About Me

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I'm a bit of a born-again wargamer! I played many of the Games Workshop games when I was in my teens and early twenties, but left the hobby behind when I went to University. Over the last few years I have gradually got back into it and am literally having a ball! I'll play pretty much anything now, ranging from ancient historical to the far future! I think that I get more out of the painting side of things than actually playing, but that might just be because I get more opportunity. Hence the title...this blog is all about the colour of war!!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Infinity - Prowler

I thought I'd better try and finish this figure off to clear the decks for the Viking for Ray. I'm definitely getting a better feel for painting Infinity figures now. As I've said before, I just can't use my normal technique, so it comes down to more washes and drybrushing than usual, but I'm liking the effect. It's a lot more delicate. You know, I'm almost starting to like painting them!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

And the winner is...!

That's been a week since the giveaway was posted, so I'll bring it to a close and announce who has been drawn as the winner! As we only had 5 entries I decided that the best way to draw is to roll a D6 and the person who commented in that position wins! And the winner is:

The fourth comment was Ray Rousell who wins the Viking! Congratulations! Ray, please contact me to let me know if you have any preferences for basing (or if you don't want it based at all). You can find an email link in my profile.

Thanks to Ray, styx, Paul's Bods, Mike and David for entering and please keep reading! I'll post the progress of the Viking as I go so watch out for that!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

100 posts and The Great Colour of War Giveaway

Well! Here we are! 100 posts on my humble little slice of the blogosphere! It's taken me nearly 3 years to get here, but it's still quite a nice milestone to reach. Over those posts we've seen quite a lot of different things come and go and seen my focus twist and shift like a platic carrier bag in a strong wind! But it's quite good fun to look back over the archive every now and again and recall a lot of the fun times I've had in this hobby and see figures that have not been out of the box in far too long. I realise that there's no real theme to the blog and I drift from one thing to the next, but hopefully there's something for everyone and I'd like to thank all the readers for continuing to visit!

Now the bit you've been waiting for! Drum roll please....! The Great Colour of War Giveaway!

Here's how it works. I'm quite interested in what periods and games you lean towards and so I have 4 miniatures that I'm willing to part with, ranging from the ancient period to more modern and a bit of fantasy thrown in. These are all pictured below. If you would like to win one of these then all you need to do is leave a comment on this post stating which miniature you would like (first and second choice if you follow the blog)* and what game system you're likely to use it in. When the winner is announced I will paint the winners chosen miniature and either base it to their requirements (or not at all...your choice!). Simple! Now, this is open to all visitors, so I've allowed anonymous posting, but I ask you to leave your name or some sort of handle so I can identify you in the draw.

*To sweeten the deal a bit for any followers of the blog, if the winner is not a follower, then I will draw one random blog follower and they will receive their chosen figure unpainted (second choice if your first has been won).

On to the candidates:
We start in the Ancient period - a Crusader Retiarius
A quick hop to the Dark Ages - a Foundry Viking
A bit more modern - a Copplestone Gangster
And a flight of fantasy - a Reaper Elf
So, thanks again for dropping by! Good luck in the draw and I hope to see you around for the next 100 posts!

To Infinity...

...OK, I won't do it!

So...it seems that I miscounted a bit and this is not my 100th post, but actually the 99th, so you'll just have to wait a bit longer for that milestone. So, in this post I'd like to talk a little about Infinity, which I got to play last night. A couple of very nice gents at the G3 club in Glasgow, who play Infinity a lot, agreed to hold a couple of demo/intro games for George and I. The format was a simple deathmatch game using the contents of the starter set for your chosen faction. Happily, I bought a load of Nomad figures at the beginning of January, of which about half were painted, maybe more! The painted figures included the starter set, so I was good to go!
A Nomad Zero skulks about a gantry
I'll not give a full AAR as it a was learning game, but I'll talk a bit about the system and what I liked about it. First off, Infinity employs an action/reaction system not entirely unlike Force on Force. The significant difference, though, is that the reacting unit(s) don't fire with full effect as they would do in FoF. This means that isolating a figure and attacking with an active one will give you an advantage. Go against something significantly better, though, and the odds start to even out. This is down to the 'head to head' roll which is a pretty interesting mechanic. If you're shooting at each other, then whoever rolls highest, but under their target number, wins and hits their opponent. If you're model is attacking then you get the full 'burst' from the weapon (I think 3 seems a common burst value). The reacting figure only gets 1, no matter what the burst rating of the weapon. So, rolling 3 dice versus 1 you actually have a chance of pitting an average soldier against an elite one (in FoF, it's a lot riskier to do that, as you're likely to get your nose bloodied before you get to fire). However, if your opponent has more figures in LOS then they can all fire at you, so this game becomes one of immense positional importance. And that I like!
It helps if you can play on tables like this!!!
Sure there are some wee oddities to do with how you announce orders and the fact that figures can keep moving after they 'die', but all in all, this is a pretty solid and engaging game. One strength certainly seems to be that no figure that you take will be totally useless. Some are clearly better than others, but you pay more points for them, and with the right dice rolls and positioning, even the lowliest grunt can take out the best warriors! Last night I had a lowly Securitate (a pretty average soldier) take out a power armoured heavy infantry unit because I pushed my luck.
My Securitate hides... 
...from this!! Although luck would be with the Nomads and she would plug this guy at the end!
The starter sets gave roughly 110-120 points and both games were over in about an hour. So it is quite quick to play if you know what you're doing. If it were just George and I then I daresay we would have been there all night, so my thanks to Andrew Bussey and Andrew Paul for tolerating our newbie questions and guiding us through the games.

So, in summary, Infinity seems like a good, fun game. It's got a good bit of depth to it and I look forward to playing it more this year. There's a campaign ongoing at the club and hopefully the guys will be able to make room for a new player! 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Infinity - Reverend Custodier

So, tomorrow should see me playing Infinity for the first time and in my excitement I decided to paint up a Nomad that I really liked out of my 'to do' pile. Now...I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with the Corvus Belli Infinity range. I think they are beautiful figures and they come in lots of dynamic poses, but they really do not suit my normal painting style. The detail on them is super fine and delicate, which means that my usual 3-colour technique doesn't work everywhere. But, on the plus side, it means that I'm being stretched to try different things and make use of washes and drybrushing, which I normally don't bother too much with. But this model? I love this model! The detailing is fine, but not so that it is lost in the painting. The pose is fantastic! Somehow it conveys action and is energetic without arms and legs going in all directions. It was this figure and the Sin Eater Observants that drew me to the Nomads and Bakunin in particular and I'm happy to say that this one sits firmly on the love side of the love/hate ratio! Hope you like it as much as I do!

And, in other news, this is post #99, so look out for my next post where I'll be celebrating that milestone and giving something back to you! :)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Malifaux - Sebastian, Morgue Assistant

I got a little distracted from the Dystopian Legions when I was putting together the picture of all the figures to paint as part of my pledge. I turned up this Malifaux character that was started ages ago. I'd done his face and the base colour of his smock thing, but that was it. So I thought I'd just finish him as a good start to the pledge, which is basically about clearing out some of my backlog of figures.

A couple of weeks ago I got some feedback from the Wyrd forums that my bases were a bit plain and maybe let a good paint job down. Now, I'm inclined to agree that my bases are somewhat plain, but that's mostly because I simply don't enjoy it as much as I do painting the figure. And some bases that you see are totally over the top and cluttered which I think distracts from the model, rather than enhancing it. However, there's a happy middle ground where the base can add to the figure and I think I will try to put a bit more effort into them to achieve this. Hence the severed arm here. I tried to get the blood spatter on his apron to look like he's just been cutting it there and I'm quite happy with it. I've seen better effects, but this is not a bad attempt for a first go. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Muskets & Tomahawks - First Impressions

Last night I got to finally play a game of Muskets and Tomahawks, which I've been sniffing about for a while now. The whole Seven Years War period is not one that I've previously been that interested in, but both Maurice and M&T have made me sit up and take notice as they take care to try and focus on the characters and the drama of the events, rather than focusing on mechanics and historical 'accuracy'. This is not to say that the mechanics are poor or not well thought out, but that the authors keep a keen eye on the players having a thumping good time.

There were three players, so we split the Indians/Canadians between George and myself while Dave took the British. The 'French' side (there were no actual French present) consisted of a Sachem and  four units of four Indians each, who we rated as Bloodthirsty. Accompanying them were a unit of six Coureurs de Bois. The British had two units of 7 Rangers, led by an officer, and six Indians. So, the first thing you do is set up your terrain and decide on the missions and nay side plots. We rolled for where the buildings go and then just chucked down a load of trees and fields. We then rolled a Raid for the Indians, so the British got Protection. This meant that the main goal of the Indians was to burn the houses and the British to protect the civilians. We then rolled for side plots. The British officer got Romance, so he was accompanied by a female civilian that he had to protect. The Indians got a plot that simply meant they needed to deny the enemy theirs, so the Indians had to kill the good lady. Hmmm...sounds like the plot of a certain book and film set in the French & Indian Wars! So we picked George's Magwa figure out and set to it! Apologies for the pictures drying up towards the end, but we were so engrossed I completely forgot!

The Indian raiders approach undetected from the forest.

The Rangers are forewarned of their approach and huddle in cover.

The men of the settlement load their guns and try to calm the hysterical women!

Magwa leads his men on as he reads the recipe for Human Heart a l'Orange.

The Indians surge through the woods.

The Canadians follow their Indian guides around the flank. They hope to catch the Rangers from both directions.

The first musket shots ring out. Two Rangers fall and the group recoils. 
But the British allied Indians arrive. Is that Hawkeye we see among them?

An Indian unit tries to rush from the trees. The Rangers calmly fell two of them and the rest take flight. Just at the very edge of the picture you can see a Ranger unit also fleeing to the rear. The Canadian and Indian musketry was proving alarmingly accurate!

Two Indians make it to the buildings and start to set a fire. 
Alas, that's where the pictures stop! The Ranger unit that had fled recovered their courage and ran for the building before the fire could really take hold. The Indians couldn't resist the chance of some scalps and engaged them, but some poor dice rolling saw the Rangers hold their own and the Indians were eliminated. By now, Hawkeye and company had chopped down the flanking Indians and fell on the Coureurs de Bois, but in a complete turn around of luck, the Canadian woodsmen cut them down to a man in close combat. The Canadians were certainly glad that they had an extra man in the fight! Clearly no-one had read Cooper's novel! However, the casualties had mounted and, as Magwa started to chase the Grey Hair's seed, his forces melted away and he took flight with them.

So, what were my first impressions having played a game? First of all, it was a very entertaining game and certainly had a cinematic feel to it. The mechanics are fairly straightforward for combat. Ranged fire is a standard 'to hit' and 'to kill' roll with only a handful of modifiers. Melee is also a 'to hit' roll, but this time followed up with a 'to kill'. The loser (the side with more casualties) takes a morale test and if figures are still in contact afterwards another round is fought. So nothing new there. We felt that we were rolling pretty well above average for musketry so it was quite effective, but with more average rolls it wouldn't be quite so deadly. Melee, on the other hand, was satisfyingly vicious and you can expect to see the bodies pile up when the tomahawks come out to play. We all felt that this was about right! The most period specific aspect to combat is the spotting rules, which mean that it's possible for irregular troops, and particularly Indians, to sneak about. We didn't use the hidden movement rule, but I think that will add even more character to the game.

The card activation is slightly different to other games I've played, in that you activate a type of troop rather than a particular unit. So when the British Irregulars card was drawn, both Rangers units could activate. With four cards per type in the deck, you actually get a surprising amount of action in a single turn. We actually only played 3 turns before the French side collapsed! This makes the rolling of reserves a lot more critical than you might expect from other games. Dave was quite fortunate to get his Indians in the first turn, but if he hadn't then this would have been a very different. We didn't have any regulars, so I can't say how they play out, but I get the impression that the two actions per card means they will be very dangerous if officers are correctly placed around them. For example, when playing the irregulars you have to weigh up the risk of trying to break cover to make it to another terrain feature, as you're not guaranteed to get to move again before you're fired upon (as were George's Indians, who took no further part in the battle after being set to flight). The regulars will not have this problem.

Finally, the scenarios and plots really set this game up with some flavour. The scenarios are your expected fare - raiding, slaughtering and that sort of thing. Interestingly, the table is designed so that the different force types will only get certain missions, so you're not going to get a wide variety of mission types, but the side plots more than make up for that. In our game, as we have seen, we essentially got the ambush on the British from The Last of the Mohicans, and what was a straightforward wargame set up, suddenly became something straight out of a movie or a book. If you ask me, this is where skirmish games are made or broken. I've played some skirmish games that left me quite cold. I'll be quite honest and put SAGA in that category. Considering that they're from the same company, I think that Muskets and Tomahawks is head and shoulders above it's elder sibling in evoking a period feel and letting your imagination run away. I would play SAGA if offered, but it feels much more like a 'synthetic' game, with the meta game that is the battle boards. M&T simply takes a solid set of tried and tested mechanics and infuses them with something that makes it a much more rich experience. Ironically, it is M&T that feels like a tale is being told and not SAGA!

So, in summary, I really liked Muskets and Tomahawks and would play it again in a heartbeat. If you layered a campaign over the top of it then I think you'd have a first class wargame experience. I've tried not to go into too much detail, as you'll no doubt be able to find pretty detailed reviews of the mechanics, but I hope you get a sense of what the game is like to play and not necessarily how it is played.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Zoraida arrives!

And that's it! Pledge now fully active. I got the Zoraida set, a couple of blisters and the Twisting Fates book through the post and am now set to embark on a painting odyssey! I have to say, all the pictured figures are excellent! The Voodoo Doll is perhaps the weakest, but the rest really make up for any deficiencies. The Mire Golem is HUGE! I'm really looking forward to painting him! And the Stitched Together are like the Boogeyman from The Nightmare Before Christmas, only a lot nastier! Great stuff! Of course, the book was a mistake! All those lovely new characters I've not seen before...!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

I hereby swear...

...to not buy another miniature until I have painted everything in this picture!

Whoa! I feel a bit dizzy now, but I think I need to try and discipline myself and clear some of the lead mountain before buying anything else. The only things I will allow myself to buy are anything directly related to these figures (paint, resin bases, etc) and any miniatures that I deem necessary to round out an army. For example, the Dystopian Legions figures are only the starter and a couple extras. To really play it in earnest I will need more Line Infantry, so there's no point painting all those present if I won't allow myself to extend. However, it means no more figures for other rulesets, new or existing, and no new factions (OK, I have a Zoraida starter crew on the way, which means I can pretty much buy anything except Ten Thunders or Outcasts!).

So what do we have here:

  • Inifinity - Mostly Bakunin figures, but also some remotes. Not pictured are 2 Hellcats, a Hacker and a Mobile Brigada.
  • Dysoptian Legions - the starter set really only has the Sky Hussars left unassembled. Then it's Musicians and the guy in the steam-powered bath chair!
  • Malifaux - Colette du Bois and most of McMourning's crew are pictured. McMourning and The Hanged are in a draw somewhere, but I consider them part of this pledge (as are the missing Inifinity). As mentioned, Zoraida is on the way, so when I'm done, I will have one faction for each of the Guild, Resurrectionists, Neverborn and Arcanists. So I better get a bunch of games in this year!
  • Reaper - there are a bunch of Chronoscope and Dark Heavens Legends figures that should be enough to make a reasonable good guy and villain team.
  • Pendraken 7YW - for Maurice, of course. This is what's left of the Austrian starter army I bought. This is another force that will swiftly require expanded, but I think that Maurice won't be on the radar till the summer, so I might even be done with this lot before then.
  • Cowboys - hard to make out, but there are 3 blisters of Artizan Wild West figures in there. They're just really nice figures which I want to paint and we will doubtless be used in some TRWNN action soon enough.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Bertie Smethington the Third

So, without further ado, I can reveal my first painted figure in 2013 in my first blog post of 2013! Here is Capt Bertie Smethington III who is a Kingdom of Britannia officer for Dystopian Legions. For this figure I used Foundry British Royal Blue for the tunic and trousers and VMC Leather Brown for the coat. I used VMC Red Leather for his belt and straps and VMC German Grey for his boots (washed with Badab Black and then re-highlighted). For his badge and piping I went with NMM gold rather than a metallic paint, despite using metallics on the other DL figures. In the end, it actually just looks like yellow piping, but that's OK. The belt and badge look a bit more metallic, though.

He's still to get varnished and his base finished, but I'm going to do all the DL figures from the starter set at once. I always find basing a bit onerous, so I'll get it out the way in one go. Which brings me on to one of my 2013 resolutions. I'm going to try making my bases a bit more interesting this year. For the DL figures, this will likely just mean a bit of dressing, but for Malifaux and Infinity, where there are fewer miniatures, I'll try out some resin bases and such-like.
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