Friday, October 21, 2016

Trial piece of Frostgrave terrain

Okay, I noodled with a few designs over the week and came up with this piece for Frostgrave.

A doughty adventurer looks out for the threat that did for a previous explorer.

The body of the work is from the Hirst Arts Gothic mold, and the skull is from a Halloween decoration recast in plaster. I gave the skull a going over with Pledge mixed with sepia and India inks to bring out the details and make it look suitably gruesome. The deposits of melting snow are bicarbonate of soda mixed in roughly equal proportion to PVA adhesive then smeared into place. It seems to have turned out well. I have a few more ideas in mind which I'll work on the next few days. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Frostgrave terrain?

A question - is there a market for ready-made Frostgrave (TM) terrain? As some of my readers will know I have a number of the excellent Hirst Arts molds and some skill in scratch-building. Examples of a set of bookends - The Sage's Lair - I made are shown below.

If anyone would like a set of Frostgrave stuff, let me know.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Autumnal ECW action - Much Piddling in the Woods

That stern Puritan General Temperance-and-Prudence-Shall-Be-Thine-Watchwords Knott raided deep into Royalist held territory. He brought fire and sword to the Malignant believers in the Divine Right of Kings, smiting them hip and thigh, even. Now, with Autumn drawing on, Knott's on his way back to friendlier climes and winter quarters in the bucolic village of Much Piddling in the Woods - but the Royalists are snapping at his heels...

...Or they would be, if Sir George Moutebank can persuade them to get their act together.

The scene of the coming battle. Autumn's spreading her golden gown.
A goodly beginning for Parliament. Knott leads Montagu's regiment of foot on the final straight to the village.
Sir Allen Apsley's regiment of foot make an appearance on the south road. Now the race is on.
Sir John Norwich's Regiment of Horse gallop by to screen the troops on the road.

Their counterparts, Sir Chas. Gerard's Regiment of Horse gallop up.
Eager to confront the upstarts, Sir Charles forms his regiment into line.
General Knott peers at the oncoming Malignants through his spyglass. Knowing he's almost certainly outnumbered, he wonders - Will I have time enough to reach the village and safety?
Sir John's and Sir Charles' regiments square off against each other. Much Piddling in the Woods lies in the distance beyond the river.
Sir John's regiment begins a caracole maneuver against their rivals. Hits are scarce, but the overall effect is unnerving to the Cavaliers.
In the distance General Knott leads Montagu's regiment beyond the crucial bend in the road between the two woods. Whatever happens now, his infantry should be safe. The artillery follows on at a more leisurely pace.
The caracole continues to baffle the Royalist horse. Sir George Mountebank joins his cavalry and tries to get them to charge, but to no avail. Impatient at the delay, Sir Allen Apsley's regiment moves past the cavalry's flank.

The stalwart pikemen of the Earl of Essex's Lifeguard formed the garrison of the village. They welcome their comrades as Montagu's regiment passes over the bridge. General Knott peers through his spyglass back down the road. His cavalry are doing good work, but may need guidance. 
Finally, Sir George persuades the Cavaliers to charge...
General Knott joined his Trotters just in time to encourage a gallant counter-charge.

A bloody encounter ensued, to the detriment of the pusillanimous Royalists. (The red token denoting a Hit is about to be replaced with the deadly white token denoting a Casualty). 
Montagu's regiment lines the churchyard walls. The tardy artillery make their way over the bridge. Much Piddling in the Woods is safe for the army to winter in.
Eschewing the caracole, Sir John's regiment gives their opponents a good pistoling. Although the Royalist artillery and Bolle's regiment of foot fume at being screened by their own horse, Sir Allen Apsley's regiment is about to alter the equation.
The right flank sleeve of Sir Allen's regiment gives fire against the Parliamentary horse, causing some damage.

General Knott decides discretion is the better part of valour and leads his horse away down the road to the village. A triumph for Parliamentary arms!
* * * *
All figures are 10mm Pendraken Miniatures. Fought to Victory Without Quarter rules, the game was noteworthy for the amazing number of poor dice rolls on the part of the Royalist cavalry. Even the presence of their C-in-C wasn't enough to persuade them to charge for several moves (There's not much that can be done when the dice score fails consecutively to rise above 4!). When the Malignants finally managed to stagger into a charge against their rivals, the Ironside 'trotters' previously held in such contempt handed the Royalists their flowing-lock'ed heads to them on a platter.

The cards were drawn at random, and the sequence favoured Parliament quite enough in the first few turns to make their reaching the village with most of their force intact a certainty.

It was a quick, fun game, and gave me the chance to put my new Autumn-foliage trees on the table. I hope to be able to add to the ECW forces in the next few weeks. Watch this space...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Archon 40 - Photos

We're back from an enjoyable weekend at Archon, the premier SF/Fantasy convention in the American Midwest. It's the 40th anniversary of the convention, and my 9th year as a panelist. As always there was so much to see and do we didn't find time to get around everything, but we made the most of it.

As requested, here are a few photos of the event. Claudia Christian (Commander Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5) was one of the Guests of Honour this year. We all appreciated the fact she made an effort to attend in spite of breaking her foot a few weeks ago. She's quite a whiz on the motorised scooter she had to use to get around!

At the fan Q&A session.
Signing autographs in the hall. My wife later got an autographed CD of her songs for my upcoming birthday.
A member of the High Council of Gallifrey made an appearance.

This friendly little chap was wandering the halls. He looks familiar...

A fine Steampunk Lady, with a working flamethrower (!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Not a lot going on

I've been busy finishing off a new novel these past two weeks. This weekend we're heading over to the Archon SF/Fantasy/Steampunk convention, now in its 40th year. The delightful Claudia Christian, Commander Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5 will be one of the guests of honor this year.

I had hoped to fit in an ECW game today, but my gaming table has been co-opted to host a number of potted plants while we're away. Sigh...

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Earl of Essex's Lifeguard pikes.

What it says on the tin. I painted these pikemen on and off during the week, and they're now based and ready for action.

Of course they lack the 'sleeves' of musketeers that form up on either flank, but they'll serve for now. It illustrates the problem of buying multiple figures in packs - there are always figures left over after the units have been assembled. I get around this to some extent by varying the number of figures in a regiment. It gives the randomness found in unit strengths of the period where recruitment was inadequate, and losses through battle or, more often, sickness had accumulated.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lazy Sunday

A thoroughly disturbed night means I'm feeling too out of it to do much today, although I'd hoped to run a solo ECW game featuring my new Autumn coloured woods. Instead I dug out a batch of Pendraken Miniatures 10mm armoured pikemen left over from the previous painting session and set them up on the painting block.

These chaps will form the pike companies of the Earl of Essex's lifeguard. I don't have enough musketeers to form the requisite 'sleeves' of shot at the moment, but should be able to get them when I place another order in a month or two, all being well. In any case, once painted these chaps will go to reinforce the Parliamentarian army of General Temperance and Prudence Knott, stalwart champion of Puritan values against the dastardly Royalists under Sir George Mountebank.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Teasel Trees - Finished

'tis Labor Day here in the USA, and I'm staying out of the sun after suffering rather nasty sunburn on Friday. Instead of gardening I spent time putting the finishing touches to the teasel trees I've had under construction for a week or so.

Expanding foam is extremely sticky. I used it to bulk out the teasels and provide good adhesion for the flock. As an experiment I also used it on the bases to see if it would work there too, and it came out better than I hoped.

I flattened the foam down on the bases with a wooden splint and spread it around a bit before it began to harden. The foam still expanded after I shook flock on it, and provided an unexpected benefit when some parts began to swell up and look like rounded boulders. Once all was dried/set I painted the bases, and the final results are shown below.

Overall I'm quite pleased with them. I still have another nine large trees to complete, along with fourteen smaller versions which I may make into orchards.

Once everything is done I'll trot out the ECW armies of those perpetual foes, Sir George Mountebank (Royalist) and Temperance-and-Prudence Knott (Parliament) for an Autumn encounter action. Watch this space...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Teasel trees - Experiments in Colour and Shade

A little more progress on the trees. I opted to use craft paint in the end as they give much more variety in colours and shading than spray paint. They also don't stink up the place, which is important since I have family members who are allergic to the propellants used in spray cans.

I used a variety of acrylic paint and mixed acrylic ink into some of them. A few times I wasn't too fussy about thoroughly washing the brush, so there would be some bleed-over of the previous colour into the foliage to give an extra shading effect.

The flock absorbed a certain amount of the first coats of paint, rendering them darker, but the next stage will be to wet-brush lighter shades on them to bring out the vibrant Autumn colours. The trunks and bases will be the last step.

I'm quite pleased with the overall effect, although the Woodland Scenics foam-covered versions aren't as good as I'd like. I'm going to try out a bit of acrylic inking to see if I can jazz them up.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thistle trees - getting there

A bit more progress with the trees today. Several squirts of expanding foam and half an hour with the hot glue gun later...

The next stage will be to give them a squirt or two with light green, red and yellow spray paint and do the ground work on the bases.


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