Friday 25 April 2014

Anzac Day 2014- Op STABILISE, Dili 1999

Operation STABILISE was the Australian-led deployment of International Force East Timor (INTERFET) in 1999. Here's a 54mm figure I painted in October 1999. I think it's a Mike Broadbent sculpt, to which I added sunnies and a CamelPak.

Interfet by Mark Russell
Rick Amor was one of the Official War Artists. Here is his work Rural Destruction, and some studies (via the Australian War Memorial).

Rural destruction
Lest we forget.

Saturday 19 April 2014

Battlelore- Uthuk Y'llan

Uthuk Y'llan
I have no idea how to pronounce Uthuk Y'llan. The Uthuk are chaos-worshipping desert nomads who mutate with bony shards growing from their skin. In painting them, I wanted to emphasize the dark blood red and the bone and the flesh.

The archers- The Viper Legion- are too cool for poison arrows, they use real snakes instead. Mmm-hmm. Like the Daqan archers, they too point their finger when shooting. This figure also demonstrates why I am against cast bowstrings on miniatures (I also don't like adding my own, I'd rather have an empty space).
Viper Legion
Viper Legion

The Blood Harvesters have bad-ass mullets. I liked the idea of a big bony claw instead of a metal blade.
Blood Harvesters

The Flesh Ripper Brutes are seriously nasty, and probably my favourite unit and sculpt in the game.
Flesh Ripper Brutes

The Obscenes are quite comfortable with their body image, thank you very much. I struggled with the faces, for some reason, but not their bellies or skin folds.

The Chaos Lord, despite the dull name, looks like the product of an unholy threesome between a balrog, a bloodthirster, and great Cthulhu. I'm quite happy with the final appearance on this dynamic sculpt. I wasn't sure what colour to paint his tentacles, but decided on a fleshy tone.
Chaos Lord

Other artwork © FFG

Battlelore- Daqan Lords

Daqan Lords
The Daqan Lords are the generic human good guys in BattleLore. I wanted to emphasize strong blues with yellow accents and clean whites. A simple stripe adds a touch of class.

The Citadel Guard are pretty straightforward.
Citadel Guard

The Yeoman Archers can fire twice if they don't move, and they have two quivers- cause or effect? They also point their fingers where they want their arrows to go.
Yeoman Archers

The Riverwatch Riders' horses are different colours only because I couldn't remember how I did my practice horse! I tried a few different combos, but couldn't match the first shade and didn't go back to correct things.
Riverwatch Riders

The Rune Golems were the easiest to paint with successive drybrushings. Unfortunately, this shows up where I was too lazy to deflash the head.
Rune Golems

The Roc Warrior- Caw, Caw!
Roc Warrior

The Blue Bird of Awesomeness

I really want to emphasize the colours of the different factions- so much so that I re-did the Roc because it needed to be more blue. I'm still not too happy with the wings, they need more care and attention for a centerpiece figure. I had a look on Google for blue falcons* for further inspiration. By chance, I saw a book cover with a big bird style I borrowed.
Roc Mk I- I painted over this because it was messy and not blue enough

A blue falcon- this is the look I want.
This is similar!
*and learned some interesting US military slang.

Battlelore- overview, painted figures and AAR


Fantasy Flight Games' new edition of Battlelore is my latest guilty pleasure. I can have a quick yet challenging fantasy battle with core rules I'm familiar with, without the baggage of the Warhammer Old World or the gravitas of Middle Earth. The base game comes with the human 'Daqan Lords', and the desert nomad chaos bad guys, the 'Uthuk Y'llan'. I'm confident FFG will produce the other fantasy tropes from its Terrinoth realms- elves, orcs, dwarfs, and undead.

Gameplay is the usual Commands and Colors hex-based, card- and custom-dice driven orders and combat. Tweaks include:
  • Victory points based on area control rather than unit destruction
  • Three-strong rather than four-strong units
  • Faction-based 'Lore' (card-managed magic and abilities)
  • Retreats are away from the attacker, rather than towards the baseline
  • Any card may be used to activate one unit anywhere
  • Single-strength units are weaker
  • Simplified terrain
  • No pre-set scenarios- there's a system to create a scenario, an army and hidden deployment

Painted figures
BattleLore painted miniatures

My focus isn't on the game as much as the figures. I do like to paint my boardgame pieces... (War of the Ring, Battle Cry, Doom, Mansions of Madness)
Uthuk Y'llan
Daqan Lords
The figures are this bastard-size between 20-25mm. This is a minor disappointment insofar as FFG did say the figures were going to be 28mm. I'd actually have been happier if they'd gone nuts with 15 or 10mm, and had loads of figures- there is something about a massed battle with lots of little little men and loads of banners that satisfies my soul. Three guys as a unit just ain't right. If you really wanted to, you could replace some of the figures with massed smaller scale miniatures- some of the monsters are scale-less, anyway.
HäT, Zvezda, BattleLore, GW

Italeri, Zvezda, BattleLore, GW
I took more care painting these than I had planned. I had two goals: to make the figures 'pop' on the tabletop, and to attain clear factional identities of red and blue. I was happy with the basing, I wanted it to complement the board.

For more picture of the miniatures see here (Daqan Lords) and here (U'thuq Y'llan).


Here's a solo game I knocked out, spending a bit of time fiddling with the FFG scenario editor to make maps. My solo rules were to draw one card for each side, and play it as well as possible. I ignored lore. Note that this scenario does not have area control victory points. It's a bit of effort to make a report like this, I won't be doing it often, but let me know if you've got any suggestions to enhance clarity. (Click to embiggen)

On the box, FFG has cheekily subtitled this 'A game of fantasy battles'; c.f. GW's 'Warhammer: The game of fantasy battles'.

Monday 14 April 2014

Leviathan 2014

On Saturday, I briefly stuck my head in to Leviathan, the annual wargaming convention run every April by Sydney's Western Suburbs' Gaming Society. It is held at a local high school.

I didn't play any games myself, but caught up with some old friends and took some pics.
Drop Zone Commander

Seven Years Picnic from MBD

Wooden Ships and Iron Men with Langton and Skytrex

I am a sucker for a nice Infinity table

or two

or three.

A Chain of Command demo table

Halflings vs High Elves at Blood Bowl- later in the game, Deeproot scored!
There were other games going on- including 40K, Hordes, Warhammer, Flames of War, Lord of the Rings, & Bolt Action- but I didn't get photos. There were going to be games of Saga and X-Wing the next day as well.

I was unable to resist these 15mm French-Indian war figures at the second hand stall- I think they are Blue Moon- only $15!
[UPDATE- the figures are Freikorps15 and Essex]