Saturday, May 5, 2018

Toob Lizards!

Touched up giant lizards from the clear plastic "Toob" creatures that you can find at craft and toy stores
I apologize for the very short update, but I wanted to post a photo of some more monsters I finished for my upcoming Ghost Archipelago games. When going through the list of wandering monsters, I saw the "Giant Lizard" category. I have one painted 25mm Iron Wind Metals Komodo dragon, but I hadn't thought to stock up. So, I needed more, in case more than one makes it way onto a board. I don't buy them very often, but the craft store Toob creatures can sometimes come in handy for miniature gamers. In this case, they had some that looked good, and would fit the bill.

I touched them up by dry-brushing them (light green for the green lizards, and pink for the red ones). I re-applied the speckled pattern, and touched up the eyes and mouth. Finally, I gave them a black wash and epoxied them onto a base and flocked them. I think they look pretty good for a little over $1 each.

Next up: Splintered Light Rats (which will be taking the place of the "Dricheans" on my South Seas Islands).

Monday, April 30, 2018

Little Wars 2018 - War-torn Village in Angola

The climax of one of the games at Little Wars 2018, as South African armor and troops burst into the Cuban-held village
 From the first weekend of March through the last weekend in April, I attended three conventions and ran my Wars of Insurgency game seven times. Getting all the troops ready for the big show in Chicago has consumed most of my painting and modeling time. I swore to myself that I would have my resin Ratel-20s for my South African Defense Force squads ready by Little Wars. And just to prove how much I enjoy deadline pressure (haha...!), I vowed to get another 16 20mm Cuban figures ready, too.
The calm before the storm -- the village supply depot that the South Africans and UNITA will be assaulting
Well, I made it...barely! I finished packing my freshly Dullcoated Cubans at 1 am on Thursday morning, about 8 hours before I'd be leaving for the show. What is it about running games for conventions that bring out the drive to get stuff ready? Maybe it's the P.T. Barnum in me wanting to put on the best show that I can. Or maybe it's just masochism! Either way, this seems to happen more than once with me, where I put a deadline on myself for a project that ends up being to have it ready in time for a convention. And guess what? My next show is Drums at the Rapids in three weeks -- and I just pulled out six more SADF figures that I want painted up in time for that convention!
The Cuban defenders guard the perimeter in depth, awaiting the assault on their supply depot
Anyway, the venue for Little Wars was amazing. The Westin Hotel in Lombard, IL, is swanky and four star. The ballroom that held all the events was spacious, incredibly well lit, and had nice carpet which made standing most of the day less uncomfortable. There was quite a few empty tables except at peak times (Friday evening, Saturday morning/afternoon), which meant noise was much more bearable than you often encounter at gaming conventions.
A FAPLA force (Cuban-trained Angolans) is redirected by the Cubans to guard the village's left flank
Every single spot was full all four games, which made me really happy. Plus, many seemed to be friends of people who'd played previously, so Smokin' Some Cubans must have been getting good word of mouth. My players were a great group, and most seemed to clearly have fun. I didn't have any pissy or whiny players that you sometimes encounter at conventions or club meetings. They were polite and showed good sportsmanship, deferring to their opponents. In my opinion, nothing can ruin a game than the one jerk who's criticizing everything that happens, seeming to announce to the world why his troops are not having the success they obviously should be. Instead, my players were great, and their fun became my fun, as well.
Enthusiastic Cuban defenders deploy forward, eager to finally engage the hated South Africans!
Inspired by their Marxist brethren, the FAPLA force advances to meet the South Africans on the left
The games all fought to a conclusion, with no draws where we ran out of time and the outcome was a tossup. The South Africans won big in two of the games, the Angolans in another, and the final game seemed to lean towards a SADF victory, as well. More troops and armored cars entered inside the village than I'd had in any previous running of the game.
The South African force, supported by two Ratel-20 armored vehicles, advances through the brush towards the village
I hope you enjoy the photos. I took more photos early in the convention, and seemed to encounter photojournalist fatigue later. My new iPhone takes nice pictures, I feel, and these are definitely some of my favorites I have of the scenario.
A contingent of UNITA Angolan guerrillas moves towards the village center, supported by a SADF Ratel-20
After Drums, where I will run it twice on Saturday, I will put Smokin' Some Cubans away until October. Who knows? Maybe I'll even design a totally new scenario for our HMGS Great Lakes flagship convention! It all depends on how much free time I have this summer, and how motivated I am, of course!
Jonas Savimbi's UNITA troops close in on the village, using the armor and village fields as cover
A squad of Cubans flees back towards the village as the fire from the SADF/UNITA assault becomes intense
One of the South African players points out a target inside the village in my Saturday evening game
The South Africans, with two squads of UNITA guerrillas following, overwhelm the Cuban defenders

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ghost Archipelago monsters & creatures

Iron Wind Metals 25mm Prehistoric Bird, which will wander the Ghost Archipelago as a random encounter
 I don't want to look to see how long it has been since I updated Lead Legionaries last. Some real life problems intruded in a major way, and I have spent much of the last three months helping my parents out, and staying at their place. Life is slowly returning to normal, and with that, painting and getting things ready for my Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago campaign.
15mm Drakes, which will replace Giant Wasps as a danger in my Ghost Archipelago campaign
I have been working on my stock of monsters and creatures to be ready when they are called upon with the system's random encounters. I am taking a bit of a shortcut, though, and heavily revising the chart. Part of my changes are to align it more with my Fur-grave theme. Snakemen, for example, are replaced by my already painted up Frogmen. Similarly, the Dricheans will become Splintered Light Miniatures Wildcats, and Tribals are my Pygmy Cannibals from my Pulp games.
These 25mm Iron Wind Metals Lions are a natural stand-in for Tigers on my islands
Other changes are simply to use my current collection of miniatures and substitute something similar. For example, the Screamer Monkeys become Baboons, Tigers are morphed into Lions, and the Mountain Goat will become Stags.
Don't tell them, but Baboons have a nasty enough disposition to take the place of Screamer Monkeys in my games
Finally, there are simply some things I don't want on my tabletop and I would rather have more fantasy creatures for them to fight. Giant Ticks? Nah! Giant Wasps? How about a bunch of colorful Drakes, instead? Yes, I know I can go out and buy those Toobz plastic figures at the craft store (and did for my giant lizards, which DO make sense for this island and fit my aesthetic sense). However, it simply makes sense to use the figures I have collected over the years for random monsters, rather than those that were in the creators collection. I mean, if they're going to GIVE them to me...ha, ha!
Some things on the encounter chart don't change...gorillas will always be gorillas!
So, look for more monsters on this page in the future -- and certainly more promptly than this last update!
These 15mm Gargoyles will take the place of Giant Bats in my campaign

This figure will be what I use if my players encounter a Spirit Warrior or similar Undead
And Balrogs are demons, and demons are Soul Stealers...right?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Smokin' Some Cubans at Cincycon

Angolan troops move to protect the entrance to the village during my game, Smokin' Some Cubans
 I took this year's Wars of Insurgency scenario for a couple runnings at Cincycon 2018 in Hamilton, Ohio. I had a full table of six players on both Friday night and Saturday morning. Although attendance seemed a bit down -- particularly Friday night -- I was happy to attract the players. Not all game masters were so lucky, so I was appreciative.
The players in my Friday night game engage in firefights across the table
Friday's game played to a fairly solid conclusion, with the South African and UNITA force having a clear path to the village. Saturday's game could have gone either way, though. It was a bloody firefight from start to finish.
South African troops intervene on behalf of UNITA in the Angolan civil war
I still have one more thing to do before, though: paint my SADF Ratel armored cars. The resin models arrived a couple weeks ago from the UK, but I've been so busy with school and helping out my parents that I haven't even touched them, yet. I set myself a deadline of DayCon 2018 to get them done, so wish me luck!
Cuban troops guard the entrance to the village
Here are some pictures from both days -- hope you enjoy them!
The SADF and UNITA players survey the battlefield
Angolan troops advance to outflank the South African attack
The battlefield as troops utilize the cover to close with the enemy
The Angolan and Cuban commanders plan their response as the South Africans and UNITA close in
Supported by Ratel armored cars, the South Africans close in on the Angolan village
UNITA troopers advance under fire from the village defenders
Wide angle view of the battlefield

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Fur-grave: Gallery of the Warbands

I'm ready to start my Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago campaign with my regular Sunday evening gaming group. The South Seas setting really appealed to me because I had so much appropriate terrain painted up already from my 28mm Pulp games set in Southeast Asia. As you have likely seen from earlier posts, I will be using the anthropomorphic figures from Splintered Light Miniatures as my warbands.

I have been busy painting up warbands for my players to select from for the last few months. Each warband will be half the size the rules suggest (5 figures, instead of 10). This is because we will have bigger groups playing, most likely. For their convenience, and as an introduction, here they are all gathered together. Some may show 6 or more figures painted, but that was just to give them some variety or choice!.
Badger Heritor and Warden (with familiar on base)

Badger Spear and Axe
Badger Archer and Axe
Bear Heritor with Animal crew
Bear Warden with small brown bear familiar on base
Bear crewmen
Jungle Rats
Jungle Rat crew, with Heritor in black at front left, and Warden in middle with staff
 Pine Martens
The Pine Marten warband
Pine Marten Heritor and Warden
Pine Marten crew
More Pine Marten crew
Raccoon Warden (with raccoon familiar on base) and Raccoon Heritor
Raccoon Crew
Satyr Warband
Satyr Warden
Blurry image (sorry!) of the Satyr Heritor
Satyr spear and archer
Satyr Sword and Archer
Weasel Warband
Weasel Warden
Weasel Heritor
Weasel Crew

 Assemble Your Own Crew
In case any of my players want to create a motley warband of various, random Splintered Light Miniatures animals, I am giving this option on a first-come, first served basis. As you can tell, I really like SLM's animals. One thing, though, is that many of their cool creatures are single-casting, or have just a couple poses. So, we'll see if any players decides to go this route. For their convenience, here are the rest of the SLM animals I've painted!
Three mice (not blind), suitable for either crew, Warden, or even Heritor
Three Squirrels
Two Skunks
Two Opossums
Two Wolverines
Two Beavers
One Coyote Warrior
One Prairie Dog Warrior
Wildcat Warrior (or Heritor?)
Armadillo Warrior
Fox Warrior