Sunday 24 March 2024

ProjectTROY - 28mm Trojan reinforcements

Taking a brief break from painting up skirmish stuff, I was able to get a few bases of Trojans done up over the past couple of weeks. Admittedly not all the stuff in the above picture - just one base from each of the three units.

These were part of a bulk lot that Andrew picked up, and I pilfered. They've been on the painting queue for the last six months or so, just judging me quietly...

There is a mix there of Eureka (axemen and archers) and Redoubt (tower shields), all very easy to paint up really. The challenge when I've been doing lots of detail and layering was to paint them to the same standard (a simplified full army army approach of base colours, wash, highlight with base colours) and the same colour scheme as the units they were to reinforce. From the top pic you can see that I got it pretty close...

And here is the full army, all in one 10L really useful box: 4x chariots, 9x long spears, 3x axes, 6x bows, 2x medium javelins, 2x skirmish javelins, 2x skirmish sling and bow, 1x camp, 6x characters. More than enough for l'Art de la Guerre, just over 1300 points for Fantastic Battles, or two decent divisions for Hail Caesar.

Saturday 23 March 2024

28mm Fantastic Battles - The short, thin line...

Jim and I met for a nail-biting 28mm Fantastic Battles clash between my halflings of Beerenburg, and his ferocious orc horde - coming in at 1200 points per side. The halfling breakpoint was a bit short (get it...?) at just 11, while the orcs had a massive breakpoint of 17.

As the defender, Jim lay out the battlefield and deployed deep, massing archers, boar riders and a couple of elite units on his right (top left of photo), with a large unit of ogres in the centre, supported by a horde of big orcs with heavy melee weapons to their left, and a rabble in horde formation behind. His left flank (top right of photo) consisted of archers and orcs with long spears in column.

The halfling line was very short and thin by comparison. From left to right were the heavily armed and armoured dismounted burghers, a mercenary giant, the Alchemists' Guild artillery, massed archers of the Mercers' and Tailor's guilds, Brewers' Guild archers, mounted burghers, urchin slingers, Cutler's Guild swordsmen and another giant.

Mishaps saw units on both sides ravaged with disease, one enthusiastic giant serving Beerenburg, and one archer unit a piece being enthusiastic and late on the orcish side. 

The battle began with rapid advances on both flanks of the orcish side, the orc magic-user adeptly using the Blink spell to bring forward the late archer unit on his own right flank. In the centre, the big marsh slowed up the ogres somewhat, enabling the halfling artillery to start peppering them with shot. Elsewhere, the expert shooting of the massed archers began to take its toll.

The enthusiastic giant on the halfling left was brought back under control some swift thinking by the rogue and started to move back into position as the orc boar-riders advanced through the fields.

A fierce dash forward brough the orc horde into combat with both halfling archer units, silencing their bows but, only engaged against one company of each unit, the orcs were not quite as overwhelming as they might have been.

On Beerenburg's right, the orc spear unit formed into line and charged into the Cutlers' Guild swordsmen, the urchin slingers evading as they came forward. The mercenary giant on the halfling right then started angling to catch the spears in the less-pointy flank.

The halflings used an expediently emerging swarm of rats to hold off the orcs on their left, but the ogres were blinked right across the swamp to engage with the already committed Mercers and Tailors in the centre. By this point, the halfling magic-users - and empowering bard and a doctor and barmaid with bless - had their work cut out for them, doing everything they could to hold the line against significantly more, and noticeably aggressive, orcs.

On the left the rats swarm gave way and the orc archers rushed foolishly forward into the dismounted burghers to allow space to their rear for other units to manoeuvre. The giant and the boar riders met in a fight that could only ever have ended one way: bacon back on the menu.

Across the line the halflings were now almost all committed. Another rat swarm emerged to the rear of the orc horde, nipping at their ankles. 

And then more units started to break. The Mercers and Tailors could not withstand both the horde and the ogres and ran for it. At the same time, the orc horde had enough of fighting to its front and rear and also bottled it.

The ogres now pushed forward into the Alchemists Guild artillery while the third and last rat swarm emerged in the wrong spot, not aiding the combat at all.

On the halfling right, the giant made it into the flank of the orc spear unit, while the mounted burgers started to move into the gap left by the Mercers and Tailors.

The orc archers fighting the burghers broke, as did the halfling artillery. The halfling left was holding, but about to be swamped by elite orcs. The centre was well and truly orcish, but on the right the halflings were in a strong position, the orc archers and long spears there taking a beating while the beer kept flowing to restore halfling Resolve.

The out-of-command rats started an ambitious (and ultimately ineffective, but hilarious) advance against the orc rabble in reserve.

The long spears broke on the halfling right allowing the giant and Cutlers' Guild to start rolling up the flank.

The mounted burghers managed a sluggish move towards the ogres who turned into column and charged them.

The Dismounted burghers on Beerenburg's left were struggling a bit against the elite orcs, but a well placed giant evened the odds.

The battle hung in the balance, the halflings were at 8/11 break points, while the orcs were now at 14/17. The orc warlord and a rogue rushed to add their support to the unit of archers on the orcish left, while a captain and the halfling warlord joined the mounted burghers. 

And then it was all over. The orc archers broke, taking their characters with them, while the remaining halflings swilled ale through gritted teeth and held on. As close a run thing as it could be, but still a glorious victory for the stout guilders of Beerenburg!

Sunday 17 March 2024

An evening of Devilry Afoot

With most of my Devilry Afoot collection painted, I'm a little happier showing snapshots of playtest games in play. Roger came round this week and we got three games played in one sitting.

Our mini campaign began with a roster of three monster hunters:
  • Nathaniel Nightfall, the backsliding lawyer with an interest in demonology. Nathaniel was equipped with a pistol and a lantern.
  • Rev. Titus Hardwick, outwardly devout, but another secret backslider. The reverend carried a sword and a bible (holy item).
  • Ebenezer Cromwell, the burly goodman whose animal magnetism hints at his secret lycanthropy. Godman Cromwell arrived toting a blunderbuss and enough cut up pennies to load it twice with silver shot. 

The first hunt was A Discovery of Witches, where a coven is discovered having their sabbatt on the edge of a village. The hunters were tasked with killing all three witches before the looming storm breaks. 

Early on, the witches scattered and hid, transfiguring into wolf form before stalking the hunters and casting a myriad of charms at them. Nathanial really struggled to bring himself into the fray, even though his lantern light would have improved the hunters' efforts no end. When he did manage to come close, his one pistol shot went wide before he was mortally wounded by a witch. 

Goodman Cromwell managed to kill one witch with a well placed hail of silver shot, before the reverend too succumbed to the witches' savagery. One of the remaining witches threw herself at the goodman, only to be bludgeoned by the butt of the blunderbuss, while a timely shot managed to kill the last witch as she fled. 

Neither Nathaniel nor the reverend recovered from their wounds - presumably divine judgement on their backsliding. Ebenezer Cromwell collected the bounty on all three witches and bought himself a buff coat and a wee dog. He also accrued enough experience to earn an upgrade, improving his shooting ability.

For the second hunt, the well-kitted out Ebenezer Cromwell was joined by some new companions:
  • Prosperity O'Connell, a veteran soldier and a drunkard. O'Connell was a skilled duellist equipped with a sword, dagger and pistol.
  • Captain van Damme, a Flemish gentleman with a secret gambling problem equipped with a sword and dagger. He was accompanied by a follower:
    • Betty, a pistol-packing servant from the van Damme household, devoted to the captain.

Hired by a village to keep vigil over the graves of recently executed criminals, the village, and the graves are threatened by ghouls, and the risk that one or more of the recent dead will not remain that way for long.
Betty and O'Connell (fortified with drink) headed off to distract one ghoul, making sure it stayed away from the houses, and both proceeded to fire off their pistols. They kept the ghoul skulking in the shadows until it lashed out, engaging in a melee with O'Connell, ending badly for the ghoul. 

On the far side of the burial area, van Damme took on the other ghoul, slaying in with a well-practiced swing of his sword. Just as it looked like the night's troubles were over, a third ghoul entered the table, heading for the graves where Goodman Cromwell waited with his dog and his blunderbuss. One shot later, and the ordeal was done, with not a revenant to be seen.

All hunters survived and the earnings of the night allowed van Damme to invest in a buff coat.


We finished the night with the Beast in the Fog scenario. Stalking a savage barghest into the high moors (high moors with decaying Roman ruins and hungry grass), the hunters were separated in the fog. Four counters were placed in the corners of the table marking possible locations of the barghest, each would activate until the real location was determined.

The four hunters were deployed randomly, and all ended up either in hungry grass, or in rough terrain. A hunter rolling a 1 during activation when standing in hungry grass will fall asleep. With a d10 system, this should be unlikely.

In the first turn, all three hunters starting in the hungry grass rolled 1s to activate and fell asleep! Only Prosperity O'Connell, who had started in rough terrain, was still awake. He managing to dismiss one barghest dummy counter before making his way into the centre of the table to try to reach Betty. Before he could, the real barghest loomed large out of the fog, heading for the sleeping follower.

The barghest savaged Betty in her sleep and then turned on O'Connell. Over in the other patch of hungry grass, Cromwell's dog licked him awake and he, in-turn, woke up van Damme. The captain dashed across to the beast, but too late to save O'Connell. van Damme wounded the beast, but then he too was taken out of action. 

Once more, Ebenezer Cromwell was the last man standing (but still accompanied by his dog). Loading his blunderbuss with silver shot, he fired at close range, finishing the beast.

Prosperity O'Connell's luck ran out and he died of his wounds, but both van Damme and Betty managed to recover with little more than disfiguring scars. van Damme then proceeded to lose most of his bounty over cards the following night. So far, Cromwell has been lucky not to trigger his lycanthropy, but who knows what tomorrow night will bring.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

More monstrous mayhem for Devilry Afoot - Troll, ghouls and revenants

I've fallen a little behind in painting updates for my Devilry Afoot collection, so here is a little tiny avalanche of 28mm monsters...

Fist up we have the most enjoyable miniature I have painted in an awful, awful long time - the troll. This resin miniature is from HarrowHyrst (available through Footsore Miniatures), shown next to a Bloody Miniatures ECW chappie for scale.. 
Great lumbering creatures, ox-tailed and with grotesque features, the trolls of northern Europe dwell in small communities in lonely mountain caves and among the rocky high places furthest from the interference of humans. While susceptible to sunlight and often dim-witted, trolls can be both malevolent and possessive of immense strength meaning that few would willingly cross their path or disturb their existence.

In a war-torn land, many a desperate soul has given itself up to cannibalism to survive through a desperate winter or a city under siege. For some, that taste of human flesh leaves a lingering desire for more. Banding together in depraved associations and libertine covens, a ghoul’s macabre fascination with death emboldens them to stalk the night looking for mortal morsels or willing acolytes to lure away from the light.

My two ghouls are from Heresy Miniatures. In the hand they look grand, but blown up on the screen they look a little rushed perhaps.

I always struggle to know what to do with ghoul flesh. They are living creatures for the stereotypical green-grey doesn't work for me. I ended up trying the same approach as on my 10mm ghouls and went with more raw looking purple hues.

Revenants were once men who lived wicked lives and are now cursed with a restless death. Mindlessly shambling through the night, revenants are drawn to the sweet smell of the living with a desire only to spread death, destruction and decay. Unable to rest naturally, the most effective response to a revenant’s repeated visitation employs the use of wooden stakes, decapitation, and reburial with specific rituals.

These three revenants are from Antediluvian Miniatures. They are zombie conquistadors, but serve my purposes perfectly!

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Devilry Afoot - witch hunters (5) and a spectre

This week I completed my tenth and final (for playtesting purposes) monster hunter for Devilry Afoot. I also popped some paint on an unfortunate headless lady... 

This chap is another moss trooper from the 28mm Bloody Miniatures line. Originally toating two hefty horse pistols/dragons, I swapped out one of his hands for a spare lantern I had in the drawer. I see him as a scholar, but equipped as he is with sword and pistol, he could also be a veteran soldier or a gentleman slightly down on his luck.

I tried a much more toned-down version of object light source painting this time, really just highlighting what is a dark blue coat up with purple nearer the warm light of the lantern. Again, I am not wholly convinced, but it is not a displeasing result. 

The headless spectre is a ghost from Midlam Miniatures with her hand twisted around to hold a wee resin candle. I actually painted her twice - the first time trying to heavily dry brush her from colour to white to be all ephemeral, but that really didn't work so I went back and coloured her in again. I think the headless nature of the figure makes it pretty clear that she is at the ghostly end of the corporeal spectrum...

In Devilry Afoot, spectres are ephemeral apparitions, the tormented souls of men and women killed before their time, or visions of demons summoned by witchcraft. The ethereal entities can manifest in different ways, ranging from translucent figures and misty shapes to full-bodied phantoms. As incorporeal beings, spectres may neither suffer, nor cause, physical wounds, but that does not make them any less threatening to the good living and God-fearing.

And finally a vanity shot of all the hunters together, two each of the five archetypes - gentlemen, goodmen, scholars, soldiers and religious - and the wee dog too. It would be very unusual to see them all on the table together in a game of Devilry Afoot, most hunting parties would have less than six figures in them, but I do like the look of the group shot. 

Saturday 2 March 2024

Devilry Afoot - witch hunters (4)

The latest monster hunters completed for Devilry Afoot are these two 28mm moss troopers from Bloody Miniatures. They have been painted up to use as gentlemen, but could equally be soldiers.

In Devilry Afoot, a gentleman is man of quality, wealth and honour, whose family money has allowed for a life of leisure and the luxury to practice the more chivalrous arts of swordplay, poetry and courting. Given their standing in the community, a gentleman will start any game or campaign with additional resources and a member of his household to provide support during a hunt and other essential services during normal times.

This last shot, from one of our test games, shows a gentleman and soldier attempting to drive off a wendigo that was threatening a small frontier settlement. The gentleman's dog had already been eaten and shortly after this photo was taken, both the gentleman and soldier were also dined upon... suffice to say the scenario did not end well for the hunters!