Adventures in Midgard – “Prologue”

Well it’s been quite a while – I started talking about Fantasy Skirmish way back in August 2018, with the purchase of Open Combat and the Frostgrave sprue. Fast forward almost 3 years and I FINALLY have put some fantasty figures on the table and played a game of them using Open Combat by Second Thunder

The idea behind this game was something a little simple, to get myself and my Dastardly Regular Opponent up to speed with the system and have fun over a couple of hours on a sunny day. Combine this with the Sword Masters expansion sitting on my desk and having been planning some Swashbuckling games with The Sister to introduce her to wargaming, well it was time to actually play something. And for the first time since September, actually rolling dice against someone else!


As you can see from the handy paper prepared by a friend of mine, The Swordmasters of the Empire (think a combination of diplomat, spy and assassin) have been sent off into the wilds to hunt down a group of cultists that have captured a nobleman from one of the Empire’s client states. These Cultists are from a group worshipping the undead, seeking to summon various undead creatures to go forward and attack the Empire itself.

The team of Swordmasters have managed to catch up with the Cultists just as they prepare their ritual to summon a Shadow Knight from behind the curtain of unlife. The ruined Chapel amongst the trees is a suitable place for such a ritual, and the cultists have gathered in numbers.

Here we have our group of Swordmaster, their horses left further up the road for purposes of sneaking up on their opponents. All of them were made using the Swashbucklers profile in the Sword Masters addon book, but I tweaked each to fit their characters better with a profile adjustment and a new ability.

From left to right

  • Benfrey Jochman – The oldest of the three Initiates into the ways of being a Swordmaster. He’s the tankiest of the three, used to taking hits in a bar brawl.
  • Alastair von Ferrumgard – One of the leaders of the Swordsmasters, an inspiring Tutor to the Juinior initiates. He has trained the other three and, although age has slowed him, he is still able to inspire his students.
  • Lacelle O’Dicca – A rising star within the Swordmaster, Lacelle has proven herself to be deadly with the blade and quick on her feet.
  • Zorros Colvieri – The son of another Swordmaster, Zorros is… an asshole. Delighting in taunting his rivals, he also wears a suitable extravagant hat and cloak (and yes, these are items in the rule set).

All of them also have sword fighting skills like Lunge, Parry and Riposte which lets them do all sorts of things you’d expect from a group of heroes ala The Musketeers.

Zorros start off the plan by doing what he does best – distracting the enemy by making a lot of noise and standing out in the open, Taunting his opponent to lure them out of positions. However, as good as his skills were, the cultists were still wary.

Of course, Zorros hadn’t expected one of the cultists to step forward and pull his hood back to reveal a grinning skull! Turns out the cultists already had two undead servants, able to Intimidate our heroes to reduce their courage. This reveal may have shocked Zorros for a moment but he quickly continued his part of the plan, calling out the cultists and luring the guardians towards him.

Meanwhile, the other Swordmasters crept into position nearby, ready to sneak into try and disturb the ritual.

Of course, the Swordmasters hadn’t expect the cultists to have brought bows with them. As Zorros continued to heckle the guardians closer, one of the archers pulled his bow string and let loose. The arrow struck home, wounding the flamboyant Swordmaster.

Who responded by leaping upon the nearest piece of cover, insulting the cultists and dragging them closer to him.

Eager for the fight, the cultists joined in.

On the other side, Lacelle crept forward, planning to outflank the archers. However, the other skeleton warrior spotted her, revealing his frightening facade to her and causing a sense of dread in her. No one had mentioned there would be skeletons!

Despite their personal difference, Jochman considers it unwise to leave Zorros alone, and so creeps into position.

Pushing past her fear, and leaving Alastair to deal with the Skeleton, Lacelle instead climbed the wall, preparing to sneak up on one of the archers too focused on their ally.

Speaking of which, Jochman decided to take a more direct approach to assist Zorros. While the fight stood atop the barrels lunging forward to land strikes on his opponents, Jochman came barrelling in, trapping the Cultist Guardian between his and Zorro’s assaults

(Rules note: Landing a solid hit pushes a figure backwards, but if they can’t actually move the full distance they take an extra wound)

Very quickly, the skill of the two fighters took out the first of the cultists.

With a shout, Lavelle also managed to land a solid hit. As well as stabbing the archer, the battle pushed him off the top of the ruins and, with a cry, he fell to the floor, sustain almost enough damage to kill him. Almost.

While his younger colleagues got into the main fight, Alastair squared up against the skeleton… and entered into a multi-turn duel that had them moving back and forth like it was a fencing match.

With a cry, Zorros lept down from his cover and quickly finished off the other skeleton with a fancy set of sword fighting moves that pulled the undead creature apart.

In contrast, Jochman simply took a single strike to bring down his foe, before turning to hunt down a new target.

One of the archers, having just recovered from a fall off the ruins and starting to dust himself off, was surprised to see a very angry Swordmaster in black sprinting across the field towards him.

Meanwhile, Lacelle, seeing that the ritual was reaching a high point, decided that enough was enough and now was the time for drastic action. Running to the edge of the ruins, she dived towards to the Cult Leader…

Failed. Terribly. Landing short, she managed to attract the attention of the cult leader who turned around and, as all swashbuckling films tell us villains do, began to monologue.

Alastair, after several turns of back and forth with his skeletal rival, finally managed to land a killing blow.

Meanwhile, filled with revenge for the arrow that pierced his cloak, Zorros proceeded to run towards the archer. Sadly, an attempt to throw his hat (to distract the archer) ended with it fluttering gently towards the ground.

At the same time, Jochman also finished off the downed archer, knocking him down with a shoulder charge before rushing past to….

Come to the aid of Lacelle! Jochman interrupted the crazed rambling of the cult leader, giving time for O’Dicca to quickly recover and leap to her feet.

Now outnumbered, and with Alastair joining the fight too, the Cult Leader did the only thing sensible. Turning around to the captive and finishing the ritual, he slayed the Siccarian noble.

With a terrifying hiss and a sudden fog, the crumpled corpse of the nobleman was replaced with a Shadow Knight, a terrifying creature of undead bones and metal. With more attack, defence and fortitude than any other figures on the board, this would be a challenge.

Now, what the cult leader hadn’t realised it that Shadow Knight obeys no masters. So, when he attempted to order it around, it instead went and knocked a chunk out of his fortitude.

Facing such a betrayal, and unwilling to hang around to see who won between the Swordmasters and the horrible creature, he instead managed to disengage and flee the battlefield. Perhaps we’ll see him again?

Back in the centre of the battlefield, the three Swordmasters now engaged the horror from beyond space and time. Despite losing some mind to the Intimation of a such a monster, and wounds from it’s sweeping sword strikes, the Swordmasters managed to get in a good few hits…

And eventually, with one final rasping hiss, the Shadow Knight was defeated!

With only one model left, Zorros decided to end the battle with a final taunt. Finally, after a game of partial successes, he managed to fully succeed drawing the evil archer forward. In his rage, he failed to see that the platform ended where he stepped, leaving him to fall down and lose his final point of fortitude.


Well that was a pretty awesome game! I think Open Combat is a really great little system – it’s a quite simple core setup, using only D6s with a very small number of modifiers. In terms of play, it’s light enough that you can pick it up quickly but not too light that it feels simply like an excuse to roll dice with a beer or two – there are still plenty of tactical challenges and actions to consider. There is also so much you can play around with in the system, making it perfect for setting up a wide variety of characters to play around with, with various abilities, skills and weapons to let you create anything, especially with the Sword Masters add-on to include that final few touches.

You will be seeing a lot more of Open Combat in the future. I still want to try out Warcry properly (as well as other games) but Open Combat has (after this first game) definitely fit the niche I was want of some rules sit behind the narrative I’m wanting to write with my games. Not sure when the next game I play will be, but you’ll know for sure when it goes up!

May 2021 Project Update

Welcome to June! May was busy and so I ended up…

Wait. That picture seems… different to last month. Something is off. It’s almost tidy.

Oh yeah – I upgraded my office/hobby room with a new piece of furniture. I’m probably going to do a little thing on it (mostly because I love it) but it’s an Eket setup to give me a little more storage space.

Project 365

So lets take a look at the numbers for May.

Painted: 30

DescriptionMakerNumber
British InfantryEmpress19
Pulp AgentWargames Illustrated1
SwashbucklerWargames Foundry2
Ogroid MyrmidonGW1
Warcry Catacombs TerrainGW7

Purchased: 6

DescriptionMakerNumber
Dark Elf ShadowbladeGW1
Dark Elf SorceressGW1
Undead Vampire LordGW1
Galen ven DenstGW1
Doralia ven DenstGW1
Warsong RevenantGW1

Well good news! I painted more than I bought (by a fair chunk). I missed my goal by 1 (and more until I did my terrain painting on Monday night). On the other hand, the month was quite busy for work, I had some pretty bad brain days which made painting hard to do and A LOT of time was spent assembling models (thanks to Cursed City).

PROJECT Database

And so, having painted some terrain for a game, I have triggered a trap in my work. To make sure my data is correct, I now need to add all of my terrain to the database to bring the overall number of items up to the correct level, letting my overall completion percentage actually be accurate.

I’m setting up another table in the database and will start filling it with all the various items. The main problem with terrain vs miniatures is going to be cataloguing it, tying an entry in the database to the actual item. Part of me is tempted to start assembling asset tags to stick to the bottom of them, although I fear that may be a step too far.

PROJECT FANTASY

Although the painting numbers aren’t the highest, I think the main focus this month was fantasy. This is because there has been a lot of assembly this month, both starting from scratch but also finishing off some partial assemblies that have been sat around.

First up we have the entirety of Cursed City. 50 models and 10 tokens is a pretty hefty addition, and took me a while to build and then undercoat. These are going to be painted up as part of the Battered Brush challenge Games Workshop York is running in June (which due to the Dastardly Regular Opponent being based there is going to drag me in to it).

I actually have some duplicate models to assemble as well, three of the posing vampires and the heroic captain. I’m still debating my exact plans for how to assemble them, but I’m thinking of some weapon swaps for the vampires (using some Elven weapons I have) while the Captain might get a headswap and weapon tweak.

As part of my tidying up, I bit the bullet and finished off my Chaos Lord’s assembly. This required an evening of green-stuffing fun to rebuild a hand at the join between the arm and the Keeper of Secrets spear I was using. After originally doing it with way too much greenstuff (so that it looked like it had swollen up) I had to frantically trim big chunks of it away as it started to set. However, now that it’s been done and undercoated, I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. More pictures of the process once I finish him off.

And speaking of green stuffing, I also finished off building my Keeper of Secrets. From the start, I’ve always declared how much I dislike the crab claws. As I was building her as a Warrior Queen turned Greater Demon, I wanted to use weapons on all four arms. this required a little bit of cutting and green stuffing repair work to the arms, covering up the joins between the hand and the crab claw wrist. I had planned to be a little bit more experimental, bringing the shield a little closer to the body. However, when I got round to actually assembling, I decided not to risk it; the default pose is perfectly suited for the pose of the giant warrior creature casually advancing on her opponent. The model is now undercoated and at some point, I’ll get round to painting her.

The final bit of assembly and mod work for this month was the Soulblight Vampire Lord. I adore this model but I thought the bats in the hair were a little over the top. It was also confirmed when, upon assembling the model, I realised the larger base was only need to make sure the bats in hair actually fitted. Wanting this lord to fit with the Crimson Court band I got last month, I decided to give her a haircut – of course, this required me to then add some tips to the hair. My first few attempt was purely green stuff (as you can see above) but I could get the detail I wanted. Because of this, I decided to instead use some donor parts from some left over Dark Elf pieces, giving me the sharp points and meaning I only had to fill in the gaps with liquid green stuff. Now she’s undercoated, I’m really happy with her. You’ll see the results once I get to painting my vampires.

Now for painting, I finally took a look at my Swashbucklers. Getting the first two painted up as a test, I’m really happy with the models, perfectly suited for what I have in mind for the Swordmasters in my setting. I am looking forward to getting the rest painted up and ready to be used in games moving forward.

The other fantasy painting was the Ogroid Myrmidon. This, I believe, is the single largest model I’ve painted so far. He’s a glorious model, a Minotaur like creature with shield and spear that towers over it’s opponents. It took me a couple of days to paint him up, but I love how he looks and I’m really excited to get him on the table. More details and photos once I finish the rest of my half naked Chaos followers.

And yes! Terrain! During my week off (which I’m currently on) I decided to arrange a game with the Dastardly Regular Opponent so we could roll some dice. I’ll talk about all the joys of Open Combat (the ruleset we used) in the battle report but more importantly, OH MAN, it’s nice having painted terrain to play over it. As much as I dislike how much time it takes and how much it murders my paint brushes with slapping paint all over it (not helped by my brain preferring to work from a black undercoat) but on the plus side, I really like how it’s turned out. Now I just have to work on the rest…

Uh oh.

PROJECT WW2

Offt okay. So I am very close to finishing off my Brits but man it’s a bit of a slog. I don’t know if it was just this month or if I’m getting bored of painting green and brown but it was hard work kicking my way through the rest of the figures.

That said, I did rather enjoy converting and assembling my sneaky recce boys. I really like the camp comforter look and, with several duplicate figures, I decided to make some special figures. As well as the green-stuff’d cap, I also painted their faces with black contrast to tone it down and look like it had been blackened prior to some sneaky business.

As well as the recce boys, I also finished off a few extra riflemen, a pair of prone support teams (giving me an extra PIAT and Bren gun), the spotters for my Vickers guns, four SMG soldiers and Agent Carter. This is the Wargames Illustrated “Pulp Agent” but lets be fair, it’s obvious who it is. I’m… Not Really a fan of this model. It’s definitely a much more heroic/pulp figure, with different proportions that don’t quite fit my painting style. I would definitely love a version of this character with the same style as the Paul Hicks Brits, but for now she’ll work as a little bit of fun.

In terms of the project, I now have two vickers machine guns, two radio teams and a platoon of Churchills to do to finish off the projects. With lockdown easing, it’s likely that soon my British will be clashing with Germans under the control of the Dastardly/Creative Regular opponents.


That’s it for this month’s update, I’ll see you in a month!

Fantasy – The Disciples (Chaos Warriors)

“Taking their time down there aren’t they?”

The rough voice of the Northman Halfgar barked out, his grinning face looking around the group of warriors that stood among the scattered rocks and broken ruins of the entrance to the despoiled tomb. Rubbing the back of his hand on the rough stubble on his face, he continued, “Probably been killed by a tomb wraith or something. Or torn apart by skeletons. Maybe the Templars trapped them down there, hurr hurr” He chuckle again to himself, running a worn finger over the edge of his axe-head, his eyes jumping between his comrades

The other warriors, for the most part, just attempted to ignore him. Instead they focused on their own tasks. Wulf was busy preparing the fire, the former flame cultist staring directly into it as if looking for meaning in the flickering lights. The rest stood in formation around the cave entrance, looming over the rocks like a collection of statues placed among them, sentinels from a past time.

Halfgar’s laugh was only interrupted when one of the other warriors pulled off their helmet, revealing close cropped hair and an angry scowl. “Give it a rest Halfgar you swine. We all know you’re angling to take over, replace Rhazgra and become our lord’s Seneschal although somehow I doubt your idiot ambition would stop there.” The red haired woman smiled, pushing up the golden ring through her nose so it shined in the weak morning sunshine coming in over the top of the mountains. “Either stop being a coward and challenge her, or shut up and save us all hearing your voice. It sounds too much like goats rutting.”

He fixed her with a glare before cracking a smile revealing the tombstone like teeth in the front of his mouth. “Easy for you to say, Zorath, you’re all buddy buddy with one of her cronies. Bet you’re more than happy to let Arkfel wrap you in that stinking beast skin when we camp, snuggle alongside him to stay warm, hurr hurr”. He began to laugh harder, a hacking rumbling laugh, which only intensified once Zorath got to her feet with a look of rage in her eyes.

This time the laugh ended much faster, the sound of an armoured hand smacking the back of Halfgar’s head. He moved, a snarl in his throat about to turn into words when suddenly he found himself looking into a skull mask staring back at him. Dark eyes glared out of the eye sockets at him, daring him to respond before the dull low tone of Kazsour the Embalmer started to speak, echoing out from behind his death mask.

“Halfgar, son of Horath, your comments towards your comrades bring much dissent, breaking the common bonds of warriors that bind us together. Your repeated insults to your leader bring you shame. It would be wise to hold your tongue.” The stare he fixed Halfgar with continued until the younger warrior looked down, all trace of the arrogant smirk now gone.

Kazour hefted the warhammer onto his shoulder, looking around over the mountains. The others bowed their heads to him slightly – Kazour had been a warrior longer than many of them had been alive, a rarity in the warriors. After the battle was done, it was he who would collect the dead for final rites, preparing them to go into the great beyond. Even Rhazgra, their leader, knew to take his advice – she would always bring him into council meetings with her, a calming presence against the manic rage of the Herald and the overpowering command of their Lord.

“We are our Lord’s Disciples, his followers into war. From his commands, we follow The Seneschal. This task we have been given, will bring us great favour with our Lord and his Patron. Now, prepare yourself – the enemy is close and we must prepare to defend for as long as The Seneschal and our brothers needs us to.”

I’ve written about my first lot of Chaos Warriors (the Underworlds Warband) in a previous post. For me, that group was always going to be the introduction into painting a full force of the heavily armoured icons for skirmish games. That first post includes my screed on why the Chaos Warriors are so awesome and so I’ll not reprint it here. The main focus in this post is talking about the models I finished off, which can split into two groups, the New and the Old.

Soon after picking up the Underworlds Warband, I started looking for how to expand. There are two sets of Chaos Warriors available. The main box is the classic plastic set, with models that have been in circulation long enough for them to still be the primary way of getting your hands on the heavily armoured fridges. I’ll detail more on them later.

The other set are a small number of models that were included in the Start Collecting box for Slaves to Darkness. Being much newer, these are less focused on the ability to rank up (Age of Sigmar having become a much more skirmish-y game than Warhammer every was) but are still incredibly easy to assemble. In fact, these models are push fit assembly, not even requiring glue. They are also incredibly dynamic, covered in details and might be some of my favourite troop models from Games Workshop.

In terms of assembly, the only option you have are picking is heads – everyone is armed with a hand weapon and shield combo either in hand or slung over their back. There are two heads for each model – one with a helmet and one without. I’m really impressed with the variation of both options – there is a nice mix of helmet styles and different facial features. Now, I’m kind of make it a goal to become slightly better at painting faces – the good old “flesh tone + wash” is fine for bulk armies such as my WW2 British or my moderns but for more character focused games, it makes sense to make the people look like heroes rather than line troopers. For this reason I did a few extra figures with exposed heads, rather than going purely for the faceless bad guy look.

I’ll cover painting in a second because…


Upon hearing that I was working on some Chaos Warriors, my Dastardly Regular opponent decided to throw a spanner at my ratio and dug out this box of Chaos Warriors that were buried in his shed. No, literally buried, I watched him dig through the piles of stuff to get them out. The sprue was pre-owned but only missing a single body, giving me an additional 11 warriors for the war band. The box design also gave me a vague clue to the age, as I remember visiting the Games Workshop in Exeter while on a family holiday in my childhood and being dragged away from a box very similar to this. And that was back around 2003.

Now, these old Warriors are absolute classics. In contrast to their newer Age of Sigmar brethren, they are much more static looking figures, with the entire unit sharing the same pose. You get a nice selection of heads, the ability to choose between dual weapons and hand weapon + shield combo as well as pieces for a champion, standard bearer and musician (from back in the olden days).

I ended up assembling them with shields and hand weapons (to match their more modern brethren). I also skipped out on the banner bearer and musician, they aren’t hugely useful in the skirmish games I’ll use them for). However, I did use the champion head and the skull face mask – they seem ideal to break up the group, especially the skull. As you can see in the start, the combination of the skull and warhammer is the starting point for a cool character idea.


For both sets of models, I went with the same paint scheme I used on my underworld figures. The Lead Belcher + Black Contrast works really well for getting the pitch black armour while the purple of the cloaks nicely offsets it. The actual scheme is quite fast to get onto the model, taking full advantage of wolf furs and washes to get everyone done. With the bare heads, it was fun painting the actual features, using the Contrast paints and then lightly highlighting to get the detailed look. I’m honeswtly impressed overall

With these Chaos Warriors done, a big chunk of my Chaos force is done. I did start looking at the Chaos Knights, but did not have a good time painting the horses. There are a lot of details hidden away that still need touching up. I’ve also been distracted by other things, but I think I might paint up the various Chaos warbands (such as the Scions of the Flame and the Godsworn Hunt/Darkoath figures) before coming back to the heavy armour.

April 2021 Project Update

Welcome to May! April was a pretty successful month for getting stuff done but oh boy do I have some cool stuff to get to work on, as well as it murdering my ratio!

Project 365

First up, lets take a look at the numbers and oh god…

Painted: 39

DescriptionMakerNumber
T-62Tiny Terrain2
BMP-1Spectre1
Chaos WarriorsGW10
Chaos Warriors (Old)GW11
StormcastGW3
Insurgent PMCSpectre10
Insurgent PMC (Undercover)Spectre2

Purchased: 106

DescriptionMakerNumber
Witch Aelves (Underworld)GW5
Insurgent PMCSpectre10
Insurgent PMC (Undercover)Spectre2
Stormcast HeroesGW3
Stormcast SequitorGW10
Stormcast EvovatorGW5
Ogroid MyrmidonGW1
Ogroid ThaumaturgeGW1
Crimson Court (Underworld)GW4
Cursed City – HeroesGW8
Cursed City – VillainsGW42
Vyrkos Blood-BornGW3
Emelda BraskovGW1
Chaos Warriors (Old)GW11

Well in good news, I continued to exceed my target of 31 models a month painted. I also managed to prevent figures dropping into the shame pile by getting the Insurgent PMC and the Chaos Warriors done.

So as I predicted last month, the release of Crimson Court and Cursed City bumped up my purchased to a ridiculous level, not helped by a sudden project appearing in my mind (more details below). Looking at the numbers from this, I’m going to hold off on picking up anything for the next month or two. I already have plenty of things to work on, especially with the addition of a boxed game I can play with my sister. Looking forward, there are a few things I’m very interested coming up (such as the recently previewed Witch Hunters or whatever Spectre is working on), so I’ll be saving my hobby purchases for them. Until then, the goal is getting the stuff I’ve purchased painted up.

PROJECT FANTASY

I have spent a lot of time this month painting boys and girls in black armour. After my experiment with the Underworld warband last month, this month I decided to get to work on the main line troops. It was a great bit of experience, a very nice change from the painting style of the WW2 figures I had been working on. I’m also really enjoying just how useful Black Contrast paint is, even though I’m not using it for it’s original purpose. Painting it over metal to do the black armour meant it took a fraction of the time and saved me a lot of extra work. I also made sure to do a fair number of guys with bare heads, just a little more practise with painting facial features.

Of course, just after I finished the first set, my Dastardly Regular Opponent (while we were having a social distanced BBQ) decided to add some extra bad guys to the pile by gifting me a box of the old Chaos Warriors (complete with brown box). These took a little bit of work and cleanup to get ready (and there are still gaps I only noticed when I started painting) but they are still that gloriously iconic look, the looming metal black slowly marching forward. It was also fun putting the same scheme on the older figure, you really see how the level of detail has improved in the sculpts as well as just the general quality.

Oh boy, and then Cursed City. This was some real Games Workshop shenanigans. As impressive as it was seeing them continuing their aggressive release schedule, the experience of actually ordering it was a nightmare. My local wargames shop was out of stock before the pre-orders even went up and my second choice put me onto a future wave list. Even then, I didn’t know if I would even get it until I had the dispatch email. I was actually thinking it was almost time to cancel my pre-order, assuming that I wouldn’t be seeing any sign of it. In fact, I even managed to order the models I really wanted separately just in case I missed out on them. But luckily, I got the email and then the box through the door the following day.

With Cursed City’s arrival, getting the Crimson Court undercoated and the upcoming release of the Soulblight Gravelords later this year, I’m really falling in love with Games Workshop’s undead models. Age of Sigmar has definitely become much more interesting over the last few years, and the reccent releases keep giving out models I’m really interested in. Plus, zombies, skeletons and more are perfect for games like Frostgrave or other fantasy skirmish things, and you can never have enough zombies.

Of course, the vampires aren’t the only set of fantasy figures I’m eyeing up. At the end of last month, I mentioned taking a look at painting up the easy build Sequitors in a more realistic method. As you can see, they came out rather well. These three look like some hardcore templars. now, Having painted these, and spotting that Leodis had more models in stock…

I picked up a few things. The Evocators and Sequitors are the exact look I’ve been wanting, and raising up to squads means I have plenty of people to assemble in the different loadouts each squad can prepare. Despite having enough troops to form a small army for AoS, these guys are not going to end up filling boards. Instead, they are all designed for Warcry. I really like all the small skirmish games, mostly because you get to make each figure a real character. I’m looking forward to continuing the fun I had with the trio of Sequitors above.

And as my friends continue to point out, I now have four factions worth of Age of Sigmar (Stormcast, Daughters of Khaine, Undead and Chaos), something pretty amusing having only really got into it last year.

PROJECT WW2

I took a little break from my WW2 British platoon to work on fantasy stuff and now I’m back and ready to finish off the final tray of WW2 Brits (23 in total). Once done, I’ll just need to spray up the platoon of Churchill tanks and my first WW2 force would be done.

Of course, there is another reason for wanting to get these guys done. As you can see above, Mr Hicks (the sculptor for this range) has completed work on a 3inch Mortar team to go with the existing figures, showing off a great mix of the different clothing styles one might encounter. This is probably a sign we’re about to see another set of releases for the Late-War British. As you may have worked out from my repeated ramblings, I’m very excited for a 6pdr crew to go with the rest of my force. But at the same time, the soft spot I have for the troops in greatcoats means that I might potentionally be interested in expanding my British force to another platoon, which can be combined with my tanks. However, I wouldn’t dream of starting this until I’ve finished off my current collection and got to the stage I can actually get some games in.

PROJECT MODERNS

End of the month, I took a look in my drawers and realised I had a pile of ultramodern vehicles that just needed the final touches applying to them. Again, this a case of using the Black Contrast paint and being amazed at the usefulness of it. Black Contrast over tan for the tracks and guns does the job of highlighting, only needing a final tan drybrush after the wash to look great. I also made sure to mop the wash off carefully, rather than letting it pool too much. Finally, arabic-indic numerals on the turret side helps to mark the vehicles individually.

I also have a few more vehicles to paint up, including a technical with a bed full of guns. Expect to see them at the end of next month when I’m looking for things easy to finish again.

Little update – Anthalonica Miniatures just finished their Kickstarter. I decided to go in for the ever useful PMC squad, a set of figures that have a habit of turning up anywhere. These guys should be out in August, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they turnout.

Photo by Richard Fry, https://www.facebook.com/groups/628206883900507/permalink/3941035905950905/

Perhaps more exciting, I’ve been inspired by some of the work coming from the Modern Miniature Warfare group. These are the Sarissa Alamo buildings that were kickstarted last year before being released as a general product at the start of this year, painted up by Richard Fry as modern compound buildings. Seeing them painted up and ready to game over got me thinking about the pile of buildings I have assembled.

Here are mine. Now, after playing around with the layout with what I had, I started getting a few ideas about what I could do with them. With a few more extra buildings and terrain tiles for more open spaces, I might be able to get a 4ft x 4ft board together for a CQB maze. This would be ideal for a quick demo game, something I haven’t run since Operation Dragon’s Hoard in 2018.

Expect to see some pictures of this as I get work on them – this will be the first step in getting my MDF terrain all textured and painted.


That’s it for this month’s update, I’ll see you in a month!

Fantasy – Rhazgra the Seneschal and Retinue

The dark armoured warriors stepped further into the darkness of the tunnels, moving carefully over the loose sand and scree that covered the incline. There were four of them, the rest of the band left above to guard the entrance against any intruders while the chosen few ventured deep into the tombs. They were looking for something, something to bring their lord greater power.

At the bottom of the stone ramp the warriors paused, listening. The tunnels around them were inky black, not even the strange glowing crystal the cave above had contained. It was also quiet, still, not even the sound of the wind whistling through the caverns.

“Rhalar, light.” The tone of the leader of the band, Rhazgra the Seneschal, was short and to the point, the brisk words of a commander used to seeing her action done. She didn’t bother to turn, instead crouching behind her shield, her mace held low in the enclosed space.

“Of course, sister” the taller mage answered, her voice with an ethereal edge to it, the greenish glow of the scars in her cheek become stronger as her hand ignited, green fire wreathing it like a beast desperate to flee. With a delicate motion, she place the fire inside the top of the staff, letting it writhe over the metal as in it was in pain.

“Where to now Seneschal? These tunnels all look the same.” The Dour asked, his voice like the grinding of stone against stone, his axe resting against his shield as his helm leaned forward.

“Rhalar will guide us, won’t you beautiful?” Arkfel the Slayer, the pelt of a great scaled beast over his shoulder moving as he laughed quietly to himself, only stopping when he felt the glower from his leader.

Ignoring such pedestrian things, the sorcerer lifted her glowing hands, the magical energy now spilling fully from her eyes and the scars on her face before evaporating into the air. She turned to look down each of the tunnels, the glow seeing to burn away the darkness, before she focused on one in particular. “The way ahead. There is something dangerous, old, long dead but now disturbed.” Rhalar lifted up her hands, letting the staff float beside her as she pushed her mind forward, attempting to understand the presence before her.

“The treasure’s guardian? Or something else those damn Templars have disturbed?” Rhazgra asked, turning slightly to look at her sister. Spotting the way her hands shook and the way green fire was emitting from her eyes even as her face creased with the effort, Rhazgra placed her shield down and delicately guided her sister’s hand back to the staff, the cold metal bringing her back to the present. She seemed to sign, her shoulders heaving as she drank in the cool air.

“Careful, beloved sister. It would be unwise for you to push yourself too hard before we have reached the prize. I’ll need your mind to unlock it’s traps.” She pulled her taller sister’s head down so their brows met, the anxious sweat of the mage resting against the cool of the warrior. “Besides,” she smiled “I would hate to have to leave you behind in favour of the treasure.”

Rhalar smiled. “I know sister, but I do not think you will need to. I know The Patron smiles on us this day. I can feel her whispers in the air.”

Yep, it happens to the best of us. Eventually anyone playing Sci-fi or Fantasy finds themselves looking at Chaos Warriors and reflecting on just how cool they look. They combine the glorious appeal of knights in armour but with that dark fantasy baroque look that means they just drip with character. They are the warriors that burn down the hero’s village as child, thus setting off the story. They are the Dark Figures that chase your heroes across the plains, slaying anyone in their way. And right at the end, they are the army you fight through to take on their leader. As you might guess, I adore the artwork and mental images, even if the normal models (released back in Warhammer Fantasy Battle days) are very static/designed for ranking up.

Seeing as I’m now working on very small (honesty) fantasy collection, and after seeing the Underworld Warband back when it was announced, I decided that these much more dynamic warriors were exactly what I wanted. Each of them looked like a real threat, a champion of the dark gods assembled alongside allies and rivals to take the fight to the enemy. What better troops to follow my Chaos Lord (who I’ve designed as some kind of Cursed Warrior/Undying King) than a collection of highly skilled individuals who just happen to be able to work together.


As a test bed, I decided to paint up the Underworld Warband “Khagra Ravagers”. Comprising of three warriors and a mage, it’s a great little introduction into the range. There are lots of shared character design elements among them – the armour and cloak combination, the multiple weapons and shield all ready to go, the smattering of decorations showing their allegiance.

As an aside, before I get into the figures, I’m just going to mention that I’m using my own names and descriptions for them. As much as I like Games Workshop’s setting, I’m one of those people who really like writing their own settings, characters and stories. As part of this, these four warriors will form the leaders of my Chosen Warriors, set to accompany the Lord into battle (seeing as he fights on foot). Additionally, as the greatest warriors among them, they are sent off to do specific tasks for their leader, ideally setting them up for small skirmish games.


First up we have a Warrior with shield and axe, ready to attack but in a relatively guarded pose. This is “The Dour”, an old warrior in a profession where that is a rarity. He’s basically Rhazgra’s main advisor/strong man, ready to offer the blunt opinion when required but then following her orders to the letter.

He’s also just really fun to paint, a relatively open pose with lots of finer details to add to. As the first figure painted, this was where I decided on the colours I would be using. Going for Valejo’s Royal Purple for the cloak really helps to make them look regal. I also used the classic Leadbelcher for the armour but after a quick look, a layer of black contrast over the top made it look the classic black armour that the Chaos Warriors are known for. On most, I decided to use mostly brass colours rather gold, helping to make them look less “fancy” than any Templars I am doing. The exception was the leader and mage, the gold marking them out as a little more important.


Next, with a weapon in each hand and animal pelt over the shoulder we have Arkfel the Slayer. With a pose like that, leaving himself entirely open and daring his enemy on, he seems like a real charming bastard of a warrior. Combine that with the pelt over his shoulder, I worked up the idea of the charming asshole who knows he has the skills to backup his boasting. Plus, if I’m doing the writing, a perfect partner to the mage, standing there to taunt attackers away from his beloved.

This guy is really similar pose to the Slambo figure from the olden days and I kind of love it. It was really fun working on him, especially with the scales over his shoulder. I originally started off with the colours reversed, only swapping to a more realistic look once I double checked some reference.


Rhazgra the Seneschal is of course the leader of this warband, standing in a dynamic pose to command her warriors forward. Her gear is more ornate than her fellows, she goes to battle without her helmet and that sneer of command. In her role as Seneschal, she is responsible for making sure her Lord’s affairs are in order, as well as enforcing his commands and protecting him with the help of the Chosen. At other times, she will go and do important tasks and quests herself. As for her (and her sister’s) origins, they are shrouded in mystery. Some say she is the daughter of a northern tribal chief, others say she ran away from the Templars as a teenage trainee to protect her sister. Either way, she’s a formidable warrior and great leader of her force.

As the figure that attracted to me this band, I was very careful to try and get her done just right. As well as the ornate details, the face is really well sculpted. Normally, my faces are apply base colour, wash, finish, barely even bothering to do the eyebrows. With Rhazgra, I used the Reikland fleshshade but then went back, adding eyebrows, highlights for the nose and cheek bones as well as a touch of gold though the piercing on her eyebrow. The markings on the side of her head were an attempt at tattoos which I think have the right effect. I also spent a lot of time on the hair, working from the black basecoat to the strip of white. In sort of the opposite way, I started off the wolf pelt with a very light grey, working my way down until the layer of black contrast paint over the top portions. Overall, I’m really happy with this model, one of the ones I’m most proud of.


And then we get to the mage.

So at first I originally painted her up using the original head. This sculpt was my least favourite in the set. I understand the visual of the cursed mage with the horns and hairless, and it makes sense for Warhammer. But in my head, this wasn’t the look I was wanting for the warband. These are supposed to be well trained and skilled warriors, not yet corrupted fully. The other issues was that the head lacks a lot of the details I’d usually rely on when painting – it’s not got much topological features to let the wash run into. I tried my best with the black and gold bands but it just looks so agressively… eh.

After a weekend of staring at the model, I decided enough is enough and went looking for an alternative head. I had, a while ago, purchased some alternative Stormcast heads (which are now being used in my Templar forces which I’ll be showing off soon) so I could get away from the “nope, we’re totally not space marines” look. Those heads, waiting for me to finish the box of Paladins I got for cheap from the local corner shop back up in Edinburgh for a tiny price, have been in my bits tray for a while. Pulling them out, I found one which was ideal, matching the look of Rhazgra while still looking a little magical. The only problem was that all the detail was on the wrong side of the head, forcing a slight change in pose.

Removing the head without damaging the paintwork was one of those butt clenching moments of hobby, trying very hard to scrape as little away as possible. Luckily I made a clean cut, cleaned up the resin part and then re-assembled the head into the slot, undercoating it via brush.

And now, here she is finished – Rhalar. With the new head, she looks like a true battle mage, just as likely to kick your ass with her fists than she is with magic. This better suits the mental image of her, working as her sister’s magical aid right next to her in battle. Her origins are as mysterious as her Sister’s and she shows promise of an even greater level of magic than she has already shown.

I’m really happy with the headswap, elevating this figure from okay to something I’m really happy with. I like how similar this model is in terms of gear to the actual warriors (such as the armour, cloak and the fur around her neck) while still having plenty of pieces that are different enough to make her stand out. The flames were especially fun to paint – I used the Hexwraith technical paint over a white basecoat and it worked out exactly as planned. I also managed to drip a little bit into the scars on her face, just to show the magic beginning to seep out.


Overall, this Underworlds unit was a fantastic way into painting more fantasy figures. I really recommend anyone interested in trying out a new Warhammer army take a look at these figures – they have some really nice details and it isn’t a huge amount of models to paint up. I’m also pretty happy with how the group has turned out, with a paint scheme that is relatively simple but looks awesome.

Next stage with these guys? Well I have 10 warriors, 5 knights and a lord on angry crocodile to finish off in a similar way to this warband. Beyond them, there are a few more less armoured chaos fighters to paint before I can move onto the big parts of the force – my Lord and his Patron.

Only a little terrified at the prospect of those two.

March 2021 Project Update

Welcome to April! Lets take a look at how things are going.

Project 365

To start, lets take a look at the count.

Painted: 40

DescriptionMakerNumber
British InfantryEmpress36
Chaos Warriors (Underworld)GW4

Purchased: 19

DescriptionMakerNumber
SwashbucklersWargames Foundry12
Keeper of SecretsGW1
Darkoath ChieftanGW1
Knight-IncantorGW2
SequitorGW3

A good bit of progress! I’ve now managed to paint more models than I’ve bought this year (always a good side of the equation to be on) and made a considerable dent in the Empress WW2 brits. Purchases… well we’ll talk about them in a sec.

I also managed to do enough models above and beyond the target value (31) helping to bring me a little closer to the intended progression. At the moment, I’m only 5 models below the target progression – I could have pushed to actually hit that target this month but honestly, it’s not the point of it. It’s a goal, not a requirement. As another positive, I’ve now hit over 44% of my collection painted, a percentage I haven’t beaten since 2018.

Project WW2

Project WW2 was the key focus of March, especially after the test painting of the month before. And I managed to finish the core platoon of my force! Three infantry sections, a PIAT team, a light mortar team and the two Senior Leaders (NCO and LT), all painted up and based. I’m really happy with how these models have turned out – the painted scheme is glorious muddy and grim, just right for a 1945 force. I’m also really happy I decided to go with the snow bases, helping to offset the darker colours. It’s also impressive to have the force finished – I could now (if the world wasn’t mad) go play a small game of Chain of Command with no extra units.

Finishing the platoon was Phase 1 of my WW2 Brits. Phase 2 is now to paint up the supporting Infantry I currently own, beginning with the senior leadership (and medic) above. The rest of the stuff to work on includes two vickers guns, two radio crew acting as JOPs, SMGs users and a few figures with soft caps I’ve converted. Phase 3 will be me working on my platoon of Churchills and friends. Phase 4 is the end game; there are a few force elements that are missing from the Empress Range (such as the 6pdr crews) that I’m hoping they will release some in the future.

Of course, this month I also ran the numbers on preparing some OPFOR for the Brits. The Empress Volks Gren range is really good looking…

Project Fantasy

I’m rapidly finding myself thinking about and painting up more fantasy figures. WW2 is definitely fun to paint (and I’m really looking forward to playing with the Brits/building up another force) but Fantasy is really filling the niche of fulfilling both interesting things to build/paint and getting my world building/design elements. I’m in the middle of writing up a post on the Chaos Warriors I finished this month, where I actually get to stretch my writing skills.

The big quantity of purchases this month is from Wargames Foundry’s Swashbucklers range. This is mostly due to the fact my Sister expressed an interest in possibly playing some games of soldiers. Based on her interests (and a love for buckling swashes), I decided to pick up these wonderful figures. Along with the three figures in this style from North Star, they will form my Sword Masters, spies/assassins for the empire in my nebulous fantasy setting. Once painted up, and the ruffians 3d printed, there will definitely be some fun games coming.

Also part of this setting is a way to use GW’s Stormcast.

Okay, stop running.

The Stormcast Eternals are definitely aggressively iconic for Age of Sigmar and I hadn’t really found a use for them. However, after seeing some Stormcast painted in a more realistic (i.e. less gold) style, I was suddenly captured by the idea of using them for a Templar like force, aggressively over the top fanatics to go toe to toe with the Chaos Warriors. I’ve also decided to go with exposed head look – it’s definitely among one of the weaker points of my skill set but I did really enjoy working on the head for my Chaos Warrior champion I painted.

Now. I am a simple man. I like little treats. And I set myself a goal that, if I finished my WW2 Brit Platoon, I would start on a nice kit for my fantasy range. Having mentioned my Chaos Lord and his cursed warrior details last time, I decided to push the button and get a model for his patron. The Keeper of Secrets from GW is one of their finest figures, nailing that merger of lethality and beauty. I decided, after a little bit of sweating aggressively, to go for more of the “four armed warrior goddess” rather than the traditional claw arms of Slaanesh demons. The picture above shows the WIP form, stuck together with some white tack. I still have some work to do, mostly with adjusting the left shield arm to cover her chest more. I am really enjoying building this model, and it will definitely be pushing my skillset forward.

Now… I am a little worried that this month is going to shred some of my gains from last month in terms of improving my completed percentage. Games Workshop is going hard on adding vampires to Warhammer fantasy and man, they found my weakness. I was already on board with the four new vampires in the Underworld box (a superb entry for great figures) but then they announced Cursed City, a board game using Games Workship miniatures just dripping with character. I adore the models they have announced, the gothic horror/low fantasy setting spot on for what I love. This is going to be a big chunk of change, but definitely worth it. I’m going to curb my new purchases soon, but I think these vampires (and maybe a few other vampires/undead for fighting in skirmish games) will be in the collection soon.

Project Moderns

I wrote a post in March about some decisions I’ve made regarding how I’m going to be playing my Ultramoderns, stepping away from the real world and into real-world adjacent. You can find more in the post. As for extra work, I’ve done a little bit of development on the aims/rules for the nations, more coming soon.


That’s it for this month’s update, I’ll see you in a month!

#HobbyStreak Day 50

In case you haven’t seen on my Twitter (or have managed to avoid taking part in what can mostly be a hell site), I’ve restarted doing the #hobbystreak. This is where you attempt to do a little bit of hobby every day and keep the streak going. Now, I admit I’m very lucky in being in a situation where I am able to do this – I work from home (at the moment), live by myself and can make it very easy to carve out some time no matter what.

However, I’m really excited to say I managed to hit 50 days! I don’t have a specific target for days I want to hit, I just want to see how far I can keep it rolling.

If you want to follow along, I’ve added a moment with all the streak so far. It’s interesting to see just what I was working on when I started off.

(End of) February 2021 Project Update

This may only be a little shorter than the other updates but it is coming out at the start of the next month rather than at a random time.

Project 365

First up, this month’s count is standing at:

Painted: 32

DescriptionMakerNumber
CypherGW1
Winter British InfantryWarlord10
British SnipersWarlord2
British InfantryEmpress4
Delta ForceSpectre12
Task Force BlackEmpress2
Tier 1 OperatorsSpectre1

Purchased: 34

DescriptionMakerNumber
Comet TankRubicon1
SigvaldGW1
Chaos Lord on KarkadrakGW1
Chaos KnightsGW5
Chaos WarriorsGW10
Daughters of Khaine MelusaiGW10
Daughters of Khaine KhineraiGW5
Melusai IronscaleGW1

I’m aiming for 31 models painted every month so I managed to hit it. I am a little bit down on the running total for the year (January missed it by a chunk) so I’m going to have to slightly increase my numbers coming up. However, having a lot of models ready to be painted, it should be much easier to hit those goals.

As for the purchased – well technically not all of it was purchased… I’ll get to that.

Project Database

Not much more on the web plugin but I have managed to do some database wrangling to turn data into visuals. I’ve set up a page on the blog with all the graphs I’m to all my graphs, as you can see above. I’ll sit down and do some analysis at some point (because I find it fun) but it’s interesting to see how the shift in my collection is going, as I throw off that idea that I’m “just a Moderns wargamer” and actually start collecting what I want to and what excites me.

Project Modern

The Delta Operators are now all painted and based. I’m really happy with how they turned out – it’s been a while since I painted Multi-cam and then painting 12 of the buggers in it was a bit of a shock to the system. That said, it’s neat to get them all done and relatively quickly, managing blocks of four roughly every three days (base colours, details, camo).

I still need to do the writeup on them, but I’m waiting on a lightbox – the large one is good but it’s not really suitable for only a few figures.

Project WW2

Project WW2 is now the focus project. After the first section was finished earlier this month, I have also finished off the Warlord Sniper pair and have started on the bulk of the Empress guys with the first section. There was a little bit of relearning the paint scheme, mostly due to the different equipment worn by the Empress figures and the finer details that the sculptor brought to them. As you can see above, it’s definitely worth it. The camo jackets and helmets covered in scrim were really fun to paint and I adore their poses.

Perhaps the biggest thing is finally getting my hands on some snow powder. I got it from the same place I have picked up the rest of my scenic supplies from, Geek Gaming Scenics after waiting a little bit for it to come back into stock. It actually works incredibly well, requiring a few blobs of glue to get this semi-melted snow effect on the guys. These aren’t in the depths of winter – it’s January/February and so it should be started to melt, mixing with the mud and forest floor.

One thing I have decided is that I’m not going to focus on the WW2 guys in a single big block of painting. I did notice the Enforcers definitely reached a point of “oh god they are finally done” – with the WW2 guys being a full platoon, that’s a lot of green and brown to paint.

Project Fantasy

So I’m going to be writing some more stuff about my fantasy gaming. It’s an idea that has really captured my mind, and has some potentially very exciting elements to play around with.

Remember how I mentioned the sudden jump in purchases? Well, that’s because I had a nice surprise when my pre-order of the new Sigvald figure and some Chaos Warriors arrived. At first, I thought I might have been an incorrect order but nope, I’d managed to win the lucky draw from Leodis Games and ended up with a special prize… and a lollipop.

Now, this box is great. It’s a pair of really rather nice armies. However, despite having just bought the new Slaanesh model, I actually don’t have any plans for a Slaanesh force. Luckily my Creative Opponent up North, in his slow decline to Chaos, decided he wanted to give in to temptation and leap in. I’m really happy it went to someone I know – I feel a little funny about just selling off a prize. Instead, it will be going North, while I will be keeping the Dark Elves to add to my force.

Speaking of Dark Elves, I also managed to assemble both of the Warbands from the War Cry Catacombs box I got for Christmas. Like all of the GW figures, these are beautiful to look at, with carefully designed pieces fitting together. They were also complete bastards to assemble, especially figures with multiple part cloaks that fit together. However, I think they are well worth the swearing and fingers covered in glue.

But what of the Sigvald I purchased? Well, remember last update when I mentioned the idea I had for him? Well I’ve managed to work out the basics. In my head, this guy is a cursed ancient king skilled at the art of war and perfecting his skills in it. However, despite having attracted an army of Chaos Knights and Warriors, he is no simple follower of the Chaos gods. Instead, he spites them, breaking his horns to reject the gifts. Of course, anyone who recognises the spear and shield I’ve given him might work out where this story arc might be going. Lets just say, he has a patron who I might need to purchase in the future for when she has to enter the fray…

Story aside, I’m happy with the first assemble of this conversion. There needs to be a little bit of greenstuff work on his spear hand, and the painting will be the proof of the design. A lot of this design came from playing Hades and the basic model having some very greek style armour, and I think the giant spear and shield nail that image that came into my head. It’s going well, so the next step is actually painting and putting him together fully.


That’s it for this month’s update, I’ll see you in a month!