Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Back & Looking Ahead

It’s that time of the year again…a time to look back on the year that was, and a time to look forward to the new year ahead…

Looking back, I have to say that 2011 was a “mixed bag” on the hobby/gaming front. It had several positives like:

Finishing 2nd in the Gathering In The Desert LOTR tournament which earned me an invite to the GW sponsored Throne of Skulls event in Vegas

Getting in a lot more games than the previous year. In 2011 I played a lot of Lord of the Rings and also a significant amount of Flames of War. I also played 15mm ancients using Might of Arms, got my feet wet with Clash of Empires using 28mm ancients, played some 28mm American Civil War, played Warmaster fantasy, 15mm Napoleonics, and a fair number of Command & Colors Ancients and Combat Commander board games.

Playing in my first Flames of War tournament using the 2nd edition rules (and now 3rd edition is on the horizon), and actually finishing 2nd which qualified me for the US Nationals; I will be going to Adepticon in Chicago in April to play in the Late War Nationals.

Contracting out some painting work to help clear up some of my pile o’ lead resulting in me having a large 15mm Mongol army as I posted on this blog and a really nice 10mm Orc army for Warmaster, both painted by Tim K at Saguaro Painting Service (with pics of the Orcs on that blog), as well as a nice 15mm German Panzer Company painted by Robert as documented on his Drunken Samurai Painting blog.

Clearing out some armies and misc. hobby stuff that I know I’d never use again.

On the negative side of the “mixed bag” for 2011 are the following:

As of yet not finishing the 28mm Republican Romans I’m painting up for Mike; the good news is that I’m working on the last of the infantry and have the cavalry all prepped & primed and ready to go.

As of yet not finishing the 17 chariots for the 28mm Mitanni army I’m working on; I had Tim K at Saguaro Painting Service base paint the chariots and horses for me and now I just need to go through and add some extra detail and color, mount the crews and do the basing and they will be done…after years of languishing…

Throne of Skulls LOTR tournament; as I previously posted, I like seeing a lot of the regular LOTR players, but really was disappointed in the scoring, the scenarios, and some of the cheese-ball army compositions that were there.

Not posting as much to this blog as I would like to; I would like to do more battle reports and post more pictures of stuff I have.

Not deciding upon a “Tom Project”. Let me explain this one…at one point in my gaming life I had a couple of projects that were mine…I could bring everything needed for the game from terrain to all of the painted figures needed to play, and I could host multi-player games in doing so. I can still supply both sides and terrain for games like Flames of War or LOTR or 28mm & 15mm ancients, but none of these are unique to the group of guys that I game with most frequently. I spent quite a bit of 2011 looking into various projects such as Eastern Renaissance/TYW, 10mm or 15mm WWI, 10mm or 15mm Russo-Polish War, and 15mm modern “what-if” or ”imagi-nation”. Maybe I’ll finally decide on one of these in 2012.

As for the year ahead, I think it’s going to be a good year. I hope to continue to game on a regular basis like I’ve been with the games I’m going to focus on for the first few months of the year being: Flames of War (with the new edition coming out and having to get some practice in for the Nationals in April), Clash of Empires in 28mm (I want to play more often and get some more of the locals interested if possible), Command & Colors Ancients – Miniature (several of the guys are giving serious consideration to doing 28mm forces to convert the board game to miniature and I’m jumping onto this and will be doing a Greek army for this project), and 28mm American Civil War (once I get the Rebs based up and ready to go I plan on getting in more games of Action Front and give Black Powder consideration too). After spring has come and gone, I’ll see where I’m at and take it from there; I have a lot of armies started that I need to finish as well as armies that I haven’t started that I would like to, and then of course there is always terrain to do…it never ends. As for acquiring new stuff in 2012, I’m sure I’ll pick up figures for at least one more project with the leading candidate right now being 28mm Napoleonics; I purchased the Waterloo set of rules and want to give them a try. Another possible candidate is doing some smaller fantasy games using 15mm minis with a set of rules like HOTT or Basic Impetus - Fantasy or ??? Only time will tell what I end up accomplishing in 2012, but I'm fairly confident it will be at a minimum the same amount as I did in 2011...

Monday, November 28, 2011

American Civil War Game - "Action Front"

On Sunday I got in an American Civil War game against Joe D who has a really nice collection of 28mm figures for the war. All of the troops in the pictures are his except for the 114th PA which is mine. The figures are from Sash & Saber primarily with some being Old Glory, the buildings are from Old Glory, the roads are from JR, the fences are refinished Pegasus Hobbies fences, and the tree stands and hills were made by a few of the local guys.

We each ran a brigade of 4 regiments with an attached battery. Joe ran the Rebs and I ran the Union. Joe's brigade outnumbered mine, but he had a couple of "Fresh Fish" regiments and his battery was Veteran whereas my units were all Experianced. We used a set of rules being developed by Don E. who has a great ACW blog called "Action Front"

We hadn't played in a while so decided to march our troops on to get used to maneuvering again. Once we came to blows things turned to the Union advantage fairly quickly mostly due to Joe's decision to lead with a Fresh Fish regiment and his really poor dice rolling. All in all it was a fun game (helped because I won) and I am certain that Joe will be looking for a rematch soon!

The brigades march on...

The lines form...
Union infantry passes through the battery...


A bloody repulse!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

15mm Old Glory Mongols

Here are the 15mm Mongols that were painted by Tim K at Saguaro Painting Service ( Like the Medieval Russians in my previous post, Tim did a good job on these and I simply did touch-ups, some highlighting to my liking, and the basing (boy, am I glad the basing is over with...the trouble is I have a ton more to do!). The Mongols will be the heart of this army and the Russians will just compliment it as an allied contingent from time to time.

Mongol Heavy Cavalry & Generals

Mongol Light Cavalry

Allied Light Cavalry (Cuman figures)

All of these figures are Old Glory 15mm based on Litko bases. The allied Light Cavalry are Cumans and are suitable for a wide variety of armies. There are 24 stands of Mongol Heavy Cavalry, 30 stands of Mongol Light Cavalry, 12 stands of allied Light Cavalry and 3 Mongol General stands.

15mm Old Glory Medieval Russians

Several months ago I contracted with Tim K of Saguaro Painting Service ( to paint up a 15mm Mongol army with Russian Allies. Tim did a nice, quick job and the figures look the part of a battle tested force. Well...once I got them back, they just sat see, in case I haven't said this before, I LOATHE basing figures!!!! I did start to work on them slowly and did some touch-ups and highlights, which is much easier than painting the entire figure (that's for sure). I finally got around to finishing up the basing this weekend, so here's the Russian allied contingent that will serve their Mongol overlords well (hopefully!).

Russian Heavy Cavalry Closeup

Russian Heavy Cavalry

Russian Heavy Infantry

Russian Archers

Russian Skirmishing Crossbowmen

All of these 15mm figures are from Old Glory and are mounted on Litko bases for the Might of Arms set of rules. I look forward to their first battle. There are 9 stands of Heavy Cavalry, 1 General, 9 stands of subheavy infantry, 9 stands of subheavy crossbowmen, 12 stands of light/medium bow & 6 stands of skirmishing crossbows.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

28mm American Civil War - Samples

Well, I'm finally emarking on a project that I've really wanted to get to, 28mm American Civil War. My goal is to be able to do a refight of the Peach Orchard at Gettysburg on the upcoming anniversary. This will take a lot of figures, so with that in mind I painted up some samples to send off to a painting service to get painted. While doing this I realized a couple of things: one being the Union troops, though boring to paint, are very easy to paint due to the limited color pallet, and the other being that artillery crew for both sides are also easy to paint because they don't have a lot of equipment on them. As a result of this, I'm going to send over 200 Confederates and just one unit of Union infantry to get painted, and I'll paint the bulk of the Union and artillery crew myself.

So, here are some pictures of the samples I painted.

All of the models are from Sash and Saber which are very nice castings; very clean, with little if any flash and good detailing.

So with my decision to paint up the bulk of the Union and artillery crew, I've decided to send a fairly large 28mm Byzantine army off to get painted as well. I've recently started playing Clash of Empires and my interest in 28mm ancients has been sparked again.

More updates to follow as I work toward finishing up some projects and starting some new projects.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More 28mm Republican Romans

Well I finished up 48 28mm Republican Romans for Mike. These figures are from Crusader Miniatures and paint up nicely IMO. These are all sword armed figures; the next 48 will be armed with pila with the exception of the command figures.

I'm going to take a brief break from the Romans and work on some other things for a while. More updates to follow when I get stuff done!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

15mm Late War German Panzer Company Finished

A while back I worked out a deal with Robert from the Drunken Samurai Painting Blog where he would paint up a Late War German Panzer Company for me in exchange for a bunch of dwarfs for Lord of the Rings. He did a great job in painting up the force and documenting it on his blog. I picked up the Germans last week and they look better in person than on the 'net. I look forward to getting them on the table. I did have one little piece of work to do on the army and that was to base up the infantry that he had painted for the Aufklarungs Platoon. Eventhough I hate basing because I find it so tedious at times (probably because I always seem to end up basing entire armies instead of just a few stands), I dove right into this because I wanted the force done. Below is the infantry for the force all finished!

This force consists of 10 PzKw IVh's, 3 Panthers, 2 Tiger I's, a 2 squad Aufklarungs Platoon and 3 SdKfz 10/5 AA halftracks. I will use it primarily for Flames of War but can use it for other rules as well.

I seem to be getting back into the groove when it comes to working on miniatures. I've almost completed 48 more Romans for Mike's army and I'm going to start work on basing some other stuff up and getting some samples painted so I can send some figures off to get painted; so stay tuned, hopefully the next update won't be far off.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Throne of Skulls" Thoughts

Well, having attended my first GW "event", I have some observations and thoughts on my experiance.

Things I liked:

  • Seeing and talking with players I've gotten to know at Gathering in the Desert

  • Facing tough opponents

  • The food; good catering

  • Winning a random door prize of 3 Lord of the Rings "command" boxes

  • The venue (Vegas!)

Things I didn't like:

  • The fact that some guys played against each other in 2 out of the first 3 games and got a bonus point for it; there were enough armies (24) in the tournament to allow for no rematches on the first day of the tournament.

  • Not having good vs. evil for the first round; again, there were almost enough armies from each "side" to allow for that in the first round. Instead it was Gondor vs. Gondor, Isengard vs. Isengard and Moria vs. Moria for some of the first round match-ups.

  • The format. There were only wins, losses and draws; there were no "minor" or "major" category for either wins or losses. I guess I've been spoiled by the effort that Tim K goes through at GITD and other organizers that I've heard about at other Independant tournaments have taken to give players interesting yet challenging scenarios for LOTR.

  • The scoring. It seemed kind of mysterious to sportsmanship (just a single vote for the "favorite game" which was just weird IMO).

  • The results/awards. Besides taking so long to give out the awards, I think that for being a "core" game, LOTR got shorted. For WHFB and 40k, each distinct army present that has an official codex had a best general award, even if there was only 1 or 2 armies from that faction participating. This didn't happen for LOTR with only a best "good" and a best "evil" general and a best overall given. It just doesn't seem consistent to me; the LOTR players traveled just like players from those other systems and should have been given the same consideration.

Things I'm undecided about:

  • The terrain. The battle boards were nice as were the ruins, but I didn't like the tree bases or all of the fences...apparently there are abandoned farms throughout Middle Earth with random fences everywhere. Now I understand trying to make the terrain consistent for a tournament setting such as this, but again I guess I'm spoiled by the themed terrain Tim K puts out for GITD and that I know others also put a lot of effort into.

  • The paint scoring. Two of the three armies that won awards for painting in LOTR were nice, but I felt there were a couple of others that were clearly nicer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess.

Other thoughts:

  • If I qualify for next year's TOS, will I go to Memphis? If I had to decide right now, no I wouldn't go. The event wasn't bad, but I expected something more...this just was "eh"...ok. Now, when the time comes and if I had an opportunity to go, I probably would just to catch up with everyone and hope to get in some challenging games, but only time will tell on that.

  • I'm not sure if I like 700 point games. Until this tournament I've only played at 350, 500 and 600 points. Out of those I honestly like 350 point games the best. I saw some of the games at 700 points end in draws because both players were at max model count and it took so long to deploy, move, shoot and fight that those armies couldn't hope to break an opponent in the alloted time. This point level also gives some players additional leeway to take even odder, more strangely configured (IMO) armies than at lower point levels. LOTR is a skirmish game and I've always felt that the forces on the table should reflect lower level battles from the books and not turn into min-max combinations where players cherry pick certain troop types and ally them with another certain troop type from another army just to win. I mean, why can't people try to win with common troops or troops from just one list? Isn't that more of a measure of how good of a player you are instead of spending hours figuring out great combinations from various lists that will be ultra-competative? Of course, this doesn't apply to all of the armies that were there...there were some very solidly themed armies, but there were several others that left me scratching my head.

Lord of the Rings "Tournament of Skulls" Recap

When I finished second overall at this years Gathering in the Desert Lord of the Rings Tournament, it earned me a spot in this "Throne of Skulls" tournament that Games Workshop was running for the first time in North America. Luckily for me the TOS was in Las Vegas which is only 4+ hours from Phoenix so of course I was willing to make the trip; combine that with the fact that I was married in Elvis of course...and my wife agreed whole-heartedly with me attending the TOS while she gambled and shopped of course! So last Friday, we picked up Tim K who had also been invited and made the drive up. I took my Isengard Raiders list with Mauhur leading 28 scouts, 6 feral Uruk-hai, 8 warg riders and Saruman tagging along with hopes of finishing in the middle of the pack.

I enjoy LOTR and was looking forward to talking with, and hopefully playing against, a lot of the people that have made the journey to GITD over the years. I was also looking forward to seeing how GW ran an event as I had never been to anything "official". Here's a quick rundown of the tournament which I will follow-up with some general comments at the end:

Registration - Though the line seemed long initially on Friday night, I think registration went smoothly. We got little "goody" bags along with our badges and schedules. I got a tape measure, a bag of LOTR blue Gondor dice and a GW water bottle. Not bad.

Saturday morning - Breakfast was provided at the venue in the Tropicana and was scheduled to be from 7am to 8am, but there was apparently a disconnect as the Tropicana staff thought it was to start at 8am. Eventually the hungry gamers prevailed and opened the serving lines up by themselves. Nice continental breakfast.

Game 1 - The first scenario was "Clash of Piquets" and I drew Mike B. who had made the journey from Floriday for TOS. Mike ran a combined Isengard Raider & Goblin list; he had Ugluk, 17 feral Uruk-hai, some scouts and a bunch of goblins including prowlers and maxed out at 75 models. This was a bad match up for me because from experiance I have to be able to concentrate my force and pick my spot; being outnumbered by 31 models pretty much killed me in this scenario and I was doomed from the start. Mike wins.

Lunch - Well, lunch started on time. It was basically build your own sandwich and the food was again good.

Game 2 - The second scenario was "Storm the Camp" and I drew Josh L and his Galadrim elf list. I figured I'd have a chance in this scenario if I could close with Josh before I was shot up by his S3 bowfire. Unfortunately for me, Josh's dice were "hot" and he killed 6 Uruks in his first turn of direct fire (after killing some in volley fire before that)...and when I finally closed with his line preventing him from firing at me it seemed every time I rolled a 6 in melee he would match it and win due to FV5. Another loss (see a trend developing?)

Game 3 - Well the last game of the day was "Domination" and because of my excellent performance in the first two games I played the "Ringer" army in the third game. The "ringer" was being run by Price who had made the trip from Memphis with the other GW staff. It was Easterlings with Khamul on a fellbeast along with some Khandish mercenary cavalry. This was a game where fate was against me. I left my archers securing one objective, sent a small force after the 6 archers Price moved toward the objective on my left and sent my wargs off to the right against the Khandish mercs and Khamul while Mauhur and Saruman drove up the center of the table toward the far objective. It was close initially, but my 7" move for the scouts came in handy in this game and I got the Easterling army to break when I had secured 2 objectives; now I just needed the game to continue a couple of turns and watch as some of the Easterlings failed their Stand Fast rolls so I could get one more objective; unfortunately the scenario has a variable end and Price rolled a "2" at the end of the turn he broke and the game ended in a draw...I needed one more turn for the win...oh, well...

Dinner - My wife was done with her day at the spa, shopping and gambling so she joined me for dinner at the venue. It was very good and we both really liked it. There was plenty of food and I don't think anyone went hungry.

Day 2, Game 4 - Well I was doing really poorly and hoped to get at least one win on the second day. I knew that it would be a challenge when I saw I was facing Gary L in the "Seize the Prize" scenario. I had faced Gary a couple of years ago at GITD and he is a tough, friendly, player that doesn't make mistakes and plays to win. Gary ran a "White Company" list with the upgraded Faramir, Eowyn and Beregond leading a bunch of Osgiliath veterans and rangers. The modified scenario required the artifact be exited off of the opponents edge to win. With my speed and Gary only having one mounted model (Faramir) I hoped that I could work some magic. It really turned into a meat grinder for both of us and the re-roll from Faramir won Gary quite a few combats. The key turning point, for me at least, was actually fairly early in the game. I had a clear line of sight to Faramir with Saruman and I tried to Sorcerous Blast him to get him off of his horse; he ended up using all of his will and might to resist. After that Gary thought about moving him, but left him in place which gave me an opportunity. Gary appeared to be lining Faramir up for a charge and had left a gap in his line through which Faramir could move; well on the next turn I caste Compel using 2 dice knowing that he couldn't resist and I was positioned to be able to surround Faramir and hopefully do some damage to him. No such luck as I rolled snake eyes and Faramir thumbed his nose at Saruman. I did manage to dig up the artifact and hand it off to Saruman and tried to break through on the far left only to die to a man. Good, challenging game that I could have won...

The last game of the tournament left me matched up with Eric Roof's Dwarf army. Eric runs Conquest Miniatures and produces wonderful figures. The scenario was standard "Meeting Engagement". We traded casualties for the first part of the game, but I think I peeled off too much of my strength to my left in an effort to surround 4-6 dwarfs Eric had moved there to shield his ballista. I had an opportunity for glory when I managed to get Sorcerous blast off at the start of my move that took down his King's Champion, the 2 accompanying banners and Dain! I immediately swamped all of those figures hoping to get some wounds in on them and keep them on the ground...sadly, my dice failed me because eventhough I won all 4 combats, I didn't do a single wound...and that's with rolling double dice with multiple attacks from ferals and Mauhur on each figure!!!! Ugh...sadly for me...after that the dwarfs stood up and just went to work. Eric broke me and though I had him close to break I reached 25% pretty quickly after I was broken. Good game against a good opponent.

After the last game ended at 330pm they did a quick Q&A session without many answers and though the schedule said awards were supposed to be given out at 430pm we were told to be back at 515pm for the awards. I didn't like the delay because we were leaving right after the awards to drive home. Well 515pm came and went and they finally started on the awards just before 6pm, and though they went through them quickly I don't think it made up for the huge delay.

Next post will be on some general thoughts about the TOS...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Another LOTR Isengard Additon

Well, I've finished off another figure for my LOTR Isengard Uruk-hai scouts, Mauhur. He's a character from White Dwarf that benefits from a 7" base move which can be used in rough terrain, and for 1 point each other scouts in an army be upgraded to "marauders" with the same movement bonus. I've only used him on one game and found the extra movement beneficial.

Up next on the painting bench are 48 more 28mm Republican Romans for Mike, some 28mm American Civil War for myself, basing some already painted 15mm figures, and some Warmaster Dwarfs for Al.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

28mm Roman Triarii

Well, it goes without saying, but I've been in a definite painting funk for the past few months and I think I'm finally snapping out of it. This week I finished off a couple of units of 28mm Republican Roman Triarii by Crusader Miniatures. These are part of a paint-for-trade deal that I'm working on completing for my friend Mike. I previously completed the Velites for the army and will begin working on the Hastati, Princeps and Cavalry eventually (first I'm going to do some 15mm WWII for Mike). I really liked painting these figures once I got into the flow. The sculpts are nice and they are pretty straight-forward without intricate detail.

Next up, besides the 15mm WWII for Mike, is completing my LOTR army for the "Throne of Skulls" tournament in Vegas in June. I actually finished second overall at this year's Gathering in the Desert. I've only got one new figure to paint and some touch-ups on my Uruk-hai Raider/Scout force to do and I'll be done. After that is done, then I'm not sure what else will be next...but it's good to finally be thinking about painting again.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lord of the Rings: Isengard Additions

Well, the Gathering in the Desert Independant Lord of the Rings tournament is next weekend and I finished a few figures to go along with the army I'll be running. At one point in time I was delusional and thought I could run a completely new/different army each time this annual tournament came around, but reality set in and I simply don't have the time for that; plus, I really like the two armies I have completed, Rohan and Isengard scouts. This year I decided to stick with the Isengard Uruk-hai scouts, but with a twist. I was inspired by the "A Dark Day in Rohan" scenario in White Dwarf 362 to run Saruman with a bunch of scouts in the mission to meet Dunland chieftan Thrydan Wolfsbane. So here's Saruman who will be the leader of my force in the tournament. I've previously posted pics about the Uruk-hai in the army, so you can check back to see pictures of them.

Saruman will start the game mounted and I have the foot figure ready for when/if his horse becomes an arrow-catcher.
Tim K, who is running the tournament has some sort of "emissary" scenario where a regular foot model that isn't part of your main army needs to exit the board and I wanted to get one of the Uruk-hai scouts carrying Merry or Pippin from the Amon-hen box, but the only place I've seen them is up on Ebay and I keep losing out on the auctions. Faced with not having those figures, I had 2 options: 1) paint up and use Grima as the emissary, or 2) use some other unique figure. I decided against Grima because I didn't want to possibly confuse my opponent, so I went with "A Mighty Orc Warrior" pictured below!

So, I'll be bringing a knife to a gunfight again...the army is predominantly D4 & D5 which isn't good when I'll be facing Defence 6 armies for the most part with the same or higher Fight value. The strength of the Uruk scouts will help, but being outnumbered won't help. Isengard and Rohan are the two Lord of the Rings armies that have suffered the most from stat creep in the game and that likely isn't going to change any time soon. I like the armies and I'll keep playing them because of that and if I win a few games it will make it all the more sweeter! And after running Isengard for 2 years in a row, I will likely switch back to Rohan next year...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Flames of War Afrika Korps Completed!

Well, as I've mentioned on more than one occaision I've had a cloud hanging over me in the form of an unfinished DAK army for Flames of War; I have finally removed the cloud! I just got done dulcoting the trucks for the army that have taken so long for me to complete. They are a mixture of Old Glory and Battlefront; I have to say I like the Battlefront single piece resin trucks better than the Old Glory from the standpoint of not having to assemble them! While I was at it I put a wash on the tanks and guns for the you can see in my post from October 2009, the tanks were a bit light for my liking once I got them on the table, so I put a brown ink wash on them and they look much better. So that's one thing done from this year's list!