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 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
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.
The warbands characters (Gabbol the Wild Searat King, Crooked Tooth his trusty Lieutenant and Singed Fur caster of wild magic)
Gabbol is a conversion from the Crusader Miniatures Sea Dogs pack.
Singed Fur was built using pieces from the excellent Frostgrave Wizards plastic box set.
Crooked Tooth also started out as a casting from the Crusader Miniatures Sea DOgs pack.
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.
The unit of warriors are all built from Ghost Archipelago plastic crewmen as these have a real swashbuckling, seafaring feel to them.
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.
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.
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.
I've made a short You Tube video about the conversions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
... 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.
We've been meaning to try Thud and Blunder, the fantasy skirmish rules by the 'Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare' ever since they were published which must have been a good four or five months ago. Last Friday, my son, Lewis came over to visit for a couple of days, and it seemed like a great opportunity to give them a go.
We had both read through the rules when they had been published, and they seemed pretty intuitive and sensible, but as it was a first game we limited it to 300 points a side, which is a pretty small skirmish.
I had my 'Blackstone Heath' terrain set up on the big games table, so we decided it would be fun to play a game set on that (it also meant we could get stuck straight in as the terrain was already set up on the table, down to furniture in the buildings!). A 300 point game plays well on a 3' or 4' square table, so we decided to use the Inn and a single tile around it, which gave us a 4' square gaming area. Lewis choose the scenario, which was an attack and defence style game and choose sides. He chose to play the verminous horde of 'Red Claw' the notorious sea rat captain, which meant I got to play the Redwall mice and woodland allies led by 'Mathew the Warrior'
The defenders got to set up first. It was rather a large area to try to defend with so few. We had taken to Hares from the Long Patrol, Major Whitetail and Harriet, both pretty handy with a bow. They were positioned on the first-floor veranda, as that covered a number of approaches. The mice set up in the Inn the best they could, knowing that they would probably have to redeploy when we saw which approach the rats took.
Red Claw got an extra 150 points to spend on his attacking force, (as if Sea Rats were not a tough enough opponent already), and he got to choose 3 deployment zones.
Red Claw concentrated his forces against the closest side wall of the Inn, with a few diversionary troops approaching from the other directions to keep the defenders spread thin.
In the first few turns the Rats ran to get into position, and particularly to reach the dead ground where they would be safe from missile fire from the veranda. The Long Patrol, proved pretty handy, taking a good handful of rats down as they approached. Harriet was armed with a war bow, and this was really a better weapon than Major Whitetails Crossbow as it did not need to take alternate turns reloading.
Red Claw and his cronies soon made it to the window of the back room of the Inn, sending a couple of scurvy sea rats round to the staircase to silence the aggravating Harriet the Hare. Two Oar Slaves with slings were left to provide covering fire while the assault party moved into position.
The rats make it into the backroom of the Inn. Mathew and Raymond his trusty Lieutenant fight back to back while the mice defending the main area rush to their assistance.
Red Claw directs the combat and urges his crew on from his position on top of the bed, while even more reinforcements come in through the far window.
Lewis moves his troops up and as the fights break up into a handful of smaller conflicts focuses on maximising his advantage.
One of the mice slingers makes it into the fray, and pluckily gets stuck in with her shortsword.
Meanwhile, on the veranda, Harriet the Hare is holding her own. The second rat on the staircase elects to climb the last bit of wall in order to bypass the melee and challenge Major Whitetail.
In the main area of the Inn things are not going well for the mice, but they pluckily go down fighting the tough veteran 'Old Hands' with their cruel two handed weapons.
At the end of six turns, the Redwall mice had notched up a respectable body count, dispatching the two Oar Slaves and all of the regular 'Sea Rat' crew for the loss of three of their own, however victory conditions for the scenario were measured mainly by the number of attackers inside the defended area at the end of turn six. This gave Red Claw a decisive victory of 45 victory points against the defenders 15.
Well done Lewis and the verminous horde!
Rules Used - Thud and Blunder
Figures are converted from various manufactuers using Albedo Critter Conversion Kits
Figures are all mounted on Sally 4th Clear Perspex Bases
In November Dungeonwork Architects were giving away some nice 3D printer files for a Banquet model set (table, chairs, food and tableware), this happened to coincide with us discovering Redwall Abbey which is an anthropomorphic fantasy series that features a lot of banquets and food descriptions. This got me thinking that the banquet files were great when printed, but would be even better with some miniatures sitting at the tables.
The seated miniatures are 'The Seated Crowd' figures, which were designed for sitting in our Blood Bowl Stadiums, but are also great for filling our Fantasy or Medieval Taverns, click here for more details. The seated figures have been converted using Albedo Miniatures 'Critter Conversion Kits'. These are head and tail sets for dogs, cats, rabbits, otters, foxes etc. that allow you to take any miniature and easily convert it ino an anthropomorphic 'critter'. Click here for details.