Monday, December 24, 2012

X-Wing Space Mat

Inspired by a post over on TMP , I ordered a custom star map from SmartPress, a company that prints vinyl banners. SmartPress

I got the heaviest, 18oz matte vinyl. It lays flat within a few minutes of being unrolled.

Turn around time was less than two weeks, and double-sided, 3' x 3' mat came in at under $35 shipped. I think it looks better than most mats purpose-made for space gaming, because it uses actual images of space. Both the Hubble and European Southern Observatory websites have excellent images free to download.

I used a colorful picture of the Orion Nebula for one side. I wanted the other side to be more muted, more of a generic starscape.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A 1:1 Scale Figure

About a year ago, we bought a garden gnome.  Not just any gnome, but a cast-iron beast of a gnome from Costco.  According to the box, his name is Brumbiddle.  Now, Brumbiddle is a really excellent gnome.  Unfortunately, his paint proved rather susceptible to fading.

So, I decided to repaint him, with craft-paints which are supposedly meant for outdoor use.  This took a bit longer than I expected, but here he is at last, restored to gnomish glory.

Brumbiddle in his natural habitat.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Warmaster: Tomb Kings

Warmaster is a 10mm-scale fantasy game GW came out with in 2000.  I have a large army of High Elves that I painted back then, which I plan to display in a series of posts fairly soon.  Although Warmaster is a really excellent game, it's been almost ten years since I last was able to play.  Recently, seized with nostalgia, I decided to paint some opponents for my Elves, at long last.
I decided on the Tomb Kings, which are GW's pseudo-Egyptian undead army, both because they are relatively easy to paint, and because I already had a bunch of them stored away.  I just finished the first two units for the army, two regiments of humble skeleton warriors.
Here is the first regiment.  Check out the new recruit popping up from the ground.
And the second.  The blue on their shields and banners is not quite so dark in real life.
Both regiments massed together.  The hieroglyphics on their banners and shields are two of the four characters to make the Nehekharan word for vengeance.  Next, I'll paint two units of skeleton archers to go with these guys, and give them banners with the other two glyphs.  I plan to paint this army in brigades of four units, organized and named in this manner.
Here, a scouting party of Elves makes an unpleasant discovery.
 Finally, a wider shot, with some of the scenery I've picked up to go with this army.  The pyramids and the crumbling head are all aquarium ornaments from a company called Zanusa.  Ebay seems to be the best place to get them; I was able pick the up for under $7 each.  I might repaint them at some point, but the look reasonably good as-sold.
Warmaster is still sold by Games Workshop, under the "Specialist Games" heading, albeit at prices almost double what was charged ten years ago.  The secondary market is much more affordable, particularly for the more common armies like Tomb Kings and High Elves.

Although Warmaster is no longer actively supported by GW, the unofficial Specialist Games forum has a quite active Warmaster section here.  It also hosts an excellent database of articles from the now sadly defunct Fanatic Magazine, which for a time supported Warmaster and the other Specialist Games. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DBA War of the Roses Lancastrians (10mm)

After neglecting this blog for the better part of a year, here is a new post at last. This is my recently finished 10mm Lancastrian War of the Roses army for DBA. I chose to do Lancastrians because I figured everyone else would be going Yorkist so they could field the Kingmaker.  The infantry and artillery are by Pendraken, the knights are a mix of Pendraken and Magister Milletum. Flags are by Freezywater; they are 15mm scale, but look okay to me with 10mm figures, and I couldn't find the flags I wanted in 10mm anyway!

I started painting these guys about a year ago, in preparation for a War of the Roses-themed tournament at Millenium Con last November.  They were only half-finished at the tournament, which probably accounts for my lacklustre performance.  I finally completed the army in March of this year.

First up are two pics of the entire army:

I based the figures on Warmaster bases, and pretty much in a style consistent with that game, though still usable for DBA.  So each infantry stand has a dozen figures on it, the knights have six, and the artillery element is equivalent to two Warmaster bases.  I might at some point paint additional infantry stands to make Warmaster units of three bases each.  The army presently has three units of billmen, and six units of longbows, so if I paint up six of the former and three of the latter, I'll have a total of three Warmaster units.  I could similarly add a couple half bases of knights to create two Warmaster knight units, and the artillery is already the right size for Warmaster.  Adding more billmen would also allow me to field them in the DBA army in lieu of the knights.

I divided the infantry into three different retinues or contingents, each from a different, important Lancastrian leader.  I don't think the three I chose (Exeter, Beaufort, and Roos) ever actually fought in the same battle, however.  The first is Lord Thomas Roos's retinue.

In each contingent, the lord's standard (the long one with rounded tails) is carried by the billmen, while one stand of archers carries a square livery banner.  However, I didn't have a livery banner for Lord Roos, so his archers are accompanied by Roos's personal banner.  This is a bit unusual, but leaders sometimes deployed their personal banners separately from their persons, so as to confuse the enemy.  A good explanation of the different types of banners can found here.

Next is the contingent of Henry Holland, Duke of Exeter.  I made him the general, since he had a distant claim to the throne. This is reflected in his coat of arms, which is displayed on Holland's personal banner, carried by one of his knights.  His archers have a livery banner, which simply depicts the livery colors of white and red, and one of Exeter's personal badges, a spike of wheat.  Small versions of the badge would often be worn on the liveried troops' surcoats, however, I didn't attempt that detail with 10mm figures!

Another shot of the Exeter lads.

The final retinue is that of Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset.  The Beauforts were particularly staunch Lancastrians.  The scandalous rumor as to why recites that Henry VI's heir was in fact a Beaufort.

Again, in a defensive formation.

Finally, here are a couple elements which don't belong to a particular retinue: a company of mounted knights, and the artillery.  The artillery were presumably mercenaries from the continent.  Although such troops probably didn't wear livery, I have painted them in a burgundy and yellow scheme, because (1) it looked better than random colors, and (2) it's possible a mercenary company would have gone for a consistent look in order to improve esprit d'corps.  I put the knights in a wedge formation purely because it looks cool.

I'm looking forward to trying out this army with the new DBA 3.0 draft rules, because blades and bows have undergone some significant changes under the current draft.  And maybe they will win a game, now that they are fully painted!