Saturday, 25 August 2018

With a Little Help from Your Friends.

Just the briefest of posts today to publicly thank Curtis Campbell Esq. for this rather splendid Witchfinder that has travelled all the way from the snowy wastes of Canada.  Curt has a long held tradition of thanking those foolish, brave enough to take on the role of Minion during the 'Analogue Hobbies Annual Painting Challenge', by presenting them with a miniature, painted by his good self.

Well it goes without saying that I was absolutely thrilled to receive such a little gem as this, made all the more special by the lovely card that accompanied it - thank you Curt!
The spectre that is the start of the new academic year has loomed into view and with the release of the public examination results, real life is demanding a fair bit of my time of late, that said, I am hopeful to catch up again with all things hobby related before too long.

Monday, 20 August 2018

A Hay Cart and Barn

A very simple, but very versatile piece from the ever reliable 'Warbases'.  I decided to treat myself to the additional resin hay insert, which fits perfectly into the assembled model.  No thrills with the painting, just undercoated and then the base colour highlighted.
Also pictured is a small wheelbarrow that inexplicably was added to the shopping basket whilst I was perusing the web store.  Eagled eyed visitors might recognise it from the collaborative Landsknecht stands that we produced for the 'Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge'.
Finally completed and immediately pressed into service in the fields of my 'Witchfinder General' project. 
Whilst sticking pieces of hard plastic together for bridge, I was reminded that I had also had a 'Renedra Plastics' ramshackle barn lurking somewhere in the pile.  Once finally unearthed this was glued together and then undercoated.  Following a rather predictable pattern, blue for water and grey for stone the barn was painted brown for wood and no sooner had I finished when I realised that this just wasn’t right.  I set about it with the drybrush and completely changed my mind with regards to the tiles on the roof, opted for a more conventional slate grey. 
As nicely detailed as it is, there isn’t a huge amount to trouble the painter, although I did manage to pick out a few details here and there, before adding some flock to hint at its dilapidation.  Now after what has been a busy week at work, time to catch up with a few of my favourite weblogs.








Friday, 10 August 2018

A Brigde Over Troubled Water

Allowing terrain to be included in last winter’s painting challenge afforded me the opportunity me to tick off a few pieces that I had earmarked for construction later this year.  For as long as I can remember I have wanted a viable river system for my tables and had been looking at various options.  In the end I followed the very creative Andy, of 'Da Gobbo’s Grotto' and plumped for the 'Amera Plastics' sections.
Working initially with a couple of curves and straight lengths, these are relatively inexpensive vacuum formed plastic sheets, but take all the guesswork out of making rivers that link together.  I decided to give mine a little more weight and having trimmed the edges they were glued to some 2mm MDF sheets.  I used sandpaper to make the smooth plastic surface a little rough and then added some sand and small stones mixed with a generous amount of PVA.  Having set aside to dry they were simply undercoated in black and then painted as normal.  I like my rives to be blue and so used a dark Prussian blue, lightening to the edges.  Once all was completed the pieces were varnished and dressed with static grass and tufts. 
Inevitably it was all going to come down to the next phase, the water. I had had some luck with Poundland epoxy resin and had initially thought that was going to be the way to go with this project, but stumbled across an alternative – clear silicone sealant. To say that I was a little anxious about the application would be an understatement, especially given the time that had already gone into the project, but all seemed to go well. Working in small batches, I simply squeezed out the silicone and then spread it around with a lolly stick. Water helps to push the incredibly sticky substance around, but be warned it is difficult to tame. If you are after a still millpond effect then this isn’t for you, it is more babbling brook, which I happen to feel looks rather effective.
Having completed the river, I was reminded that I had picked up was once an Italri stone bridge in the 'Warlord Games' half price plastic sprue sale.  Simple enough to glue together, but once I had slapped some grey paint on it, I was left feeling a tad underwhelmed with an incredibly clean bridge.  A bit of weathering was called for and with the addition of some pumice gel and static grass I was able to create something that fitted more readily with the completed river sections.
So another terrain build ticked off the list and great to see them in action in the recent Witchfinding adventure.  I am afraid that that following the game there will be a lot more 'documenting' posts as I catch up with items painted in preparation, but rest assured planning has already started for next summer's encounter. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

The Scouring of Muchwhinging

They came and came again, three times before the day was done. Three times the villagers of Muchwhinging had to muster every ounce of courage they possessed in a seemingly vain attempt to repel this blight to the land. Casualties were taken on both sides, some wouldn't make it through the night. The evil would come gain, but would we be ready?
Joined by Messrs Bull and Templar, Awdry Towers played host to some Witchfinding fun, this weekend, brought to life by using the 'Donnybrook' rules. I have been beavering away since the start of the year, sketching out, planing, building terrain and painting miniatures*, but I think that it was fair to say that I was a little anxious by the prospect of the day. I was pleased with how the table looked, but here I was trying to introduce two veteran 40K Gamers to the dark and difficult world of 17th Century England, using a rule set that I had no experience of; as they say, what could possibly go wrong?
*some only finished were only finished this week! 
As it happens, everything, but in the best possible way!  It was clear from the outset that 'Donnybrook', looks to champion the chaos of skirmish battles during the period of black powder.  The mechanic of character cards, drawn randomly, plays brilliantly to this ethos and is a manageable step for someone whose gaming experience is limited to board games and a recent foray into the jungles of the Congo.  Both gentlemen had been forewarned to bring a sense of humour and I am delighted to report that much laughter ensued.  

Once again, however, I have singularly failed in taking enough photographs or recording events in the detailed required to relay a full and edifying report; I was having far too much fun if the truth be told.  What I can tell you is that we played the same scenario three times, allowing each player to get a couple of turns to get to grips with the rules and a particular faction.  The 'prelude', had hinted at the objective, simply defend the village of Muchwhinging and see off the forces of evil.  Although pared down, and with some made up characters the games seemed to be fairly balanced with the result coming down to the last handful of units.  What follows is a series of images to help convey some of the action.
To a game that was already chaotic enough we added a touch more frivolity by adding the 'event' card to the final two encounters.  'The Dark Templar' looked on incredulously as his hero, Alain de la Slaughter, in Manbat form, was lured by Helen Highwater, the village Doxy, to her boudoir before slipping a stiletto blade between his ribs.  All this shortly after a previous event card saw his terrifying Ghouls, pack up and leave the battlefield, apparently missing their friends and families** - oh how we chortled; well maybe not all of us!
**or should that be fiends and familiars? 

On reflection, I was absolutely thrilled with how the day went.  Yes, Donnybrook is a tad light for some, but perfect for what we wanted.  The ability to build on the narrative and enjoy the role playing element is a lot of fun, especially when played with likeminded souls.  To that end, I need to thank both Mike 'The Dark Templar' Reynolds and 'Bullcher Feb' who's participation, good humour and support was paramount in making this such an enjoyable day.

Addendum:

Both Mike and Bull have each kindly written up a report of the day, which can be found by following the links below.  Once again Chaps, my heartfelt thanks.

A day of gaming that will long live in the memory! - Bullcher Feb
Donnybrook Witchfinder - Mike Reynolds

Friday, 3 August 2018

Evil is abroad this night...


...a prelude.
It had been hot, so very hot; the best summer for a generation said many. The crop had been bountiful and with the last sheaths of wheat loaded on to Windy Miller’s cart the villagers of Muchwhinging looked forward to slaking their first with a flagon, or three, of ale.
 As daylight started to fail, the stifling heat did little to dispel a sense of foreboding that many felt.  Birdsong gave way to a shrill cry that got louder as the exhausted lungs that carried it near-burst with exertion. 
"Sit yourself down and catch your breath lad; what’s all this fuss about, eh?"  The reassuring words of Richard Marshall doing little to appease the scrap that sat in front of him.  The young boy, took a sip of water from the tankard, but his trembling hands could not maintain sufficient purchase and it fell to flagstoned floor, shattering the unfamiliar silence within the 'Slaughtered Lamb'.

The unwitting messenger slowly raised his head, expectant eyes bore into him, but the only words he could utter would cause the thickest of hairs to stand proud, "They... they're back!"

The hour is nearly upon us and the preparation is all but done. Tomorrow's game is inspired by ‘Witchfinder General – Days of Revelation’ and brought to the table by using a pared down version of ‘Donnybrook’. Given that this is new to all taking part we have chosen a simple encounter scenario whereby the villagers of Muchwhinging set out into the gathering gloom to do battle with the vile abominations that have returned to their lands.

A lot of fun has been had getting to grips with the rules, which appear simple, yet brutal, benefitting from a good deal of narration and a fair sprinkling of common sense. I have had a couple of run throughs in preparation with some hilarious outcomes as the events have taken a completely unexpected change of direction on the turn of a card.

I have had to par down the game a little, mostly because I didn't have enough troops to field both sides, but followed the rules for setting up so hopefully it will be a balanced encounter. I have also invented a few characters, combining elements of Witchfinder with Donnybrook factions, allowing me to field some of the more esoteric models in my collection.  Using the downloadable cards from the 'League of Augsburg Blog', I was able to add as much character information as possible, so hopefully that will help to keep the came ticking along.
Now provided, I remember to take some photographs, and jot a few notes down, then there should be a battle report before too long.


Saturday, 28 July 2018

Paint Table Saturday#247

I just thought I would share a quick 'Paint Table Saturday' post today.  Nothing too earth shattering, but the last few bits and pieces needed for the upcoming 'Witchfinder General' game.  It has been slow progress of late, with painting restricted to the mornings or evenings, due to the temperatures.  Not that you will find me complaining, especially as we are on holiday, but when the paint dries on the brush before you have time to get it on the model then it is probably an idea to try something different. 
Once again, I seem to have got slightly sidetracked with the little extras and non playing characters, but I am hoping that these will all add to the feel of the game.  I did, however take advantage of the fact that the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' had hit the golf course the other day and started collecting together the terrain and miniatures required, before having a little play through with the rules.
One of those little extras mentioned are my 'Shaken' markers.  I had planned to use a couple of dead or wounded miniatures from either 'Redoubt Enterprises' or 'Warlord Games', both of which I had ordered in advance, but tried something a little bit different instead.  I have glued some 'Lego' hens to MDF bases and given them a quick spray with an acrylic aerosol.  Now each 'Shaken' unit will have the ignominy of been escorted by their Yellow Chicken until they pass a morale test and rally themselves!
As I am hoping to use the Donnybrook rules from 'The League of Augsburg', albeit in a pared down fashion, the rest of my day will be putting together lists and creating character cards for the different units.  

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Gibbet

Just time to get in one more themed post this month and what better way of warning those with a penchant for straying from the right path than to see fellow transgressors rotting quietly in a metal cage?  The gibbet was simply that, a way of illustrating, with the utmost clarity, that crime doesn’t pay.  
Mine is originally from ‘Black Tree Designs’ and is a sturdy piece of metal, cast in several pieces; the base frame being one piece and the cage two. Turning over the pieces in my hand, I started to wonder if there was, perhaps, an opportunity to make something a little more unique? A quick trawl through the bits box unearthed a Games Worksop plastic skeleton whose original purpose is now lost to time. It wasn’t the greatest fit and a couple of compromises had to be made, namely an arm and a leg, but eventually the hapless victim was secured.
Basing everything on a ‘Warbases’ MDF disc, gave ample room to incorporate some ground work and a ‘Renedra’ gravestone was used to represent a milestone.  Finally, a plastic crow sits above the gibbet, it’s loud, distinctive caw adding to the eeriness of the grisly scene.
I am due to host a Witchfinder game, albeit using the Donnybrook rules, at the start of next month so this should form a useful reminder to the villagers of, well I don't know where!?  As I was starting to write the fluff for the scenario, I became acutely aware that I hadn't a clue where it was to be set.  It would be the work of seconds to Google some actual, humorous, English village names, I give you Scratchy Bottom in Dorset or Bell End in Worcestershire for example, but I can't help thinking that it should be a fictitious spot to avoid any unnecessary offence or litigation.

So if you have any suggestions then do feel free to share in the comments below and by way of inspiration, I have set up a couple of photographs, using the fruits of this month's labours, below; shamelessly indulging in a couple of filters to give the photographs that 1970s Hammer Horror feel.
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