Sunday, November 25, 2018

New Gang: Grandview Gurkhas

The Grandview Gurkhas - a fictional Nepali gang protecting their home turf of Grandview Heights in Columbus
Another gang is painted up and ready to fight for control of my fictional mean streets of Columbus. This is a gang composed of Nepali immigrants (my city actually has a very high number of recent immigrants from Nepal, so it seemed appropriate). I decided to reflect the colorful traditional garb of Nepal, those these figures are actually not meant to be Nepali. They are from an Old Glory 25mm bag of (I believe) Moros from the Spanish-American War. I did my best with the brush to make them look the part with color choices, vests, etc., though the turban is not exactly a Nepali Dhaka Topi!
Fists ready to pound intruders into the pavement, these gang members were originally Old Glory Moros, I believe
Each fictional gang is given an actual Columbus neighborhood as their home turf, and so I chose Grandview Heights, as it is close to downtown and the alliteration fit to call them Grandview Gurkhas. As most History buffs know, the Gurkhas were elite British army units recruited from people of Nepali ancestry. So, it made sense that a gang would hearken back to its past for a name. My gang symbol painted on the backs of the vests didn't turn out as nice as my sketch of it did (a 6-pointed red star with a black scales of justice inside). Oh well...maybe I should have chosen white on the red star, instead of black!
I thought the leaders came out pretty well - they were the only ones I got fancy with, adding stripes on the pants
There were five basic poses I had to choose between. One leader pose with a staff needed little modification, though I did try to bend the arms of one of them a bit to make it look different. There were two sword armed poses. I did my best to bend the swords sharply to make them look more like Gurkha knives, which have a backward curve. I was fairly happy with how they turned out. The remaining two poses were supposed to be spearmen. I bent the arms around to make them look less like spearmen without a spear and hopefully more like guys with their fists up in a boxing pose.
The swords of these figures were bent backwards to make them look more like Gurkha knives
For the colors, I did Google searches of traditional Nepali costume, and saw that darker vests with lighter shirts seemed fairly common. The headgear tended to be very brightly colored, so I painted the turbans in a variety of colors, as well. Each figure has its own color combination, what with the vest, shirt, pants, sash, and headgear. I find it helpful to temporarily base miniatures on stiff cardboard, which allows me to write notes on the base to remind myself of what colors I'd picked out for that figure.
Gang members keep watch from the roof of a three-story Sarissa Precision MDF building
I was pretty happy with the look of the bases on the Linden Daos (my first gang painted up for this project). However, I thought the ballast I used was a little big, so I went to the store and bought some Gray Blend of medium size. This turned out much better, I thought. And my black wash wasn't as dark, which also makes it look like good city flocking, so to speak.
The exterior of the three story MDF building - I like how the gray dry-brushing turned out
The figures are posed against one of my Sarissa Precision City Block buildings. One of the cool things about these Sarissa MDF buildings is that you can buy extra floor sections of most of the city block styles to make them go from 2-story, to three, four -- whatever you want. This one I painted gray with dry brushing on the stones to give it more of a three dimensional effect. I added a structure atop the roof to be where the roof entrance lets out, and added more of the coarse Gray Blend Woodland Scenics ballast for the roof. 
I also like the printed paper floors I added to these buildings - they give them a nice touch, I think!
I have a few more gangs in the pipeline, so stay tuned for more posts about this project!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Finally giving "Of Gods And Mortals" a Try...

On the neighboring battlefield, Angels war against an army from Celtic legend using "Of Gods and Mortals" rules
So, we had been talking about trying Osprey's "Of Gods And Mortals (OGAM)" a try for a couple years now. Seriously -- it has been that long that at least three of us in our Sunday night gaming group owned the rules, but none of us stepped forward to set up an evening to try it out. Well, Keith finally shouldered the load and scheduled an evening and sent out lots of sample lists and tip sheets.
My Elves, led by the Valar Orome and assisted by Ents, war against an army from Norse mythology
One of the main reasons we'd wanted to try it out was that we have tons of 15mm fantasy armies for Hordes of the Things (HOTT) which we don't play anymore. I brought along three Plano boxes and another larger box with 28mm creatures to use as Legends and Gods for the 15mm rank and file. As it turned out, we had only four of us show that evening, so only one loaner army was needed. I pulled out my 15mm Elves and sat down and created a list when I arrived. It contained:
• 1 God (Orome, Huntsman of the Valar)
• 2 Legends (Ents)
• 2 units of 6 Elven spearmen
• 1 unit of 6 Elven archers
The Huntsman Orome positioned atop a rocky area dealt "Legolas-style" barrages of arrows across the battlefield
My small army faced off against a Norse mythology list with a couple giants, several units of spear, and a Thunder God of sorts (not Thor, though). My opponent, cleverly seeing I'd purchased Forest Walk for a number of my Elven units, placed no forests as defender, but did put a rather large rocky area in the center of the table which I seized with my first deployed unit. OGAM has players alternately deploy units anywhere on the board, as long as they are not within two medium distance sticks of an already-deployed enemy unit.
Orome comes down from his rocky hilltop to drive the Norse god onto the spears of the elves and secure final victory
My plan was to seize the rocky area as a firebase, and have Orome and the archers pepper any enemy units within range. I ended up feeling kind of cheesy with how I purchased my Valar. I gave him Shooter (Long), Legendary Shooter, and Combat Master. I maxed his statistics out with a Quality of 2 (best in the game - lower is better) and Combat of 5 (similarly best).  The rules allow you to forego activating Mortal units (my spear units and archers) and have them "Invoke" the god instead, giving him an extra die to roll for activation. That was pretty much my mode, giving Orome up to six activations each turn. Legendary archer allowed him to make multiple attacks. So, if his target was a Legend (my opponent's giants), I would take one shot at the maximum +3. If targeting rank and file, I took individual shots -- one per activation, withering their ranks.

My opponent quickly gave the center firebase a wide berth, but he had to engage us sooner or later -- otherwise my elves would shoot them to pieces. We did have our losses, too, though. Their god had a Lightning Bolt he could cast each turn, which he used to fry my Ents, and begin to wear down my archers. However, we had the upper hand pretty much all game. After Orome killed their god with a well-placed shot, he was re-invoked by his mortal worshippers. I realized I needed to kill half of his Mortals and all his Legends, and THEN kill his god to end the game. Orome decimated a Norse spear unit and then proceeded to engage their got in melee. He pushed him back into a unit of Elven spear, who got in the final strike and banished the Norse god forever, securing victory.

We discussed the rules afterwards. There are certainly a lot of Traits you can use to customize virtually any army from mythology or fiction. Even though I benefited from it, I felt the system is definitely open to some clever min-maxing and Trait combinations to produce devastating forces. I think we were all a little disappointed that it did not have that "big battle" HOTT feel. The play seemed more like simply a big game of Song of Blades and Heroes, rather than a tactical battle. I have never been a huge fan of "units" of 6-8 men. Of course, we were playing the minimum 900-point size forces in one-on-one battles. Mike S suggested we try it with bigger forces and utilized the multiplayer rules.

So, perhaps my Elves (or many of my other HOTT armies) will see the tabletop again, one day. Either way, it was fun to see them on the tabletop again.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

"Can you dig it, suckas...?" The Linden Daos, my First Gang

The Linden Daos, the first of my 28mm modern urban gangs inspired by the movie, "The Warriors"
The quote, "Can you dig it, suckas?" is from the cult classic 1979 movie, "The Warriors." Cyrus seeks to unite the gangs of New York City into one force and take over the city. This world, with its bizarre-uniformed gangs is the inspiration for my latest painting project. If you read my earlier post, "What Project Next?", you now know it was the winner of the two choices. I've decided to run games of modern gang warfare in the city using the Tribal rules with their Brutal supplement.
Most of the figures come from a Mega Minis blister pack, Kung Fu fighters, including these four
Here is my first purposefully painted gang for this project: The Linden Daos. Loosely modeled on the The Riffs from the movie, they are a black gang devoted to Kung Fu martial arts. I have chosen to set my games in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, using various actual neighborhoods for each gang's home turf. Since the movie was set in the 1970s, I've given this gang a very 1970s color scheme -- yellow and purple. I chose yellow because I thought it would be a good contrast for African-American skin tone, and purple because it would look like something from the 70s.
Three more Linden Dao gang members posed in front of their turf - my newest 28mm Sarissa Precision MDF building
Nine of the figures for this gang are what I had left over from a blister pack of Mega Minis Kung Fu fighters. Mega Minis is no longer in business, which is a shame. They always had a wide variety of some pretty unusual miniatures. They weren't the highest quality figures, but they hit niches that other better quality figure lines miss entirely. Plus they were always a good deal, price-wise. I used the rest of the blister pack earlier for my secret martial arts society for my Pulp games, The Order of the Fire Coral. I think those boys will make an appearance as a gang, too. It just so happens I painted up exactly 12 Fire Coral figures, which is the size I am painting each gang to -- at least initially.
These three figures are from Bob Murch's Pulp Figures (I believe) and are meant to represent the leaders of the gang
All nine of the figures for the Linden Daos are unarmed, using only their fists for weapons. The Brutal rules accounts for this, and units are not really be penalized for brawling only with their fists. The other three figures in the unit are from (I believe) Bob Murch's Pulp Figures collection. The woman was supposed to be holding up a pole with a large parasol attached. However, I felt her hands were in a nice Kung Fu pose without the pole. So, I left her that way. The other two figures, the one with the sword and the other with the walking stick and pipe, are meant to represent that bad-as-Hell elderly master of the order. The cane-using gentleman will be the main leader, with the other as a hero.
Two gang members on lookout atop the roof of my new storefront building - note the darker flocking after a black wash
I decided to have their uniforms emblazoned with a gang symbol on their back. I Googled "Kung Fu symbols" and over and over, the Yin Yang symbo popped up as the response. The more I thought about it, the more I believed it would be relatively easy to paint. As it turns out, it is harder than it looks! Some of my Yin Yangs look good. On others, you probably can't tell what it's supposed to be...ha, ha! I also felt the black would complement the black sashes they wore. I think they turned out okay, but I really felt they would look better.
Street level view of the Linden Daos gathered in an alley, ready to go on a raid - note the funky 1970s colors!
Since most of the battles will occur in the city (cue the Joe Walsh song here), I gave them a different kind of flocking. I painted the basing a medium gray, then flocked them with Woodland Scenics Gray Blend Ballast. I used the coarse size, but will likely go up to the store and buy some Medium to make it look a bit less rocky and more gravelly. Once dry, I gave the ballast a black wash -- probably too dark on this first attempt. Later, I added a couple patches of grass and green tufts to break up the all gray appearance. I like how the flocking looks -- urban, but not too jarring. It should blend in well with the tabletop.

The figures are posed around my latest 28mm Sarissa Precision MDF building. This is meant to be a mini market, or some similar storefront. I haven't decided to do it as a convenience store, or diner, or what. When I do decide, I intend to add some posters to the exterior walls to jazz it up a bit.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Some Indians and Frontiersmen

Some 28mm Native Americans originally intended for the raffle for Advance the Colors 2018, but not finished in time
This batch of 6 Indians and 5 Frontiersmen were intended to be my donations to the Advance the Colors 2018 raffle. However, with about a week before the convention, I realized that I wouldn't get them done in time. So, I stopped work on them and donated some from my collection. Since then, I was able to continue working and now finally complete them.
28mm Native Americans from (I believe) Irregular Miniatures
Only one of the 28mm Indians is from my favorite manufacturer, Conquest. He's the guy in blue loading his musket. The others are -- I believe -- from Irregular Miniatures. I am happy to be corrected if what I'm saying is not true. I am pretty sure the two poses that are firing are Irregular, but I can't swear on it. Anyway, I painted them up in my standard way, and decorated them each with individual warpaint. My favorite is paint is probably the one with the half blue, half red face. I should do more like that, but I think I'm worried about it not turning out and "ruining" the figure.
Some 28mm Frontiersmen from a huge bag I picked up at a flea market long ago
The frontiersmen are all from the large bag I bought at a flea market years ago. I am not 100% sure of their manufacturer, but I have painted a number of these up already. I painted them in a buckskin kind of theme, and was fairly happy with how they turned out (like the Indians). They're not the greatest figures in the world, but when painted up, they do the trick. Not that I really need more French & Indian War figures right now, but since I'd begun painting them I felt I had to complete them.

What's next on the painting table? Well, I have done the flesh on a big batch of 13 28mm Dark Ages archers for Saga. I thought I was cleaning out my unpainted bin of them, but recently found another stash of them in my "Unarmored Vikings" bag. Not all in that bag were Vikings I noted. So, I may pull out  more and do them up more specifically for Viking, Briton, Saxon, etc. Or I may leave them sitting and do something new. We'll see...stay tuned!