Monday, 30 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Eleven: Bedevilled, Vermin, Pathfinder Goblins, Iconics, Iconics II and Dungeon Dressing

As we still have a lot of Bones miniatures to get through from the $100 Vampire box, I am going to rattle through a fair few today...

The Bedevilled pack contains a Marilith, and a Hellborn rogue, a Hellborn fighter, and a Hellborn mage.  The Marilith is, I suspect, the snake woman and is a great miniature. Really looking forward to painting this one. The fighter will no doubt end up with some Chaos warriors...

The Vermin pack is great and contains two each of a Bettle, Beetle Swarm,  Rat Swarm, Scorpion, Spider and Spider Swarm. Useful stuff...

The next three packs are Bones versions of miniatures produced for the Pathfinder RPG. The nine Goblins are nice sculpts, but conceptually I don't like the look of the "Gremlin" like heads. These may end up on eBay soon...

The Pathfinder Iconics contain seven character miniatures called Seelah, Damiel, Merisiel, Feiya, Valeros, Amiri, and Seon. Unfortunately I only have five. They are nice mix...

Iconics II contains four characters, Ezren the wizard, Kyra the cleric, Lem the bard, and Seltyiel the Magus. Again nice dungeon delving types and they should be useful if my half baked dungeon skirmish game idea gets off the ground.

The Dungeon Dressing pack contains some dungeon furniture including a small treasure chest and a nice throne. The candle stands suffer from some severe bending and need to be dunked in some hot water to straighten. Potentially a very useful pack.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Ragnarok Hits The Six-Oh!

Over the last few weeks I have been working hard to bring Ragnarok 60 together. As you are (hopefully) aware Ragnarok is the journal of the Society of Fantasy and Science Fiction Wargamers which has a somewhat irregular publication schedule. This is down to a mixture of factors but largely down to getting people to write stuff and me having the time to edit and DTP it. That said I think it looks pretty good and the content is usually very interesting as it is written by gamers with a love of the games rather than companies trying to sell them.

I've got a couple of pages left to finish off before we go to print but I thought I'd give you a heads up so you have the opportunity to get on board before its printed.

Contents are as follows:

Into the Big Meg - a look at the new Judge Dredd Miniatures Game with scenario.
The Shopping Trip - a Flintloque scenario, Orcs v Othari
Zombies!!! Triffids!!! - introducing Triffids into Zombies!!!
Crystals from Dinom - Stargrunt scenario set in Traveller universe
The Scramble for Africa - an Aeronef campaign
The Fall of the North - the Dunlendings in LOTR
Death to the Strawheads - scenario for above
Blink! - Doctor Who scenario
Episode 25D - Space Vixens From Mars scenario set around the 1966 World Cup
Tanks v Tyrannosaurs - Lost Lands battle report
Out of the Abyss - Kings of War scenario
Confessions of a Serial Flasher - collecting Flash Gordon miniatures
Gruntz Revisited - a detailed look at the Gruntz rules and battle report

If this sounds like your kind of thing, you can join here.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Kickstarter Attacks?

This weekend sees the Blease clan off on the first of a series of University open day visits to look at possible places we can post Blease junior to keep making music after he finishes his A levels. Consequently we shall be off to Southampton later today and no doubt I shall ponder things gaming as I drive down the A36. Hopefully this Kickstarter which starts in a week's time will not feature too heavily as my wallet cannot sustain my addiction!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Ten: Dwarves, Elves and Dark Elves

The next miniatures out of the Bones box are three sets of popular fantasy races. The Dwarves are an interesting set of a Dwarf rogue, pair of fierce Dwarven fighters, and new Dwarf wizard with two being female, not normally seen with Dwarf miniatures. Nicely sculpted figures, if a bit large compared to other manufacturers.

The Elves are nice miniatures, but presumably aimed at role-playing given the inclusion of two with staffs. I must say that I do like the way that American sculptors capture the lean other-worldly look when it comes to Elves.

Finally we have the servants of the Spider Queen, this pack of four Dark Elves contains a Wizard, Rogue, a Cleric, and a Fighter...

Again, these are great, shame there are not enough of anything for proper wargaming purposes.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Nine: Intergalactic Marine Expeditionary Force

Today we have the first of a couple of SF Bones miniatures in big Vampire box of fun. These six miniatures from the Intergalactic Marine Expeditionary Force are a great example of just how good these plastic miniatures can be, the only issue being the fact that Reaper only do the one IMEF pack so building bigger units with variation and support units is impossible. That said they are great for a section level skirmish...

I actually slapped some paint, well undercoat, on some Bones today, so hopefully there will be some properly painted examples on show here soon...

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Eight: Chronoscope

I'm not 100% sure what Reaper's Chronoscope line is supposed to be about but it includes a right mish-mash of different miniatures, many of which are useful for a wide range of games.

Taking the Bones figures from the Vampire box we have some cowboys, a thirties pulp hero, a witch, Arnie in Terminator mode, some SF figures and a cybernetic gorilla! All very useful to some extent or the other and who can't find some use for a cybernetic gorilla?!

On the subject of the Bones figures, I tried the hot water/cold water dunk method to try and sort out any bent bits (such as the witches broom above). Pretty successful, there are a couple that might need some work but out of thirty odd figures not a lot of effort and not much work left to do on the odd ones.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Seven: Fire It Up! and Haunts

Continuing the grand unboxing, one of the more interesting releases are two sets not cast in the standard white Bones plastic but a transparent orange and green.

Fire it Up! (above) contains a wall of fire, flaming sphere, as well as medium and large fire elementals. The Haunts pack (below) various translucent spirits, ghosts and wraiths.

I'm not 100% convinced that the miniatures work well just in their translucent state and some careful drybrushing may help the effect (I  am thinking some black on the edges of the flames) but they certainly are interesting models.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Six: Heroes and Klocke Classics

Next out of the big Vampire box of Bones are a pack simply called Heroes. The six figures are supposed to be a Cleric, Rogue, Ranger, Wizard, and two different fighter types but I was missing the wizard. Bit of a mixed bag, but all potentially useful...

The Werner Klocke pack of female miniatures was supposed to include a Paladin, a Fighter, a Sorceress, and a Bard, unfortunately I am short two which is a shame as I like the two I have (love the bard's "electric" guitar!).

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Dux Bellorum Romano-British Mounted Companion

Despite still struggling with the intermittent effects of man flu (cough, sneeze, urrgh) and really needing to get some new brushes in (points would be useful), I was determined this morning to do some painting as my output had dropped off to zero since the start of the month.

Sitting forlornly on the workbench were the last three figures to complete my Dux Bellorum Romano-British army - the Mounted Companion unit, so I decided they would be the victims!

Two of the miniatures (the "Arthur" figure and the standard bearer) are West Wind, the spearman is from Gripping Beast.

I still need to do the sabot base but am feeling a bit pleased with myself in that I have finished the first of the three planned armies. I must schedule some time for the Saxons next...

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Planning the Winter War...

The Baker Company Kickstarter is really starting to deliver on the bargain of the century front as the Free stretch goals kick in. With sixteen days to go on the Kickstarter pledging £60 for a Finnish rifle platoon currently nets you £228 of product and putting down £60 for a Red Army rifle platoon gets you £220. With the levels falling like skittles the value for money promises to get even better.

I have decided to raise armies for both sides with a view to trying some solo wargames as well as regular ones, the challenges faced by both sides will make for interesting tactical problems.

The Baker Company Red Army sections are a little short of full strength TO&E. I was going to add a few more packs of riflemen to bring them up to strength, but adding a second platoon (with all the added extras) struck me as the most value for money way of doing this with surplus unneeded miniatures being sold via eBay.

Rules wise I think I will probably use Bolt Action. I know there is some snobbery about them with accusations of being WW2 40K being thrown about (unfairly I think) and Too Fat Lardies Chain of Command is flavour of the month with the smart kids, but I like Bolt Action. I have picked up a copy of the Soviet Army supplement for Bolt Action recently and will get the Armies of Italy and the Axis (which includes the Finns) when released (having a lot of 28mm mid to late war Russians around I have a fledgling idea to do some 28mm WW2 gaming projects with no Germans in sight!).

Finnish lmg team master castings (Baker Company)
Terrain wise I already have plans for some generic snow terrain to use in a multitude of scales, dropping on items like buildings and trees as required. I have found a decent offer of fifty assorted Noch fir trees for £30 which seems like a plan which will cover most of what I need. I have some Hovels Eastern Front wooden buildings somewhere, which will do a job too.

Red Army master castings (Baker Company)
On the "research" front I have a copy of a the Finnish film Talvisota (The Winter War) which I shall be sitting down to watch soon and get me in the mood...

Friday, 20 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Five: Townsfolk

Next out of the box are the two packs of townsfolk which are wonderfully sculpted and perfect for both fantasy and historical games...

The first pack contains a barman, serving gal, maid, strumpet, and mother and her child.

Whilst the second pack has a blacksmith, the henchman carrying loot, a gravedigger and a villager with pitchfork and torch (just need to find a Frankenstein figure now to chase!)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Four: Pirates!

Damme ye lubbers it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day so I though we should unpack the five pirates the came in the Bones Vampire box...

They are decent enough figures and hopefully will fit in well with other ranges. They are a bit taller than the likes of Foundry but I'm not sure this will be a major problem with miniatures like the Black Scorpion ones.

The pack includes a captain, dwarf, crewman with treasure chest and two female pirate who, let's just say,  are not hiding their "treasure chests" like Anne Bonney.

Finally, it would not be International Talk Like A Pirate Day without a song, so for your bedevilment and delight here is Death Throes of the Terrorsquid by that popular beat combo (well popular in the drinking dens of Tortuga) Alestorm...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Three: Fighters and Big Bad Evil Guys

With Clan Blease all suffering from various stages of snottynoseitis (only one has gone into work, bet you can guess who that was!) I shall continue looking at the big box of plastic things...

The Bones Fighters set is fairly generic but again quite nicely done and useful for adventurers and bad guts, I especially like the static fighter with shield and sword. As you can see from the figure with the axe, the thinner parts can suffer from being bent and need straightening.

The Big Bad Evil Guys are a bit strange as two are not big or even guys! That said I do like the figures in this pack. The large Orc type waving his axe will make a great chief for the rest of the Orcs and the two females types are well done. The one holding an axe is a bit flat but may paint up well and at worse will be a useful unit filler...

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part Two: Dungeon Attack and Undead Horde

The next lot of unpacked Bones miniatures contained the Dungeon Attack pack, containing the following...

Twelve Kobolds in three poses...

Twelve Goblins in three poses...

Twelve big rats in three poses (really like these).

The Dungeon Attack pack is a useful cheap cannon fodder pack for dungeon delving and skirmish games.

The Undead Horde contains ten miniatures, six skeletons and four zombies, two of each pose (I was short one archer in my box). Fairly basic miniatures but useful unit fillers, the disco dancing zombie makes me laugh...

Finally I have decided to go with one platoon each of Finns and Soviets with the Baker Company Kickstarter. The graphic below shows the current amount of the free extras for each platoon, it will probably be out of date by the end of the day as the Commissar stretch goal is well within reach (so add two Soviet commissars to the Red Army platoon!). As you can see, it is very good value...

Monday, 16 September 2013

Unpacking the Bones Part One: Thirty New Bones

I started unpacking the big box of Reaper Bones at lunchtime today, it took me nearly two hours just to sort out the basic Vampire pledge box! I've decided to photograph the lot in their "as received" state which you can then compare to the finished painted models as and when they are painted. The models are cast in white plastic which makes it hard to see the detail but it looks good in real life!

Initial reaction is quite favourable, though some of the more slender models suffer from bent weapons and in one case the miniature was bent over prone at the ankle. I believe the old hot water/bend/cold water set trick will work. Some of the plastic seems bendier than others but this may be down to individual models. Whilst there is an element of "never mind the quality, feel the width" with the Bones line, they are decent quality models at a damn good price.

These are the first thirty new Bones that the Kickstarter was set up to get into production...

The thirty are a really mixed batch of characters and monsters...

I love the big orcs, the barbarian and the floating eye thing, that's going to be fun to paint!

There is some notable size variation between some of the human types, the Gandalf style wizard above is somewhat overlarge.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Death In The Snow!

The Look and Learn Winter War cover
When you are eight your knowledge of military history is somewhat limited. In my case the primary sources were Victor for Boys comic, war films on the BBC and whatever was in the Airfix catalogue. Consequently you can imagine my confusion when I came across a picture in Look and Learn (bought by my father for my education, I hated it and only read The Trigan Empire most issues!) of some soldiers in white camo suits in a snowy wood destroying an enemy tank by throwing a log into the tracks! What was this nonsense and who where the Finns? (well Airfix didn't make any so how was I to know?).

Obviously, over the years, my knowledge of WW2 history has expanded (though I still find odd new nuggets) and Finland's Winter War against the invading Soviets is one that has piqued my interest on a number of occasions. That interest may now manifest itself in miniature...

I have been considering building some winter terrain for a different project and would like to get some value for money out of it by using it for other games. I had noticed Baker Company were running a Winter War Kickstarter to produce a range of 28mm miniatures and whilst they looked nice I was in no hurry to dive into this particular project - until I read what the deal was...

Finnish Riflemen Greens advancing
With most Kickstarters you pledge a certain amount for a basic reward and as the total money pledged comes in and levels hit (stretch goals), you get some freebies and new products become available which you can buy (usually at a reduced price) by increasing your total pledge. Baker Company aren't doing that, as the money comes in they are adding substantial stretch goals for free! (yes, I had to read it twice, well actually more than that!).

Finnish Riflemen Greens firing
Let's take the basic Finnish Rifle Platoon Pledge. £60 gets you 37 miniatures posted free (anywhere in the world). £1.62 a miniature is a little bit high but not extremely so, Warlord are around the £1.40 to £1.50 mark in metal. However the free stretch goals add a ten man Jaeger ski section, four snipers, four tank hunters (some with logs), two medics with two casualties, mortar and four crew, HMG firing, HMG moving, anti-tank gun and crew, six cavalry, ten jaegers on bicycles and artillery (limbered or firing with crew) and reindeer pulled baggage. The Early War Soviets have similar interesting freebies, including AFV's, and there are more to come for both sides if the money keeps being pledged. I'm not sure exactly what this brings the cost per miniature down to but it is around half the initial price.

Early War Soviet Infantry Greens charging
It almost seems too good to be true but Baker Company do seem to be adopting the principles of Kickstarter in using the process to raise money to get things into production with pledgers getting the benefit of product at near production cost prices not just as discounted pre-production orders such as with Mantic. With this in mind and bearing in mind it is such an interesting theatre of war, it would seem rather stupid not to get on board with a view to using Bolt Action or some such set...

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Boy Becomes A Man...

Momentous day today, Saul the boy turns 18 and becomes a man! Not sure much has changed other than he can now buy me a pint down the pub (yeah right!).

With him off playing paintball all day (the closest to military service his mother will let him!) I was hoping to get some painting done but I've been acting as SWMBO's taxi as she has hurt her wrist. Tomorrow though is mine, well a couple of hours in the afternoon, and I will seize the opportunity with relish and a paint brush...

Friday, 13 September 2013

Cracking Job Gromit!

As I said earlier in the week, the Gromit Unleashed trail has come to the end and as it is the end of the week I thought I'd post the final three - yes, you have seen all eighty! :-)

Bristol Bulldog
Secret Garden