Thursday, March 30, 2017

Games At Hot Lead

Hot Lead is one of the shining stars in a fairly modest firmament of Canadian wargaming shows.   It is a labour of love, put together by a group of gamers and friends in Stratford, Ontario, for two decades now, and it is one of the red letter events on my gaming calendar.

Last weekend I made the three hour drive down to Stratford and was able to game on Friday night and Saturday, before heading home.  Here are a few highlights of my time there

On Friday night my friend James and I decided to put all of our Middle Earth figures on the table and see how big a Dragon Rampant game we could manage.   It was pretty epic.   We were going to keep it to ourselves, but the angels of our better nature prevailed and we invited some folks to game with us.  I can’t say it was a well designed game, and some folks had more fun than others.  The chap on the top left had his Dunlendings routed pretty quickly by some Ents, and I still feel badly about it.

On the other side of the table, James’ Vendel Trolls take on my Bombshell Minis tree sprite and her faerie friends, who did quite well until a werewolf gobbled them up.

On Saturday I played in a terrific Napoleonics game put on by Rich Brooks, using the Blucher rules.  I have tried these rules and enjoyed the chance to get a master class in them from Rich, and learned a few things that I was doing wrong.   Rich has a very clever system of laminated cards attached to each base, which allow players to use dry-erase markers to mark off hits on each unit.   Rich’s game was a recreation of the 1809 battle of Bad Wurzbach between France and Austria, and my French corps under Lannes faced very determined resistance from a bright young player who punched hard.  The French took one of two key objectives but lost the game when we hit our break point first.   

An amazing co-operative game by Alex Karolyi and Thomas Walker, where the players work together to blow up the Death Star.  

An utterly breathtaking layout. I tweeted these images to some Star Wars fans and they were quite gobsmacked.  There is a plastic sheet over the death star model to allow the ships to maneuver and to protect the tons of work that obviously went into the Death Star model.

A huge 28mm Battle of Eylau game, using the Shako rules, ran all day.  Quite popular.

A stunning 28mm Stalingrad game, using Bolt Action rules, hosted b Mike Scott band Duane Adams from London Miniature Gamers.   

I took this shot to show the fine quality of brushwork on all the figures.

The iconic Stalingrad fountain.

A nice looking Vimy Ridge game, to celebrate the upcoming centennial of Canada’s most important Great War battle.

I loved this pre-gunpowder Flint and Feather game, using the Crucible Crush figures. 

I was quite captivated by these three canoes.

A fantastic British fort is besieged by beastly Saxons, hosted by the chaps from the Kent Essex Gaming Society using the Dux Brittanorum rules.   Terrific layout.  One of several Too Fat Lardies game at HotLead, always nice to see.

My other high point of Hot Lead was that I put all of my Warhammer 40K figures in the Bring and Buy and got a decent price for them.   To everything there is a season.   Did a little bit of shopping, nothing too dramatic - some 15mm WW2 FOW blisters, some objective markers from Army Group North, a nice scenic terrain piece for LOTR, and a used boardgame.   Mostly it was just fun to see friends again, and to wonder why we all seem to be a little older.



Sunday, March 26, 2017

Meanwhile, In Rohan - 5

For months, as dark clouds gather near Orthanc and rumours multiply of yet another steading put to fire and the sword by merciless raiders from the hills, the word among the crofters and far folk of the Westfold has been, “What news of Eomer?”   All know that the King is preoccupied, and that his household riders are too valuable to be sent out after yet another raiding party.  All hopes rest on the good Lord of the Riddermark and his hardhanded, chosen warriors.

Now, in this small village on the edge of the wind-swept plains, one boy comes running from the outer pastures.  “Mother!  ’Tis Eomer!  Eomer and his riders have returned!"

Brythbart’s parents exchange looks, for the boy is ever given to flights of fancy.  But scarce are his words out when the sentinel in the watchtower sounds his horn, the single blast that means friends!

Forsooth, it is indeed Eomer!  The Lord of the Riddermark has returned at this most dangerous of hours!


The villagers cheer lustily.  “Will you feast with us this night, Lord Eomer?”, the headman cries out.  “I thank you, good headman,” Lord Eomer calls out graciously, “for we have long days in the saddle and are weary, for many orc helms have we cloven this last fortnight.   There are dark things stirring, yet the might of Rohan has not yet waned, I think!!"

Bakkonraed, Pig of Rohan, looks on anxiously, wondering if he is invited to dinner.  Look at those sexy SixSquared resin haystacks, they have doubled in number this last while!

These nine GW Riders of Rohan are not new - I have had them rattling around in a box since 2006 when my then teenagers and I were gaming together.  They have since been repainted and flocked, and I am quite pleased with them.  Very glad to see that they are getting new life.  All are plastic except for the Eomer figure on the front, though his horse (my attempt at a dapple grey) is plastic.  I never understood why GW put metal cavalry figures on plastic horses, as the anchor points for the hooves were quite fragile.  No fear now, everything is fine cast plastic.  Even so, the GW Riders of Rohan are lovely figures, fully capturing the inspiring scenes of the films.   As someone once said to me, the Rohirrim are sort of Vikings on horses, and these figures fit that bill nicely.

Here is the might of Rohan’s cavalry on maneuvers, though a few figures were forgotten in a box and missed the photo shoot.  I think i can field 20 figures, with another half dozen purchased second hand currently in the basing shop.   That should give Sauron and Saruman something to think about.  


Thank you for looking and blessings to your brushes!


These figures bring my 2017 totals to:

15mm: Vehicles: 3, Foot Figures: 4, Scenic Pieces: 7

20mm: Foot figures: 18

28mm:  Foot Figures: 62;  Mounted Figures: 11; Terrain Pieces: 17

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Meanwhile - In The Elven Woodland Realms 3

Here are some more 28mm fantasy miniatures  by UK Heresy Miniatures for my collection, useful either as personality figures for LOTR gaming or in my growing Dragon Rampant armies.  These figures fit the matriarchal nature of the elven force I’ve been working on.

I recommend Heresy for their fine customer service and for the quality of their sculpts.  These figures all have a willowy grace that I like, even if the brushwork sometimes has to find at facial features rather than simply draw attention to the sculptor’s work.

Elf Queem / mage / Galadriel stunt double.   When she’s not scrying the future in that palantir, she’s bowling ninepin strikes with it.

Druidess/wizardling/hippy chick, and perhaps my favourite one of this lot.

 Not sure what spell she is casting, exactly, but it looks rude.

Captain of Rangers and Mistress of Bows.


Mistress of Swords and leader of the elven SOF unit, “Galadriel’s Grrrrls”.



Finally, not really an elf, but when I placed a recent order for some Reaper figures, I added this Reaper Bones lady barbarian, as I figured that Kevin the Barbarian needed a girlfriend.  Here they are, as if they’ve stepped out of a 1970s fantasy calendar by Vallejo.  With her armour monokini she is a little embarrassing, and I trust that if my Bishop is reading this, he understands.

Thank you for looking and blessings to your brushes!

These figures bring my 2017 totals to:

15mm: Vehicles: 3, Foot Figures: 4, Scenic Pieces: 7

20mm: Foot figures: 18

28mm:  Foot Figures: 62;  Mounted Figures: 2; Terrain Pieces: 17


Thursday, March 9, 2017

For You, Secret Santa

Just after Christmas, I reported on an amazingly kind gift that my Secret Santa had sent me as part of the gift exchange run by the estimable Ian and Cath Willey.   I received two Games Workshop kits suitable to my LOTR project, a battering ram wielded by fearsome Isengard Uruks, and a bolt thrower, the pride of Saruman's artillery.

I said at the time,  "I guess I had better start making something for them to batter."

Well, Secret Santa, I hope this makes you proud of me.

What are those orcs knocking on, you may ask?


Back in November, about the time that Kay went into hospital for her long stay, I was going through some GW rule books for their LOTR Strategy Battle Game rules, and found a simple recipe to build your own castle sections.   I duly bought a couple of sheets of foamcore from the local art supply store and started at it.  I would do a small piece at a time, usually at night after visiting the hospital, while I was still too wired to go to bed.  It was very therapeutic.

With three wall sections and four towers, the pieces measure almost three feet in length when laid out together.  I am still waiting for Mordor to agree to pay for it.

I am not the most talented chap when it comes to scratchbuilding.  As Ross M put it recently, I find the art of drawing lines using a ruler, cutting, and finding that things line up evenly is nothng short of sorcery.  If you look at it up close, the joins are quite rough and the whole thing is rather dodgy, but from a small distance it looks ok.    Once the components were glued together, I sprayed them with a gray art paint by Liquitex.  It tended to obscure the scoring I had done in some sections to suggest the stonework, so I have to go over everything again with a craft knife to make sure the stonework comes through.

I got enough of this done to provide me with an entry for the "scene from a book or film" contest on this year's Painting Challenge.  When I started the project, I thought I would have time to use the wall for a scene from the siege of Gondor in the Return of the King.  However, I didn't have enough Gondorians completed for that, so decided that I could call this Helm's Deep and be done with it.

Bad chaps roll up to the wall.

Elves and men desperately defend themselves.

This project amused me and gave me the chance to acquire some lessons learned about scratchbuilding fortifications.   Thirty bucks for two sheets of foamcore and a can of gray spray paint was a lot less expensive than buying a resin model from the likes of Hudson and Allen.  

When the spirit moves me I may add a few more sections, enough for a game simulating an assault on one portion of a fortress, where the attacker wins by getting up and over in strength.   There are siege rules in the GW LOTR rules, and there may be some homebrew siege rules for Dragon Rampant, I shall have to see.

At any rate, Secret Santa, my orcs have something to shoot at and batter down.  They are happy, as am I.  Thank you for the inspiration.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Troops For The Elven Realm

Middle Earth, I find, is rather like Napoleonics, in that after a while, you start to want to do all the armies.    Well, maybe not all of them, but I do have some unpainted 6mm Bavarians and I am not sure how that idea started.

While my Elven force has been decidedly, well, matriarchal thus far, some years ago I acquired some of the GW lead sculpts of elves as seen in the (infamous to book purists) Helm’s Deep sequence from Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers.  I also had some sprues of the GW plastic elves from the Warriors of the First Age set, the chaps seen in the prelude to the first Jackson film, where Sauron is walking around all “OOO, look at me and my shiny ring on my vulnerable finger, bet you can’t cut THAT off, hahahaha … bugger, that hurt!”.  

I had enough figures to do two 12 strength units for Dragon Rampant, if I augmented the archers with some other figures.   Besides, my good friend James has been knocking it out of the park since November with his amazing progress on the Vendel fantasy sculpts we chipped in on, as you can see here.  His hand painted banners are a thing of beauty, and he’s been doing some terrific BIG solo battles using Dragon Rampant, such as this one, which is accompanied by some lovely writing.  I figured that the next time we get together, we can combine forces, and I can augment his elves with these chaps.

 These will probably be fielded as Light Foot in DR terms, using the upgrades cleverly thought through by Iron Mitten/Secundus here. Chaps with the silver skirts in the centre of the unit are lead figures, which now appear to be OOP.


Unit of eight archers, also from the plastic Warriors of the First Age set.  I had a bit of a disaster priming these with black spray paint, as the paint got all thick and nubbly on some sides of some figures and hid a lot of detail, so they don’t look terrific up close.  However, in their bright blues, violet and gold, they look sharp enough from a distance.   Getting another sprue just for the 4 archer figures is annoying but probably cheaper and more useful than buying these chaps, as the plastic sprue will give me enough figures to make up a 12 figure unit of men of the First Age that can pass as Gondorians.


Finally, a close up shot of the command group.  I gave the boss a white cape, and tried a new technique for me, starting it out as brown, and then layering it up with three successive colours, ending in titanium white.   You can see it better in the first shot, not sure I like it.  I got the nerve to try the flag thanks to James’ good examples.

So, a force to keep the orcs on their toes, I hope.  If you haven’t seen these figures yet on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, they appeared there with another project which I will show off separately here another time.

Blessings to your brushes!

These figures bring my 2017 totals to:

15mm: Vehicles: 3, Foot Figures: 4, Scenic Pieces: 7

20mm: Foot figures: 18

28mm:  Foot Figures: 57;  Mounted Figures: 2; Terrain Pieces: 10

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Landscaping the Elven Realm 2

Here are the terrain stands I was embarking on last month.  I am pleased at how they turned out, and have learned a healthy respect for hot glue guns in the process.

Elves shooting from the foliage.   They look at home, I think.

I think that mixed with some proper tree models, they will make a very convincing representation of Fangorn or Mirkwood, or some other fantasy setting for Dragon Rampant.  May not work for the bocage of Normandy, however.   I have enough plastic foliage left to make another ten stands, when the spirit moves me to do so.  

Blessings to your gardens!


These figures bring my 2017 totals to:

15mm: Vehicles: 3, Foot Figures: 4, Scenic Pieces: 7

20mm: Foot figures: 18

28mm:  Foot Figures: 36;  Mounted Figures: 2; Terrain Pieces: 10

Friday, March 3, 2017

Some Pulp Heroes Willing to Dare (and Bare) All

Here are five 28mm figures painted for my ongoing Weird War Two project.  I posted them a few weeks ago on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge site, and am only just posting them here.  The first four L to R are from Pulp Figures, sculpted by Canada’s two-fisted Bob Murch.  The one on the right is by Reaper.

Major Paul “Puncher” McPhail, Chief of Staff of Project Alice, a top-secret British counter-intelligence and dark ops organization tasked with monitoring and thwarting Nazi investigations into the occult

Murch absolutely nailed British mess kit. This is almost exactly what hangs in my closet, and which strangely gets tighter every year.   This was the first bald figure I’ve ever painted.

The Major’s niece, Fiona Harmer, sometime of St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, an ace researcher and crack shot.

I tried to add some colour and texture to the hair to offset the drab clothing.

Sandy McGonigle was Major McPhail’s batman, and now his gamekeeper and bodyguard.   Don’t send me emails about the tartan, I just made it up.   I spent way too much time working on this figure, but enjoyed every minute of it.


Mimi LaRocque of the Resistance, a ginger with an attitude.   I love her outfit, which seems almost military, but I decided on a civilian colour scheme, to suggest a student, perhaps.  Who can resist a girl with a gun in a hat and tie?



Reaper’s Naughty French Maid.  Code name Bijou, she will do inside work collecting intelligence from senior German leaders, especially those with a fondness for the flying helmet, the limp piece of celery, and the feather duster.  The sculpt is by Wener Klocke, and I certainly did not do it justice, though I am happy with the hand painted tile floor.


I’m kinda hoping my Bishop doesn’t follow this blog …..


These figures bring my 2017 totals to:15mm: Vehicles: 3, Foot Figures: 4, Scenic Pieces: 720mm: Foot figures: 1828mm:  Foot Figures: 36;  Mounted Figures: 2

Blessings to your brushes!

These figures bring my 2017 totals to:

15mm: Vehicles: 3, Foot Figures: 4, Scenic Pieces: 7

20mm: Foot figures: 18

28mm:  Foot Figures: 36;  Mounted Figures: 2

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