Saturday, 28 November 2015

Crisis in Caledor! - First Contact. A Warhammer Fantasy Battle Report

So last night 'AVP Shaun' and I played Warhammer Fantasy Battle for the first time in approximately 20 years. It was 4th Edition I'm afraid, so on the borderline between Oldhammer and Middlehammer, but played very much in the spirit of Oldhammer. And it was ace!

Shaun used to play Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay more than I did, and we both played lots of D&D - both DMing for our friends and each other in various campaigns - but as more and more of our gaming friends got into Warhammer 40K it was only really my other mate Boz and I that kept playing WFB, and only for a year or two into our teens. I've always hung on to my minis and rule books however, and have slowly amassed more fantasy models over the years for use in D&D and other fantasy RPGs, always with the hope of getting back into early WFB at some point. Well, The Oldhammer Community has given us both the encouragement we needed so this week we decided to have a very quick skirmish after work on Friday. I had in mind a really basic set up to just remind ourselves of the basic rules of movement and manouvre, melee and missile combat, and the all important psychology! Magic will come later.

Keeping it old school 4th Edition I came up with a simple scenario, with potential to be the start of a campaign, featuring High Elves and Goblinoids, as they were the races featured in the 4th Edition Box Set - which are the models which currently form the mainstay of my painted forces. I had a good idea of what dynamics I wanted to test - smaller better quality and better organised units vs massed troops, rank bonuses, behaviour of units with and without standards and musicians, and something to test out the psychology rules, so drew up too very modest 330 point lists accordingly (see below).

The scene was set.

The pre game set up, though not the actual starting positions - the High Elves are shocked to find greenskins on their shores and quickly shuffle back into a defensive line!
"'Ere Boss!" squeaked the closest thing the gobbo spear-mob had to a leader.

"Wot?" snarled
Hacka the Orc Boss, still staring at the distant goal of the watch tower on the hill, and not liking the idea of running up it into a hail of elf arrows without more back up than a puny bunch of gobbos and a couple of very stupid ogres.

"How come we got to be the ones to run up that hill and get stuck wiv arrers to take out the Elf watchers 'for the rest of 'em get 'ere? Is it coz you lost that bet with da Bigg Boss?"

Hacka rounded on the goblin and roared as he punched it in the face, splintering teeth and sending the tactless creature cartwheeling away.

"Right you 'orrible lot!" the Boss shouted at his troops. "See dem pansy elfs up dere? We gonna smash 'em, right! And den we gonna take dere pointy ears and stick 'em in the fire and turn 'em into crackling! Who wants Elf scratchings to go with dere sour-brew tonight?"

As the cries of the gluttonous goblinoid gastronomes and the
sound of lip smacking grew, Hacka turned to his trusted mob of Orc boys. "Right lads, let dem scrawny runts run up the hill first and get stuck full of arrers while we wait to see where the proper fight's gonna be!"

The scenario dictated the elves would hold the higher ground being on the defensive, but we diced for which side we would command. I got the Elves, Shaun would command the greenskins. He had twice as many units as I did, and it also fit the scenario that the Elves would be deployed first and the goblinoids would be able to position their units accordingly as they sprung their surprise charge.

The Elves however had the initiative, although their first turn was spent holding ground in a very insightful show of 'standing very still for tactical purposes.' Moving even a short distance into the centre would invite a possible charge from a number of greenskin units, and marching up the left flank to rout the small unit of goblin archers on the hill would be slow going and would expose my flank to more greenskin charges. No, standing still was the order of the day on teh left flank. On the right flank however, my archers elected to stand still and hold their ground. But at least they fired their bows. BS4, but the screen of arrow fodder provided by the goblin spear-mob were over half range so the Elves got a minus one to hit. Still 5 out of 10 hit, 4 out of 5 wounded and only one goblin managed to raise its shield in time to stop it becoming an elven pin cushion! First blood to the elves but not quite enough to make the little blighters take a leadership test however.

On the Grenskins turn the goblin spear-mob were pressed forward into the hail of arrows by the ruthless Orc Boss, who repositioned his own mob behind the advancing meat shield (Shaun is no stranger to how you play Orks in 40k after all), while the Ogres moved up in support. The goblin archers fired their shortbows at near maximum range at the High Elf spearmen but all their arrows fell short.

The second turn for the Elves was pretty much a repeat of the first. The Spearmen held their ground not wanting to expose themselves to multiple charges so early in the game, and the archers having no choice but to fire at the advancing screen of the goblin spear-mob. Another excellent round of shooting saw 6 hits, 4 wounds and only 1 goblin make their save of 6+. This time they had to make a break test. As we wanted to test as many different aspects of teh rules as we could within the confines of our very simple game, we decided that our unit champions could be treated as our Army Generals, so the gobbos tested against Boss Hacka's improved Ld of 7 rather than their own cowardly 5. As it turns out they passed "like a Boss!" and would have made it even without the nearby threat of their Orc Boss. The prospect of Elf ear crackling must be a really powerful motivator for goblins.

End of Turn two. The Greenskin advance is beginning to cause concern, despite the Goblin spear mob being down to nearly half numbers.
Shaun's second turn saw him experiment with manouvres. Both his Orc boys and Goblin spear-mob wheeled to prepare for a potential charge next turn. The Ogres moved up behind the expanding line of green. Still at long range the goblin archers manged to land a single hit but the distinctive green scale mail of the High Elves of Caledor turned the crude goblin arrow head aside.

Turn three then. The Elven spearmen were getting twitchy that they were going to be charged by multiple units at once, and I really didnt want to have to elect to shoot into hand to hand combat and risk killing my own troops as this just didn't seem in keeping with the philosophy of the High Elves. I also tried a manouvre. I turned in place 90 degrees to the right, loosing 25% of my move and exposing my flank in doing so, while moving to the base of the hill. The intention was to take up a defensive position on the lower terrace of the hill to receive the greenskin charge NEXT turn. The archers continued to pepper the Goblin spear-mob with all 10 hitting, but the scrawny gits must have finally remembered to hold their shields up as only two goblins fell to the barrage after a poor round of rolling on my part and a valiant save from Shaun, meaning the gobbos yet again escaped having to test against their leadership.

On Shaun's turn his Gobbos wheeled again to face the base of the hill, where they were judged to be in hard cover due to their diminutive size, and the ledge of the hill (probably not in keeping with how it would be interpretted in Hero-Hammer type play, but this was 4th Edition Oldhammer style). The Orcs however moved forward normally - a mistake I thought, my Elves might get a chance to charge valiantly after all! WRONG! The Ogres now had clear space in front of them, and they could charge a full 12"! Shit.

The Ogres charge the High Elven Spearmen in the flank! - This is a good shot to show the different variety of Oldhammer-esque minis we used. A mixture of 3rd and 4th Edition plastics and a few metal command for the elven spearmen, a few more plastic orcs pressganged in from HeroQuest, and two Ogres from Bloodbowl who do double duty as Ogryns in 40K.
I have to confess that when I put the lists together I took two Ogres for three reasons: 1) I had two Ogres painted up and ready to go. 2) I knew they caused fear and we wanted to test the psychology rules a bit 3) I needed to spend 80 points and didnt want to take LOADS more goblin troops (the only other things I had painted up). I had not really read the stat lines very closely and had forgotten that they moved so much further than the rest of Shaun's troops.

Now Ogres cause fear and my spearmen could obviously sense my panic as they only just passed their Ld test with a roll of 7 and just about holding their ground. Now, it seems that the Ogres were not used to this kind of bravery on the part of their oponents as they got a bit flumoxed and fumbled their attacks spectacularly rolling four 1s! To be honest I think we forgot to rol lfor the Elven side of this combat on this turn in the aftermath of this epic Ogre fail, but it still proved to be one of the turning points of the game.

Double Snake Eyes!

The beginning of the 4th turn saw the Elven Archers fall back and elect to shoot the unengaged Orc Boys out in the open rather than the goblin spearmen cowering in cover at the base of the hill (still not sure we got that rule right, but we fell back on our 2nd Ed. 40K training in the heat of battle). However, their 'tactical fighting retreat' had put them over half range again so the ywere at minus one to hit. Three managed to score a it but the resilient hide of the orc boys meant they all failed to wound.

Now the spearmen got to attack the Ogres! In a stunning round of combat 5 of the 6 hits scored on the Ogres wounded the huge beasts, killing one outright and leaving the other on just one wound. In its rage the remaining Ogre struck out and killed two elves, and passed its break test as the red mist descended.

The whiley Orc Boss finally saw his opportunity and charged the Elven spearmen, using his wider (but less deep) formation to lap around and attack the flank, forcing them to take a leadership test which they only just pass on an 8! The spearmen are hard pressed now and are clearly rattled, and that is before any combat this round. Meanwhile the goblin archers stow their bows and march out to take up a postion in the centre of the field ready to support the other mobs (or to be closer to the scrum for ears when the Elves finally go down more like!)

Back where the action is the Elven spearmen show their superior skill at arms and manage to kill the wounded Ogre, and in the other combat they are involved with they kill just one orc but the cumulative bonus from the exta ranks and their unit standard means the Elves win the combat despite being charged and force the orcs to take a break test. The Orc Boss must have been distracted from giving orders as his boys failed with a roll of 10 and fled 7". The Elven Spearmen gambled on pursuit, at last taking some aggressive action despite the risk a failed pursuit and a subsequent Orc rally could leave them badly exposed. The gamble paid off and the Elves rolled a 9 to follow up and destroy the unit of orc boys as they fled. Now this is one of the most contested rules in 4th Edition, with man feeling that this is just too absolute, favouring the 'free hacks' system of WFB 3rd Edition instead. I have to say I have some sympathy with this view, the orcs had proved really tough to kill all game and it didn't seem right that the eleves would be able to wipe them out automatically like that. Equally, if the elven pursuit had failed, and the Orcs rallied, then the next turn would have been very interesting, so it's not like there aren't potentially interesting game dynamics tied up in this rule and it does seem like a quick and easy way to resolve things - something whcih is a virtue of 4th Edition. We got round this by saying that routed and caught units were likely half butchered, with the rest scattered beyond reforming (at least until the next battle or two, something which would be noted for campaign play).

With the Boss gone panic spread through the goblin lines and the archers and spear mob broke 8" and 11" respectively. A positive rout was under way!

The greenskin rout in full flood!
The start of the 5th turn was expected to see the end of the greenskin raiders. The Spearmen charge the fleeing goblin archers, who only manage to escape a further 4" and are subsequently caught by the avenging Elves. Up on the hill the archers advance and shoot at the fleeing spear-mob. Showing their martial prowess again 5 hit even with a minus one having moved the same round, scoring two kills. Remarkably the Goblin spear-mob rally and charge the High Elf spearmen in the rear, jabbing at them hitting twice but failing to wound. Returning their attentions the elves manage to kill a goblin and win the combat soundly, but the stubborn goblin spear-mob hang in their passing their Ld test with a cool snake eyes (Shaun's skill at rolling ones finally paying off!).

And so the game went the full 6 turns! The combat in the centre grinds on, a goblin falling while the sole high elf wounded by a goblin spear is saved by his armour. The goblin situation is so desperate that they need a one on 2D6 to pass teir Ld test, but we agree that these frantic little buggers had proved resilient enough to ang in thee if they rolled another double one. Snake eyes again! The final round of comabt then, and despite loving how the story with the crazy goblin spear-mob was playing out, I really wanted a decisive victory for the elves. Five of the remaining spearmen hit, but only two managed to wound and one of the damn gobbos managed to block with his shield (from ones to sixes! The dice gods were with Shaun, but luckily only for this one unit). Down to just a few goblins now they fought back desperately and hit two elves, wounding one and managing to get up under his armour to score a mortal wound. These little guys are clearly going to have to be written up with some special rules if we play on again! Thankfully though that combat was enough ot finally break the unit and although they fled 7" (back towards the now advancing archers!) the spearmen followed up 10" and caught them.

We didn't bother to count up victory points, as it was obvious what the result was, although we should have done as we were supposed to be relearning the rules. 6 turns had seen the complete rout of the Orcs and Goblins, while only four Elves lay dead on the small battlefield. "They're bloody Space Marines with pointy ears!" exclaimed Shaun more than once during the game, and I can see his point - its why I like them quality not quantity. I don't want that to make it sound like he was moaning, he was a really good sport we both had a great time, and the fact taht we got 6 turns done is about 2 hours on a Friday night along side a curry and a beer means that we are definitely going to be plaing again!

Which is a good job, as Shaun went home and bought a Mantic Undead Army Starter pack (amazing value!), and these chaps arrived in the post after I scored some bargains on Evil Bay!
31 more 4th Edition Night Goblin Archers and another 31 Spears plus a Goblin Doom Diver on the left!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Lightsabers at dawn...

Yesterday was a good day.

I played with light sabers before breakfast, finished a major painting project (more on that in a later post), got an afternoon nap, and had sausage and chips for tea. But best of all, I played HeroQuest with my three year old son.

Unsurprisingly, when I posted about this on the Oldhammer Community page on facebook, I got loads of really positive and useful feedback from fellow war gaming parents, and one reply in particular inspired me both to write this post, and continue to play HQ with my boy in the kind of freeform way I was already leaning towards. If you like my post and are thinking of giving it a try with your own kids I strongly recommend you give this post from The Lost and the Very Damned a read. That is some professional level nerd-parenting right there!

Being a dad to two boys is the best thing I have ever done. I'll be happy no matter what they end up doing in life, and no matter what they're interested in, but like every hobbyist dad, you secretly harbour dreams of sharing your nerdy weekends and eveings with your eager offspring. I mean, it's the excuse you've been using for keeping all of these toys over the years isn't it?

So, I've been really chuffed that #1 Son (denoting birth rank only) has shown some very postive signs of early nerd-culture adoption. He loves How to Train your Dragon, and we would watch it endlessly if he got his way, running around pretending to be chased by dragons, or being picked up by me and swung around as if he was flying and then delighting in staggering around dizzy and laughing.

Then he suddenly got obsessed with StarWars - the proper ones mind you, Episodes IV-VI - and I do mean obsessed. We started watching them on repeat, to the point where even I was getting a bit sick of it. He especially likes Princess Leia (though I suspect for different reasons, at this stage at least, than me) who is "very brave!" and Mr Grumpy aka Darth Vader. Out went Dragons, in came spaceships and... lightsabers!

I say lightsabers, actually he had taken to running around with the metal striker from the triangle in the music box, using it alternatively as a 'pew' (blaster) or a lightsaber. In between he would charge around swinging it from its little red string like a flail. It was clear that for the safety of his partents kneecaps and #2 son's cranum that we needed to find him something else. I successfully argued that the safest lightsaber proxy is in fact... a lightsaber! So off we went that weekend.

#1 Son with "Oki-wan-kenoki's Blue Light Saber!" (not even out of the packaging yet)

It has been near total immersion ever since. He sits on the potty with a 'Where's Chewie' book, and wants to look at "Pictures of StarWars!" on the tablet at the same time as having the film on, despite my pleas to enjoy one thing at a time. I do like the fact that he now fully expects there to be "Star Wars Music!" while we have pretend lightsaber fights on weekend mornings. I'm not so much of a fan of the fact that he demands to play ligthsabers with me as the very first words out of his mouth, pre 6:00 am on weekend mornings. Seriously, when that is happening for the fourth weekend or more in a row, even the most die hard of nerd-dads is considering whether it was the right thing to do to show him the hallowed trilogy before he could fully deal with the awesome?

So, I was relieved to be getting a break from endless "STARWARS!" as much as I was thrilled that he seemed to be showing an interest in another of my nerdy passions when he wanted to come and look at 'models and dice' in my office/nerd cave, and ended up sitting down with the spare HeroQuest board and bits that 'AVP-Shaun' gave me after a recent score at a charity shop. He seemed to like the look of a badly painted Orc with a cleaver and a shiny gold jacket, so I quickly set out some of the furniture pieces and grabbed a handful of unsorted cards and a few of the undead monsters (somebody, posibly Shaun when he was bored, had given them a reasonable basecoat and ink shading job, so they were more fun to use than the unpainted ones).

#1 Son loves rolling dice so he took to the idea of rolling the dice and counting out the squares to move, he sits in with us on various other board games and table top RPGs like D&D and StarWars: Imperial Assault and is allowed to 'help', and this has also helped curb his tendancy to want to bash models together while shouting 'pew pew' - but sadly that instinct seemed to come rushing back when he was presented with the HQ models.

Lucky we were using the spares, and not this complete set I bought for silly money on e-bay earlier this year. Please ignore the empty Quavers packets strewn accross the floor.

He soon settled down and his Orc moved up and down a corridor a bit and then explored a room where he knocked over a skeleton to much delight. We weren't using the HQ dice at this point, just a big D6 and he just enjoys rolling the dice and shouting out the numbers (normally the right ones), so anything other than the number of squares he moved was decided by choices, or in one unfortunate instance of relapse, bashing of models together. However he was most interested in searching the little treasure chest for treasure, and was thrilled to be allowed to choose one of the treasure cards. He got a potion of Strength ("That man drink it!" he said pointing to the picture on the card).

When more monsters appeared in the room, his Orc chose to "Run away Monster!", but his escape was hampered by a rock fall tile just to the right of the door out (*Big Gasp*), so we dealt out some cards from the random pile and one of them turned out to be the red Monster card for the Zombie (which I took to signal another wandering monster had arived, clawing it's way through that rockfall I ruled, while #1 Son took it to be another form of treasure and added it to his collection of cards).

The other was a Water Spell called Veil of Mist. "Do you want to cast the spell to help you run away?" I asked showing him the other card. "Yep." More dice rolling to move down the corridor and round the corner.

We were playing in the corner of the board that has one of my favourite details, the old boot on the floor so I asked if his Orc wanted to search for treasure "Oh. Yeah" was the hushed reply. I had a quick flick through the cards I'd grabbed to see if I could find the perfect treasure card of the gem in the old boot, but it wasn't there so I settled on the Tool Kit from the Equipment deck, as both something that he would recognise (his uncle is a carpenter and has already given him a toy tool belt) and something else along with the picture of the man running away on the spell card, to emphasise that not everything in the game was about bashing.

This seemed to go down well and the card was added to his collection just as his mother called to say lunch was ready. Our impromptu RPG session came to an end, but for my money it seemed like between his choices and the cards that were dealt we'd established that his Orc was a treasure hunter, not a fighter (despite unfortunate first impressions drawn from the blood stained cleaver, but to be honest the gold jacket should have given it away). Probably an Illusionist/Thief, but when I talked to him about the game over lunch we called him an Orc Adventurer (coz we all know multiclass characters can be way OP, yo!)

Some people would have seen my posts this weekend about his demands to play HeroQuest again, and how chuffed I was. This time we'd get a whole twenty minutes but it had to be after lunch, just before nap time. So I maximised the time by getting a few things together and setting up some furniture in the central room, and some open and closed doors around a few rooms on either side of the main approach. I closed off the other areas of the board with rock falls. This all seemed to work really well, giving us a small area to play in, with enough interesting stuff on the board already to capture his attention, but with enough empty space for us to explore and fill with new stuff. His first instinct when any new pieces are put down is to pick them up, look at the little model furniture and take it to pieces (this is to be encouraged in my book). I'd say this is less HeroQuest and more Dolls Houses with Dice Rolls, or D&D for short... no wait... copyright issues there I think. What I mean here is that it didn't feel a lot different to a table top role play game.

Let's just stick with calling it HeroQuest for now.

I'd also laid out the cards he'd collected last time and he spent a happy minute or two looking at those all over again.

His 'Orc Adventurer', in his flash coat, was on the board and he rolled some dice and moved him to explore a room. There was a skeleton inside and the Orc decided to bash him. We were using the HQ dice with shields and skulls this time and he really enjoyed rollign teh special dice and seemed ot get the idea of needing shields or skulls ("Shields like Mike the Knight for you, or Black Shields for the monsters" is how we distinguished them). He rolled well and knocked the skeleton over, but showed himself to be a bad winner by laughing maniacally for a bit longer than was strictly necessary. "Poor skeleton," I said.

His Orc went into the next room and saw a treasure chest and quicly moved up to it. We talked about using his toolkit card to search the chest and he took it upon himself to select not one but three treasure cards in return! This was as I was distracted by a delivery of Oldhammer goodness and some awesome minis from Heresy (more on that in a later post hopefully) - classic party Thief behaviour! I enacted some revenge by surprising him with a monster who had been hiding behind the door (yeah, this isn't going to come back and bite me in the arse at all!). We just called it a monster as I thought the idea of an 'Evil Mummy' was not a road I wanted to go down at that particular moment, 10 minutes and counting before nap time.

More dice rolling and the Orc had to stand on a table to get away (he rolled lots of Mike the Knight shields). He tried to bash the monster again and the dice were kinder the second time so he defeated the Monster. I gave him another decision to make. "Do you want to search the monster for treasure, or do you want to eat him up?" Stupid question. "Eat him up!" By pure genius coincidence this unsavoury episode took place in one of the little rooms with bones on the floor just where the Monster had been standing, so I pointed out that his Orc was a messy eater, just like him.

I asked if he wanted to explore another room, and offered the D6 but at this point he just picked up his orc and moved him accross the board, and busied himself changing over the closed doors for open ones, and only moderatetly mangling them in the process. This room had a table in it and his Orc jumped up. Another Skeleton had been hiding behind the door, and sadly the dice were yet again against the unlucky Orc (he was weighed down by loot by this point I think) and I had to rule that the skeleton had knocked him over. "Your Orc has fallen over I'm afraid!" this is what we say has happened when a character runs out of energy on Lego Star Wars, so he knew what it meant - game nearly over. "Ohhh!" came the cry of concern.

"Well what does he do?" Instinct reaction. "He runs to find his Mummy!" He picked up the Orc and moved him accross lots of squares (and through walls, but I put this down to the Orc's powers as an illusionist meaning they just appeared to be walls to me) and placed him in the middle room which we had set up with a bookcase, fireplace with sinister painting, and a big chair. The Orc sat on top of the chair. "His Mummy's coming!" I was told "What does he say to his mummy?" I asked. "He gives her a present!" he looked at his cards and chose the Box of Jewels! Which just goes to show, Orc Adventurers might be criminal scum, but they love their old mums.

Our time was up and as if by magic his real, non-Orcy mother arrived. I tell you what, with the amount of models and paint I've been buying recently, she'll be bloody lucky if she does as well as Mrs. Orc this christmas, but judging by the smile on her face as I recounted the events of the game after #1 Son went down for his nap, I don't think she'll care.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

So many minis, so little room...

So, this blog is already fulfilling one of its primary objectives - giving me something to do whilst avoiding painting to my deadlines. I have a D&D game coming up in less than a week and I have two principal PC models, plus a major surprise for my players still to finish!

Yesterday I promised photos of badly painted miniatures, badly displayed in cramped conditions. What I neglected to mention was that the photos would also be bad. When I want to show minis I'm actually half way proud of, I'll take some proper pictures (i.e. not on my phone), but this was really just meant to illustrate a point - I have way too many models and no where near enough proper display space for them.

I'd love to get some glass shelf display cases, but I've never been able to prioritise spending money on them over other things... like more models. I did however deliberately build these IKEA Billy Bookcases with two shelves much shorter than the others, with the idea of holding my main collections of Warhammer Fantasy and 40k minis.

So here we have some very cramped High Elves (at the back) and Wood Elves - plus an incomplete cardboard house from the 4th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle box set - so many more elves of both kinds still waiting to be painted. My combined Elf armies are probably only second in number to my Space Marines.

And here we have a very rag tag crew of Orcs and Goblins - again mostly plastics and even some Heroquest plastics in there (Gah!), although I have recently been investing in lots of proper metal Oldhammer Orcs and Gobbos, so these guys are set to recieve some impressive reinforcements very soon, and may well be trying to kick the snooty elves off the shelf entirely.

And then we have the marines (the painted ones at least) - these are the Fire Angels in all their base primary colour glory! Or not ;)

Quite honestly, I'm not that proud of the painting for (most of ) these, but I am proud of the collection and some of the simple conversions I've made to give them their own character. Can anybody spot the repurposed Manta Force vehicle? That was a bitch to work with and paint with its brittle, oily, paint and glue resistant plastic, but I love the final piece, even if it was painted with claggy paint and terrible brushes that should have already been in the bin.

There is the vast majority of an entire 2nd Company of troops there (only missing two tactical squads) plus a smattering of veterans and scouts. I'm currently light on vehicles (painted ones anyway), but I do love Squad VI - a whole tactical squad mounted on bikes. They probably deserve a feature at some point.

In fact I aim to do a number of features on the Fire Angels, but before I let myself get sucked into that, I really do need to finish these PC minis, so that I can delight in a TPK in 3D and full colour next weekend :)

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

And so it begins...

So this is what it is all going to be about. Nerd stuff. Mainly collecting and painting fantasy and sci-fi miniatures, but seeing as that is currently mainly focussed around a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I am running, I guess I'm going to blog about D&D too.

I've never stopped loving fantasy and sci-fi miniatures ever since I was about 9 years old (1989 - still in the hey day of old scool GW) and I first saw some Space Orks (Blood Axes I specifcally remember) at a friends house. I also remember giving away plastic Space Dwarves, one to each guest, in the party bags for one of my last birthdays at primary school, and I remember even some of the cooler kids who were on the football team being blown away, if only very temporarily. We all used to like playing Combat Cards during wet break, but only a few of us had seen the models themselves before. For a few of us, that was enough and we were bitten by the bug. Next stop HeroQuest, then very quickly on to Warhammer (4th Edition - don't hate me Oldhammerers!), Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader, although that was quickly passed over in favour of 2nd Edition as we were still young. Around the same time I was learning how to play D&D from a very good friend of mine Russ (who is now one of the players in my own D&D campaign), and our wider group were running our own games of Shadowrun. Soon after that, we were designing our own RPGs based on our favourite fantasy, Sci-Fi and pop-culture influences. My friend Shaun's homebrew Alien vs Predator RPG is still one of the most enjoyable games I've ever played, and we played at least three campaigns of that. Mostly while drunk on cider. Because we were 13 and we live in the west country.

I started collecting Space Marines pretty much from the beginning. I was never a big fan of the 'main' chapters of the time, (and I still harbour a deep mistrust of Space Wolves and Space Wolf players alike) although it took a little while to decide on the chapter I still collect to this day: Fire Angels - who featured in Rogue Trader: Compendium as veterans of the Badab war (lots more on that in later posts). The first marine chapter I came up with myself, and tried to paint to my own scheme, were very late founding called The Tornadoes, and had a predominantly black colour scheme with yellow hazard stripes on the helmet (RTB01 Beaky marines, obvs.) They looked terrible!

Anyway - I've recently got back into collecting and painting in a big way, and have meen motivated to blog about it by being introduced to the Oldhammer Community by my mate Shaun (he of AVP fame).

The trouble is, my painting has not come on an awful lot in the intervening years!

I'll finish this opening ramble now, and tomorrow I'll post some very ropey pictures of the models I currently have on 'display' in ridiculously cramped conditions in my office.