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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Using cheap 'craft' paint which I buy in a 2oz bottle the bases are undercoated a dark brown color (Burnt Umber)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
... 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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
Turn one was all about manouvere and deployment. By the end of the turns the Quadlings had formed a credible battle line.
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...
The Quadlings manage to move their infantry and artillery into position to form a good defensive line.
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.
The Great Flying Apes charge! Looks like it is going to be a very one sided affair.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Quadlings manage to improve there position by moving a unit of Lesser Pumpking Heads up to reinforce the right of there line.
The Tinmen continue to move forward to threaten the right flank of the Gilikin cavalry.
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.
Eventually the Gilikin Cavalry break and fall back disordered.
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.
This is the position at the end of turn three. The Gilikin infantry have moved forward and deployed into line.
During turn four the Tinmen managed to charge the disordered Gilikin cavalry again which resulted in the survivors retreating in a rout.
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