Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gothmog - Castellan of Minas Morgul

Gothmog, the Castellan of Minas Morgul. A great orc of fearsome reputation, and guile on the battlefield.

Here on foot and mounted on ferocious warg.

A very themed commander of the forces from Mordor that issued forth from the 'wraith city of Minas Morgul, Tower of Sorcery, at the time of the War of the Ring. Bringing his forces into the ruined city of Osgiliath, and with stealth across the Anduin, and onwards across the Pelenor to lay siege to the great city of Minas Tirith.

In the game a very strong battlefield epic hero, capable of great feats of generalship and heroics. Much debated on forums too!

I have to say sadly, of all the representations of characters from the book PJ made for the movie, I think only Gothmog displeased me. I couldn't help but think thoughts of 'elephant man' and 'piggy-orc', and 'gimp'!
Why have such a strong fighter and battler, with a gimpy malformed arm? And as for fighting ability his on screen action against Eowyn was positively pathetic, my ol' granny could have beaten him...

Galadhrim Knights

The Galadhrim Knights. Beautiful elven cavalry, of the Galadhrim from Lothlorien.

Equipped with the fearsome elven glaive, and may also be given either shield or longbow.

I have to admit, I like the similarity to the Samurai in their style, which I found quite noticeably after watching The Last Samurai, with Tom Cruise. Especially the mounted longbow armed riders. There is definitely an oriental feel to these troops, which I think mirrors the elite status of both the Elves and Samurai, in warfare.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Napoleonic Wargaming with Black Powder

Today I hosted a game of Napoleonic war-gaming using the Black Powder rules by Rick Priestley.

I must first admit that when I say hosted, that really I just provided the room, table and terrain, as my quantity of owned and painted ready troops is rather small compared to the awesome quantity and quality of figures shown on these pictures, as provided my gaming partners:

Reg Newell travelled over from Upper Hutt, Brian Smaller and his son Alex, came down from Wanganui, Brett Mudgeway from Te Horo, Terry Swain from Wellington and myself and Roly Hermans from Paraparaumu.

The battlefield as seen from the British left flank, with from L to R : Terry, Alex and Brian

We played the game on my 12' x 6' table and deployed each side 18" in.

We had a large French force from Terry and Brian, assisted by Italian allies from Brett, facing off against Russians from Reg, and British with allied Spanish and Portugese from Roly and in a very small way, myself.

The British cavalry on the left flank charge towards the Italian infantry who had the temerity to form squares!

On the French side, Brett with his Italians was on their right flank, Terry their centre and Brian on their left flank.

On the 'good guys' side ;-), Reg and his Russians were on our right flank, with Roly commanding the centre with a mixture of British, Portuguese and Spanish, and myself on our left flank.

The Allied centre trying to hold off the French columns

It has to be said that a couple of newbies to the rules plus a couple of not very experienced and a couple of 'rusties' meant that initially play was not too quick, with much flicking back and forth through the rules, but we got there in the end, and were making reasonably rapid progress towards the end of play. Its a fairly straight forward and easy to play rule-set, but as with anything if you are new to it, or haven't played for a while, and have become confused with rules from other rules sets, things can get a little muddled.

But I think on the whole we did admirably.

Russian hordes advance on the French in their field enclosures

Brian and Reg soon squared off and their cavalry were rampaging back and forth across their flank. Brett and I squared off, and his dang Italians managed to steal the village and its public house from under my nose, and proceded to be just about impossible to dig out! Lets just say I think the Italians like their vino too much to give up the pub without a damn good fight.

Meanwhile my cavalry managed to advance into the face of infantry forming squares and cannon fire, which eventually caught them with nowhere to go and they eventually retired the field after suffering sufficient casualties. The village remained in Italian hands.

A view from the Allied right, showing hordes of Russian cavalry and infantry

The French columns ground forward in centre in the face of cannon fire and British rocketry. Although suffering a few set backs, their pressure began to tell and the British and their Hispanic allies began to fall back.

The French Centre advances

The Russian hordes piled on the pressure, but the French infantry managed to hold on in their field enclosures...

British cannons and rockets try to stall the French advance

All in all, I think by the time we called it a day, the tide was definitely in the French favour, and another turn or two would have seen it become decisive

The French hold off the Russians

A great game with an enjoyable rule-set, and wonderful compatriots to enjoy the game with.

The British try to hold off the French
Looking forward to the next game..

Russian and French cavalry clash

I must start painting up more Napoleonic troops!

A view from the Allied left flank looking down the battle line
A successful showing from the Kapiti Fusiliers.

and another

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Mouth of Sauron

The Mouth of Sauron.

"At its head there rode a tall and evil shape, mounted upon a black horse, if horse it was; for it was huge and hideous, and its face a frightful mask, more like a skull than a living head, and in the sockets of its eyes and in its nostrils there burned a flame. The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man. The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dur he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: 'I am the Mouth of Sauron.' But it is told that he was a renegade, who came of the race of those that are named Black Numenoreans; for they established their dwellings in Middle-earth during the years of Sauron's domination, and they worshipped him, being enamoured of evil knowledge. And he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again, and because of his cunning he grew ever higher in the Lord's favour; and he learned great sorcery, and knew much of the mind of Sauron; and he was more cruel than any orc."

"He it was that now rode out, and with him came only a small company of black-harnessed soldiery, and a single banner, black but bearing on it in red the Evil Eye. Now halting a few paces before the Captains of the West he looked them up and down and laughed"

" 'Is there anyone in this rout with authority to treat with me?' he asked. 'Or indeed with wit to understand me? Not thou at least!' he mocked turning to Aragorn with scorn. 'It needs more to make a king than a piece of elvish glass, or a rabble such as this. Why any brigand of the hills can show as good a following!' "

"Aragorn said naught in answer, but he took the other's eye and held it, and for a moment they strove thus; but soon, though Aragorn did not move hand to weapon, the other quailed and gave back as if menaced with a blow. 'I am a herald and ambassador, and may not be assailed!' he cried"

"Where such laws hold,' said Gandalf, 'it is also the custom for ambassadors to use less insolence. But no one has threatened you. You have naught to fear from us, until your errand is done. But unless your master has come to new wisdom, then with all his servants you will be in great peril' "

From The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Book Five, The War of the Ring, The Black Gate opens.

A great scene and one of my favourites from the book. Sadly only in the extended version of the movies, and whilst I love the portrayal of this dread character, and his delightfully menacing voice, I am just a little saddened that he is so summarily executed by Aragorn. Still I guess Aragorn was a bit peeved at this point in the movie, and could hold his temper no longer!

The Mouth of Sauron also makes a very interesting and themed option for Mordor armies.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The White Council

Also known as the Council of the Wise. Composed of prominent elves and wizards, the council first met in 2463 of the Third Age, and continued to meet until 2953. Its mission was to investigate and discern the rise of an evil power in the West. This power turned out to be Sauron returned, in the form of the Necromancer of Dol Guldur, located in the south western eaves of Mirkwood, which was once known as Greenwood the Great.

The figures presented here are those from the now discontinued boxed set and feature:

Saruman the White, Head of the Order of Wizards.

Thranduil, elven king of the Woodland Realm in Northern Mirkwood. Father of Legolas.

Glorfindel, Lord of the West. Here presented in heavy elven armour.

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien. Here presented in her 'war form', as shown when she displays her power in the movie, to Frodo, when he consults with her at the Mirror of Galadriel.

Cirdan, Elven Shipwright and Master of the Grey Havens, also known as Mithlond.

Erestor. Noldorin elf and presented here as Captain of the Rivendell Guard in heavy elven armour.

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