Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mantic Ghouls

Just finished 20 Mantic ghouls, like Art warned they are a bit tricky to rank up, but the poses are very animated. Considering there are only 2 upper and lower bodies and 3 heads on the sprue, it is possible to make quite a range of poses by varying the combinations of parts and posing them at different angles and attitudes. There are also clever, dagger and Freddy Kruger hands to swap for more variety:

I will probably run these as 2 units of 10 in my Vampire Counts army, serving a role as throw-away flankers for larger blocks of skellies.

Next: Zombies

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mantic skeletons

I just finished 60 Mantic skellies, formed into 2 units of 30 warriors. This will be a big part of the core of my VC army. I like the models a lot.

There is one unit of 30 with hand weapons:

And a second unit with spears:

I am undecided how to run these guys, skellies don't have overwhelming stat lines, so I have also considered running them as a horde, a single unit of 50-60 bodies. Not sure yet. 50-60 skellies with a vampire and wight BSB will be a formidable thing on the table, but also a juicy target for big spells like Dwellers Below or Final Transmutation. I also like having more manouever options with smaller units....

Next up: ghouls and zombies.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ghouls and Zombies

Some shots of a few test models painted today. I like these, went with grey-green for ghouls and pale flesh for zombies. Otherwise they could get mixed up...can't have that...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mantic undead mania!

I finally received my Undead Army Deal from Mantic this week, what an awesome package! The box is jammed full of goodies

Includes over 100 skellies, ghouls and zombies, enough to fill out the core of a Vampire Counts army, my next WHFB project. I could barely wait to start on these beauties, so here are the first 10 skellies off the assembly and painting line:

I can't seem to get away from blue-red colour palettes. In this case it is quite a faded blue and the red is quite dirty brown. I think these are super models, what I like:

- easy assembly, 2-4 parts per model
- lots of options and weapon choices
- very clean sculpts, nice animation, little clean up needed

Nothing about these not to like. I really liked the Zvezda stuff, but it was nuts to put together with like 20 parts per model (separate wrist bones even!), and the GW stuff is okay. Mantic ghouls and zombies are better. Last night I assembled a few of those for a test paint maybe tonight. Here's a shout out to Art who I ran into on bartertown (while looking for VC characters and rares) and thanks for the advice about how ghouls can be tricky to pose for ranking. Another nice feature of the Mantic stuff is that every model has a small circular integral base that fits into a circular hole in the square 20mm base. It make it easy to alter model facing and positions to facilitate ranking up nicely.

Buy Mantic, support these guys, this stuff is the dogs bollocks and it is inexpensive, but not cheap (if you know what I mean, it is a quality product)!

In other news, kid 1 had a birthday this weekend at the Edmonton Humane Society (they do an awesome kids party package, with a tour, crafts, and animals to pet) the missus made a cake:

and cat 4 (Prince Harry) was the model for it:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

DBA Crusades kicks off

Tonight our DBA Crusades campaign kicked off and we had 6 players starting out.

I played Seljuk Turks (III/73a) Sultanate of Rum with my starting city at Konya
Mark played Late Crusaders (IV/17) starting at Acre
Dennis played Syrians (IV/6) starting at Antioch
Chen played Komnenan Byzantines (IV/1) starting at Byzantium
Terry played Ayyubid Egyptians (IV/20) starting at Cairo
Barry played Fatimid Egyptians (II/65) starting at Damietta

It was a funny night, there seemed to be a lot of 6s and 1s rolling around everywhere, so despite the armies being fairly balanced, and most of us having relatively little experience with these new armies, there were some pretty lopsided outcomes:

In the first round:

Crusaders over Fatimids 4-1
Syrians over Seljuks 4-2
Ayyubids over Byzantines 4-3

I can only comment on my own game, it nearly gave me an aneurysm with frustration. I had outflanked the Syrians with light horse and bagged two early elements to lead 2-0. Then a disastrous round of 2-2 and 2-1 combats in which I rolled 2s to Dennis' 5s and 6s left me down 3-2 and my left hook dangling in the breeze. Another element soon followed and my head almost exploded with frustration- DBA is starting to drive me crazy, it can turn so quickly on a few dice rolls. Light horse armies are especially unforgiving to a few bad rolls. You need to manouever, so a bad pip roll or two in a row can leave your horsies stalled and exposed, but also the fact that they are only +2 means that they die like flies when the dice are against you. Especially with these army match-ups where there are lots of bow, knight and cavalry to stay away from.

The second round was even more lopsided:

Seljuks over Fatimids 4-3
Syrians over Byzantines 4-0
Crusaders over Ayyubids 4-0

Again, I can only comment on my game. In this case, I again got around the opponents flank and rear, but quickly went down 0-3 after repeated horrendous rolls- I even lost an element when I was up 2-1 with door closed on a 1-6 roll. At this point I gave up and threw cavalry and knights into a wall of bows as a forlorn hope and low and behold, won the game on a series of quick kill overruns. I suppose the lesson is just to play by the seat of the pants, damn the math.

At the end of the game, Byzantines remain at kingdom size 2 (1 territory, 1 city) and Seljuks kingdom size 3 (2 territories, 1 city)

The Syrians (blue flags) are in good shape with kingdom size 8 (6 territories and 2 cities) as are the Crusaders (black flags) with kingdom size 9 (5 territories and 4 cities)

And down in Egypt, the Ayybuds have kingdom size 3 (2 territories 1 city) and the Fatimids kingdom size 2 (1 territory and city).

Until next time, when the rest of us need to take those Syrians and Crusaders down a peg or two...

In other news, I finished a unit of dragoons which are a mixture of Warlord, Foundry, Old Glory and some really nice Dixon figures I picked up on sale last month. The Dixon were a nice surprise (most of the dismounted cavalry here) and I wish there were more to be had.

I am getting close to working out a scenario for the campaigns of Montrose, still reading about Aldearn and Kilsyth as potenial battles to try to model, they were both messy, scrappy affairs.

Monday, April 4, 2011

War in the Pacific

I tried out some paint schemes for USMC for a future project on the Peleliu campaign. I would like to run a series of connected skirmish scenarios some time later this year using the Operation Stalemate II scenario book and Disposable Heroes. I tried painting some Revell plastic marines which are okay, albeit with the usual plastic foibles (flat awkward poses, inevitable flash, poor mix of weapons, etc...):

These are probably the best USMC plastics around, that's not saying much, so I have secured some metals in a Bartertown exchange. The choices for Japanese are actually very good in plastic right now, I have a pile of Esci, Airfix and Matchbox kicking around, and Waterloo recently released some excellent new sets that are surprisingly 3-dimensional.

Now, I just need to wait the requisite 40-50 days or so it seems for anthing to arrive in the post (WTF! I'm waiting 2 weeks for something from Ontario now! %$%$@%#$^@$!!!). Over the weekend I ordered a box of plastic IJA artillery from Taiwan and plastic palm trees from China. I wager they get here before stuff from Ontario and the US ordered earlier.

Bretonnian beat-down

Mark brought his Bretonnians over for another round of WHFB this afternoon and it was a bloodbath. I'm not sure if the lady abandoned him or his army list is paper to my elven scissors.

My list featured a lvl 4 High Magic and lvl 2 Metal wizards, tooled up with book of Hoeth, banner of sorcery and the annulian crystal. Nasty magic phases. I am starting to like High Magic as a lore, all the spells are useful, they are easily cast, and the list is versatile. Metal is a killer against Brets though, and Mark was horrified in game 1 when Final Transmutation went off and he lost 4 knights and a prophetess turned to gold on the first turn. Very deadly spell.

We replayed the game, and the second time around it went a little better for him since Final Transmutation only killed knights, but the speedy elven cavalry got behind his lances and shredded his bows, while his knight were afraid to charge
swordmasters and were pummeled by magic.

Brets really need Life magic to buff and save knights, but he also doesn't have any special or rare units to play around with either. Big blocks of knights are juicy targets for smug elven mages carrying around the book of Hoeth. Lore of Metal is like krytonite against knights as well. Feeling better about facing Daemons next, now that I am getting the hang of these pointy ears and dirty tricks.