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.
While I was at Hammerhead last month I got chatting with the guys over at Pig Iron Productions, they have some great stuff in their range and they are another independent 28mm Sci-Fi manufacturer based like us in North Yorkshire.
I had shown Alex some conversions that I had done a while back using Albedo ILR bodies and Frostgrave Barbarian heads to make some Sci-Fi freedom fighters and we got to wondering how the Albedo bodies and weapon systems would match up with Pig Iron Heads.
I went home with two packets of different Pig Iron heads, and promised to put some conversions together and take some photographs.
The top three miniatures are built using EDF Heavy Infantry bodies armed with LAKW 1-56 Assault Rifle, MAKW 3-60 Light Machine Gun, and Officer Data Pad arms together with Pig Iron System Hunter heads.
The Albedo range contains four sci-fi / near future AFV's (2 x light tank / 2 x APC ).
The optional vehicle crew set contains single piece resin castings of hatch with crew shoulders allowing and head to be glued in place to customise the vehicle.
I used a set of Pig Iron System Commando heads to convert the Albedo AV8B APC.
Here we have a converted Heavy Weapons team using Pig Iron System Commando heads and Albedo ILR bodies together with ILR Light Machine Gun and Loader arms.
On Monday, Doug and I played the 4th scenario in our Lord of the Rings narrative campaign.
This is based on the Games Workshop Fellowship of the Ring Campaign book. This was a great publication, now sadly out of print that combined scenarios based on events from one of the films with some great painting and modelling articles to help you construct the terrain for the game.
Strictly speaking, the Fog on the Barrow Downs scenario is based on events from the Fellowship of the Ring book rather than the film, as I don't believe that the Barrow Downs and Tom Bombadil ever made it into the movie.
The four hobbits are lost (again) stunling around in the fog on the edge of the Old Forest where the lands open up into rolling hillside and valleys where the cold grey stone of ancient barrows mark the landscape. The good player fields Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin with the hope that Tom Bombadil will apear on a D6 roll of 6. The evil player fields four barrow wights who start in base contact with there respective barrow. As usual we played the scenario twice, both taking turns to play good and evil. In the first play through I played the luck less hobbits.
Evil won the first priority roll, and of course the wights moved 6" and the hobbits 4" so they soon caught up with the hobbits, initially focussing on Frodo. For evil to win they had to either kill Frodo or paralyse any two hobbits, drag them back to there barrows and sacrafice them in there evil ritual.
Once the first wight had paralysed Frodo the rest of the hobbits headed pack to attempt to resue him. If a hobbit started there turn within 6" of a wight they could roll a D6 and on a 6, the alarm would be raised and Tom Bombadil would come to there assistance. We must have rolled over a dozen times during the game and that '6' just was no where to be found.
While the barrow wights are within 6" of there barrows they can expend a point of 'Will' for free which is very useful for casting paralyse spells.
The hobbits put up a brave fight, on a number of occasions they charge the wights (they need to pass a courage test to do this), they even win the melee when they manage to get two hobbits fighting a single wight, but fail to do any damage as the relative difference between there strength of the hobbits (2) and the defence of the wights (7) meant that they then needed a 6 followed by a 4+ to wound... which was a big ask and just did not happen either.
Once the wights had dragged there victims to there barrows they needed to roll a 4+ to sacrifice them. On the last turn, 3 hobbits were paralysed and the wights managed to sacrifice two of them for an evil victory.
When we swapped sides and I played evil, a similar result was obtained, although at a different barrow with a different mix of victims.
The game was fun to play, and looked good but the scenario was very difficult for the good player to win if Tom Bombadil did not turn up to help the hobbits.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been making some new trees for my terrain collection and I got them finished just in time for this game. The trunks are 3D printed from a design by Printable Scenery. Once they have been painted foliage was added made by spraying some rubberised horse hair with brown paint and then gluing some Woodland Scenic foliage on top off it.
The terrain boards are made using Sally 4th Terra-Former kits. These are kits with standard profiles for hills, roads, rivers, streams etc that build 12" square modular terrain tiles with embedded rare earth magnets to hold them together.
Last weekend, Ann & I finally managed to schedule in some time to play the second game in our Burrows and Badgers campaign. In our first game Ann's Warnand 'Ruffus' Roughcoats' had come of slightly worse than my 'Long March Patrol' as one of her Characters, Centus had managed to get himself captured and she did not have the funds to pay the ransom. I had my own problems following the first game as both of my archers had picked up arm injuries meaning the could no longer use a bow. I did however manage to pick up a new recruit at the Slave market, a likely looking young Shrew called Joseph.
We had a slight cheat, rather than roll for a scenario we choose one, as I wanted to play a game featuring this fine Inn model that I had recently 3D printed and painted.. The scenario choosen was 'Defend the Haul'. In this scenario a warband has discovered some treasure hidden in a building and are just about to make off with it when a rival warband turns up to challenge them for it. As Ruffus' Roughcoats had the lower warband rating (30 compared to my 45) they were the defender and got to set up first in, or within 6" of the building.
The attacking warband 'The Long March Patrol' set up within 2" of a table edge and could split up to deploy on multiple edges. I elected to split my warband with half led by Sur Davros du Long March attacking from the rear while the remaining members led by Red Claw the Otter, his able deputy attacked from the front. Both parties had an archer with them.
The 'Long March Patrol' pose for 'Critter of Fortune' magazine, prior to deployment. Front left we have Joseph the Shrew and Sur Davros sporting his ancestorial great sword. Rear rank, left to right we have Red Claw the Otter, Frances Downer the Fox, Hector the Hound and Tanotalos the Otter.
Ruffus' Roughcoats brought (from left to right) Winston and Rammus the Foxes, Rufus the Cat and Darley the Dog.
Ruffus deployed his full warband to the front of the Inn, but on seeing that he was being attacked from both sides, set off to defend the rear of the Inn himself accompanied by Rammus leaving Winston and Darley to defend the front of the building. Darley finds a gppd archery position by the beer barrels and starts to put down effective fire on the attackers. Joseph the Shrew moves up to the shelter of the dry stone wall and returns fire.
At the rear of the Inn Ruffus and Rammus have just got into position in time as Hector and Sur Davros approach under an effective barrage of arrows from Frances.
A serious scrap develops. Sur Davros suffered a serious head wound in the last encounter and is straining to keep contol and avoid flying off into a beserk rage.
Winston makes his way up the drive to have a go at Tanotalos with his double handed axe. Both opponents score hits on each other before Red Claw hurles himself forward and finishes off the fight.
Winston is on the ground, and out of todays action. The Long March Patrol had drawn 'Loot' as a secondary objective so Tanotalos spends the next turn searching Winston and relieving him off any loose coin or trinkets.
The action at the rear, hots up and Hector the Hound is knocked to the ground. Frances drops his bow and draws his sword rushing forward to join the claw to claw combat.
Under Red Claws direction the patrol move forward to start searching the building.
Rammus, the Fox with a huge two handed hammer falls to the ground from a well aimed thrust of Frances longsword.. Ruffus steps forward and lands a blow on Sur Davros fulfilling his secondary objective of coming to grips with the enemy leader.
At the end of turn four The Long March Patrol had five critters in contact with the building, compared to three from Ruffus' Roughcoats giving them the victory. Both sides gained experiance and pennies. Ann's warband 'The Rouhcoats' earned enough with wanderings and a lucky session with there gambling den to be able to pay the ransom to have Centus returned to them.
We're looking after my Daughter and Son in Laws dog Sparkie at the moment. She thought it was a great game and wished she had a Great Sword like Sur Davros to play with!
The figures are all converted from Frostgrave Plastic Miniatures, apart from the Shrew who was converted from a Copplestone Castings Halfling using Albedo Miniatures Critter Conversion kits. These are packs of heads and tails that can be used to convert any miniature into an anthropomorphic figure.
The clear bases are 25mm diameter clear Perspex bases from Sally 4th and the terrain modules rae all built using Terra-Former terrain tile kits which are 12" square with embedded rare earth magnets to hold them together.
The Inn is the 'Winterdale Tavern' from Printable Scenery.
Check out this 3 minute video play through of game.
Last weekend Sally 4th was at Hammerhead Wargames Show at Newark Showground. Hammerhead is put on by Sally & Paul from Kallistra Models and the show is unique as all of the games are participation games.
Doug Wight kindly ran a game of ACP164 The Albedo Miniatures Game for us.
The scenario saw the ILR troops (Independent Lapine Republic) who had landed and taken control of government buildings, digging in along the edge of some parkland that surrounded the main broadcasting station.
An EDF Mechanised Infantry Platoon had been tasked with recapturing the building.
The ILR had plenty of time to dig in and had a couple of very good fighting trenches forming the basis of there defensive position.
The EDF dismounted at 500 metres and advanced cautiously forward makingthe best use of cover.
The AV8 Armoured Personnel Carriers laid down suppressing fire from there HMG's as the troops moved forward.
The terrain for the Albedo game was built on Sally 4th Terra-Former tiles, including the new trench tile that we released last week. The ability to have terrain features 'dug in' below the surface of the terrain is one of the key benefits of the terrain system.
The game was a lot of fun, the forces were very evenly matched with the increased number of attacking EDF and there superior weapon system being countered by the strength of the ILR's dug in position.
This was a fantastic participation game that 3 Shires gaming put on using a modified version of Wargames Foundries 'The Rules with No Name'
The terrain featured pretty much everything from the Sally 4th Exotic Locations range. This range is based on the idea of 'Film Lots' that are converted from one set to another as the needs of filming dictate. The range contains 'Locations' these are 10cm cube pieces of terrain that can be re-arranged to make lots of different gaming layouts. The Set Dressing packs contain the furniture needed for each location and the Props packs are the detailed bits and pieces that bring the set to life, such as the trays of food in the cafe, the snake in the basket for the souk and the exhibits to go in the museum cases.
This area uses the 'Ricks Place' location, set dressing and props packs.
The museum of antiquities uses both the 'Museum and the Ricks Place' location set plus the furniture and museum display cases from the Museum set dressings and of course the pack of detailed resin museum display pieces.
This area uses the market stalls and goods from the Souk Set Dressings and Props packs together with the Souk Location pieces.
This really was a suberb presentation from 3 Shires Gaming, through ut the day there were lots of people taking part. THe game which involved searching for treasure and avoiding 'The Mummy' looked like a whole lot of fun.
The terrain making genius at COGS had put together these fantastic looking battle board for 'Vanguard', Mantic Games fantasy skirmish game using one of the Sally 4th 'Terra-Former' Contested Crossing Sets.
Terra Formers are kits to enable you to construct perfect 12" terrain tiles with a wide range of profiles such as streams, roads, hills, canals, beaches etc.
Each tile comes with 12 rare earth magnets that align the boards and hold them firmly together so that they do not drift apart during a game.
The precision profiles mean that features flow perfectly from one board to another.
Click here to take a look at the terra-block range or click here to take a look at some of the videos that explain terrain building using Terra-Former tiles.
Sparky, my daughter and son in laws dog enjouyed Hammerhead 2019.
Thanks Sally and Paul for putting on another top show.
Lewis and I recently enjoyed a great weekend playing some of our favourite miniatures games. Over the weekend we played two games of the new Pulp Alley China Station campaign.
The first scenario of the campaign saw our leagues shipwrecked off the coast of China, at night, searching for our missing companions.
When morning dawned, it became clear that our missing companions had been captured by the enemy and were being held in a military camp a few miles down from China Station. The day was spent planning and resting. As night fell the heroes crept forward intent on putting 'Op Breakout' into action!
Last Saturday (16th Febuary 2019). Lewis and I got together for some exciting two fisted Pulp Alley adventuring. We've both been huge Pulp Alley fans for many years and have been looking forward to getting started with the new China Station campaign every since it was announced. We decided to dust off the original leagues that we had created for the first Perilous Island campaign and give them another outing. Lewis's League is based around Manfred (an occultist of some note) who is often accompanied by two witches Gwainor and Lillianne together with a pack of three hellhounds. My league is the Royal Archeological Society, led by the highly capable Professor Snow.
The starting scenario in the China Station campaign sees our explorers shipwrecked, at night off the coast of China searching for there comrades while attempting to evade the hostile patrols that have been sent out to hunt down survivors.
There were four plot points on the table. A Chinese Shrine, an abandoned camp site, a hut and a truck. Each of these could be searched, with the hope of discovering another member of your league.
Professor Snow decided to head off for the Chinese Shrine with the hope that he would find a friend before attracting the attention of the soldiers patrolling along the side of the stream.
Manfred decided to check out the abandoned truck first, so heads quickly to cross the bridge.
At first it looks as if there will be nothing of any interest, but on closer examination he notices a ring and some footprints leading to Gwainor the Witch. However the search alerts a guard, who moves closer to investigate the strange sounds in the night.
Down by the river, the manhunt intensifies as more and more soldiers join the hunt.
Manfred makes his way to the deserted shack, he sees a movement and shouts, it is his old friend Lilianne. Unfortunately a guard gets a bead on the witch and shes falls to the ground, (she is on her feet in no time at all, passing her recovery roll with ease).
Poor old Professor Snow is having no luck at all, everytime he thinks that he is on to something, his hopes are dashed as it is more enemy soldiers that appear rather than his friends. The scenario cards include a search deck, there is a 50/50 split of plot point cards that mean you find one of your comrades and cards that mean more enemy patrols arrive. Unfortunately for Snow, every time he completed a succesful search he drew an enemy patrol card, while every time Manfred completed a search he found a comrade....just not his lucky day.
..of course his luck was not helped once Gwainor had been discovered by Manfred and sent of in his direction to blast him with arcane energy at every opportunity.
The first blast caused a leg injury on top of other discomfort that stopped him from running for the rest of the game!
It looks like Manfred has found another of his league near the old deserted shack, but the braying of the Hell hound has brought an enemy patrol to investigate.
Even three success challenges did not slow Manfred down, the final result at the end of the game was that Manfred had found three of his league and Snow had not found any!
However, with Pulp Alley, the game is so much fun that you have a great time even if Lady Luck has completely abandoned you.
At the end of the scenario, we rolled for one of our league members who had gone down or had not been found. These had been taken prisoner, and our next mission was going to be to bust them out of prison.
The scenery is all made from Sally 4th Terra-Former terrain kits.
Sunday 10th Febuary 2019 - Piquet: Hill Line Defence
Ten to fifteen years or so ago Piquet was a set of rules that we played on pretty much a weekly basis for many years, at that time we were the European distributors for Piquet and there was an active Piquet gaming community where I lived at the time, in Ilkley. Piquet was written by Bob Jones and contains a lot of features that really appealed to me. The rules use a card activation deck which can be different for each force to model the armies characteristics as a pose to units characteristics. Each unit in the army is rated using a D20 roll to determine how 'ip for it' they are on the day of the battle. This means that you can have a unit of elite or guard troops that you would expect to perform better than line or militia troops, but on the day they are 'Battle Weary', maybe they were involved in a hard fought action the previous day, so the perform less well than expected.
The scenario choosen was a reinforcments in depth scenario from the old Wargames Research Group book of 52 scenarios, one for each week of the year. This is an excellent little book and it is a great shame that it is no longer in print. The defensive position is based on two hills that cross the table at a 45 degree angle. A road passes through a valley between them and continues to past a village to cross a river in the distance.
I was joined by Chris Kirby and Paolo Di Cittaspina who commanded the British and Doug Wright who joined me to command the French.
The French divided there main force between the two hills with a 'thin white line' of infantry, a supporting artillery battery on the far hill and a couple of regiments of horse in reserve. In Piquet hills can either be 'Type 2' gentle slopes or 'Type 3' steep slopes. I decided to classify these as steep 'Type 3' hills, which was a mistake as it made assaulting them far to difficult a proposition.
The British split their forces, Paolo commanding the left and Chris the right. As soon as the British Infantry advanced into long range round shot range, the French gunners opened up and found there mark. Unfortunately for Paolo one of those early shots struck his Brigade commander. In Piquet when the officer check card is revealed you need to check for command casualties by rolling over the number of successful shooting attacks since the last officer check card, in this case one, which is exactly what was uppermost on the D20 when it stopped rolling! Latter in the turn a regimental commander was promoted to Brigade commander, but when he was rolled up it appeared that he was 'Abysmal' so the Commanding General relived him of command and took over the Brigade himself.
On the British right, the infantry advance to assault the hill.
As we had classified the hill as 'Type 3' we needed to wait for the elusive 'Infantry / Cavalry move in difficult' card to appear to redeploy our reserve cavalry down into the valley.
After a fierce infantry fire fight, the British launch a cavalry charge against the French gun position. The French expected to stop them in there tracks with a devistating volley of cannister, who ever due to a blunder with the positioning of the caisson this did not happen and in an instant the horses were upon the gun lines cutting the French gunners down to a man.
An impressive sight. The French reinforcements advance in road column to the sound of the guns. However, due to a misjudgement on my part regarding the length of my wargames table (12') compared to the map in the book, they were never going to reach the battle in time.
After several hours of fierce fighting, the British had cleared the French from right hand hill (at significant cost), but the French still held the left hand hill. We decided that with this feature held, the main army could bypass the other hill so awarded the British a marginal victory.
It had been a long time since I last played Piquet. I really enjoyed it and re-learnt quite a few lessons about scenario design for Piquet which will hopefully feed into even better games in the coming months.
All of the buildings on the table were 3D printed from the French Farm set from Printable Scenery.
This is a model of a fantasy style 28mm Coaching Inn that I have 3D printed and painted from a design by Printable Scenery. Printable Scenery are a New Zealand based company that produce some excellent 3D design files for fantasy, historical and Sci-Fi buildings. As they are digital designs the buildings can be rescaled by the customer and printed out to suit any figure scale. I have rescaled some of these buildings to print at 10mm (Warmaster) scale as well. I do all of my 3D printing using a material called PLA, this is a corn based product that does not produce a smell when being used and is very economical. PLA costs between £14 - £20 per kilogram spool, this model weighs around 600g so would have cost £8.40 in material to print. 3D printing is a very slow process. The coaching Inn took over 30 hours to print, spread over a week, but I think the results are definately worth the wait, and in truth even at this speed my 3D printer can print terrain far quicker than I have time to assemble and paint.
This is the front view of the Inn. The Inn consists of a main Inn area, a side annex and a row of open stabling with a thatched roof.
The back of the Inn features a lean to wood shed, an overhanging first floor bay window and a nice run of dormer windows.
I was very pleased with the kit and the way that it has painted up and would rate the design as 9 out of 10. There were three small areas that I felt could be improved on the design. These are the inclusion on an Inn sign, staircase and front door to main Inn building.
The kit is designed to be assembled as three layers. Here we can see what it looks like with the roof removed. As there was not an opening in the floor for a staircase to the ground, I have added a wooden trapdoor to represent where the stairs exit.
This is a view of the ground floor. Very nice floorboard detailing. As the kit did not include a staircase, I found a free standing design from another kit, measured the height of the ground floor wall and rescaled the design to fit correctly and glued it in place with superglue.
The Inn sign was also made from wood, with a hanging sign based on an image of a real Inn sign from the Internet.
This is a lovely kit, great for skirmish action. I have already got plans for using it as the centre piece in a Burrows and Badgers scenario and with a different Inn sign ast the Prancing Pony for a Lord of the Rings scenario.
Last week I got my paint brush busy on some new conversions to use in the Burrows & Badgers campaign that Ann and I are playing. We've only had one game so far, but it was a lot of fun and I ended up capturing one of Rufus' Roughcoats, a 'not so cunning Fox called Centus. I'm figuring that with the loot from the battle plus the ransom money, I might be able to recruit another critter to my warband. WIth this batch of painting and converting I wanted to include some good cheap troops together with a couple of weapons that I have not got represented in my collection yet, such at the 'Caliver' (basically an early musket) and the crossbow.
I've also painted a rather nice coaching Inn, 'The One Eyed Rat' (named after a great little pub in Ripon). This is a piece of 3D printed terrain, which is going to form the center piece of our next Burrows and Badgers encounter.
Orlando the Otter started life as a Wargames Foundry metal casting, I think he was a free promotional model at one time. I found a couple of copies in my bits box so decided to convert one into an Otter using a 'Otter in Conical Helm Critter Conversion Kit.
I've just costed Melwarda as a basic soldier with a hand weapon, but I think that she could be destined for greater things, maybe serving as a magic user when funds allow it. She started life as a metal Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago Vine Warden, before being transformed with a bare headed cat critter conversion kit.
Jerimah is also earmarked to be a mage at some point. He is a Frostgrave Beast Master Mage, so already anthropomorphic. The only conversion here was to add a tail from a cat conversion pack. ALbedo miniatures have a socket for accepting a tail component. When I'm doing a converion though, I always drill a small hole where the tail is going to join with my Dremmel craft drill.
Heather is the first of a batch of female miniatures that I have made by converting the miniatures in the excellent Frostgrave Female Soldiers box set.
This week Doug and I have started sorting out our participation game for this years Hammerhead show at Newark SHowground on 2nd March, which is played using Albedo Combat Patrol
The situation on the ground is that ILR Planetary Invasion forces have landed on and around major population centers on Coralaus Prime. ConFed Coralaus Homeguard forces were pushed back after intense firefights.
Over subsequent weeks the ILR consolidated there positions, digging in (bunnies are good at that), around strategic sites, such as the Government buildings and media hub featured in our counterattack game, which sees elements of an Extra Planatary Defence Force (EDF) Mech Company, landed outside engagement range via Aerodynes moving forward in a deliberate assault to recapture these strategic sites.
Across the road from the Government buildings is an attractive patch of parkland that the ILR have used to dig in to form an outer defensice cordon around the sites.
The EDF Mech Infantry debus from their AV8 AFV's making best use of available cover. Unfortunately a stray shot from an ILR LMG team strikes Sgt Davies, wounding her. First blood to the ILR!
The EDF decided to attach over a wide frontage, No 2 section debusses and heads for cover off the tree lined sunken path, while No1 section goes right flanking.
Doug is commanding the EDF forces. Combat is fast, intuative and card driven. All of the probabilities and factors that you would expect from a realistic, platoon level skirmish game are reflected on a unique set of 50 action cards. Shooting involves flipping a card, looking at to hit area which is based on shooting skill of troops doing the shooting, modified by factors such as range, if target is moving, if firing unit is moving etc. If target is hit another card is flipped to which figure in target group is hit, cover stops round and the severity of the wound.
On the EDF right flank we see No 1 section advancing in extended line against a half section of dug in ILR troops. Unfortunately for them there is also an ILR LMG on building roof behind trench which has them in range.
On the EDF left flank, Sgt Davies pulls herself together and limps into cover behind the AV8, while the one pip wonder and the rest of Platoon HQ head for cover of the fast food outlet.
The ILR keep there heads down in there trenches waiting for the EDF to advance into killing range of there less powerful carbines.
In the center No 1 section cautiously advances making best use of cover.
The boss makes it into cover of building, is he checking the map or collating a take out order from Battalion HQ?
Bravo Fireteam, No 1 Section take casualties from incoming small arms fire as they attempt to dash between cover.
Platoon HQ moves through the building to take up firing positions against the far wall.
To be continued - as we spent most off the evening talking about how we wanted the game to play at Hammerhead and finalising the terrain, we did not get the game finished on Monday night. We are planning to finish it next week, at which point I'll update this report.
In the meantime, if you'd like to find out more about ACP164 - click here for the Albedo Web page which has links to video play throughs and interviews on Beasts of War, reviews from magazines etc.