Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Wolves of Isengard

"Send forth your Warg riders." - Saruman.... One brigades worth of them, in fact!

Finished the Warg Riders that I mentioned the other day. As I said in that post, I have had these sitting around for several months now waiting to be painted.

In the end it was much easier than I thought it would be. The key to painting them was to first of all basecoat them in Chaos Black and then wet-brush them in Bestial Brown. This gave them the dirty look universal to all Orcs in Middle-earth. It was then a matter of painting the warg mains in Snakebite Leather, then use a heavy drybrush with a dark grey for the face, followed by a light drybrush with a light grey again for the face.

For the riders, I used Boltgun Metal heavy drybrush for the armour, and then picked out special features, such as the arrow fletching or fur clothing, in a suitable colour. The skin of most of the orcs I left in the brown colour, but some of the orc flesh was painted in Rakarth Flesh, some others in Administratum Grey and some others still in a light green. I washed the entire model in a brown wash to blend the colour transitions and to give the extra dirk look. The brown wash also gives a tinge of rust to the armour and weapons, just the way orcs liken them.

I deliberately left the orc shields without any insignia on them. This is so the Warg Riders can be used for Isengard, Mordor, Angmar, Moria, Mount Gundabad, etc. The Warg Rider leaders are the only ones to carry any insignia on them and thus identify where these guys come from.

You can see a bit of the diversity in poses amongst the Wargs and Orcs in the two images below.

The play testing stats for these guys is currently as follows:

Type        Attack   Range   Hits   Armour   Unit Size   Pts per Unit       Min/Max   Special
Cavalry     4/1         15         3          6+             3        ? (80 to 100?)        - / 2        Shock Cav. (WMA)

Final picture below shows the Warg Rider leader next to an Isengard Sub-general. You can see how the size of the Warg Riders compare to the size of Isengard Sub-general and see that they fit together well.

So only need to do the bases of these guy's and they are ready to chase down Rohan citizens or thirteen shabby Dwarves and one well dressed Hobbit!

Friday, 29 May 2015

How to make Warg Riders for Middle-earth Warmaster

Here's another idea I had.

There are a number of excellent 10mm wolf riders available for Warmaster around the web. The best in my view are from Copplestone Castings.

However, for battles set in Middle-earth, I wanted some Warg Riders. So I purchased some of Splintered Light's 15mm Dire Hyenas and some of Copplestone Castings 10mm Orcs. The Dire Hyenas make excellent Warg proxies and Copplestone's Orcs are the best Middle-earth Orcs I've seen available. Copplestone makes some really nice 10mm miniatures for Middle-earth proxies.

I carefully cut the Orcs from their bases and each other, as some are connected around their weapons & shields. I then simply placed them onto the Dire Hyenas by carefully spreading their legs apart to fit over the Hyena miniature. Be careful not to break off their legs this way.

Once super-glued in place, I had my Warg Riders!

I have base-coated these guy's in Chaos Black and then with a wet-brush of Bestial Brown all over the warg and orc model. Given that orcs seem to have a fondness for all things dirt, the colour combination means that most of the primary painting is achieved this way fairly quickly.

I've varied the orc riders so that some have bows and others hand weapon. In this way, they will not only be able to be used as shock cavalry, but also be able to skirmish. This, I feel, represents the roles Warg Riders played in Middle-earth armies. They were a mixture of scout troops, skirmishers and also heavy cavalry.

I've had these guys ready waiting to be painted for ages now, so its good to finally catch up on some Warmaster units after completing my Star Trek miniatures that needed painting.

Given the size of the Warg (Dire Hyena) miniature, I will be placing them facing the short edge of the base and will have them two to a Stand.
I'm about half way through paining them right now so I will post an update on the final product in a future post.

Tomb Kings Mounted Archers are finished

In a post the other day, I showed an idea I had about how to make Tomb Kings Mounted Archers for use in Warmaster. I've finally finished painting the first unit of them, so I thought I would post an update showing the finished results for the first unit of these little blighters.

Their bases now need to be flocked, etc., but there you go.

An easy way to make Mounted Archers for the Tomb Kings for Warmaster.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Campaign Map for A Call to Arms - Starfleet - PART 2

I think I have finally finished my campaign map for use in A Call to Arms Starfleet.

Since the previous post I have added major planets to the map, with the key planets being named and the rest marked as "major" (for a major planet). These planets are important as strategic locations and also for the economic and resupply rules found within Federation & Empire.

I have drawn in the various provinces within each Empire. The founding Federation provinces are also represented. They are provinces now within the Federation, but their boundaries represent the original space controlled by the governments of Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, Telor, Rigel, etc and will come into play as part of The First Romulan War campaign.

The Orion Nebula can be seen in the middle of this image (i.e. seven coloured hexes). The Federation(blue)/Klingon (light green) boarder can be seen on the bottom left corner. Provinces can also be seen as coloured boundaries on hexes, with the original Federation government areas in blue, and the later Federation ones in grey. The Orion province can be seen in purple.

I have also put in the major political groups from Babylon 5 in the upper right quadrant of the map. This allows for cross-overs in the campaign with even more races being available to fight it out. The B5 races aren't major players and so get a much smaller area for their empires. Moreover since they rely on jump-engine technology (a bit like the Xindi from Star Trek - Enterprise era), rather than warp engines, they are dependant on those engines to engage movement across the map from one hex to the next and so are much slower than warp powered ships.

The major planets stand out quite well on the map, and the major nebulas are the coloured hexes. The Delphic Expanse, the WYN Radiation Zone, the Orion Nebula, The Badlands and the Brier Patch are all represented.

The B5 Earth Allience is present in this area as well. Their backstory being that they are descendants from a group of human colonists who escaped the Star Trek universe Eugenics War on pre-warp colony transports and, finding a jump gate near Jupiter, escaped across the map to their new home (which they dubbed "Earth 2" or just "Earth" later on). After a few years on their new world, they feared that the jump-gate they used would be found and the Augments would concur their new home. So they rigged the Jupiter gate to explode before disappearing through it back home (gravity took care of the remains of the gate and now its a small dense lump of alloy in the heart of Jupiter). Hence the Jupiter gate was never found by Starfleet and thus humanity never pursued jump engine technology.

You can see Earth (i.e. our star Sol) in the centre, with Alpha Centari, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, Cait and Denobula visible. The Vega colonies are at the top of this image as well. You can also see the original government boundaries of the pre-Federation governments in blue outline on the hexes.

Romulas and Remii are visible here (hexes 1720 & 1819) as well as the Federation (blue) / Romulan (dark green) border.

Qo'nos is visible here as well as Rura Penthe, and the Federation and Tholian (purple) boarders. Some of the Klingon government provinces can also be seen.

The Bajoran Wormhole is also represented in hex 3104, with Bajor next to it and Cardassia not far away (hex 2904). The Badlands are the coloured hexes 3103, 3203 3202. Ferenginar is present in hexe 3201. Cardassian territory is in yellow, Ferengi in pink, and the Kzinti in orange on the bottom left of this image. The purple hex at the far top right is part of The Delphic Expanse.
All that is left to do is find someway of printing white labels on to clear plastic tape and adding the empire names to the map. Believe it or not, this has proved much harder to achieve that I suspected. But the map works fine without these for now and is ready to map out the ongoing campaign.

How to make Tomb Kings Mounted Archers

I had a crazy idea!

I had some spare Undead (Tomb Kings) Chariots and a heap of Undead Archers, so I decided to combine the two. I used the horses from the chariots and carefully cut the archers from their bases, then super-glued them to the horses... and voila!

Tomb King Mounted Archers for Warmaster!

Tomb Kings in Spaccceeee..... 

I'm probably going to mount them two to a base as these are skirmishers. Not so crazy idea after all!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Andorians have arrived!

I picked up a few Kumari style Andorian ships from Shapeways recently and just finished paining the first lot of three cruisers.

They are the right scale for Star Trek - Attack Wing (or Heroclix Star Trek) and are listed as being 1:5000 scale. I'm using them for A Call to Arms - Starfleet of course, but they would be suitable for Attack Wing as well in my opinion. These are nicely designed models. I bought them in White Strong and Flexible finish which leaves a grainy surface that makes it harder to paint. However they have turned out fairly well for the tabletop. So I recommend them if you are after something like this.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Campaign Map for A Call to Arms - Starfleet

Given the current ACTA Starfleet campaign set during the First Romulan War, I wanted to have a campaign map that I could hang on the wall freeing up the games table to play out the battles of the war. The campaign map that has been used so far is the Federation & Empire map, but I couldn't keep this on hand as a ready reference as it would take up too much space. So I came up with a solution.

Truth be told, I have wanted to do this since I was a teenager playing Star Fleet Battles. Its taken several decades, but it have finally done it.

I purchased two Star Fleet Battles map sheets from Amarillo Design Bureau, a sheet of 900x1200x3mm of Corflute board, two metres of magnetic strip that had a sticky surface on one side, and 100 1x10mm circular rare earth magnets to make this. The Corflute board was large for the maps, but easily was trimmed down with a knife.

I glued the magnetic strips to the Corflute board and when dry, rolled out the maps onto the sticky side of the magnetic strip. I had to cute off a row of the hexes on the left sheet to match the sheets correctly. You can see this in the image below.

I have an old Federation & Empire map set that I cut the turn counter and other charts from around one of the map edges and stuck them to the sticky side of the magnetic strip...

...and placed the key on the other side.

The magnets were used for the ship counters from Federation & Empire. Given that the magnet is glued to the underside of the counter, you can't used the depleted side of the counter. However, this is irrelevant as the counters will represent ships fighting it out via A Call to Arms.

Corflute board and magnetic strip stuck together with craft glue, and hex map stuck to the sticky side.

The regions of the empires I marked out with highlighter pens.

The provinces also were marked out the same way.

On the image below are the Lyran (yellow'ish), Kzinti (orange), Breen (pink), Cardassian (yellow), Ferengi (pink), Wyn (yellow hexes fully coloured to represent the nebula), LDR (pink), Klingon (light green) and Hydrans (blue). The Feds are there on the right in blue also.

Below are the Ferengi (pink), The Badlands Nebula (full hexes in pink/yellow/orange), The Delphic Expanse (fully pink hexes at the top), the future borders of the Federation (blue), the Orion Nebula (yellow and orange full hexes), provinces within the future Federation including the Vega colonies, Telerites, Cait, Earth, Rigel, Andorians, Vulcans, Enolian Coalition. Tholia is at the bottom in pink, and the Romulans in dark green and Gorns (pink) are on the right.

Gorn (pink), Dilgar (orange) and the Romulans are below in dark green. The Borg edge on to the map in the top right. I will be adding very small locations for the Vorlon and Shadows (couldn't resist adding them and the Dilgar for a bit of Babylon 5 crossover). I'm not a fan of the ISC and so have left this blank. Hey, my map, my right to choose! I may include some more Babylon 5 groups like the Drazi, etc as very small nations in the ISC area to give the Romulans a headache.

Close-up of some of the Starfleet NX ship proxies. You can see the Kzinti (orange) and Cardassian (yellow) in the top left. A neutral zone surrounds the future Federation area, so that the map can be used for after the Federation is formalised. The provinces of the Federation, which represent the Star Trek Enterprise era realms of the Vulcans, Andorians, Earth etc, are the fine line blue areas on the bottom right. When the Federation gets formed, these realms will become recognised provinces of the Federation.

The Romulans on the map. Warbirds only for now as its the First Romulan War.

 The magnets do their thing... thankfully!

Back of the board showing how the campaign map gets on the wall with picture hooks and string.

Still have a few more things to add to the map like the empire names and the primary star systems. But its coming along. Let the campaign begin!