Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Luke Warm in the Desert


With 7TV Day 4: Pulptastic! coming up in two weeks' time, and Al and I signed up, and all ready to go*, it was probably about time Al played his first ever game of 7TV2. OK, neither of us have the 7TV2 Pulp rules yet, but that doesn't matter, does it?** So we hurriedly cobbled together some figures and terrain and remembered to take at least some pictures as we played using the main set of rules. Here's what happened…

*I'm all ready to go except for sorting out my cast, who are all still unpainted in a plastic bag.
**Well, it might.

Luke Warm in the Desert: The Pilot

On the back of substantial quantities of cold beer and even more substantial quantities of money from sales of what is probably the best cooking lager in the world, the spin-off, made-for-TV series based on the popular film Ice Cold in Alex has at last become reality. The show, which follows the journey of the crew of a military ambulance, will involve many well-known guest stars playing popular roles in a multitude of bizarre, hazardous and increasingly unlikely adventures on the way to the pub in Cairo.

This is the narrative of the pilot episode of that series.

Of course, as this is the pilot, some corners have been cut and, in accordance with established precedent of arguably the three greatest TV shows ever (and of course you know I am talking about Airwolf, Happy Days, and The Munsters), cast members and props will be sure to change for the actual series. But for the moment, here they are:

Katy's Crew

Brigader Mills: hip-flask-at-the-ready-leader - Dependable Deputy, Co-Star
Alex Quayle: inappropriately dressed bruiser - Strongarm, Co Star
Velma Jones: bespectacled schoolgirl archaeologist - Investigative Academic, Co Star
Dr Sims: Sylvia, not Joan - Doctor, Extra
Sgt Maj Andrews: Harry, not Julie - Technician, Extra
Corporal Benton: Army Corporal, Extra
Privates Smith & Jones: Army Privates, Extras
And featuring superstar “UNIT Landrover” as Katy the Ambulance! - Vehicle, Ambulance

The Cult of Blofeld, Science Division

Ernie Blofeld: cat-wielding supervillain - Evil Mastermind, Star
Doc Brown: maniacal bulgy-eyed inventor - Mad Scientist, Co-Star
Mustapha Pistol: Cultist Leader - Extra
5 x Unnamed Pistol-Armed Cultists: Cultists, Extras
Cameraman

The Plot

Katy and her intrepid crew have teamed up with plucky schoolgirl archaeologist Velma Jones and some expendable army-types. In a formulaic plot known in the industry as The Steal, Velma needs the help of Katy's crew to keep an ancient Egyptian nerve agent found during a local archaeological dig out of the hands of Doc Brown, who for reasons that remain unclear throughout the episode is working for the evil Mr Blofelt and his dastardly cultists (science division).

And... Action!
At the edge of an urban area somewhere in the Western Desert, the cultists advance on our unsuspecting heroes.

Inside the ambulance, Dr Sims and the Technician discuss Ancient History while they look after the canopic jar containing the ancient Egyptian nerve gas. It is an unusual task, but one that is accepted with typically plucky British resolve. And nobody has died yet, which is good for morale. 

Outside, the Brigadier lights another cigarette while admiring Alex's bracers, make-up, and shiny jockstrap. In a brief moment, the background music goes suddenly silent as their eyes make contact.

"Don't be alarmed by the size," Alex concedes, "You're not the only one here with an enormous hip flask."
The Brigadier smiles, somewhat relieved.
"A pint of semi-skimmed. I keep one under my bowler hat too," Alex continues, "But that's soya. I think I might be developing an intolerance."

Is that a clue I see?
On the far side of the buildings, Velma, followed by Corporal Benton and his comedy duo platoon, is enthusiastically searching for clues.

"Keep alert, men," Benton warns, "This is exactly the sort of place you're likely to find the kind of unsavoury Johnnies who have all sorts of strange ideas about what they might get up to with schoolgirl archaeologists."
Smith and Jones exchange knowing glances. That was exactly what they were trying hard not to think about.

The Cult of Blofeld (Science Division) advance
Ahead of them, through the heat haze, they see a group of just such unsavoury Johnnies approaching. Six of them wear red cultist robes, which the props department might have considered a little out of place in the desert had they paid enough attention. The two standing behind were different, though. The crazy haired one carrying the strange-shaped gun was dressed in a white boiler suit and red sneakers, while the fat bald man with the monocle in the khaki suit appeared to be armed with an exceptionally furry white cat.

"Mwahaha!" Blofeld says, "Now we have them in our clutches!"
Doc Brown's eyebrows dance up and down as he grimaces his best smile, wondering why Blofeld's conversations usually end in exclamation marks.
"Great Scott, you're right!" He overenthusiastically responds, realising that he does it himself too. "That means the nerve gas will be in our hands soon, and then I can finish my involvement with your unnecessarily complicated, unlikely and decidedly mad world domination plot at last and get on with fixing the fault in my flux capacitor!"

Taking the initiative, Brigadier Mills is about to do something when suddenly the set lighting cuts out as the power fails. As a result, he completely forgets what he was going to do, and doesn't do it.

The Brigadier notes Alex's impressive jockstrap
But with the unexpected change of lighting, out of the corner of his eye (the one with mascara), Alex spots something unusual about the oil drums nearby. Two are normal oil drums, but the third seems to actually be some sort of ancient pot. It is obviously an important clue. Wondering why he hadn't noticed it before, he sidles over to the pot and picks it up. The cultists, who lack such sophisticated acting talent, advance slowly, draw their pistols and open fire ineffectually.

Aware of possible danger, the uncredited paramedic slams Katy in reverse gear and moves back to the cover of the nearest building. Inside, the Doctor and Technician's conversation moves on to Current Affairs.

Meeting the threat, and understanding the limits of their acting skill, the cultists open fire again. Alex, in the open, finds himself caught in a hail of bullets. Wounded, he retreats swiftly back carrying the pot, while the Brigadier moves to a defensive position behind the cover of some convenient cardboard boxes disguised as wooden crates.

Yes, it's definitely a clue
Meanwhile, on the other side of the buildings, Velma comes across what she thinks is a clue, which she is examining closely with a magnifying glass.

"There's some writing down here at the bottom of the wall," she announces to everyone in general and no-one in particular, and bends down to take a closer look. "It's a good job I can read ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs."

Corporal Benton approaches to take a closer look at the writing, while Smith and Jones try as hard as they can not to take a closer look at anything at all.

"It's written in blood!" Velma cries. "The last words of a dying man!"
"What does it say?" asks Corporal Benton, putting aside for the time being the thought that a dying man might write his last words on a wall with his own blood in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
"It reads: RGH-MDNG-HPHV-NFTM-TRT-CL-D," Velma reads. "Bear in mind that the ancient Egyptians didn't have any vowels or punctuation, and hieroglyphs are largely phonetic anyway."

Corporal Benson looks confused. He isn't at all sure about the meaning of the word 'phonetic' and certainly wouldn't have chanced using it in polite company. As Smith and Jones continue to avert their eyes, Velma smugly continues.
"In English, Corporal, that translates as: 'Aaargh!!! I'm dying!! I hope I have enough time to write a clod'."
Benson gives her an odd stare.
"Well, it's something like that."

As the gunfight in the open continues, the Brigadier takes careful aim and bags the shortest, and unluckiest of the cultists who was standing in the middle of the street waving his pistol about pointlessly.
"Jolly good shot," said Alex as he passes by, swiftly retreating to cover, carrying the pot.

Velma stands up, pondering the meaning of the clue, while Smith and Jones exchange relieved glances and Corporal Benton takes in the situation. None of the enemy are near them, but the cultists will certainly soon be in shooting range if they continue to press their advance on the retreating ambulance.
"I've got it!" Velma announces. "It's simple. It's not 'clod', it's 'clue: D'. The hieroglyph for D is a hand. And, see, the middle finger is forming an unusual upward-pointing gesture, directing us towards the top of the opposite building. There must be something on the roof!"

Taking advantage of the lack of nearby opposition, Velma takes out her archaeologist's whip, while Smith and Jones begin exchanging worried glances again. With a skilled crack, at the exact moment that both Privates wince, the tip of the whip coils around a small hook at the top of the wall and, with the whip providing a makeshift grappling hook, in one swift movement Velma swings herself up onto the roof of the adjacent building.

"I was right!" Velma excitedly cries, examining the body she's found. It's a man dressed in Egyptian clothing, a knife buried in his stomach, his own blood smeared on the index finger of his right hand. The body of the man who had written the clue on the wall in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in his own blood.
"How very mysterious", Velma thinks.

But Velma is not aware she is being watched. One of the cultists, knife at the ready, is lurking against the wall on the opposite side of the street waiting for the moment to pounce.

Everyone laughs when someone falls over
As the nearest of the cultists slips over a banana skin someone left on set, and Alex retreats further, to an even safer position, confusion suddenly breaks out. The director, who doesn't seem to appreciate the difference between a man with white hair in a white jump suit and a man wearing a bowler hat in white underwear, makes them inexplicably exchange positions. This leaves the unfortunate Alex surrounded by angry cultists, and the Brigadier with Doc Brown pointing an experimental gun at his back. Confusion is swiftly followed by gunfire, which even a large handful of plot points cannot withstand. Alex is duly mowed down and the Brigadier swiftly and unceremoniously follows. In the ambulance. the conversation moves on to Politics.

Doctor vs. Ambulance showdown
With an apparent absence of opposition, the overconfident cultists advance, exposing them to the field of fire of Corporal Benton's undersized platoon. Doc Brown, ahead of them, advances toward the ambulance and opens fire. Experimental bullets (some incendiary) bounce harmlessly off the armour of the vehicle, while inside, the Doctor and Technician move their discussion on to Religion.

At this point, for no better reason than getting a couple of quick extra plot points, the director takes the opportunity to add a brief romantic interlude to the picture.
"Oh Joan"
"Call me Sylvia"
"Oh Sylvia"
"Oh Sergeant-Major"
"Oh uncredited Paramedic"

With plot points scarce, the firefight continues to little effect, as it often does in TV shows when they have time to kill. An extremely lucky cultist shot wounds the Corporal. Other bullets bounce off ambulances and through cultists.

"Mwahaha!" Blofeld gloats, stroking his cat. "All is (mostly) going to plan!"
The cultist leader and a particularly short cultist standing next to him nod and laugh in flattering agreement.
"Don't I know you?" Blofeld asks.
"Er, me? Yes, sir," the short cultist responds. "I was shot earlier but the director sent me back on again."
"Ah, yes. Unlimited minions. Of course, that explains it!" Blofeld strokes the cat again.

And that is the precise moment Blofeld senses that something is not quite right. He stares at the cat. Big. White. Fur. Pink eyes. Strange ticking. Something isn't quite right. This isn't the right cat. Somehow it must have been exchanged for one of Doc Brown's experimental cats, possibly earlier when the power failed.

The cat explodes, instantly disposing of the short cultist (again).

Blofeld considers he may have had a lucky escape
Stealing the scene, the army presses their advantage, accompanied by a suitable special effects sequence.

"Oh no," says Blofeld, as the remains of the cat that he is holding catch fire.

But through the blood and flames Blofeld sees his moment. Pulling the starter cord of his jetpack he flies to some nearby trees at the side of the set, where he knows there was a small fire extinguisher for use in just such emergencies, and in moments the flames are extinguished.

Sensing an opportunity to appear in the credits, the uncredited paramedic slams Katy into forward gear for the first time in the episode and accelerates to the Corporal's aid, completely failing to heal his wound. Inside, there is a soft thud as two people fall from one of the beds, though there doesn't seem to be any more conversation. And the inevitable explosion happens.

Smith (or Jones) explodes, while Jones (or Smith) is left unscathed, and Katy's armour proves as strong as ever. Inside, beyond the condensation on the windows, the Doctor and the Technician barely notice.

With the news fast approaching and the episode rapidly drawing to a close, the final drama takes place. As Velma leaves the building she is pounced on by the waiting cultist, who waves his knife at her. She duly hits him on the head with her bag and walks off.

And so, with their cast axed at the last possible opportunity, the credits roll as the ambulance drives up to her and the doors open enabling the last of the crew to escape.

"Curses!" shouts a bruised, soot-blackened, water-soaked Blofeld holding a piece of burnt fur. "Foiled again!"

Saga: Age of Magic - The Challenge (5)

5. End of Week 5

It's four weeks since the last update and unfortunately travel for work and a holiday have meant that I have made very little progress. It's also taking me a lot longer than I expected to assemble some of the figures that I bought, and towards the end of last week progress slowed down substantially as I spent an inordinately long time assembling plastic skeletons - and I still have more to do. So as yet, I haven't taken quite the focussed approach on individual armies that I anticipated last time. The scatter-gun approach, for the time being, continues.

Here's the little I have done since last time.

Great Kingdoms

The pegasus from Fireforge is an excellent model with lots of detail and a joy to put together. I decided to construct it as an unbarded version to better match the hearthguard in  my Eastern Princes army. The rider, however, doesn't sit perfectly in position and so I have used a fair amount of green stuff to fill gaps. I replaced the shield provided with a spare Gripping Beast teardrop shield, again to better match the Eastern Princes army I will be using as Great Kingdoms.

I don't like the stand provided with the model, so at the moment it doesn't have one. I will scratch-build one in due course.

Pegasus, temporarily grounded
Lords of the Wild

Well, the lizardmen are still waiting in the queue. They're lovely figures though and I can see these are not going to take long to put together.

Lovely sprue
The lizardman Warlord is a North Star snake man. I cut off his base, drilling and pinning him instead to a stone attached to a 40mm round base with Milliput. I've also removed his weapon anddrilled a hole in his hand ready to accept a new spear which I plan to make from 1mm brass rod.

The Lizardman Warlord
The Horde

No progress, but there's been a lot of thinking about the chariot!

The Undead Legions

This is where the bulk of my efforts have been concentrated - and that said, I have surprisingly little to show for it. As I said above, it's been a week of constructing corpses.

Let's start with the new mounted Black Knight. He's a combination of components from boxes of Kings of War Revenants and Fireforge Templars, and still needs to be made good with some green stuff. I'm uncertain about his head and might replace this if I can come up with something more undead-looking, but for the moment he will do. He's based on a 40mm round MDF base, with added height and weight from a 2p piece.

The Black Knight - for the moment, actually grey
I also constructed four mounted hearthguard. These are Kings of War Revenants, with heads from Kings of War Zombies and capes, helmets and shields from Fireforge Templars. I'm not wholly saisfied with them, in particular the capes which I might remove and replace with green stuff. Their hands are drilled ready to accept new lances which I will make from 1mm brass rod, and I yet need to add green stuff to tidy them up and fill gaps. I've based them on 50mm x 20mm retangular MDF bases with height and a little weight from two 1p pieces added to each base.

Undead knights
The skeleton warriors are a right fiddle to put together. I don't know why Warlord Games chose to do this - there seems very little sense in the feet being separate from from legs, for example. Partly because of this and partly because of the enthusiasm of my super glue to stick my fingers together rather than model parts, I've only done eight warriors with bow and eight with spears so far. I'm pleased with the way they look, though.

based each one on a 25mm repair washer to give weight, and raised them slightly by using small pieces of plastic (at first), then matchstick (easier, later) to allow room to add base texture in due course.

Skeleton showing raised feet
I particularly like the look of the bowmen.

Skeletons with bows
Skeletons with(out) spears
I have yet to add the spears, which I will scratch-build, to these. Their shields seem a bit on the large size, but I think they will be fine when they're painted.

Masters of the Underearth

No progress!

Hopefully work will settle down a bit over the weeks ahead and I will make progress. However, I have an urgent task looming this month as I am going to a games day in early July and need some figures for it. Watch this space...

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Saga: Age of Magic - The Challenge (4)

4. End of Week 2

The most significant thing that's happened this week is that all the figures I ordered have arrived, most of them in a big box yesterday morning. Because of that I haven't had time to get round to them yet, but at least everything has arrived. I have to say how impressed I am with the speed of West Wind's order turnaround, though, and Warmonger weren't far behind them either. But most of all I am pleased to say that I have kept on track this week and not run out of enthusiasm yet.

That all means that as of now I am in the position of being able to finish any of the armies, and I suspect because of that I will be concentrating my efforts over the weeks ahead on specific faction to get some of them finished rather than taking the current scatter gun approach to all and sundry. We shall see.

Anyway, here's the progress so far:

Great Kingdoms

The pegasus from Fireforge has arrived and even without assembling it I can see it is a lovely figure. I hadn't appreciated it was resin when I bought it, but this just means it has really clear detail, and will need an especially good wash before priming. The model comes with optional horse barding, which is a great feature. To make a better match with the Eastern Princes army I'm going to use for my Great Kingdoms, I will use a non-barded version, and replace the shield to match those of that army's hearthguard.

Pegasus parts
I've assembled the sacred ground monument and added milliput to make the cross more substantial. The steps have been textured with chinchilla dust to make them look more like stone.

The monument
Lords of the Wild

The snake-men have arrived but are still in their boxes for now. The only progress has been on the titan for the Rise of the Spirits ability.

I added more filler and small stones to the base go give a better impression of roots bursting up through the ground, and a bit more fine detail, sealed in with a coat of PVA glue. More fine detail to be added next when it's all dry.

The PVA dries...
The Horde

A few days after the arrival of my West Wind order, the few figures I ordered from Warmonger (Foundry) turned up very promptly as well. These are lovely figures, and meant that I could get on with the war chariot early this week.

The first step, after cleaning up the figures, was to attach the boars to an appropriately sized base. I've used a 75mm round base, the same size as for my monsters.

The boars on their base, undercoated
I filled the voids in the chariot wheels with milliput, and attached the wheels to an axle made from a kebab stick, which was fitted to the bottom of the chariot body. I had to adjust the chariot pole to make it a little longer to better fit with the boars. I built a yoke out of more bits of kebab stick and milliput and then let all the parts fully dry.

Chariot components
While this was drying, I modified the chariot crew. The driver's right hand, from which I had already cut his weapon, was drilled to fit a whip which I made out of thin brass wire bent to shape and fitted to his hand with a tiny bit of green stuff. I removed as much of his left forearm as I needed (most of this will be invisible when he is inside the chariot) and added a new left forearm with an open hand, taken from the bit box. The hand had to be enlarged a little bit with green stuff so as not to look totally out of proportion. The intention was that this hand be holding the reins when the chariot is finally assembled.
  
The warrior in the chariot is a splendid orc figure from Warmonger. I trimmed his base to fit the chariot and cut off most of the cleaver held in his left hand, as there wouldn't be room for it in the chariot, and this would be largely hidden from view when he is fixed in place.

I fitted the two crew into the chariot body, making good around their bases with green stuff. I attached a pair of matching shields to each side of the chariot body, and a smaller one to the front, more for decoration than anything else. Because the chariot model is equipped with javelins, I took three spare spears and made a quiver for them out of green stuff, which I attached to the outer rear of one side of the chariot body.

Chariot side view, showing the driver with his whip

A view from the other side, showing the javelin case

And from the front. Note the driver's enlarged left hand
I added a skull design out of milliput to one relatively flat side of the Sacrificial Stone which is this faction's Sacred Ground.

Skull design, not quite straight, but that gives it a bit of personality
The Undead Legions

The skeletons and the mounted hearthguard have arrived and are in their boxes ready for assembly. Having assembled one very fiddly figure I can already see that this is likely to be the most time consuming part of putting this army together. 

Other than that, the only progress is that the crypt now has a base (though no texture yet).

The crypt
Masters of the Underearth

I am very impressed with West Wind whose figures arrived within days of ordering. These dwarf crossbowmen are a little on the chunky side, and needed a bit of flash cleaning off, but they are very expressive  and I do like them. They are sold in packs of 10 so, needing 12, I bought a command pack to go with them - thinking that these would be specific command figures for the crossbowmen - which sadly they weren't. However, I was able to convert one of them to suit the unit better, adding a crossbow from the Frostgrave Warriors set and (though this figure is a bit of a midget in the unit) found one odd old dwarf figure with a crossbow to make up the numbers.

Spot the midget
A few days later the single dwarf ordered from Warmonger also arrived, making one of the two destruction teams, but I needed another one. So I took one of the West Wind command team figures (the standard bearer), cut off his weapon and standard and re-equipped him with a couple of scratch-built and highly unlikely looking double-barrelled pistols made from plastic tube, green stuff and plastic card. To distinguish the destruction teams from the other figures, I put them on 30mm bases.

Destruction team #1: Warmonger 

Destruction team #2: converted West Wind 

Friday, 3 May 2019

Saga: Age of Magic - The Challenge (3)


3. End of the First Week 

One week on and I am still waiting for delivery of the figures I ordered, and (typically) I've ordered some more since then as well (details below).

The main progress made is that all the figures that I do have are now based, with their bases textured and painted. Those that were not already painted have at least been undercoated. 

Great Kingdoms

Not a lot of progress on the figures, but the sorcerer has been based and the dragon has been based and undercoated, and looks much better for just that.

Sorcerer

Undercoated dragon
While searching for the crypt I came across a resin Celtic cross originally bought for Saga, but which I never got around to sorting out. This is ideal for the monument that will be the sacred ground for this faction, so I will put it together with the addition of a base and some milliput, and a pedestal made of balsa wood.

Essential components of the monument
Lords of the Wild

I finished my conversion of the lamia sorcerer by plaiting some dressmaker's wire and winding it around her staff, to make it look both more ornate and a bit larger. This was finished, and a few holes filled, with a very small amount of green stuff. You can't see it on the photo but I also added a pouch and a shoulder strap for it. She already has a shoulder strap on the front for the quiver on the original figure.


The lamia sorceress
I cut a round base from MDF for the Rise of the Spirits giant lizard, because my model wasn't going to fit on a 75mm round base. I textured the edge of this, and in an effort to make this look like the lizard was bursting out of the ground, constructed the area inside with fragments of broken, dried, DAS clay. 

And then (while doing the gardening) I had what I thought was a brilliant idea that changed everything. This is supposed to be a titan made from the terrain - so what if it was a dragon/lizard-like creature but made of earth and undergrowth? So with ambitious thoughts of making something similar to those brilliant driftwood sculptures in the back of my mind, I had a go at constructing something appropriate. I began to build this out of small pieces of dead wood glued together and strengthened it gradually with milliput. It turned out to be easier to construct this directly onto the base. I'm quite pleased with the end result, but it needs a bit more work to make it look a bit more lizardy and less like a horse.


The terrain dragon poses

Needs work to make it look more like a lizard than a horse
The Horde

The Warlord, Champion, Sorcerer, Creatures, Hearthguard and Warriors have all now had their bases textured and painted, and unpainted figures have been undercoated ready to go. I realised while doing this that four of the Hearthguard figures were supposed to have shields (they have holes in which to add them) and so I found four matching shields of an appropriate size to equip them with. These are almost certainly not the ones the models came with, but that doesn't matter.
Warlord
The champion
I've had a bit of a rethink of the list, and rather than the chimera, it seems a better fit to the army to add a war chariot. With that in mind I had a good look around at available figures; there are some, but most of the good ones seem to be currently either out of production or hideously expensive (or both). A lot are also in multiple packs, but I only want one. The answer I came up with was to buy some suitable beasts to pull it and a warrior to ride on board, and scratch-build the chariot myself. So I ordered a pair of boars and an appropriately aggressive orc figure from Warmonger miniatures.

In the meantime I've made a start on building the chariot body out of kebab sticks, coffee stirrers and green stuff. The wheels started life as a pair of small slot bases, to which I added green stuff, milliput and bits of coffee stirrers. I also found an old orc figure that with a bit of work will do nicely as a chariot driver. I now need to wait for the the boar figures to arrive before I can really progress this further.

Some of the starting elements of the war chariot
Legions of the Undead 

After another play test I've decided that a unit of four mounted Hearthguard instead of the behemoth makes a lot of sense. It won't stop me finishing the behemoth off but I suspect I am unlikely to use it much. The Necromancer will benefit from some bodyguards too, and the army could use a mobile reserve, so this is all the more useful. I also think the Black Knight could do with a bit more mobility so I'd like him to be mounted as well. So (and somehow I suspect this was inevitable) I have put in an order for a few more figures.

The Necromancer and Black Knight (on foot) are now based and primed.


The necromancer
Black Knight on foot - needing a bit of touching up
Also after a search through some boxes I found a nice crypt (from Debris of War) which I will use for this faction's sacred ground.

The crypt
Masters of the Underearth

As with the other factions, the figures are now all on painted and textured bases, and those needing to be fully painted have been undercoated.

Warlord
This splendid warlord is the "white dwarf" figure associated with the magazine of that name which I believe is a bit of rarity now as it was a limited edition a very long time ago. It's great to have an excuse to put him to use and hopefully my painting will do him justice in the end.

It's  clear that this list would significantly benefit from some troops with ranged weapons, so I have decided to drop the Manticore and four of the Hearthguard and add in 12 Levy crossbowmen and two Destruction Teams instead. On that basis I ordered some figures from West Wind and Warmonger miniatures.

In the meantime I textured and painted the bases of the mine entrances, and added some more detail in the form of belts for the winch pulleys (made from a cut rubber band).

Belt added to the pulley mechanism

...and the same on the other entrance

So far, so good. Let's see if I can keep the momentum up for another week!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Saga: Age of Magic - The Challenge (2)


2. Progress

A few days on and I have placed an order for all the extra figures that I want. Unfortunately some of them are currently out of stock, so for the time being I will need to concentrate on what I already have, along with the scratch building.

The Undead Legions

After playing a couple of games using proxy figures, trying out different lists, I'm not convinced the Behemoth is worth it and four Hearthguard seem a much better investment. The four units of warriors are a must and I love the mindless - though more than one unit of them would make moving them around really tricky and mean I was one Saga die short. I'm not sure the black knight is worth it, but will persist.

No significant progress on the figures.

The Great Kingdoms

No significant progress.

A rock attached to a base
The Horde

I found a rock and stuck it to a base with the aid of some DAS clay for the sacred ground piece. Well, it's a start!

A couple of mine shafts
Masters of the Underearth

More progress here. I started making the mine entrances, mainly out of balsa wood and coffee stirrers, built on cut MDF bases. The design is loosely based on photos of medieval mine shaft entrances, though my ones have manual winches rather than being operated by treadmill, for ease of scratch building. I think these are coming along nicely.

Metamorphosis of the sorcerer
The Lords of the Wild

I cut the bow and quiver from the lamia figure and drilled her hand to accept a piece of 1mm brass rod, which I fitted withe the (dragon-head) top cut from the wizard's staff of a different figure. Not finished yet but it's getting there. 

The primitive totem, in progress
I also started building the primitive totem, which I intend to look like an old tree with carved/painted snake design around it. I found a suitable piece of wood and made a snake to wrap around it out of florist's wire and milliput, and stuck it to a base. So far so good.

Emerging giant lizard - very much work in progress!
This list will also benefit from a list-specific titan model for when the ability Rise of the Spirits is used. With the concept of a giant lizard crawling its way out of the ground, I made a start on this using DAS clay. I'm not convinced if it will work out in the end but am giving it a try anyway. We shall see!

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Saga: Age of Magic - The Challenge (1)

1. Initial Thoughts

Saga: Age of Magic
Having picked up my copy of Saga Age of Magic at Salute and read it through several times (and even had a couple of practice games using proxy figures) I am extremely impressed with all the good work that has obviously been put into creating this new universe. It's inspired me to sort out some of those old fantasy figures collected years ago and put them to good use. 

So the first thing was to see what armies I could make up, without having to spend too much on buying new figures.

After a thorough sort out I thought that without too much effort I could have a crack at five of the six factions. Not bad at all!  And although I had an eminently suitable sorcerer figure it was clear that l wasn't going to be able to put together an army for the Otherworld faction without some significant outlay or a surge of creativity with the Milliput. Maybe that will be a project for the future.

Each faction in Age of Magic has a Sacred Ground unique to them, so I would have a crack at making these as well. 

So the challenge I set myself was to get an army done for each of these factions and have some games with them as soon as I can. How long will it take me to get five armies ready? That's the first question. And the second question is given my tendency to start projects off and lose interest in them before they're finished, would I actually complete any of these armies?

But I have a head start with most of them, so it's not as if I will be working completely from scratch, and some of the armies should therefore be easier to do than others. Here are my initial thoughts on each of them:

L-R: Black Knight, Behemoth, Necromancer, rebased for Saga
The Undead Legions

I'm starting here because I thought it would be easy to repurpose my Revenants for Age of Magic (after all, they were bought for Saga!) I was wrong - unless I want loads of units of Mindless. Never mind.

So here's the list I came up with:

Necromancer
Black Knight
1 x 20 Mindless
2 x 11 Warriors
2 x 11 Warriors (bow)
1 x Behemoth

I would need to touch up the Black Knight and Behemoth (a giant mummy), and buy the Warriors (I am taken by the Warlords of Erehwon skeletons). The Necromancer and Mindless are ready. But then I found a better Necromancer figure, so I've added him to the army.

After much thinking, I decided the base sizes I would use for my Saga: Age of Magic figures would be as follows. These are consistent with the base sizes I have used for other Saga figures:
Hearthguard, Warriors and Levy on foot - 25mm round
Hearthguard, Warriors and Levy mounted - 20mm x 50mm rectangle
Heroes - 40mm round
Creatures - 60mm round
Monsters - 75mm round

The crypt for the undead would be made from some graveyard terrain I have lying around somewhere.

Overall I would need:
2 figs rebase/touch up
44 figs from scratch
1 crypt to assemble and paint.

Not quite as simple as I had originally thought!

The Horde, newly based for Saga
The Horde

A sort through some old D&D figures came up with the following:

Warlord
Sorcerer (unpainted)
Champion
16 x goblins [warriors] (6 unpainted)
8 x orcs [hearthguard] (unpainted)
3 x minotaurs [creatures]
1 x chimera [scourge] (unpainted)

Most figures needed to be rebased.

I'd scratch build the sacred stone from, well, a stone.

Masters of the Underearth - i.e. Dwarves
Masters of the Underearth

It seems I have quite a lot of dwarf figures. Sorting these out I came up with this list:

Warlord (unpainted)
Sorcerer
2 x 6 hearthguard
2 x 6 hearthguard (heavy weapon)
1 x manticore [scourge] (unpainted)

I admit this is a small army and not a great list, but it will do for the time being.

I would have a go at building the mine shafts for this faction's sacred ground from scratch.

Sorcerer and Dragon (scourge)
Great Kingdoms

As I was beginning to realise that this project was going to be a bit more daunting than I had originally thought, it was good to find a faction that would be a much quicker build. Essentially, this would be a conventional Saga army with added fantasy elements. I would base the army on my Eastern Princes:

Warlord
Sorcerer (needs basing and touch up)
Champion
Paladin
3 x 4 hearthguard
2 x 12 levy (bow)
1 x dragon [scourge] (unpainted)

I'd need to buy figures to suit for the Champion and Paladin as I wanted these on flying mounts. And this list was good to have an excuse to use an old dragon figure!

I'd scratch build a statue/monument of some kind for the sacred ground.

A Lamia and some dinosaurs
Lords of the Wild

I love the idea of a lizardman force, and I had several dinosaurs already painted and based (with a game of 7TV2 in mind) that I could use. I came across a rather nice medusa/lamia figure that I would like to use as a sorcerer after a bit of simple conversion. The list that naturally came to mind was therefore:

Warlord (would need to buy)
Sorcerer (unpainted) 
3 x 8 warrior lizardmen [bow] (to buy)
6 x dinosaurs [creatures]
1 x dinosaur [titan]

I like the look of the North Star snake men (for Ghost Archipelago) for these figures.

I'd scratch build the primitive totem for the sacred ground.

However, when I play tested these lists out using proxy figures I realised that if I used my Skraelings for this army the only figure I would actually need was the sorcerer. (This assuming that dinosaurs and red indians go together). It's OK for the time being, but ultimately I think I will go down the snake man route.

Otherworld

The faction that is unlikely to be done. But at least I have a suitable sorcerer!