Tuesday, 7 June 2022

Faraos Cigarer – Copenhagen

Recently, I had the good fortune to spend a day in Copenhagen with my family. It was the first trip to this intriguing city for any of us. In the morning, we took the kids to the Aquarium, and they were entranced by the hammerhead sharks (among other things). After lunch, my wife wanted to take the canal tour, so we spent a relaxing hour floating along, going under bridges, and seeing lots of interesting sites. After that, it was my turn. I wanted to visit the local gaming store. While we managed to turn a 15-minute walk into a half-hour walk, not including the drink break, we eventually found it… our should I say ‘them’.

Upon walking into Faraos Cigarer, I knew I was walking into a special store. It was big, and positively crammed with games. My first stop was the role-playing wall. And I do mean ‘wall’. A giant shelf, fifteen-or-more feet high, and nearly the width of the shop, it had everything. The only downside is that I could only reach about 40% of the books on the wall! (In fairness, even their tallest customers are going to need a ladder for some items).

On the other side of the shop they had a section of discount games and used/collectable games, including more than a few rarities (priced appropriately). I took advantage of some of the cheaper options, picking up a couple of the out-of-print Fantasy Flight, Warhammer 40,000 RPG Books. I also found a 3rd Ed GURPS book that I have wanted for a while, in near-mint condition!

With my wife entertaining the kids, I knew I was on limited time, so I ran around the shop a bit like a headless chicken. I only skimmed the board games, knowing I didn't have space to carry any of them back, but soon I realized something was missing – miniature games! When I made my purchases, I asked the guy at the counter if they carried any mini games and he said – they were in their other shop, just around the corner!

Checking in with my wife, she insisted that I take a look at this new store, even though the kids were getting hungry and tired. I’m so glad she did. Although the second store wasn’t quite as big, it was just as crammed with goodies. One wing of the store was devoted to collectable card games, the other to miniature games. As expected, this was dominated by Games Workshop, but had a good selection of other stuff as well. They even had a chunk of my own games! I’m hoping that means they are popular and not that they bought in a bunch they couldn’t sell!

The store also had a downstairs gaming area reached by a spiral staircase in the middle of the shop. I picked up a few items from this shop as well, which I’ll talk about in later posts, and had a quick chat with the guy at the counter. It was Magic night, and he was a Magic guy, so he didn’t know much about mini-games played in the store, other than they happened sometime.

Amazingly, they also have a comic store in close proximity, but I didn’t have time to check out it.

Honestly, if you put those two shops I did see together, it might just be the best gaming store I have ever seen. I feel like I have a little unfinished business exploring them, and I know what I’ll be concentrating on next time I’m in Copenhagen (I do also want to check out the National Museum).

** Curiously, if you took a guess at the translation of the store name, you would probably be close. It apparently means 'Pharaoh's Cigars'. There must be a story behind that name.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Newest Recruits

 

I painted up a couple of new recruits for my colonial marines this weekend. These both come from the Stargrave Mercenaries box (with possible arms from the Troopers box). I am taking a 'Star Wars Approach' to this force, by which I mean that most of the soldiers are human with a smattering of aliens mixed in. Not only does this give the force some nice variety, but it means I can occasionally use those purple and magenta paints that don't get a lot of use!


Friday, 20 May 2022

Army of Dol Amroth


 (Click on photo for a bigger shot)

The other project I have been working on is my Army of Dol Amroth. This photo shows off most of my progress so far.  I've got 5 swordsmen with their swan/star shields. I've got three archers, and I have just finished the first of my spearmen, with a new version of the swan symbol on his shield. All of those figures are Fireforge plastics. In the middle is a mounted Games Workshop knight and another on foot. I've actually got 5 more foot knights, I just haven't dug them out of the box yet. My main goal here is to get the swordsmen, spearmen, and archers up to 6 man units. (Then 8, then 12!).  I'd like to add some more mounted knights, but I really like the metal ones, and they are rather expensive these days, being out-of-print. I will probably add one every so often.


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Colonial Marines


(Click on the photo to embiggen)

I haven't been blogging as much lately, no major reason for this. It's just been nice weather, and I have been doing other things. But I'm still doing a bit of painting on several different projects. Today, I just wanted to show off my slowly advancing 'Dropship Down' project. These are my colonial marine forces, and my junk-made terrain. Basically, from this point, I just want to add a bit more of everything. More terrain, more troops, more vehicles. There is something refreshingly simple about the project. I enjoy the way I haven't tied it to any ruleset or even specifically to any line of miniatures - though I admit I really am enjoying the Stargrave plastics, especially the Mercenaries box! 

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Roll vs. Evil

For awhile now I've been trading emails with Chris Birch, the head of Modiphius (who publish the Rangers of Shadow Deep rulebook) about the idea of translating 'gaming good' into 'real world good'. Well, Chris took that idea and he ran with it! Modiphius have just launched a new charity called Roll vs. Evil devoted to the concept.

They are kicking things off by calling upon all gamers to dedicate their games this weekend to the cause and to donate money to help fight human trafficking along the Ukrainian border

Growing up, I always wanted to be a hero, a paladin, who fought to help people. These days, I've realized I'm more like 'support staff' in the fight against evil, but that's an important role too! 

I'm excited by the chance to help out. I would love for people to dedicate any games of Frostgrave, Stargrave, Rangers of Shadow Deep, Oathmark, The Silver Bayonet, and Operation: Last Train that they play this weekend to the cause.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Mustering Dol Amroth

For awhile now, I have considered making a new Gondorian army. I’ve got one, made with the official Games Workshop figures, but it has several drawbacks. First, they are mostly Minas Tirth forces, and while they are great figures, they don’t completely match my vision. Also, with their silver and black colour scheme, I just don’t find them much fun to paint. Finally, the range is limited, both in terms of types of troops, but also poses. I wanted something where I had more freedom to create figures…

Recently, Fireforge released a new box of multi-part Almughavars (Spanish infantry of the late Reconquista period). These guys were almost a perfect match for my vision of Gondorian infantry, so I ordered a box. When I assembled the first one, I liked everything about it except the shield choices. Instead, I gave it a shield from the Oathmark Dwarf Infantry box. This weekend, I got busy painting.


I tried to paint the first one as a Minas Tirith soldier but became frustrated with my inability to paint a white tree. So, I gave up, and had a think. My favourite part of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields has always been the Knights of Dol Amroth, and I do really like Games Workshop’s miniatures of those. Why not paint these guys up as the ‘seven hundreds of men-at-arms’ that Prince Imrahil brought along with his knights to the siege of Minas Tirith?

This allowed me to paint with their striking blue and white colour scheme, but left me in some doubts about the shield. I was sure I couldn’t paint a ‘swan-ship’, and I had my doubts about even managing a swan. I did a little internet research and stumbled across this drawing of Lohengrin, the Swan Knight.

[I’ve got a good knowledge of Arthurian legend, but I must admit, I didn’t recognize the name. This sent me off on a long tangent, and added a couple things to my reading list, but I digress.]

I loved the design on the shield and thought I might be able to paint a version. In the end, I gave it my own twist, painting it as an 8-pointed star with the top point being the head of a swan. It took a lot of work, but eventually I got it looking pretty good (if I do say so myself). After that, the rest of the paint job was easy. I was so enthused by it, I immediately assembled and painted another one!

 

I then added an archer as well. This is made from the Fireforge Folk Rabble box with a head from the Almughavars box and a quiver from my bits box.

I was extremely pleased to see that these guys size-up almost perfectly with the Games Workshop Knights of Dol Amroth which I’ve already got.

So, now I’m planning a multi-system force! My first goal is to paint the 8 swordsmen, 8 spearmen, and 8 archers that are required for almost every Gondorian scenario in the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game. Then, I want to increase each of those units to 12 so that they are ready to go when the new version of Lion Rampant is released later this year. From there, I can hopefully expand the force for games of Oathmark.

What pleases me most about this is knowing that I can easily build other troops or specialist units to add to the army using these guys as the basis. Of course, my enthusiasm for a specific project rarely lasts for a whole army… but we’ll see!

Monday, 21 February 2022

The Imagi-Nation Army is Growing!

I admit, I got a little side-tracked on the Imagi-Nation army that I began with such promise at the start of 2021. Well, it wasn't my best year.

I have made some progress though. Recently I finished up my second, 16-man infantry unit. In celebration of this event, I decided to get the whole 'army' out for a little photo shoot. Okay, the army is just two infantry units and one artillery piece, but that represents a serious amount of painting time!

I've got a lot of choices for what to do next... cavalry? a skirmish unit? a command group? I haven't decided yet, and I'm not going to push it. At some point, I'll get a craving, and when I do, I'll go for it.

For now, I'm just going to revel in my little group of toy soldiers... and maybe get them fighting some zombies or something!