Saturday, 25 March 2017

If You Go Down to the Woods Today.....

Norman column
.....you will definitely be in for a surprise. But it will be no picnic. And not a teddy bear in sight.

This was another game in our Age of the Wolf campaign. Our random strategy rolling had left us with the strange third round situation of fighting ourselves - Matt's Saxons and Normans were due to battle each other, as were my Danes and Vikings. We jigged things around a bit, with the Normans being ambushed by Vikings instead. Rolling on the scenario, it was a new battle to play, Ambush on the Forest Road. The Normans deployed first on a path running the length of the board, woods and other terrain either side of it. The vikings then deployed in or behind this terrain. Usual victory points for slaying the enemy applied, with additional victory points for the Normans for each unit they could get off the board.

Turn 1 slaughter!
At first glance, I thought this was mission impossible for the vikings. There were far more exits from the board than I had units, so I could not hope to block them all. I did have one advantage in a large unit of 8 hearthguard, so I decided to use them very aggressively. Led by the warlord, they rushed to the vanguard and hurled themselves at the mercenary unit at the head of the Norman column. My thinking here was that they would wipe out this unit, spread fatigue to the unit behind them, and leave the Normans with one less Saga dice from the offset. In theory, a unit of 8 hearthguard will annihilate a unit of 8 warriors, but then the dice were rolled and only 7 warriors fell, at the cost of five hearthguard! In the Norman turn, these stragglers were then cut down, leaving the viking warlord a little lonely and exposed at the head of the Norman column. A backup unit of just 4 hearthguard rushed to reinforce the viking lord.

The Normans had some real luck in that first turn and it continued as they rolled more and more Saga dice. Feeling confident, the Norman lord and his knights charged in to a unit of bondi, expecting to sweep them aside. Once again, the lowly warriors defied expectations and beat back an attack from an elite unit. In almost a carbon copy of the viking failure, the Norman knights were all felled, the Lord staggered back in shock. Such carnage on the forest paths, and all in turn 1.

Hiding from missile troops, cunning vikings
At the rear of the column, not much was happening. A couple of Norman crossbow troops fell to viking arrows, and vikings took position in the woods, but in the main we used all our Saga dice to fight at the head of the column. With all the death and destruction here, the Norman foot troops scarpered into the woods, leaving the Norman Lord and his knights facing the Viking lord and his hearthguard. Spurring his men forward, the Norman Lord faltered, his knights fought bravely but were beaten back. Exposed and alone, the Norman Lord was dragged from his horse by the enraged vikings, exacting revenge for the loss of their comrades. A very brief and bloody conflict, heavy losses of elite troops on both sides, with a narrow victory to the vikings. It was all over by turn three!

As is so often the case with Saga, a real conundrum of a scenario. There was no way the vikings could block all the exits, and spreading themselves around the board mean each unit was alone and vulnerable to a concerted attack from the Normans. However, the Normans had to balance the urge to gallop from the field with the loss of Saga dice this would entail. An interesting scenario on both sides, one I would like to try again.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Viking board game

I spotted this on the Saga facebook page. It's a board game based on the viking invasions of England in the ninth century. If you have been watching the vikings series on TV it seems very close to that story. Rather than me waffle on about the game, go take a look for yourself.

As usual with kickstarter projects you have to do your own research. This company have already completed several kickstarters, so there should be minimal risk. I have backed several kickstarters and had very few problems. Most are a bit later than advertised, and one I was a little disappointed with the colour renditions, but on the whole I have been very happy with my buys. I have never dealt with this company but they seem to have a reputable track record. There's an early bird pledge saving $5 that lasts for a few more hours of today. It's not much to save but hey, every florin counts.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Atlantis Miniatures First Impressions

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had ordered a figure from Atlantis Miniatures, to check on the quality of the casting before committing to their dwarf kickstarter. It did take nearly two weeks to arrive, but finally I can give my first impressions of the figure. The picture (left) is the image of the product render, taken from the website store page. Each of the images I have taken I have reproduced quite large, hopefully you can see as much detail as possible.

The figure arrived in a polythene sealed bag within a blister pack and well protected in a cardboard box. I would be amazed if any damage could be sustained in transit.

Once opened the contents can be examined in more detail. The figure is attached to a sprue. There's a fair bit of flash to be cleaned off. There are also some mould lines to scrape away. This is a reasonably straight forward job, though the resin is quite soft, which always makes prep more difficult. Still, it doesn't take long with a sharp blade and/or needle file before the figure is cleaned and ready for the simple assembly of sticking on the arm. As it's resin, a superglue is required for this stage, again a simple enough task.

Assembled, the figure looks like this. Comparing with the digital render photo, it's clear that the printing and moulding has captured the detail very well. There's good detail in the face and hair, there's even a little bit of texture in the cloth areas. As the resin is soft it does mean that some edges would not be quite as sharp as, say, a metal cast - hard edges such as axes and hammers. On the plus side, there were no defects or air bubbles anywhere. In this photo the figure is stood on the supplied plastic base, which is quite large at around 30mm diameter.



Speaking of size, this figure is advertised as 28mm scale, but it seems much bigger to me. This comparison shot shows the figure alongside a selection of other figures which I had to hand. From left to right there's a Blood Rage pvc figure, the Atlantis Miniatures goblin, a metal GW dwarf, a resin Mierce Miniatures figure, and a resin Twisted steampunk figure. Note that the goblin is stood on a 2p piece for a direct comparison with the dwarf. Maybe he's a tall goblin, but that looks far bigger than 28mm to me. One thing missing from the Atlantis kickstarter page is a comparison shot with other dwarfs.

In summary then, the Atlantis figure is a soft resin, with good amounts of detail and texture captuted. The scale is advertised 28mm but I would hazard a guess as more like 30mm or even 32mm. It's reasonably easy to prep and assemble. I have made a start on painting, hopefully I will have that finished within a couple of days, well before the kickstarter is finished.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Atlantis Miniatures Kickstarter

The Atlantis Miniatures Dwarf Kickstarter is now live. I pledged within the first few minutes, being a massive dwarf fan. Not that dwarfs are massive of course, or me for that matter, it's my fandom that is of huge proporions.

I pledged for the V2 level, which gives a unit of dwarf warriors, a unit of dwarf crossbow, a unit of dwarf ram riders and a unit of dwarf hog riders, plus a leader riding a huge yak style beast. In truth, I have never been a fan of dwarf cavalry, but the yak mount just looks so awesome. I can also live with the ram riders. The hog riders - not a fan. However, the bundle was cheaper than buying the units separately, maybe I can get a hog fan to swap some figures.

So now I just have to sit back and wait for the campaign to finish. There is the unlocked items to look forward to, which includes a female unit, a war bear, villagers and more. It would be nice if a few characters were released too.

The kickstarter runs until March 29th, with an estimated delivery date of April 2018, a year from now. Yes, that is a long wait for those unfamiliar with kickstarters. And for those who are familiar, yes it's likely to slip by two or three months, or even more if we are really unlucky. It does sound like the first kickstarter they ran completed nearly on time and they have learnt lessons from it, so hopefully delays will be kept to a minimum.

Get along and take a look - you can never have too many dwarfs!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Atlantis Miniatures free shipping

It's a great time to be a hobbyist, there's so much choice out there. Maybe too much at times, sometimes it feels like being overwhelmed by all the goodies on offer. One company that I noticed last year was Atlantis Miniatures, who ran a kickstarter for orcs, goblins and trolls. There are tons of lead and plastic devoted to this species of fantasy creature, but the Atlantis Miniatures certainly took my eye for being that little bit different (and not just because they are resin). I admit I was tempted, but in the end decided not to add to my already massive pile of unpainted figures - orcs and goblins are not top of my wants list in truth. However, when it comes to dwarfs, that's a different matter. When this image popped up on facebook I was definitely intrigued.

If you visit the Atlantis Miniatures facebook page, you will find a free shipping code for a week. I have taken advantage of this to order a single goblin figure. I want to check the quality of the resin casting. Digital renders are easy to achieve, it's the resin casting that matters in the end. This is a relatively cheap way of picking up a sample figure to check. When it arrives I will give a full review. I hope the resin model lives up to the render images, because the upcoming dwarf kickstarter certainly has my attention.


Monday, 27 February 2017

An Embarrassment of WIPs

I seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of assembling, priming and half-painting stuff! This photo is pretty embarrassing, showing most of the figures I have started this year. On the left, some recently assembled Tau. Front of centre, some Mierce Albain - intended for Saga Picts, Scots or Irish. At the rear, a couple of dwarf pieces. Then there's the part painted vikings and primed Lord of the Rings dwarfs. There's even a steampunk figure in there.

I am hoping to knuckle down and get some of these completed in the next few months. As I mentioned recently, one thing I want to do is learn how to use an airbrush, hence the Tau plastics. The Pirahna vehicle should prove a good testing ground, plus I might also be able to paint parts of the infantry with the airbrush. I have about three more squads of this size to put together. They are configured with an eye on the Gates of Antares rules -  squads of eight, which includes a leader and a "big gun" upgrade, plus a drone/droid thingy. Before I get too carried away on that front, I want to finish the viking archers and paint the Picts. Too many figures!
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