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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Architects of War scenic pieces: Donkey Mill, Well and Pig Poke

I try to spend October concentrating on terrain since I'm invariably distracted by modeling men, horses and vehicles during the rest of the year. This October was crazy and I had to put most of my wargaming and painting projects on the back burner.

I'm itching to paint up some medieval crossbows, giant Martian war machines, and dungeon beasties, but I'm going to focus on those lingering terrain projects throughout November.

First up are a trio of small scenic pieces by Architects of War. These were great, well sculpted, full of detail, affordable, and generic enough to be used for wargames set across the last few thousand years.

Donkey Mill

I painted up each of the Donkey Mill pieces separately, and assembled them once finished. Everything went together like a breeze, and despite the tiny connection points between donkey's hoofs and base, the addition of the mill crossbeam keeps everything secure.

Pig Poke

The Pig Poke is a simple piece, depicting a dark ages animal pen of wooden beams and a wattle gate. There are some nice touches even in such a simple piece; miniature piglet hoof prints and a furrow where some happy hog likely wallowed in the mud. It also comes with a pair of porcine residents which I'm saving for another project.


The Well is probably my favorite of the bunch. The stone well and wooden support structure are aces, but the kit also comes with a ladle, two buckets and a length of twine. Tying tiny knots in the bucket handles and draping it realistically gave me some trouble until I dribbled water and thinned white glue over the twine. After the twine dried and I applied a few more drops of white glue to secure it I added a thin coat of mustard yellow and finally a brown wash to complete the rope.

Overall a fun set of terrain projects that I'm looking forward to fighting over soon.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reaper Bones Commoners

I started these Reaper Bones Commoners near the beginning of October, hoping to use them as victims in a Halloween themed skirmish. Life got in the way and I only managed to finish them up nearly a month after I started them, and a bit too late to hit the horror season.

These are pretty generic figures that could probably sub in for historic games ranging from the late medieval up to Victorian eras.

Even if I missed my window to get a horror game on the table it still feels good to be able to get back to painting and make some progress on my fantasy figure pile.