Friday, 21 February 2014

All property is theft

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But what about wholesale reblogging without credit? I have to say that on one hand it bolsters my ego to know that someone likes my stuff enough to post it again on their own blog. And I'm absolutely fine with that - nothing I write or photograph is so earth-shatteringly amazing that I don't want other people to do what they like with it. But this week I was alerted to the fact that there was another blog out there called Creepy Corridor which has effectively reposted everything that I've done in the last few months. OK, a bit stalkerish, but not a huge issue. However, Mr Corridor has edited all of these posts to remove my name from them and has not even linked them back to where he got them from. Effectively Monsieur Corridor is making it look like these are his own posts. Herr Corridor is unknown to me. There is no indication of who or what the blog-owner is and there has been no contact to ask whether I mind if he does this.
This isn't the kind of thing that will bring down governments or depress the economy. It isn't a matter of life and death, and as the revenue stream from my blog consists of a couple of prizes that I've won, it isn't impacting on my income. But it is pissing me off. My hope is that by posting this Senor Corridor will either desist from reposting EVERYTHING I do, or at least have the good manners to ask first or to provide a link to the site that it came from.
I haven't provided a link to CC's blog, because I'd rather not have any formal link between the two. If you want to google it and see what I'm ranting about, it was #3 google-whack for me.
A genuine photo of me about to go postal on something!
Nate (how I sign off all of my posts unless someone is reblogging them and removing my name)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The SAGA Normans begin to roll off the paint tray again.

Actually they quite literally did roll off the paint tray at one stage, which led to many curses and frantic scrambling for the gesso to patch up the chipped bits in the undercoat, but that isn't what this post is meant to be about.
'So what if our shields aren't shaped like kites - we're still important!'
'CHARGE! But stay behind those guys with the heavy armour, OK?'
This is the last mounted Hearthguard unit from the Conquest Games plastic minis box. These guys aren't in chainmail and I've given them the round shields, so technically they are lighter than their compatriots, but in SAGA terms, they are riding horsies, so they are Hearthguard.

Backing them up is one of my favourite units:
'Tirez! Wait - are you aiming at my buttocks?'
8 warriors with Crossbow, courtesy of Crusader miniatures.

These guys were on the painting tray with the Cossacks, and it has taken me almost a month to finish all of them, but I'm finally there. I'm expecting that the next figures on the tray, 16 Norman Spearmen and half a dozen Black Tree Designs Saxon civilians, will be finished in a couple of weeks or so.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Finally - the Cossack Riflemen

I haven't had much time to paint in the last month, so here are the completed Cossack Riflemen (pre-deceased) for the Imperial Cossack Company.
Urrah! We're not Sand People anymore!
These are Musketeer Miniatures World War One Russians in Greatcoat, and they are very nice models. I've pictured them with Colonel Razin to show how well they fit in with the Artizan figures.


Dear Lord what have I done?!!!

Exhibit A:
If it's second hand and cheap it can't be wrong - can it?
I feel somewhat dirty. I had sworn off purchasing from the Evil Empire (TM) but the boxed set for the Battle of Skull Pass came up second hand for $30 (NZD) and I just couldn't resist. Jabba the Hutt would refer to me as a weak-willed fool, but I think I could defend myself in a court of law and not feel too unprincipled.

It isn't as though I dislike the GW product. When I got back into wargaming as a grown man that should know better, it was through the prism of Warhammer 40,000. As late as 2010 I had bought a Chaos army for Warhammer Fantasy. But I was already totally disillusioned with Warhammer 40,000, which I felt was ruined beyond redemption with the release of the third edition of those rules. I played it a little and then sold off all of my armies. After playing Warhammer Ancients quite a bit, I was bitten by the bug and decided to do some fantasy gaming. I ordered most of my stuff through Caliver Books who gave a discount, free shipping and offered UK prices which after exchange were considerably cheaper than NZ prices.
Then GW decided to help out local retailers by imposing trade restrictions. Fair enough, but then they kept the NZ prices at astronomical levels regardless of the exchange rate being fairly stable at 2 NZD = 1 GBP. Today if I want to buy a box of Empire Knights I could buy them locally for $60, when it would cost me $35 if I was in the UK. And let's be clear, if the pricing was comparable, or even a little more expensive, given shipping, then I would be buying. As it is GW don't have me as a customer, and until they change their pricing, they won't.

But I guess that doesn't stop a bit of second hand purchasing, and I really like the Skull Pass set with all of its character. I'm thinking I'll get the Mantic Orc army to bulk out the Gobbos, but I don't like the Mantic Dwarfs. So it will either be second-hand purchases as they appear, or maybe I'll take advantage of a Black Tree sale and get some Harlequin Dwarves instead. The other thought I had was to build an Empire Army out of Perry Miniatures Wars of the Roses figures. Not a perfect match, but still cool figures that can be converted up (using the Swiss head options they offer).

I won't get to these until I've got through a bit of the Roman project, but I am really looking forward to them, and might just paint a few trial figures...?

One little plea before I sign off. The box was short of ONE Night Goblin spearman. Does anyone have a single Night Goblin Spearman they would be willing to sell me?


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Our second game of In Her Majesty's Name

I didn't take so many photos this time around, but in brief here is how the battle played out:
The two companies converge on the Ancient temple.
Hiding in the misty lands of the Carpathian mountains was an Ancient temple dedicated by Attila the Hun to his gods. In its centre is a sealed well of fearsome potential power, the very power that the Hun called upon to help him to subjugate so much of Europe. The Society of Thule had recently uncovered a tome that had been hidden within an old monastery outside Augsburg, which has revealed the location of this temple. Von Stroheim immediately put a party together to infiltrate the Austrian Empire and investigate. Little did he know that the mole within the Society that reports to the Tsar had been at work again. Colonel Razin and his crew were immediately dispatched from Russian Poland. As the Prussians neared the end of their journey they were about to be surprised...
Everyone onto the Temple!
The game began with a mad rush of running as both sides tried to get to the temple first. Dan and I were a little unsure of whether the extra movement for running could be added onto climbing a vertical surface. We agreed that the running bonus could be used prior to and after the climb, allowing him to use Yuri's speed to bound into the temple and block the stairs against my Prussians. This set the pattern for the game, as the Prussians attempted to force their way into the temple held by the Russians.
Yuri has obviously been eating a few to many pots of honey. No-one can get past.
The bear proved far more resilient this game, as we were aware of how all of the special rules affected combat. Meanwhile the other jagers sniped at the Cossacks on the temple mound and Krieg started moving around to outflank them.

The girls gang up on poor old Krieg.
Solokhna managed to raise some zombies in this game, but the 3" range means that she is often exposed to danger, and she spent a good part of this game fleeing from hand to hand combats. Colonel Razin went head to head with a zombie and managed to roll a 1 for pluck again! Grigori also lasted only a couple of turns before being shot down by a jager. I have to admit, Dan's rolling was pretty unlucky. Olga and Krieg went toe to toe for several turns, and it took Dan and I a bit of time to get around the idea of firing in the shooting phase whilst in hand to hand combat. To be honest, I'm still not sure I've quite got it figured out right.
Zombie party
Von Stroheim leaped up onto the temple to attack Yuri from behind, while the pathetically fragile Dr Kobalt engaged him from the front. The end result was a stalemate. Olga and Solokhna finally knocked over Krieg and put the boot in to end the long running combat between them.  The final Cossack Zombie went down and the game ended on Turn 12. A points count up declared the Society of Thule the winners of the scenario. It felt more like a tie though.

Determined not to lose an item of such power to the Society of Thule, Solokhna cast a spell before she retreated with the wounded Grigori and Colonel Razin. It brought down a cloud of noxious gas around the well that Von Stroheim and Dr Kobalt has to flee. This was followed by a spell of shadows that saw the temple fade into mist, and then disappear altogether. If the Tsar wouldn't have access to this artifact, no one would!


It's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas

In the past week I have had not only the prize from Merseybooks arrive, but also my Black Tree Designs orders from their New Year's sale. The pictures are not very exciting because they are all bare metal and bagged up, but the real things are VERY exciting!
Pictured above is the 136 figure Zulu Army Deal 'Cetswayo's Ulundi Impi'. This gave me 3 units of 30 hand to hand chaps, 1 unit of 30 firearms chaps and a command. I also had 15 'spares' to reinforce the horns of the bull. Given I plan to base the Zulus 3 to a base and roll 2 average dice to determine how many bases appear in any one place, this means that I will have 35 hand to hand bases and 10 firearms bases to call upon. Given that two average dice should roll a 7 most of the time, this means that 5 full hand to hand units can appear on the board simultaneously.
Also pictured are the British reinforcements - a Gatling gun, 9 Lancers and 20 Natal Native Contingent to go with the 7pdr gun and 45 British Infantry I already have. Aside from maybe a few vignettes, a mounted English commander and a hankering for some Frontier horse, that is all of the Zulu War project purchased.

Also arriving this week, the Gauls!
Don't look too close - some of them aren't wearing any clothes!
This order consisted of two army deals - the 'Briton Army' of 64 foot. Alongside these 128 figures, I also got a pack of 4 Nobles and two extra sets of Command. This gives me three warbands of 32 figures and a noble warband of 24 figures along with two dozen light slingers.
The Gallic Wars project still needs a few purchases - another box of Wargames Factory Romans, a box of Celtic cavalry from the same producer, a Roman Scorpio and a Celtic army standard bearer from Warlord Games. All of this will add up to 1700 point armies for War and Conquest, a set of rules that I just ordered this week.

When I plan a project I like to get everything purchased before I begin it. The reason is because I have been stung in the past by companies going out of business, but even moreso by fluctuations in the dollar. The Kiwi has been fairly static against the pound for quite a while now, hovering around 2 NZD to 1 GBP, but it has been as bad as a 3:1 ratio in fairly recent memory. Hence the buy up at the beginning of the year.

As for Black Tree Designs, what can I say. They sent out an e-mail a couple of weeks ago to say that they had experienced huge demand  during their sale and that some orders might be a bit late. Then last week told me that the Gauls were on the way, and this week that the Zulus were dispatched. It took 4 days from Cornwall to Rotorua! That is a record. Good communication and speedy and efficient delivery - what more could one ask? They have copped a bit of flak in the past on TMP, but I have never had anything but great service from them. Interestingly enough, a look at my cabinets, and most of my armies are from this company - WWII, Trojan Wars, Dark Ages, Zulu Wars and now the Gallic Wars. As to the figures, well just have a look at the pictures of my Anglo-Saxons. I think that they are lovely.
The Celts are pretty clean castings, but the Zulus will take a while to clean. However, there are no miscastings and a knife and file sort them out fairly quickly.
If you haven't ordered from Black Tree Designs before, I highly recommend them.