20 March 2018

A Plunge into the Dark

I have decided over the last couple of years to take the opportunity afforded by the AHPC to do something different. Last year saw my foray into a 6mm miniatures with a Blood Angels Epic army. This was quite novel for me as I had never painted any 6 mm models nor had been involved in anything to do with Fantasy wargaming. For this year's Challenge, an unusual series of events and observations sent me down a path I would have never predicted.

This past fall found me with far fewer wargaming opportunities than had previously been the case. What was I do? Through a Kickstarter a Boardgame had landed in my lap. I gave it a go and discovered that boardgaming was a possibility but at the same time it was still a challenge to play solo. Somewhere along the way, I believe Curt mentioned that there were Boardgames out there where the story line was driven by a computer programme. In fact he had recently painted some figures for a same said game. 

So I bought Mansions of Madness. I had heard of HP Lovecraft but had never read him and the Cthulthu Mythos was unknown to me, although I had wondered what it was. I like main stream Science Fiction but had never really been into the horror genre aside from maybe Steven King and TED Klein. I set up a game and found it quite interesting and fun to play and as a bonus one day my wife and sister-in-law were watching me play and quickly got talked in to having a go. They were immediately drawn in by the character profiles of the Investigators in the game. At the end of a 2 hour session, they both said when are we going to play again!

Being obsessive, I really could not play with unpainted figures, so I set about painting them. A further conversation with Curt gave me the idea that it might be interesting to paint the Investigators in polychrome while painting the Monsters in a monochrome. But while putting the project together, I started to ask myself who was HP Lovecraft?
Well I suppose this is where I started to lose control of myself. Reading about him certainly revealed a somewhat unusual character; both parents going mad and dying in asylums, riches to rags, and a quite extraordinary fan base. His books are out of copyright, so Kindle versions are easily obtained. I read The Dunwich Horror, a strange story and I liked the writing style. But what was this Cthulhu Mythos. While researching this, I discovered that many of his stories have spoken versions and are easily available without cost. I discovered HorrorBabble and I was hooked. 

I suspect in the last two months I have listened to maybe 20 of HP Lovecraft's short stories and novellas over and over again! At the Mountains of Madness is my favourite, but close behind is The Shadow over Innsmouth and of course The Call of the Cthulhu. I suppose it does not help that I live in Salem, Massachusetts, the dead centre of Lovecraft Country
This immersion has also sparked an interest in 1930 and 40's pulp magazine cover art. I am going to have to stop myself from starting a collection.
I could go on and on, but I should stop. If you would like to take the plunge, here is a link to my YouTube playlists of HP Lovecraft stories.

Anyway, please excuse my ramblings, time to get back to the challenge! Below find the start of my Mansions of Madness figure collection. The figures are mostly semi-hard plastic, the faces are somewhat soft but generally I enjoyed painting them. The polychrome Investigators were easy enough to paint but I am not really sure if you can call my Monsters true greyscale, so I decided to use the term monochrome. The black background is a real challenge to get right. I have photographed all the figure 3-4 times. I initially tried my iPhone 8 but I just could not get it right. I then went back to my Cannon and in iPhoto I was able to adjust the background (make it black) using the blackpoint adjustment without destroying the image. Still not an hundred percent but improving.

The Investigators
Carson Sinclair, Joe Diamond, Father Mateo
Kate Winthrop, Rita Young, Agatha Crane
The Monsters
Hunting Horrors
Cult Leader, Witch, Priest of Dagon
Innsmouth Rioters
Deep One Hybrids, Barnabas Marsh
Ghost, Hound of Tindalos, Maniac
Deep Ones
Star Spawn
Well another year's challenge has gone by: Many thanks to Curt and a very patient Sarah. Also thanks to my minion Ray as well as all the other helpers. And finally congratulations to all the participants, each year the submissions are just more and more brilliant.

18 March 2018

AHPCVIII Eleventh Submission: Epic Air Support

I received these models a couple of weeks ago and they really are first class and a lot of fun to paint. I have now completed my purchases for my 4000 point Horus Heresy Epic army. Still some painting to do, but should be ok to go for that planned but not yet scheduled Canadian East versus West Epic battle. The Blood Angels will be ready!

I have a tendency to overpaint these small models, but time was limited and I think I have them just right. I did learn an important painting tip this time around. I had been priming the models red and then using a wash to bring out the details. This time I primed them black and then used an airbrush to spray the red. Much better effect for shadowing but leaves the high points bright.

The descriptions of the airships are from the Warhammer 40k Fandom.

Kharybdis Assault Claw
The Kharybdis Assault Claw is a type of Drop Pod used by the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy. The Kharybdis is a monstrous drop pod capable of carrying large assault forces through the void and mounting significant firepower to blast a path through defending small craft. As a fully operational dropship, these craft serve as orbit-to-surface transports, a role that allows them to use the firepower of their storm launchers and melta cutters to scour clean their chosen landing zone before disembarking their deadly cargo. 

Storm Eagle
The Storm Eagle is a heavy assault gunship used by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes as a heavy tactical air support unit. Storm Eagle gunships will follow a Space Marine Chapter's Thunderhawk gunships and Drop Pods into battle, where it can lend its weapons to a devastating aerial assault. The Storm Eagle mounts an impressive amount of firepower for an aircraft of its size and is also capable of transporting twenty Space Marines directly into the thick of a ground assault.

Xiphon Interceptors
The Xiphon Pattern Interceptor is a void and atmospheric flight-capable fighter craft once used by the Space Marine Legions of old. The Xiphon Interceptor was widely used by the Legiones Astartes during the early days of the Great Crusade, before falling out of regular service and seeing a resurgence in general use during the Horus Heresy due to shortages of available combat aircraft.

16 March 2018

SAGA: Retreat-Irish vs Saxons

Wow.........two games in one week, I am on a real roll!

Last night myself at Adam got together for a game of SAGA at the Hobby Bunker. There is no question that we both enjoy this ruleset and Adam got to field his newly painted Irish Warband. He really did a great job on them. The game was also a bit of an occasion as this will be our last game of SAGA, as our next game will be played using SAGA2. I am looking forward to this as I believe it the re-write will be a significant streamlining of the rules.

I had planned to field a Moslem Warband but for a couple of reasons I decided against it. I am one unit short to make 6 points so it was going to be a little difficult and SAGA2 is going to result in a significant rewrite of the battleboards. 

Thus I decided to go with a warband from the Aetius and Arthur supplement which is SAGA2 compliant. I have played both the Romans and the Britons from this book and wanted to do something different. After a quick look through I decided to go with the Saxons. I am by nature a defensive player and the Saxons are an aggressive warband so I felt it would be a good warband to try to get out of my comfort zone.

We picked the Retreat scenario from the A&A supplement which we had played once before. The last time Adam was the attacker and won the game, so it was felt only reasonable that I should attack.

Adam went with a Standard Warlord as well as 2 Curraigh derived from a 2 units of Hearthguard. He also went with 4 Warrior units, one being some Irish Wolfhounds for his 6 points. 

I went with the Hengist and Horsa 1 point warlord upgrade as well as 4 units of warriors and 1 unit of levy for my 6 points.
The starting positions. essentially the defenders are set up in a narrow 6" band in the middle of the terrain and have to escape off the board to the farground. The attackers set up in a 6" strip on their table edge but may also put up to 2 units on the defenders table edge. The defenders start the game with 1 fatigue per unit and any attacker on the defenders edge starts with 2 fatigue. It is a good scenario which is a lot of fun. Victory is given to the player who gains the most points. Points are gained by the defender from their figures off the table edge as well as from the opposing figures killed. The attackers gains points from opposing  figures killed. As you can see I placed by levy bowmen on the defenders table edge (right farground)
The attack starts, the game is only 6 turns so alacrity in advance is required.
Irish Warriors and the Wolfhounds and a Curraigh being tracked by the Saxon Warriors with Horsa leading the way.  They were all successful with minimal loss in escaping.
The Irish were less successful on the other end, I was able to quickly take down a unit of warriors and decimate a unit of Hearthguard and the Warlord's Pride resulted in the Irish Warlord being forced to engage Hengist and losing.
The last unit of Irish escaping off the board.
The Irish had all escaped by turn 5, but despite an abysmal Turn 4 SAGA dice throw where I got 6 Common Dice, I was able to eke out a victory with a 21 to 17 point victory for the Saxons. 

It is not often I win against Adam, so I have to say I was happy with my choice of Warband. The Saxons have an interesting BattleBoard, so I think you will see them again.

14 March 2018

GdA: Battle of Maida

Last Sunday myself and Iannick got in another game of Général d'Ármee at Iannick's house in Montréal. It was Iannick's second game and my fifth. It had been almost 3 months since either of us had played so the rules were a little rusty but aside from a minor misinterpretation of the skirmishing rules and a mess up of one charge involving multiple units, we actually did very well. We brought the game to conclusion in 5 hours which is not bad.

We decided to do a smallish battle based on the Battle of Maida, with 5 brigades of British and 4 of French. I have always felt Maida was a nice nice battle to test a divisional level ruleset as essentially the armies were about even in manpower and had all three armed branches present. The terrain is as below, we did not factor in the roads as in GdA they have no real effect. The trees and the Lamato River were treated as rough terrain.
At Maida there were Polish and Swiss troops in the French OB and some Corsicans and Sicilians fighting for the British. We made some substitutions and the OB was below.
I will not bother to write up a formal battle report, but I did take some snaps and will highlight some of the action in the captions.
British KGL advancing in line with some Caçadores up front.
The French defenders, the British had the initiative.
The British appear to be advancing in Attack Column.
The Portuguese.
The French left flank.
Skirmishers were heavily in play throughout the game.
Two large British units advancing in AC.
The Portuguese advance
The French centre is broken.

We gave victory to the British (Iannick), once the centre was broken there was no real way the French could recover. We both enjoyed our game, it is a good ruleset.

10 March 2018

AHPCVIII Tenth Submission: More Folklore!

Nine more figures from Folklore: The Affliction box set. I have only 5 more left to paint. I have again gone with bright colours. They are nice figures to paint aside from the faces as on some of the figures the sculpting of the faces is quite soft.

I am experimenting with a black backdrop here. It is a real challenge, as to keep the background black, I have to crank down the exposure and have to avoid using a lot of light. I am using my iPhone as oddly enough I find the quality better than my fancy camera and I can edit the photo to a certain degree on my phone. I also like the airdrop feature. I am having some problems with the lighting as you can see the left most figure in the bottom photo is a little washed out.

I like a white back drop as I find it easier to get the exposure correct, but my last submission to the challenge this year really will require a black backdrop so it is good to get some practice in. If any one has any advice to give I would appreciate it.

Moon Priests and Stregas

Some Vampires


Well the Challenge is over in 2 weeks, I am hoping to have two more submissions. The final submission is completely painted but not yet photographed and written about. I also have another group almost painted that I hope to get in next Wednesday. Check it out at Analogue Hobbies.