Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Goblins of GoblinTown - The Hobbit

I recently managed to get my 3rd submission in Curts, 3rd Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge...

As always click on pics for a larger view.

I burned a bit of the midnight oil and finished off the 36 goblins I have been working on, off and on, since the beginning of the challenge. The quality of the plastic sculpts was very good, and the amount of mould line to scrape away was minimal.

As for painting them up I was in a slight dilemma as to what colour to paint them. They were not going to be classic 'green' as the majority of the Moria goblins are.

In the movie they come across as having a yellowish hue, yet a lot of stock pictures show them with a pale grey skin colour. I can only assume the lighting effect in the movie from the flaming torch-lit caverns of GoblinTown would have cast a yellow colour to their actual pale grey skin.

So I went with the pale grey base tone. After this they had shading washes and heavy drybrushing to set the flesh tones. The loin cloths and equipment were painted up, and finally the disgusting spotty lumps and bumps were given red and purple washes and the yellow spot heads added, just ripe for popping! An adolescent kid would have a field day on these buggers! ;-)

Finally facial features were added, including eyes and teeth/mouths.

I have to confess to the eyes not being the best - normally I do the eyes at the mid point of the models, but with so many washes and dry brushing going on they would probably have got messed up, so I left them to the end.

Typically by which point my fine detail brush had given up the ghost! So with nothing good to hand to dot the pupils I resorted to trimming a cocktail stick to a sharp point and used that!

Not the most accurate way of doing things and some of the eyes went a little off centre, but in the end I think it actually added to the character of the mis-shaped limbs and general ungainly poses. Bases were PVA sand textured and painted and drybrushed.

So I am rather happy with the way they turned out. Suitably loathsome!

So whilst they and their setting are clearly suitably for playing the Hobbit games in Goblin Town... I did have a bit of a lateral thought, with all this Empire of the Dead stuff taking off...

Wouldn't they do wonderfully as evil minions of the Vampire faction? I can just see the underground catacombs below the vampire castle teaming with these little villains... perhaps there to protect the Vampire when he rests in his coffin, and aid the master in his evil plots and plans...

I could run them as a 'thrall' with a hand weapon or improvised weapon, or perhaps make them a little weaker, in stats for a suitable cost reduction?

Above you can see the Vampire Hunters searching out their prey in the catacombs below 'Castle Dracula'  !

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Empire of the Dead - Requiem Kickstarter - roaring success!

Having sucked up the courage to dip my toe in the kickstarter craze, and having a great fondness for this game despite only playing a handful of games, I placed my pledge and managed to grab one of the early bird £75 pledge deals.

After only a few days, the kickstarter has reached over £40,000 in pledges, obliterating the target of £5,000. !

Keeping an eye on the kickstarter page here, and the Westwind Facebook page here, its been tremendous to see what Andy is going to be able to do with the game as its audience of existing and prospective players grows, with new figures, factions, conveyances and rules for these being 'unlocked'.

I am still excited to see the kickstarter continue to grow as it unlocks more stretch goals, effectively rewarding my pledge with further models for my collection (if I understand the kickstarter correctly!?)

So anymore folks still undecided or sitting on the fence with this, now's the time to jump on in! I am sure you wont be disappointed.

On the terrain front, I have often looked at the MDF terrain from Sarissa Precision, and whilst their cityblock range looked good, I wasn't keen on the flat roofs. So I dropped them an email about it, and was pleased to hear back that they are actively working on the range with plans for further expansion and pitched roofs! Great! As these will look far more 'Victorian' to the image in my minds eye...

Also the Legatus blogged this: " The really good news is that North Star are working with 4Ground to make some laser MDF Victorian London houses.  This really is excellent news and will solve my big worry about scenery!", over on his wonderfully eclectic blog; Legatus' Wargames Armies. 

So thats another range of buildings to watch out for!

Exciting times ahead indeed in the realm of VSF/Steampunk!

Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tiger Tiger burning bright!

My second submission to Curt's 3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies painting challenge... A boxed set of 15mm scale Plastic Soldier Company Tiger I E tanks, for Flames of War.

Click on pics for a larger view as always...

The Tiger is probably the most iconic image of WWII, to my mind, and thus a crucial, from a collection point of view, element of my Wehrmacht forces.

[A lot has been written about the Tiger, and here is an interesting starting point for those who may wish to find out more. Thanks to wikipedia.]

And yet in the game, it represents a hefty points investment, in terms of your army list, and quite often, in some respects, a Panther tank could be a better proposition.

But there is no doubting, putting a few Tigers on the table will certainly draw your opponents attention as he decides how he's going to deal with them.

Though I must admit my first outting with them was far from a success as I tried using them to represent Tigers from Kampfgruppe Hummel, from 'Bridge by Bridge' - the new Market Garden supplement from BF for FOW.

Sadly in this guise, they are only 'Confident Trained' and get no 'bells and whistles' -  and predictably they ran into a new up-gunned 17pdr ambush that blew them apart in short order... oh well, you live and learn...Yes I know, where was my recce? Well the list I was using had a support choice that was [armour/recce], I picked the armour as I wanted the StuH 42 breakthrough gun to blow the paras out of their foxholes, but that meant I couldn't take any recce! Dumb list! Who came up with that idea???

The PSC kits are great, and easy to put together, and come with several options to make a themed tank from 'Eary, Mid and Late' production runs. I went with the Mid variety as I game 'MidWar' onwards so would ideally like to field them in a big 'Kursk' style engagement.

I also wasn't a huge fan of the appearance of the Late period road wheels, they just didn't fit the image I have of the Tiger in my minds eye...

The only glitch with the set is there is only 4 tanks in the box, compared to five in the other PSC kits, and that means to run a 'Schwere' Late War Tank Co. I am going to need to find another tank as I'd need a minimum 5 tanks ; 1 HQ Tiger and 2 platoons of 2 tanks...

So not sure how often I am going to get to play them... I envisage them as a divisional support option of 2 tanks cropping up occasionally to support my Panzergrenadiers every now and again, (until I can source the 5th tank...), which means its typically going to be a choice between 3 x Panthers for 560pts or 2 x Tigers for 430pts plus 130pts of 'something else'... decisions, decisions...

I painted them up in my usual three colour camo scheme (how to here), suitable for mid '43 onwards... decals from DOM.

So here's 4 'Big Citties' looking at you down their 88mm tank barrels, not the best place to be on the receiving end of!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Warlord Games - great customer service!

A few weeks ago I caught wind of a sale on at Warlord Games for some items in their Hail Caesar range, and I managed to grab a copy of their Dark Ages/Medieval Army list at 33% off normal RRP.

Sadly when the item arrived the box it arrived in was all bashed in on one corner and badly water damaged in the same area, which had gone through to the box contents, wrecking my book!

Boo hoo sniffle whimper! When I had a closer look at the box, there was a sticker on the outside, apparently added by the mail centre that received the item at Auckland here in NZ, stating basically this is how it arrived in the country...

I got on to Warlord Games and told them what had happened, with the above pics, and they very kindly sent me out another copy free of charge, received safe and sound today!

So 'Bouquet of the Month' goes to Warlord Games, special thanks to Alison Lister.

Kind regards


Wehrmacht Command half tracks and Flamethrowers

Well after a lengthy period, I finally managed to get my first submission in to Curt, for his 3rd Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge...

And no they weren't the Hobbit set of Goblins you may have been expecting...

I had got part way through the Goblins, and then, after a little reminder from a mate about our proposed big Total War FoW game planned for the Easter Weekend, I realised I still had a bunch of FoW stuff I wanted to get completed in time for this...

So, I set to putting together the plastic sets I got from PSC of the 251 Half tracks & their conversion kit, and the set of Tiger I E's ... These were done enjoying the sun sitting out on the deck at the weekend, whilst the evenings it was back to painting goblins...

Once they were assembled though, they got the evening painting time too...

I think it was in part this issue of having several things at once on the go on the painting table, that got me a bit down, as it can seem you are working endlessly with nothing appearing to get finished, and the painting area also starts to get cluttered with unfinished products, which I find rather demotivating...

But thankfully these got finished in reasonable time. I quite like doing vehicles like this as they seem fairly quick to do, though the crews and stowage can be a little fiddly, plus the decal work too.

Well enough rambling, here they are (as always click pictures for a bigger view).

SdKfz 251D/10 Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon Command Half track.

I have long ran my 'half track horde' bristling with machine guns across the board, but whilst deadly against exposed infantry, once the infantry digs in , or the half tracks come across the slightest piece of enemy armour, they are instantly made impotent...

This can in part be helped by the addition of the PaK36 3.7cm Anti-Tank gun to the platoons command vehicle.

In game ; ROF 2, AT 6, FP 4+. Range 16".

Great in theory, but in game terms I am not entirely sure how much use they will be, as this is principally a mobile force, which drops the rate of fire of this main gun when firing on the move, probably making it hardly worth firing. And if I stop to fire it at a better ROF, then I have lost my mobility...

But they look great, and it makes the platoons command vehicle stand out. Yes, I am all for visuals and not so focused and 'game tactics', but hey that's the way I play!

Painted up in my usual three colour camo scheme, making them most suitable for mid 1943 onwards...

The only difficulty I had was the decals as I had already used the platoon command numbers on the original half tracks... I didn't want to but a whole new set of decals to get these few that I needed... So I ended up chopping up others I was not likely to use and then try and line up the bits OK on the vehicles. I think they turned out OK. (Decals from DOM).

So three command half tracks for three combat platoons...

That left two more vehicles to convert from the box... with a choice of 'stummels', 8cm mortar carriers or Flamethrowers. As I already had the stummels and mortars carriers, I went with the Flamethrowers. Again more for the look and variety, rather than the in game tactics, of having a greater number of stummels or mortars... And besides, flamethrowers can be deadly in the right scenario!

SdKfz 251d/16 Flamm

Fitted with two 1.4cm Flammenwerfer.

In game: One shot only! ROF 3(each), FP 6. Range 4"

The flamethrower was a weapon first devised in WWI as part of a way of attacking and reducing enemy strong points during trench warfare. It has remained in that role ever since.

The value in the game is it can hit enemy teams relatively easily (just requiring a skill check, with no modifying to hit), and any infantry, gun teams or 'open topped' armoured or unarmoured vehicles hit are instantly 'killed', with no saving throw, even if 'dug in'. And the enemy platoon is automatically pinned as a result.

So this is their inherent value, in supporting, or opening the way for an assault, automatically killing the front line of defenders, hopefully including HMGs too, pinning the platoon and then allowing you to roll in with the main assault infantry.

Again that's the theory, but any canny player will know what these are capable of, and they are going to end up catching a ton of fire, to try and stop them.

So one intrinsic value in them perhaps becomes as a 'sacrificial' unit, they will take the hits, allowing other units to act unmolested...

... and of course if I can get them in place through guile, cunning, terrain and smoke, so much the better!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Empire of the Dead - Requiem - KickStarter

Kickstarter seems to be all the rage at the moment for launching new things with the pledge support of backers. However it seems it is also being used to expand upon existing ranges... and this is the plan Westwind Productions have to expand upon their Empire of the Dead, Gothic Horrior/Steampunk skirmish game.

I have dipped my toe thoroughly in this game and find it whole heartedly enjoyable. I have collected starting factions for the Gentlemans club including Zendarians (by chance!) and the Vampire Faction! I have only played a handful of games on a simple rural hamlet terrain setting but these have been immensely fun and the idea of embarking on a decent size campaign certainly appeals.

The only problems I had really were first finding some suitable urban terrain (hopefully more in the pipeline of the self build scratchbuild side of things)... and extra models to add to the existing factions to grow your factions accordingly. I didn't really want to buy duplicate sets as that would be a bit dull, so new models are in demand, and this seems on the horizon, in the form of the Kickstarter, due to go live February 14th...

As yet I have yet to back a kickstarter but I will be giving serious consideration to this one...

Over to Westwind:



Empire of the Dead Requiem – Proposed Miniatures Release


What’s it all about?

Requiem is West Wind’s huge miniatures release for its acclaimed Gothic Horror / Steampunk skirmish game, Empire of the Dead.

What’s in the release?

If we are successful, we plan to make over 80 New miniatures, plus 12 New Victorian machines, carriages, steam powered walkers and Time machines, etc.

What scale are the miniatures?

28mm pewter miniatures, on a 30mm round bevelled base. The carriages will be resin and white metal.

What made you choose the Victorian period and Gothic Horror/ Steampunk ?

We have a long history of games and miniatures based in this period, Vampire Wars was our first Victorian game and Empire of the Dead has its roots in this game.

What kind of miniatures can we expect?

If you love the fictional world of the Gothic novel then you will be very familiar with a lot of the characters we have planned for Requiem; ranging from Vampire Counts to Great Detectives, we have them all, plus more ideas too….......

Tell us more about the Victorian Machines.

Victorian streets were filled with people and machines, in fact if you look at old photos of London around the 1880’s, you can’t move for horse drawn vehicles!  You can expect a London Omnibus, a Hansom Cab, a Victorian horse drawn Fire Engine and a lot more……….

What about the Steampunk stuff?

We have an ingenious Time Machine, ala H.G. Wells, a Steam Powered Exo-skeleton, a Spirit Canon, a steam powered Gyro-copter and many more……...

Why have you gone to Kickstarter?

Its fairly simple, you have to keep up with the times.  We want to fund the out sourcing of our mould making. Currently Andy Cooper splits his time between mould making and sculpting. This is really slowing us down and we need to find a different way to bring our products to market in a more timely manner.

What can we expect from West Wind in the future?

As far as Empire of the Dead is concerned, we have a third part planned. We think it’s a great twist on the traditional Steampunk background but you will have to wait and see.

Can we expect to see Requiem releases in the game stores?

Yes, we are planning on having six new boxed sets on release this summer. However, you will not see any new stuff in shops before we fulfil the pledges to our backers made on Kickstarter.

So is every model made?

No absolutely not, the range is about 40% done. You will see a lot of concept stuff on the Kickstarter. We will be posting up some video updates on where the newest sculpts are up to, and if we achieve our funding, Andy will be freed up to get on and sculpt the rest of the range.

West Wind Contact Details

Please feel free to ask us any questions throughout the Kickstarter, or indeed, if you have any ideas of your own to help things along, we would love to hear about them.  If you need to contact us, please do so via email to or phone on 01457 879330.


So Gothic Horror, Steampunk fans I hope that has wet your appetites at little, at the new wholesome goodness due to come from Westwind. I also hope this means we will get rules for horses and the carriages they propose in the kickstarter!


[update - KICKSTARTER link here: ]

[another update - another batch of early bird deals were added to the kickstarter a couple of days after the launch as the first batch was sold out so quickly as US customers had lost the chance to grab these - so have another look for current deals!] 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hobby Funk!

For some reason I feel in a bit of a hobby funk at the moment... I haven't blogged much, and my perusal of blogs I follow and comment on has fallen off of recently. So I apologise to the gaming blogging community for my apathy..

The year seemed to start well with the Hobbit starter set arriving and getting me all excited to get it painted up.

I created a basic Goblin Town terrain board, and set to painting up the Goblins as part of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. I got them about half done, but seemed to lose focus and interest... and opened up my pack of PSC half tracks and their conversion kits and set to making these up (mostly sitting out in the sun trimming and gluing with beer in hand, as I find it hard to spend weekend summer time inside painting). After completing their assembly, I then set to work making the PSC Tiger I kits I got at the same time as the half tracks. These went together well, and painting was commenced on these - painting is easy, a quick base coat spray , some camo stripes and a wash and you are virtually done...

And since I've been actively playing FoW for just about 18 months now, there will always be a quick and ready use for them!

But this weekend I hit a brick wall in my FoW-ing... 

 I have never been the best player, scraping out an odd win here and there in a mass of defeats, and as Paul summed up very well, in his article here; (written I suspect for my benefit), these defeats, whilst good to learn from, can also be somewhat demoralizing over time. Even Paul admitted to sulking once after I actually managed a rare victory over him. Sadly, I end up sulking just about every week! Not good for the mental state of affairs!

After Paul kindly offered to host me to a learning game, I had the usual occur; my dice were crap, while Paul seemed to pass every save that was important. Thus crushed again by either crap tactics, crap dice, or both... I slinked off home... wrestled with my thoughts, couldn't sleep, got up and thrashed about on EasyArmy at 2am, gave up and went back to bed... Got up feeling equally frustrated and decided 'bollox', I don't need to feel this way, just give it up...

So I ended up pulling out of Pauls FoW tournie that is only a week away. Yes I feel crap dropping Paul in it like this, but I think I'd feel even worse after screwing up in the tournie, so self preservation has kicked in, for my mental state...

I'll probably come back to it in time and have no plans to sell off my collection. I still like the game, the look and feel, the rules for the most part too. I still like the look of my troops for the game, (the German 'war machine' has always held a fascination for me, and the history of its action and ultimate defeat), and the time commitment getting them done would be poorly recompensed in a sale. So they will remain in the display case until I feel my Germans are worth dusting off again... and have a hope in Hell of getting a win...

So what next?

A change is as good as a rest they say... when I think back to gaming I really enjoyed I recall my Warmaster days from many years ago... Step forward to present and we have Hail Caesar and Black Powder, both rule sets derived from Warmaster, with their subtle differences reflecting scale and theatre of action.

So having recently received the Dark Ages/Medieval supplement for Hail Caesar from Warlord Games sale, my son and I broke out my medieval collection that has been gathering dust for many years, and set to with a balanced English Barons War 'civil war' loosely themed game.

So far we've got about part way through and done a few things wrong while I try and get used to the rules, and their differences from Warmaster and Black Powder, but its been fun and entertaining.

If it goes well, I'll try and get a brief battle report up on blog, as I have taken a few pics along the way.

As for painting, well I'll plod on and try and clear the back log on my painting table, finish the half tracks and Tigers anyway, and the Hobbit set, hopefully before the deadline end of the painting challenge, and see what comes up next... I made a start trimming and assembling my c18th WSS figures for Black Powder, from Wargames Factory. There's something wonderfully romantic about this period with their tricorne hats and frills, and no nonsense warfare, no messing about with skirmishers and squares, just get up there and give them what for ol' chap!

So that's more or less it for now though it still leaves me pondering about our hobby in general, and the mix of people who do it...

It has led me to conclude there are roughly 3 types of hobbyist:

The Gamer:
These chaps know the game rules inside out and the tactics of the game off by heart, and can probably look several moves ahead like some kind of chess champ. They probably manage a reasonably average level of dice luck too making them worthy tournament adversaries.

The Player:
These folks have a fair idea of the rules, and a general idea of what will work tactically, but are perhaps far for masters of the art! Their dice luck may not the best overall, and the combination of these two factors probably makes them bottom of the pile in the tournament stakes.

The Painter:
Loves the pomp and circumstance and look of the game, rather than the game play itself! Luck is rarely a factor! Wouldn't know where to sign up for a tournament!

In these rankings I am somewhere in the middle I guess, and I assume these are over generalisations, but its been fun pondering this dilemma, and perhaps will get me part way out of this current funk!

Best regards to all and thanks for reading my inane witterings.


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