Wednesday 22 April 2020

Tidal Lurker

This is another, recent Reaper Bones purchase. Apart from a somewhat warped base, he’s a wonderful figure. Painting was a breeze as he’s basically all layered purple/pink and a bunch of washes. I got him to serve as the main threat in my introductory undersea adventure.

While I still want to add some stuff to my ‘general undersea terrain’ collection, I think I’ve got enough to get started with. So, now it is on to working out some rules and coming up with that first scenario!

And I remembered a size-comparison shot this time!

Tuesday 21 April 2020

The End of an Era (and a hobby knife)

I’m not a man who gets overly sentimental about objects. (I save that for people and places). But, the other day, when I realized I was down to the very last blade of my hobby knife, I realized it was the end of an era. You see, this American Line Auto-lock knife is the last of five that have trimmed my miniatures, cut my card and paper, opened my boxes, and travelled with me for the last 20 years…

It was near the end of the 1990s. I had graduated university, and like so many others, I had very little idea what to do with the rest of my life. So, I moved back in with parents and signed up with a temp agency. The agency assigned me to work in the Inventory Control department of a commercial airline inspection and repair facility out by the city airport. It was probably the most boring job I have ever had. I did about an hour of filing every day, and that was it. Often, I sat a desk that didn’t even have a computer, so I had nothing to entertaining me except a notebook I brought with me or a book I sneakily read. It was an amazing example of the collective laziness of the other 5 people in the department who couldn’t be bothered to do their own 15 minutes of filing a day, and the gullibility of the manager who apparently thought they were overworked.

Looking back, I probably should have said something, or asked for more work, but it was my first real experience working in an office environment – and there were free Krispy Kreme donuts every Friday (Inventory Control shared the office with the buyers…).

One of the older guys in the department took a liking to me, and occasionally, when he had to go down into the warehouse to physically check on some inventory, or recover a piece to send to another plant, he would invite me a long. The best part of this was that we got to walk through the giant hangers where guys were working on the planes. It was amazing to see them crawling over them like little ants, welding, cutting, and all. My friend used to be one of the mechanics before an injury landed him a desk job, and it was clear he missed it. We used to chat about how each mechanic has his own personal tool box – many of which looked more like wardrobes on wheels than ‘boxes’. I told him about my wargaming hobby, and how it would be cool to have one of those tool boxes to hold all my paints and tools, etc.

One day, as I finally neared the end of this employment-purgatory, my friend took me back into the inventory shelves. He asked if I had any use for a box cutter. I said I used them all the time. He reached into a bin, pulled out five of them, and gave them too me. I suppose he knew very well that these small items were not inventoried, and I was too na├»ve to do anything but except them with a smile.

As you might expect for tools that are used on commercial airliners, these knives were of seriously high quality. I have delighted in their use for over two decades. Thankfully, it does appear that they can be ordered from special tool places in the UK, and they aren’t even particularly expensive. The design has changed significantly, but hopefully they have maintained their quality over the last twenty years. I think I’m going to have to find out…


Apparently, I'm just an idiot. After it was pointed out on face book, I opened up the back and discovered two more complete blades contained well as the tool for snapping off the blades safely. Well, this comes from being given a tool without any instruction in its use! I morn for the four I discarded with their extra blades still hidden within, but at least I'm the wiser!

Friday 17 April 2020

PATMOCON and the Sunken Ship!

This past weekend, I was a guest at PATMOCON - the Paint All The Minis online convention. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect of it, but through a combination of Discord and Zoom (two systems I had not previously used), I had a really good time. I got the chance to connect with some of the fans of my games, share a little news, and answer some questions. I also got to watch and listen to a lot of other interesting people in the hobby talk about different things, including specific games and companies, manufacturing methods, and even a paint tutorial or two.

One of the great bonuses of an online convention, as opposed to a live one (other than not being able to contract a virus while attending) is that I could model and paint while listening to all of the talks and chats. In fact, just before I started the convention, I pulled out my Age of Sigmar Gloomtide Shipwreck that was still in the shrink wrap. Over the course of the weekend, I managed to fully assemble and paint it.

In truth, I didn't paint all of the details on the ship. For example, there are a couple of fish swimming along side of it. Since I want to be able to use it both on land and underwater, I just painted them like the wood of the ship. Also, there are lots of details on the base that I just painted as sand. It just didn't seem worth the effort to paint a huge amount of detail that would almost never be seen. All of that said, it really is a great kit. It went together so easily. It looks awesome. It dry-brushed up easily. It's got just enough barnacles that I didn't go crazy painting them, but still gives the model some depth and contrast. I love that it comes in two pieces so that you can use it as two separate pieces or as one larger piece.

I'm going to use it as the centrepiece for my first underwater scenario - I mean what is more classic than looting a shipwreck?

Anyway, both PATMOCON and the Gloomtide Shipwreck model are highly recommended! Also, how good does the ship look on that Cigar Box Battles desert mat?

Thursday 16 April 2020

Under the Sea!

Having decided to embark on an undersea project, I realized the first thing I was going to need was a good set of modular terrain that I could use to fill up most of a small table. I figure most of my scenarios will have some kind of centrepiece model, but that still leaves a lot of table to cover. 

As you can see from the photographs here, I decided to focus on two elements: aquarium plants and seashells. Most of the seashells I was able to gather from the family collection. Some come from the beach near where I live, though most of the ones seen here actually come from Edisto Island, S.C., where my family often holidays. It's a great beach for finding shells. A few of the more colourful shells were actually bought for my kids at sometime in the past. Shells work great because not only are the generally free, but they also immediately set the scene as underwater in a way nothing else really does on the table. 

Along with the shells I bought an assortment of small aquarium plants. I based each of these individually on a small metal base. This gives them enough weight to generally keep them in place, but gives me a huge amount of freedom on how I arrange them around the table. I can cluster them together to create dense patches of foliage, or I can spread them out. I can even build walls and other kinds of structures out of them. I've got a dozen of these at the moment. I could probably use another dozen to really fill up the table.

So, things are coming along!

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Rock Troll!

The last time I made an order with Reaper miniatures, I just couldn't resist picking this guy up as well. The figure just has so much character. I love the expression on the face. I love the stance.

I have no specific need for him, but then trolls do seem to feature in my life quite a bit...  I'm sure he'll make it into a game of Frostgrave or Ghost Archipelago or Rangers.  In fact, I might even use him as a giant in Oathmark.

I realize now I should have photographed him with another figure to show off just how big he is. For example, most of my rangers come up to right around the top of his belt...

I'm not sure I completely pulled off the painting of the crystals. I didn't want to make them look too jarring with the rest of the model. Still, I had fun painting it, and I like the finished product well enough, so I'm going to call it a success!

Thursday 9 April 2020

Spellcaster 6 is now Available!

Need some new Frostgrave scenarios to play? Need some new solo material to try out? Need giant tortoises? You are in luck. The new issue of Spellcaster contains all of that and more.

It is currently available as a PDF from DriveThruRPG. Print-on-demand will hopefully follow soon, but may take a bit longer in these uncertain times.  

The new issue includes:

* Swords Against the Slime Lord – A 4-scenario Frostgrave mini-campaign.
* The Frostgrave Immersion Tour pack – including 6 unique scenarios.
* Standing in the Eye – A one-off Frostgrave scenario.
* Warriors of Athena - Using the Frostgrave rules for playing solo Greek Myth games, including 2 scenarios.
* The Witch of Mount Gramos – A 3-scenario mini-campaign for Warriors of Athena.
* Giant Tortoises in Ghost Archipelago – Rules for mounts and pack tortoises as well as a solo scenario.
* Eye Demons in Frostgrave – Rules for eye demons, plus a new scenario

Wednesday 8 April 2020

An Online Wargame Convention?!?

This weekend I will be hanging out at PATMOCON, the online wargaming convention. During that time I'll be talking about my games: Frostgrave, Rangers of Shadow Deep, and Oathmark. I also, hopefully, will have the chance to check out the virtual vendors hall, as well has have a peak in at what all of the other participants are up to.

For more information about the whole convention, and buying tickets, click here.

Below is my official schedule for the weekend. Now, I'll admit, I'm not exactly sure what form each of these events is going to take, as I'm still working out the technology, and it may depend somewhat on how many people show up. Still, I'm going to try and make myself available and see if we can have some fun.

All of these times are GMT. Some of the material will be archived however, so that it is accessible at any point during the convention.


11AM – 12PM: Oathmark Chat and Question and Answer session.

2PM – 3PM: Frostgrave: 2nd Edition – Secrets Revealed


11AM – 12PM: Live Show (I'll be talking with the host on the 'main stage')

2PM – 3PM: Rangers of Shadow Deep Hangout

I'm seriously hoping there is going to be a T-Shirt!

Wednesday 1 April 2020

The Quiet Launch of Oathmark

My fantasy battle game, Oathmark: Battles of the Lost Age is now available to order from North Star MilitaryFigures. They are packing them up and shipping them out as we speak.

It’s all so different than it was planned. I was supposed to travel to Ireland to shoot videos with Beast of War. I was supposed to go to Adepticon to talk it up. It was supposed to launch at Salute with glorious fanfare. The Salute launch was to be accompanied by all kinds of new figures, special deals, online sales, etc.

But… well, you know the ‘but’. Planes were grounded, travel cancelled, all of the shows postponed. The London ExCel, where Salute is held, is currently being converted into a massive hospital. That fact kind of puts my complaints and disappointments into perspective.

Still, life and games must go on, and our hobbies remain important outlets for relieving stress and finding fun and happiness, especially as so many of us are forced to stay inside most of the time.

If you are interested in Oathmark, and want it sooner rather than later, you are probably best off ordering it from North Star.

If you are just hearing about the game, there is lots of information, and even a few battle reports on the Osprey Games Blog