“Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it” - Napoleon
The journey was uneventful and I got to the carpark with about 20 minutes to spare before the doors opened. Once inside, I made a beeline for the Bad Squiddo stand where I had a nice chat with Annie and Bruce, before picking up my pre-ordered Pulp Explorers and also some additions for my Swordmaidens.
After that, the world was my mollusc, but I knew that I needed to visit the Warlord stand early to buy stuff for a Sharp Practice FIW project I need to get finished before next January.
These will give me enough figures for three groups of skirmishers and at least three groups of line infantry, plus leaders, a musician (drummer) and a colour party. Any left over figures might end up as vignettes to be used as deployment points.
I also visited the Crooked Dice stand for some extra figures for two of my 7TV casts. Actually, I currently only have two casts, but I am planning a couple more, not sure what they will be yet, though.
I spent a lot of time wandering around, looking at the various stands and seeing what was available. Unfortunately, Wargames Foundry weren't at the show, so that meant I wasn't able to pick up any figures for a project I've had in my mind for ages now, so I won't go into that yet.
I did look at the range of 15mm figures and chat to a helpful chap on the Essex stand, which helped me to firm up ideas for an extra force for my 15mm Sharp Practice 18th century Syldavia and Borduria imagi-nations project. That is now looking like a distinct starter for 2019. I also had a helpful chat with a nice man on the Warbases stand about custom bases for my Sword and Spear 28mm Late Roman army, allowing me to reuse my Saga Romans on movement trays. While I was there, I also bought two carts and draft horses which will be useful for my 28mm Peninsular War Sharp Practice troops, together with some single and double dice frames and 7mm dice for shock recording (for both SP and CoC).
After that I visited the Coritani stand for more magnetic discs, some resin bits and textured paint. There is a nice 15mm gate and wall set, which will be useful for lots of things and a couple of 28mm tree stumps which I think will make nice deployment point markers for Sharp Practice.
I bought two useful-looking MDF trays which fit inside Really Useful 4L boxes. I am hoping that these will make transporting my 15mm ACW and imaginations forces easier.
I couldn't go to Colours and not see Ground Zero Games. I've not really been doing a lot of 15mm Sci Fi stuff recently, but I've always like the Ixx figures, so I bought some, together with a few Draughar. My plan here is another army for Alien Squad Leader, probably a Children Of The Gods one.
I am a big fan of the resin pieces made by The Square and these thatched buildings caught my eye. I can see them working for 15mm Sharp Practice, but also for CoC, especially Eastern Front. The oil drums piece is also going to be hugely useful for WW2 games.
Last, but most definitely not least, I bought this lovely collapsible dice tray from Saddle Goose Designs, which is run by Deborah, the wife of painting expert Matt Slade of Glenbrook Games.
It was nice to catch up with various people, Matt and Deborah, Jon Tuffley of GZG, Geoff of Ham and Jam, Annie and various others.
The club also had a presence at Colours, in the shape of Alex, Nick, Owen and Richard who were running a game of Alien Squad Leader, 100pts each of Human Cultists and Biker Gangs.
124 pages of superb Lardie goodness; packed full of all the information you'll ever need to play Chain of Command in the Western European theatre in 1940. There is a huge number of army lists for different formations for the Belgians, Dutch, French, British, Germans and Italians, plus five new scenarios. There are even rules for Fifth Columnists, Civilians and Germans disguised as Nuns (or Belgian etc police officers). Of course, because of the role played by dive bombers, there are rules for deploying Stukas too.
As usual, the book is a lavish production with colour pictures and plenty of explanation. I've just had a flick through so far, but I am already wondering which units I really want to deploy. So many choices! So many support options. It is going to be a tough call. The only thing I do know is that I'll be building my forces in 15mm and they will be from the excellent Peter Pig early war range.
So, thanks to Maisie's gammy leg, I've managed to finish off the rest of the My Last Sunrise figures. There are six of these in total. First, here are two fighters who place their trust in sharp blades;
Next, a couple of stout fellows who use faith, chemical warfare (a.k.a. holy water) and pointy things to send the Undead to their doom;
Next, courtesy of two fearless females, ranged attacks;
The figure on the left is a witch called Clara on the Bad Squiddo website and she has a small McGuffin that looks like a gold scorpion in her hand. I wanted to give her a more obvious magical attack and decided that a ball of magical fire would work quite nicely. After all, vampires don't really care for that sort of thing, do they?
Anyway, here is the assembled Scooby Gang (Buffy fans will know what I mean);
Now, I have cleared enough space to get some Shieldmaidens prepped for painting.
Anyway, here is Maisie, being totally unfazed by her knee ligament. Her sister Daisy is doing her own thing out in the garden. I expect I'll have to carry Maisie outside fairly soon. Of course, once she's out there, she will make her own way back into the house. I think she's having me on a bit.
Anyway, back in 2015, when I was looking for something else, I found a undercoated or part-painted GW figures in a box of odds and ends that I'd just stuck up in the loft when we moved house in 2013. I decided to paint them up for practice, and also so I could submit them to the TooFatLardies painting challenge.
I've still got them, but previously never posted anything about them on my blog, so I thought that I'd remedy that now.
First, there is a Chaos Space Marine standard bearer and a Savage Orc Shaman. Both of these were part-painted, just having basic colours blocked in and therefore needed a fair bit of work to bring them up to scratch.
This figure was originally a Necromunda Redemptionist gang leader (I think) but I remember buying him to be used as an Imperial Inquisitor for a Inquisition force that I never got round to completing. He was just undercoated in black, so painting him up was a fairly straightforward job. I think that he might come in useful if I ever get around to putting my Sci-Fi skirmish rules notes into some kind of order and collecting a few models to play with.
This last one is a bit of a mystery really, because I never had any Space Orks. I think I bought the mini in a sale in the old GW shop in Bristol that was pulled down when Broadmead was redeveloped and they built Cabot's Circus.
He is a Bad Moon Space Ork Big Boss. I remember the figure from AARs in White Dwarf back in the early 1990s. He is from the old ranges that Games Workshop replaced with larger and more brutal-looking Orks. Personally, I liked a lot of these older figures a lot. They had a quirky charm, although the older Space Marines left a bit to be desired, in my opinion.
So, now I've remedied an omission and put these few remaining figures on the blog. I'd be interested to see what people think of them.
Here is my initial deployment. Note that my warband has been bolstered by the recruitment of a Knight, represented by a Bad Squiddo shieldmaiden, with a mail shirt, a shield and a spear.
Andy's Frog Witch cast Fog, represented by these smoke markers. This suited me fine.
Richard's Chronomancer-led band was a worrying sight. I needed to grab some treasure quickly and scoot.
Owen was also deploying, but as he was diagonally opposite me, I didn't see him as a problem for now.
My Treasure Hunter got into the enclosure and made a beeline for the loot, as did one of my thugs just outside the enclosure, protected by my Archer.
My Elementalist cast Wall between the edge of the enclosure and the ruin sheltering a chest to close down one line of attack. I sent in a thug to try and grab the cash.
My Man-at-Arms and Infantryman went in to protect the treasure chest, but were confronted by Richard's Knights. He had a thief with Fleet Feet heading for the treasure too.
Elsewhere, more fog was beginning to make it difficult to see what was happening, but my troops were closing in on the action inside the enclosure.
My Infantryman's weapon was destroyed by Richard's Crumble spell, leaving him pretty useless in combat. My Man-at-Arms was in danger of being eliminated. I wasn't confident of making off with this treasure.
The enclosure was getting a bit crowded. I didn't want to tangle with Andy's Giant Frog (a Bear in Frostgrave terms).
As expected, I lost both the Infantryman and the Man-at-Arms, along with the treasure chest. Adding insult to injury, I also lost the thug. My ranks were getting rather depleted, but worse was to come as my Wizard was also rendered hors de combat!
My Treasure Hunter picked up the chest, but she was unlucky enough to summon up a random Demon, who after killing her, went in to attack my Archer who was also trying to grab some treasure.
I sent my Knight into combat, hoping to drive the Demon off. Luckily, time was on my side, as the clock ran down and we called a halt.
I ended the game with three chests, but a lot of worrying casualties to roll for.
I had successfully cast two spells and acquired three chests, giving me 170 Experience Points. From the chests I gained a total of five scrolls, one grimoire and 280 gold coins. Luckily, my saving dice rolls saw all my wounded recover, but with two thugs being badly wounded. I can see them being kicked out of the Inn and two new fighters being recruited.
When I rolled for the scrolls I ended up with Bones Of The Earth, Awareness, two Time Walk scrolls and Create Grimoire.
The grimoire I found contained the Wizard Eye spell.
All things considered, not a bad haul, especially seeing as my carried forward Experience Points plus what I gained means that I can, if I choose raise my Wizard to Level Four. I need to think about that or whether I want to do other things.
Our next encounter will be using one of the scenarios from the Frostgrave Folio, which will be interesting.
Vampire lore tells us that all vampires are "made" by an existing vampire, the most famous being Bram Stoker's Dracula. Here is the leader of this particular vampire "family", a somewhat dramatic and Byronic-looking figure. He's clearly just nipped out for a bite, but is a bit of a messy eater.
Of course, vampire have to have brides, and here is the Count's trio of lovelies. Their arcane powers of seduction have lured many an unsuspecting victim to their doom. Male or female, it doesn't matter to these ladies. They are equal opportunity blood-drinkers.
And here is the Count with his backing singers. They literally knock 'em dead wherever they appear.
The Count has also recruited some muscle. First a terrifying psychopathic Revenant, who may or may not be a vampire, but who certainly likes a bit of blood-letting. I think she likes her meat very rare.
The Count also has two fearsome ladies of the night whose skills with a blade are legendary. Tangle with these beauties at your peril.
Here are all the Count's bodyguards together. What a delightful trio they are!
I've blocked in some basic colours on the vampires, which I'll be finishing off next, and I've also completed two figures, a Golem and a Werewolf, who I think will have a dual use as random monsters in Frostgrave.
Anyway, here they are. First a rear view;
And now the front;
I particularly like the Golem. I think he is a rather menacing and characterful model. I wanted to see if I could take the figures off of the slotta bases, of which I am not a fan, and it worked fine for him, but looking at the rest of the range, I realised that some of the figures would need pinning to give them strength on a simple MDF base. Therefore, I cut down the MDF base I'd stuck the golem on and glued him onto a slotta. This has had the effect of making him even taller and more impressive, I think, so not really a problem.
Anyway, I'm thinking that the other figures won't take too long to complete, so hopefully I'll get them out of the way over the next couple of weeks.
I have plans for building up some forces for Chain of Command in the North African Campaign in the 1940-42 period, but those plans will probably have to wait now that the TooFatLardies have announced their Blitzkrieg handbook is available for pre-orders. The CoC priority now is going to be switched to BEF and German forces, with French to follow later.
Anyway, having bought some already painted 8th Army vehicles at the club's Tabletop Sale back in May, I always planned to get some German opposition. I'll look at getting a couple of Italian tanks later, which will also come in handy for Desert CoC.
For the first time, I looked away from PSC box sets and decided to get a couple of resin tanks. The ones I chose were Battlefront ones, a Panzer III H and a Panzer IV F1. I did want to get a Panzer II as well, but they were out of stock. I'll probably go back later to get one.
These were pretty straightforward to paint. They were given a base coat of Army Painter Desert Yellow spray and then the detailing was built up with drybrushing, first with some unmixed Vallejo Natural Steel (if you don't shake the bottle too much you get a graphite sort of colour with only a hint of metal) to show wear on the desert colour and then with Iraqi Sand, which is a massively useful colour for all sorts of things. I used black for the rubber rims on the wheels.
I think that they have turned out pretty well. Oddly enough, it was only after I'd bought these that I remembered that I have a couple of Zvezda kits of exactly the same tanks. I made them up and compared the two for size. The two Mk IIIs are an almost perfect match, but the Battlefront Mk IV is slightly longer. I'll paint them up one day and that will give me a couple more tanks. Of the two, I have to say that I prefer the Battlefront models, though.
We had an extra player this week, Will, who took control of the guardians of the treasure, represented by two demons plus a large number of Undead; armoured skeletons, zombies and ghouls (These last were my figures. It was nice to see my figures on the table). We allowed Will to deploy or move as many of his guards as he rolled on a D6, with a score of 6 meaning he could deploy or move a demon, as well as his lesser guards.
I began by raising a Zombie in the pre-game phase, giving me an extra member of the warband. As I was using an Inn as my base, I had an extra place in the warband, which I awarded to a Treasure Hunter. I'd also replaced one of my Thugs with a Crossbowman.
This skeleton Giant Rat was treated as a living one.
Andy used Teleport to grab a treasure from close to me, but on opening it, two Snow Trolls appeared in the location from which he's magically grabbed the chest. This was going to cause me problems.
I decided that I'd have to get bodies into the central enclosure, to give me a chance of grabbing some loot, seeing as the treasure in my starting area had now gone.
The Snow Trolls were causing me a lot of grief. I had little option but to try and contain them.
I cast Wall, blocking my band off from attack by Owen. It didn't stop the skeletons, though.
I lost a few fighters, but managed to hang on inside the enclosure.
Andy's frogs were having problems with a Greater Demon, but he was also getting a treasure chest off the table.
Things were looking desperate for my Treasure Hunter. Would she succumb to the other Demon?
My ranks were now much depleted. Things were looking grim. However, we were close to calling time and I managed to get as many bodies as I could into the enclosure. Unhappily, I forgot to take any pictures.
In the final reckoning, I ended up with two treasure chests, which gave me a grimoire with a spell I already had, so I sold it, plus a couple of potions and a reasonable haul of gold. I lost one Thug dead, no great loss, because I now had enough money to hire a better replacement.
The Eastern Front was new ground for both of us but Brian had his Russians ready and I had another opportunity to field my late war Heer Zug.
The scenario we were playing was No. 6 - Attack On An Objective. Under the circumstances, it seemed appropriate that the Germans would be the defenders. The attackers, Brian's Soviets get 2D6 support points, with the Germans getting half, rounded down. Brian rolled a 7, which, applying the force ratings gave him a whopping 10 points. I had a measly 3 points. I just knew that Brian would be bringing some armour, so I chose a minefield, to block out one line of attack and a Panzerknacker team, possibly to counter his armour, but also because it would give me an extra MG42 to play with.
Here is the table after the patrol phase. I would be defending the fuel dump just behind the church in the village. I placed the minefield roughly in the centre of the table, which I hoped would prevent any frontal assaults.
Here is the table from the German viewpoint.
My plan was to deploy one squad in a fairly advanced position on my left, with the aim of occupying the farm near the minefield. This took longer than planned as the Soviet Wrath Of The Gods delayed my deployment.
I also had a squad on overwatch in the village church.
The arrival of the Beast From The East, a.k.a Brian's armoured support, a very large, nasty and worrying ISU-152. His infantry were deploying on his left, threatening in outflank my right.
I had a squad deployed on my right and I used the MG42 team to good effect on a Russian squad which had occupied a cornfield in an advanced position on Brian's left flank. I really wanted to keep that squad out of the game, allowing me to move troops to enfilade the Russians from my left.
My right flank squad seemed to have things under control.
Unhappily, the ISU-152 was able to cause considerable damage to the church, forcing me to evacuate (no photos). Foolishly, I pushed the squad in the church forward into the area with the craters, in an attempt to outflank the Soviet advance. These suffered further casualties from the 152mm gun.
After first trying a long-range Ambush, which failed, I had to deploy my Panzerschreck team, pushing it forward until it was within a more effective range of the Beast From The East. The results were spectacular, with four net hits on the ISU's side armour, the Beast exploded. One thing less to worry about.
With the armour gone, I deployed my Panzerknacker team as an extra (and much needed) MG42 team. Its fire would be directed by my Zug's senior leader.
My plan to outflank the Soviets from the right continued, despite the weakness of one squad, reduced by the ISU-152 to a junior leader and a MG42 team.
My MG42s were causing the Soviets a lot of problems, mounting losses and plenty of shock, however, my own force was looking pretty threadbare too. Brian had a run of five game phases in a row, due to rolling a succession of four double sixes on his Command dice. This enabled him to push his troops right down my right flank, threatening to get around behind me and taking the objective, which was only lightly defended by this point.
However, as I much as I was losing troops and gaining shock. the Soviets were losing them faster, this was a race to see who would run out of men first.
I stopped taking photos, but I had the Squad which was reduced to an MG42 rout, later followed by both the Panzerknacker team and the right flank Squad being wiped out. My Force Morale was plummeting, but not as fast as Brian's. My 'Schreck team occupied one of Brian's JoPs and he also saw a Squad rout and have his last effective troops pinned. By that point, he was only rolling two Command dice, and was unable to remove any shock or end the turn (amazingly, we were still on Turn One, right to the end of the game). Finally, the game ended. With all his troops pinned and unable to do anything, the Soviet assault just petered out, but the cost to my defenders was huge. I'd won, but the price was so high that the Zug was no longer an effective force.
So, perhaps this game illustrated the reality of Bagration rather well. Despite astronomiocal losses, the Red Army did manage to destroy Army Group Centre in Byelorussia. By the end of June 1944, the German 4th Army no longer existed and the 3rd Panzer Army was no longer an effective fighting force. Operation Bagration maked the beginning of the end for the Germans in the East. losing around 400,000 men and tanks and other vehicles that they were unable to replace. When you consider that, at the same time, in Western Europe the Germans were being expelled from France with huge losses. there was only really one end to the War possible.
Freyja will, naturally be the Warlord of my Saga Viking warband, so she has to be on a larger base, but because she is such a fantastic model, I wanted to make the base a bit special, so I added on two of her special cats. The name Freyja is Old Norse for "The Lady". She is associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, seiðr (a kind of Norse sorcery that Freyja, a member of the Vanir, taught to the Æsir), war, and death.
Freyja is the owner of the necklace Brísingamen, rides a chariot pulled by two cats, is accompanied by the boar Hildisvíni, and possesses a cloak of falcon feathers. I did a bit of googling and discovered that a colour often associated with Freyja is russet, so I clearly had to paint her robe in that colour.
Anyway, this model is really lovely, I think that her cloak, with its feathers, is pretty amazing and I love the way her hair has been modelled. I really didn't want to overwork her, so I kept the range of colours to a minimum, but I wanted to link her cats into the overall colour scheme, so one is a similar russet to her robe and the other matches the grey of her cloak.