Zombicide – VIP 2 box

This weekend is looking very busy so I thought I’d post early today. This week I’ll show the last of the NPC zombies – another 20 models from the second Black Plague NPC set. These have been completed for a while now so time to get them on the blog.

I believe this set is a little rarer than the others but this adds up to make a decent collection of models which function as another type of zombie in the Black Plague game. There are another 20 models in this set. They also provide an interesting mechanic of players keeping at least one unique pose model of each their killed zombies till they can trade 5 uniques in for a cool equipment item. That makes the game easier but has an added twist – the more figs the players keep the less there are for spawning and so double moved become more likely for the remaining models on the board…

The first set are jesters and are quite colorful. As normal in my painting of these no two are the same. I did the cloaks somewhat similar though and now regret that a little as those could have been a different. I still went for a slightly ‘tardy’ look of them – after all they are recently dead, so cleaning is not high on their agenda. That means I used a dark wash anyways on these.

The next figure pose is a clocked old person. This model actually looks quite like some of the old Vampire movie characters. However, to my mind but he is just another Zombie in this game – although a NPC one.

It’s a weird pose really – with a shrug. Looking at the cloak maybe this is supposed to be rich person. Either way in this game it’s a zombie and a target for the players to kill.

Next we have a Zombie maid. This is also a lot more traditional pose and worked much better for having a large amount of blood splatter. After all there is the concept of the messy maid- just this time it’s a zombie!

These photo’s are a little darker than I would prefer but they still show the models and the results of my daubing paint on them. They are far from perfect but work very well on the table – which is the main thing after all.

The nun is another common theme in horror movies. The good people being turned to evil seems to be a trope for the movies. So why not have it in Black Plague – yes Zombie nuns make their appearance in this set as well.

In reality I suspect they had to do this one for the horror fans. If you remember the Cardinal was in the first set and there is a nun hero model in the core game so the religious theme gets a shake down for sure. Again a decent amount of blood splatter seemed to be appropriate for this model.

The last of the set is a zombie bard. I think it’s an elf with the pointy ears, which is another fantasy staple. I must admit I found this figure hard to paint for some reason. It has loads of folds etc but for some reason or other I found it not a fun one to deal with or to do well.

I think the hair was the hardest piece to do. Although the model has loads of folds in the the throw and tunic this hair was actually quite flat. The guitar and clock also made for a ‘messy’ area to paint, which added to the complexity. Still it’s done now.

So there we are, the final Zombie NPC’s. We still have to play a game with these in the set as well – but they looks to add another challenge to our already had Black Plague games.

Posted in 28mm, Ancients, Board game, Fantasy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Marian Mules – Red Roman Legionnaires

This is the start of an army which I have wanted to do for a long time – the late Republic Roman forces. After the fun of playing ancient games at Hotlead and the fact that I have completed some Spanish earlier in the year, it seemed to only make sense to focus on getting these done and on the blog.

The late Republican army it’s actually one of those generally useful armies for ancient gaming. Not only do they fight themselves in various civil wars (Sulla, and then Caesar vs. Pompey etc) but there are loads of wars/conflicts in Gaul, Spain and all around the Mediterranean on various other fronts as well. These guys even fought the Parthians with Crassus in command and lost big time in that case.

As you can see I have focused the first pictures on just a single base to get some close ups first. All these models are 15mm and from Old Glory 15’s. I have to say I like them. Some of the raised Javelins are a little thin for my liking but they will do. I have done a load of these – 24 bases in all, which you will see more of below.

I have labeled them Marian Mules as that’s the nickname that the Romans gave these late Republican legionnaires. Marius was the Roman who reformed the Roman military system and standardized the kit and recruitment methods. He moved them from the formations of the Punic war Roman legions to the more standardized legions. These are sometimes called the worlds first professional soldiers. Before the reforms there were many ‘full time’ warriors around the world, but the troops of the later republic signed up for the army and were given equipment (and then paid for it) vs. being born into the role. So very much like soldiers today do. Being a solider was their job vs. just being recruited for a campaign or a war. Even the Punic war Roman legions were not full-time, professional career solider as we would think of them, while after the reforms these troops were.

Although the later Imperial armies are known to have the lorica segmentata (segmented cuirass) as armour, these chainmail style troops are believed to have existed throughout that period as well. The shield shape for the legions did change then but again how consistent that was is somewhat unknown. It always would not have happened over night is my expectation. So although so it is a bit of a push I can use these for poorer equipped troops or even some supporting Auxillia forces for the later periods as well.

I do hope at some point to paint up troops wearing that later armor but it’s always a bonus when playing really large games to get extra use from figures if I can get away with it a bit. However, at present the focus is on the period where they are from.

I decided not to use or try anything ‘too flash’ with the shields. I went with plain dark red, with the shading from a brighter center support, which seems to work well. It also reinforces their uniformity which we think of with Romans. The same is true with the color in general, as we all think of Roman Legions wearing the dark red. That’s seen in most TV/Movies as well. In ancient times I’m not sure how much true uniformity there would be but heck it works.

I used the same basing technique as the Spanish. They are 4 figures on a 40 x 15mm base anyway so there is not much space for any more detailed basing. These guys would prefer to fight in the open anyway in all rulesets so some rough grass cover seemed appropriate.

Below you can see all the Roman legion bases that I have done for this army. Yes as mentioned above there are 24 bases, all done the same! That’s more than enough for a DBA/Triumph! force – well more than enough for two really and possibly 3 at a push! It is 12 Art de La Guerre bases – again more than enough for a standard army. It makes 6 Hail Caesar units as laid out below when I use them for that as well.

So there we are – a Republican legion ready for the tabletop and me showing a start to another project for me.

Posted in 15mm, Ancients | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hotlead 2019

Well it’s become a bit of a personal tradition, but I always work hard to ensure I go up to Ontario’s biggest wargame show –Hotlead. I have been going for quite a few years now (I’m thinking close to 10 years) and managed it again this year. I gather it’s been going for 25 years now. It’s not a huge show compared to the big US/UK ones, but gets around 350 people or so on the Saturday. It has a wide selection of games, all of which are either competitions or participation games. There are also always a few local vendors in attendance. That allows you to spend money, but again nothing like the UK/US shows. Still it’s a great gaming event and well worth attending and supporting, if you are in the local area (Ontario/Upper New York state).

This year my car was full with friends from the local group as well so we had a fun road trip as well. Even driving back in a snow storm after a full 12 hours gaming did not diminish the experience. Storms can happen in early spring here and the slower drive just gave us more time to chat in the car. I only go on the Saturday, although the event runs from Friday night through to Sunday afternoon. I makes for a long day but it’s worth it. I also get to catch up with people I rarely meet from around the area as well, which is great.

Unfortunately, this year I was too late to register a game to GM as they were already full by mid Feb! That’s just shows how busy and the quality of games which people run at this event. I need to get my act in gear sooner for next year if I want to run a game. There is a great charity Bring and Buy (at least 10% of the proceeds goes to charity) run by the local club guys on the Saturday. This is always a bit of a scrum but allows me (and others) to get rid of projects which will never get done. It also allows us to spend money getting some great deals from other people doing the same thing. Normally, I do get a few good items/deal from this and this year was no exception.

This year there were some amazing looking tables and games. The quality of such things seems to be getting better year by year. Those ranged from a huge 28mm Battle of Hastings game (using the Triumph! rules) to the Ontario Lord of the Rings group competition tables – were super impressive as always. Another worth mentioning was a ‘what a tanker game’ in 1/32 (54mm) scale – that was a big table with a huge amounts of terrain. Games varied from Star Wars legion to Check your 6! with all things in between.

I tried out the ‘newish’ Triumph! Ancient rules in a different game than the Hastings one, which seem fun. They are in the ‘same family as DBA/Art de la Guerre’ but with some variation. I likely will do a bigger review at some point but they seem a fun set to play games with. I also spent some like looking at the Art de la Guerre demo game as well, but I was not signed up to play that one. I finished off the day with a game of what a tanker – my Sherman was the only original allied tank to survive the whole game and I killed a Panzer IV and assisted in the kill of a Panther!

So another Hotlead down, but this was a great event as always and I look forward to next years. Below you can see a sample of phot’s from the various games on display on Saturday which I managed to take.

Posted in After Action Report, Review, Terrain | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Shadespire – Steelheart’s Champions

Over a year ago I started work on the Stormcast Eternals from the Shadespire base set of models. As background the game is a fun little game from Games Workshop. I’m not into the full deck building aspect of it to get to a competitive level but it does work for casual games we have played. I was tempted by the low model count and the ease of play. The models generally are really nice as well – a weakness of mine… So with friends this is a fun little game from GW – and I hear for those of the very competitive nature it works well.

Initially I made good progress painting these models but overall I was not happy with the final results. After putting these to one side for a while I decided that I needed to get these finished and so here they are.

I’m still not really happy with these models but as you can see they are ‘ok’. I’m just not really loving them, or my end result. They are better painted than not but for some reason I just don’t like the models and especially the end results my painting has produced. The details on some of the model is also not crisp. Some people love the clip together of these models but it did not seem to work for me. Maybe I got some less than perfect examples I don’t know. One change I made was that I painted the helmets a more bone colour which helped to an extent in my view, but it still does not really work for me. Maybe I’m just not a Stormcast Eternals type of guy…However, they are done now, which is the main thing.

As much as anything else I have plans to use these for games other than Shadespire/Nighvault. After all, a small self contained set of models with a background are perfect for games like Pulp Alley or such things as Thud and Blunder (which is just released and I have yet to really read)! The Shadespire/Nightvault setting seems very ‘pulpy’ to me anyway so why not! After all if the same small groups are constantly fighting each other it has to be pulpy as otherwise there would be deaths. The background copied here seems perfect for a fantasy pulp setting:

Shadespire was once a city of wonder and magic, a mercantile metropolis rising from the unforgiving earth of the Realm of Death. Countless races dwelt within its walls, together creating artefacts of astonishing beauty and power. The city’s most treasured secret was the process of refining shadeglass, a miraculous substance that could store the spiritual essence of the dead for eternity. In this way, the ruling Katophranes of Shadespire lived on after death, their wisdom stored within the depths of ornate mirrors, flowing glass fountains, crystal looking‐stones and other marvels. This defiance enraged Nagash, Lord of Undeath, who sought to punish the occupants of the city for denying him his rightful tithe of souls.

Yet to simply destroy the city and drag its inhabitants to the Underworlds seemed to Nagash an insufficient punishment. Instead, the Great Necromancer wove a ritual that drew upon the mysterious powers of the city’s shadeglass constructions, siphoning away the light and glory of Shadespire and creating a twisted reflection of its former splendour. Shadespire was trapped halfway between Ulgu – Realm of Shadows – and Hysh – Realm of Light. Bound within this dark reflection, refracted between these two diametrically opposed realms, the souls of the fallen could never escape the Mirrored City and make the journey to the Underworlds. None within its walls would be granted the release of death. Nagash would forever deny them that gift.

The Mirrored City of Shadespire is a nightmare plane of illusions and madness, an ever-changing labyrinth of endless stairs, cramped streets and soaring archways. The original city is drained of all colour and life, and for thousands of years, it has rested as a foreboding ruin. Those unfortunate, brave, or foolhardy adventurers that set foot within its walls are drawn through the veil between realms and trapped within the Mirrored City. For such wayward souls, all hope seems lost. Yet there are those who will not accept their fate without a fight.

For more than a thousand years the shadow-cloaked ruins of Shadespire lay dormant, a malevolent scar in the centre of the vast Desert of Bones. During much of that time there were few fresh victims of the city’s terrible curse. Travellers seldom ventured across the deadly, parching wastes to reach the city, as often warded away by the lethal storms that wracked its bone-dust dunes as by the dark stories that had sprung up around the place. Yet some were brave or foolish enough to stray within the borders of the cursed city, and those fortunate few who returned brought back priceless treasures and forbidden knowledge, as well as rumours of haunted mirrors, nightmarish illusions and other strange tales.

Some of those now trapped in Shadespire are noble souls, determined to end the curse and deny their fate. Others are savage brutes, for whom an endless cycle of violence is its own reward. There are avaricious looters, frenzied barbarians and sages whose desire for knowledge has led them down dark paths. These disparate souls will clash together as each attempts to escape damnation, and the haunted streets of Shadespire will run red with blood.

So for Pulp Alley rules, I have created the following league (note the characters are shown from left to right). Their background fluff – again taken straight from GW is below. These guys are ‘reanimated’ heroes of a god and so don’t have a great amount of personality. Combat specialists focused on the mission is what they all they are about.

” The warriors under the command of Liberator-Prime Severin Steelheart were part of a detachment sent to investigate potential cures for the curse that robs them of their humanity with each reforging. Disaster befell them, however, and now they are trapped, separated from their kin, with only the whispers of the dead to guide them home…”

So, these are created using the standard league, but adding the Armoured optional item. For the leagues they get 10 slots and I used the following for these: 2 x sidekick (6), Company of heroes (2), Animals (2). Note, the Animals reflects the fact that none of these models have a ranged weapon, but gives them a bonus for that fact. It is a common item if using Pulp Alley for fantasy genre from what I can see. I decided not to use the fantasy option of having an extra ability for each model.

Severvin Steelheart (leader)

Brawl 4d10 , Shoot – , Dodge 3d10 , Might 3d10 , Finesse 3d8 , Cunning 3d10 ,
Health d10
Abilities: Animal (in the stats above), Armoured (+1d bonus on all health rolls), Tactician, Inspiring

Obryn the Bold (sidekick)

Brawl 3d8 , Shoot – , Dodge 3d8 , Might 3d8 , Finesse 3d8 , Cunning 2d6 ,
Health d10
Abilities: Animal (in the stats above), Armoured (+1d bonus on all health rolls), Brute

Angharad BrightShield (sidekick)

Brawl 3d8 , Shoot – , Dodge 3d8 , Might 2d6 , Finesse 3d8 , Cunning 3d8 ,
Health d10
Abilities: Animal (in the stats above), Armoured (+1d bonus on all health rolls), Moxie

So there we are. Pulp Alley are just going into their second edition – there is a kickstarter for that now, but it is a minor update as I understand it not a major rework like some rules. For rules such as Thud and blunder I need to work out the different stats for them, but that will be another time…

Posted in 28mm, Fantasy, Pulp, Warhammer Fantasy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Zombicide – VIP 1 box

I wanted to continue showing my VIP zombies for Zombicide: Black Plague. So, here are my painted ones from the VIP pack 1. I must admit I could have taken these photo’s in better (brighter) light, and maybe even painted them with a few lighter highlights but there we are. They will work for the game and do add a lot more options and variety for the NCP/VIP zombie type in the game. You can see here are the 20 extra NPC zombies from this pack.

These first 4 are (or rather were) scantily dressed and definitely are not your normal fantasy peasant. But they work for zombies just as well as anything else, I guess.

Next we have a group of hangmen/Jailers. You can see here these are like all the figures done in different colours.

Even though the Zombicide models are plastic they still have good details and contain things like the keys you can see on the back of the figure below. Interestingly some of these models are nice like that but others can be a little lacking in such nice details.

Being fantasy Black Plague NPC’s can even be non human. You can seen of them below, the Zombie Dwarf.

I must admit this was one of the harder models in this set to paint. Although well detailed I found the face and hair quite a challenge to highlight and bring out. Looking at these photo’s it’s not clear either – the poor lighting does not help either.

Next we have a normal lady, with a cloak and hat. This is a much more of a ‘house wife’ look than the first lady of the group.

The cloaks are better seen below, even though not well photographed, I hope you can see the shading I added.

Lastly, we have a foreigner, who looks to have some very Arab influences. Even the small shield, the cool hat/helmet with a fabric lining and long scarf did not stop him becoming a zombie though!

Again, you can see the different colours I used in making these models each unique.

So there we are. This week the photo’s are not great to my apologies for that (some days here with winter still holding it’s grip getting good lighting can be a challenge), but I wanted to get these put up on the blog, as I have done them for a while now.

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Blood Red Skies – Spitfires

Just before Christmas I gave into the latest WW2 air game from Warlord and bought into ‘Blood Red Skies’. After a couple of test games I have to say I like it. Now I have to say it’s not as complex or detailed in modeling the real world flying as Check Your 6! However, it does allow a single player to fly many more models. It also provides an interesting game mechanic with the advantaged/disadvantaged and morale tracking which is not common in many air games. So, with that favorable take it was time to slap some paint on the models, and show them here. Thus, you can see the 12 Spitfires that I have done here. Six of these are from the base set and the rest are from an additional expansion pack of six.

At this point I’m really focusing on the the Battle for France and Battle of Britain periods. I likely will extend that to the Battle for Malta. I’m not looking at doing the full war. This still gives me enough toys to pay with, including some aircraft that are not available for the game yet. It also limits the planes which I have to buy! I seem to be the only person in the group into this game so that helps as well, as I will be providing both sides for games that we play.

This is one of my favourite periods/area’s of WW2 and also one of the most evenly balanced, so that makes for fun games as well. Spitfires are in the base game and they are one of the key early war planes for the British. Spitfires and Hurricanes are the main fighter aircraft for the RAF. This is especially true as this game is focused more on the fighter aircraft rather than bombers. Added to that, in 1:200 scale the bombers (especially the late war 4 engine ones) are going to be be huge! There are scenario’s for having a few bombers but this game is pretty much a fighter vs fighter game.

Above you can see the the underside of some the planes up close. I tried to follow the basic pattern for the standard British camouflage for the early war and actually have 4 planes with each of the ‘typical’ underside colors used at this time. You can see them all below. I am actually happy how I managed to get the airframe lines to come out well on the aircraft. That’s especially true as I just just use a traditional brush to paint these vs. using an airbrush.

Most of the games I play will be based over the channel (or around Malta), so I can use the FLG mat 6′ x 4′ sea mat that I have. This does follow history to an extent, as many battles were fought over the sea. That said in the battle of Britain the RAF were often chasing the Germans home after the attack vs. intercepting them before they got to England. Battles around Malta of course would be over the sea.

I must admit the Decals really finish these models off. They are from Miscellaneous Miniatures (www.miscmini.com) and I recommend them for Decals for the Blood Red Skies models. They came quickly and are very nice and the 1:200 ones are perfect for the Blood red Skies models. I used them to work out unique registrations for all 12 planes. Really that’s the only difference so that’s why I just show the sample close ups of each plane. A fun set of planes for this and maybe other games.

Posted in Aircarft, World War 2 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Zombicide – VIP’s and monster

And now for something completely different – well that’s a throwback to Monty Python for those who know it, but it works for this as well. It’s back to Zombicide Black Plague.

Part of the big collection of toys I got in the Zombicide kickstarter was a set of really nasty abominations and some very infected people. The infected people are NPC’s which are unique sculpts and provide another different type of zombie in the game. As I have now completed these I get to show them here. Below you can see the two extra abominations and a normal human zombie for scale comparison. Yes they are big…

First lets look closer at the big rat. Officially, this is called the Abominarat and was a promotional model in the kickstarter. It’s big and ugly – that’s for sure. I’m actually happy how this came out in the end. I’m not sure I’d like to meet it in a dark alley, but heck its fun in the game. I tried to keep to the basic colours and marking of the artwork which comes with the model. I think I managed that quite well really.

Next let’s look at the Minotaur abomination monster in a little more detail. This they call the Abominotaur. Yes that’s a mouthful and the colouration is white/grey on the pictures they have in the activation cards. That was a little more of a challenge but I tried to do that on my version as you can see below. I’m ok how this one came out but it could have been nicer. Overall it’s ok but I’m sure better painters manage a smoother transition of the colours. I prefer the rat though which may have effected how much time I wanted to spend on this as well.

Both those are really nasty and so I’m not sure I want to use them! We have enough issues winning in a standard Black Plague Zombicide game. We tend to die quickly enough anyway without these extra hard things in the game. But heck, even powered down a little I suspect they will cause extra issues for us and they are fun, which is the main thing after all.

Next, I have the first of the VIP zombies – Very Infected Person (NPC’s). They add another type of zombie in the game. These are are just like walkers but spawn on different cards, adding even more options into the draw deck for Zombies.

You will notice that they all have a white base – to differentiate them from the other zombies. I tried painting the whole base white but did not like that. I then tried a marbled type of stone look but I really did not like either. So, in the end have gone for the same grey as all the other models, with these extra base covers.

The base inserts came with the models and was the designers way of differentiating these models from standard zombies, so it makes sense to use them. The models follow the standard rules for walkers but spawn on different cards. They added another 20 or so cards to that deck!

The interesting thing with these models is that when you kill them you keep the models in front of you as the player. When you get 5 different poses/models you get to trade them all in for one of the special vault items. Those are powerful so that’s a cool bonus. Note, yes you’ll see more posts of more VIP models soon enough, so there will be I think 13 different poses in total that I have.

The extra access to vault equipment is nice and as they are powerful I actually think the inclusion of these zombies actually makes the game easier. However, not recycling the dead figs may change my opinion in a real game. Of course that is compared to the nasty monsters above who just make it harder with their inclusion, no matter what. Adding the extra cards also means there is less chance of double activations in the mid/end game section, which helps make the game a little easier. Well that’s my guess so we’ll see if it really works.

You can see that I have tried to make these different models all a little unique as well. Some worked better for this than others for this, but heck there is nothing worse than all the models of an interesting sculpt the same.

So there we, varying the painting keeps me interested and these now are ready for a game.

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