Monday, 21 December 2015

Last samurai army done, and back to the future!

Alright, I've actually gotten the last samurai done, meaning that I've completed most of the Ronin project!

I still need to do a bit of random work on the project. There's a couple of buildings that are close to being finished, 3 civvies, and some odds and ends.
After having finished these guys, I felt like seeing if it was possible to convert some weapon options on the metal models. I might want to run a list with a samurai archer or a tetsubo, after all.

It was, and I'm actually rather pleased with the result. This bunch is fairly far down in the painting queue tho. There's a few models left in the lead pile and I'm considering donating them to the club to see if someone else might get inspired...

Now, with Ronin winding down (well, hobby wise. I'm yet to play any games in the campaign I planned) I'm returning to Infinity, and it's about time. I'm not even sure if I can resurrect my log on the forums, or if it's too old by now...
Anyhow, I did a Wildcat to get back into it:

I really do like painting these. They've been the exact right mix of complex and simple for me, so I'll be picking up the corregidor starter box once the painting queue clears a bit. That'd let me run a 5 man link with a specialist on the side, which would be cool. Not the most solid choice rules-wise, but I like them for some reason.
Now, the reason for the warm-up:

Maelstrom/Simon and I have, like last year, exchanged gifts. He, very kindly sent the above model, a Knight of the Sepulchre as well as a box of Haramaki. The Haramaki are great models, but the Sepulchre knight takes the prize though - it's been one of my favorite models ever since I saw it. I'm trying to push myself a bit with it and take my painting to a new level. I'd love critical comments on him, btw.

He's affixed to a piece of cork, so I could do the base separate:

I've gone for warm-ish tones on the base to counter the cold blues on the model. Again, comments are very, very welcome.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Ronin Battlereport and slight progress

I've been posting rarely, as I've got less and less time to paint these days. I've been playing a lot though, so that's all right.

I've had a first test game of Ronin, with the Bushi buntai facing off against the Ikko-Ikki. We kept the game size small, 100 points, since we basically just wanted to test everything out. For this reason, we also chose to play a skirmish scenario without any frills - just good old fashioned beating at each other.

You'll have to pardon the rather poor pictures, I really have to start bringing a decent camera to the club and not relying on my phone. Some of the pictures (the decent ones) are taken by my opponent, Tim, who played the Ikko-Ikki.

The Ikko-Ikki took to the field led by a Sohei. Besides him, 3 Monto (2 with spears and one with a banner) was joined by a rabble of 6 peasants with improvised weapons. 


Opposing them, and looking to raid reconnoiter their village, was the bushi. Lead by a Samurai, the rest of the force was 2 Ashigaru archers, a single Ashigaru-Gashira spearman and an Ashigaru-Gashira with a banner.

Our setup was rather simple. After the game we found that we really hadn’t had enough terrain, but that was part of the reason for trying it out. I’ll be adding another small building and a larger one to the collection, and possibly making some walls. I hope that will be enough, if we also include some more trees.

The first few rounds were uneventful, with the Bushi largely staying in place and shooting, while the Ikko-Ikki came rushing at them. Shooting at long ranges were utterly ineffective, however, and the Ikko-Ikki managed to close the distance before suffering anything worse than a peasant with a slight headache (a stun result). 


After clearing the last copse of trees and the buildings, this started to change. The Ikko-Ikki split up into two parts, with a Monto taking a peasant as a human shield and making a beeline for an Ashigaru archer on the flank, while the rest of the mob started towards the Samurai. 


Then, though, my archers pulled through and took advantage of the shorter range to put an arrow in the leg of the Sohei. Although it was just a light wound, it would still bring him down to the same initiative level as my samurai, despite him carrying a naginata. 


One of them, on the left flank, wound up in combat with a peasant, while the rest of the Ikko-Ikki mob charged my samurai, including the Monto who was previously moving towards my other Ashigaru archer. 
Seeing this dishonorable rabble attacking his commander, the Ashigaru spearman bravely interposed himself and made a beeline for the Sohei – with me winning initiative for the round, he got to strike first, and before the Ikko-Ikki could do anything, he had speared the monto though the chest and killed him. 


He didn’t live to see his bravery celebrated however, as the two Monto promptly killed him in retaliation. In the meantime, the samurai commander had put up a wholly impressive, but ultimately ineffective, display of swordsmanship towards the peasant in combat with him. On the flanks, the Ashigaru archers had easily killed off the peasants who’d charged them.  

On the right, the lone archer was engaged by a Monto with spear. The left archer ran towards him to help, worried that the Yari-equipped Monto might be able to kill off or wound his comrade before he was able to strike back, and the banner-carrying Ashigaru-Gashira moved forward to help his commander fighting a Monto and a peasant. 


The left archer hadn’t needed to worry, though. His combat turn was instead spent trying not to gag at the sight of a Monto being cut to shreds by a roll of double 6 by the right archer, who had clearly been taking lessons in slicing and dicing.
Meanwhile, the Samurai had realised he’d dishonour his ancestors if he didn’t start actually fighting and let the Ashigaru do all the heavy lifting, and he dispatched the yari-equipped monto, although not before being stunned in the process. The Ashigaru-Gashira with the banner swiftly killed the peasant trying to flank his leader. 

At this, we ended the game. With only a peasant (and a stunned one at that) and the Monto with the banner left, the outcome did not seem to be in doubt.
All in all, a good time was had by both of us. To be honest, I think the Ikko-Ikki list I’d made for 100 points was a bit underpowered for this kind of game. It seems like they’d be much more at home with more terrain and objectives that would force the other player to divide his men, allowing him to swarm him with peasants more effectively. Part of the reason for my playing this defensively and allowing the Ikko-Ikki to come to me was our rules test before the game where we matched the Sohei and 2 Peasants against the Samurai and a lone Ashigaru with a bow. In that, the higher initiative of the Sohei with naginata as well as the effect of 2 stuns from the peasants proved to be decisive, and I was under the impression that as soon as the Ikko-Ikki hit close combat I’d be in real trouble and basically fold.
As it turned out, this was rather far from the truth. Resolving combats with multiple participants as 2 or more distinct combats where only one side has multiple models engaged works really, really well from a gameplay perspective and helped the game flow much better than it would have otherwise, but also made it a bit harder to mob the Samurai since the Ashigaru was there to break up the angry horde of religious peasants. Plus, I was lucky that I managed to take out the Sohei, which was basically the only model with a chance of taking out my Samurai in a fair fight.
For the next game, I’m aiming at either 200 points or at the very least, far more terrain. I’ll have to see about getting some walls made, but I’ve also got 2 buildings almost ready. In the 200 point list, the Ikko-Ikki will be joined by more Monto, a Samurai and a Honsou, which should bring them up to a much more even standing quality-wise. At least, when facing the Bushi used here. The last Bushi is still being painted, but the infantry is done now: 


The only models remaining is 2 high-ranking samurai on warhorses that seems like they'll be absolute beasts on the field.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Ronin: Ikko-Ikki done!

It's been a while, but I haven't been idle! In fact, I've been productive enough that every time I wanted to update with a new model, I've postponed it because there's always been another model nearly done.

However, with the completion of the Ikko-Ikki part of the Ronin warbands, it has to be time to update.

I'll be honest, I've sorta lost track of what I've posted before and what I haven't, and it seemed easier and just as good to just photo everything, so that's what I've done.

Here they are, all 15 of them.

I snapped some of smaller groups too, since I've yet to figure out how to take proper pics of large groups. I think I might need a larger photo tent at some point.

These guys are, probably obviously, the elite. The front guy with the orange headscarf is a Sohei, a warrior monk who'll be the spiritual leader of the warband. The guy on the right is a Samurai, and the guy with the dark blue shirt is a Hanshou. Background-wise, they're sent by Uesugi Kenshin to make sure the religious fanatics he's decided to fund/exploit as catspaws are pointed the right direction, and give them a bit of punch.

These 5 are the Monto, members of the religious militia. There's not much to say about them, they're simply light infantry with slightly more erratic equipment modelling-wise than the Ashigaru from the Bushi list. 2 with spears, yari, 2 with katanas, and a banner-carrier to keep the peasants from running away.

Finally, 7 smelly peasants, fired up by the thought of purging the wrong-thinkers from their holy homeland. They're basically cannonfodder, but even cannonfodder gets lucky, and at 4 points a piece there's a lot of them. I'd have liked to double this number in the list actually, to make a proper horde army, but I'm concerned it might have been too much balance wise. Plus, I'd have to paint them.

I've even picked at the civvies as well, and gotten 3 done, plus some houses.

I love the sculpt of the woman with the child. It's probably too difficult to see here, but he's crying his eyes out and she looks unbelievably tired of him. I love that kind of character in a sculpt, and the Perry's really deliver in that regard. I'll admit that there's been a bit of casting errors on them, and sometimes the detail isn't the greatest, but they've actually been FUN to paint, and that matters more.

I'll be testing the rules tomorrow with a friend, so hopefully I can grab some pics of the two completed warbands facing off against each other there.

Ronin-wise, I'm getting close to the end now. There's only 5 models in the last warband, although 2 of them are cavalry, and 3 civilians left unpainted. I'd like to do another building too. It's not actually that unlikely that I can be done in a week or two, and I'm looking forward to it. Firstly, there's a bit of detailing I'd like to do on these guys, but I'm also looking forward to getting back to Infinity.

As always, C&C is much appreciated! 

Thursday, 12 November 2015

More Ronin!

I'm slowly plugging ahead with the Ronin stuff. Lately I've gotten 3 more peasants and the leader of the warband, a sohei monk (with the orange head-wrap) done.
I actually enjoyed painting these. I've been in a bit of a painting rut lately, but these went ok.

Just to show I haven't forgotten about the sci-fi Japanese, I got a Keisotsu Butai done. 

I'm less and less happy with the choice of white for their armour, but I'm sorta stuck with it now. Takes a fair while to get done, which is keeping me back a bit. Changed the gun scheme as well, to get some more contrast in there.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Update time again

This is turning into more of a monthly update schedule than a weekly one I'm afraid, I really should do more.
I've been playing a bit however, so the time I haven't spent painting have at least been spent well.

There's been some slight progress on the first models in the second Ronin warband, the Ikko-Ikki; nutty religious extremists trying to rid Japan of foreign influence. Compared to the previous warband, these'll be much more numerous and less skilled.

The list I'm working with consists of 7 peasants, 4 Monto, 2 with spears, one with a banner and the last one with a katana, 3 Samurai and a Sohei warrior monk. 15 models all told, which is fairly large for Ronin I think.

I've gotten the first 4 of these done, 3 ill-equipped peasants and a Monto with a katana. As far as I've been able to ascertain, the Monto are religious foot soldiers but I've had a hard time digging up info on some of the specifics.

I find I'm settling for a slightly lower painting standard on these compared to the others, but perhaps that's to be expected. 

Mikkel, the guy who've been pushing me into Lion Rampant, did some absolutely fantastic terrain for those games, including civvies for some atmosphere. After playing those games I had to include some for Ronin as well, as they really added to the experience, and besides the Perrys do some lovely Japanese civilians. First one's done, a guy I imagine is a minor noble or local bigwig, due to his rather fancy clothing and the katana.

There's also a well there I did to test out painting the houses I did ages ago. 

Originally we were supposed to start playing in November, but that's been postponed due to external reasons - one of the guys have moved to Poland for work in a 2 month period.
Knowing my painting speed, that's probably a good thing.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

First Buntai done for Ronin!

Alright, time for another update as I've actually be sorta productive lately.

As you can probably tell from the headline, I've gotten the first buntai done, with these guys being painted.

From left to right, it's another Samurai, the leader of the buntai who'll probably be named eventually but is a Samurai in game terms, an Ashigaru with the buntai banner and an Ashigaru with a yari, a japanese spear.
The entire buntai of Takeda Shingen thus looks like this:

Pardon the poor picture, I'll have to find a better solution for photo'ing larger numbers of models. It's a bit of a challenge with my current setup. I might return and add some more details, but for now these'll be sidelined until the 3 buntai are done.
This means the first buntai is done and I can start work on the next - Uesugi Kenshin's men, sent out to raid the Takeda territories.
I've decided to change the list I was working with, however, and I'll be using the Ikko-ikki list instead of the samurai-focused Bushi list. This'll hopefully make for a more diverse series of battles. I've had to order some more models from the Perrys to do so, but I'll be able to start with some of the samurai - despite being a bunch of rowdy buddhist fanatics, there'll still be a couple of samurai to herd the rabble in the right direction.

And to keep this post from being entirely historical, I put the finishing touches on the first Keisotsu Butai for my JSA. He's a tester and there's plenty of faults or things that could be better, but he's done, so yay for that.
Also, based on some kind feedback from Maru and Icchan over on the infinity forums, I've tweaked the sword and the base on Shinobi Kitsune. Didn't get the base in the picture tho, due to momentary stupidity on my part. :) Not sure it actually shows, but it is a bit darker.

So yeah, getting closer with a fair few projects.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Progress on the Buntai and others

So, it's been a little while. I actually completed the antipode handler and Kitsune a while ago, but I've been having camera problems and couldn't get a decent picture of either.

They're done tho, and I'm well pleased with Shinobu Kitsune. She's a heck of a model, fiddly to put together but once I got to grips with the painting, she was fun. Sadly, the glaze-method I was trying out on the sword failed miserably, so I had to redo it, but it turned out well in the end I think.

There's less to say about the Antipode Handler, she bascially just got a decent-but-basic paintjob and now she's just waiting for her pups to move up the painting queue before I can field her. I'm enjoying the new CAD-sculpted Infinity models, details are nice and crisp.

The pups might be a while tho, I'll be trying to get 3 more Keisotsu Butai painted first. I've actually got the first tester done as well, but his pics turned out poorly and he's getting consigned to the next update.

I'm moving forward with the Ronin Buntais as well, and had a productive evening yesterday where the last 3 ashigaru archers got finished. The samurai's been done for a day or three.

The first Buntai, the forces of Takeda Shingen, is getting closer to done, now, and I only need to paint another 4 models - 2 samurai, an ashigaru-gashira with a spear and one with a banner:

I'm hoping to have some of them done over the weekend. The ashigaru will be painted in the same manner as the ones already done, but I'm hoping to include a bit more diversity in the samurai. After this Buntai is done, I'll be starting work on either Uesugi Kenshin's Ikko-Ikkei or the relatively small Oda Nobunagawa force.

As always, comments, criticism or questions are more than welcome.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Infinity WiPs - Shinobu Kitsune and Antipode handler

As promised, I've gotten back to infinity painting-wise. There's not much to show, but I'm trying to get better at posting WiPs.
First model is an Antipode Handler for Ariadna. I've still got the Antipodes themselves to paint, but they're next in the queue, as I'm excited to see what they're capable of on the table.
She's pretty fun to paint, this one, good sculpt with a suitable level of detail. 

I've also finally gotten to work on Oniwaban Shinobu Kitsune. I've had her for over a year, she's actually the first JSA model I got, and I've been unable to decide how to paint her.
2 days ago, I got Angels painting book, and he mentions using a simple black-grey-white gradient with glazes to paint, in particular swords, so I'll be trying that on her. The basic idea is to have her entirely black/white except her sword and her face, to draw some attention to them.

Her hair still needs work, but I have to decide whether to go for black or white hair.

A question for the reader, then: What colour for the sword? I'm playing with the thought of using a light green like on the studio model, but somehow that doesn't scream "monofilament" to me. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Frostgrave and Samurais

Bit of a slow period, sadly. Been busy with job-hunting and such, but I've gotten a bit done at least.
A while back I started a frostgrave warband, and they got finished. Finally. For some reason, the top 5 was good fun to build and paint, while the lower 5 was a real chore. Could easily have done without them, but they're done and now all I need to do is actually have a game.

I'm thinking that the wizard is going to be a witch, but I haven't checked out the specific rules yet. Si/Maelstrom seemed to think that witch would fit the Merlin-type wizard best, so that's what I'm banking on.

I've managed to start another project, what with the frostgrave project being done. With the Lion Rampant force completed, I felt that I should do another historical project, and the Ronin rules for samurai skirmish games were the obvious choice. The armies are small, 5-12 models a side for the ones I've done, the models are readily available from the Perry brothers, and it's always a pleasure working with their sculpts, not to mention that it's an interesting period. Initially, I had planned to try and persuade Mikkel, the friend I've played Lion Rampant with, to pick up a warband for it, but then I accidentally planned out 3 armies and wound up buying them myself.

The overarching plan is to paint 3 small armies and a bit of terrain for a weekend in November, where three of us can meet up and get a game or three in.
I'll post up the background and my plans later in a dedicated post, but for now, here's the tester and some initial terrain, entirely inspired by the houses done by Juxt over on Warseer:

Expect more of this, as the deadline grows closer and I panic over all the stuff I need to get done.

I've finally gotten back to infinity again painting-wise, but no pictures on that front yet.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Attack of the blue space mayans

Got the Kukulkani done!

I've gotten my camera set up, so I've indulged myself a bit with the pictures. I'm quite happy with them too, part of the reason I started them was to see what I could do paint-wise without spending too much time on them. Trying to find the optimum balance between quality and speed for a given unit size, sorta.
I think I did ok, especially with the NMM. The gold could easily do with more work, but it's pretty good considering the time I spent on it, even if I do say so myself. I realise I haven't written much about the background, so here's a wall of text before the rest of the pics:

Background-wise they're Mayans, who got picked up from earth when a passing alien civilisation realised they worshipped beings much like them. Hence the name Kukulkani, Kukulkan being the Mayan name of the feathered snake-god Quezalcoatl. These aliens apparently saw some use in having a slave-warrior race that considered them to be actual gods (I imagine there's some hefty benefits to morale from that) so they picked these guys up and since then they've been given some pretty insane modifications.

The planet the game takes place on has a race of robots using a power source that is looted/copied from the one their masters use, and thus is considered holy.
Of course, they react to this with all the grace and diplomatic ability that one would expect, and descend on the planet to brutally sacrifice absolutely everyone they find. The gods aren't picky, after all. 

Model-wise, I'm very impressed with the sculpts - they're finely detailed and have a lot of character, IMHO. I'm NOT very impressed with the fit and organisation of the parts, however. When putting them together, I would have appreciated some sort of assembly guide or even just a set of pictures of the actual models showing both front and rear to work from. Instead, it was just bits in bags and the picture of the models on the front of the box was all I had to go on. The models aren't even entirely the same - the leader's cape (which is 4 pieces - cape, 2 pieces of fur and the clasp) aren't the same that's modelled on the box, and it took a while to figure it out.

I mean, none of this is impossible, but it'd be a small thing to pack each model in its own little bag and it'd have save a fair amount of time.
Sour grapes over - they're nice models, it's just a shame with a minor but annoying mistake like that.

A few closeups:
These guys are called harvesters. From what I understand, they're meant to run around, be difficult to hit thanks to some sort of evasion-rule, and use a non-lethal attack to take down the enemy. Then the big guy can get a permanent stat boost when he scoots in and kills them while they're lying down.

These chaps are warriors. They have the same non-lethal attack the guys above have, and some other stuff that I think makes them better in CC.

Finally, the big lad. Supreme War-captain, he's called. Whenever he kills someone, he gains a stat boost, so by the end of the game he should be very, very unpleasant to be near I think.

I've got my first game tomorrow, so there might be a post then with some thoughts on the game.

And, as always, comments and thoughts are much appreciated.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Back to Infinity, plus some space mayans

Alright, I got the Domaru done just in time for the monthly paint challenge over on the infinity forums. Well pleased with him too:

This leaves me just 8 models short of completing the JSA I've got. 5 Keisotsu Butai in a link team, a Kempeitai, an Oniwaban and Oniwaban Shinobu Kitsune.
I'm getting better with loaded brush blending too, I think the rest of the JSA is going to be easier to do with this technique. White is heaps easier, I find.

I've been pulled into a small Dark Age force as well, as I said last time, and the first one's gotten a basic paintjob now:
Still got 2 warriors and the captain to go, but they should be done soonish.
They're fun to paint, I'll give them that, but ye gods the assembly... Probably the fiddliest models I've worked with so far.

Lastly, the club I go to is running a frostgrave campaign, so I've gotten on board with that too, with this being the start of a little warband:
And a few guys in WiP:

And that's what I've gotten done lately. Comments and criticism welcome as always!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A finished project? Surely not...

Yes, the title is correct - I have actually finished a project!
I think the last time I could say that was in.. 2010 or something, when I managed to complete a bunch of Russians for SOTR.
It is, of course, the Lion Rampant army, and completed is a bit of a misnomer as they still need some varnish and some grass on the bases, but that's going to have to wait until I find my spray varnish. I can't be bothered brush-varnishing these, there's far too many of them.

List-wise, it's 6 foot knights, 6 mounted serjeants, 12 foot serjeants with polearms, 12 foot serjeants with pikes, 12 crossbowmen and a unit of 6 bidowers, skirmishing archers. They represent the forces of Graf Wihelm, a minor noble of a German family, trying to stop the nefarious Danes under my friend Mikkel from burning and looting everything in the Brandenburg region. It's a bit much for my little photo-tent to handle, so this is going to be a bit of a photo-dump. 

These guys have been my command group for the first few battles we've had, as the chap on the left waving his sword about seemed like a good commander. I've since realised that it'd be more realistic if they more or less had the same colours throughout the unit, as a group of this size would apparently be from the same house, or the retinue of a knight or noble wearing his colours. My opponent, Mikkel, is a historian, and I'm inclined to believe more or less anything he says on the matter.
Of course, the logical solution is to expand the army with more units.

The mounted serjeants got split up, they were too big for a single pic. In-game, they function as the personal guard of my commander, Graf Wilhelm. He's the fellow in the knightly armour with the blue lance, and the other blue lance is his squire. Neither are keen to be mistaken for the commoners they lead, that simply wouldn't do. 

These are the foot serjeants with polearms. I'm actually on the fence about them, as they've been quite ineffective in game. Their polearms give them 4+ in attack value instead of 5+, but they lose schiltron which is very useful for static defense, and it costs 2 points. Maybe I need to use them differently.
In-game, they're the household troops of graf Wilhelm, hence the more regimented colours and better equipment.

These are also foot serjeants, but I'm thinking I'll field them as foot yeomen instead - they're visibly poorer equipped compared to the guys above and are posed statically, so it'd make sense for them to be town militia I think.

I'd been looking forward to fielding these when I got them done! They're meant to be Italian mercenaries, lead by the disgraced nobleman Luigi, and sadly they've been very mercenary-ish on the field - very reluctant to fight, and they spent most of the last game we had in a discussion about their pay before they finally passed an activation towards the end of the game. 

Lastly, the bidowers. Obviously, they're the old, old Perry Warhammer sculpts, but they actually fit in nicely I think, since the rest of the army is Perry sculpts too barring some of the crossbowmen. They're superfluous in the list too, so they're simply there for a bit of variety. 

But yeah, that's an army completed. Feels strange... 

Not to worry, there's plenty to do still. I've started a Domaru for the JSA, I think my white is improving a bit:

Aaaaand I've been nagged by a friend to start a Dark Age warband, so here's some Kukulkani:

They're getting a quick and dirty paintjob tho. Nothing fancy.
Comments and your thoughts are most welcome as always!