Sunday, November 4, 2018

Classic Mini Boxed Sets: Rafm's Shadows & Steel #1: Wizard's Adventure Party (1985)

The intrepid wizard Amadeus leads his adventuring party into the vale of Tandaloor, hoping to find glory and riches!  But will they find wealth and success?  Or horror and a lonesome death?  This was the first set in the Shadows and Steel  line of boxed sets sculpted by Bob Murch and released by RAFM.

Although its a fun set, this project was a disappointment compared to the Iron Brotherhood set.  My painting failed to match up to my work on the brotherhood.
Here is Amadeux, the adventuring wizard, his chair carried by the mighty troll-beast, Ross.  This is obviously the most important piece in the set, both in terms of combat power and visual interest, so it was disappointing to find that the Ross casting was marred by a great ugly mass of flash that ran from his horn to his forward foot.  His eyes are also uneven.  I cut and filed away at the mess as best I could, but he still didn't look as well as he might have.
As with the other Shadows and Steel sets, the figures came with D&Dish statistics and a mass of fluff.  Storylines, personalities, and a general idea of how Amadeux's party fit into the world of the Tandaloor campaign setting.  Finding extras like this in a box was a great deal of fun for me when I was a kid.

This fellow is referred to in the fluff as "Gomer the Ever Eager" and is Amadeux's scout...

The flip side of the sheet shown above.  Fluff galore.

Desirei the archer.  This figure was borrowed for the Wizard's adventure party from one of RAFM's historical lines.  When I painted The Iron Brotherhood, I wisely decided not to try to paint any of the eyes on the human characters as they were so tiny that I felt that trying to paint them could only lead to disaster.  This time I couldn't resist the urge to try and screwed most of them up.  I warned me, but I didn't listen.
Each of the Shadows and Steel sets also provided a two-sided map depicting some encounter area within the campaign setting.  This is a map of the courtyard of Vlad Tandaloor's castle.

Fado the Osprey, Amadeux's familiar and another useful scout.  I painted him as a hawk rather than an osprey.

Map of the throne room of the Vlad Tandaloor, the Vampire Prince for whom the valley is named.

Ice Wolf, the barbarian fighter...Useful muscle for Amadeux's party.  This figure looked ok until I tried to do the eyes.  Now I hate it.

Puc the Pious, the cleric who annoys everybody with his sermons, but whose skills are crucial to the party's success.

More fluff and a painting guide included in the box.

Max the elf champion...

Maps and more general information about the valley and its inhabitants on the flip side of the sheet shown above the picture of Max...

Amadeux's adventurers run afoul of The Iron Brotherhood!  Will our heroes live to tell the tale?????

Friday, October 26, 2018

Knights of The Mittelmark Pt 3: More Bretonnians/Imperials

Two more knights of the Baron Von Refn's army, mustering their troops for battle.  These are part of a push I'm making to try to get my Warhammer Bretonnian/Empire army battle worthy before the end of the year.  Most of the figures are Old Glory Medievals.  The musician is an old Grenadier LOTR Boromir mini.
Captain and banner bearer are Mark Copplestone Fantasy Warriors.
This is one of 2 great weapon units I'd like the finished army to include.
One of the Old Glory figures here...
There are also quite a few Wargames Foundry figures in the unit.

Chop chop!
Wargames Foundry Knights....
I'm terrible at painting the designs on the shields and caparisons but I felt I had to try to get away from using decals all the time.  From a distance they I hope they don't look too bad.
Since the infantry are meant to represent the retainers and henchmen of these particular knights, I painted their clothes to reflect the colors of the knights' heraldry.  My plan for the near future is to have one troop of nice with caparisons and one without, perhaps to represent lower ranking knights.
Using the same colors on both the knights made it easy to create a unifying color scheme for the infantry regiment.  A Wargames Foundry axeman and...

...A nice old Josef Ochmann figure and maybe my favorite of the whole bunch. 
Ready for fightin'!  I now have 2 1/2 infantry regiments, 30 crossbowmen, 6 knights and a whole ton of peasant auxiliaries.  In the end that does't add up to much on the table top.  Long way to go, yet.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Rogue Trader: More Space Ork Motorboys!!!!

I told myself that I was finished with Der Afrikorkorps and wasn't going to do any more troops for it but....
...I did some more troops for it.

I had so much fun doing the first batch of biker boys that it turned out to be hard to stay away, especially after I realized that I had not included Sleazy Rider in the group!  That simply had to change.  So Der Afrikorkorps has grown by 5 more biker boys.  Here they are.

I had forgotten all about the existence of Sleazy Rider, but while lying in bed one night thumbing through an ancient copy of White Dwarf (from 1988 or thereabouts), I noticed him occupying the bottom of an advertisement for some special limited edition releases.

Grrr!!!  How could I have put together a whole squad of RT biker boy conversions without recalling this fellow?  He was a perfect fit for Der Afrikorkorps!  It took a while but I tracked a casting down.  The muzzle of the gun on the casting I bought was broken so I converted his weapon into a double barreled shotgun by adding two lengths of wire.  I actually like it better than the original weapon.
With the bike squadron swelling to 10 models, I wanted to add a special weapon, so I added a plasma gun.  The model wasn't not easily convertible, so he's just sort of awkwardly perched on the seat, no hands on handle bars, but his biker jacket with the ripped sleeves and biker boots are certainly appropriate.
 For the most part I'm pretty happy with how these guys turned out, though.
 Rooooommm!  Rroooooommmm!!
This guy wasn't supposed to be the boss, originally, but I really like him so he probably is the boss now.
Der Afrikorkorps crashes through my home built alien desert scrub forest, lookin' fer a fight!   Waarrgghh!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Black River Landesturm

 In even the Most sheltered portions of the Baron Refn's realm men must always stand ready to help defend their homes and families against marauding enemies.
 Such auxiliary troops usually have little real combat value, and leave the hard fighting to the professionals, serving in transport and other support roles.  In desperate hours, however, they may be forced to fight to in the line alongside the men-at-arms.

 Though generally poorly equipped and largely untrained in battle, such militias can occasionally become formidable if fighting to defend their homes, or inspired by a particularly capable leader.  This impromptu regiment appears to be following some pugnacious spiritual leader of their community.
Nonetheless the lack of military expertise amoung such troops is hard to overemphasize.  This individual appears to be trying to use his spoon for a helmet.
Dealing with the wounded of both sides is an important role for many Landesturm units.  Friendly wounded must be evacuated from the battle and tended to.  Enemy wounded must be located and dispatched, as shown above.

 Musicians are important to inspire the troops and help steady their shaky morale.
 This is one of several projects that came together at around the same time, thanks to some time off that I've had lately.  It was inspired largely by the peasant rebellions in Medieval Germany, which I read a little about this summer.
It will serve to bulk out my Warhammer Empire/Bretonnian army a bit, though it may not be much good for fighting anything other than Snotlings and Skavenslaves.  I'd like to 2 more units and some wizards to that army by the end of this year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Victory at Sea: 1st Wave of Kriegsmarine Stuff: Light Cruisers, Destroyers and U-Boats

And now for something completely different...
Over the last year or so...or maybe old buddy The Troll and I have been getting into WW II naval games.  So far we've been using GHQ's Micronauts line and Mongoose Games' Victory At Sea rules.

The Micronauts are astonishingly detailed and quite lovely.  This is all very new to me, so in my efforts to get to a completed fleet, I've been leaving a trail of plasticard clippings, Vallejo water texture puddles and broken and ruined models in my wake for some time.  Still, by sticking to it, by starting with small ships instead of big ships, and by refusing to cry, panic or throw a model out the window more than once in a sitting,  I have finally managed to successfully assemble and paint the foundation of my tiny Kriegsmarine.  I also have a tiny Royal Navy but I'm not quite happy with them and want to make some changes to them before I call them finished, and move on to the big stuff.

So here's the first wave.

KMS Nurnberg:  Nurnberg was one of the two first Micronauts I purchased.  I picked her and HMS Belfast off a rack at Enfilade more or less at random.  I wanted two smallish ships which could fight each other so I could get a feel for the VAS rules.  Nurnberg was the second of the two-ship Leipzig class of light cruisers and spent the war engaged in mine laying activities and as a training ship.  She was captured intact by the British at the end of the war.

KMS Emden: I chose the Nurnberg at random, but I picked the Emden because I thought she had an interesting story.  That ended up being a theme.  It's the tale of a ship that gets me interested in modeling it.  Entering the Kriegsmarine in 1925, the Emden was the first large warship built by Germany after WW 1. Thanks to the restrictions of the treaty of Versailles, her armament was very light, and by the outbreak of the war she was considered to be something of an antique.  Like Nurnberg, she spent most of the war as a trainer and a mine layer.  Emden was involved in one of the very first clashes between British and German forces, when, on Sept 3, 1939 she was attacked by three squadrons of RAF bombers.

 By a weird twist of fate one of these bombers was piloted by a certain Flight Officer Henry Emden.  Emden shot down Emden, who died when he crashed his plane into the bow of his namesake and nemesis.  In the waning months of the war, Emden was tasked with the removal of Paul von Hindenburg's remains from East Prussia in order to keep them out of the hands of the Russians.  She was later mauled and wrecked by British bombers while undergoing repairs in Kiel harbor.

KMS Koln:  Koln was one of the three Konigsberg or 'K' class light cruisers.  All three K class vessels fought in the Norwegian campaign but Koln was the only one to survive it.  Koln's other wartime activities included mine laying and providing naval gunfire support for Army Group North.  Interestingly, for a time in 1942 she carried experimental FL 282 helicopters.  Unfortunately, GHQ does not provide a helicopter option with your Koln model.  If they did, mine would have one.

Koln was finally sunk in  shallow water in Wilhelmshaven harbor by American aircraft, but because she had been holed in only a few feet of water, her belly rested on the bottom while her deck stayed dry.  Ignoring the fact of her own sinking, she continued to fight as a static artillery battery until the final hours of the war.

An interesting feature of the K-class cruiser vs other cruisers:  note the rear turrets are offset from one another.  From what I understand, the gun turrets were just a little too big for the size of the ship, but by offsetting them the designers managed to successfully accommodate them.

1934/36 Class Destroyers:

Wolfgang Zenker unsuccessfully sparred with Polish destroyers and coastal artillery in the first few hours of the war and, along with Erich Giese and Erich Koellner, took part in successful mine laying operations along the British coast. Later all three destroyers helped ferry Mountain troops into the Narvik area during the Norwegian campaign.  They participated in the bloody fight with the British 10th Destroyer flotilla on 10 April and were later trapped with other German destroyers in the Rombaksfjord by the Battleship HMS Warspite and her own group of escorting destroyers. The crew of the Wolfgang Zenker fought until they had expended all their ammunition, then, having no way to escape and nothing with which to fight, they scuttled her to keep her out of British hands.
more below the fold