The Beast on the Moor

Rummaging through one of my boxes of random figures last week (as one does…) I came across one of the random Reaper fantasy figures I’d picked up on clearance over the years, the massive wolf-like Warg. No modern Bones resin-plastic lightweight here, this is a solid pewter beast nearly as big as a 28mm horse!

overhead warg
Reaper Warg in the middle, flanked by a 28mm Frostgrave witch on a 25mm base, and a 28mm Warlord mounted officer on 20mm by 40mm base to the right. Click for larger.

The base was assembled from three pennies and a bunch of Milliput, the warg got primed, and then it went into storage sometime in early 2014 (when the first paragraph above was written…) until just after New Years 2020, when I said to myself, as I was painting other demon dogs and werewolves, “Self, don’t you have a massive great pewter warg somewhere, bought many years ago?”, and after more rummaging in more boxes of miniatures than I’d like to admit to, the warg saw the painting bench for the first time in six years or so, and it was good.

The thing is even bigger than I remembered it being, over head high at the shoulder next to a similarly based 28mm figure and taller and bulkier than a warhorse. The base is roughly 20mm wide and 45mm long, and muzzle and tail stick out over both ends.

big mean warg
Big warg, demon dog, or some sort of hell-wolf! 28mm Frostgrave plastic witch on the left, mounted 17th C officer from Warlord on the right. Click for larger.

Looking forward to seeing this guy loping across the playing field, eating people and stealing souls, or perhaps the other way around! You never know with demonic canines…

Not a waggy tail, probably. Click for larger.

Forestgrave

Locally our COVID-19 situation is such that we’re allowed to expand our pandemic pods slightly starting a few weeks ago, so myself, my brother Corey, and our friend Sean decided to do the pod thing so we could get some gaming in. Turns out it takes a goddamn global pandemic to get me back to regular weekly games, so that’s a thing.

I own the Frostgrave rulebook in actual physical dead tree format, and we were all able to grab ebook/PDF editions while Osprey was doing their giveaway a month or so ago, and all three of us own enough random figures to put together usable Frostgrave bands, so we set off!

I’m currently using my 17th C English Civil War figures kitbashed with Frostgrave plastics to make a couple of wizard figures (last seen in bare plastic here), Corey is running Reaper mouslings, and Sean has GW Age of Sigmar ladies with big, big hammers. They’re so large we’ve decided they’re actually ogres or half-ogres.

We’re also ignoring the “frost” part of the Frostgrave setting, opting instead for overgrown forest stuff because that suits our existing terrain better. Hence “Forestgrave” instead of “Frostgrave”, then!

frostgrave/forestgrave table overview
Sean on the left, Corey centre, the cat on the right. The circular mat is an attempt to make three person games less uneven. Click for larger.

Today was our second game, and Corey came out ahead on experience with his wizard/apprentice pair getting more spells successfully cast than Sean and I managed combined. We ran the Ruined Keep scenario, with the four teleporter discs around the table. There was no teleporter action at all for the first half of the game, and then suddenly everyone was doing the teleport trot. I think all three of our wizards wound up with the extra experience points for taking a teleporter ride, actually.

start of game
Start of the game. My chaps centre foreground, Sean’s ogre ladies top left, Corey’s mousling bravos top right. Click for larger.

We’ve decided that for next week’s game we are all going to roll up new wizard bands; now that we’ve had two games we’re all realizing there’s things we’d do differently for both warband composition and spell selection, and we want the chance to explore new setups especially among the huge list of spells available in Frostgrave.

centre of the table
Two of my musketeers skirt the toadstool fairy ring to shoot at ogre ladies in the background. Click for larger.

We’ve got some new scenery on the way, too, with Corey working on more ruin pieces and hopefully getting his cranky 3d printer functional again. I want to start building some ruined towers for the Silent Tower scenario, but need to clear at least some of the current painting and building stuff out of the way first!

Quick Fantasy Scenery

We had our first game of Frostgrave last night, for which I used a few of my 17th C/ECW figures, because why not? As usual, I managed not to get a single photograph during the game.

I’ve decided to go with a “Greengrave/Forestgrave” theme instead of the default Frost- part of Frostgrave, so that we can keep using our current scenery rather than starting from scratch with winter stuff.

fantasy bits
Four “teleportation discs” and a really gnarly looking fairy ring, today’s work. Click for larger.

One of the FG scenarios calls for a quartet of 2″ teleportation discs set up around the board, so I decided to whip those up today. The discs themselves are pink styrofoam, based on scraps of plastic card. Quick and easy scenery, a few hours from start to the current state shown here. They could well serve all sorts of purposes aside from just teleportation discs, and I’m sure they will.

fantasy bits 2
Four pieces of fantasy scatter, closer up. Click for larger.

The other piece I created today started with the resin mushrooms from Bad Squiddo games I got a few weeks ago. I’ve been painting them up whenever I have leftover paint, got them finished today while waiting for the discs above to dry, and decided to put together a really, really gnarly fairy ring that, even more so than most others, you really do not want to enter. That’s a 28mm Frostgrave witch on a 25mm base behind the fairy ring; most of the mushrooms/toadstools are at least waist high on a human.

muschroom ring
Any fairy that comes out of this particular fairy ring is probably not one of the good fairies. At all. Click for larger.

This might feature as some sort of marker in a game eventually, but for now it’s just some colourful scatter terrain to fill in a blank spot on the table and possibly worry players!

We enjoyed our single game of Frostgrave so far, and I’ll try to get a couple of photos tomorrow while we also try to get fewer rules wrong on our second outing!

17th Century Artillery Finally Finished

This pair of guns were ordered from The Assault Group as part of the insanely slow to arrive order of June-September 2017. I finished the artillery crew at least a year ago and the guns have sat on one corner of my painting bench the whole time, cleaned up and dry-fit together but otherwise untouched.

The guns are nicely sculpted and cleanly cast, needing minimal cleanup. I spray primed and did most of the painting before assembling either gun, and on the basis of no research whatsoever decided to do the big culverin with a dark red frame and the smaller lighter falconette in green. Each gun has the body and tail as a single piece cast, the two wheels, and the barrel, and the wheels fit on much better than I’m used to with white metal parts, hardly any nudging of the axle pieces around to get everything square and solid.

17th C guns
Both Assault Group guns, some of the crew, the accessories still being painted in the foreground, and a Warlord Games mounted officer just because. Click for larger.

Nothing fancy about the painting, just a couple shades of Reaper paints, various washes (mostly GW), and a bit of edge highlighting that totally doesn’t show in either of these photos. Ah well.

The eventual plan (once they reopen…) is to get a pair of custom artillery bases lasercut in 2mm MDF by the excellent folks at Warbases that will have round holes for six crew figures to slot into and a flat area for whichever gun is in use, so that the crew aren’t weirdly raised over their gun because they’re based and it isn’t.

Slightly higher angle view of the guns. Click for larger.

I’m still not sure I’ll ever order anything from The Assault Group in the future, but if I do I’ll do it expecting a four to six month wait for my stuff, and rather like these guns, I’ll make sure it’s for figures or bits that I don’t need in any particular hurry or have an actual timetable built around! Given that I have no plans to do large scale 28mm battles in the English Civil War, 30 Years War, or any 17th C-theme gunpowder fantasy equivalent, a mixed pair of guns should be all I’ll need for now!

Loot from Forge of Ice

Forge of Ice is one of those one-person companies that makes all sorts of cool stuff, and after knowing about them for several years I finally got around to making a small order from them a few weeks ago. Most of the fascinating little one person companies are British, but Forge of Ice is in fact based in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Alex, who is the entirety of Forge of Ice, still doesn’t have an actual website but he’s got a Forge of Ice Facebook page, is very responsive by FB Messenger, and has an illustrated catalog thread over on the awesome Lead Adventure Forum as well, which is frankly easier to navigate than Facebook’s chaotic unsearchable nonsense.

Forge of Ice mostly does Lost World style stuff, small dinosaurs, oddball caveman-style accessories and stuff. I’m not doing much Lost World style pulp at the moment, but I have in the past and I’m certain I will in the future. Besides, I could always cross-pollinate my current weird 17th Century stuff with Lost World, couldn’t I? Hmmm…

Anyway, what did I get from the frozen depths of central Alaska? A pair of Snake Priestesses, a batch of five peacocks, a sabertooth tiger rug, and the centrepiece of this little collection, a resin Doom Serpent Idol.

Forge of Ice stuff
My little Forge of Ice order – peacocks, priestesses, a rug (it’ll really tie a room together), a Doom Serpent Idol, and a cool sticker! Click for larger.

The serpent priestesses are elegantly slim 28mm figures, both slender women with large snakes wrapped around their arms and shoulders. I have no immediate plans for them, but they’re awesomely pulpy and clearly need some sort of group of underpriestesses, guards, and temple lackeys to order about in their sneaky attempts to do whatever it is snake priestesses from a Lost World plot to do.

The peacocks are some of the first figures Forge of Ice released, several years ago, and I’m thinking that as well as being just general fancy set dressing, with a couple of house rules they could be mobile alarm units in a Pulp Alley scenario where players are trying to sneak up on a fancy house and don’t dare disturb the peafowl least the damn things scream the place down and alert guards or something! (if you’ve never heard a peafowl scream, they have a glorious bloodcurdling horror movie shriek. It’s awful.) The smaller female peahens and the male peacock with his tail down are both single piece castings; the peacock in full display mode is two pieces. There will need to be a bit of filing and puttying to get the body of the peacock and his tail to match up nicely, but nothing outrageous.

The saber tooth rug was just too much fun to pass up, I suspect I’ll use it as weird decoration in someone’s study or something!

Doom Serpent ido
The gloriously Egyptian-esque Doom Serpent idol, just the thing to be guarded by a couple of serpent priestesses and their flunkies! Click for larger.

The Doom Serpent idol is a fairly serious chunk of fine grey resin, about 3″ tall and just over 2″ wide at the shoulders. I’m really looking forward to painting this one up, I’m thinking a sort of blond/tan sandstone look like we see in Egyptian statues, with some coloured painted bits here and there, will look great.

Hopefully one of these days Alex gets around to getting Forge of Ice an actual website, but in the meantime go have a look at his Lead Adventure thread (you don’t need a LAF account to see it) and ping him by email, by the message service at LAF, or via Facebook Messenger to get your cool weird Lost World loot from the distant north!

Loot From Bad Squiddo

Ordered a few things from the excellent and varied ranges of Bad Squiddo Games back in March; things took longer to get from the UK to here than I’m used to, almost like some major world event is disrupting trans-Atlantic flights or something. However, everything was dispatched from the UK in good time and I am certainly not going to blame Anne of Bad Squiddo or the various postal services involved for a lack of air mail capacity…

I got a fairly mixed bag of stuff. A few ladies that will probably show up mostly as players or civilians in my English Civil War/Weird ECW games, a fine herd of pigs and some farm scenery, a bunch of cats, and some small scenery to add detail here and there, including a whole lot of mushrooms and toadstools for suitably creepy weird fantasy/horror forest bits.

Bad Squiddo haul
Most of the Bad Squiddo haul all laid out. Clockwise from lower left: mushrooms/toadstools, candles, several female characters, cats, fish seller w/ cats, skoggskattar, and finally in front centre a batch of food. Click for larger.

Skoggskattar
Skoggskattar – giant Scandinavian cats. Compare to the 28mm Warlord guy jogging past them on the right right there. Click for larger.

Everything is really cleanly cast and beautifully sculpted. The scenics are mostly by the very talented Ristul and in an interesting slightly flexible grey resin; the white metal sculpts are by a variety of sculptors and all really well done.

Not pictured above is the pigs, my favourite single part of this purchase. I indulged in the Pigtopia bundle deal which got me ten pigs and six bits of pigsty/farm scenery. I’ve already painted the pigs up, basing them in small groups on 40mm bases.

pigs!
Bad Squiddo pigs! Ten pigs, six pieces of pig-related scenery. Click for larger.

I painted the pigs up to vaguely resemble one of the oldest heritage breeds of pig in the UK, a black-and-white breed that I now can’t find or remember the name of. Anyway, they painted up nicely and I look forward to watching them chase players around the table or be part of someone’s provisions on the hoof in a scenario.

painted pigs
Pigs all painted up, all on 40mm bases. Just a bit of greenery to add and they’re all done. Click for larger.

That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.

Dogs & Cats Living Together

(Or, The Workbench This Week, 12 April 2020, also known as the 43rd of Marprilay, Blursday the Somethingth of Pandemic)

Strange times, faithful readers. Strange and stressful, and one of my stress responses is to flit from project to project, starting things and then flitting off before they get very far.

This long Easter weekend, though, I’ve been nudging myself to actually move a few things noticeably closer to actual completion. The first small sign of this is the three critters below, two cats (from Eureka, I think) and a Reaper War Dog finally moved along to the flocking-and-base-detailing stages.

28mm dog and two cats
Two housecats and a war dog. Click for larger.

The cats have been on the edges of my painting table for almost exactly five years now, as my email archives tell me I made the Eureka USA order for them (and other stuff) back in March 2015. There’s another two of them somewhere in the “nominally in progress” mountain somewhere, but this white cat and the orange tabby will have to do for now.

No idea how they’ll be used in games yet… maybe I’ll come up with a Pulp Alley games that involves chasing cats around a quaint English village looking for a clue one of them has attached to their collar. No gunfire, you’ll scare the cats into hiding!

the workbench this week, April 2020
The rest of the workbench. L to R: ECW cav, Renedra building, Frostgrave and ECW plastics, the critters, werewolves, and such! Click for larger.

So what else is on the rest of the workbench, hopefully lurching closer to completion? A whole mix of stuff (surprise…)! I’m quite please with the progress I’ve made on the nice little Renedra Wattle & Daub Outbuilding, some long-neglected ECW cuirassier are seeing basing progress, I’ve been building some Frostgrave wizards and soliders as mentioned in my last post, and the whole mess of werewolves (over on the far right of the photo above) are meandering onward.

Stay home, stay safe, attempt to stay sane, and I hope you and yours are well.

Dogs With Guns

OK, technically dog-men or gnolls with guns. Firelocks, if we want to be really technical.

I started with Frostgrave Gnolls from North Star Figures, having picked up a single sprue frame of gnolls (five of them) from Brigade Games, the North American distributor.

The firelocks are leftovers from the Warlord Games Firelock Storming Party; each figure in that set comes with two complete sets of arms + firelock so you wind up with lots of extra guns.

The gnolls are wider across the shoulders than the Warlord humans, and have longer arms, so I cut at the wrists and re-glued.

gnolls with guns
Gnolls with guns. See text for details. Click for larger.

I’ve now assembled all five gnolls. The leftmost gnoll has a Warlord cavalry sword in one hand, and a cavalry carbine in the other; next is a gnoll with a firelock and an infantry sword at his hip; the middle gnoll is build straight from North Star parts, waving his massive ancestral sword overhead (that might get trimmed down a bit, it really is over the top massive…); fourth along is another firelock gnoll, and finally on the far right a gnoll who’s going to get yelled at by his sergeant for carrying his firelock in such a sloppy way while advancing with a large dagger in his other hand.

I might yet buy an entire box of these guys and do up more units, but for now they’re a fun gunpowder fantasy addition to a game. In Pikeman’s Lament terms they’d either be a Forlorn Hope or Clansmen, depending on your opinion of their actual quality, or possibly Commanded Shot given the generally high level of equipment they’re carrying. In the “English Civil War + magic” game universe I’m slowly developing I suspect gnoll troops occupy the same sort of niche as Irish troops seem to have, being treated as semi-disposable shock troops for the most part.

I’ve got a bunch of work with greenstuff on these guys before they’re going to be ready for painting, but given the current lockdown/physical distancing requirements of our global pandemic situation I don’t suppose there’s any hurry to get them onto the table.

Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane, and try to get some hobby time in as your stress levels allow!

Interesting Times

Well. One minute I was too busy getting ready for a local SCA event mid-March and then Trumpeter Salute 2020 in mid-April to blog about what I was doing… and then the real world intervenes rather abruptly and rudely.

Painting and terrain building hasn’t stopped although it has slowed down. We’re safe and well enough, the cat is enjoying having people around to sit on much more of the day than she’s used to thanks to work from home, and I promise I’ll get actual content up here shortly.

I’ve got some more ships for 1/1200 WW2 coastal naval, some fun stuff for my 28mm fantasy-ECW project, and I’m probably going to be building up a Frostgrave fantasy skirmish warband, because why not?

Stay well, stay safe, do that physical distancing thing, and try not to let work from home drive you insane.

Tiny Ships: A Game of Coastal Patrol

As mentioned last weekend after our game of Narrow Seas, we also wanted to try out Coastal Patrol, available in the Summer 2011 Special from TooFatLardies.

I managed not to take a single photo during either of the two games Corey and I ran today, but nothing about the visible setup we’ve got has changed in a week except that all my 1:1200 scale boats are properly based, on 20mm wide by 40mm long by 1.5mm high clear acrylic bases ordered from Litko.

tiny ships on bases
Tiny ships all based on 20mm wide by 40mm long 1.5mm tall acrylic bases from Litko. Gloss varnish makes great glue for this sort of thing and won’t fog the acrylic the way superglue can. Click for larger.

The first game we ran was very small, a pair of Royal Navy Fairmile D MGBs (Motor Gun Boats) escorting a coastal freighter, under attack by a pair of S-38 mid-war Schnellboote. The S-boats roared in, fired all four of their ready torpedoes at the freighter while taking scattered gunfire from the MGBs, blew up the freighter, and roared off. As they were exiting the board one of the pursuing MGBs ran head-on into a stray mine (Coastal Patrol has a random events table that can be pretty lethally random!) and was blown out of the water.

For the second game we gave the Germans a convoy to escort, a freighter and a tanker somewhere along the coast of France early in the war. They had an armed trawler and two Raumsboote (R-Boats) escorting and were under attack by a quartet of tiny, lightly armed Vosper 73′ MTBs. This game ended in an absolute draw, as nobody lost any ships, although part of this was because we were messing with the Coastal Patrol torpedo rules and concluded that we’d taken them from massively powerful (any vessel struck by a torpedo is considered sunk automatically) down to nowhere near powerful enough because although the trawler and the freighter got hit neither took any serious damage. The Vospers all roared off into the night again, although one of them was taking on water quite badly, pumps just barely keeping up.

For both games we were (just like last weekend’s Coastal Patrol games) ignoring the rules for spotting, target ID, blinds/dummy markers, and all that stuff. I’ll be making some blinds and markers before our next games (of either system) so we can incorporate those rules, which are sure to change the on-table dynamic again.

Narrow Seas vs Coastal Patrol

So, compared to Narrow Seas, what are the rough similarities and differences? CP uses a TFL-style actions-per-activation system, with vessels getting between zero and three actions (diced for) every time their card comes up in the activation deck. This leads to some tense decision making, which I like. Do you maneuver your ship, run damage control, or fire, and at who?

One thing we definitely liked about CP vs NS is that CP’s turning circles are considerably smaller than the NS turning arcs. This makes the vessels feel more agile, and increases the effective size of the table.

CP’s firing is much simpler than the NS system, and involves much less dice rolling. We did seem to miss a lot more with CP than with NS, though, which isn’t really unrealistic with small vessels moving quickly over the water!

There are definitely a few rough spots and gaps in the Coastal Patrol rules. Some of the game mechanics don’t seem to be fully explained (damage from collision/ramming, for example) and although Making Smoke is an available order and Smoke Generators are listed as shipboard equipment on some of the damage tables, there are not in fact any rules for how smoke is intended to work… That said, there is a file of Coastal Patrol house rules out there that fill most of the gaps easily enough, but which I can’t currently find online to provide a link to!

We will be coming back to Coastal Patrol, and might stick with it as our main coastal naval rules, but we’ll have at least one more bash at Narrow Seas as there are definitely some things it does better than Coastal Patrol.

Wargaming & Such (formerly Brian's Wargaming Pages)