Thursday, 16 September 2021

Osgiliath Veteran Conversion


The Osgiliath Veterans are some of my favourite of the official GW The Lord of the Rings miniatures. I just love their battered, old campaigner look. Plus, they are some of the few Gondorian soldiers that were ever produced in metal. The downside is that there are only three - one with a bow, one with a spear, and one with sword and shield. So, after you've painted a couple of packs, they start to get a bit samey. 

My conversion skills are pretty limited, but to avoid painting the same figure again, I decided to give it a go. I cut the head off the spearman and replaced it with a hooded head from the Frostgrave Knights sprue. Size-wise they are a pretty good match. It worked especially well on this figure as he already had the torn cloak, and by painting both the same colour they integrated nicely. 

Anyway, here he is. A Gondorian soldier who has been on the front lines perhaps a little too long.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Stargrave - Shortlisted for TTG Awards

I've just been informed that Stargrave has been short listed for 'Best Miniatures Game' by the Tabletop Gaming awards. I believe this is a new set of awards, though the magazine presenting them has been around for a number of years now (and even contained the occasional piece from yours truly!). 

You can see the short lists for each category and vote for winners here. I must admit, they've got a couple of unusual categories, such as 'Best Way to Die in an RPG'! 

While I will continue to try and not define my self-worth, or the worth of my games, by awards received - it's always nice to hear that people think you are doing a good job! 

Monday, 13 September 2021

The Grey and the White


White is my least favourite colour to paint. Heck, it doesn't even photograph as well as other colours on miniatures. Still, if you want to paint a Saruman, you pretty much have to use it.

Both of the figures above are sculpted by Bobby Jackson and come from Reaper miniatures. Both are part of my slow, on-again off-again, attempt to 'heroic scale' a lot of my The Lord of the Rings miniatures collection. The Gandalf I painted sometime ago, the Saruman just recently.

I love that both figures come from the same sculptor as it gives them a similarity that befits Gandalf and Saruman. Okay, Saruman is never mentioned to have an owl... but it never says he doesn't have an owl, and besides, he is 'the Wise'. 

So anyway, it wasn't the most fun figure to paint because of the white, which I layered up from a cream, but I still enjoyed it, and I'm pretty happy with the results.

Now if Bobby would just sculpted a third one who looked a bit more... I dunno, Brown?

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

The Sawhole Scourge!


Back in my university days, I played a lot of Blood Bowl. While I still consider it one of the best games that Games Workshop has ever produced, these days, I am generally looking for quicker games - both in terms of turn turnover and in play length. So, I was really intrigued when I heard that GW had produced a game called Blitz Bowl, which basically sounded like a smaller, faster version of Blood Bowl. Unfortunately, the game was made available exclusively to Barnes and Noble in the USA. 

Well, being an immigrant does have some advantages, and I was able to get my father to send me over a copy. It arrived just before lockdown happened. And so, after reading the rules, and looking at it all wistfully, I put it on the shelf.

Britain is opening up again - at least for the present, and I've convinced a couple of chums to try out the game in a little round-robin tournament coming up.  While my version of the game came with humans and orcs, I've always been a skaven player at heart. Thankfully, the box comes with rules for the skaven, so I was able to buy a skaven Blood Bowl team and paint up half of them.

So here they are - The Sawhole Scourge! I figure Sawhole is some minor skaven holding, and playing Blitz Bowl is seen as one of the few ways to escape the place.

Painting these figures took a lot longer than I expected. It's been awhile since I've painted modern GW plastics, and I must admit the level of detail is impressive. In truth, it might be a bit more than I want to paint most of the time. That said, it think the little team looks great, and I'm looking forward to getting them on the pitch! 

I'll hopefully report back in a week or two with the results of the tournament and any further thoughts on the game!

Monday, 6 September 2021

The Hunt for Gollum

If you are going to collect The Lord of the Rings miniatures, sooner or later you are going to need a Gollum. Actually, I already have one from the current Games Workshop line, but I found it just too small for my tastes. I wanted something in a more 'heroic' scale. By this I mean figures that have more exaggerated features - bigger hands, heads, shoulders. I generally find such figures much easier and more satisfactory to paint.

The problem being - Gollum has such a specific appearance that I struggled to find anything among the generic fantasy miniatures that were available. I finally resorted to asking for help on the Wargaming in Middle-earth FaceBook page. One member suggested I look at the Gollum sculpted for the official LOTR Citadel range of the 1980s (Thanks Rob!). Most of that range is a bit too cartoony for me, but Gollum is supposed to be a bit cartoony. Anyway, I found a photo, loved the figure, and found one on Ebay that didn't cost too much. 

Painting was a pretty simple process, since he's mostly pale skin. I decided to over-emphasis the eyes (remember those eyes are really only about a couple of mm wide) as these are Gollum's most defining feature. I also love that he's clutching a fish.

Unfortunately for Gollum, after a long chase, my Aragorn has finally run him down!

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

What I’m Working On

Okay, the truth is, I haven’t been working very much for the last three weeks. It’s the ‘Summer Holiday’ here, and I have been taking some time off to play with the kids, to read, to paint, to cycle, and to just generally recharge my batteries. 

That said, there has still been a lot going on, and a few projects that are nearing completion.

Stargrave – The first supplement, Quarantine 37 is currently available for pre-order (with some special tokens if you get it from North Star). Meanwhile, I have finished writing the second supplement, The Last Prospector, and am working with Osprey to get it polished up. I have also started work on the third supplement, Hope Eternal, which is mainly going to be one, epic solo or co-operative campaign.

Frostgrave – December will see the release of the Blood Legacy, the second Frostgrave expansion since the launch of Second Edition. This book is basically an excuse for players to buy some awesome vampire and giant models! I’m really looking forward to the release of this one, as it’s got some really different kinds of scenarios in it. The last thing I did before I shut it down for the summer was to submit the manuscript for the book after that – Fireheart. This supplement is devoted to building weird constructs and playing with really strange and deadly terrain on the table.

(I am currently in discussion with Osprey about possible supplements for both games beyond what has been mentioned here.)

The Silver Bayonet – Of course, in November, I have a new game coming out, The Silver Bayonet. This is a skirmish, warband game set in a world of Napoleonic Gothic Horror. It uses a completely new system. It’s a little simpler, and a little less ‘swingy’ perhaps, than most of my other games, but hopefully gives everyone an excuse to paint up a few Napoleonics and a hobgoblin or two! It also includes several solo scenarios, so you can get started right away!

Spellcaster – It’s been a long time since I released an issue of my Frostgrave magazine, but hopefully it won’t be too much longer. I now have all of the pieces for Issue 7 turned over to the designer.

Rangers of Shadow Deep – The long-awaited Dungeons Dark, part 2 of The Rescue is now with the designer, so hopefully will be seen in the next few months. I have already started sketching out the final part, though it’s a long way off.

Other – I have been working on a mini-miniatures game that I’m planning on releasing in the next volume of Blaster (Volume 4). If you are unaware, this is a wargaming anthology series I’m a part of.  I don’t want to say much about the game yet, but it will be a full set of rules, allow you to use miniatures from literally any time-period, and uses a minimum of terrain. Watch this space!

Monday, 2 August 2021

Stargrave - Best Miniature Rules at UK Games Expo!

I am excited to learn that Stargrave has won both the Judge's Award and the People's Choice Award for Best Miniatures Rules at this year,s UK Games Expo! 

Not only that, but the Stargrave miniatures also won both awards for Best Miniatures Range!

Many thanks to everyone who voted and everyone who has supported the game. Stargrave has only been out a short time, but the response has been tremendous! 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend the show this year, but I am already making my plans to be there next year.