Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall In! 2011

We made a very brief trip up to Fall In! today--the third (and smallest) of the three HMGS conventions, this year held at the Lancaster Host. Strangely enough, this is only the second Fall In! I have ever attended, as previous years I have been occupied with school.

Upon arriving at about 9:00 a.m. this morning, I dropped right into one of Chris Palmer's G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T games, leading a French expeditionary force through the steamy jungles of mist-shrouded Venus, where we met with an ambush. Fortunately, the brute strength and primitive cunning of the reptilian natives proved no match for our élan. (Not to mention our bolt-action rifles...)

The Legion, with one of its steam walkers.

As we approached this vine-tangled ruin, hideous cries echoed through the mist, and the native Parrotmen and Lizardmen burst forth from the jungle.

This monstrous beast managed to topple the lead steam walker, and it took several volleys of rifle fire to bring it down.

If they had managed to reach our lines, blades and fangs might have wrought havoc among the regulars, but our fire broke the force of their charge, and the few survivors faded back into the mists as suddenly as they had appeared.

After that, I had some time to look through the Flea Market and the Dealer's Hall, where I picked up a couple of things--most notably a box of the Italeri Mongol Command figures to add some excitement to the armies of the east.

However, the unseasonably cold weather led to our early departure--the forecast for Lancaster had called for 3-5 inches of snow, and lo! snow there was:

As Dad had some other plans for this evening, it was deemed prudent to depart before the roads became difficult--and thus ends the convention report, such as it was.

Painting has been slow this week--I am now four units behind schedule, and it is unlikely that I will catch up in the next two days, so it may be that this burst of productivity has trailed off for now. Still, I did manage to finish off a few more units:

 The orcish Warband has been sitting around half-painted for quite a while, so it is nice to have them finished off at last. And the second stand is a Knight General for Dargograd--more of the Orion Khazars. I was looking to pick up another box of these at Fall In!, but none were to be had, though there were plenty of the Pechenegs & Cumans.

I do have a couple of stands I hope to do up over the next couple of days, so perhaps I can end the month on a high note--I'd like to take a crack at those Mongols, but I've also got a few Behemoths who have been waiting for some larger (60x60mm) bases, which we now have...

Giant yaks with howdahs!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Swords Against the Dark Empire: Wrath of the Lich King

Unfortunately I have fallen a little behind on my painting goals; the weekend turned out to be a little busier than expected, so I am now running a two-stand deficit, which I will have to make up at some point. But, to assuage my conscience, I decided that we might as well play a couple of games with these figures we've been painting. So on Sunday night we spread out a ground cloth on the living room floor, and fought three battles.

The first two games saw the dreaded Army of the Lich King pitted against the miscellaneous forces of Good. The Lich King is a Hero General, backed up by two Magicians, two Blades, two Shooters, and enough Hordes to make up the rest. On my side, I had three Knights, including the General, three Shooters, including Dad's two stands of elves, a stand of Blades, a stand of Flyers, a Hero, and a Magician.

The first game was rather anticlimactic; my Hero snuck through and captured his stronghold almost immediately. It had been a while since something like that had happened...

So we set up a rematch. This time I was the defender, and managed to pull off a second victory. My troops unsuccessfully charged up this hill several times, but the Elves managed to hunt down one of William's Magicians in the woods, and my Hero chopped through his Shooters and his other Magician.

After that, we switched up armies entirely; I wanted to give my new Antediluvians a try, so William agreed to lead the Dinotopians against their soon-to-be ancestral foe. My line of Spears did pretty well against his Warbands and Behemoths...

But unfortunately he got his revenge by breaking through my cordon of Riders with his Hero, and took my stronghold.

Today we got a package in the mail from our grandmother, containing our snazzy new double-sided ground cloth. The stand is my Dargograd cavalry from the other day, now all properly based. We decided to have an inaugural game, my Antediluvians against the Lich King...

The armies muster for battle, while my Riders prepare to make a flanking maneuver. Hills are always troublesome when it comes to balancing your troops; it's worse when they have two-inch pikes...

The flanking maneuver sees some success; I managed to pin down and destroy one of William's two Magicians, but not before he had ensorcelled mine. Against the second Magician and the Lich King himself, my Riders were somewhat outmatched...

At last the battle lines meet. Off to the right, a lone stand of Spears skirmishes ineffectually with William's two Shooters.

A few turns later, things have not gone so well; I have overwhelmed William's Hordes temporarily, but his Blades have cut a whole in the center of my line, and the Lich King himself dealt the finishing blow by offing my left-most unit.

All in all, an enjoyable set of games. The Antediluvians seem well on their way to a proud tradition of defeat, and hopefully I can close my painting gap over the course of this week.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Antediluvia Ascendent

Somehow I have kept to my one stand per day resolution this week, despite distractions in the forms of new novels by Neal Stephenson, S. M. Stirling, and Vernor Vinge (of which I have read two out of the three) and another trip to Washington.

First up, we have these angels, which I mentioned at the end of my last post, and have since painted.

Next up were the last two stands of Antediluvian spears, seen here in the center of the line--orange with an ammonite, and purple with an Anomalocaris for the general's stand. This finally brings me up to the full 24 points of troops required for a Hordes army:

1 Magician @ 4 AP
1 Spear General @ 2 AP
6 Spears @ 2AP
1 Blade @ 2 AP
2 Riders @ 2 AP

Now I just need to put together a stronghold, and they can face off against the Dinotopians for the first time...

Next I did a stand of medieval archers, but to be honest, they weren't very exciting--also, that was Wednesday, and I was pretty busy reading Stephenson's Reamde. These guys I did up yesterday, when I was a little less preoccupied. They are French knights of the Hundred Years' War, by Accurate. The knight on the left is blazoned with the logo of my glorious alma mater...

And here is today's stand, not quite finished yet--more knights, this time from the mysterious eastern Palindromate of Dargograd. Two of them are Orion Khazars; the third is a Zvezda Russian knight, who would be a little anachronistic if I were planning to deploy these as historical troops...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The good, the bad, and the clever

I'm still on track to complete a stand of troops every day this month, but the last couple of days have been pretty busy, so the "stands" have been a couple of individual figures. Here's yesterday's stand, a rather distinguished-looking old fellow who might be either a Magician or a Cleric for my Antediluvians--one of the Nexus Ancient Greeks:

And here's today's: Villem Ganger, der Geierritter--mercenary knight, accompanied by his shieldbearer. These guys are Strelets, from their Army of Joan d' Arc set. I ran across this guy wearing a sallet and what looked sort of like a cloak made of feathers, and thought that there must be something interesting I could do with that. His companion is from the same set--he was originally carrying a polearm and had a different head, but I swapped the former for a banner and the latter for another sallet. (I'm not sure why, but sallets just look more menacing and sinister to me.)

I also finished up a couple more stands of Antediluvian pikes earlier in the week--only two more to go! (These ones are belemnoids--blue-gray--and agnostid trilobites--pale yellow.)

As for the next couple of days, that's where the "clever" comes in. My brother was poking through my boxes of HaT Gallic Chariots and noted that one figure could pass for an angel or something, if someone gave her wings. "I can do that," I said, thinking of the random pair of angel wings that came with the Orion Polish Winged Hussars...

I also gave them swords, of course. One more stand of Flyers...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A real mixed bag

I've made it my resolution this month to paint at least one stand of figures per day, so by the time November rolls around we should have quite a host amassed. (And maybe be ready to start this campaign...) What with the previously-mentioned disruptions to my supply lines, my painting selection has been a bit random. My brother and I have been digging through the piled boxes of figures, mixing and matching to build armies to our taste, so inspiration has occasionally crystallized in somewhat odd ways.

Here's my total recent output. Today's stand of Antediluvian spears is part way through the basing process--hence the Altoids tin full of sand.

Here's a closer look at them. The emblem on their shields is a brachiopod.

These are the Opabinia cavalry for my Antediluvians, which I did up yesterday.

This Dinotopian warband has been sitting around unpainted for months--maybe even years. It feels a little odd to have finally finished them off.

I mentioned that I was thinking of upgrading my old Mongols; here's a test stand. They might be the start of a new army, or they might end up as mercenaries...

One unit of Shooters; formerly English archers of the Hundred Years' War. They'll probably end up serving in one (or more) of the generic medieval armies of the western states.

Also in the "miscellaneous medieval" category is this stand of Blades, who are quite a mix. There are some Crusaders, some Livonian knights, a couple of Airfix types, and one Italeri Hundred Years' War guy. But I'm not the only one who has been painting...

These two pieces are my brother William's work--Knights and a Magician, respectively. (The poor hirsute fellow in the second picture has a rather sad expression... as well he might, given his position...)

And here is Dad, who is actually painting some Elves!

Anyway, next few days will be dedicated to more Antediluvian infantry--I found a sandwich bag of Macedonians who I had set aside at some point (read: lost) so I should be able to scrape together enough for almost an entire Hordes of the Things army...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A helpful map

This is the world my brother William and I have been working on as a background for our 20mm Hordes of the Things project. I've been reading the original Conan stories of Robert E. Howard lately, so this world bears a less-than-coincidental resemblance to his Hyborian Age. (Dad claims we should call this one "Myboria.")

It's also a handy guide to most of our existing 20mm plastic projects--past, present, and planned--as most of them have fantasy counterparts. There is a general divide between the "classical" and the "medieval," marked by the Mystic Mountains.

In the East, Dad's Punic War figures double as Meshkalon (Carthage), Taresso (various Carthaginian allies), Dumbrovii (Gauls), and the Volscian Republic. (Rome, of course.) Herculios and Damavand are reserved for his theoretical Greco-Persian Wars troops. The Antediluvian Cities are home to my newest army, while their opponents the Dinotopians live on the mysterious southern continent. The southern desert is full of isolated oases where lost cities inhabited by the last decadent remnants of vast prehistoric empires and sinister priest worshipping dark gods. (Like I said, I've been reading a lot of Robert E. Howard lately.) These can incorporate my Bronze Age troops; Dad's Egyptians have a home of their own in Amunabeb.

The West is a little more speculative. William wants to get some medieval Spanish and Moors for Valencios and Alqabar, and we've started painting up some fairly generic medieval fellows for the fairly generic medieval states of Jouncelle, Brandarth, and their neighbors. Until then, Dad's old Airfix guys will have to fill in. The Lichwood is home to my brother's undead army and a few of their barbaric allies. We have quite a few medieval Russians sitting around unpainted for Varislova and Novgobirsk. Kurmiz and Tarkhaan are my Mongols, who I am thinking about upgrading. (The originals were done seven or eight years ago, and are no longer up to my current painting standard. The Dreadmoors are full of orcs, goblins, and miscellaneous unsavory types. Elariëa is the home of the engimatic Elves, who Dad may paint someday.

We managed to get to the store today, so I have some more wire--that means more Antediluvians in the next few days. (I also found a set of machine guns for some more Mbotese technicals, so it was quite a successful trip...)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Outrunning my supply lines

It has been a productive few days on the painting front.

The Antediluvian cities have three new units at their disposal, to add to the one existing stand of Spears: a second stand of Spears (blue) , a stand of Blades (green), and a stand of Riders (yellow):

I basically scoured the house for any sort of ancient troops with large circular shields, and these were what I came up with. All of it is salvage from my dad's Punic War project--these guys started life as HaT African Infantry, for the Carthaginian side. The cavalry are actually conversions from one of the figures on the Carthaginian command sprue--originally they were holding a sort of trident-shaped banner, but I replaced those with wire lances. Unfortunately, this is where my logistical problems come in: I have a couple more units worth of the Macedonian phalangites, and another pair of cavalry, but they all require wire spears--and I'm out of wire. So I'll have to find something else to paint until we get to a hobby shop or craft store or something.

I did also paint up this fellow, another Caesar Adventurer--accompanied by his faithful hound, rescued from the Revell Conquistador set. For Hordes purposes he'll be classed as a Sneaker. I don't have much experience with using Sneakers, so that could be interesting.

There are getting to be rather a lot of these Hordes troops; it might be a good idea to start thinking about the overall organization of this project. I think I'd like to have several armies (four seems like a good number) maybe including some historical overlap, plus a bunch of smaller contingents and individuals who can be can be added for flavor. (Or put together as another faction?)

So far, the dedicated fantasy troops (so not counting my Hittites and such) are as follows:

1x Hero (mounted on tyrannosaur)
2x Behemoths (spinosaurs)
1x Riders (mounted on velociraptors)
1x Warband
2x Flyers (pterosaurs)
3x Beasts (little green carnivorous types)
--I also have a second Warband that I should paint at some point.

2x Spears
1x Blades
1x Riders
--There are several unpainted units for these guys: at least two more Spears and another unit of Riders. I'm thinking I'll pick up another box of the Macedonians at my next opportunity. (Maybe Fall In!?) Aside from the paint job, the Antediluvians are pretty mundane so far. I'd like a couple of model trilobites or something to fit with the "extinct invertebrate" decorating scheme, but the ones I've seen are a little too bulky or expensive.

2x Behemoths (scorpion men; currently used by my Bronze Age fantasy army)
1x Flyer (winged demon)
1x Magician (good)
1x Magician (bad)
1x Hero (pair of guys with cloaks and longswords)
1x Sneaker (ranger and dog)
--I think the scorpion-men, demon, and evil Magician may end up being the core of some sort of "Chaos" army; I've got a couple of boxes of Caesar Orcs who could be the grunt troops. And maybe the Heros and such could back up a generic medieval sort of army, with lots of Knights and whatnot.

Anyway, for now I'm waiting on some more wire. Maybe in the meantime I can get a few more of the miscellaneous guys painted up, or get back to work on one of my other projects. (Mbotu? Chariots? The Not Quite Seven Years' War? We'll see...)