Thursday, November 6, 2008

Orkika Corp

The question forms when you feel the slight vibration in the ground. Soon it grows to worrying after the wall of dust moves from over the horizon. Then it becomes apprehension when the low pitch rumble slowly builds to a deafening roar. Finally, there is neither question nor doubt, there is only fear.

It is the Orkika Corp!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Old Glory Pre-Painted Romans (b)


I picked up both types of Romans, but still I have no full review. I'm hosting a big game this weekend and I've been getting ready for that. But, I've handled the figures more and I'll list out what I dislike and what I like about the figures.

Primarily I don't like the shields. As one can see from the picture, the banding or edge of the shield is painted yellow. I would prefer bronze. Also, the way the shields are packed mean I'll have to do little touchups.

I am lukewarm on the shield transfer. I'd rather not add them myself but they are nice and it gives me the chance to add my own if I like. And since transfers are one of those things that one can whip out once one has practice it is not that big a chore.

The figures themselves are nicely painted. It is a darker paint job with shading and subtle highlights. They match well with my other Old Glory figures and are actually nicer figures then older O.G. Romans (both types).

Weighing all the things I mentioned above, I still think the O.G. Pre-Painted Romans are a good buy. Of course, everything I said is subjective so it might not be that helpful to someone still undecided about purchasing the figures. Initially, I was a little hesitant when I made my purchase. I don't know how they would turn out and I hoped they looked the same as in the pictures on the O.G. site. And if there is anything useful one can take away from this review it is this - the paint jobs you get are the same as what you see in the picture (maybe a bit better).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Old Glory Pre-Painted Romans

Since I am up to my elbows in unpainted Biblicals, I thought I would check out O.G.'s new pre-painted Romans. I have to say, for $2.00 a figure I am happy with them. There are some things I would change, but they are a minor concern. I'll put together a full review tonight.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tale of 5.5 Gamers - 500 point battles (a)

This was our 1st Tale of 5.5 gamers’ battle day. We played only one game as only two people showed up ready to play. Old man Ray is old and had to rest, Robin had some Space Orks to paint, Adam had 5 business projects due that night and Mike had to eat a can of chili.

Proto-Assyrians vs. Mycenaean Greeks 500pt Battle.

Forces :

Mycenaean Greeks
3 Chariots with Hero (Force Commander)
8 Chariot runners
2x 20man mixed (L/S/M) Spearmen/Bow units

Chad played his nicely painted Mycenaean Greeks. He put a lot of work into them and they were lovely to look at. Hopefully he will chime in at some point and maybe share some of pictures of them.

15 man Assyrian Heavy Infantry (S/M) plus Force Commander
24 man Assyrian Auxiliaries (L/S/M) (cheating - 20 is max in 500 point games)
8 man Chaldean Slingers
10 man Aramaen Javelins

I played some Proto-Assyrians. I had to scramble the night before the game as I had not based my chariots and I had no plasti-card for basing. So I came upon the idea of using my newly painted Neo-Babylonians (O.G. Assyrians) as early Assyrians and the rest of my Hittites as Assyrian Aux. The idea here is that one of the border Hittite client cities decided to switch sides rather then fight the Assyrians. I’ll finish up my Hittites for next time but the important thing is everything was painted.


We went with the standard meeting engagement. We only had five hundred points so we wanted to keep it simple. We played in 4x4 area. After selecting our table sides (basically where we happened to be standing at the time) we rolled to place terrain on the table. Chad won the roll to go 1st. Using the random terrain table Chad rolled up a small hill. I then rolled up a stand of trees. Chad then passed so I rolled the final time and happened to roll up river/stream. I selected the stream option so I could go across the table without needing Chad’s permission. In the end, the table was set up as shown above.

Turn 1

We rolled to see who went 1st. I won the roll and graciously allowed the Mycenaeans to go 1st. For their turn, the Mycenaeans boldly stood still.

Both my heavy infantry and auxiliary infantry moved forward. My slingers moved forward as well, going just as fast the heavy infantry. My javelins moved double time through the trees to the treeline. Both my heavy infantry and auxiliary infantry moved far enough to be in range of the Mycenaeans. My heavy infantry fired at spear 2 to no effect while my auxiliary fired at the chariot runners to no effect.

Turn 2

Prodded into action by Assyrian bowfire, the Mycenaeans moved forward slowly. Seeing they were in range, the bowmen cowering in the ranks of the spearmen took some ineffective pot shots at the naked slingers.

Having the Mycenaeans right where they want them, the Assyrian heavy and auxiliary infantry stood pat. Both the slingers and javelins moved forward to better firing positions. Everybody let lose with their weapons. The slingers and javelins combined to kill 1 person in spear 1 while the heavy infantry killed 1 person in spear 2 and the auxiliary killed two chariot runners.

Turn 3

The Mycenaeans continued to slowly move forward and reached the edge of the stream. They took some more pot shots at the javelins and killed one of them.

The javelins were a little to close to spear 1 so the backed up a little. Outside of that, everybody stood still. The shooting was a repeat of the previous round with the slingers and javelins combining to kill 1 person in spear 1, the heavy infantry killing 1 person in spear 2 and the auxiliary killing two chariot runners. At this point, the runners had had enough and retreated behind the chariots.

Turn 4

The turn started with chariot runners failing to rally while making good progress toward the boards edge. Now entering the stream, the Mycenaean spear 1 managed to move partway through it. The chariots where able to cross the stream and put themselves in a position to charge the enemy next turn. Spear 2 also made good use of the bridge, putting themselves in a position to charge next turn as well. After moving, the archers concentrated on the slingers and managed to kill one.

Counting on massive bowfire and expecting a decisive blow, everybody stood their ground and maintained two ranks. It started out well with the javelins killing 4 in spearmen 1 and the auxiliary archers killing two of the chariots. Unfortunately, the heavy infantry could not finish the job and take out the final chariot nor could the slingers with double-shot kill a single Mycenaean in spear 2.

Turn 5

The Mycenaeans were in prime position to take advantage of the thin lines of the Assyrians. That is, if they survive the Assyrians standing and shooting. So the chariot charges the Assyrian auxiliary who pass their fear test, shoot their finally volley and prepare for the chariots impact. Spear 2 overcomes their fear of the Assyrian heavy infantry and charges in under a hail over bowfire. After the dust of the charges settle and the airs ceases to be darken arrows, both the chariots and spearmen made it into combat without a single causality. Watching the rest of their comrades, spear 1 continued across the stream. The combat between the Assyrian heavy infantry and the Mycenaean spear resulted in one dead Assyrian and no dead Mycenaeans. But with three ranks of Mycenaeans to the Assyrians two, the Mycenaeans won the combat and Assyrians failed their leadership roll. Fortunately in this case, the Assyrians were the faster as they fled from the combat. The more decisive combat ended up being the Mycenaean hero in chariot against the Assyrian auxiliary. Two assyrians died but bolstered by their addition rank and a standard they held their ground and got a draw. But there was an auxiliary musician. He pounded out a droning beat during combat and this apparently unnerved the Mycenaean hero. The hero promptly fled and was run down the axillaries.

With this, both the spearmen in stream and spearmen who defeated the Assyrian heavy infantry lost heart and also fled from the battle.

At this point, we were tired and decided to end the game. Do most WAB close combats seem to last just one round?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

5.5 Mycenaean Greeks - The First 500 Points

So for months Tom and I had been talking about playing some Warhammer Ancient Battles. We had talked about a Spartacus campaign, but the enthusiasm among the group was luke warm at best. Tom and I decided that we were going to do something with ancients, if anyone else thought it was cool and wanted to join in so be it. If not Tom and I go it alone. When Tom finally decided to push forward on a late bronze age campaign that worked just fine for me as I already had a small bronze age Greek army that I had painted for Karl Con years ago.

The tale of 5.5 gamers was to begin in earnest in August. I had 2 chariots and about 70 guys painted. Most of the painted figs were redoubt and I had most of the heroes painted up already. But I still wanted to paint up 500 points per month like everyone else.

Figuring out my army list and what I needed for figs has turned out to be much more complex that I had anticipated. Although I had a bunch of painted figs, I had no “units” per say for WAB. I had a bunch of random figs that I would need to add to get “units”. So although I will be painting 500 points per month, the army I will field will not be made up of the figs I just painted but a mix of newly painted and previously painted figs.

That solved I got to tackle the next complication. I had a few unpainted redoubt and Foundry Greeks I had bought years ago. I painted those up quick and fell in love with the Foundry figs. They are just fantastic. I had plotted and planned what I wanted to buy, but when I compared Foundry figs with the price of Old Glory there was a huge difference. I could get 5 Old Glory figs for every 1 Foundry figure. Tom and I looked at the pictures online and talked about my options. Late July I put in an order for about 15 packs of Old Glory figs. It took about two weeks for them to arrive, so it was almost mid August. I broke out the figs and started to work on them at a fevered pace. Unfortunately, the more I worked on them the more unsatisfied I was with the quality of the figs. Now anyone who has Old Glory figs knows that some of their lines and very nice (AWI for one). On the other had some of their lines and not well done. One of those lines is their Trojan War line. After working on the figures, it looks to me like someone sculpted them and then later on “added” extra muscles to make them look more heroic. Not good. The more I worked o them the more unhappy I was. With the clock ticking, this was turning out to be a disaster. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and live with them.

The next day Foundry announced their 20% British bank holiday sale. Could this get more complicated? Tom (being as cheap as I, who better to seek advice from) and I talked some more about my dilemma. Seth added his two cents. I decided to go with Foundry. I took a day or two to decide what to get. I decide to order 3 Trojan Warriors hordes, 1 Sea Peoples horde and 1 Bronze Age European horde. I decided I would use my WAB army as a basis for a big Trojan War convention game. The Sea Peoples and Bronze Age Europeans I would use as Trojan Allies.

Two days later while doing some research on the Trojan War I found out that modern archeological evidence points to the fact the Troy was in Anatolia and was within the Hittite sphere of influence and was probably a loyal ally of the Hittites. Further more, the actual city is laid out like a Hittite City and the Trojans spoke Luwian a language in the same family as the Hittite language. In fact it appears that the only thing they had in common with Bronze Age Greece was trade. Into my mind prodded the idea that I could use Hittites as Trojans and really give my con game a different look. I went on the Foundry website and proceeded to spend more money I did not have and buy the 1200pt. Hittite WAB army. I spend way too much money.

It took about 10 days to get my order from Foundry. AT last I could actually start working on my 500 point army! As usual Foundry did not disappoint. By this time Tom and I had talk about delaying the start of the tale of 5.5 gamers. Robin had not gotten his figs until the end of August (about the same time I got mine) and Adam still did not have his figs. It was clear that hardly anyone would have 500 points ready for 9/1. We decided to shoot for 10/1.

After looking at Chariot Wars this is the 500 point army I think I will field;

1 x hero in chariot 89 points
2 x chariots 78 points
1 x 20 man spear unit with bowmen intermixed 140 points
1 x 18 man unit of swordsmen 141 points
1 x 8 Javelinmen 48 points

A total of 496 points. I am working on another heavy spear unit with archers intermixed and might replace with the sword unit with a second spear unit.

I’ll give an update on my next 550 points in October.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hittites DVD

This was a very enjoyable DVD. From a production point of view, I thought it was well done. The battles could have been more elaborate but that is nit picking. And even though I've read a little on the Hittites I still I picked up quite a few things I didn't know before. Anyone who is interested in Hittites or even just the Biblical period in general should enjoy this DVD.

A Tale of 5.5 Gamers - Delays

Real Life - 1
Tale of 5.5 Gamers - 0

The 1st Tale of 5.5 Gamers battle is now October 1st. Here is the list reasons, or as it should be called:

The List of Woe
  • Ray was gone half of last month because of Army commitments.
  • Adam had to move to an apartment and help his parents move from Wisconsin to Georgia.
  • Robin and Chad didn't have a good portion of their forces.
So, I ended up slacking off. Sorta. My Hittites fell behind, but I put together a 500 point loaner army of Neo-Babaloyians. Hopefully, I will get some pictures soon. These were made from Old Glory, Castaway Arts, and Eureka miniatures.

5.5 Hittites: Spearmen and Chariots

Just a quick note, I've got my first set of chariots painted up and my 1st unit of spearmen are almost finished. I just need to make a final decision on base texture and I will take a few pictures.

Next up are archers and skirmishers.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

5.5 Assyrians

Robin has put up an article about his Assyrians for our Tale of 5.5 Gamers. Check it out here: 5.5 Assyrians

Friday, August 22, 2008

Assault on Black Reach

My friend Robin and I are painting up some of the figures from the Assault on Black Reach. Robin painted the Orks and I painted the marines. His Orks are better. These are for The Last Square for use in Assault on Black Reach demo games and for promoting the game before its release.

Tactical Squad:
Nobz: Deffkoptas: Warboss:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hittite Scale Comparision

Here is a comparison of figures I plan to use for my Hittites and their Allies. Click on the image for a better view. The picture is crooked because of less then skillful use of a camera. The scale card in back is not angeled and all the bases are of equal height. The measurements on the card start from the top of the bases.

For the Hittites, New Line Designs, Miniature Design Studio (MDS), and Old Glory are all of similiar size. Now I generally like O.G. but the New Line and MDS figures are generally nicer. O.G. spearmen are ok, as seen in the picture, but the O.G. archers and slingers are about half as good as the O.G. spearmen and are not shown.

Both the New Line and MDS Hittites are great. What is even better is that style wise they are also close, but their outfits are different. This means I can get the 'varied look of empire' I want for the Hittites.

On to the allies, the Wargames Foundry biblical is nice, but starts to look small compared to everybody else. Both the New Line and Castaway arts figures are both very good and scale well together. These will make good allies but I will be limitting them to chariot troops in the Hittite army. I included them here as it is useful for the scale comparision.

For allied infantry I will be going with Lukka and Pheonicians. Again, the MDS Sea People figure is nice. The O.G. Sea Peoples figure is also not to bad and is only slightly taller. The only problem is the O.G. figure hit the gym more. They will still both make an appearence in my force. I will use the O.G. Sea People figures for Lukka and the MDS Sea People figures for Pheonicians.

As soon as I finish building them, I will do a similiar review with chariots.

Manufacturers Websites
Castaway Arts
Miniature Design Studio
Newline Designs
Old Glory
Wargames Foundry

Blood Bowl Humans

I've taken some stuff off my workbench to give myself some more room for my Hittites. In this case, it is my converted GW Blood Bowl team. They are called the Averland Avengers. The team is an old one, but I was touching them up after noticing some damage.

First up are the linemen:

These are converted Empire spearmen from the single pose unit days.

Next up are the Catchers and Blitzers:

The Catchers are from the multi-pose empire troops that came out in the 90's. The Blitzers are some extra Old Glory ren. pikemen I had sitting around.

Finally, I've got my two passers:

The Passer without the ball is another 90's spearmen. The other Passer is made from the Empire General that came with the 6th ed. Warhammer Fantasy Set.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

5.5 Hittites - Primed and Ready

Ok, the 1st 500 points of Hittites have been cleaned, based, and primed. I primed the chariots and crew black. The horses, and everyone else has been primed white. Bascially for historicals, if the figure is mostly armor or a thing, I prime black. Otherwise I prime white. For non-historicals I prime with whatever color covers most of the model i.e. Dark Angels I prime green.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

5.5 Hittites - The First 500 Points Part II

I need to make a small change to my 500 point army. Why? Here is the skinnie: I own WAB 1.0. The rest of the guys have 1.5. There isn't much a difference between the two, but 1.5 does include an errata, some additional army lists, and rules for 500 point games. Since that is what we are going to game wise for the first month it makes sense to use those rules. The problem is, my army is illegal with those rules. I have have 6 light chariots (two units of 3) and I am only allowed 3 light chariots total.

So, to fix that, I will be dropping the 3 3-man chariots and including a unit 12 Lukka. I will also be upgrading one of chariot warriors to a field commander for free due to the changed incentives.

A Tale of 5.5 Gamers Part IIa

Since we decided to adopt using the 500 point rules from WAB 1.5, we can change the bonus for the 1st month. This is because the 500 point rules expands on the options for generals in small forces. This works out well as characters capable of being generals varied wildly from army to army in terms of cost.

Month 1: If a player does not have a character capable of being general, a player may choose to upgrade one model to be the force leader (i.e. general) following the rules for 500 point WAB 1.5.

Monday, August 4, 2008

5.5 Hittites - The First 500 Points

The goal I am striving for with my Hittite army is to crush my opposition under the hooves and wheels of my chariots. Actually, I get the most satisfaction out of seeing a well painted army on the table top. I do enjoy playing and the 'research' is fun as well, but if I have to choose playability, historical accuracy, or aesthetics I choose aesthetics. Now this doesn’t mean I’ll have an elephant in my Hittite army. What it does mean is if I had to choose between two Hittite chariots the deciding factor will be which one I think looks better, not which one is more ‘historically’ correct. On to the playability aspect, well I insist on having chariots in my Sumerian army. That should say it all.

Now let us move on with the Hittites. Building a 500 point WAB army is rather tough. It is hard getting everything one wants in a 1000 point army and it is impossible for me to do so with 500 points. But I need to start somewhere. Normally, I start with the general but at 500 points, generals exceed the limit on characters. No big deal though thanks to the Tale painting incentives. So instead I move on to the chariots. When I think of Hittites, I think chariots. The list allows you to have a lot, historically they were considered to go heavy on chariots, and chariots look good on the table. So, for fun, I will go with a squadron of 3 3-man chariots and a Squadron of 3 2-man chariots. I will also grab a unit of 9 Syrian/Hurrian chariot runners.

One might ask, “Hurrian runners! What about Hittite runners?” Here is the deal. I said it was hard to build a 500 point WAB list. I wanted Hittite chariot runners but I couldn’t afford them. Then I hit upon the idea, I’ll start my 500 point force as an army of Arzawa and my free general will be Madduwatta! “Where and who?” one might easy ask. Well follow the links or read Collapse of the Bronze Age: The Story of Greece, Troy, Israel, Egypt, and the Peoples of the Sea. Basically Madduwatta was an upstart Anatolian who, though not a great general, seemed to stick around for awhile and give the Hittites headaches. He was a vassal, neighbor, and enemy (not necessarily in that order) of the Hittites. And to make this work with my project, I’m going on the principle that people of Arzawa dressed and fought similarly to the Hittites.

So back to my idea, with Madduwatta and Arzawa in mind I eventually plan to build a 1000 point Arzawa army and 2000 point Hittite army. They both can be combined for the occasional 3000 point WAB game. Why do that? Well, I have a bunch of Old Glory Hittites that I don’t like so much. I like O.G.s Egyptians but not their Hittites. I would sell them, but who would buy them? Plus, it is hard for me to let go of minis. Anyway, the second part of my Arzawa idea was to delegate the O.G. Hittites to the army of Arzawa and make use of other manufactures for my Hitties proper.

But I digress, and that will all be worked out later. After the chariot runners, I selected a 16 man group of Hittite spearmen and a 12 man group of Hittite archers. All totaled up that will give me 500 points of Hittites without a general. Add in the free general, selected as a Vassal King (perfect for Madduwatta) and I have a legal 640 WAB army. And to show off my army in unpainted glory, I’ve added a picture below:

  1. Newline Designs Light Chariots

  2. Newline Designs Hittite King

  3. Old Glory Spearmen

  4. Old Glory Archers

  5. Old Glory Chariots

  6. Foundry Northern European Bronze Age Javelins

The Newline figures will become part of my proper Hittite army. The Old Glory figures will be for my Arzawa force and the Foundry Bronze Age javelins will be useful for a number of Bronze Age armies including my Northern European one. Altogether they work will for my 500 'Hittite' point force.

A Tale of 5.5 Gamers Part II

We will be playing some of our Tale games on our regular game night. Not everyone in our group wants to buy or paint a ton of new figures. But they still want to play. So Chad and Tom will be working on extra units for the New Kingdom Egyptians loaner army. Others also already have painted units for their army. They will be allowed to use those as well.

But, what we are doing is as much about building up a cool new army as playing. So, as an incentive for people to start painting new figures, people who do paint up a batch of 500 points each month will get a bonus to their army for game.

Month 1: Free Army General
Month 2: Free 50 point unit of Allies
Month 3-4: To be determined

Also, part of the fun of Tale is reading about the process people make when building an army and seeing it come together. To that end, everybody who writes reports will get one unit of 12 skirmishers painted for them at the end of the tale series.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Tale of 5.5 Gamers

Games Workshop had a great series of articles in their White Dwarf magazine about 10 years ago call A Tale of Four Gamers. It followed four gamers as the built, painted, and played with a new Warhammer Fantasy army 1. They started these armies from scratch and slowly built them up over several months. Each month the had a budget and could not spend more then that budget on new figures. They then had to paint those figures for battles played at the end of the month. Figures that didn't get painted did not fight. It was all great fun to read and very inspiring. So much so, 10 years later a group of friends and I are doing the same thing with historical miniatures 2. We are using the following criteria for this:

  • Rules: Warhammer Ancient Battles

  • Period: Biblical - Chariot Wars Supplement

  • Monthly Budget - 500 points of figures

  • Players and Factions

    • Chad - Mycenaean Greeks

    • Ray - New Kingdom Egyptians

    • Robin - Assyrians

    • Adam - Israelites

    • Tom - Hittites

    • Mike - NKE loaned from other collections 3

Though planned for a little while, this formally starts in August. Next up, hopefully, will be reports from each of the players on their plans and progress.

1 Look at the August 08 issue of the White Dwarf for the latest Tale of Four Gamers.
2 For another Historical Tale of Four Gamers check out here.
3 Hence 5.5 gamers

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play

Our Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (WFRP) campaign just started. What could be better then starting on a sinking ship? Well, doing so while pirates and Dark Elves battle each other for one. We did spend most of our time rolling up characters but by end of the campaign I am sure we will have that mastered. If you are interested in WFRP one can find out more here. Of course, if one is smart, they will do as my character does:


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Project: Building a Battlefleet Gothic Tau Fleet: Intro

In a series of posts, I am going to detail how I built a Tau fleet for Battlefleet Gothic (BFG). BFG is a fun starship miniatures game from Games Workshop. At GW's Battlefleet website one can find all rules that are needed to play. Along with Tau, there are a number of other miniatures for the game and one can build a fleet for all the major 40k armies.

Starting out, I had to choose which Tau fleet I wanted to go with. Should I go with the standard Tau fleet from GW's Specialist range or should I get some of the Tau ships from Forge World? It was a tough decision as I already had some of Specialist Games ships but I really liked the ships Forge World put out. I ended up going with a mixed fleet. Now the styles between the two ship ranges are quite different but the Specialist cruisers and escorts do look good next to the Forge World capital ships. Below is a picture of part of my planned fleet.

Here I have a Tau Messenger, 3 Defenders, and 4 Orca ships mixed with a Forgeworld Custodian, 8 Mantas, and 5 stands of Barracudas. Also include is Nicassar Dhow caravan.

The article will be orginized in the following manner with a post on each major point:

  1. Basing
    1. Building fighter stands from wooden bases and finish nails.
    2. Building removable ship stands with GW flight stands and necklace clasps.
  2. Fast but effective Painting
    1. Painting gradient color schemes using dry brushing.
    2. Painting Gradient color schemes using metallics and inks.
  3. Quick and dirty ship labels
    1. Creating curved labels for stand base.
    2. Creating banner labels for stand pole.

Here is a teaser image of a finished Custodian.