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Gaming, Painting & Modelling Hobby Blog
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Gaming, Painting & Modelling Hobby Blog

This area of the website is my hobby blog, it contains articles about games that I have enjoyed playing together with paining and model making articles.


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Warhammer Fantasy to WOOD... The big rebasing project

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I've just started a big project to rebase all my Warhammer Fantasy Battle miniatures onto multiple 2" square bases for playing amongst other games 'Wars of Orcs and Dwarves' (WOOD).

I've been playing and collecting Warhammer Fantasy since the first edition was released, and in fact we were playing fantasy battles before that using amended versions of Wargames Research Group 6th Edition Ancients. I was very excited when WFB was launched, rather than house rules and amendments, here was a set of rules purely for playing out Fantasy Battles. I remember the excitement of going to the local games shop in Kingston upon Thames, where I was at college and buying the box set of three A4 booklets. In those days Games Workshop sold and supported all sorts of fantasy and sci-fi games and you could of course use figures from any manufacturer to play Warhammer...boy how things have changed, and not all for the good. I've played all the different editions over the years and collected Dwarves, Empire, Brettonian, High Elf, Wood Elf, Skaven, Lizardmen, Ogre Kingdoms, Tomb Kings and probably some more that I can't even remember.

I was appalled when Games Workshop axed Warhammer. So many people had invested so much time, money and energy and it felt like a pretty cynical move to get people who wanted to continue playing fantasy to go out and buy an 'Age of Sigmar' army and start collecting expensive miniatures from scratch. I was pretty disillusioned and sold most of my Warhammer miniatures on eBay. I think that I'd intended to sell them all but got distracted or bored listing them and some remained, lurking amongst the thousands of historical miniatures in my collection.

Then came, Wars of Ozz, a fantastic mass battle fantasy system set in the worlds described in over 40 'Oz' books by L Frank Baum (and others). Not the Tolkien inspired Warhammer Fantasy by any means, these guys have muskets for a start, but it is a fantasy world with giants, trolls, skeletons, magic and much more, In fact as the 'Wizard of Oz' was first published in 1900 it is quite possible that Tolkien read it and was inspired by it as a child! I've really enjoyed playing Wars of Ozz. The rules are intelligent, streamlined and reach a conclusion in a couple of hours. They are fun to play and do not need the myriad special rules and exceptions that slow so many systems down. I asked the author 'Buck' Surdu, if it would be possible to use the underlying mechanics of Wars of Ozz to write a set of rules for playing games using our old Warhammer Figures and featuring traditional fantasy races like Orcs, Dwarves, Goblins and Elves. Wars of Orcs and Dwarves is the result. It's just in play test at the moment.

This blog is going to be all about the units that I am rebasing, and new units that I put together to supplement them.

Warhammer Dwarves rebased for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

Games_Workshop_Dwarves_Regiments_of_Renown

These are some of  the first plastic miniatures that Games Workshop ever made. You used to get 60 figures for £9.95 (because no one is going to pay £10 for a box of figures!). You got ten each of Dwarves, Goblins, Orcs, Skaven, Wood Elves and Dark Elves. These guys have fought many a campaign. Prior to this Warhammer Regiments box set in plastic, Games Workshop had released 'Drastic Plastic' 54mm figures and a box of plastic skeletons.

Games Workshop Warhammer Regiments Plastic Dwarves

Games Workshop Warhammer Regiments Plastic Dwarves

Games Workshop Warhammer Regiments Plastic Dwarves

Warhammer Orcs and Goblins rebased for Wars of Orcs and Dwarves

Games Workshop Warhammer Regiments Plastic Orcs

This unit is also mainly made up of figures from the Warhammer Regiments plastic box set. Each figure has a seperate head and their was a choice of two to give you some variety.

Games Workshop Warhammer Regiments Plastic Orcs

One of the issues I always found was ranking up miniatures whose arms and weapons often extended beyond their base size. In Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Orcs were mounted on 25mm square bases. In Wars of Ozz and Wars of Orcs and Dwarves, figures are mounted on 2" square bases, and it does not matter how many figures are on the base, the base is an element. I have mounted three Orcs to a base, this allows me to stagger them so that they rank up better and gives a bit more room for scenic modelling on the base.

Games Workshop Warhammer Regiments Plastic Orcs

The command base just has two figures, a Black Orc Boss and a standard bearer. They are both from the early days of Warhammer.

Keep checking back... Lots more units to photograph and add.

Click here for an article about how I do the basing.

Click here for details of Wars of Ozz Mass Fantasy Battle

 

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Basing Ozz

Over the last few months I have been painting and basing miniatures for Wars of Ozz. Wars of Ozz ia a mass fantasy battle system. Units are typically five stands. With each stand containing four, two or one miniature (depending on the size of the miniature). I've had quiet a few people email me with questions about how I base the miniatures. The important thing to note is that I base my miniatures so that they exactly match the Terra-Former terrain tiles that they are going to be fighting on, so in essence each figure base that I landscape is landscaped in exactly the same way, with the same materials as if it was a terrain module. If you are using different materials for your games table, such as static grass or coloured sawdust flock, you will want to use those materials on your bases, rather than what I am going to show you.

Basing_Ozz_1

After I varnished the figures with brush on gloss varnish and then sprayed on Matt varnish, I took the figures off the temporary painting bases and glued them onto 2" square MDF bases using Superglue.

Basing_Ozz_2

I don't like to be able to see the 'plinth' that figures are cast on, so I use ready mix plaster to build up the terrain to hide the bases.

Basing_Ozz_3

I think this type of plaster could be called 'spackle' in the USA? I use a sculpting tool and an old paint brush to get it between the individual figures bases with out getting any on the actual miniatures.

Basing_Ozz_4

Using cheap 'craft' paint which I buy in a 2oz bottle the bases are undercoated a dark brown color (Burnt Umber)

Basing_Ozz_5

The next stage is to glue some interesting scenic pieces to the base. I use twigs and gravel from the garden. I have found that the woody parts of lavender and heather look best as scale logs and brances. I also use a number of tufts from Army Painter and Gamers Grass ranges.

Basing_Ozz_6

Over the years I have come to the conclusion that nothing looks more like soil, than real soil, so I cover the bases with soil from the garden. The soil I use has been carefully prepared. It has been dried out for several hours in the oven to kill any micro-organisms and get it to a dry powdery consistancy. It has then been sieved a couple of times to remove stones and larger particles. To apply it, I carefully brush pva glue onto the base, taking care to come right up to the sticks, stones and tufts but not to get glue on them. The soil is then sprinkled on and left to dry.

Wars of Ozz Basing

Once the pva glue is dry on the soil, I take the models outside and give them a good sprat with Army Painter 'Anti-Shine' Matt Varnish, which I have always found works very well. As well as varnishing the figures, this helps to fix the soil in position.

Wars of Ozz Basing

When the varnish is dry, I use and old paint brush to cover the bases with PVA glue a second time for gluing the turf down. I water the pva down slightly, and apply liberally as I want it to soak into the foam turf material. I try to leave patches of soil showing to add interest, particularly around the logs, stones and clumps of palnts. The turf material I use is 'Woodland Scenics' fine turf. This is a ground foam products. I've tried lots of products like static grass and powdered sawdust, but this is what I use exclusively now for terrain making and figure basing. I use the 'Green Mix' which I buy in the big shacker bottles.

Wars of Ozz Basing

As soon as I have sprinkled the 'Green Mix' base coat on and tapped it off, I apply some pinches of other colors. I have used red flower mix on all the Ozz bases to represent poppies. I also use a bright green and a dark green, applying pinches to give tonal variety to the grass.

Wars of Ozz Basing

The figures are then taken outside again and the bases are given a good spray of Isopropenyl soloution. This is diluted down to about 40% strength and sprayed through a household cleaning product mister. It acts to break the surface tension on the foam material, saturate it and draw the still wet pva glue up to solidify inside the foam.

Wars of Ozz Basing

... and that's about it. Here's my unit of Winkies deployed on the battlefield and ready for action. I hope that you've found this article useful. I believe that extra time spent on basing is never wasted as it sets off and complements your figure painting and ties your miniatures in with the terrain that you use.

If you would like to find out more about Wars of Ozz, click here to take a look at the pre-order / late pledge site on Gamefound.

Or click here to take a look at the initial products that are in stock and available to ship straight away.

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3D Print conversions for Munchkin Houses

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Over the last few months I have been very busy painting miniatures and making terrain for'Wars of Ozz' an new fantasy mass battle game which is curruntly available on Kickstarter.

One of the terrain pieces that I wanted to make was the iconic, round Munchkin houses. After a pretty extensive internet search I concluded that nobody made a kit for these, even as 3D print files. I determined that the best way to approach making these was a combination of 3D printed parts plus traditional model making.

Solo_game_1_24

The hardest thing to make was going to be the round tiled roofs, however the beauty of 3D printing is that you can easily scale parts. I found some cylinders of different sizes including a Starbucks coffee cup and a pringles crisp container, measured the diameter and rescaled the 3D print files for the roofs accordingly. I found that I already had two files in my database of building parts that would do the job. The roof with the chimneys and little tower is from Printable Sceneries Wizards Tower model, and the plain roof is from Eslo's castle set.

Solo_game_1_23

I printed the roofs at different scales using PLA filament. While they were printing, I got to work on the main part of the houses. I started off making some doors and windows from card and plasti-card which I glued to the Starbucks cups. When dried, I then rolled out a piece of Das modelling clay and wrapped it around the cups, wetting it and pressing into position. I cut out with a sculpting tool around the raised doors and windows and added a few cracks to the walls.

YBR1

When this had all dried and the roofs had printed, I glued the roofs to the cups and the cups to some Old CDs that I was using as a base using a hot glue gun.

YBR6

Before adding some plaster and landscape materials to the bases I added some nice picket fence sections which are plastic castings from Renedra.

I spray undercoated the whole models and then painted with acrylic paint, using a selection of bright primary colours as favoured by the Munchkins.

I am very pleased with how these have turned out. I also 3D printed some Mushroom trees, the 3D file for those also came from 'Printable Scenery'

My next project is to make some oriental style 'Winkie' houses using 3D printed roofs and MDF box walls, so hopefully I will be able to share details of those over the next couple of weeks.

If you've not come across it yet and would like more information, Wars of Ozz is a brand new mass fantasy battle game inspired by the world of Oz, first chronicled by L Frank Baum with films by MGM and Disney! There is currently a Kickstarter running click here for details.

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Woodland Villager Conversions

I do like to have variety in the miniatures that I use both for Role Playing Games and Tabletop Skirmishes.

Woodland Villagers

I particularly like to be able to set the scene with groups of villagers, who are not heavily armed or in aggresive poses going about their village. This sort of figure is always a bit difficult to track down for historical or mainstream fantasy so doubly so for anthropomorphic villagers. I was very excited when I first heard about the 'Folk Rabble' set that Fireforge Games were planning as it sounded like they would be an ideal base for conversions for both lightly armed militia as well as village folk going about their daily business.

Last weekend, I had a spare half an hour so picked up a box of Folk Rabble and some 'Critter Conversion Kit' heads and tales and started work on building some 'Woodland Villagers'.

folk-rabble

The sprue from Fireforge Games has six different bodies, four male and two female together with loads of options including hay forks, bills, scythes, axes, flails, buckets and torches and much more.

It is very easy to but together villager poses as well as militia style poses.  Once I had glued the arms to the bodies with plastic glue, it was very easy to glue the metal anthropomorphic heads and tails from the 'Critter Conversion Kits' in place with a drop of superglue.

H24__8211__Head_Colonel_Amenaha

I'm looking forward to gettting these characterful models painted up and to use them in a game. I'm hoping that I'll get them painted up in the next couple of weeks, so will add some photos when I have.

In case anyone is interested in having ago, I've put together a little Woodland Villagers Conversion that contains a sprue of six models plus six random metal conversions heads and tails.

Woodland Villagers Conversion Kit

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Albedo ACP164 Solo Game

ACP164:The Albedo Miniatures games is a 28mm hard sci-fi platoon / company  level skirmish games in the world of the Albedo Anthropomorphic comics.

To enable players to keep up with miniature gaming during the 2020 global pandemic, we developed a set of solo rules, which are available as a free PDF download. Click here to download them.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

Mike Wilson has developed a comprehensive, planet wide campaign game. Players across the world are giving orders to formations and then fighting tabletop battles against a programmed 'intelligent' opponent and then feeding the results back into the overall campaign. Click here to take a look at (or join up to) the Albedo campaign

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

Last week I played my first solo ACP164 game as part of the campaign. I am playing an Independent Lapine Republic (ILR) Air Mobile Company. At the outset of the Jika campaign they used their Air Mobility to leap forward to land in and around the vitally important mineral mines and then dig in until mechanised forces could reinforce them. While their, to keep the troops frosty the Company Commander ordered some aggresive patrolling to dominate their perimeter.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

This action pitted an ILR Platoon against an EDF Armoured Company. The EDF Armoured Company had two Platoons in the line and the third on rotation and each platoon initially had one section standing to at the front and rear of their position, and the third section getting their heads down in their scratchers.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The EDF Company Commander and CSM together with the rest of HQ section were located in a sandbagged position guarding a tunnel entrance to an underground command bunker.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The ILR raiding party rolled to determine their mission, which ended up being to exit off the opposite table edge. As the far side of the table was a command bunker, I decided the mission was to get inside to capture some Intel. The tunnel entrance looked like an easier route of the table than the checkpoint between the cliffs and the building.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The ILR move forward, taking some casualties from flanking fire, but utilising fire and maneuver they give as good as they take and move foward in bounds, sprinting to the next piece of cover before resting to recover.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The EDF realise that the threat is to the rear of their position, thin out the defenders at the front to get them into the firing line.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The ILR move through the wreckage of a shuttle. The last dash to the enemy position is very exposed so they wait until they can bring enough troops up to suppress with fire before the final sprint.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The EDF have a very unlucky day, especially for command casualties. Here a stray round hits their platoion commander straight in the face to incapacitate him with no cover save.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

An EDF section from the front of the building redeploys to the roof in anticipation of good arcs of fire.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The EDF's bad luck continues with both the Company Commander and CSM going down from critical shots.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

More and more EDF troops are depeployed to the front. Here we see a half section who had started the encounter stood down, moving into position.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The Tunnel entrance has been suppressed and the ILR Air Assault Troopers rush forward to occupy the position. The Air Assault are an elite formation who benefit from elite shooting modifiers plus helmet, torso and abdomen body armour.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The first troops move through the carnage of the defensive position and into the relative safety of the tunnel entrance.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The EDF inflict casualties as the remainder of the Air Assault Platoon  cross open ground to the bunker, but eventually the bulk of the platoon are on the objective.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The EDF continue to engage the enemy in a long range firefight. The half section that redeployed onto the roof have good arcs across the battlefield.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The ILR move through the bunker complex. The EDF mount a counterattack through the main bunker entrance, but it is to little, to late.

Albedo ACP164 Miniatures Game Battle Report

The final results of the game were fed into the overall campaign.

For details of Albedo rules and miniature, click here.

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Wars of Ozz, First Solo Battle

Last weekend I started a first playtest game to try out the solo mechanisms built into Wars of Ozz. I've been painting up miniatures for Wars of Ozz for several weeks now so have enough painted to field a 25 point Brigade of Quadlings and Gilikins. 25 points is the standard size size for a player to command.

Wars of Ozz Solo Game

One of the things I really like about Wars of Ozz is the Regimental personalisation. At the start of the game you roll a D20 for each unit to determine it's personalisation, so you could have a number of units of basically the same troop type that behave slightly differently due to the character of their leader.

The Quadling Army was made up of:

Southern Infantry - 5 pts - Swift +2" to movement

Northern Infantry - 6pts - Indecisive -1" to even move rolls / +1" to odd move rolls

Tinmen - 6pts - Zealous - When fired upon will respond by charging enemy if within 10"

Medium Artillery Battery - 5pts - Impatient - Attacks 1st in melee

Lesser Pumpkin Heads - 3 pts - Lucky - reroll one combat dice

Led by the Red Witch who rolled up the Duelist skill.

Wars of Ozz Solo Wargame

The Gilikins fielded the following:

Gilikin Infantry - 5pts - Steadfast +1 to units resolve

Gilikin Cavalry on Giant Goats - 6pts - Beserkers + 1 to units melee ability

Giant Flying Apes - 8ppts - Hesitant -1 to units Elan

Light Artillery - 4pts- Beserkers + 1 to units melee ability

Talisman (magic item) - 2pts - +1 To marksmanship of Infantry

Led by Green Witch and her superior staff which extended her command radius to 18" rather than normal 12"

Turn 1

Wars of Ozz Solo Wargame

In this solo game, I played the Quadlings against system run Gilikins. I deployed the Quadlings on to the table and then rolled a D6 for start position of each Gilikin unit.

Unit activation uses the Double random allocation method. At the start of the game each brigade commander determines their dice pool. One dice for themselves, plus one dice for each unit within their command radius (which is normally 12"). Any unit outside their command radius has a D6 rolled for their activation number and placed by the unit, as they are to far away to be influenced by the brigade commander. The activation deck contains black 1-6 cards and red 1-6 cards plus two jokers. One side is red the other is black. In this game I decided Quadlings would be red as they carry red flags. A card is turned from activation deck, if the number corresponds to a dice in the brigade commanders dice tool, they can allocate it to a unit and that unit can then activate (move, fire or melee). If the dice has already been allocated to a unit, that unit activates at that point. Both sides potentially activate on the card, so units often activate twice in a turn. The color of the card determines who acts first (if important), so if it is a Red Four, the Quadlings would act first on it. Once both Jokers have been drawn the turn ends and the cards are reshuffled.

Wars of Ozz Solo Wargame

Turn one was all about manouvere and deployment. By the end of the turns the Quadlings had formed a credible battle line.

Wars of Ozz Solo Wargame

However their flanks are far from secure. The Gilikins Giant Flying Apes threaten their right flank and the Gilikin Cavalry their left flank. Although the cavalry are slowed by moving over rough grouns and having to cross a linear obstacle to move through the corn fields. The order of activation is going to be very important at the start of turn two to see if the Tinmen and Lesser Pumpkin Heads can get into a position to protect the Quadlings left flank.

To be continued...

Turn 2

Wars of Ozz Battle Report

The Quadlings manage to move their infantry and artillery into position to form a good defensive line.

Wars of Ozz Battle Report

However, it looks like the Green Witch has a pretty effective secret weapon that she is about to unleash on the Quadlings lines. She focuses her energy on getting this flying unit as far forward as she can, on her left flank to attempt a flanking attack.

Wars of Ozz Battle Report

The Great Flying Apes charge! Looks like it is going to be a very one sided affair.

Wars of Ozz Battle Report

However, 'Wars of Ozz' has some very good rules around morale and reactions. The Quadling gunners test against their 'Elan' for being charged, and roll a '1', which is as good a reaction as is possible. They manage to turn to face, shoot and will fight in the upcoming melee at 'up 1' (presumably to represent the effect of that final shot of close range grape-shot. The white dice represent the casualties inflicted. So the Apes took 6 from shooting and melee, meaning they lose a stand with 2 hits carried as stands are normally 4 hits strong. The Quadling took 2 hits, but as each stand is only 1 hit strong they lose 2 stands.

Wars of Ozz Battle Report

The final result of the melee is that the Quadling gunners have routed away from their gun, and the flying apes are pushed back, disordered.

Wars of Ozz Battle Report

Meanwhile on the Gilikins right flank, their cavalry are taking longer than they planned to cross the fields of crops (rough going) to attack the Quadlings in the flank. In fact, it looks like the advantage is being turned, as the Quadling infantry are begining to wheel into a frontal position and the Tinmen are moving up to threaten the Gilikins flank.

Solo_game_1_14

As this was a solo game, I recorded the 'posture' of the Gilikins each turn to see how they would react. This is the posture tracking table at the end of turn 2. The posture of the system controlled force is dependent on the balance of successes, morale and loses. At the moment their forces posture is 'normal'. For each posture state there is a table to roll on to determine how a particular unit behaves at the point it is activated.

Wars of Ozz battle report

The Quadlings manage to improve there position by moving a unit of Lesser Pumpking Heads up to reinforce the right of there line.

Wars of Ozz battle report

The Tinmen continue to move forward to threaten the right flank of the Gilikin cavalry.

Wars of Ozz battle report

The Tinmen charge home and after a couple of rounds of continuing melee the Gilikins have lost two bases, the tinmen one and both are carrying three hits over.

Wars of Ozz battle report

Eventually the Gilikin Cavalry break and fall back disordered.

Wars of Ozz battle report

The Lesser Pumpking Heads charge the Great Flying Apes. Bases in contact and bases touching bases in contact get to fight. So the Pumking heads have four bases fighting two, and eventually destroy the apes.

Wars of Ozz battle report

This is the position at the end of turn three. The Gilikin infantry have moved forward and deployed into line.

Wars of Ozz battle report

During turn four the Tinmen managed to charge the disordered Gilikin cavalry again which resulted in the survivors retreating in a rout.

Wars of Ozz battle report

The Quadling line was now perfectly deployed and in a strong position, so at this point I called it as a Quadling victory.

The game was very entertaining, the mechanisms were easy to use and delivered a decisive result and even better, in these strange times, the rules have solo, programmed opponent features designed into the core rules.

Wars of Ozz is a fantasy mass battle table top game inspired by the world imagined and chronicled by Baum in the Oz books but further developed by Russ Dunway as a brand new and unique gaming world. Further details @ www.warsofozz.com

 

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FREE Pulp Alley Solo / Kid Friendly

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As all our lives and social habits (including miniatures gaming) have been turned on their heads with the global Covid-19 virus pandemic, at Sally 4th we have been looking for little things that we can do to brighten our lives by facilitating some solo miniatures gaming. Over the last two or three weeks we have released a Free Sci-Fi Solo engine for Albedo ACP164, and any other sci-fi miniatures game system and a Free solo games engine for WW2 Skirmish gaming with Combat Patrol (and any other platoon level WW2 rules) These were both free downloads, and we made the rules and player aids to go with the games freely downloadable as well.

App

 

This time we are looking to go a bit further and offer something that is free and can be played by anyone even if they do not have any miniatures or terrain.

The game is Pulp Alley, which is my go to rules system for any period / genre where you have 6-12 figures per side (Pulp, Fantasy, Western, Sci-Fi etc). I have put a scenario together which can be played solo or with an opponent and is family friendly, so great for introducing your kids or your nephews and nieces to miniatures gaming.

PAS_34

 

The setting is 'swords and sorcery' and the leagues are based on the 'Toon Range' from Lucid Eye. Click here to check out the complete range of Toon Miniatures, however I have painted a set, photographed them and made some Standees that you can download, print and cut out, glue to a base and use to get you going. One league is made up of four 'Adventuers' Dwarf / Elf/ Barbarian / Wizard etc. and the other league is made up of the Newt Lord, Frog Prince and Newt Warriors.

The terrain that I used as a mixture of 3D printed items, a resin stone ruin and some of the Sally 4th Lattice Work bridges, that you can check out here. However I have photographed all of the terrain elements and put them in a PDF file that you can download, print and cut out.

Pulp Alley rules and cards are available as free introductory downloads, if you like the game and want to see what other supplements, cards and scenarios are available, click here to visit our Pulp Alley Store.

If you do not have the right dice, Pulp Alley uses D6, D8, D10 there are lots of Free Apps to run on your smart phone to provide any dice you could think of. I use an App on my IPhone called 'Mighty Dice'.

Pulp_Alley_solo_Newt_Lord_2

 

22nd April 2020: I've just added the Part 2 video that takes us through the rest off the game.

App

Links to Free Downloads:

Standees

Pulp Alley Character Cards Adventuers & Newt Kings Leagues

Print & Play Terrain

Pulp Alley Intro Rules

Pulp Alley Fortune Deck (for multi-player gaming)

Pulp Alley Solo Deck (for solo gaming)

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Getting sorted!

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I’ve been painting miniatures and making model kits for over 40 years now and have used a lot of paints starting with Airfix enamels, then artists and Games Workshops acrylic paints, Colour Party, Coat’d Arms, Foundry before settling on Acrylic paints in bottles from Vallejo, Army Painter and Instar. During this time I’ve tried a whole host of different storage systems from show boxes, biscuit tins and file boxes to commercial storage from Games Workshop and our own Sally 4th racks.

Paint storage

I’ve recently been encouraged to tidy up my painting desk, and decided to take that opportunity to design and manufacture what I felt was the perfect solution (for my needs).  So this is what I came up with. I thought that while I was tidying and sorting out paint storage, it would be a good opportunity to improve the lighting at my painting table. I used to use a double spot light on a stand. This was OK but tended to cast a shadow, so I've replaced it with a LED arc. The Arc it's self is 15mm plastic plumbing pipe, brought cheaply from the local builders merchant. I brought 1 10 metre length of LED's with a transformer and dimmer from Amazon for £16.  I used a bit of Gaffer Tape at each end to hold the LED strip in position and then just wound it round the piping. A short length of 21mm plastic piping was attached to each leg using a cable tie. The ends of the 15mm pipe are held in the larger pipe. It took less than 15 minutes to put together and provides me with dimmable shadow free lighting.

Paint storage

The paint storage modules hold 15 bottles of paint and underneath the paint rack is a sturdy draw with a clear Perspex front so I can see what is inside and don’t have to label the drawer or remember what I have put where. The modules have been designed with ultra-strong rare earth magnets to hold them together into a solid group. Finally the material used is top grade 3mm MDF, rather than the flimsier 2mm as this makes the glued joints so much stronger.

Paint storage

The corners have been filled with a tool tidy. This also comes with rare earth magnets and there is a choice of 2 types of holder to fit on the top, one designed for paint brushes and the other designed for files and similar tools.

Paint storage

Paint storage

I've added the three products that I have designed to the website in case anyone else is interested in using the same soloution for organising their work space. Click here to take a look

We also have an extensive collection of storage products designed to fit inside Really Useful Boxes

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'Redwall Rat' conversions

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Over the last few months I have been working on a pair of armies for fantasy tabletop gaming with Saga Age of Magic, Thud & Blunder and Frostgrave themed around the Redwall Abbey series of fantasy books. I the world of Redwall the forces of Evil are often a verminous hoard of rats with the occasional ferret or stout for variety and the forces of good are the Redwall Abbey mice together with woodland allies, often in the form of military hares from the 'Long Patrol'.

In my last hobby blog, we had taken a look at the start of my Redwall Mice so this time we are looking at the Rats of Gabool the Wild, notorious king of all sea rats. All of the miniatures (apart from the rat swarms that are 3D printed), are conversions of platic or metal 28mm miniatures using Albedo Critter Conversion kits

Redwall Abbey Rats

Saga Age of Magic is the ruleset that I am using for unit based battles. At the moment Gabools hoard is a 6pt Saga Army consisting of a Warlord, Lieutenant, Sorceror, 2 points of Hearthguard, 1 point of Warriors, 1 point of Levy and 2 creatures represented by the rat swarms.

Redwall_Rats_2

The warbands characters (Gabbol the Wild Searat King, Crooked Tooth his trusty Lieutenant and Singed Fur caster of wild magic)

Redwall Abbey Rat Conversions

Gabbol is a conversion from the Crusader Miniatures Sea Dogs pack.

Redwall Abbey Rat Conversions

Singed Fur was built using pieces from the excellent Frostgrave Wizards plastic box set.

Redwall Abbey Rat Conversions

Crooked Tooth also started out as a casting from the Crusader Miniatures Sea DOgs pack.

Redwall Abbey Rat Conversions

I have choosen to represent the Hearthguard warrior elite in my warband with figures armed with two handed weapons. The bodies and arms are from Frostgrave Soldiers and Ghost Archipelago crew plastic kits. The heads are Critter Conversion Kit Rats with Conical Helms and Rats with Cloaked Hoods.

Redwall Abbey Rat Conversions

The unit of warriors are all built from Ghost Archipelago plastic crewmen as these have a real swashbuckling, seafaring feel to them.

Redwall Abbey Rat Conversions

Although in the army lists Levy are listed as being armed with bows, thematically I sa the levy as oar slaves, living in cramped conditions so the sling seemed a natural weapon choice. In the game it will 'count as' a bow. These figures are based on Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors plastic parts with the addition of rat heads from critter conversion packs.

Redwall Abbey Rat Conversions

Lastly we have two bases worth of creatures represented by rat swarms. These are the bilge rats from the pirate ships. I found a 3D file for a rat swarm and changed it's size so that it printed as a 40mm diameter base.

All of the other miniatures have had their bases snipped off and have been glued onto Sally 4th Clear Perspex Bases.

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'Redwall Mice' Conversions

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For many years I have been a huge fan of the 'Redwall Abbey' series of fantasy stories written by the late Brian Jacques and as a lifelong gamer it struck me that the adventures of these plucky woodland characters would make a great tabletop battle. There are of course some excellent anthropomorphic fantasy miniatures available in the marketplace such as the Oathsworn range for 'Burrows & Badgers'. Burrows & Badgers is a fantastic game, which I play and have covered in earlier blogs, however, I am also looking for a mass battle game where I can field a whole army of 'Redwall Mice' to face off against a hoard of vermin from 'Clunnies Horde'. To do this I needed to be able to model 40 - 100 mice and for them to have a wide variation of pose and armament.

Mice_9

App

I've made a short You Tube video about the conversions.​

I have previously put together the start of a Vermin / Rat Army using Frostgrave Ghost Archipelligo plastic crewmen plus ACP164 Critter Conversion Kits to supply the rat heads and tails.

Rat_Warriors

I had also made a start on converting some mice using the metal Copplestone Castings Halfling range. These had turned out really well, the height difference between the halflings and humans translates very well to mice and rats.

At the time that I was starting the project I heard on the wargames grapevine that a new miniatures company, Wargames Atlantic had announced that they were going to be developing a multipose plastic box set of Halfling Militia. I could not believe my luck, as this was exactly what I needed to build the bulk of a 'Redwall' army with the variety of weapons and poses that I was hoping for. I wrote to Wargames Atlantic and asked if they could send me a box to play around with, which a month ago they kindly did.

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Wargames Atlantic Plastic Halfling Infantry Set

There are a good batch of wargames rule sets that are going to be suitable for fighting mass fantasy battles using 'Redwall' style armies including Dragon Rampart, Thud & Blunder, the soon to be released Feudal Patrol and Saga Age of Magic. I decided to start off planning the army based on Saga. The Wargames Atlantic Halfling Militia box contains 40 miniatures. The plan is to make the following units.

  • 1 point Levy armed with bows (12 models)
  • 2 point Hearthguard armed with hand weapon & shield (8 models)
  • 2 point Warriors armed with halberds (16 models)
  • Warlord & Captain (2 models)

I've started off with the levy armed with bows. Bodies, arms and quivers are from the Halfling Militia set and the heads and tails are metal 'Critter Conversion Kits' from the Albedo ACP164 range.

Halfling Sprue

Wargames Atlantic Plastic Halfling Sprue

Mouse bareheadedH8i_-_Head_Mouse,_cloakH8g_-_Head_Mouse,_conical_helm

Albedo Mouse Critter Conversion Kits

The Halfing Militia set is great value at £25 for 40 miniatures.

Each sprue has 5 bodies in different poses plus a choice of arms and halfling heads. The weapon options are bow, sling, halberd, pike & sword.

In the Albedo Critter Conversion range there are 3 variations of mouse head, bare head, cloaked head and metal helmet.

Redwall Mice 28mm conversions

The Mice conversion pack costs £8 and contains 1 Halfling Militia Sprue and a pack with a random assortment of five of the 3 types of Mice heads and tails, giving you all the pieces that you need to make five mighty mice warriors.

Redwall Mice 28mm conversions

... and because someone always asks, the figures have all been remounted on to Sally 4th clear perspex bases so that they blend in with the terrain they are standing on.

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