folks are noticing Lion Rampant , a new set of rules that cover medieval skirmishes. I'm looking forward to digging into my copy over the Christmas break, but it looks ideal for quick battles between forces of roughly Saga size.
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
The new edition is (by some estimations) the very best version that's ever been published. I haven't had a chance to try it out myself, but my son and I have played quite a few dungeon bashes with our homebrew rules and I'm sure many gamer dad's will enjoy introducing the game to their young 'uns. Want to leap into the game with both feet? Skip the starter set and get right into the Player's Handbook and Monster Manual .

Speaking of D&D, I've been working my way through  Playing at the World, a history of the birth of role playing. It's a bit more academic than I was expecting, but very thorough and absolutely fascinating. Author Jon Peterson winds the clock all the way back to the birth of wargaming, and seeing how various players gradually evolved their wargames into a new game form is inspiring. I'm already cooking up plans for a campaign influenced by Dave Arneson's early wargaming ideas.
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Don't have time to play a regular fantasy RPG? We've been playing the Pathfinder card game in our house over the last few months, and it certainly scratches the itch. Each player creates a "character" of 15 cards and takes them on a series of interlocked adventures. Loot acquired during an adventure can be carried over to the next, and with the threat of permadeath, the tension can rise as hit points run low. It's fun!
Vallejo Dwarf Berserker and Paint Set For gamers just getting started painting figures, picking up a whole raft of paints (when they could be dropping money on figures) is a little offputing. I like Vallejo paints (dropper bottles and a smooth finish are so nice), and they make several sets of colors for everything from WWII German tanks to various shades of Elf flesh. This particular set includes a good base of colors to get started with, plus a miniature to practice on.
Honestly, I am envious of the TV the UK gets. Whenever I dig up a cool documentary on YouTube, invariably it's a product of the BBC. Battlefield Britain is a series I caught a few bits of on YouTube, and I've been waiting years in vain for it to show up on Netflix. Check it out, it's like 10 bucks on Amazon. That's a great stocking stuffer. Heck for that you could outfit your whole wargaming group with some superb entertainment.
Tons of great games and figures. Here's hoping a few wind up in your stocking!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wargame Terrain: Sherfy Barn

15mm Sherfy Barn

I'm continuing to knock out a host of terrain projects that I've been putting off for far too long. At Historicon I caught the "All Quiet on the Martian Front" bug and loaded up on tripods and tanks to take home. I knew I'd need some terrain for them to fight over, so snatched up the biggest 15mm American rural building I could: the Sherfy Barn from Gettysburg. I'm not an ACW wargamer, but it looked like it would serve well as a battefield objective.

The Sherfy Barn, basecoated and ready for weathering

I gave it a base of red with white trim, but rather than use my usual washes and drybrushing to weather it I tried out some Model Mates weathering dyes. I saw Model Dad link to a video demonstration a few months ago, and had to hunt down an online vendor who'd ship to the states.

Model Mates weathering dyes

I washed the barn with "oil brown", and after it dried went back and rubbed off the dye with a damp paper towel.

Adding the wash over the basecoat

Letting the barn dry

After rubbing away some of the dye and beginning touch ups and additional weathering

It was a good first experiment, but I'm not sure the shallow detail of the barn was the best opportunity for the dye. I'm pleased enough with the results to give it a go on the next building I paint up.

Rear side of the completed Sherfy Barn

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