Monday, 30 November 2015

Sengoku range batch 2 by John Bell available from

I though I had a good grasp of Japanese myths, but John – a real expert with the ability to turn myth into tabletop reality.

As you've seen, I'm on the verge of a campaign so I thought it was time to dip me toes in and stock up.

Plus, I haven't seen an independent review of this second range.

I am so impressed – many of the tops will fit and stay in the bottoms without glue! That screams Quality to me!

I had 2 specific units I wanted to build. First, bull-headed spiders. Yes, that's right. I want to give my “evil” side a nasty beast – we've never used animals.
All the girls together
To match them, 2 spider-ladies. There are 2 female torso's so a large spider body for each, added a sheath to the sword wielder and a full sword set to the naginata user. The bigger body is noticeably bigger and a human torso looks great. With the spider I've already got (from guess where?) and there is a nice spidery army!

First impressions. The bull head & small spider body are perfect, the head has a much smaller attachment meaning that they are easy to position. With a human torso they look like a “low rider” spider centaur. I need another head to make a proper Minotaur, now.
Here's my suggestions (p63):
Q4, C2, 15, Animal -2, Greedy (stopping to wrap prey in web) -3 Labyrinth (web) +10 = 20
Q4 C3, 23, Animal -2 Dashing+ 4 = 25
After playtesting I'm thinking Q4, C2, 15 Animal-2 Greedy-3 Dashing+4 =14.

The Boys
Size-wise, the priests match up well to my Two Dragons and Eureka. The 2-parters are a little “beefier”, but bridge the gap between the ranges above and the larger Museum Miniatures. In fact, if you want to make a later Ikko Ikki army, these would be an excellent match.

Rokurokubi. Long necked demon, at she's certainly that! This sounds silly, but this is the perfect model for a head-swap. So you could make a goddess or possessed person or angry ghost.

8 Brigands, Ronin or similar. A naginata (bending each spear head slightly) using rag-tag bunch of nasties. I got 4 of each leg type and 6 of the spearmen and 1 woman. There's a sword-wielder to break them up. I decided to use each leg type as front & back rank. Placing each leg slightly different on the base then working with that it's easy to make what could be 6 identical figures pop. I used some of the armour and sword sheaths to customise.

Careful! The metal is very brittle. I snapped the hand off one trying to bend the arm. But every wotsits a thingy, and I had another spare spear torso, so I chopped a grey pompom in half and made 2 Gaki angry ghosts emerging from cloudform. I glued the halves onto a (2p) coin with superglue, in hindsight I should have used a regular bostic/uhu type glue or no more nails. I'd have also mounted the torsos on beads and wrapped the pom pom around it. I may redo if they fall apart. Still, 2 Legends for under £1.

An ensorcered hero. I used a female top for the long hair, basing this one on either Tomoe Gozen or from the book series. Adding a sword sheath set and a bit of armour. On impulse (I like to make heroes on bigger bases) I added a monk to the base. Again, pressing the 2 halves together they stayed!

I bought a pack of Maidens and Monks, to pad out my monks, peasants and to provide alternate Shugenja. I went a bit mad here, using 2 or 3 figures on the base I made 3 different Shugenja's. They have a great manga look, with some nice poses.

This isn't the last you'll see of this range, I'm already thinking of a swarm for the giant centipede, better than a plastic toy.

The weapons pack is good, the armour useful, there were a few bandits who looked a bit off, this could have been easily corrected but I used a bit of armour. Some of my goblins will get upgrades,. The back banner is a lot better than the one supplied with the corporate Ashigaru and will be turned into banners.

Do I want more? Yes, of course!
A running leg
A kneeling leg
An armoured leg
An archer torso
An open handed torso, to make townsfolk, peasants, workers.
An upright spear/naginata torso
Undead version or range like the goblins.

No-one does a decent, multi-part, preferably part resin big oriental dragon. If the head and tail fix like these figures you'd have another unique product.

Curiously, I've also found some help in the SHU SF range (not the fantasy-)

In Tomoe Gozen, the Golden Naginata (a martial nun, plus) there is a goblin adopted by the Yamabushy. So I bought a Tofar Longwanderer to fill this roll. This fellow is great, a shade taller but a log thicker, the staff is perfect. I've decided he's going to be the first of my armoured monks.

You may be aware that I already pad my Goblins with a “command” made from a Baruka crimelord as Baron Greenbaku-sama, the Phreek bystander as his bodyguard Stiletto and the Avarep cobra as their pet caterpillar.

My next upgrade will be some shrubbery, then some different monks and peasants from Museum Miniatures. Then there's Splintered Light's Chinese selection-.

Hopefully Andrea will have finished the larger battle fantasy rules-.

Ogam Gempei campaign, game 1

By the purest of coincidence the first game allowed me to use/show off some toys new and old.

The Mountain
Izananami Q2 C4 Culling the weak, confound, tremble before my might, sacrifice 280

Shugenja, Q3 C1, transfix, 50
Nure-Onna, 2 snake bodied women, Q3, C3, Amphibious, Huge 144
(these are 25mm Naga from Dixon miniatures.)

Samurai Q4, C2 Armoured, Steadfast, Mounted, Long, Shooter L, good shot 4 x 47 =188
Followers Q4 C2 Armoured Shooter M 8 x 25 = 200
Followers Q4 C2 Armoured 8 x 20 160

God 280
Legends 194
Mortals 548
Total 1,022

The Lost Land
Ryujin The Dragon king Q2 C5 Amphibious Gargantuan, Shapeshift water god, weather control, armoured, flying, part water 396

Jorogumo spider women Q3, C2, Labyrinth 2 120
Giant Spider Q3 C3 Big, Poison 70

Q4, C2, 15, Animal -2, Greedy (stopping to wrap prey in web) -3 Labyrinth (web) +10 = 20 x 8 160
Bandits Q4 C2 8x15 120
Warriors, Q4, C2, Armoured 8x 20 160

God 396
Legends 190
Mortals 440
Total 1,026

The game

I wanted a simple table. Looking at the choices the most obvious target was the river crossing. Not my normal terrain, this was quickly assembled from bits to hand.

Tony took the Mountain and went, for him, quite adventurous, putting his cavalry on the bridge and the snake ladies (henceforth naga, very female orientated game this) in the water.

He won the initiative (6:1) and sent his cavalry into my warriors. I gained one activation and moved the spiders (from now on known as “the boys”) up on the bridge. Tony advanced his Shugenja, very sensible, transfixing them would allow him to cut them to pieces. His cavalry failed, and were seen off, pushed back to the ford. I started a general spider-advance. His Naga went down to my spider. This part of the battle stopped for a quick tea ceremony. The boys crash over his Shugenja and are met by his Followers, in a squabble that lasted the whole game. Although they did take time out to knock my spiderlady down twice, which I found not very chivalrous.

We had both expected my left to be the main source of action, but this proved wrong. Up came the naga into spiderladies labyrinth range. I sent in Ryujin who won. I then used the “part waves” ability and marched the bandits and spiderlady across.

This put Tony in a pickle, everything was being shoved into his right flank. Time to send in Izananami.

There developed a dodging game between his archers and my bandits, who proved very slippery targets. Then Izananami confounds them out of the way, nearly in the river. The inevitable god-to-god fight and the lady goes down. Remember the cavalry? They quickly invoke her back (well there is this rather big dragon-)   Turning and advancing at warp speed over the ford and into my rear. Seizing the opportunity of a couple of reactions, they pursue and shoot my poor spiderlady in her fundamental.

Meanstwhile, my god goes snap again and that's her gone and out.

Tony start

Me start

Spray foam rocks and other scenery

I was planning to did this quick article, then there was a post on the facebook 15mm scenery site, where someone had tried this and it had failed.

The story. A few years ago when we moved shop I had a quick repair job to do. Rather than do it properly I got a cheap can of spray-filler and did the job. I used it up on some scrap box type cardboard. Nothing fancy, I just sprayed small blobs on the cardboard. I left it overnight then tore it off.

A few years later I had hoped to do some more Aeronef, so I used some of the bits on an sheet of foamcore to make a group of islands. The double-height bits are secured with cocktail sticks. So then we move from that shop, so I chopped it up.

Now I have need of it. I'd already painted one bit, the cave, but the underlying colour shone through, and the paint didn't touch the holes. So this time I washed them in soapy water then applied a PVA & acrylic hobby mix fairly thickly over the still-wet surface. If you look closely you can see the odd finger print-. Then I sprinkled a blend of mixed sand on while still wet. I finished off with harmony extra hold hair spray (other hair sprays are available).

I noticed that the foamcore was warping when dry. I mounted 2 on CD's, securing and building the sides up with no-more-nails then finished off as above.

The effect I was after was a mix of the 2 types of rock you see in westerns – rounded rocks piled up for the convenience of the protagonists and a much more worn version of the tall pillars of rock with sand piled up around their base. The nice thing is – it's a rock, with no shrubbery they are “scalefree”.

I have a couple of ideas, but don't have a garden or similar to try it.

Quick, transportable table. Layers of cardboard glued together. Foam pipe insulation around the edges. Support in middle then fill with foam. Carve, paint, bit of flock and you're there.

Washing line or similar. Carrier or small bin bags. Twist the bag, hang something from it with a bulldog clip. Now squirt foam into the bag. Hopefully you'll get an interesting twisted spire a bit like a termite mound.

This isn't 15mm, I feel so  - dirty

here's one I didn't do earlier

You've seen this rock before in the Sheyang series, but I used up the paint, rather pleased with the result.

I've placed this on a contrasting CD movement tray to show how much I'd removed.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Ospreys The Wars of Atlantis - a wargaming review

The Wars of Atlantis, Phil Masters, Osprey publishing, ISBN 978-1-4728-0932-2
as an OGAM (and other) setting.

You might like to get the Gurps Atlantis, which is listed as a reference. This is available through Amazon or downloadable. I'd also recommend Poul Anderson's Dancer from Atlantis  (ISBN: 9780812523102) as a good insight to power-politics of the era. Just because they are “primitive”, that's not the same as “unsophisticated”.

Brief background, Posideon creates the island for a mortal just outside the straits of Hercules and sires its kings. There is no mention of Crete or the Minoans. You can imagine an enlarged Crete towed to a new position and earlier time.

A trade empire develops, with Spain, North Africa, Greece and Egypt as the main targets.

North Africa, colonists run into an expanding Indo-European horse-tribe based culture, the Amazons. First they fight, than they ally. Next is Egypt, which is being ruled by priest lords possibly non-human.

Last is Greece, where they run into city states loosely organised by Athens. Athenian and other mercenaries fought for and against Atlantis.

Lastly, the barbarians on the border are the Gorgones, who inhabit the Atlas mountain area of Africa.

If you want to know more, read the book!

Needless to say there's an uprising, led by Athens.

So in OGAM or other semi-historical game terms:

Atlantis, Posideon, troops are portrayed as Assyrian-ish, which I've got no problem with, with some later (Macedonian) influence that I'd ignore. But they do get elephants. The army is made up of chariots and chariot runners, light cavalry, heavy spear, slingers, stone throwers and javelins.

Amazons, Ares, mix of both male and female, due to Scythian style outfits, often “unisex”.
Greece, Athena, regimented ranks of Dendle armoured spearmen and chariots using lances puts this firmly in the city-state period.

Egypt, Horus, is early, I'd say Hykos as the aliens are credited with the introduction of the chariot. If you have the good sense to do 15mm, then Splintered Lights Sons of Horus are spot on.

Gorgones, Set or Hades, unless anyone can come up with an African one. These are Numidian style north African tribes rather than sub-Saharan, with some influence from the other cultures.

I would be tempted to swap the Atlantean Assyrians to Hittites and you have a good stab at the Trojan War.

Needless to say there is enough for “splinters” to remain for pulp adventurers to discover.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

HTS Baroque Catching Crabbes inne Cornwall

We marched into Fishewick and got crabs

Back in the day when I had both 6mm and money, I bought a pack of Pendraken's fishmen because I needed the Poseidon. A couple of decades later (quick in wargaming terms!) these were the first figures painted for Flashing Steel. I've added a pack of Khurasan's creatures of the deep as males. Curiously the 10mm figures are bigger than the 15mm. The militia is a mix of Old Glory with officers, sergeants and green jackets provided by Rebel's pirate hunters.

This game is a cut-down version of one planned for HTS proper (job). The inspiration comes from the film The City Beneath The Sea, based on an Edgar Allen Poe story of the same name. Let us presume that beneath the sea are old civilisations hampered technologically by their environment. One such off the coast of Cornwall aids the locals develop bronze technology, (Cornish tin was found in Chinese bronze) helping them mine under the sea and keeping their coast safe from invasion. One modern interpretation of Stonehenge is that it also functioned as a stock exchange. If you want tin from Cornwall, you had to go there first a get a chit.

The industrial revolution and the opening of land routes erodes the areas isolation. Some incident sparks a raid.

Here we have the sleepy little town of Fishewick in the year 17--. That puts this game in the Baroque SF period, which is pre-Victorian with the emphasis on the biological rather than the mechanical. By what means the militia learns of the invasion may never be know but probably has something to do a character who either looks like Vincent Price or the bumbling antics of a Doug McClure.

Readers may remember that I hate roofs, they get in the way and all roofless are modular to contain troops.

The locals
Civilians Q7 A9
Militia Q6 A9 (I'm not going to differentiate other than dragoons go Fast.)

Flintlock Rifle 2M max range. Penetration 2 Must reload, Slow reload (-4-5+25-3) 13

Flintlock Pistol 3S max range Melee Penetration 1 Penetration 1 Must reload Slow reload (+1-3+10 +15-3-5 ) 15

Fishmen Q7 A8 Slow Amphibious

Trident Melee Assault Penetration 2 Melee 2 handed (15+20-4) 31

Net Melee concussive Non penetrating Max range 3S (10-8-3) -1
CONCUSSIVE target hit automatically flinches and is knocked down (prone)

Harpoon gun Devastating No reload Max 2M one shot -10 (20-7-4-10) -1
DEVASTATING A hit from this weapon inflicts two point of damage.

Cannon Blast Burst Max 5M Penetration 2 slow reload (10+35+25-2-3) 75
BURST roll two shooting dice at -2. Any roll of 1 or 2 means reload (misfire).
BLAST an explosion that affects multiple targets. Target unit receives one flinch and two Q4 attacks irrespective of range, size and cover modifiers.

Crab or Lobster Q7 A4
Melee pen 2 Affects only organics -2 (20-2) 18

The Prologue
There are 2 rallying points for the locals. The Seaman's mission near the harbour (just past the pub and the home for fallen young ladies) and the parish church. Each rally point (until over-run) rolls at Q7. The number rolled above 7 represents the armed locals mustered that turn. A natural 10 represents a Leader. Locals without a leader can use reactions only. Damn ingrates's, nary a one made the effort to save their betters property (after the first few turns we sort of gave up). A shower, an absolute shower.

Militia will arrive on a 9 or 10.

Each fishman unit comes ashore at a separate point. Each is presumed to be just under the water, poised to leap.

The locals
Civilians Q7 A9
Militia Q6 A9

Flintlock Rifle 2M max range. Penetration 2 Must reload, Slow reload (-4-5+25-3) 13

Flintlock Pistol 3S max range Melee Penetration 1 Penetration 1 Must reload Slow reload (+1-3+10 +15-3-5 ) 15

(When you measure them out, the difference between 2M and 3S ain't worth the candle.)

Fishmen Q7 A8 Slow Amphibious

Trident Melee Assault Penetration 2 Melee 2 handed (15+20-4) 31

Net Melee concussive Non penetrating Max range 3S (10-8-3) -1
CONCUSSIVE target hit automatically flinches and is knocked down (prone)

Harpoon gun Devastating No reload Max 2M one shot -10 (20-7-4-10) -1
DEVASTATING A hit from this weapon inflicts two point of damage. (It's a big bolt that can go right through one or more target.

Cannon Blast Burst Max 5M Penetration 2 slow reload (10+35+25-2-3) 75
BURST roll two shooting dice at -2. Any roll of 1 or 2 means reload (misfire).
BLAST an explosion that affects multiple targets. Target unit receives one flinch and two Q4 attacks irrespective of range, size and cover modifiers. (I had hoped this represents grape shot or similar, as a good hit could effect 6)

Crab or Lobster Q7 A4

In use, the trident always rolled low. Nets, I got one entangle. Guns killed a couple but not the devastation I'd hoped for. The cannon got in place and I would have got away with it if it wasn't for those pesky dragoons. Lobsters and crabs went down to decent volleys.

The Caste
The South Cornish Unaffiliated Militia
De Volved's Dragoons 8 troopers and the Hon. Charles De Volved.
Picked Men skirmishers 8 chaps plus Sergeant Plucker and Captain Prikk (Prikk's Picked Own)
Militia, 16 men with Sergeant McNasty and Major D' Issaster. (Who can trace his ancestry back to the Spanish Armada, wot).

Tribe 1(Right) Cannon & 3 crew, 2 mixed (trident, net & gun) bases, Leader & 2 guns

Tribe 2 (Centre) 2 lobsters plus team 4 handlers, 2 mixed with 1 extra unarmed, Leader and 2 guns

Tribe 3 (Left) 2 crabs and 3 handlers including dominant female leader 1, 3 mixed, one with extra shooter, 1 with extra trident, Leader with mixed.

The Game.

I got the initiative and started streaming up the beach like snails on speed. Tony decided to split his forces by type and did well using up my failed rolls to advance.

I split off the cannon and moved it into position to thump his infantry, but his dragoons came in 'ard and killed the crew, cutting a swathe through my right tribe. I got a few of the cavalry, enough to divert them back towards their infantry. This took them over my lobsters, who gave chase and nearly caught the leader by his hacks hocks.

(I didn't give the dragoons any plus in combat as they were not trained for assault. I thought he would have dismounted them in the buildings and snipe)

Unfortunately that put my poor things in front of Tony's left squad who blew them to bits.

On came my remaining centre tribe, who stopped and shot, then charged into a volley that broke them.

My right tribe had suffered most from the cavalry now faced the fury of the light infantry, who trotted up to the drop and pored in the lead, breaking my second tribe.

They frantically reloaded as the now-detached crabs came on strong. A volley brought them down bar two of the handlers who not only stood but charged in, killing one and shoving the unit back, which allowed them to reload and finish the job. By this time the cavalry had gone full circle and were ready to lend more support.

On came my last heroic amphibians, even though Tony lost a couple of troopers I was doomed I tell 'ee, doomed!

Next time I'm going to try a more renaissance approach of halberdiers protected by guns and net skirmishers.

This was a more “us” test of the HTS beta rules than before. I liked the play, leaders had more effect with lower Q units. Maybe I should have made rifles Penetration 1. We got through this in an unhurried 3 hours of eating chocky bikkies.

Tony won because he was able to use my reactions to get his quicker troops into position and deliver a real sucker punch to my cannon – before it could do same to his infantry. I repeatedly used leaders to turn around double fails and keep some impetus going. My “fiddly” shooting was fairly easy to handle, but produced nothing like the full crashing volley that Tony could command. But, I wanted a different approach and in smaller (pre blog) Flying Lead and Flashing Steel games they had done better.

Flying lead could have done it, but would have been a lot slower with group activations.
Comments on other rule systems would be welcome.

Advancing in 3 columns Tony took the risk, but it paid off
Note the strategic chocky bics

Other ranks get crabs, Officers get lobsters

Note abandoned cannon