Friday, January 20, 2012

Soldiers of the Rzeczpospolita

Things have been moving along pretty smoothly on my latest project. I finished off my German-style infantry earlier this week, and a second stand of winged hussars today:

Front view

Rear view

The fellow in the center is distracted by something off to his left.

See! Two stands!

Next up are more infantry, with more of a native Polish look to them. They're actually some of Zvezda's Streltsi, but with the hats and beards trimmed down a little. In retrospect, it might have been easier to get at the beards before I glued the separate arms on. Oh well. 

A sneak preview.

Dad and William are out of the house this week; William has the US Figure Skating Championship in San Jose, where he's competing in ice dance at the novice level. (I think. Skating has like half a dozen levels and I sometimes have trouble keeping them all straight.) Anyway, hopefully he will have as much success there as he has had at Hordes lately! And I'll have plenty of time to paint with no distractions. Handy, since my boxes of Cossacks and long-awaited Mongol heavy cavalry finally arrived today...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Swords of the Dark Empire: Revenge of the Lich King

Well, it was a bad day to be good as William's forces triumphed over both my nomadic horde and a ragtag band of misfits in two separate games.

Game one, just before the armies meet meet. Note the impassable marsh right behind my main line of battle.

The first game got off to a promising start as one of my behemoths overran his Blades and my general cut his way through two stands of Hordes in quick succession, creating a nice gap in the center of his line. At the same time, my right-hand yak was thrown back by his Hero general. This seemed like an excellent opportunity to surround his general and end the game in one fell swoop, so I moved my yakatherium back up into contact and brought my own general around to cut off his retreat. Unfortunately, at even odds he repelled my yak once again, leaving our generals to face each other--and he managed to bring up another unit to block my retreat. So I lost my general, but since I was still ahead on points, the battle continued--and of course I rolled a 1 for pips the next turn, so my units stood idly by while his Hero general chased my yak into the impassable swamp. So much for game one.

The field at the start of game two.

Game two began with a rather extended scuffle between our shooters in the woods, with some surprising upsets on both sides. My knights and my flyers were happily kicking apart his infantry when the news came that the stronghold had fallen! Oh no! Turns out that darn Hero General of his (who had started out on his extreme left, hence my little cluster of units on the right flank in the above picture) had  slipped past my archers in the woods and captured the castle. Oh well.

Tomorrow I should have the rest of my stand of German mercenary musketeers painted up. Then it'll be more winged hussars, and then another stand of shooters, this time converted from some of the Zvezda Strelets infantry, and by the time those are done hopefully my shipment of Cossacks will have arrived...

Friday, January 13, 2012

First winged hussars!

Yep, not a lot to add here. For those who don't recognize them, these are Polish Winged Hussars from Orion. Pretty entertaining to paint, though the figures aren't quite as clean and smooth as some other manufacturers. My planned army list will have two more stands of these guys for the Polish sides, including the general. As for their opponents, the Cossacks are still in the mail somewhere, so next up I'll be doing a stand of Polish infantry. (Actually German mercenary musketeers, with the figures being from Revell's Thirty Years' War Swedish Infantry...)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Things that go bunyip in the night

Well, I figured I should tie up some loose ends before launching into my new Polish venture, so I made a push to clear some of my painting backlog. First up is this guy, from the Caesar Adventurers set.

Some may call him a troll, others an ogre. Magic: the Gathering players might think of him as an Orgg or a Vizzerdrix. But I call him a bunyip, even though he bears no particular resemblance to the bunyip of Australian legend. (In an amusing coincidence, I saw a day or so back that I am not the only miniatures blogger to have painted one of these figures lately...)

Next, I based and painted up that batch of plastic wolves that I picked up over the weekend. They're rather large for lupines, so maybe they're actually direwolves or wargs or something. In any case, they'll help fill out the Orc army some day.

Finally, I finished up my last stand (for now, at least) of Mongol horse archers. (Shown here with another stand that I finished over the holidays.) As with the others, these guys are a mix of the various Mongol sets currently on the market.

And that gives me a complete army! (To be supplemented with more heavy cavalry at some point.) Next: time to begin work on my first winged hussars...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Into a new year with Fire and Sword!

2011 was a pretty good year for miniatures, if nothing else, and hopefully 2012 will be likewise. The gaming room has still not been entirely reconstructed following a bout of remodeling, so the near future may continue to be aimed at expanding my various Hordes of the Things armies and other 1/72 scale work, though I will no doubt get back to Wachovia at some point.

I have managed to get in one actual miniatures game this year. Last weekend I had some college friends over for some gaming, and while we mostly stuck to board games, I did inveigle one of them into trying his hand at Hordes--where he promptly trounced me, despite never having played before. He led the Dinotopians, while the Antediluvians under my command maintained their proud and ancient tradition of defeat. Only a couple of blurry pictures survive to record this battle...

Playing a round of Fast Food Franchise.

My Spears and Magician attempt to hold a hill.

After my Magician got snapped up by his tyrannosaur-mounted Hero and my stronghold had fallen, I realized that I had forgotten to deploy my two Riders. Ah well. Might not have made a difference anyhow...

I'm still one stand short of my goal on my Mongol project, not counting figures I have only coveted without (yet) purchasing. Unfortunately, there's a decent chance my miniatures energy is about to get diverted. 

For some reason I woke up at like 4 a.m. this morning with a terrible thirst... and an idea for a pair of matched HotT armies based on one of my favorite books: With Fire and Sword.

Knight General (Prince Yeremi) @ 2 AP
2 Knights (winged hussars!) @ 2 AP each
2 Riders (lighter cavalry) @ 2 AP each
2 Shooters (musket-armed infantry. Could also be Spears.) @ 2 AP each
Artillery (cannon) @ 3 AP
Sneaker (Pan Zagloba in disguise) @ 3 AP
Hero (Pan Yan, Pan Longinus, Pan Michal) @ 4 AP

Lots of Hordes and maybe Shooters and an Artillery, and a fair number of Riders.
Sneaker (Bohun)
Hmyelnitzki (could be a Hero General, but given his somewhat tangential role in the events of the book, could be fun to play as a God or Dragon--dangerous, but not dependable...)

In any case, the inspiration comes from the two characters represented as Sneakers, a unit which is mostly restricted to interacting with generals, strongholds, and each other... which pretty much matches their actions in the book.

The good news is, I already have some of the figures! I already have a couple boxes of Orion Polish Winged Hussars sitting around waiting for this sort of opportunity, as well as a fair number of the old Revell 30 Years' War figures. Better yet, I have some figures which were passed on to me by Ross Macfarlane:

These guys are an intriguing mix, largely converted from the aforementioned Revell types, but with a leavening of others from all over. In some cases, the years have not been kind--the paint is peeling and some weapons are bent. But hopefully some of them will be fit to see service with a little work, and the wagons will be excellent start to a Cossack stronghold...

 I'm not sure what these fellows were, but I know what they will be: Cossacks!

The "bad" news is that a number of excellent 1/72 scale sets for this period have come out in the past few years, so I will probably be compelled to buy a few boxes of Orion and Zvezda Cossacks to help build up some opposition. It would be best if I were to sit down at some point and carefully plan the minimum amount required, but in any case it may mean that my more fantastical plastic armies may end languishing for a while.

(Although when I do get back to them, I have these plastic ex-Mage Knight wolves I picked up at my local game store this afternoon, to add a little variety to the Orcs...)