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Monday, 29 August 2016

Wyrdlife Warriors: An end-of-summer bank holiday warband.

I thought I'd end the summer as I began it, with some painting. I've had Oathsworn's Burrows and Badgers minis on my to-paint shelves for a while, meaning to turn them into a few Mordheim warbands, starting with this 'verminous' counts-as-skaven crew. The paint jobs (and the range I'm sure) are very heavily based on the covers of the Brian Jacques Redwal novels, books I loved as a kid. They all have names (again, from the books) and characters, but I'm just going to put up photos for now.

Great models and loads of fun to paint. I still have another 14 from the range to do, but they won't be a part of this warband and will have to wait for a while, for now I have skellingtons and dungeons to work on as we head into autumn...

Friday, 26 August 2016

The library, the library, it's a place where books are free....

Getting stuck in to the dungeon creation, I've been making good use of the downtime on the laser cutters. First I drew some Celtic knot designs and grids on Illustrator, then cut them from mount board on the laser. Then I peeled away the top few layers of board to give a bass relief effect. Some I just engraved into the card to give a more subtle tile look. I chucked some silicone onto them and set about casting in resin. There's also a spiral stair section made from 6mm MDF in there.

Once I had enough resin panels I assembled them into a couple of different doorway designs, gluing them onto acetate sheets to ensure a nice, smooth section in the centre I can paint to represent the corridor beyond.

These were put into another mould, along with some panels of the reliefs to try and build up enough to do tiled flooring and walls.

Whilst the silicone was setting I put the laser to work again, this time doing parquet flooring and bookshelves for the library. It took me a fair few hours to draw up the bookcase file, but I'm very happy with the result, even the colour of the MDF is appropriate!

My plan is to cut a lot of these bookcases in 2mm to line the walls. The full case is in three 31.5mm high sections so I can put walkways between the levels in some places. Also so I can swap the levels around to prevent the effect being too repetitive. I'm also going to cut several shelves from 3mm MDF so that I can put them back to back to make little aisles, just right for studious monsters to hide in ready to leap out!

And the floor, in three sections. I'll mask it off before I work on the walls and use some panelling on the lower wall to disguise the join. The floor has to go in before working on the walls or it would scratch the surface away on the way down, it's a good, tight fit!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The dead begin to rise... Essex and Celtos skeleton reviews

Yesterday the first of my purchases for my Undead force arrived. As they trickle in I'll do a quick review about the figures and how they'll fit into the army as there's quite a lot of skeleton miniatures around to choose from and plenty of variation in style and size.

First up, the Essex Mounted Skeletons (Q86, 87, 88 and 89) by Bob Olley. The Essex website is not particularly helpful, with no photos of these miniatures, but fortunately they are on the lost minis wiki... well, some idea of what they look like is anyway. Since the Bob Olley Liche Master is my starting point this seemed like a good place to begin building the army, at least ensuring the skeleton horses matched. There appear to be just two horse variants, the afro horse and the spiky horse, but I'm a big fan of the style of these and I reckon a bit of careful cutting and bending will produce a lot more variation in pose. The metal is quite soft and should bend well (lots of lead in there I reckon).

The figures are what you'd probably expect from Olley skeletons. The bodies don't look overly chunky (especially compared to GW plastics) but the skulls are massive. The Liche Master has a big head, and these skulls are probably in scale with that, but they look pretty goofy. As I'm only having one 'fleshy' (the Liche Master) in the army his big head will be fine but pretty much all the other skeletons will have smaller heads so I'll probably end up chopping off these guys' heads and replacing them with the Ral Partha skulls. The Q88 skeleton (helmet, axe and shield, shown far right) is particularly horrible to my eyes, looking like an undead Genghis Khan with an ineffectual, stubby axe. I might replace the whole figure with a spare from somewhere else. On the plus side there's a good sense of movement in most of the sculpts and the detail on the bodies is nice and textural, just how I like my fantasy minis! With postage these guys worked out at just over £18 for the 4, cheaper than any other skeleton cavalry I've seen, but I would say you're mainly paying for the horses here and might want to look elsewhere for the riders.

The other package which arrived was from Brigade Models which stock the Celtos range I believed was OOP. Thanks to Dan/Xero_Fuchs for the tip off. At £12 for a pack of 12 spearmen with command you can't fault the value. In the pic above the command is top row, troopers below. You get one of each of the command models and three of each of the troopers, plus metal shields and round bases. I should say that you don't get the axe guy thrown in, he's an extra £3.50, but was so appropriate to the army theme I had to stick him on the order. All in they also cost me just over £18 with shipping, probably as good as you're going to get with metal skeletons. There's a bit of flash to scrape and trim, but they're pretty clean casts and very shiny models. I'm used to Celtos Sidhe and Humans being on the chunky side so was prepared for big bones, but they're actually slim and well proportioned. Well, about as slim as you'd want in metal anyway, comparable to the c-series Citadel skeletons. Poses are good, a bit of gentle bending should produce variation across the unit, and the detail is basic but ok. Painting them should be fast, which is something else you want for large blocks of skeletons!

Spent so far: £36.39
Price per model so far (cavalry counts as 2 models): £1.73

Ok, that's it for now. Waiting for my Mantic order to arrive. Still looking for trades/second hand purchases of RAFM skeletons, Iron Claw horses and the Dark Knight/mounted Wight from the Circle of Blood campaign (in metal) if anyone has them.

Cheers all.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Going underground... underworld style

I recently heard news that an Underworld 5 is in the offing... hoping for a return to form after the dismal 4th film the wife and I had an Underworld marathon of the original trilogy at the weekend and I came out of it really wanting to create some terrain that's a blend of William's prison from the 2nd film and the vampire castle from the 3rd.

There's been a lot of talk around me about dungeons at the moment. After BOYL on the drive home Harry, Chris and I were discussing a dungeon bask project for next year. Then Harry's Twisting Catacombs stuff turned up (mine's still not here, boo), then Maki Games announced an imminent revival of their Modular Underground project.

With the release of 'Secrets' thoughts have turned to the next sourcebook instalment for The Woods. This will take the action to the conflict between the Gnomes and Goblins in the mountains, working title "Thunder under Mount Silence". Obviously I'm going to need some underground terrain for playtesting and photography.

We lately took delivery of a new bandsaw at work which came in an elaborate and large polystyrene box, with lots of dungeon features...

With all this happening and a few weeks of quiet summer left it would be very rude not to do something about it don't you think?

What you're looking at here is the bandsaw box chopped into chunks and surrounded with MDF (which I laser-engraved with a nice Oakbound logo for when we take it to shows). There are 8 modules measuring 45cm by 22.5cm each, giving a 3' square dungeon. Of course they can be arranged in rectangular or linear fashion as well. I figured a 3' square would be about as far as you'd want to lean to move figures. There's also a double-height section because the packing was too cool to chop up. This can add on, or displace one of the other modules which can then be stacked to give a second double-height section.
What's especially good about this size is that it means my modular board tiles which are swamp one side and cobbled the other will fit in nicely as they're 22.5cm wide and 66cm long (I can cope with the 15mm gap, might make some inserts).

The depth of each module is 12cm, with the floor depth varying between 4cm and 10cm. Now I've moaned about accessibility for play in dungeons with walls before and granted some of those areas are pretty tight. I've tried to keep as many open areas as possible and there will be lots of levels built in so the narrow spaces aren't as hard to reach. BUT I am a bit concerned about getting in to decorate, play and photograph so some of the MDF walls might be made removable once I've got the basic forms in place.

 After boxing everything up I decided what I wanted each room to be. Library, cistern, council chamber, lower gatehouse etc. Actually I have two libraries because I've wanted to do something like the library from Gormeghast for some time. I then marked in lots of doors, making sure there were some standard connections and plenty of options for the feature doors, matching them in as closely as possible with the layout of the polystyrene. One of the good things about having the thick walls and different levels in there is that it doesn't matter too much if doors shift along slightly, don't line up or seem to lead nowhere. The thickness of the wall means an unseen narrow corridor, stairway or cupboard can easily be claimed. 

For transport and storage these modules will stack together into a relatively tight 45cmx45cmx60cm block. I'll make a little trolley with some fixings on so it can be wheeled around for events and games at other people's houses.

Mad to start something else, especially something this big, with the planned undead army and lots of commission sculpting to get on with? Well sure, but anyone who knows me will tell you I'm never too busy to start another project... finishing, well, that's another matter. I still have a few books to bind...!


Monday, 22 August 2016

The bare bones of a new army...

I love painting. I also love modelling, sculpting and I even quite enjoy playing, but especially I love painting. Why then is it that I almost never find myself painting except when I'm frantically trying to get something ready for an event? BOYL 2016 was a case in point. Great motivation it was to finally finish off the units for my Fimir army which had been building over the past year or four. Whilst it got done (along with a load of heroquest models I'd been similarly stalling on getting painted)the rate of 208 models in 25 days is not one I wish to repeat anytime soon!

This seems to be a fairly common problem. Lives are busy and hobbies get pushed to the sidelines by all the other things that need to be done. In the wake of BOY 2016 I have already seen three attempts to get ahead of the game ready for next year. Paul/Golgfag is working his way through an extensive Barbarian horde and pile of Dark Elves. I was honoured by an invite to join this year's Tale of Four Gamers, but had to decline since I will be tied up with GROG's big dungeon bash at BOYL next year. Over at Snickit's Tail the "I'm a dad with no time or I'm a slow painter challenge" is open to allcomers trying to get 1000 pts of 3rd ed army done in time for next summer. Well, I'm not a dad, and since I pulled off 208 figures in 25 days and don't tend to leave models sat half-painted for more than a day or so I think I'm probably out of the running for being a slow painter. BUT I do need a challenge for myself otherwise it will be another year before I lay down the sculpting tools to pick up a paintbrush again.

My 'to paint' shelves are a bit less full not the Fimir have cleared off to their swamp, but there's still plenty to choose from. I've got the Oathsworn Burrows and Badgers minis I want to paint up as a Mordheim Skaven warband. There's half an Egyptian-themed High Elf army left to do. Still a few AdMech units to get some colour on. I've spent some of the last week playing around with converting crazy Chaos Daemons and thinking I should really make a start on the Snakemen. There's the Gobinoids Combat Cards minis I still want to get going on before somebody else beats me to it. I've got a big drawer of Snotlings all divided up into units ready to form a massive Cave Snots force and my Space Crusade minis are not going to paint themselves... all in all quite a lot to pick from. But naturally when an idea pops into your head you have to abandon a thoughts of the stuff you already have and acquire more minis. And such an idea has just popped...

The first army I ever had was an Undead 4th Edition force. It was a small affair, mainly heroquest skeletons, a chariot, a few horsemen and some archers with a necromancer, vampire and (ambitiously) Nagash. Now it's long gone, and I'm not going to pretend it was ever a fantastic sight, the envy of all my friends or particularly good at winning battles. That said, when I was packing away my heroquest miniatures after BOYL this year I realised that I'd been concentrating on greenskins and had quite an array of goblins, orcs and fimir, but my undead were seriously lacking numerically. That doesn't matter for games of HQ, it's rare you'd ever have more than a handful of skellibobs on the table at any time, but they looked so pitifully outnumbered as I painstakingly boxed everything up in lines of creature type that I thought I really ought to even things up a bit... to ebay for HQ undead! And there's the thing. I couldn't find much at all, not at prices I was willing to pay for cheap plastic grim reapers anyhow, so my attention drifted to other undead and I got to thinking whether I could put together a small force that was the undead army I had in my head way back when I started collecting... cue wavy flashback thing.

So then, thinking about building an Undead army from scratch. There are a few things that are essentials to my mind. Firstly, I am not a Zombie person, or a Mummy person. I'm wanting Old-World Skeletons of the grungy, 80s type with bits of armour and stuff hanging off them. Secondly, I'm looking for miniatures with character. Thirdly I mainly play 3rd Edition Fantasy when I play anything at all these days, but I do also have friends who play 8th and for the sake of nostalgia I'd like to have a 4th-compatible list, so whatever force I build has to work well points-wise in 3rd, 4th and 8th editions. I don't want this to be an enormous task, so my current plan is to work to a 1500 pt 3rd ed contingent, which will probably give me an OK 1000pt 8th ed army. I can always bulk up with some allies or more units at a later date. There have to be missile weapons in the army, I already have a close quarters force in my Fimir and want this contingent to be more flexible. Lastly I don't want to spend a fortune on this. Since I plan to collect and complete this army quite fast (we shall see) and I have almost no undead lying around to raise up I will be buying pretty much everything. Whilst I like the C-series Citadel and Iron Claw skeletons a lot I'm not going to have the time to wait for good value models to float onto the bay of e or come up in trades. If they do, great, if they don't it won't cause me a problem. So, I'm looking for currently available miniatures with at least an old-school feel if not actual pedigree. In 3rd ed a standard skeleton warrior is 10pts, so I'm going to set my budget at £150 for the army. That's £1 a skeleton or £1 every 10 points. Obviously I won't just have skeletons, any savings I make on other things can go into making the rank and file more interesting.

First things first, let's see what I already have in the collection to start things off:

A Bob Olley Q111 Liche Master on galloping horse from Essex Miniatures which I bought when I discovered Essex were still doing loads of old stuff. I love this guy, and his horse is the epitome of what an undead steed should look like to my mind. Grimacing, wild, gangrel... OK. So this guy will be my necromancer. This means of course I will have to have some more horsemen in the army, and their horses will have to tie in well.

Not quite so old this one, Krell- the second edition of. I did have this guy in my first army, and picked him up to have him as a character in my (unstarted) Chaos Warrior unit. Now this gives me an idea. In Terror of the Lichemaster it relates how Heinrich Kemler raised Krell and his followers into a terrible undead force. I already have a Lichemaster (albeit not either of the actual Kemler/Kemmler models) so how about the army is Krell's retinue? That means I'm looking for skeletons who look like they were formerly Chaos Warriors, Marauders and Thugs. I've already said I'm not a Zombie fan, so whilst I understand why Mikael Jacsen has a Zombie unit behind him I'm going to either dispense with it or use HQ Zombies. My thinking is that Krell's force has been buried for a very long time and any flesh is we and truly gone. If they want Zombies they'll have to make fresh kills first.

Old Longhorn. Ideally I'll find his chariot at a good price (if anyone has one they want rid of...) but I think that's unlikely, so he'll probably just be a champion in one of the skeleton units.

And lastly some new-oldhammer in the form of Tim Prow's Diehard miniatures undead knight and minotaur. I liked the models, I wasn't sure what I would do with them, I have now decided. They will be an independent pair in the army, a Chaos Knight and his former minotaur bodyguard, bound together beyond the grave.

Right, that's a starting point. Now where to look for models? My first port of call was Essex, since I already had the Liche Master and his perfect steed. Now Bob Olley is a bit of a marmite sculptor, you either love it or hate it. For grizzled old characters like the Liche Master I think he's tough to beat, but for skeletons? The Iron Claw horses are nice (sadly very OOP) but the skeletons themselves don't do anything for me, especially the Essex ones. I have begun my purchases by ordering their 4 mounted skeletons which look quite good. If the riders turn out to be poor I can always keep the steeds and replace them. That's a start anyhow.

My next go-to was more positive. The good ol' pedigree of Ral Partha Europe. They have some great miniatures in the undead category, not just in the Ral Partha Fantasy section either but in the Mage Knight, Fantasy Warbands and Horrors sections too. My initial wishlist from them totals about £100, so clearly some whittling down to be done, but good to know the selection is there. What I really like is the number of the skeletons which look like they have the remnants of chaotic armour on, really suited to the theme. They also have some great armoured skeleton steeds, although they aren't that cheap and their light cavalry steeds look like less good sculpts. There are some gems in here too which will be must-haves on my list. I'm definitely having the Necromancer on Undead Pegasus and Tome Meier's original Zombie Dragon is an essential. I don't care if the army's not really large enough for a Zombie Dragon, it's such a great model it's going in! A bit of pondering and editing and I'm down to 18 infantry, 5 cavalry (those chaosy-barded beasts are great for the theme!), the bolt thrower and the Zombie Dragon. That's about £90 for almost a whole unit (with Krell and the Longhorn that's a whole unit) of 20 infantry and along with the Essex cavalry will be my death riders sorted. Lined up to purchase when there are funds.

Now at an average of £2.50-3 per model RPE's miniatures are not going to build me blocks of skeletons at the size a 1500pt force of undead requires within my budget. That pretty much means I'm looking at plastic skellibobs to lower the per-unit price. A few years back I bought my wife some Wargames Factory skeletons which were great models (slim and Harryhausen-esque) and at 30 for £15 a great buy economically. Sadly they seem to be no longer available anywhere so my next go-to was the good-but-not-quite-so-good-value Mantic sets. I've looked at them previously and not really liked them much, but with the Chaos theme in mind their tattered robes and helmets work better to my mind. Plus RPE do packs of 12 skulls, so I can mix up the heads a bit more to unify them. I'm as yet undecided whether to opt for the 40 or 20-strong box, it may be useful to have the extra bodies if my budget can take it, but the unit of 20 will fill my second block of infantry just fine.

My next thought was to check out Grenadier's offerings for still-in-production old-school skellies. I discovered some great skeleton cavalry which I'd love to add in to the force... through Mirliton which means shipping to the UK worked out at 17 euros when I tried the check out to see. Miniature Heroes, which is a great site for getting stuff in the UK that's otherwise only available overseas, does have them, but at £13.23 for a pair it's getting on the pricey side. So if anyone has any Grenadier skeletons they'd like to sell or trade and are in the UK, let me know! Tempted with their undead mammoth and rhino, but that would about blow my budget in one fell swoop!

I had a similar problem with RAFM. Again, some great models including some stunning undead cavalry but all in America with $18 overseas shipping. Not huge as some shipping goes, but everything spent on postage decreases the amount of minis I can get for my £150.

Alternative Armies have a few decent offerings in their variable collection, some very former-chaos looking characters, but probably too few to be value for money with postage. Denizen's Legion of the Damned however I may well pay a visit to for skeletons under the £2 bracket and a couple of good mounted models under £3.

So, to the list. Here are my current thoughts based on what my internet trawl has pulled up:

Henrich Kemler on undead steed
5-9 skeleton horsemen
2 units of 20 skeletons, one heavily armoured former-chaos-warriors lead by Krell
one unit of 10-20 skeleton bowmen
a war machine (bolt thrower or catapult)
the Zombie Dragon
a chariot- the plastic undead chariot was the first thing I bought for my 4th ed army and is a thing which must be recreated!

That works out at about 1500 (allowing for magic items) in 3rd, calling Kemler a lv15 Necromancer and Krell a lv15 hero which is probably doing them a disservice! Krell and Kemler/Kemmler in 4th come out at a staggering 845pts together, which is technically illegal for a 1500pt army, but since the Zombie Dragon is 500 pts both he and the two characters can legally fit into the 2000pt force which the army becomes! I will have to see how they fit into Vampire Counts/Tomb Kings lists as I don't have either at 8th ed yet. We'll also see how that wandering undead minotaur and necromancer on a Pegasus fit!

Well, that all seems fairly successful so far... let me know you thoughts if you're experienced playing undead in any of those eras, know of any suppliers I've missed or have stocks of Grenadier, RAFM, Citadel (especially the chariots) or any other manufacturer's skeletons available for sale or trade. Or if you want to jump in on an order and split postage. :) Cheers all.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Into The Woods part 1: The story so far...

Last night the little The Woods campaign we started to playtest the SystemMech rules for Secrets of Shandisholm got to a new stage so I have decided that as the adventure unfolds I should blog it for posterity. Now in future I'll do this properly with photos and stuff, but for now let's just get up to date with what's been happening down there in the Mortal Realm...

-NOTE: The beginnings of this campaign follow the Reek of the Fens adventure from Secrets of Shandisholm, so I won't go into too many details in case anyone wants to play it themselves.-

Our tale begins one spring day when the son of the Toisech of Shandisholm disappeared from the village. Whilst the elders convened to debate what they should do the chief's daughter, Winifred, took matters into her own hands. Followed by her close friend John Ravenclaw she set out into the woods to search for her younger brother. Unseen by the pair a small, hunched figure followed them into the forest...

After only a few hours the adventurers were hopelessly lost in the dense undergrowth. To make matters worse their meagre provisions were disappearing from their packs, taken by the small, blue hands of thieving pixies. Eventually they broke clear onto the summit of Pixiebells, from which they could see the forest spanning below them. They also discovered the hunched figure, which turned out to be Ranrauko, a strange youngster from the village who was universally shunned by the other children for his weird behaviour. Ranrauko would sit in the corner of the pig sty, scrawling odd patterns in the mud with a curiously engrossed expression on his face. Winifred and Ravenclaw were none too happy to see the ragged child, but they were in the middle of nowhere so had little choice but to tolerate his silent company.

As they were looking across the canopy a small, disembodied voice drew their attention to a ruckus below and they made their way towards the crashing to see what was going on. As they reached the forest floor they were almost crushed underfoot as a trio of Eanabuises smashed through the trees with a pack of white dogs upon their tale. By the time the children had ventured out from hiding the chase was over and the dogs, with their elegant masters close behind, had succeeded in bringing down the giant birds with their cyclopean riders. Winifred's attention had been drawn to a small bundle one of the masked and cloaked figures was retrieving from the body of a marsh demon. Was she imagining it, or had it made a baby's cry? As the hunting party made off through the woods once more the Tuatha children followed close behind.

At the camp that evening they made a daring raid and retrieved the bundle (which was indeed Winifred's brother) from the cloaked figures, thanks largely to the mysterious powers of Ranrauko which had elevated the bundle from the midst of the sleeping Fae. Narrowly escaping their pursuers the group made it back to Shandisholm where they sought the guidance of Meg, the local wise woman. Meg told them that the best defence against the Fae was bog iron, a rare mineral only found in the marshes and which the Fae were strongly adverse to. It was said that there was a smith who could work bog iron in the village of Rangolt, over the other side of the forest. The group set off once more to seek the smith.

When they arrived at Rangolt they found the villagers wary and increasingly hostile. Diminutive and furtive figures were moving among the inhabitants and spreading rumours about these newcomers. Despite the unhelpfulness of the populace the adventurers managed to track down the smith, but alas he had no bog iron to forge. He did, however, suggest they visit the brewhouse where Athalwolf, the proprietor, kept a nugget of the rare mineral hanging over his fireplace.

By this time the villagers were openly aggressive towards the party and they took shelter in the brewhouse, where Athalwolf confided in them that he had no desire to remain in Rangolt and suggested they creep out the rear of the brewhouse and try to make it to the gates without trouble. The mob spotted them, but they were able to make it over the palisade into the trees to safety. Once in the forest Athalwolf told them his story. He was a Pech, a hill gnome, and had been part of a trading expedition into the marshes of Mael Fen. They had struck a deal with the Myeri for a shipment of the coveted bog iron, but on the way back had been intercepted by a large group of Redcaps. The Pech had been scattered and the bog iron seized. Athalwolf believed himself the only survivor and his nugget of the ore the only piece to have remained out of goblin hands. That is, until recently, when news of a Pech settlement near to the Heart Forest had reached his ears in Rangolt. Now he greatly desired to see if there were more survivors of the trading party living deep in the wood. The group agreed to go back to Shandisholm via the Deepwards route, rather than take the Old Lowland Road, and see if they could find any traces of the gnomes.

Sure enough, after a run in with a Barguest and a short detour through a mysterious maze, they discovered the remains of a makeshift settlement where two Pech were making a last stand against a dozen Redcaps. The party intervened and drove off the goblins, rescuing the gnomes. The gnomes were anxious to get after the goblins and retrieve their lost bog iron, but Ravenclaw suggested they return to Shandisholm first to get reinforcements and horses so they could catch up to the Redcap horde. During the preceding battle Winifred's Herbalism had saved Athalwolf's life and he made her a gift of the bog iron nugget, allowing her to take it back to the village.

When the group returned to Shandisholm they made haste to the gathering hut. The Pech, however, were concerned about the presence of some tents they'd seen tucked into the woods nearby. They suspected a reasonable force of the Fae Martial and were afraid of what this could mean. Inside the gathering hut they found an assembly underway, with a stranger present and seated in a place of honour. He introduced himself as Byron, from a village the other side of the wood, and was seeking aid against a Redcap army which had threatened his settlement. Suspecting this was the same party of goblins they were after the adventurers were keen to provide a force from the village to assist. Before the meeting could be concluded Byron, who had seemed a little tense at the production of the bog iron nugget and the Pech's story, turned white as a sheet at the mention of the Fae Martial and insisted Ravenclaw show him where the tents were pitched. Leaving the gathering hut they were set upon by white dogs who had raced through the settlement gates, howling blood-curdling howls. At the other side of the settlement tall figures in ornate cloaks appeared and blocked the Tuatha's path, but upon seeing Byron they fell to their knees before him. Byron commanded them to call off the dogs and it seemed peace would be restored, but behind the kneeling figures loomed new shapes, tall creatures in shining silver armour. Byron and the cloaked figures prepared for a fight, calling to the Tuatha to turn their backs. Most complied, but Ranrauko could not contain his curiosity and kept watching. Unable to dance out because of the mortal's eyes the Fae were forced to face the oncoming Fae Martial head on. As Byron mysteriously vanished the armoured figures set upon the hapless Fae Rade. The Tuatha hurried back to the safety of the gathering hut, and when they looked out again there was no sign of any of the strangers.

Anxious their village should not remain undefended the group decided to set out after the goblins alone, but took supplies and horses from the village. With luck they should be able to make faster progress along the Old Lowland Road than the ill-formed Redcap band. The quest begins...


Monday, 8 August 2016

Happy BOYLday Fimm McCool's!

It seems incredible, but it was 5 years this weekend that, inspired by blogs such as Mr Saturday's Mumblings and Realm of Chaos 80s, I started writing FimmMcCools blog (then FimmMcCool's Games Orkshop). It's great timing for celebrating that Bring Out Your Lead, the UK annual Oldhammer day, now takes place on that weekend so I can celebrate the two together.

This year it just so happened that the two main games I was involved in (the BFFG (big f'ing fantasy game) and Inquisitor Cynole and the Temple of Gloom) featured my Fimir and AdMech... the two armies I've been mainly featuring in the blog. It was a great excuse to clear off my 'to do' shelves a lot of the figures I've been trying to find time to add to those armies over the last half-decade.

If you've been following my Fimir-oquest diary over on the Oldhammer forum ( you'll have seen the painting pile diminish somewhat, with just over 200 figures done in just under a month. It's been crazy, but it was well worth it for the spectacle and to clear space for some of the side projects I've wanted to get going. Without further ado let the pictorial celebrations commence:

BFFG: The rise of Morcar
The Fimir of clan Maer rock up with their crafty plan to summon the master of dark magic... time to get those standing stones up.

 The forces of good arrive to stop the dastardly schemes and surround the Fimir... carnage ensues as the goodies roll for first turn and charge the bog monsters.

Hordes of evil in turn surround the goodies...

The Doomguard arrive, and seeing the cannon pointed directly at them promptly turn and flee off the board again!

The game followed a nice, organic flow with loose time slots marking the end of each turn. Turn 5 was reached in about 10 hours with all dreams of summoning the evil lord back to assume control of the Old World ruined. Ah well, at least everyone got to take home their own little Morcar!

Inside the tent it was hot and sticky... outside it was merely deathworld jungle heat! Bring on the Inquisitor Cynole game, a fantastic RT scenario from Aidan and his able assistant.

Dr Moenkhaus' Mechanists (not AdMech, honest guv!) arrive at the temple complex to collect the artefact of great technological importance...
Greeted by some less-than-civil members of the Trade Guild they decide to wait outside and let the nobles' hunting party go in first. After all, the temple is on their land. The nobles have brought a film crew with them to record their daring adventure.

Whilst waiting for access to the temple some engineers bring up the hover platform for removal of the artefact.

Outside the electric fence lies a secret cache of warbots. When the natives pry too close one of the engineers puts a warning shot across their bows.

Negotiations at the temple entrance take a nasty turn when the Trade Guild and nobles draw on one another. The very expensive Lab Bot receives a las cutter in the face, cutting it clean in half. Enraged, Dr Moenkhaus shoots down the perpetrator with his plasma pistol.

The Mechanists' demolition charge takes out the generator, plunging the temple network into darkness. Two remaining engineers creep inside as the Mercenaries outside start firing indiscriminately at everyone else.

The end game had all sorts of nastiness, with a demon erupting in the temple, treachery, slaughter of innocents and the stealing of the Mechanists' ornithopter. Dr Moenkhaus almost got away by stealing the Trade Guild's dropship, but it was gunned from the sky by a defence laser... did the doctor escape? Look out for the revenge of Dr Moenkhaus!

On Sunday morning the Fimir came out again for a 5-way warband skirmish with rival clan warlords trying to gather enough crystal shards to claim the crown of the mystic isle of Chulaine.

One clan tried to stay out of trouble, waiting whilst the others reduced their numbers squabbling amongst themselves.

Another clan was not so restrained. After receiving a spell in the face the Fianna began an unstoppable frenzied killing spree!

After the rest of his guards were slaughtered, his shard was stolen and he was trampled by a unit of shearl the lone armoured Fimir warlord wandered confused around the battlefield. Mistaking it for a foe he ended up attacking a large rock.

Just as the cautious clan approached the stone circle the fabric of space time tore apart and five Fimarines from the far future came storming into the fight, bolters blazing!

Their guns were no match for the axes of the Fimm and they fell in savage close combat, their power armour proving useless against the celtic fury! Seeing the demise of the Fimarines the Frenzied Fianna gathered up their stolen shards and fled the table. Nobody would be going to Chulaine that day!

Thanks one and all for making it another wonderful BOYL weekend, especially thanks to the Foundry staff for making us so welcome. Here's to next year!

Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's