Saturday, October 9, 2010

Warlord's Quick Shade

Spurred by Phil's great blog, I decide it was about time I try the Quick Shade technique. So I ordered some Strong Shade from While Phil brushes his Quick Shade on the miniatures, I decided to try the dip method. I looked around to see what figures were "expendible" and found these GW Bowmen which I had primed some time ago.

So...I painted them in solid colors with no attempt at shading.

The colors used were very simple; all paints were from the Reaper Master Series.

Flesh - Fair Skin 09047, bows and arrow shafts - Green Ochre 09128, tunics - Blood Red 09003/Leaf Green 09011/Sandy Yellow 09192, hoods - Blood Red 09003/Sandy Yellow 09192, leggings - Aged Bone 09059, leather belts/bags/shoes - Mahogany Brown 09037, metal bits - Pure Black 09037 (undercoat) and Tarnished Steel 09206, arrow fletching - Polished Bone 09060. If you were counting, that was only eight colors per figure.

Here are the figures after dipping and drying for a couple of hours.

Following the directions, I let these cure overnight before I painted (Field Green 09167), flock the bases and Dull Coat the figures.

Well, I Dull Coated the figures this morning and, for the second time, was disappointed with the results. The first time was a few years ago when I sprayed a bunch of LotR figures and they came out looking like they were dipped in flour. Same thing happened this morning. The only thing I can think of is that Dull Coat works in a very narrow band of temperature and humidity. Anyhow, I saved them the same way I did before. I used bottled Testors Gloss and Semi-gloss to coat the figures. The results are satisfactory. Here are the finished figures.

04 Testors Semi-gloss

In real life the figures are no where near as shiny as they appear in the photo (miniature photography isn’t the point of this article so I didn’t spend time on getting really good pictures).

In the end analysis, I am satisfied that the Quick Shade product and the dip technique is a very efficient way to get a lot of figures on the table PDQ. Actual painting time, minus drying time and other delays, was about 20 minutes. However, I was painting one-offs. It wouldn’t have taken much longer to paint twenty in a production line manner. Make no mistake, I’m certainly not going to win any Golden Demon awards with this technique, but the rapidity of figure painting from box to table may get my piles of LotR and WHFB plastics out of storage.

My main goal with this experiment was not to write this article, rather, it was to see whether this would be a good way to quickly paint the vast amount of Warlord romans I’ve acquired. I have to say that the answer is a firm “Yes” to that question.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Work Space

Here you see my new bench and file cabinet.

The file cabinet if Office Depot brand and, unlike the Staples brand, is painted inside and out, and cost $139. The bench is from Lowes and slots together like a bed frame. The only screws are a few nuts and bolts to hold the peg board in place. It cost $79 at Lowes. I put rubber castor cups under each leg to protect the carpet with cost an addition $1.29 for the set of four at Lowes. Curiously enough, the brand name of the bench is “Waterloo” and the kit comes with a decal—how could I not affix it? The mesh baskets (a set of the three you see) were $10, the loops for hanging pliers were four for $.95 (I bought two packages), and the stool was $10. These were all bought at Wal-Mart. Just in case you haven’t been keeping up, that was a total cost of $348. Of course, almost half of that was the file cabinet. Yikes, those things are expensive! Still, I’m thinking about getting another file cabinet. A short one to put next to the bench on the right side to provide additional file space (I filled the four-drawer in a heartbeat with gaming junk—I need some file space for normal junk) and it would add some additional flat space.

On top of the file cabinet is the complete Reaper Master Paint series, the complete line of Adikolor paints, and a ton of Vallejo Napoleonic, WWII colors and oddments. The tall green bottle is cheap Apple Barrel paint from Wal-Mart; the base coat color for my basing. What you actually see on the table are the Navigator Carthaginians. The riders have had the Xyston leaf tipped spears affixed and holes drilled to accept pinning to the horses. The horses are all drilled to accept pins. I’m still debating whether to affix the shields before priming or not. The elephants are assembled and joints have been epoxy puttied and blended. The howdahs are taped together and the epoxy inside the joints is curing.

All, in all a very productive weekend. I knocked out a major chunk of my Systems Engineering on-line course, bought and assembled the bench, bought and filled the file cabinet. I even did some work on the Carthos!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Legends of the High Seas

Legends of the High Seas
Adapted by Tim Kulinski
Produced by Warhammer Historical Wargames
Published by BL Publishing, 2008
Product Code 60049986012
ISBN 978-1-84416-497-4

(all images are taken from the rule book and are copyright Games Workshop LTD)

Please note that I erroneously reported that only two crew lists were provided. Indeed, as pointed out by Chris Walkley and Tim Kulinski, there are three. The appropriate paragraphs have been corrected.

A while back a friend reawakened a dormant interest in The Three Musketeers. A rare deal with a retailer cutting back on inventory netted most of the Redoubt range at a price I couldn’t refuse. Of course, now that I own a ton of lead, the search was on for a suitable set of rules. Did I mention that very same friend got me interested in pirates last year? He’s a member of the Old Glory club and has no interest in pirates so he gave me all the monthly releases. Naturally, I needed to buy a ton of Old Glory pirates to go along with the captains. My plan was to have Legends of the High Seas do double duty. If the rules were suitable then there should be little need of alteration to play a musketeers game. There is no difference between swinging on a line from ship to ship and swinging from a chandelier. The only thing to be done is to define the characters or simply adopt them from Un Pour Tous, nice fan produced adaptation of Legends of the Old West to The Three Musketeers which can be found at: As soon as I was able to find a copy of Legends of the High Seas I snapped it up. What follows is my opinion of what I found between the covers.

The overall quality of the book is typical of the high standards of Warhammer Historical. Pages are formatted with a full-bleed background image that doesn’t impair the readability of the text at all. The font weight and size are easily read. Many photographs appear to illustrate points in the printed text; they appear close to the rules they are illustrating. Post processing of the photographs to add arrows, highlights, etc., are appropriate and not over-done. These photographs are not only instructional, they are inspirational as well. I looked for a citation of the photographer but didn’t find one. That’s a shame, there really should be one.

(Excellent illustrative photographs)

That being said, there is a major flaw in the book’s quality and that is the “artwork” representing pirates throughout. These pictures appear to be computer rendered (badly, I might add) game characters. I really can’t say enough about how bad this poor excuse for art is. Not only is the art bad, but the obvious lack of basic Photoshop skills are there for all to see. Even the cover art violates just about everything one learns as a high school freshman art student. The lighting direction is inconsistent, the blending is nonexistent, and there is not thought given to perspective. The artwork in this book is so poor that it is distracting and makes it hard for the reader to ignore the eyesores to read the text. I know these are not high profit books so I can only wonder why the publisher didn’t ditch the failed artwork and buy a $20 Dover royalty free nautically themed clipart CD. It would have been cheaper and would have improved the appearance of the book immeasurably.
(An example of substandard artwork)

However, while the photographs are instructional and art is supposed to provide visual appeal, they are garnish for the main course. It is the rules which are the meat and potatoes. It is no secret that I like The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game designed by Rick Priestly. His heroic skirmish game is a solid performer. Thus Legends of the High Seas, being based on those rules, inherits a well tested system. Shortly after these rules were announced, the Forward was released as a preview. I was somewhat taken aback by the acknowledgement of Mark Latham’s adaptation of the The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game rules, Legends of the Old West, without even a head nod to the originator, Rick Priestly. While the Forward has remained unchanged, the page of acknowledgements clearly gives credit to Rick Priestly as the designer of the fundamental game.

But enough of that, I’m sure that you, gentle reader, are anxious to find out something about the game rules themselves, especially if you are unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game or Legends of the Old West. Hold on tight, this is going to be a whirlwind tour. Oh, one more thing, I’ve not tried to address every rule in detail, this is a survey in broad strokes.

Ok, now we can start…

The rules are simple and straightforward. Since they are skirmish rules, games are intended to use few figures per player. Too many figures would become too much for an average player to control and still maintain the quick pace intended and, therefore, the level of enjoyment. Each figure is classified as a ‘henchman’ or a ‘hero’; all have a set of characteristics comprised of: Shooting (S), Fighting (F), Strength (St), Defense (D), Attacks (A), Wounds (W), and Courage (C). Heroes have two additional characteristics: Fame (FA) and Fortune (FT); these will see more of later in detail as they are a fundamental part of the game. For now let’s concern ourselves with the common set of characteristics.

These characteristics perform as one might intuitively expect in a game of this nature. They either determine a target number for a die roll, provide a value for a look-up table, or specify how many attacks can be made or wounds absorbed. For instance the Shooting value is the target number to make or beat on a single die roll to determine a ‘hit’. The weapon’s strength and the target’s Defense are then used to reference a table to find the target number for another die roll to actually cause a wound. The number of wounds is subtracted from the figures Wound number; when it reaches zero, the figure is removed. The Courage value is used as a target number to see if the figure sticks around in various circumstances. This brings me to a short a description of the combat process. For those who are unfamiliar with The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game or Legends of the Old West close combat it works like this: Two or more opposing figures in base to base contact are in close combat. Players roll one die for each point of Attack value for the figures in contact. Note that this has the potential to get messy as many figures can be in contact at the same time in a big scrum such as a boarding action. The way to approach these situations, by rule, is to divide up the combats so that they are as evenly distributed as possible (there is a good photograph of this in the book that players would do well to study). All dice are rolled and compared (not totaled!). The side with the highest single die wins the combat. If it’s a tie, then the figure with the highest Fight value wins. If the two sides are still even, then the two sides simply dice off to determine the winner. The loser backs way from the winner and the winner gets to dice for damage. Damage is assessed similar to shooting except that the winner’s Strength is compared to the loser’s Defense on a table to determine the target number to cause a wound. Melee weapons are modifiers to the ‘to hit’ roll (weapon encumbrance) and to the damage roll. At first blush it would seem that this combat system would never work because it seems too random and thus evenly matched. In fact, though, it works amazingly well in practice because this is a game of heroes and as we are about to see, heroes have what it takes to tip the scales and win battles. What it takes is heroes’ Fame and Fortune.

Fame is a characteristic which only a hero can have. Fame points are spent to adjust a die roll up or down as appropriate. For instance, a hero dices against an opponent to resolve a close combat situation and he loses. The hero may expend Fame points, to a limit, to raise his die score to equal the opponent if his Fight characteristic is better than this opponent or exceed it if not and win the fight. The opponent, however, if he is also a hero, may do the same. These decisions are made after the dice rolled so a hero on hero fight could end up in a bidding contest leaving both heroes’ Fame expended with resolution decided by a dice off. However, Fame is precious; it does not get replenished during the game and it serves, as we shall see, to fuel another critical game mechanic. A hero could very well choose to lose a combat and take the risk of having to absorb a wound in order to save his Fame for a critical juncture later on in the game.

Similarly, Fortune is also expended during the game. However, Fortune is expended by a player for the chance to dice to recover wounds. Spending a Fortune point entitles the player to roll on a Wound recovery table. Note that Fame points can be used to modify the die roll (this is one of the reasons that a player might not want to use up all the Fame in winning melees). A figure, though, whose wounds have been reduced to zero and his Fortune is expended, has met his demise and is consigned to Davy Jones Locker. While Fame and Fortune work closely together to keep a hero in the fracas, Fame is also important in another way.

Fame points can also be expended to override the normal turn sequence. There are “Heroic Actions” which may be performed such as getting a volley off before the opponent, rallying a group to charge, and gaining the initiative for a melee round.

As you can see, with their Fame and Fortune along with a tendency to have more Wounds, Defense and higher Fight values than henchmen, heroes rule the game. Legends of the High Seas, like its parent game, The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game and its sister adaptation Legends of the Old West is all about the heroes. Other figures are important (enough henchmen can bring a hero down or, at least, weaken him significantly) and heroes aren’t so powerful as to be able to win without their henchmen.

So far, to this point, everything has been pretty much the same as The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game and Legends of the Old West. You might be asking yourself, “So what about the ‘pirate-ity’ stuff?” Added to the basic game mechanics, already containing mechanisms for leaping over things and climbing (with its obvious opposite, falling!), is swinging from ropes and swimming. Again, for those familiar with the parent rules, suffice it to say that they work the same and skip the next paragraph. For those less familiar, read on.

The success of these attempted actions, i.e. jumping, climbing, swinging and swimming, is determined by a die roll against a table. The score on the die is referenced on a table to determine the level of success or failure. The tables are all constructed similarly so they are easily recalled after one or two uses. Low is bad and high is good. Readers should note that this roll is yet another instance where the ability of a hero to modify a die roll might be put to good use. Creative players should be able to classify just about any action into one of the four categories given. Pulling off the Errol Flynn (or The Goonies, if you’re of a later generation) feat of stabbing a sail with a cutlass and riding the rending sail to the deck could easily be classified by cooperative players as a “climb” and be resolved as such. A hero attempting such a feat could use his Fame to modify the die roll if need be and deftly accomplish it with appropriate panache while yelling, “Hey, you guys!” and munching a Baby Ruth.

(An inspiring photo)

Weapons are used to shoot, affect the probability of winning a fight and to wound. As one would expect, weapons are pretty simple in a pirate game. Firearms are primitive and generically treated as is appropriate for this level of game. For shooting there are pistols, muskets, blunderbusses (shotguns) and grenades. For melee there are improvised weapons, clubs, swords, and pole arms. I won’t go on about weapons beyond saying that the level of definition of weapons is appropriate for this game. Any more detail, and the game would be an unplayable mess, any less and they would have no meaning. The exception is, of course, the most significant weapon of all in a pirate game—their ships!

Of course what would a pirate game be without ships? This game has ships. Ships are more than terrain in this game, they actually move and fight. Ships can damage and be damaged as well as acting as floating gun platforms and transports. As ships close and maneuver for a boarding action, their cannon can fire at the opposing vessel’s hull, sails and rigging. Furthermore ships can grapple and use swivel guns to sweep the decks with deadly grapeshot. Ships move according to their size and relation to the wind. While there is some uncertainty to the ship movement and speeding up and slowing down take some forethought, one needn’t worry. The intent is not to create an Age of Sail game, but rather to put just enough sailing into a skirmish, man-to-man game to provide the necessary piratical flavor.

Of course that brings up the obvious question of game scale and size of ships in relation to the game area. This is deftly accommodated by allowing the ship to sail off the edge of the table. The ship is allowed to return after a specified number of turns, depending on its size to approximate the difficulty in turning it around, close to the point where it left. This makes a lot of sense to me. My game table is only four foot by six. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room to maneuver a ship. Sometimes one is bound to run out of room and inadvertently wander off the edge. The delay for returning seems like a reasonable way to penalize carelessness without ending the game with an “edge of the Earth” draconian rule. Shipsand shore parties alike need crews so let’s talk about what constitutes a player’s crew and how they are recruited next.

A player’s crew is a collection of characters comprised of ‘heroes’ and ‘henchmen’. Each character is defined, as previously noted, by their set of characteristics. The rule book provides lists for three types of crews: Royal Navy, Pirates and Privateers. I can only assume that there will be subsequent books containing lists for the various nationalities, merchantmen, etc. Each character is assigned point value (in doubloons) and the number allowed per crew along with any special traits and equipment. The starting value for crews is also given in this section. Crews can advance and increase their characteristics (up to a defined maximum). The process for advancing is defined in a significant section on campaigning. To help the campaigning and to demonstrate various types of games many scenarios are included.

Scenarios are presented as a set of circumstances and a game board. Unlike many other games, this one illustrates the game board with a photograph of some extremely well executed game boards rather than maps. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing well done figures and terrain. Although they are very nice, they are well within the capability of an average modeler with some experience. Game Workshop’s book on building terrain might come in handy, as would the modeling section of The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game rule book (ref. pg. 220-233).

(A typical scenario "map")

Wrapping this up, I have to say that this is, with the notable exception of the amateurish artwork, a well done product. It is a pricey book, but then it is an esoteric subject and I don’t think many will be printed. Low volume always means high prices. Do I think it’s worth the price? I definitely do! I think these rules will result in many games full of derring-do and swashbuckling action. The choice to adapt The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game is right on target for a cinematic adventure game and the fit is perfect. To the newcomer the combat system may seem a little odd at first. Rest assured, it won’t take but one or two games to learn that how well the system works in practice. The ship-to-ship combat and boarding actions are what really set this game apart from The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game and Legends of the Old West. I am concerned that the publication date has missed the tide of interest generated by last The Pirates of the Caribbean movie. After all is said and done, though, I highly recommend these rules to anyone looking for swashbuckling adventure!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wolves on the Rhine from Dark City Games

Well, I certainly didn’t expect to be writing another entry into the blog this soon, but I have something special to share with you.

While on vacation in San Antonio in 2006, I stopped by Dibbles Hobbies during my usual whirlwind tour of shops. I had recently bought in to the excellent Tunnels & Trolls system and found a little pamphlet sized game named The Little Black Book on the counter by a company that I’d never heard of named Dark City Games. The back of the booklet promised lots of solo fun and leafing through the book showed that it is constructed in much the same manner as T&T solo adventures. I bought, took it home and put it on a shelf where it lay forgotten.

Now, it 2007, I discovered The Fantasy Trip. A simple game like T&T it had several solo adventures published for it. As it turns out, my best gaming buddy was a TFT fanatic in school and has every singe bit of everything ever published for or about TFT. I had the essential elements of TFT too. In my case, though, they were simply part of my Metagaming collection of OOP game collection. After listening to Ed go on and on about how much fun he had playing it, I decide to give it a go. I read everything an I was about to play one of the solos when Christmas got in the way.

I went to San Antonio to visit family and friends and once again found myself at Dibbles where I found The Crown of Kings from Dark City Games. This time I knew that I was looking at a solo game that had its own set of rules that were fully compatible with The Fantasy Trip. It was at that point that I remembered the game I’d bought the year before. I bought this one as well.

After the holidays, I visited DCG’s website and bought two more adventures, Wolves on the Rhine and The Dark Vale. So now I have four of the games published by DCG. This is my experience with Wolves on the Rhine.

Wolves on the Rhine is a solo (but could be GM’ed) adventure using DCG’s own Legends of the Ancient World rules which have been tweaked for Wolves on the Rhine. Most of the difference between the standard Legends and WOR Legends is the elimination of magic, WOR is an historical RPG, and the weapons, pilum instead javelins for instance.

I don’t want to give too much of the story away, so I won’t describe what happened to my party in detail, let’s just say that the game setup allows you to use a party of four to six PCs. I took four—I should have taken six.

As far as the story goes, it reads smoothly form paragraph to paragraph. I’ve found that the hardest thing for writers of these solo adventures is to make the story smoothly transition from one paragraph to the next. This author does a fairly good job of that. Of course the fact that it’s an “historical RPG” is also interesting. Though my play through the booklet ended quickly and brutally, it was fun and the nice flow allowed me to get into the story and feel the surroundings. When my party, which consisted of two legionnaires and two auxillia stepped into the cold dark woods in Germania, I was feeling it. The author spent enough effort setting up the environment in the opening paragraphs, that my imagination was fully engaged by the time I got to the meat of the story.

Note that each of the games from DCG stand on their own. They each come with a tactical map, rules, and a counter sheet. Some, like Wolves on the Rhine, have downloadable standees. The standees are drawn so that they can be cut out and assembled as tents. However, I’ve got a bunch of plastic stands for Steve Jackson Games Cardboard Heroes standees, so I used them. The plastic stands provide a little more weight and stability.

Well that’s it for this posting. I heartily recommend these Dark City Games offerings. They are a lot of and have enough replay value (I’ll be trying WOR again soon—with a bigger party this time) to make it worth the cost.

I couldn't believe it! I was rolling the first encounter. I tossed the die into the tray. It bounced off the wall and stopped dead center in this position! I had to take a picture of the ultimate cocked die!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Melee Corrections

Since posting the Melee report, several people pointed out, here and through the TFT maillist, a couple things that I did wrong . First off, When Legolas rolled the triple ones at the start of the game, he should have done triple damage. The "to hit" roll is 3d6 against DX. A roll of 3 will always hit and does 3x damage, 4 always hits and does double damage, and 5 always hits. The other error was when the Orc rolled 17 "to hit". The Orc should have dropped his weapon. A roll of 16 always misses, 17 misses and the weapon is dropped, 18 misses and the weapon breaks.

There are some other errors as well: When ST falls to 1, the figure is unconscious. The orc took more than 5 hits in turn one, and will have a -2 adjDX in turn 2. Legolas cannot shoot and ready a new weapon. He can shoot and drop the bow, but he will have to ready the weapon in the next turn. Both Lurtz and Boromir appear to have taken 5 hits in turn 2 and should be -2 DX in turn 3. Again, Lurtz will be -2 DX in turn 4.

Thanks to everyone for helping me correct these errors and learn the mechanics. My goal for this game was to familiarize myself with combat so that I can play through solo adventures smoothly.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Melee comes with counters but I used GW Lord of the Rings figures

Melee is a game long out of print which was published by Metagaming back in the '70s. It is a simple combat game played on a hex grid. Melee eventually was joined by a companion game named Wizard, a game of dueling wizards. Melee and Wizards eventually became the combat amd magic system of a roleplaying game called The Fantasy Trip, TFT for short.

While TFT is no longer published and the owner of the copyright cannot be found, there is a simple from of TFT available from Dark City Games for free. Their simplifed TFT supports the solo adventues which they publish.

Download the rules and the same adventures and have a go at them on a quiet evening between your regular gaming sessions.

What follows is a blow by blow of the Melee game I played this morning.

The starting positions

Step up: Aragorn (ST=14, DX=10, MA=10) , Boromir (ST=14, DX=10, MA=10) and Legolas (ST=10, DX=14, MA=12) enter a clearing and are surprised to see three Uruks on the other side. The Uruk-hai: Lurtz (ST=14, DX=10, MA=10), an archer (ST=10, DX=14, MA=10) and an warrior (ST=14, DX=10, MA=10) as just a surprised so no one has an advantage. However since all were being cautious, all combatants have their primary weapons readied.

The stat sheet fits on the yellow stickies seen here.

Round one: The two side roll for initiative and the good guys get it. They advance toward the orcs cautiously so they only move half their adjMA (adjusted Movement Allowance), four hexes. Legolas wanting to shoot, only moves one hex forward. The bad guys have the same idea and mirror the good guys so as not to give them an advantage. Nobody can reach any other for sword play, but the two opposing archers can shoot. Legolas gets to go first because his is the higher adjDX and shoots at the other archer. As luck would have it, Legolas rolls 1+1+1 (three ones always hits) and then 8 (6+2) for Damage. The Orc archer’s leather armor absorbs 2 hits so his ST is reduced by 6 to 4. The Orc no longer decide it might be better to try to gang up with Lurtz on Aragorn so he drops his bow instead of shooting and readies his secondary weapon, a dagger. Legolas can shoot twice per round (his adjDX is 16 because he’s a very special Elf) and looses his second arrow at the hapless Orc archer. Legolas rolls 2+2+1 against his DX (-1 for the distance) so he hits the Orc again. This time he rolls 3+2 for 5 damage points. The Orc archer only has leather armor so damage is reduced by 2 for a total of 3 leaving ST=1. This round is over.

Round Two: The good guys win the initiative again. Aragorn and Boromir decide to slowly advance again while Legolas, pleased with himself takes a step forward and nocks another arrow. The Orcs meet the men and the bowless archer runs up to help his comrades. Even though the Orc bowman is engaging Aragorn, Legolas still has a clear shot and the highest DX of anyone so he goes first, rolling 2+2+1 (hit) followed by 5+2=7 for damage. Even with the Orc’s leather armor, this is much than is needed to drop him in his tracks. The melee then continues with Aragon and Bormir facing off one on one with the remaining Orcs. All have the same adjDX so they all must dice to determine the combat sequence. Aragon goes first, then the Orc facing Boromir, then Boromir, and Lurtz facing Aragorn is last. Aragorn hits Lurtz with 2+4+3 and does 6+4=10 damage. 2 are absorbed by Lurtz’ armor and 1 by his shield so Lurtz is down to ST=7. The Orc warrior hits Boromir with 4+4+1 and 2+3=5 damage. Boromir’s leather armor absorbs 2 and his shield 1 so his ST=12. Boromir tries to respond but rolls 6+4+5 and misses the Orc Warrior. Lurtz now swings with a 2+5+5 and hits Aragorn for 4+1=5 damage. Aragron’s armor takes 2 of the damage but he has no shield so his ST=11. Legolas still has an arrow left but he has no target so he drops his bow and readies his Elven blade (cutlass). This ends the round.

Round Three: The bad guys win the initiative but they are locked in combat. They’ve taken more damage than the good guys and are a man down…but being Orcs and not wanting to tick Sauman they stick around and go toe to toe. Legolas runs up to join the fight. He barely has enough MA to get into it and still be able to make an attack. Legolas has the highest DX so he tries to hit Lurtz. Leglaos rolls poorly but just makes it under his DX with 6+5+4 then rolls 6+4-2=8 for damage. Lurtz’ armor and shield take 3 way so now Lurtz’ ST=2. All the others have the same DX so they dice to determine combat order. The order is: Orc Warrior, Aragorn, Boromir, and then Lurtz. The Orc warrior swings at Boromir with a roll of 6+4+2 and misses. Aragron swings at Lurtz with 5+3+5 and misses. Then Boromir, still smarting for the last round swings at the Orc warrior with 6+1+2 and just misses him. Lurtz snarls and swing at Aragorn with a 6+2+2 and misses. Everyone but Legolas missed their targets In the swirling melee and it continues to the next round.

Round four: No need to roll initiative – everyone’s in it to the end! Legolas swings first and with 4+3+5 connects with Lurtz. Legolas Eleven blade does 2+1-2=1 damage with is all aborbed by Lurtz armor and shield. The combat order, after dicing, becomes: Boromir, Orc warrior, Lurtz and Aragorn. Boromir finally connects with the Orc facing him (third time’s a charm) and does 3+2=5 damage, 3 of which are taken by armor and shield so the Orc’s ST=12. The Orc attempts to strike back with 6+6+5 and catches nothing but air as Boromir deftly evades the blow. Lurtz, not looking too healthy at the moment, swings at Aragon with 6+2+1 and connects for 2+4=6 damage, 2 of which are taken by the Ranger’s leather jerkin. Aragorn’s ST=7. Aragorn responds with 1+3+5 and finds his target for 3+5=8, minus 3 for armor and shield, 5 points of damage which does Lurtz in. The doomed Orc Warrior is too busy with Boromir and too afraid of Sauman’s wrath to quit so he fights on into the next round.

Round five: The good guys win initiative so Legolas move around to the remaining Orc’s rear and Aragon moves in on his side. Legolas now has a +4 DX advantage and Aragon a +2 DX. Legolas goes first (naturally) and since his adjDX is now 20 he can’t miss except with a roll of 18 (6+6+6 always is a miss) which he does even come close to. Legolas does 4+2-2=4 damage but the Orc can’t use his shield to the rear so only deducts 2. The Orc’s ST=10. The combat order is Aragorn, Boromir and the Orc. Aragorn thrusts at the Orc’s side with 6+1+1 and strikes home for 5+2=7 damage. The Orc’s jerkin takes 2 damage so the ST=5. Borormir has a good chance to finish the fight and makes a thrust with 5+3+2+10 and just manages to miss! The Orc strikes at Boromir and hits him with 3+1+4 for 6+1=7 damage. Fortunately for Boromir, his armor and shield absorb 3 and so he only really takes 4. Boromir’s ST=8. The Orc Warrior is tenacious and has lasted another round.

Round Six: Legolas doesn’t roll al 6’s (6+6+2) so he hits the Orc for 5+3=8 damage, but the Orc’s armor barely misses saving him by taking away only 2 damage. The Orc staggers and sinks to the ground with his ST reduced to exactly zero.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Reaper's Warlord Figures: Work in Progress

So...while I wait for my Romans and Carthaginians to make it across the pond, I have been working with my new found friend, Reaper Master Series Paint. Of course trying out this paint would only be proper on new figures—so I bought the starter box for Reaper's Warlord and augmented the figures that come in the box with standard bearers and musicians for the factions provided. I took off this week (Thanksgiving week) and have been lazing around the house experimenting with the Reaper Master Series Paint instead of doing yard work (any excuse to avoid yard work is a good one in my book).

NB: These photographs were taken with a Canon XT w/ 50mm Macro in a light tent. The tent was lit from the sides and above by two 150w (equiv) daylight balanced fluorescent lights. The figures were lit by two incandescents, one on each side at about a 45 degree angle. The objective is to provide “flat” light to show off the layered painting technique. They were Photoshopped only to convert from RAW to JPG and reduce the size for uploading to this posting; no other alterations were made.

This is the front of the command group. The castings are pretty well done. Minimum cleanup required. The Triad system is hard at work on the faces, cloth and armor (yes there is a metallic paint Triad). You can see that the leader is taller than the other figures. This is by design. His size is actually a factor in the game.

Here we see the back of the figures. In some ways the back of the leader, Lord Ironraven, is more detailed than the front. All of the @*&%&*!!!! straps for holding the plate armor in place are sculpted.

This close-up of the musician will give you an idea of the detail that is sculpted into these guys. It’s pretty impressive, even for “heroic scale”. You’ll notice that I painted eyes on these (I don't on my historical stuff). They are fantasy figures and the troops (units) are so small at 8-9 figures that I can afford the time and effort. Besides when your army consists of, perhaps, a couple dozen figures at the most in a big game, each figure is out there for everyone to see.

I didn’t put quite as much effort into this one as the leader figure, I still need to go back and touch-up. See where I slopped black paint under the belt? Yikes! That’s what I get for trying to paint under the influence of caffine! The armor needs more shading under in the shadows. It’s particularly noticable under the calf of the grieves. I’m not real happy with the horn either. It needs to be more shiny (but not too much).

Lord Ironraven is obviously in progress. His hair is just blocked in and the spear haft and scabbard aren’t painted yet. If you look closely you’ll see all kinds of errors and touch-ups that need to be corrected. (See the metal bit on the end of the scabbard that I forgot to metalize?) I think the face came out pretty good though. The lighting in the pictures is flat to bring out the shading that the Triad system enables. This face is a good example. I base coated in the darkest color; did the eyes along with the touch-up around them; then the next lightest color for all but the deepest shadows like the cheek recess; then the highlight for the cheek bone, temples, and nose. I have to admit it was pretty easy, technically, but it was mentally exhausting because of the concentration needed for brush control.

Here’re all those blankety-blank straps I was was talking about each one is highlighed and outlined! What a chore, but the result is very nice. The base gament underneath the armor I wanted to look like deer skin and it came out pretty good. I’m not happy with the blue cloth though. I’m going to have to blend a lot more. Since it’s such a prominent feature of the model, I will have to use a wet blending technique. The same is true of the haft of the spear. It’s huge and it used to balance out the pose so it can’t be ignored or given half measure.

Ah well, work continues. The command group is, by far, the most difficult part of this faction (that’s what they call the opposing sides in Warlord). The rank and file are simple tin cans (like the standard bearer) and wear a simple tabbard which will be painted like the hornist’s. The other faction that came in the box is undead. They’re simple skellies with huge swords. They are going to be really, really, easy. Their command group is an armored guy with no face because of his helmet and a vampiress—that will be the challenging figure in that faction. The musician is interesting in that he’s playing a fiddle and the standard bearer is a reaper.