Sunday 24 November 2019

Dem Bones

Over the last month or so I have been painting lots and lots of skeletons, over 70 so far including the Vanguard forces and I think I still have a few more that can be painted up to make a Revenant Horde.
But this week I hit a big mile-stone with the completion of the two Hordes of Skeleton Infantry / Spears. I say completion, but I may go back and add a tree to each base yet. Otherwise these chaps are done and dusted and ready to take the field along with their leader, Famine.

Famine as we know from our source material comes with his scales and I've done my best to model these but to be perfectly honest I'm not that happy with the outcome which is why he is shuffled off to one side in the pictures. However he does round out the four Horsemen and leads a big chunk of the battle-line into combat.

These models are primarily intended to be used as the Spear variety but could be fielded as the cheaper generic Skeleton Warrior if required. But with the buff to Phalanx this version and the fact that even the Spearmen Horde is cheap and gives an extra Unit Strength and extra attacks means they look to be a good investment. Skeletons also received a couple of extra buffs with the speed increase to 5 inches and the fact you can measure to charge from any point on the base frontage meaning they can project a threat over a much larger area than previously. These chaps are built to be a damage sponge and if backed up with some healing or life drain along with life leech (2) they should be sticking around for a while.

For the models themselves these are the Mantic Skeletons and for £30 you get 40 plastic skeletons with a good range of options and a decent variety of poses available. I actually rather enjoyed painting them up as they have plenty of character and despite spending so long painting the same kit I never got tired of them.

For the base I made up my own crackle paste by mixing some paint into a Deco Art crackle product, this gives the same affect as the Games Workshop technical paint but at a fraction of the cost. The original plan was to apply a layer of Polyfilla & paint mix to the base of each rank as they went in and then the crackle paint but as I would have needed to wait to each rank to fully dry before doing the next one I gave that up as a waste of time. That means that the paste has sunk a little around the base of each mini but that is not obvious when you take a step back.

As well as working on getting the Skeletons based I also speed painted some Mantic Scarecrow models to use as Ghouls / Zombies. I had loads of these left over from when I got sent the wrong stuff twice for the Vanguard Kickstarter and wanted to add some extra options to the wet side of the army. So this week I painted up 36 of the little fellas which gave me the models for the six troops I wanted.

Most likely these will see action as troops to be used as chaff as they are cheap and fast, not having shambling.

They could also be fielded as a Horde and/or two Troops added to the back of my Zombie Regiments to make a Zombie Legion, -/28 is a lot of nerve to chew through even at defence 2+.

Considering this only took 1 week to put the whole lot together I am very pleased with the results.

As I had the models out I took a quick group shot, this is 3 foot of infantry and chaff for only 1300 points, not a bad amount I would say.

So it feels like I am into the home straight with the Undead now as the two Skeleton Hordes represented a very large percentage of the models I had left to paint, next up are the Barrow Wights who hopefully will help to tie the army theme together, so no pressure on them then!

Sunday 17 November 2019


As well as getting on with the last of the skeletons for the two hordes I had a productive week both game and painting wise. I added some more reinforcements to the Undead in the shape of a couple of extra mounted chaps, another Necromancer, a Barrow Wight, and a foot character.

The Barrow Wight is Mantic's official resin model from the Vanguard set. It is an interesting unit with it's special ability, large number of attack dice and being Pathfinder. As I said before this is a unit that could really benefit from a mount which would give it an 18" charge range when using the special.

The other foot model is from the Fireforge Kickstarter set and I painted him up to see how the GW contrast Yellow looks over Gold. As with the Orange over Bronze I used on some of the other models it really gives the colour a lift and extra depth so I can see further experimentation of contrasts over metallics being done.

He could also be used as a Zombie Orc if I decide to go heavily down the rout of fielding mass zombies. Having groups of two zombies being led by a zombie Orc would give them all CS(3) on a group assault which would be rather nasty.

Finally some shots of everything I have painted so far for the Vanguard company, which is easily the largest Vanguard force I have. I have bought some movement trays from Warbases so I can field these models as units in Kings of War as well.

Talking of Vanguard I met up with John again at the Old Duke for an introductory Vanguard session. John liked the look of the Nightstalkers so I took them along for him to play whilst I gave the Undead a test drive.

We played at 150 points which for the Undead gave me: 1 * Necromancer, 1 * Werewolf, 3 * Skeleton Archers, 2 * Zombies, 2 * Revenants, & 1 * Soul Reaver.

The first game we played was Portal which turned into a mass-brawl near the portal with John taking an early lead despite having two models sucked into the void which I was never able to make up.

In both games I was to suffer the loss of my Necromancer which is very bad news for the Undead as it means the company auto-breaks and as soon a model goes down it dies rather than having a chance to stay alive.

This probably means it is best to try and fit two command models into the list even at low points but that obviously means you miss out on something else. In the case of this list it would probably be the Werewolf.

That would be a big loss as he's an absolute melee beast and if you can get him onto something it will likely be him that walks away from the fight rather than the opponent.

The second game we played was Kill the Bard with the game being pretty tight at the start with us both joining forces to kill the Bard before a melee broke out over the dropped Bards Lute. I was able to come away with the Lute but again lost my Necromancer and then the Lute carrier. Fortunately the Werewolf was able to kill off John's leader (Shade) and then pass the Nerve check not to break and then pickup and hold the Lute.

So two good games in one afternoon and John went away looking to buy some more Nightstalkers (I had already sold him my spares) and a couple more games arranged for December.

On Friday Mick and I played our first proper Blood & Plunder scenario using the Break Points, these are gained for losing certain amounts of troops and not claiming objectives. Most of the piccies did not come out well but the Spanish came away winners after managing to shoot away a fair portion of the British and to keep them from contesting two of the three  objective markers.

Sunday 10 November 2019

On the Deep Blue Sea

This week Mick & I took to the waves in our first naval battle for Blood & Plunder. The rules treat ships as structures that can move, so all the earlier rules we had learnt in the land battle still applied and we 'just' needed to add the ship movement on top. This took a while to explain but once we got playing it actually flowed very well and we got stuck in and had a good game.

For this game I stacked up on the guns for the ships but you could equally build a boarding focused list as the rules include the ability to grapple the opposition.

Mick's early cannon fire proved to be very effective with him scoring multiple lucky hits which left my ship leaking and in need of repair. Fortunately I was able to effect a speedy repair and stopped my ship for sinking below the waves.

At one point my cannons decided to work and I briefly started a fire on Mick's ship but he was able to task some sailors to put that out in short order.

By the end of the evening the casualties where about even but my ship had taken much more damage in the fire-fight. One thing we did find out was that musket fire is still pretty effective even when firing to and from a ship so taking good musket troops is useful in a ship combat game.

Last week along with visiting Mantic HQ for their open weekend we also played out the final game of our KoW v2 campaign. Having won the majority of the big battles I was the attacker and Stu brought along his castle which his Salamanders occupied.

I won't repeat the details of the battle which can be found over here but I committed a reasonable strong force to attack the castle with a view to taking down the front wall with my massed artillery and then put everything else opposite the forces outside the castle.

The Salamanders had a lot of points inside the castle so I was able to outnumber those on the outside and made good inroads into killing them off.

I was also lucky with the artillery and managed to take the wall down but I lacked the strength to clear the courtyard against the massed defenders.
The game ended in a draw with neither side looking likely to be able to gain a victory, a good way to end a keenly contested campaign and see off the old armies in style.

With the Herd being the old army that means work has been continuing on the new one!
I'm into the home run with the Undead and have been busy getting the Skeleton Hordes painted up. At 30 models a unit these take a fair old bit of painting but I have managed 1 1/3 Hordes so far.

The infantry are all Mantic models and they have a lot of character especially considering how cheap they are, so it hasn't been a drag to paint them so far.

The plan is to glue them into place and then level things off with some polyfilla & paint before applying the cracked earth effect.