Sunday, 28 June 2015

Unboxing - Games Workshop Great Eagles, Preparing to be a Dad(dy).

This last couple of weeks really seems to have flown by and time seems to be rapidly vanishing as I near the approaching B-Day (Baby). 

As time rapidly runs out on my old life of no responsibility (relatively) and care-free-ness I find myself thinking of a future where instead of spending an hour painting models in the evening I'll be spending an hour (or more) sending a baby off to sleep. worse still is that this is not a short term commitment either! Once that stage is over it'll be parents evens, friends birthdays, trips to the park, colouring in, cleaning up and generally doing everything other then the few things I want to do.

Do I feel daunted? YES
Do I feel like I'm jumping in at the deep end when I can't swim and there are no lifeguards on duty? Abso-blooming-lutely
Are there going to be days when I'll wish I'd had a headache that night? Undoubtedly.

But that said here are some of the things I am looking forward to sharing with my soon-to-be little one (when the time is appropriate) aside from the all to obvious addiction I have to little plastic men of course:


This, as my reception/year 1 teachers would be able to tell you, was my favourite (bar none) toy to play with at school, I never cooperated amenably when it cam time to be put away and I was more than a little possessive of it; I absolutely HATED it when someone else wanted to play with it to. Let's hope I have better luck with my off-spring...


Walking in the woods, especially in the rain, finding trees to climb, places to build dens and rivers in which you can make dams was probably my favourite outdoor activity as a child. By and large society frowns on fully grown adults doing many things such as climbing trees and building dams so I can't wait till I have an excuse to enjoy those past times again.

My Grandparents bought my one for christmas and, for a child that grew up without a lot of access to the more expensive toys in the Argos catalogue, it was a revelation. I think I spent all my pocket money (£2 a month at the time) on batteries for the thing and I have fond memories of spending more time messing with the metal contacts on the bottom of the cars than I do of actually getting them to race. Hopefully they're a bit more reliable now (I doubt it...)


Lego! Yes another toy but what could not be made from Lego with a box full of blocks and some imagination? Dinosaurs, 18th century sailing ships, power rangers zords, aeroplanes, space ships, castles, crossbows and hilariously feeble swords were a staple.  


Well who needs an excuse to go to this place? Probably my second visited museum after the natural history museum (of course). As someone who studied not only classical and medieval history but also modern I can safely say that war has and will always be (because of our innate inability to simply get along) one of the defining characters of our being, I'm a great believer in the phrase that 'what we forget we are doomed to repeat'. Despite the last remaining living memories of the most recent 'global' war rapidly leaving us for what ever come next I want my son to have a respect for the great and tumultuous period which is so close to our living memory. I don't know if a civilian population in Britain will ever experience the same level of war as those in 1939-45 and I hope they don't but I know that when the memory of that time slips from us, that is when it's events are most likely to re-occur.


So as I begin to mourn the loss of free time and freedom of choice (I've still got 6 weeks, that's at least a couple of regiments isn't it?!) What tips do the initiated among us have for the novice? Are there things you thought you'd miss but don't? are there things that you didn't realise you'd miss?

Most importantly how do I go about fitting in hobby time?

And because that was the title after all:


Eagles.


No Plog this week but I've been working on the Legionaries, 10 down and 10 on their way, and I have far too many Warlord Games models on their way to me, as if I didn't have enough already, but hey, I'll need a good stockpile for when my own personal expendable income passes like rain on the mountain. More on those next week

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Ten Minute Tutorial - Painting Cloaks


Hi all, here is the second of my 'Ten Minute Tutorials', It's a quick guide on how to paint blue high elf cloaks though you could substitute the colours of course.

In other news Black powder 'happened' so be on the look our for reviews and unboxings soon. The rulebook is superb and I like the more 'broad brush' approach I could see it giving to games, The handful of models I've bought look great though I have one slight gripe with a particular set (to be revealed in review) and the free Napoleon they're giving away this month for the 200th anniversary of Waterloo was a nice little addition.

Work continues on the Roman cohort, I'm nearing completion of the first 10 and so I've begun to assemble the remaining 10 (including command) to complete the unit. All the models have gone together nicely and you can see a review of the set here on this very blog.

In other, other news the countdown to baby continues: 59 days to go. eek!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Plog #2, Ten Minute Tutorials, Musings on Black Powder


It's been a very busy two weeks which hasn't exactly left a lot of time for painting but I have got a few bits and pieces to show you in my 2nd video painting log.

One of those things that I've managed to find some time for the the first of my Ten Minute Tutorials. Rather than paint a whole miniature I'll show how I paint a specific colour. In this case it's the gold used on me elves which featured a few posts ago.
The second is also complete and ready to release next week!


One of the questions I ask on my 'plog' is regarding black powder from Warlord games.
As should be fairly obvious I've become quite invested in their hail Caesar range and, wanting a more unified ruleset (because remembering how to play umpteen different games is a pain!), I've been considering whether or not to get the black powder rules or not.

I've currently got a few regiments of 15mm AB peninsular British Line infantry and 6lb cannons based for the General de Brigade rules however if I were to do black powder I'd probably want to drop the AB for Warlord plastics (price being a major reason).

Do any of you have any thoughts on the Black Powder rules and the Warlord Games ecosystem in general and what about the models? Stick with 15mm or switch to 28mm?


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Warlord Games Early Imperial Romans: Legionaries and Scorpion - Review


Hi all, after having completed my first unit of Imperial Roman Auxiliaries I've begun to assemble the next unit, This is the Early Imperial Roman Legionaries, again by Warlord Games.



The Roman Legionary was the product of the Marian Reforms of 107BC, Prior to this the Republic drew it's armies from among the citizens who had to be of  a particular class and posses a certain amount of wealth, they had to fund their on equipment and were organised in to specific groupings based on the equipment they were able to fund.


The Marian reforms turn this on it's head, the army would become a professional army, no longer divided (quite so visibly) by wealth and status but instead organised and equipped after a standard fashion (though regional variants of armour, weapons, cloth etc existed). This was the birth of the Legionary.



The Legionaries in this box are the progeny of this genesis and are the classic image conjured in many a young boys head when he pictures a Roman due largely to the extensive use of Lorica Segmentata which despite only being used for a fraction of the life-span of the Roman Empire is almost always what we see a Legionary depicted wearing! 


The Lorica Segmentata is the predominant feature on these models and has received some good attention to detail right down to individual clasps and fittings that would have held it all together.
The period of it's use was from around the turn of the millennium until the late 3rd century. If you can ignore the fact that helmets in particular underwent a few revisions during this time period then that gives you a good range of combatants for these models to historically fight against from rebellious Gaulish tribes, to the invasion of Britain by Aulus Plautius, across to boarder wars with the Germans and the conquest of the Dacinsa and Thracia. If you're happy being slightly liberal with historical accuracy when it come to arms and equipment then the scope of opponents for this particular period of Roman plastics is probably one of the greatest and more widely documented of ancient history and will provide you plenty to get your teeth in to.


I am happy to tolerate a little ambiguity and as mentioned previously I intend to use mine to represent the conquest and post-conquest occupation of Britain from 43AD onwards (Claudius' invasion definitely does not count... it takes a little more effort to conquer us Brits than stabbing the English channel and collecting shells...).


The boxed set from Warlord games contains 20 Legionaries, including command, as well as a scorpion and crew. Previous iterations existed and contained 30 legionaries sans scorpion. I believe the switch to the newer box came as a result of the release of the Hail Caesar rues which heavily promote 20 man units as the standard size (in 2 ranks or 10 men) over a 200mm frontage.


The box costs £22 from Warlord Games direct or can be had from £15+ at alternate retailers. Even bought at full price at a cost of approximately £1 per model this represents good value when compared with other offerings from both historical and non-historical miniature manufacturers and whilst typically you'd expect the quality to suffer as a result of price I don't feel this is the case in this instance.

The legionaries come with separate arms, heads and shields which allow for a number of different poses such as throwing a Pilum, standing ready to receive a charge, getting stuck in with a gladius or simply marching to meet the enemy and whilst there is a good degree of different poses you can make The fact that the legs and torsos  are molded as one meaning it should still be fairly easy to rank up these miniatures, a problem which other manufactures suffer from due to overly energetic poses.


 Some of the detail, particularly on the command sprue (which is the legionary sprue with one half re-cut to accommodate the relevant bits). My favourite is the commander himself who has some very nicely sculpted and detailed armour and had/helmet.


Whilst the scorpion and crew, for me, is not the focus of this box, it's nice to have and also is fairly historically accurate in the each legion would be supported by a number of these warmachines, 60 for the Legion or 1 per century (which is conveniently what the 20 man unit is meant to be representative of on the gaming table). Warlord have gone to the same detail here too including sculpting the twists in the rope/sinew among other details.


The downside to all this intricate detail is that mold lines quickly become a significant problem, to get the best out of these models your are going to spend a good deal of time performing some careful prep-work before you'll be ready to get painting.

 I've Assembled 10 so far and whilst they went together nice and quickly enough the clean up work took around 1.5-2 hours and to be honest I could have done better (though it would have taken even longer!)

 Of particular trouble is the mold line running down the neatly sculpted sandle and armour plates which include a lot of small details, all too easy to remove with  a careless flick of the file.

This of course is difficult to help with 2 piece plastic molding technology and should be something most of us are familiar with.





Verdict;

Price - 5/5
At full price £22 may seem like a significant outlay however when you consider that not only are you getting a full and complete 20 man unit with full command but also an artillery piece with which to wage table top warfare on your opponent.
At £1 per model this is a steal when compared with the boxes of models now costing upwards of £25 for 5 (or £5 per model!!) from other manufacturers. I want lots of these boxes and I think this price is just about perfect. Not only thaty but once again you can buy individual sprues at pocket money prices which I am very grateful for and gives those of us on a budget a whole heck of a lot more flexibility when it comes to how we buy and build our armies.

Value - 4.5 / 5
There's a good deal of poss-ability available within this box set, a minor niggle is that your are unable to assemble a full unit wielding either 100% gladius or 100% pilum however this can be mitigated by using two boxes to make one unit of each, though this is only of any difference aesthetically, in game it would make no odds.
Coming from a Warhammer background the full command is a must for me and impactes greatly on my perceived value of the set.
The icing on the cake is the sheet of trasfers which, when applied with micro set and micro sol really make the models come alive for me.

Quality - 4 / 5
I observed no defects with this kit unlike the auxiliaries, however there are significant mold lines and clean up will take a substantial amount of time. Though mold lines are generally unavoidable some manufacturers have been making good advances in this regard in the way they cut their models ready for the sprue which reduces the number of flat surfaces likely to be at the mold join. this is obviously where the trade off on price come in with this set. It's not a deal-breaker though so do not write these guys off!

Features are deep and appear as though they'll be easy to paint and make the most off for use at table top distances. I'm a big fan of slightly exaggerated detail at this scale as it gives a bit more of a visual 'grab' even when viewed at typical gaming distances.

Accuracy - 3 / 5

Again, I'm no expert however I know that common consensus is now that the typical image we have all universally come to know and love of a full legion kitted out in lorica segmentata, bells and whistles on, is probably, definitely NOT accurate. Even when it's use was likely at it's height many men would have still been using lorica hamata which both preceded and succeeded the far more iconic segmentata. I'd have liked to have seen the represented on the sprue with a few such torsos.
I understand that this box is trying to represent the iconic and not the historic and for that I can forgive it because I love the iconic.

If you play historical games at all I don't think you can count yourself as a historical gamer without at least a small army of early imperial Romans, I can't think of a much better place to start than with a small fist-full of these boxes.





Don't forget to check out the unboxings of both the Conquest of Gaul;


and Starter Army;



Boxes for more pictures of these fantastic models!


Have you any experience of Hail Caesar? Do you have any comments? let me know, I'd be glad to hear it!

Thanks for reading.



Saturday, 6 June 2015

Unboxing - Warlord Games The Conquest of Gaul Starter Set




It's another unoxing this weekend, back to ancients this time with Hail Caesar: 'Conquest of Gaul' from Warlord games.

I'm a big fan of these boxed sets, you get a lot of stuff for not a lot of money and that always good in my books. Arguably the quality of the miniatures is not as high as some of those on the market and you will definitely need to spend a fair amount of time cleaning mold-lines but as Stalin is quoted as saying: 'Quantity has a quality of it's own' and he's not wrong.

In the case of the 'Conquest of Gaul' set I think Warlord really ought to include the transfers for the shields however that shouldn't put anyone off, 90 models and a full rule book (hard cover, full colour art no less!) for £60 is a bargain.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Showcase - Glorfindel and Erestor

Woah! What's that? Another Lord of the Rings showcase? it certainly is! Following hot on the heals of Elrond and Gil-galad are two of Games Workshops finer additions to the lotr range.


I believe these were some of the later releases pre-Hobbit SBG and as such are a bit oversized when compared to the earlier high elf stuff, regardless they are some beautiful models with some pretty fun rules and I wouldn't consider my elvish army complete without them.

Erestor


"That is the path of despair. Of folly I would say, if the long wisdom of Elrond did not forbid me."—The Fellowship of the Ring, The Council of Elrond



Glorfindel


"He was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and clean, and his voice like music; on his brow set wisdom, and in his hand was strength."—The Fellowship of the Ring, Many Meetings


And of course I couldn't not get the four of them together for a group photo, I'm looking forward to using them in a game soon against my gaming buddies!

Edit:
Hi all, Quick edit just to add a paint card for 'Elvish' Gold, Now you can match the gold used on my high elves:

 Remember to check out the 'let's paint - Galadhrim Warriors' youtube video as well!