Friday, 24 November 2017

Bloodbath at Nappa Valley - Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of the report of the two Middlehammer Tournament test games played at BIG (Bristol Independant Gaming) against two great opponents in Ben and Adam. You can find the report of the first game (High Elves vs Lizardmen) here.

Next up it was my Orcs and Goblins vs High Elves chosen by Ben but commanded in battle by Adam. The first game had been over in 4 turns and under the 2 hour limit, but there had been some discussion among those interested in the tournament as to whether more unwieldy armies like the Greenskins with both more units to move each turn and all their random movement and comedy misfire charts, would slow the game down too much. Well, as you can see from my list below I certainly set out to test that theory!

Essential reading material while on any Queasy Jet flight; Safety Card? - yep; In flight shopping catalogue? - check; Middlehammer era Warhammer Armies book? - just mind you don't spill your G&T in my direction, alright!

Orc and Goblin Murder Hobos:

Orc Warlord (mounted on a Wyvern) w/ Light Armour, Shield, and an extra Hand Weapon + Amulet of Fire, Bone Blade, and Armour of Fortune (369 pts)
Orc Big Boss w/ Light Armour, Shield + Shrieking Blade and Enchanted Shield (115 pts)
24 Orc Big 'Uns (inc Standard Bearer) w/ Light Armour, Shield + Banner of Arcane Protection (287.5 pts)
11 Orc Arrer Boys (71.5 pts)
Small Orc Rock Lobber (66.5 pts)
20 Night Goblins (inc. Standard Bearer and Musician) w/ short bows + 2 Fanatics and War Banner (151 pts)
20 Night Goblins (inc. Standard Bearer and Musician) w/ short bows + 2 Fanatics (126 pts)
Goblin Doom Diver (100 pts)
3 Ogres w/ extra hand weapons (123 pts)
6 bases of Snotlings (in two units of 3) (90 pts)

Total: 1499.5 pts

I had two main ideas in mind with this list. I wanted them to hit hard, hence the Wyvern, Ogres and Big 'Uns instead of normal Orc Boys, and not have to worry too much about animosity so I included 'spacer' units like the Snotlings and Ogres. I also knew I wasn't going to try and compete with a High Elf Master Mage. I toyed with the idea of taking a basic Night Goblin Shaman and giving him the Staff of Lightning to add even more firepower, but in the end I elected to spend the points on the spacer units and rely on my magical defences for my key units.

Ben's very striking High Elves. Snickers Kingsize for scale.

High Elf Strike Force:

HE Lord + Ogre Blade and Armour of Meteoric Iron (225 pts)
6 Dragon Princes (inc. Standard Bearer) + Banner of Might (283 pts)
Master Mage + Dispel Magic Scroll (244 pts)
16 Archers (160 pts)
2 Repeater Bolt Throwers (200 pts)
21 White Lions of Chrace inc Standard, Musician, + Shields, and Standard of Shielding (382 pts)

Total 1494 pts

This list was refined from Ben's first test games against Jon's Undead, and I have to say it has the edge on my list from the first battle in a couple of ways. Firstly, the special rules for the Dragon Princes mean that even though they are just as well kitted out as my heavy build Silverhelms, they are a fair bit cheaper freeing up points elsewhere (oh, how I would have liked a second bolt thrower!). Secondly, the placing of the General with the White Lions, and with the standard of shielding means they are both hard hitting and super resilient.

Apologies that I didn't get a picture of Ben's monster unit of White Lions, which although unpainted was still an intimidating sight I can tell you. How about a better picture of those lovely Dragon Princes instead? Hmm?

mmmMMMmmm Dragon Princes... drooool!

Bloodbath at Nappa Valley - Part 2!


Commander Semillion Chardonnay, Lord of White Oak, cursed the youthful exuberance of Pinot Grigio. which some found refreshing but he had always found unconvincing at the finish. He gazed about the scene where the young cavalry captain had died and rued that he had been proved so tragically right. A runner, one of the archers, approached him with news that movement had been spotted on the trail behind them.

"No doubt the Lizardmen think to circle behind us having baited the trap with our own dead!"

The Wizard Merlot was right, the Lizardmen were a cunning and vicious foe and something with more body was required.

"Hit them hard, hit them fast. The archers will pick off the survivors. Merlot and I will deal with the Frog-priest"
 
The Lord Commander looked up at Shiraz the Red, leader of the unit of elite Dragon Princes and bearer of the magical Banner of Might, who nodded silently in return.

It was a moment of great surprise when the Elves realised they were fighting Greenskins not Lizardmen, how the hell did they come to be here, and why now? There had been no reports of Orc and Goblin tribes in the area!?


The High Elves set up first, with the battery of bolt throwers in the centre, Dragon Princes positioned to charge towards the open ground in the middle of the field and Archers next to them but behind a hill, no doubt looking to take the high ground on the first turn. The White Lions were positioned on the extreme right flank and the dispersed formation gave me a bit of a headache deployment wise as I had hoped to position a unit of Night Goblins (each concealing their obligatory fanatics) to face off against each of his main offensive units, but the congested terrain and proximity to the table edge made that unappealing on the flank against the White Lions, and would either risk my own flank being left open to encirclement, or left my centre open to the Dragon Princes Charge.

The High Elf deployment - White Lions in the distance appropriately hiding in the trees.

I opted to protect the near flank and centre, and try and box the cavalry in with both units of Night Goblins. I left the far flank to Artillery and archers, with an idea to thin out the white lions and then try and arrange a flank charge from my Ogres. Best laid plans and all that... I wanted my centre to be strong, anticipating the charge of the Dragon Princes if something went wrong with Plan A so the Big 'Uns and Warlord on Wyvern were deployed there. One to hold the line and one for rapid response. The idea of Snotlings and Ogres as anti-animosity spacer units dictated their placement somewhat. Reflections on deployment at the end, but let's just say I'd change it a bit for next time.

The Orc and Goblin Deployment.

Warlord 'Scrumpy' Rotgut (no relation) had gathered his bosses and unit leaders together for one last chance to shout at them before the battle. He knew they was all good lads since they had been the ones to follow him and make it through all the killing and the drowning when the Black Arc had crashed and the slave pens had broken open.

He shifted in the saddle of Cripple Cock his newly subdued Wyvern, (he always found the wilder breeds to have a more potent venom compared to the factory farmed ones you were seeing everywhere nowadays) and cleared his throat by hawking a gob of phlegm at a nearby mob of Snotlings before he started his inspiring speech.

"Right lads. Turns out de old shaman was right on da money when he said this valley would be full of pointy eared elves, so our luck is in. Now, you all know da score so no mucking about mouthing off at each other and jabbing da mob next to yers with da pointy ends of yer weapons, right!?"

Some of the assembled orcs and goblins stared at the floor and looked a bit shifty.

"Right. Now you, Blackthorn, take yer Arrer Boys and try not to let dem artillery bits get run over before dey've wrecked a few fings. Natch, you and dem Big 'Uns hold da line and soak it up 'til it's time to run in and smash dere top boys in da gob. And youse two," he said pointing menacingly
with his axe at Crabapple and Browntrousers the night goblin standard bearers and unit leaders, "make sure you get as close as you can to de 'orsees before you let dem crazy twats off da leash, right!? Right."

High Elf Turn One: It immediately became obvious that even with a march the archers would not be able to take the hill (steep sides so half movement) on the first turn - indeed, it looked like it was going to take a second march so they would be out of the battle for half of the game and Ben and Adam immediately realised and regretted that move. The Dragon Princes advance cautiously around the hill and face towards my centre as expected, but wisely not wanting to commit or expose themselves too soon. Meanwhile on the far flank the White Lions march from the cover of the woods towards the rocky outcropping in the middle of the field.

You can just see the plumes of the archers feathered headgear behind the hill as the Dragon Princes advance for the charge.

The bolt throwers both target the Night Goblin Archers in the centre but only four out of eight bolts hit home at long range, worse for the elves only one of the four hits actually wounds, so only a single goblin dies and no break test is LD test is required. Phew!

My tactic of not taking a magic user is not quite as effective in 5th edition as it can be in 4th, if you play the rule where one dice per magic user is rolled, but in 5th it states it is always two dice. This is also what we had played in the first game, where there were 3 magic users. I think that is much fairer both ways actually, and is certainly the best rule to play in a tournament. Sadly for the High Elves the winds of magic blow very weakly and the turn ended without any casting being attempted.

The view from the Orc and Goblin back line as they take fire from the battery of bolt throwers dead ahead.

Orc and Goblin Turn One: Passing all their animosity rolls and taking advantage of the elven archers being out of action the Orc and Goblin line moves up aggressively and the Warlord on his Wyvern shifts to the near flank in front of the hill the archers are trying to take. The night goblins now in front of the Wyvern march and wheel to try and ensure the cavalry charge next turn would provoke the fanatics to spin into action. The Ogres made a dash for the rocky outcropping to try and conceal themselves for a surprise flank attack. Ssshhh! Don't tell the Elves there are three half naked Ogre Mercenaries with brightly coloured hair hiding in the rocks!

Meanwhile on the far flank the Orc Arrer Boys moved forward to better protect the artillery on the hill and then took pot shots at the White Lions, who were at long range so they needed 6s to hit. In a stunning display of Orc archery prowess 5 out 11 manage to stick their shafts into an elf, even better 4 of the 5 wound! However, the craftsmanship of the Elven armour, the ability of the lion pelts to snag arrows, plus the magic of the Banner of Shielding meant that all four passed their formidable 2+ save. Damn them!

There was a genuine moment of glee from all around the table when it was time to fire the Goblin Doom Diver. This is one of the iconic units of the O&G army for me and I absolutely love them so it was great to see such an enthusiastic response from Ben and Adam, although I think they were keen to see the hilarious misfire chance more than anything else.

I weighed up hitting the White Lions as it seemed like my artillery was going to be the only thing that could take them out, but in the end I stuck with my gut instinct of trying to take out the enemy artillery, especially as its potential to decimate my centre and disrupt my main plan for victory was too great. After the disappointments of the first game my joy was unbounded when I made a perfect guess of 40 inches to land my goblin nut job right on top of the closest Bolt Thrower, and then rolled a Hit on the artillery dice to confirm. SPLATT! The war machine and one of its crew were flattened by an incoming goblin at terminal velocity.

The Orc and Goblin artillery crews must have been to spec savers!

Right! Rubbing my hands with glee I lined up the Rock Lobber for a shot at the remaining Bolt Thrower and knowing the distance of the first shot made a few small adjustments and made another guess that was bang on target! BANG! Wait...  SPROINGGG! What was that? CRASH! ARRRRGGGHHHH! I rolled a Hit and a Misfire on the Artillery/Scatter Dice and the bloody thing tore itself to pieces and killed it's own crew on its first firing after I rolled a one on the damage table. Bums.

The Orc Casualty I recently painted for Orctober gets to fulfil his destiny

The winds of magic picked up a bit but with no caster on my side the turn ended without any casting.

High Elf Turn Two: As the White Lions continue to manoeuvre through the gap between the swampy pool and the rocky outcropping, the Banner of Might dips twice and the Dragon Princes declare their charge across the field into the Orc and Goblin centre.... only to be stopped by the release of two mushroom crazed fanatics from the Night Goblin Archers they were about to trample into the ground. Unfortunately the fanatics only scored a single glancing hit which failed to wound, but they did position themselves nicely for future carnage!

Bowling for Dragon Princes

As all eyes were on the potential for carnage in the centre the sneaky High Elf archers found they could just make the top of the high ground and readied themselves to shoot at the second unit of Night Goblins in front of the hill. Before they did so the remaining bolt thrower again targeted the central unit of Night Goblins and the volley of fire manages to skewer three. Just one short of triggering a LD test. Just as the Orc Warlord (me) was congratulating himself on the apparent resilience of his Goblin Hordes, the Elven archers popped up and scored 11 hits and 7 wounds against the previously uninjured second unit of Night Goblins who promptly failed their break test, even with the benefit of using the General's LD and fled back a whopping 10" - and thus balance was restored to the Universe.

The winds of magic gave us three cards each, enough for the Master Mage to unleash Destruction against the Big 'Uns only to have it nullified by the banner of Arcane Protection (the Warlord might not believe in magic, but his Boys certainly believe in protecting themselves from it!)

Orc and Goblin Turn Two: Ignoring the shouted threats and curses of the Warlord the much depleted Night Goblins failed to rally and fled the battle field taking their War Banner and deadly cargo of frothing fanatics with them.

Penned in at close quarters by two fanatics! Surely there is going to be some carnage soon!?!

My disappointment turned to delight however when the one of the crazed loons spins back through the Dragon Princes with his chainsaw - yes, chainsaw, he's a Bloodbowl Champ re-purposed as a proxy-fanatic and I reckon a whirling goblin with chainsaw would be just as devastating as one with a ball and chain! - and kills four out of the six! The two remaining representatives of the pride of the Elven cavalry promptly fails their LD test and flees 13" back towards the Elven back towards the trees to check whether they and their mounts still have all their limbs attached.

Although my units again pass all their animosity rolls, the Ogres sadly fail their charge through the rocks into the side of the White Lions but the Warlord on his Wyvern successfully swooped in to charge the Archers who fled 11" towards the nearest table edge in Terror at the Wyvern, and off the field of battle!

The Big 'Uns and their flanking screen of Snotlings begin to turn in place and slowly move towards the flank where the White Lions were soon to make their charge as the Arrer Boys continued to pile shots into the Elven bodyguards whose pelts continue to keep them from harm.

With the wreck of the Rock Lobber spontaneously bursting into flames next to it, the Goblin Doom Diver takes aim at the remaining Bolt Thrower and once again lands bang on target and wipes out all remaining crew for the battery, removing it from the game. Man I love Doom Divers! Ben and Adam? I think their initial enthusiasm was waining at this point.

The winds of magic are barely a breeze and the turn ends with no casting once again.

High Elf Turn Three: The last two Dragon Princes ascertain that all limbs are present and correct and elect to return to the fight, or at least point their horses in that general direction. Far more impressively the White Lions complete their charge against the Orc Arrer Boys who show their guts by holding and firing finally managing to kill one! So, it was only 20 Elven elite plus their general and Master Mage who charged the 11 Orcs then! Unsurprisingly the Elven heavy infantry manage to slay four of the Orcs winning the combat by 7, thanks to rank and banner bonuses, and causing the remaining Arrer Boys to automatically fail their break test and flee 7" backwards.


The Orc and Goblin line, just before it legs it...

This of course caused all units within 12" to take panic tests thanks to watching a friendly unit break and run. this domino effect had been a central part of the High Elf plan and something that was always a risk with my army selection. The Big 'Uns passed testing against the LD of their Big Boss, but the Ogre Mercenaries showed their true colours and fled away from the enemy troops - towards the Elven back line! The Snotlings unsurprisingly failed with their LD of 4, but more properly should have pretended to flee without testing as per their special rules, as they were actually closer to the archers than the Big 'Uns when they broke. Thankfully the Goblin Doom Diver passed rolling under a 5. Phew!

The Master Mage summons his arcane abilities once more and the Winds of Magic responded with enough power for him to cast Destruction against the Doom Diver which I failed to dispel, meaning the Doom Diver took a wound from the magical assault.

Orc and Goblin Turn Three: The Arrer Boys and Snotlings  (who shouldn't be testing but mimicking, so luckily it doesn't matter) rally, WAAAAGGHHHHH! but the Ogre Mercenaries continue to flee though they do slow down a bit, wheezing in the jungle heat no doubt. 

In a somewhat predictable development I have to admit even I was hoping for, the two fanatics wind their way back towards the Orc and Goblin lines. I think I was hoping they would obliterate some Snotlings while Adam and Ben were probably hoping they ploughed into the back of the Big 'Uns!

Pleased that his boys had once again refrained from messing up his plans by fighting with each other, the Warlord goaded his Wyvern into the air to charge the remaining two Dragon Princes who pass their Terror test and prepare to finally test their mettle

Sadly it wasn't going to be possible for the Big 'Uns to charge the White Lions, so rather than make it easy for the White Lions to charge them they reluctantly held back and just jostled for position a bit hoping that the Doom Diver would be able to do its thing and land one directly on the pointy eared ponces!


The scene at the end of Orc and Goblin movement on Turn 3

The Doom Diver duly delivers, using it's special ability to great effect when the inital roll meant it deviated 6" away from the main mass of the unit, but rolling a 6 on a D6 allowed me to correct course back to a direct hit - KERSPLATT! - remarkably the Elf directly under the impact was spared by my rolling a one to wound, but he must have held up his shield at the last minute causing lethal Goblin-shrapnel to fly out into the surrounding ranks as a far better round of rolling forced 11 saves of 4+ killing 6. The White Lions were immune to psychology thanks to them acting as bodyguard to the HE General, proving yet again the resilience of the unit in tournament play.

Having already passed their Terror test the Dragon Princes continue to frustrate the Wyvern by effortlessly evading its poison sting, which is probably what made it snap and just bite one in half. The Warlord batters the other one and wounds with his axe, but the master crafted Ithilmar armour comes to the rescue and the Elf survives to strike back at the huge Orc towering looming above him. The single strike wounds and for a moment it looks like the Warlord is hurt only for the Armour of Fortune to work its magic and save him.

The combat is won by a single point but it is enough to for the last Dragon Prince to fail his LD test and flee from the field of battle. The magic phase passes without incident once again due to the lack of caster on the Orc and Goblin side.

High Elf Turn Four: The White Lions are now the only unit on the board for the High Elves (although still containing their General and Master Mage) and they declare a charge on the archers who didn't like it the first time round so decide to flee, luckily not causing a domino effect this time. The White Lions redirect their charge into the flank of the Snotlings but score just a single hit in the ensuing combat with dice rolls the like of which hadn't been seen since the High Elves in the first battle. It did at least wound, and Adam (retrospectively under the guidance of Ben who had been discussing possible tournament house rules re: White Lion stances with Jon since their test games) elected to use the Lion Claw stance meaning they did D3 wounds, rolled a 3 and killed a base out right. The General then stepped forward and dealt out another 2 wounds, but the Snotlings didn't need to take a break test as they were within 12" of their adopted unit the Big 'Uns who were holding fast behind them.

Then it was time for the Master Mage to shine as he benefited from the strongest showing from the Winds of Magic yet (rolling an 11) successfully casting Shield on the White Lions (defeating both attempted Dispels) before unleashing another blast of Destruction against the Snotlings, wiping them out.

Orc and Goblin Turn Four: Seeing that all the actual fighting and any real danger has passed the Orge Mercenaries finally rally, and would later argue they were usefully holding position for control of that section of the battle field, but the Orc Warlord was having none of it.

The Fanatics move dangerously close to their old chums, but neither make contact. The Warlord also holds position with tournament play in mind to keep control of that section of the table. The Big 'Uns continue to hold back for a different reason, not wanting to get in the way of the expected Doom Diver attack on the White Lions, which incredibly scores another direct hit and kills three more of the now magically Shielded Elven bodyguard.

The winds of magic die back once again only rolling a 6 this turn, tough it was enough to land me a useful card but sadly my attempt to dispel the Shield on the White Lions fails, although it is largely academic at that point as the game officially ended at this point as the tournament model is 4 turns or 2 hours which ever is up first. Once again (sorry!) we didn't count up victory points properly as the outcome was a clear victory for the Orcs and Goblins, we preferred to use the time to play another round just for fun.

High Elf Turn Five: The White Lions finally get to charge the Big 'Uns and the Big 'Uns finally get to receive their charge - everyone is happy! Again, the White Lions don't have to test against their LD for charging a fear causing enemy (due to the Shrieking Blade wielded by the Orc Big Boss leading the unit), using the Lion Leaping stance meaning their opponents lose an attack. The rank and file manage to fell just a single Big 'Un, but the General kills four on his own and even the Mage forces another armour save as the High Elves bring their superior weapon skill to bear. Only the Big Boss has enough attacks to strike back, twice, but he fails to wound. The Orcs lose the combat but pass their LD test to stay in the fight.

The winds of magic flare one last time empowering the Mage to cast Destruction against the Snotlings scoring a stunning 12 hits and obliterating the entire swarm in one go! Just imagine the mess.



The scene at the end of High Elf Turn 5

Orc and Goblin Turn Five: Finally, in that moment we had all been waiting for, one of the goblin fanatics steered his way back through his own unit, scattering them wildly. However, the wily Night Goblins must be well practised at this drill as only two died in the ensuing chaos.

Ben: "Yes! This is what we paid the ticket money for!" My favourite quote of the day :D


The Wyvern took to the air to charge the Warlord into the flank of the White Lions (immune to the panic test) at which point the High Elf general issued a challenge which the Orc Warlord gleefully accepts.  The Big 'Uns weigh in against the Elves, but only manage to kill one, taking four casualties in return, but that was not the end of the combat, nor the story. The High Elf Lord faced the attacks of the Wyvern evading or saving against them all, but the Orc General manages to sneak a single wound with his sword through the plates of shining Ithilmar armour and the Bone Blade (D3 wounds) turns that one wound into 3, slaying the noble lord outright. The High Elves lose the combat and fail their LD test fleeing 7". The Wyvern, spurred on by the Warlord who has the taste of victory, pursues 8" and eats the lot of them.


Warlord Scrumpy Rotgut was very pleased with his boys and their days work. His belly was full of elf meat and their had been plenty of useful loot. He had a mind to keep back the share for them bloody Ogres though, if he didn't need them to keep discipline with his squabbling rabble that is.

He threw another haunch of horse meat to Cripple Cock the Wyvern as he mused on how it was a shame that Legless-but-Smiling, the old Goblin shaman, hadn't been able to come with them. He had been right about the elves in the valley not expecting a rampaging mob of Orcs and Goblins, it would have been interesting to see what else he would have been right about. Still, his legs had tasted very good and Scrumpy had been very hungry that day.


"Right! Come on you lot. Get your loot together and lets get movin' before something even more 'orrible than us turns up. We need to be well hidden so we can jump out and smash whatever dat turns out to be in da gob too!""

Not a good day to be an Elf...


So there were definitely a few things that I needed to have brushed up on a bit more as an Orc and Goblin player - such as the rule that Goblins fear Elves unless they outnumber them at least 2-1. Mine didn't and although I don't think it actually effected the outcome of any actions in the game at any point, I really should have been more aware of that. Also the Snotlings mimicking orders rather than moving on their own. That said I think we did a good job of accommodating all the Orc and Goblin foibles like animosity, compulsory/random movement, the need to move lots of units - although this may well have been balanced out by the lack of casting as the Magic Phase passed so much quicker as a result.

On reflection I probably should have spread my line out further with one unit of Night Goblins and Fanatics in front of the artillery, and the archers out even further, probably with a spacing unit of Snotlings. I should also have moved my unit of Big 'Uns slightly over into the gap this would have created so that they would have been better able to respond to which either threat proved the biggest, the Dragon Princes or the White Lions. Stupidly, the thing that messed me up and caused a bit of a log jam was actually the chunky movement tray I had made for the archers, although it was only a single rank it took up loads of space. On the other hand, if I had spaced out my line that much it would have left me open to those Dragon Princes circling behind and rolling up my flank just as I had planned to do to the Lizardmen in the first game.

All in all it was just not a good day to be an Elf as both Adam and I suffered some really appalling luck with dice rolls, and my Orcs and Goblins were comparatively lucky with theirs in particular. Ben's High Elf list is a solid little force and very good value for its 1500 points in my opinion. It is no coincidence that I recently purchased another 16 White Lions to give me a similar size unit to the one Ben can field, although I won't be fielding it in my tournament army.

As we all agreed at the time, the most important thing was that we had great fun, which we most certainly did! Herohammer lived up to its reputation for being fast, furious, and funny and I can't wait for the tournament next year!

Thanks once again to Ben and Adam for being such good opponents, to Jim and co. at BIG for being such welcoming hosts, and to you dear reader for sticking with this rather lengthy post. Don't forget to check the Middlehammer Facebook page for updates about the tournament!


Monday, 20 November 2017

Bloodbath at Nappa Valley - Part 1

So... over the weekend I travelled to a light industrial estate on the edge of Bristol to meet a strange man I met on the internet so we could play with each other.

Wait. That sounds bad...

On Saturday I finally had the pleasure of meeting Ben from the High Elves Anonymous support group, and his cousin Adam, at BIG (Bristol Independent Gaming) for a couple of games of Warhammer Fantasy Battle 5th Edition. Better? Slightly.

This was the second round of test games of the house rules/format for a possible Middlehammer Tournament that hopefully!) might take place next year. You can read Jon's excellent write up of the first two test battles here.

BIG have a huge range of tables spread across two levels of game rooms, plus a chill out area and a well stocked hobby shop. While we were playing Fantasy Battle upstairs there were games of WH40K being played in the main hall, and as we were leaving more people were arriving for the evening session.

Purely by chance (but with so many tables and scenery options to chose from, you are bound to find something that suits) we found a table already set up with suitably Mesoamerican style scenery and as the first battle was due to be Lizardmen vs High Elves a narrative began to form in my mind. These High Elves would be a patrol from the Citadel of Dusk at the southern tip of Lustria, and the Lizardmen directed by the cold calculating croaks of their Slann Mage-Priest masters would be protecting their jungles from further trespass. So, here we have...

Bloodbath at Nappa Valley (part 1)

 


High Elf Patrol:

HE Lord on barded steed w/ Lance, Shield and Hvy Armour + Ogre Blade, Amulet of Fire, and Dawnstone (263 pts)
7 Silverhelms (inc. Standard Bearer) on barded steeds w/ Lance, Shield, Hvy Armour + War Banner (369 pts)
Master Mage + Wand of Jet, Destroy Magic Scroll, Dispel Magic Scroll (344 pts)
17 Archers w/ Longbows (187 pts)
Repeater Bolt Thrower (100 pts)
15 Spearmen (inc. Standard Bearer) w/ Hvy Armour, Shield and Spear + Banner of Courage (235 pts)

Total 1498 pts

My High Elf list has two main themes. Firstly, it focuses on what I have painted - even if that means sometimes using comically bad paint jobs from my teenage years and secondly, it picks up on the accusation I used to have to put up with that High Elves are the fantasy battle equivalent of Space Marines (also my 40k army of choice back then). I don't disagree with that view, I just don't see it as a bad thing! Small numbers of elite high value troops, but who are tactically flexible and mentally resilient. This list takes that analogy further. I started to think of my army in three divisions. Tactical (Spearmen), Devastator (Archers w/Mage and Bolt Thrower), and Assault (Silverhelms w/General). I also wanted to make sure I was competitive in the magic phase so kitted out my Master Mage in true Herohammer fashion.

The High Elf force on the field, but not how they actually set up for battle

Lizardman Defenders:

Slann Master Mage-Priest + Dispel Scroll (450 pts)
15 Saurus Temple Guard w/ Shields + Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician (358 pts)
15 Saurus Warriors w + Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician (288 pts)
16 Skinks w/ Bows and Poison + Champion, Standard Bearer, Musician (120 pts)
Skink Shaman (56 pts)
Kroxigor (45 pts)
2 Salamanders (90 pts)

Total: 1497 pts

Like the gentleman he is Ben shared his army list with me in advance (indeed we both did) and I immediately appreciated the balance to the force, and the lack of beardiness. As this was both my first time playing against Lizardmen/5th Edition I didn't yet realise how important my decision to max out my Master Mage with items would be in competing with a fellow High Magic user, nor how much grief the cold blooded rule was going to give me!

At this point I must apologise to Ben, and indeed to you dear reader, for not taking better photos of his Lizardmen set up. The shots of his right flank (Skinks and Saurus Warriors) were so blurry I couldn't use them. Apologies in fact for not taking more pictures in general, but that is a sign of how quickly the game flowed and how much fun we were having :)

The Salamanders and the Slann Mage-Priest Hold the centre while the Temple Guard Hold the far left.

Merlot The Well Aged, High Elf Master Mage narrowed his eyes and tutted under his breath as he approached Captain Pinot Grigio, leader of the Citadel of Dusk's regular patrol into the vine rich region of the Nappa Valley. The young fresh faced Elf was in conference with Chenin Blanc, the somewhat dry yet inoffensive leader and standard bearer of the small unit of Spearmen that made up a third of the patrol.

"Captain Grigio! You have finally slowed the march long enough for the archers escorting the Bolt Thrower to catch up I see." The wizard let out a sigh of frustration as he spoke.

"No such thing Merlot, and you must try and keep up at the rear! I thought you said you had a number of spells to effect the movement of troops?"

"Those are more for situations such as..."

"Never mind that now Merlot!" continued the young captain, "The forward scout has reported the clearing around that heathen monolith up ahead to be eerily quiet. I don't like it! It feels like a cold blooded lizardman trap."

"Yes sir. You might well be right." The wizard allowed in a moment of begrudging respect for the often rash cavalry officer. The High Elves knew enough to never trust the jungle when it went quiet.

"I want you and Blanc to take the Bolt Thrower to the high ground and form up there to draw the Lizardman attacks and hold them in place with your magic. Whilst they are occupied I shall lead the Silverhelms around their flank, round them up and ride them down."


It all sounds so easy doesn't it? As I said to Ben at the start of the game, I was going to blame any tactical ineptitude on my part on the sheer Arrogance of the High Elf commander. Luckily I drew a useful if very defensive hand of High Magic spells (Glamour of Teclis, Hand of Glory, and The Tempest) and with my tooled up Master Mage facing off against the undoubted mystic might of the Mage-Priest (who drew Fiery Convocation, Coruscation of Fenrir, and Assault of Stone, while the Skink Shaman drew Bless from the Battle Magic deck) it was clear that the magic phase was going to be key to success or failure for both sides. Unluckily the Lizardmen won the initiative for the first turn...

Skinks and Silverhelms advance along the flanks with the center dominated by missile fire
Lizardman Turn One: In the middle of the line two Salamanders spitting fiery venom advanced along side the Slann Mage-Priest on it's palanquin. On the right flank the Skinks and their accompanying Kroxigor march forward to take up cover in the swampy pool (making the most of their special ability to both ignore movement penalty and use water as cover), while the two heavier units of  Saurus Warriors and Temple Guard advance more cautiously in support of the centre.

The two Salamanders are goaded into action by their Skink handlers and spit gobs of burning goo at the Elven archers opposite. One shot flies wide, but the other hits taking out one of the archers. First blood to the Lizardmen!

As predicted the magic phase was pivotal from the outset. In the first move of the phase the Slann Mage-Priest casts Fiery Convocation on the Silverhelms using Total Power, meaning the Amulet of Fire worn by my general was not able to protect them, and neither was my Mage able to use his aresenal of Dispels! Luckily only one Silverhelm fell to the firey blast, but the spell stayed in play and would hit the unit again before I would get a chance to dispel it. I had a bad feeling about this...


High Elf Turn One: The Silverhelms manage to survive the shock of being hit with a bloody great fireball with the swift realisation that the reflection of the unquenchable magical flames makes them look extra fabulous in their shiny armour, so they ignore them and advance slightly seeking the best position for a charge on the next turn spending the rest of the turn complimenting each other on how good their hair looks. Meanwhile the Spearmen march forward to block the advancing Skinks and/or Saurus warriors from rushing the Bolt Thrower unimpeded.

Now, it will come as no surprise that I was relying heavily on the superior archery of the Elves and so I was more than dismayed with my poor dice rolling resulting in the bolt thrower hitting just twice, wounding once and dropping just one Saurus warrior (Note: we failed to roll for penetrating ranks, this happened a couple of times and we adjusted when we realised later in the game). Meanwhile the archers made use of the range of their longbows (luckily they were still in range even though we made a slight error here at first) though 17 archers managed to drop just one of the hulking brutes. Not a good round of shooting for the High Elves, and my dice very nearly made an early departure to the fuck off box.

Never mind! Maybe the winds of magic will blow in my favour? We certainly got a bumper crop of cards, but the first order of business was to resolve the little matter of a Fiery Convocation. D6 S5 hits later and 2 more of my extremely expensive cavalry were burnt to a horse flavoured crisp. Right! Now it was finally my chance to dispel the damn thing and I invoked the power of my General's Amulet of Fire to do just that. I rolled a one...

There was genuinely a moment where my head was in my hands banging against the table to the sound of slightly unstable laughter. Thankfully they passed their panic test having lost more than 25% casualties from missile fire.

Anyway, moving swiftly on, I cast Tempest using the Wand of Jet to reduce the power cost to two, which would have caused all manner of mischief in the Lizardman lines and with their shooting - a key piece in Captain Grigio's plan. Unsurprisingly this forced the Mage-Priest to use it's Dispel Scroll. Luckily I managed to roll a 3 to keep the Wand of Jet in play. So much for the magic phase making up for a poor start!

High Elf Cavalry. They might be on fire, but they still look fabulous as they die.
Lizardman Turn Two: The Skinks charge from hiding in the swampy pool backed up by the fearsome Kroxigor, forcing the Spearmen to take a LD test. They fail with an 11. Luckily I equipped them with the Banner of Courage so they got a re-roll which they passed and stayed in the fight. For now...

Back in the centre the Salamanders and Mage-Priest hold their ground, and the Temple Guard on the left flank manoeuvre to close the gap with the centre in anticipation of the charge of the Silverhelms. We realised later that Ben had forgotten to move his Saurus Warriors this turn, which might have made things slightly interesting later on, but wouldn't have affected the outcome of the game.

The Salamanders repeat their shooting from round one, with one on target and the other firing wildly off target. Two Archers were melted by the corrosive venom.

High Elven luck continued to fail in this time in close combat with the Skinks whose charge from cover saw them score 4 hits against the superior weapon skill of the spearmen, wounding two - who both failed their 4+ armour save. BOTH OF THEM! The Kroxigor, understandably for a giant club wielding crocodile, smashed two more to the ground. Now, it is true that the citizen levy rule of the High Elves started to come into play allowing all remaining spearmen to fight back, but despite a good many hits my rolls to wound were poor and only two Skinks are skewered as the armour save provided by their scaly skin manages to save one. The Spearmen lost the combat and failed their first Leadership save with another 11. Where the hell were these high rolls when I needed them!? What a good thing I brought that Standard of Courage, right? Yeah, they failed their re roll too. Disgracefully my dice continued to roll high as they fled a total of 8 inches, outpacing the pursuing Skinks by just one inch! The fleeing unit within 12" meant panic tests for the archers and the Bolt Thrower crew, but both passed and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Damn, that was close!

The winds of magic continued to blow strongly and we both found ourselves with a good selection of cards, but once again the first thing to resolve was the Fiery Convocation that continued to consume the Silverhelms. The conflagration intensified and all four remaining members of the unit were incinerated, their vaunted War Banner turning to ash in the wind, as the unit died leaving only the High Elf general, wondering what the hell had happened to his Amulet of Fire which YET AGAIN failed to dispel the flames. The Slann Mage Priest summons his power to cast Assault of Stone to move the hill out from under the bolt throwers to plonk it who knows where on the battle field but the Master Mage has had enough of having his powers thwarted and uses his Destroy Magic Scroll to automatically cancel the spell and succeeds in forcing the spell from the mind of the Old One in a rare moment of victory for the High Elves.

Meanwhile the Skink Shaman, finding his unit suddenly deep in Elven lines, attempts to cast Bless on his unit as protection, but once again the winds of magic blow to the Elven Mage's command and the Drain Magic card ends the phase and finally removes the thrice accursed Fiery Convocation from the Elven General. In the heat of the moment we forgot to test to see whether the draining of the winds of magic caused a drop in level of the Master Mage and, although Ben was very gracious when I later realised the error and pointed it out, it rankles me that I missed that in a game where the magic duel between the two main spell casters was so defining of it's character, although again it would not have changed the outcome of the battle.

High Elf Turn Two: While the Spearmen pass their test to rally and gather up their dropped spears, the High Elf general does the only decent thing and charges the Slann Mage Priest, the last of the magical flames dying as he rushed onwards. The archers continue to hold ground in the centre and do better in terms of hitting the Temple Guard, although a combination of high toughness and scaly skin meant only another two fell. High Elf aim was obviously improving as all 4 bolts hit the Saurus unit bringing up the rear on the other flank, and we adjusted for the shot from the previous round that should have penetrated a rank, so a total of 4 Saurus Warriors dropped, forcing a leadership test which the cold blooded Lizardmen easily passed on 3D6 (discarding the lowest).

The view from the Elven back line as the general crashes into the palanquin bearing the Slann Mage-Priest

The force of the armoured charge of the Elven general manages to score a single wound through the mystic Shield of the Old Ones, although he takes a wound in return as the Mage-Priest clobbers him over the head with a ceremonial war club. Luckily the charge wins the combat by one for the general, and the cold blooded Slann needs all 3D6 to stay in the fight. So close and yet so far!

The winds of magic begin to ebb and the High Elf Master Mage has to use his Wand of Jet to successfully cast Hand of Glory for one power (meaning all units within 12" will pass LD test automatically), and then Glamour of Teclis on the Temple Guard to try and prevent them joining the combat against my general. Ben played Destroy Magic which auto dispelled the casting, but failed to destroy the spell. Sadly this second casting also exhausted the Wand of Jet. No matter! I had preserved enough power to cast The Tempest without the wand, and hoped I had exhausted the most potent of Ben's defences. WRONG! He slapped down Mental Duel causing another auto dispel, but in their continued magical grudge match the duel was a draw and no wounds were caused on either side.

Lizardman Turn 3: The Skinks and Kroxigor charge the reformed Spearmen, who auto pass their fear test thanks to the Hand of Glory spell. The Temple Guard turn  in place and advance slightly ready to charge the HE Lord next turn and the Saurus Warrior reserve moved up into the gap between the pool and the rocks.

Salamander fire dissolved a further three archers into a puddle, but the depleted archers also auto passed their LD test thanks to the Hand of Glory.

In a turn of bad luck with the dice for Ben the Skinks hit the Spearmen twice, wounding once and the heavily armoured Elf duly failed his save, but the Kroxigor must have been tiring as it failed to hit with any of its attacks. The Spearmen however, still a credible fighting force despite taking losses and shamefully fleeing the first combat, score about 75% hits, and 4 wounds with no saves from the scaly skinned Skinks. The Spearmen win the combat soundly, but the skinks use the Kroxigors improved leadership score and the cold blooded unit passes on 3D6. By this point I was really cursing that cold blooded rule, but as I said to Ben at the time, it makes perfect sense for Lizardmen as a species, which adds character, which this game had in bucket loads!

Lizardman Turn 3, just before the Skinks charge the reformed Spearmen

The bloody combat between the High Elf general and the Slann Mage-Priest continued with the Elf seizing the initiative, drawing his Ogre Blade and reducing the Slann to just one wound. Again, so close!! In return the Slann slowly raised his club and smashed it into the Elf wounding him and the force of the blows reducing his considerable armour save to 5+, which he failed, twice, his 'Dawnstone' obviously sourced from the same shonky magic merchant he got his 'Amulet of Fire' from. Sheesh! This left both combatants on just a single wound.

With both magical combatants still exhausted from their mental duel in the previous round the winds of magic blew understandably weak with only 3 cards dealt out between the two players and the round ending without any casting.

High Elf Turn 3: With everyone involved in combat or being of a shooty type persuasion there was no movement, so the High Elf turn opened with the Bolt Thrower skewering two more Saurus warriors, forcing another panic test which the unfeeling brutes duly pass on 3D6. The Archers continue to pepper the Temple Guard with well placed arrows scoring 6 hits from a much depleted unit (where were these rolls earlier on!?) but only 1 wound which is saved.

In a stunning display of martial prowess, and totally justifying my faith in them, the Spearmen strike 7 times against the Skinks, sadly only causing 3 wounds, one of which was saved, but 2 Skink Kebabs kept the kill count up and when both the handful of remaining Skinks, Champion, and Shaman all failed to hit, along with the lumbering Kroxigor, the High Elves won the combat soundly with rank and standard bonuses taken into account and at last a Lizardman unit failed it's LD test and fled 8"

8" was a fair distance and I debated whether to pursue as it would definitely put me at risk of a counter charge from the Saurus Warriors next turn even if I was successful. I would not have had to test if I had decided to hold due to the Hand of Glory still being in play, but I decided that it was probably my one chance to save some face in this game and so I rolled the dice...

9 Inches! YES!! Get in!!!



The Skinks and the Kroxigor were caught and wiped out by the Spearmen, restoring some measure of Elven pride in taking out at least one unit of the opposing force. Small comfort that was however...

The victorious Spearmen end up in line for a charge from the Saurus Warriors as predicted, but they dont care!

Over on the other flank the now desperate combat between the HE general and the Slann Mage-Priest sees the Elf land a flurry of four blows, the mighty Ogre Blade (must be a genuine family Heirloom rather than a cheap import knock off) causing two wounds. Alas both wounds are deflected by the unmodifiable save of the Slann's Shield of the Old Ones. Once more the Slann rises up to rain blows upon the upstart Elf causing a barrage of 4 wounds. The General's Ithilmar armour stands up to the first two but the re-rolls from the 'so called' Dawnstone fail and the High Elf general falls to the ground. As his eyes begin to loose focus he turns the two under performing items in his hands, dimly making out an inscription there...

"Made in Cathay..."

The loss of the general would trigger panic tests across the army but thanks to the Hand of Glory the archers and Spearmen automatically pass, and the Bolt Thrower crew pass their panic test with ease. It would seem the loss of the cavalier Captain Pinot-Grigio is not to be mourned that much by the remaining members of the patrol.

The magic phase again passes with no casting or dispelling.

Lizardman Turn 4: The Saurus Warriors who have been holding back behind the rock formation finally get to see some action and charge the Spearmen. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if they had moved as intended on turn two, as firstly they would have been within 12" of the fleeing Skinks, although very likely to have passed the LD test on 3D6, but also their presence may have influenced my decision to pursue the Skinks. I think I probably still would have gone for it, and it may have been enough to carry the Spearmen into the Saurus Warriors and thus denying the charge. That's one of the reasons I like Warhammer, lots of 'what about when's' and 'if onlys' :)

Anyway, the Saurus Warriors cause 3 wounds, and the Heavy armour of the Spearmen finally proves its worth by saving two of them. Sadly the Spearmen can only inflict a single wound in return which is saved, and the Lizardmen win the combat. However, the Hand of Glory means the Spearmen auto pass their break test and stay in the combat.

The Salamanders had advanced suddenly in the centre so there was no shooting on the Lizardman side, but the winds of magic started to pick up again and the Slann Mage Priest attempted to summon another Fiery Convocation to immolate the Elven Archers, but the HE Mage uses the Dispel Magic Scroll he has been hanging on to to cancel the spell automatically and end the turn.

High Elf Turn 4: With no movement to declare, the remaining Archers shoot the advancing Salamanders at close range, but only manage to kill one Skink handler and failing to wound the Salamanders themselves. The Bolt Thrower fires a single bolt at the wounded Mage-Priest and hits! Alas my terrible dice rolling returns and I roll a one to wound.

More disappointment comes when the Spearmen score hits but no wounds against the Saurus Warriors, whose Champion manages to score two wounds in return. Thankfully these are both saved by the Spearmen's heavy armour, and their rank bonus means they win the combat by one point. In a crunch point in the game the Lizardmen pass their final LD test of the battle by a single point, even with the cold blooded bonus. Things could have looked a little different there at the end!

In a final monumental effort the High Elf Mage summons the winds of Magic once more, rolling an 11 and getting a fist full of cards but sadly not Total Power (we had recycled the whole deck by this point!), attempting to cast The Tempest as a means of covering the High Elves inevitable retreat. In the last act of the battle the Slann dispels the attempt and the High Elves are left to flee or be eaten.


The bloated form of Axidentl Tpk, the Slann Master Mage-Priest, exhaled a sigh of satisfaction as it looked upon the bloody feast that was taking place around him. The position of the stars and planets had foretold this would be a fortuitous time to face the High Elves in battle, and so it had proved. The loss of Potato Pi, the Skink Shaman, was a minor annoyance but there were many more mystic tadpoles in the spawning pool. The only thing that really worried the ancient intellect was the fact that the surprisingly capable Elven Mage had managed to escape the slaughter. The arcane duel had left the Mage-Priest more drained than it would like to admit, but for now it would take satisfaction from the sounds of Lizardmen gorging themselves on Elf flesh.


We didn't tally up victory points as it seemed rather pointless. I was too busy sobbing into my Vimto and swearing at my dice to contest the obvious Lizardman victory. Congratulations to Ben who was both charming and knowledgeable, and a pleasure to play against.

Looking back over the game now, my prediction that the magic phase would be decisive proved true and I feel my decision to kit out my Master Mage was justified, although I'm toying with the idea of replacing the Destroy Magic Scroll with a second Dispel Scroll and upgrading the magical banner for the Silverhelms. Although, Ben pointed out that having bought my general the Ogre blade his lance became redundant, so I could actually squeeze a couple more points and afford Musicians for the Spearmen and Archers. The combat between the Saurus Warriors and the Spearmen came down to a tie, which was broken by the Lizardman unit having a musician - a bonus I was not familiar with as in WFB4 Musicians only grant the ability to Reform the unit. Lesson learned for Tournament play!

I liked how my army design of Assault/Devastator/Tactical worked, and although there are no Elite unit choices per se, I would argue that the Citizen Levy rule for Elven warriors like Spearmen and Archers turns them into Elites. The stars of the show for me were the small unit of 15 Spearmen with the Banner of Courage. Although they did break once, they managed to get back in the fight and hold the High Elf flank admirably. The Hand of Glory did some of the work for the Banner in the end, but the principle was basically the same and I will look to use that combo again.

Pointy caps off to the Elven Spearmen! I might even get round to sorting them out a banner for the next time

I hope you enjoyed the battle report, despite the lack of better pictures. Stay tuned for the report of our second game Bloodbath at Nappa Valley - Part 2: High Elves vs Orcs and Goblins!


Monday, 30 October 2017

Tale of Middlehammer Gamers: Orctober 2017!

Credit to Russ T Painting for the lovely monthly challenge posters!
Howdy folks!

So, the theme of the Tale of Middlehammer Gamers (ToMG) painting challenge for Orctober has been basing. I thought this was a great idea from Russ in terms of helping people keep up productivity and actually get armies fully table top ready. Improving my basing has been something I have been working on (having previously only painted my bases, and often not even bothering to fill in the gaps in slotta bases!), so following on from the success of my project for Da Great Snot Off! I was full of enthusiasm for this one!

I pledged to paint from scratch/re-touch and then base up:

4 Orks/Gretchin for Shadow War Armageddon
3 Ogre Mercenaries (2 existing paint jobs needing rebasing)
4 Assorted Oldhammer Orcs
6 Assorted Old/Middlehammer Goblins
3 Goblin Fanatics
1 Blood Bowl Goblin star player (proxy Goblin Fantatic)
Azhag the Slaughterer's Wyvern (existing paint job needing basing)

I then added two more Blood Bowl Goblin-Proxy Fanatics with existing paint jobs that needed rebasing right at the end... sheesh, that was a lot of basing!

Sorry/Not sorry
Below you can see (almost) my total output for the fantasy side of the Orctober challenge. I also did some Red Period style 40k Orks for Shadow War: Armageddon, which you can see here.


I must apologise for the quality of the photos in this post - for some reason pictures that seemed to display fine on my phone have come out really blurry when uploaded. I'm edging closer and closer to biting the bullet and buying myself a decent digital camera, proving once again that this hobby gets expensive in so many different ways!

First up are three Mercenary Ogres. Two are Blood Bowl Ogres that I had painted quite some time ago and have just been rebased as part of this challenge. The one with the massive sword is a Tim Prow sculpt available for a bargain price from RPE at the time of writing. He's a little shorter than the others, but I like that as it makes Ogres seem more diverse as a race. The look is pure Oldhammer if you ask me. I wanted these guys table ready as I'm planning on including them in my O&G Middlehammer Fantasy tournament force* which is due for a practice outing in November.

*Interesting question here, which I have put to my fellow Middlehammer tournament buds already, but what is the minimum unit size for Ogres in 4th edition WFB? I'm sure I have seen units of three in photo shoots in old WDs for example, but when checking the O&G army book it doesn't have the same exemption as Trolls specifically do about having units of less than 5. But then, neither does the listing for Giants, also under the Units heading, yet we all know they don't have to come in units of five! Let me know your take on this in the comments! :)


In terms of basing these got the previously standard treatment of a base of thin Humbrol Acrylic Matt Green 88, followed by a thin wet brush of Citadel Snot Green, and then a final dry brush of Citadel Sunburst Yellow. It makes for a really vivid green, and is how the majority of my fantasy models have been flocked - but it is wasting my precious Citadel Snot Green, so these are probably the last that will get that version of the treatment.


Other basing components I try and keep consistent include the field stone, which is Citadel Shadow Grew, washed with black ink, then dry brushed with Shadow Grey again, and finally Elf Grey. Together with the bright red toadstools and sunburst yellow dry brush (which I always think looks like it might be tiny flowers mixed in the grass), this field stone treatment forms part of what I think of as the 'fantasy meadow' treatment. I know that sounds naff, but I like the idea of a wooded dell, or mountain top meadow being defiled by battling forces of Orcs and Elves etc... Bwahahahahaha!


The broken weapons and discarded shields and helmet are all from the ever useful Frostgrave Soldiers sprue and were added to emphasise the fearsome nature of the Ogres having caused their opponents to throw down their weapons and run!

As the month wore on and REAL LIFE began to take it's toll this challenge definitely became one of quantity over quality. For a while this was bugging me, and I can see loads of things that I could/should have done better when looking back over these photos. But as JB/Asslessman said in his excellent recent blog post on his entry for a 4 pot painting challenge: "Done is better than perfect." In that spirit I am really happy with my output this month as it has moved me closer to having a second tournament ready force for November.

Next up were some Goblins and Night Goblins. I have large blocks of 4th Ed monopose Gobbo Spears and Archers, but am still in need of more command figures to turn them into fully functioning units. Apologies as I forgot to take a picture of the reverse view, but you aren't missing much.

Basing wise I have swapped to using Coat D'Arms Goblin Green over the darker Humbrol green. This is less lurid than my preferred thinned down Snot Green formula, but is much more sustainable across a large force. Dry brushed with Coat D'Arms Putrid Green, these are now getting the same treatment as my 40k/SWA Space Orks, which is in turn my attempt to match my existing 2nd Ed Ork forces which were painted by a friend's uncle in the early 90s... So Anna B, in anticipation of your objection to the lack of Sunburst Yellow dry brush - it is still "auffentic Ork fashionz from da 90s, right!"


Next we have assorted Orcs; one of Harboth's archers (I think?) which was my second ever metal Oldhammer Orc archer and both have been really lovely models to paint; a member of the Man Mangler crew who, as I sadly don't have a Man Mangler (yet!) will have to do duty on a Skull Crusher instead, an Orc casualty who I have also come to think of as a member of the Skull Crusher crew (lying on his back trying to fix the winch mechanism like a mechanic?); and a Standard Bearer that had been damaged and needed some work. I got the chance to test my new pin vice and fixed in a good length of paper clip.


Basing wise they got the Coat D'Arms Goblin Green/Putrid Green treatment. A piece of loose field stone made sense for the Man Mangler crew, and the Archer and Standard Bearer both got toadstools made out of lentils - all to try and tie the new colour scheme back to that common landscape with the rest of my finished minis.


More apologies now as these photos are both blurred and contain duplicates of the chainsaw wielding loon, but you can see the same strong red and yellow accent colours that dominate my goblin forces are repeated, as are the basing elements of field stone and toadstools - I particularly like those elements for the fanatics, both to emphasise their fungus fuelled mania, and give them something to trip over.



Here you can see the two even more basic paint jobs on two other Blood Bowl Goblins I like to use as proxy fanatics, which I have rebased to fit in with the updated O&G forces.



I have a real penchant for using Blood Bowl minis in WFB as you can see with the two ogres above, and even in RT/40K as with this beast! But, only one of these proxy fanatics looks like a Night Goblin, which led me back to a point I have always wanted to argue - why do only Night Goblins get fanatics!? Yeah, I know it is to do with the special fungus brew etc. but if you think about it, Goblin Doom Divers are just as suicidal (if not more so) and they don't have to be Night Goblins? How much would you object if an opponent wanted to field proxy fanatics in a non-night goblin unit if it seemed in character with the army? your thoughts would be welcome in the comments :)

Finally we have Azhag's Wyvern - who was one of my first purchases from the OTC and painted up straight away ages ago for a special appearance in my D&D campaign, but who remained unbased since then, and still remains unmounted (soon Azhag, soon!).


I wanted to keep the base in keeping with the rest of the force, but needed to break up the block of green to give more contrast against the scales of the Wyvern.


A larger area of broken field stone has helped with that a bit, and has helped disguise the fact the right foot sat quite proud from the base, but given free reign I would have used something other than green as the main colour for this one. Never mind - it's not perfect, but its done, and so is my Orctober 2017 painting challenge!

Big thanks as ever to Russ for running the ToMG challenges, and to everyone who is taking part each month via the Middlehammer facebook group - it's amazing to see so many people taking part!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

SWA: Orktoberfest!


Happy Orktoberfest everyone! Yes, it is that time of year when the bloggosphere and on line hobby groups give way to the exuberance of the greenskins!

I had been planning on spacing out my various Ork/Orctober blog posts throughout the month, but a combination of work/life balance being hectic, plus lots of actual game playing!! (sadly no Shadow War however), has meant that they are all going to come in a rush at the end of the month.

First up has to be the next recruits to my Snake Bite kill team for SWA. Sadly my Summer of Shadows project has not involved nearly as much gaming as I had hoped for thanks to ill health, but I have enjoyed an Indian Summer of painting up these vicious bastards.

"Wot choo lookin at dog breff!?"
They have all been painted up using the same 'red period' colour palette as the rest of my 2nd Ed and SWA Orks, although I will admit that I ended up using more red on these than I initially intended. They are still Snake Bites. Honest guv!


This is going to be my Mek Boy for SWA, but is actually a Nob from the back of a RT/2nd Ed era Nobz Warbike circa 1990(?) - I slightly regret choosing green for the plasma energy, and bottled any attempts at OSL (object sourced lighting) as a result, having been slightly disappointed with how it worked out on another old school Ork I painted earlier in the year.

Also not that happy with the freehand clan markings on this one, it's slightly off centre and maybe not immediately recognisable as Snakebitey enough, despite being straight out of the 2nd Ed Codex. Ah well, at least it proves he is a Snakebite, despite all the red. Proves it I tells ya!


This is my second Spanner Boy wiv Rokkit Launcha, and possibly my favourite of the bunch. Not only am I happier with the freehand glyph, but it includes some scavenged RTB1 Space Marine parts in true Orky fashion.

I deliberately didn't repair/repaint the missile launcher (other than to tidy up some paint splatter and add a grey highlight to the black metal areas) as I wanted it to feel like he has lifted it from somewhere else. I think it does that without looking completely out of place. I also made a shank out of some left over pistol handle and a combat blade attachment for a Space Marine bolter.


This is obviously my Pain Boy, and a very fun mini to paint. I added a later edition bolt pistol, so I could paint the heavy casing red to tie in with the rest of the band and a prosthetic blade-arm from Gorka Morka which seemed an appropriate choice.

I had trouble with the splatter effect of Tamiya Clear Red up the front of his apron, but a single rogue line flicked up over his mouth and face which I like in a gross sort of way, so I quit while I was ahead. More practice required there however.


Finally we have this rude little felllow! Yes, that is a cricket bat.

Originally sculpted by Kev White for the GoblinAid project a few years back he was a present from a fellow Old/Middlehammerer, the Goblin Bat Man (aka 'Gretchin Anaesthetist' in my universe) is going to act as the Pain Boy's assistant (active in 40k but a non combat role in SWA). The colour scheme is less red period than the others, and not just because there is hardly any red on him. The sculpt just seemed to call out for a paint job that makes him look like a contemporary street thug. Love him!

Anyway, I should be getting on with my next Orctober post! Thanks for stopping by. Do come again and bring some cake.