Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Trolls and ships and Model Ts... oh my

I've been a tad busy with a few bits and pieces - of which more at the end - but today I managed to pick up a brush and actually get some painting done.

First up is HMS Caledonian, a First Rate ship of the line. Another 1/1200 naval model from the second hand haul this one is now done apart from the rigging:

Secondly, we have the second troll for my Bloodbowl team The Green Machine. This one wasn't done at the same time as the rest of the team due to a broken drill bit. I'm particularly happy with the Goblin Long Bomb player.

Now I just need to come up with a name for him.

Lastly, something a bit different. We've reached the time of year when I tend to build a diorama to help pass the long winter months. What to build this year? My choice has been guided by another recent activity. For the first time in ages I'm going to be running a Cthulhu RPG  for Halloween, so I've been doing a lot of thinking around Lovecraft over the last couple of weeks. Hence this:

This is a Lledo die cast model t ford, the 1927 model. It's also - as you can see modeled by the glamorous Boromir - as near as dammit 25mm scale.

Here you can see the basic layout plan:

And here's the Model T repainted and weathered:

Came out rather well, I think.
Some more details on what eldritch and rugose horrors will be a part of this in another post. I'll also pop up some details about the Halloween game after Saturday as I don't want to give anything away to the players.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

That which is not dead - can still feel pretty bloody awful

Blimey, it's been a while. As is almost traditional, the start back at work led to a horrible disease which in this case landed me in hospital over a weekend - didn't miss a day of work though, taxpayers! - and I didn't eat for a fortnight.

Although good for weightloss this didn't leave much energy for hobby time, hence the long silence. And now She Who Must Be Obeyed has got it leaving me in sole charge of the children. All of which is to say I haven't picked up a brush in nearly a month.

One thing I did have to do was rescue some boxes from the garage which has started leaking. Like old friends, some of my old RPG stuff has emerged blinking into the light

Including one of the very first RPGS I bought that we played every Saturday night for the best part of 5 years, the venerable Call of Cthulhu . This is a true old friend, bought in 1989 and built to last:

Gorgeous art as well, very evocative:

And here's the most recent iteration I bought:

I find it interesting that the 30 year old book stood up the damp garage well but the more recent hardback started to fall apart.

The last thing I did this month was to buy myself a present. I didn't realise at the time that this month marks the 30th anniversary of the publishing of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, another mainstay of the Saturday night group. This game was played so often that our copies of the rulebook disintegrated through heavy use. I bought the second edition, of course, but the old World had changed a bit in ways I don't quite like.

As it happens this last week I finally hunted down a copy of the original edition through the fabulous Lead Adventure Forum:

And here's a few old friends from inside; the Old World and the Critical Hit tables:

This will be played with the boys when they are old enough.

Hopefully should have some time for somexample painting and gaming now we're all on mend so there should be more updates soon.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Adventures of Blind Percy

this is the customary "I ain't dead!" Post that everyone who works in education posts around this time of year. Settling in to the new school year - along with settling the Eldest into his first year of Primary School - means there's not been a lot of time for hobby shenanigans.

All I've managed to set brush to in the last couple of weeks is some base coat work on a troll and another ship of the line which I'm hoping to get finished this week.

In terms of gaming, this week we got to crack out Merchants and Marauders, the finest board game available that gives you the chance to live out your Captain Jack Sparrow fantasies.

The strength of the game is that you can play it how you like; you can tool around the Caribbean and win by taking tobacco, spices or wood - and just like playing Catan, you get all the usual jokes about who's got wood; you can chase down rumours of hidden gold, sunken ships or shady jobs; you can perform jobs for the great and good of the colonial powers; or you can hoist the Jolly Roger and cut a swathe through the merchants of the Caribbean - or other players. Each of these is an equally valid and effective way to win, making the game one my favourite sandboxes.

In terms of components, as you can see, it puts a lot of toys on the table so it's visually quite impressive.

The biggest problem, from my point of view, is that it requires dice rolls. At this point, I'd like you to meet my captain, Percival W. During the course of this game he:

Spent two turns looking for merchantmen and proved to be totally unable to find them. It's difficult to be a pirate if you insist on looking the other way.
Spent two turns looking for a new species of plant to compete a mission for a botanist. To put that into perspective, in that same space of time, another player made fortune hauling run to Trinidad.
Tried to attack another captain to stop her winning; she was sailing a bloody huge galleon. Again, he couldn't find her.

He therefore became known as Blind Percy. In the same game we discovered that G - a business studies teacher - was awful at making money. We named his ship the Saga as he appeared to be taking old folks on a very, very slow cruise, forgetting to pick up cargo in the ports that he visited. 

J, another new player, spent the whole game complaining she didn't understand the game while amassing a huge fund of gold and glory points. And finally my good lady wife set out avariciously making as much money as humanly possible. It was her I tried to sink in the last turn of the game, fact fans.

A good night was had by all; the game is quite overwhelming for people who've not played it before or who aren't used to modern board games, simply because of the amount of freedom it offers and the sheer number of moving parts but it flows well and has been requested for the next game night. I really do recommend M&M. It's probably the most played game in the collection and I know I'll have a good time playing it every time. 

Just so long as I'm not stuck with being Blind Percy again.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

A Day At The Races

Having enjoyed thoroughly the rules for Faustus Furius, it was obvious that I would need some chariots. I had a scab around a few places - the Essex chariots looked quite nice, but the price was a little steep. Thankfully, some chaps on the Lead Adventure Forum recommended Outpost Wargames Services.

These fine chaps set me up with 4 chariots for £9.

That four lots of a chariot, a driver and four horses. For £9!

As you can see the sculpts are really nice for 15mm and certainly belie the price.

The only modelling that needed to be done was to create a yoke for the chariot shaft; I did this with some brass rod left over from the masts on the 1/1200 ships.

Once a simple base coat and shade was done...

...the only painting was a quick highlight. And then the finishing touch: using what I've learnt from rigging the 1/1200 ships, I made reins for each if the chariots out of cotton thread.

True story; the classical historian Mary Beard helped me choose the shades of colours for the four teams to match the red, white, green and blue of Caligula's time; as any I, Claudius fan knows, Caligula supported green. So I would like to thank her for taking time out of her Sunday to talk to some random bloke on Twitter about chariot colours. 

I imagine that things will slow down a bit here as the new school year gets in to full swing but do stay tuned; quite a few naval goodies to come next. 

Thanks for reading.  

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Avast! Splice the mainbrace and so forth

I ran into a slight problem with the naval games; I didn't have a suitable playing surface. I asked on the fighting sail Facebook group and they suggested a lot of excellent products but they were all a little expensive. Even the cheapest option - a Sails of Glory playing mat - was £35.

I was all for going to the local Boyes fabric department to buy some blue felt when a Google image search suggested something else.


For those of you unfamiliar with this it was more or less the first of Games Workshops most recent attempts at standalone games. It was a limited release and had no expansions. Being a game of naval warfare in the Old World it came with the usual GW quality components - one of which was a mat. I could find someone selling these mats on eBay for about £30 so it was already cheaper than most other options.

More digging led to the discovery that although the going price for a Dreadfleet box is around £60-70 some could be snapped up for lower prices if you box clever. I found a likely looking couple of listings and started the process of haggling using the Best Offer mechanism. After back and forth that would have done the Souk proud, we settled on £35 and a few quid postage. So I more or less got the mat and the rest of the game for a fiver. At that price I don't care if the game or components are shoddy, frankly. It's second hand but all that's been done is a few of the bits have been stuck together and one ship has been under coated. 

Today, it arrived.

I opened it up and oh, my Lord, it's gorgeous. The rule book is a work of art:

I'm used to the quality of GW plastic engineering but this is fabulous. The playing pieces are fabulously designed and sculpted but u hadn't realised how much impact they have on the tabletop. Here's a few of the pieces so you can get a sense of the sheer amount of character some of the ships and scenery have:

Even the simple game components are beautifully designed:

What I hadn't quite got to grips with was how BIG they were. Talk about impact on the table. Here's a few shots with a Gandalf for scale:

So regardless of everything else, I'm going to have enormous fun painting these; this is going to be a lovely little project to do. 

But what about the mat, I hear you cry? After all, that's my I bought it. The mat was still in the original bag; it's thin material but oh so pretty:

And here it is with the ships I painted:

I think that will do very nicely indeed, don't you?

I have no idea about the game; but if you like the idea of painting some fantasy ships and you see a copy of this cheap, snap it up.