Friday, 10 February 2012

Breaking the Silence

Well... I started with the best of intentions and quickly failed to follow through like so many broken New Years Resolutions. What can I say? Life found a way. To take up almost all my hobby time.

The biggest factor is that soon there will be a Mrs. Banchou Badger and as such much has been made of wedding preparations and working full time as well has meant that the blog has been neglected in favour of actual hobby time.

So now that I am facing unemployment again it looks like I will finally have some hobby time!

So firstly, a bit of catch up on what I have been up to the last little while and some previews of upcoming posts.

Well the biggest (or smallest thing) to happen hobbywise these last few months is that I have had a massive purge of my unused GW armies and reinvested the ebay winnings (a fair bit of money actually!) in a brand new scale. Now I know that I have been harping on about 1/72 scale for a while but my new love is 15/18mm miniatures.

It all began with Ground Zero Games excellent UNSC infantry and some sci-fi vehicles and before I knew it I had three sci-fi forces and four fantasy armies.

GZG 15mm UNSC Infantry
The scale has proven to be a joy to work in. It takes some shopping around to find decently sculpted and cast up minis, but the hunt can be rewarding in and of itself and yield some bargains. I initially had a really hard time deciding between the UNSC minis from GZG or Critical Mass' ARC Fleet minis. In the end I went with my wallet and got the slightly cheaper GZG minis. I have to say they are lovely and the ease of ordering, fast postage and excellent customer service has brought me back to GZG a couple of times now. In short, check them out.

The minis were cast up really nicely with minimal flash. As such assembling a platoon took next to no time. The painting was mainly drybrushing and ink washes  using citadel paints with some extra time spent painting the visors.

Now the intention was originally to use this force for Ambush Alley's excellent Tomorrow's War. However my group of gamers were reluctant to take up a new game that seemed complex and above all, had no points system. My group tend to be in the GW mould (not a bad thing as long as its not Fine Cast)  and as such prefer to play pick up games where two sides are more or less the same.

Now I have been waiting for a point system from Ambush Alley for some time and although there is an unofficial one I am unable to download the file as their forum seems reluctant to let me register. Seeing as my group were not all that keen on the system in the first place I decided to tackle the problem as only the Badger would. I wrote a new set of rules from the ground up.

The game is not as detailed as Tomorrow's War by a long shot, but it is designed to be more accessible with rules weighing in at some 20 odd pages total including campaign rules. I will talk more about Force Commander once playtests have been carried out.

As mentioned earlier I also threw myself into doing multiple fantasy forces. I couldn't really help myself. I felt the urge to play mass fantasy games but were hindered by three significant factors: 1)GW Prices 2)The current edition of Warhammer is not to my taste 3) I only have a 4'x4' table at home. So the move to 15mm seemed sensible. Four armies later it seems less sensible but I am pretty happy with how the first two armies turned out.

Eureka Elves. Close ups coming soon!
Firstly I had to get some Eureka elves. I got these from Fighting 15s and once again, was very impressed with the speed of their order processing and delivery. Top marks. The elves are amazing sculpts, but at 18mm are a bit big compared to most historical castings out there. My big complaint with them is that the spears and sword blades are very, very fragile as are some of the horses legs. They do however paint up all so prettily.

For my second army I could not resist the lure of the Greenskins from Blood Dawn by Magister Militum. The order process was way slower than GZG or Fighting 15s, however they do supply some of the best fantasy 15mm castings I have encountered. The orcs have been a joy to paint with regiments being done in a fraction of the time as the elves and I have to say, they look great on the table together.

Magister Militum Orcs. The Boar rider have been finished
since this shot was taken.
Once again these figures are being used for a home-brew rule set that I have cobbled together whilst we wait for Ganesha Games to publish A Song of Armies and Hordes.  Now unlike Force Commander the fantasy rules are base on the excellent Simplicity in Practice games by Neil Thomas (I once referenced one of his books in an archaeology essay). The basic rules were brilliant for medieval and ancient warfare and so required only a few tweaks to the core rules and some special rules to be pretty playable. But of course, as is the flavour of the moment I decided to add some Command and Control rules that made things a little less predictable and a whole lot more interesting.

Unlike Force Commander the fantasy game (referred to as Warmonger) has had a play test. My opponent was someone who had never wargamed in 15mm before and was sceptical. He had played Warhammer before but had always been more into 40k. By the end he gave me some good feedback but also went away with the web addresses of a couple of 15mm manufacturers. I heard that he ordered himself a medieval human army from Corvus Beli last night. All in all, Success!

Apart from 15mm I have not been painting much apart from some Vikings. But more on that later on when I talk more about historical skirmish games in general and Saga in particular, a new favourite of mine.

The next post will be soon (pinky swear it!) and will focus on more 15mm stuff as well as a ideas for scenery.

Until Next Time
-Banchou Badger