Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Eight...and electricity comes to Drake's Branch.

Disclaimer: The lamps are stand-ins for actual oil-lamps...not electricity...

A small update.  I've slapped together another 4Ground building and have assembled a handful of street lamps for Drake's Branch (my fictional town setting)

The re-painted "Rogan's Bar" set from 4Ground.  Will probably be festooned with posters in a bit.  I dislike green buildings quite a bit so this got a re-spray.  Nice quality with only minimal fuss while building.

Ordered some cheap street lamps from a Chinese shop on ebay and tossed them on...oddly long bases.  I don't like to waste good bases on terrain too often so I decided to use up some Wargames Factory cavalry bases --- this let me add some do-dads to some of the bases as well.

Sorry the last picture is out of focus!
I also threw some shingles onto the Rorke's Drift Storehouse and hate the outcome, but I'm going to keep it - it just doesn't get rewarded with fancy pictures on the internet. It's usable but ugly.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Drake's Branch is expanding!

So, as a Christmas present to myself, I gathered some ebay-funded moneys and picked up a load of new 4Ground stuff.  Shortly after ordering I had discovered the pile of 4Ground kits in a tub which I had forgotten about...the entire Rorke's Drift set!

I had finished the storehouse last post...subsequently broke/ruined the roof by removing the thatch...grrrrrrr...

Anyway, have some paper shingles on the way to re-do the roof and find a way to mend it.  Meanwhile I started on the new kits which showed up....

While waiting for the postman to show I did up some extra scatter terrain and decided to try my hand at some more characterful tokens for "Hiding" in Shoot N' Skedaddle.

The Rorke's Drift hospital awaiting a shingle roof (grey is just the cover colour).  Again a nice old 4Ground kit.  If I was more motivated I could have done a lot with the interior but I find the games rarely use a lot of the interior space.  I may go back later and add some furniture.

Almost big enough to play an entire game inside!

Some Pegasus Hobbies fences.  I applied a basing texture, clipped the ends (so that the posts can meet up properly) primed them black, repainted and drybrushed them and added some static grass.  They fit particularly well on the Steppe mat.  I've gone from solid desert basing to an intermediate so I can get more use out of stuff for other games.

A simple under-construction kit from 4Ground.  Not my favourite.  Hard to assemble and very very fragile.  I'm not entirely sure how long this thing will last gaming.

 The AD Hardware store - a wonderful simple 4Ground kit.  The manner in which they assembled these have changed from the first kits..not sure which method I prefer.  Typical 4Ground quality.

The Land Officer kit from 4Ground.  Lovely stuff, though this was the first 4Ground kit I've had in a long time which gave me some issues (one of the MDF sheets was a bit out of wack and had to be trimmed to fit, etc.).  Overall I love the final product - nice to have two more different designs for single story buildings.

There is a lot more waiting in the wings...and even more in the post still.  While Drake's Branch was a meagre seven buildings prior...it could expand into a proper town within the next few weeks.  Hoping to shingle/fix the RD kits and though they may not look 100% proper in town, I can do a nice farmstead at some point.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


After beginning to get over my Old West doldrums, I had just ordered a large order of 4Ground buildings when I stumbled upon the old Rorkes Drift kit I forgot I had ordered a year or two ago.

This is the rather old kit - unpainted, with one-face burns etc.  It was still a typical 4Ground kit though - beautifully executed, smartly planned - hugely gamer friendly, and a treat to assemble.

After spending way too long on it to even achieve a mediocre paintjob, I immediately began to appreciate the lovely pre-painted kits they now release!

The front, only missing two of the support posts (these will be based separately and added later as a stand-alone part)

One side features a small supply door and the smaller office/shed structure.

 Being a storehouse, the back is closed off...non-descript.

 In typical 4Ground fashion, the building is hugely gamer-friendly.  The "front" roof section comes off in a nice sturdy, well supported set.  It reveals the attic and the front door section.

The small shed/office which is accessible through its own door.  There is a "damage blow out" panel in the rear wall, but I'm trying to keep it in place.  I don't want this to be a battle damaged structure.

 Rear attic features a cargo door on the left of the picture, a floor-hole w/ ladder and a full door on the right, accessed by an external staircase.

Inside the main structure are two separate room areas, each consisting of two adjoined rooms.

This kit is still available as long as they have remaining stock, rumour was (years ago) that they might re-release the kit in new pre-painted form, but that never seemed to happen.

It's a lovely kit, but really makes me appreciate the genius of the current pre-painted kits and their interior details.  Also, forgive the grey colour.  The paint looked much lighter and dried rather dark.  I debated repainting it, but I'll leave it as is for a while.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cabinets, altars and trucks.

I've broken one of my own cardinal rules and let my hobby table become a bit piled-upon by projects which are all on-going.

I normally try to discipline myself and build...prime...paint...complete a small project before moving onto something else.  My blitz of hobbying over the last week or two has left my table scattered with some bits and pieces.  Time to finish them up.

A remaining cabinet, a Reaper altar (with some books/scrolls added to it)

These are four little collected trucks which are about 1/300 scale.  They came with a service crane (pictured below) and were sold alongside some Japanese Dougram gashapon figures I was using to make some Battlemechs.  I pulled a bunch of bits out of my box and assembled four different utility trucks for use as terrain and mission objectives.  One is a coolant/fuel truck, one is a scrap/recovery truck, one is a communications/radar truck and the last is the maintenance truck (the crane below is how the trucks are delivered via ebay).

You'll notice heavy dip on the trucks.  I did a quick and dirty paintjob on them and as my Army Painter starts to thicken (sadly happens every can) I use it on more and more terrain bits and stuff I don't care about.  The heavier dip actually gives them a dirty worn in look, so I didn't remove all of the puddles with my normal method.

I also started to finish up a couple of suspended bridges I'll be using for the dungeon crawl, and painted up a handful of tokens for Blood on the Sands (gladiator game) which I was too lazy to snap pictures of.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Veteran dice.

The beginning, circa 1989-1990.
While pouring through my gaming accoutrement the other day I stumbled upon a small bag of my original Chessex dice.

When I was maybe 9-10 years old, I was in the habit of going to a small hobby shop in Springfield Mall in Northern Virginia. The shop was small, probably already failing (as all hobby stores in malls tend to do...) and only had a few stands of Ral Partha figures, some ESCI/Ertl miniatures and the occasional other stuff I wasn't paying much attention to.

Having cut my teeth on games like Hero Quest, Battlemasters etc., I had grabbed some role-playing-game books from the local used book store and had only figured out that dice other than D6's existed.

I used my allowance (maybe w/ help of my dad, a fellow hobbyist) to pick up a twin set of Chessex dice, seen above.  This was before the "tens" dice became popular and before you could get additional D6's or D10's with your set.  It was a root beer and brown pair of sets.  D4-D20 w/ no repeats.

The root beer set remains intact and the brown set is missing two dice, one of which was taken by my sister for use with a board game she made for the science fair.  A stupid thing which I still hold grudge for today.

It struck me as I glanced through the dice that they'd been serving me well for nearly 25 years.  I've owned thousands of dice in that period, sold dozens of sets on, etc.  The dice in the picture above have been used for most role-playing games I've played and have always been my go-to dice when large numbers of dice were not necessary.

The dice are so worn you can see the edges chipped and cracked on the root beer D6 (one must wonder how many foes have been slain, or damage dealt by this one dice over its 25 year use...).  Sadly some of the brown ones are starting to show cracks in the center and I occasionally fear they will shatter upon impact!

I'm going to set out to replace the missing dice and possibly replicate the set for further use.  Only in my mid-30's, nostalgia creeps in when I stumble upon something like this.  They're silly little bits of plastic, but they've brought me a lot of joy and stubborn heartache!  It's perhaps my adoration for these dice which make me feel traitorous when I occasionally throw out extra dice, or sell them off.

I hope they continue to serve me well, as long as they can.  Thanks Chessex for 25 good years so far. I only wish you still printed this set...(I've asked, they don't!)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Tomb of the Hideous Wraith

I knocked out a handful of figures the past day or two.

Some GW Skaven figures used for Ratmen.  I added wicker shields and de-horned/de-spiked them a good bit.  I don't much like the colour scheme, but I'll stick with it now that I've begun.  I have another eight I'll do up for a total of twelve (my goal number for most henchmen types).

Another six spiders to make a total of twelve.  Only difference on these was the red diamond in place of the prior beige one.

The disaster.  This was a random skeleton lord in Reaper Bones material that I bought for no reason.  It was a mistake.  Very soft detail, super bendy - not the best Bones figure I've purchased.  It didn't take paint too well and ended up a mess.  I almost tossed this guy in the trash.  As he's finished I'll keep him on for dungeon duty.

And now...something completely different.  These are the two remaining Gladiator figures I've had sitting on my desk primed for...over a year.  One is a judge/referee/doltore figure.  The fella in dark blue is Charon (sp?).  He was an attendant who used a hammer to verify that a slain gladiator was indeed slain and not simply trying to sneak out of the games with a gruesome looking wound.  They will serve zero purpose on the table, other than the referee perhaps being a mobile obstacle?  I just had to get them off the desk! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Dwarf Tales, a wooohooo!

So, about...ten years ago I put together some short stories for a video game that was running a little competition (I think they were looking for short bits of fiction to include in a manual or something of the sort).  I stumbled across these today and figured I'd post them up for some light reading.

Short Story One

      Thorngrim knelt on the sandy bank of the small creek.  He groaned as he leaned over, and dipped his stubby fingers into the cool running water.  He let the water run through his fingers before hoisting a small handful to the back of his neck.
      The mirewood trees around him were creaking as they swayed in the light breeze.  He lifted a mouthful of water, and swished it around, then spat it back.
      He straightened his back, and heard it pop.  He gazed around him, into the trees, sucking on his two front teeth.  He felt one pop loose.  He poked at it with his tongue, then gently bit down onto his thumb.  He felt the boar-bone piece slip back into his gums.
      Thorngrim froze.
      Suddenly, Thorngrim’s eyes squinted, darting to the trees around him.  The sound of the trees, and animals faded.
      “In the trees, across the clearing.”
      He glanced across the nearby expanse of tall grass, and into the swaying beams of mirewood beyond.
      “Aye, eyes or nose?” Thorngrim asked, as he pulled another mouthful of water from the creek, letting it drip through his fingers.
      The gruff voice came back, “Bit of both.”
      One of Thorngrim’s hands slipped slowly to the small of his back, unhooking a leather-clad tool.  He flexed his hand gently, hearing his knuckles crack in protest and he gripped the shaft of his first axe.
      “How close…” he muttered as he glanced back and forth along the tree line.
       Fagui was sitting, obscured by tall ferns, only a number of paces behind Thorngrim.  His squat, rust-coloured helm sat next to him, long braided locks of graying hair trailed down the sides of his face.  His cheek rested on the wood and brass of his wheel-lock.
      “Two points south” he whispered, closing one eye, and peering down the barrel.
       Thorngrim could now see the shadow.  He had made the mistake of searching too low along the grey trunks of the mirewoods.
      By the Gods.
      The legs of the thing were as thick as the tree trunks it strode slowly between.  Its trunk, tall and wide. The arms were quite spindly by comparions, thought Thorngrim as he popped his tooth back out, and spit it into the water.
      “You’re going to miss that.” came another whisper, nearby.
      “I’ll have your lady whittle me a new one,” he grinned.
      Thorngrim glanced quickly to his right, and spotted Bulfist squatted in a small depression on the opposite edge of the creek.
      Bulfist was the youngest of the group, and hefty.  He was quite round now that Thorngrim took a good look at him. 
Quite fitting for the son of such a successful merchant.
      Thorngrim’s wandering thoughts were interrupted quickly.
      “He sees you.”
       If the giant was excited by the appearance of such easy prey, his demeanor did not portray it.  He strode with long, ungainly strides into the open of the clearing.
      Standing fully eight-men tall, the giant put forth a fearsome visage.  Thorngrim’s eyes quickened to the countless scars which adorned the beast’s body.  He did not miss the trophies which adorned the legs and arms of the creature.  Trophies from men foolish enough to attempt what he and his partners were attempting to do just now.

Short Story Two

Thorngrim squinted in the darkness.  His heavy brow furrowed as he peered down into the deep black of the hallway behind him.  His nostrils flared slightly as he sniffed the air.
                Thorngrim carefully lifted his stubby hand and placed it on the chest of Filfut, “Quiet now boy.”
                Beside him, Thorngrim could hear Bulfist and Fagui sniffing the stale cavern air.  Filfut shifted his weight nervously until Thorngrim took him by a shoulder and held him fast.
                This boy is far too anxious and young for one carrying such an important message.  No matter. His legs are long, and his lungs are young.
                Thorngrim slowly let go of Filfut’s shoulder.
                “What are you thinking, Bul?” whispered Thorngrim as he peered into the darkness beside him.
                “Something foul, but maybe not yet so close.”
                Thorngrim grunted in agreement, and pushed Filfut down the hall.  Fagui and Bulfist fell in behind him as they continued down the cold dank passage.  Filfut stumbled along ahead of him, anything but sure-footed.
                Under his thick leather boots, Thorngrim could feel the rock becoming moss-covered.  This passageway was old.  Very old.
                “Two more days of this, and we’ll see the light of the Gate.” whispered Fagui as he patted Bulfist with his heavy, gloved hand.
                Bulfist, the grumpiest of the party, ignored the cheer of his old-aged friend, and stumbled on in the darkness, following in Thorngrim’s footsteps.
                Thorngrim only let go of Filfut for a second.
                 Filfut felt his weight thrown back as his foot slipped on the damp moss which lined the age-old stone passage.  He felt his hand lash out, grasping for the wall, catching only the leg of Thorngrim’s trousers.  He yelped, and felt a heavy, strong hand grab him by his pack.  He looked up, seeing the vague shadow of Thorngrim’s heavy-set head.
                “Boy, you’re a bit more trouble than-“
                Filfut could feel his pack shift, and then heard a shattering crash as his jug of ale shattered on the hard stone beneath his feet.
                Thorngrim dropped him like a trapped hare, and he fell to the ground.
                Thorngrim dropped to a knee, and slapped his heavy hand across Filfut’s mouth.
                “QUIET!” he whispered harshly.
                 Thorngrim looked down at Filfut in the darkness.  Even in the deep black of the passage he could see the young dwarf’s expression.  Fear.
                Fagui was moving now.  Slowly.  He lifted a powder horn to his lips, and very slowly bit the cap, and let it drop on its cordon.  His old, stumpy thumb very slowly lifted the strike-plate on his handgun.  As he started to quietly tap the powder horn onto the strike-plate, they heard it.
                A shrill cry, deep in the dark.  There was an eerie whistling in the air, and Thorngrim felt something rustle his beard.  The air hissed again, and a loud clattering erupted from nearby, as Thorngrim felt something pierce his cheek.
                He couldn’t help but slap at his face, and he stumbled for a minute, before grabbing a small stone chip and tugging it from his bearded cheek.  He licked the stone chip, and spat.
                “I know…Goblins.”
                Bulfist was already tugging his hammer from its leather-bound sheath on his hip, “There, they’re coming.”
                Filfut’s jaw chattered as the other three calmly prepared.  Thorngrim grabbed a fistful of Filfut’s tunic and tugged him to his feet.
                “Boy, listen…you have to run.  There’s no more of us.  We’ll earn you time for haste.”
                “But…but Grim, I…”
                “Boy. Go.”
                Filfut messed with his tunic, and gathered himself.  He clenched the message parcel in his small traveling pouch, and gritted his teeth.  Then, he ran.
                 Fagui was huffing madly when they came to the first bridgeway.  He stumped over, resting on his knees as he tried to regain his breath.  Bulfist was in no better shape.  He let his hammer hang at his side as he heaved inside his heavy armour.
                “Yes, as good a place as any.”
                Thorngrim dropped his axe between his legs, and spat into his gloves.  He rubbed his saliva into the gloves.  He glanced behind him, and could not see Filfut.  Good. The boy can run.
                “Ay, don’t fall off,” laughed Bulfist as he punched Thorngrim in the shoulder.
                They stood on a narrow bridgeway over a deep crevasse.  Beneath them, darkness.  Behind them, the bridgeway spanned a hundred paces before disappearing into another rock passageway.
                “How long do you think th-“
                A shoddily crafted goblin arrow whistled out of the dark, and glanced off Thorngrim’s massive shoulder plate, whistling into the dark.  He tugged his helm and hoisted his heavy axe.
                “Not that long.”
                Now they could hear screaming, and the patter of a dozen feet.  More than a dozen.  The shrill, angry cry of the goblins was echoing in the massive cavern.  In the shallow light which emptied into the bridgeway, Thorngrim saw Fagui grin, as he tugged the hammers back on his handguns.  That I had lead such a life…
                Fagui was several ages older than Thorngrim.  He had been a warrior in days long past, and even now, he would go on to die a true death.  Thorngrim would have to settle for an early death.  But, if Filfut got through with the message…he would not die in vain.
                 The first goblin never even made it onto the bridgeway.  A dozen paces from the bridge, a ball of lead punched through his jaw, shattering his spine.  The goblin to his left suffered a similar fate.
                “Lo, do we go unto the land of our fathers…” the three chanted.
                The goblins charged down the passageway, crude weapons clattering along the walls as they hurled themselves into the bridgeway opening.
                Bulfist was the first to move, his hammer collecting two hapless goblins, sending them over the bridgeway into the abyss below.  There was a sickening crunch as Fagui kicked the nearest goblin in the groin,  and clubbed him with his handgun.
                Thorngrim barely noticed the goblin arrow pierce his leg as he brought his axe down, cleaving the arm and shoulder of the nearest goblin, clean off.  He saw Fagui tug another handgun from his belt, and send the top of a goblin’s skull clattering into the dark.
                “Bul!” Thorngrim shouted, watching two goblins leap for him.
                Bulfist may have been the heaviest of the three, but for a dwarf, he was more then agile.  With a quick step back, the nearest goblin landed, face down on the mossy stone beneath him.  He grabbed his hammer tight, and thrust it into the chest of the second goblin, forcing him back.  A quick stomp from his heavily studded boots ended the life of the goblin at his feet.
                The goblin lunged, his sharpened bronze sword jutting into the side of Bulfist.  He gritted, and grabbed the green skinned beast by his ear, ripping it clean off.  The creature screamed, and Bulfist swung fast, clubbing the creature off the bridgeway.
                Thorngrim saw Fagui die.
                Fagui had taken a spear to the thigh, and had twisted, the goblin dangling on the spear end, over the abyss.  Fagui howled madly like a dwarf possessed, and raised his fist to break the shaft, sending the greenskin to his death.  Before he could strike, another goblin spear punctured his back, and he was flung forward, over the edge of the bridge.
                Thorngrim saw Fagui fall into the abyss, two greenskins clutching madly at their spears, embedded in the old dwarf.
                “Grim…run!  Protect the boy!” howled Bulfist as he elbowed the teeth out of a nearby goblin.  Thorngrim could see crimson leaking from Bulfist’s armour.
                He glanced over his shoulder one last time, into the long dark of the passageway.
                For the sake of us all, boy.
                Thorngrim stepped into a strike, which sent body parts from several goblins spewing into the melee.  He could hear Bulfist being stabbed.  He used his axe to sweep another goblin over the edge as he felt a deep stinging pain in his shoulder, and felt the shaft of a spear being worked into his wound.  He swung down with his gauntleted fist, and snapped the shaft, tugging the speartip out.  The goblin shrieked and then went silent as Thorngrim thrust the speartip into his throat.
                The next time Thorngrim saw Bulfist, he was dead.
                The cavern was spinning.  A spinning maze of darkness, and howls and shrieks.
                Thorngrim felt heavy.  He dropped to his knees, his fingers going weak on his axe.  He felt a stiff tugging at his back.  He was being stabbed.  He couldn’t feel it.  He felt his chest plate hit the dirty moss beneath him.  Now, he could taste blood.
                Thorngrim took one more look down the bridgeway as he felt a crunching pop as his spine broke.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Henchmen reporting, sah!

I decided to beef up some of my henchmen groups.  I've added a couple of Bugbears in the last post, this post I added some more ghouls/zombies and a couple of extra henchmen.  Next up is likely skeletons.

Additional ghouls/zombies!

Now, with 50% more henchmen in every bag!

 Only had six bone piles, so I added a few more and a small bad-magic-juju spellbook pedestal.

 One of the cell doors and a prior occupant (Zagat's Top 10 Dungeons "Would stay again, forever!".)

 A tremendous weapon cabinet.  And I mean...tremendous, it's wildly out of scale but I'll use it.

I slapped these small cell doors together out of plasticard.  Just wanted some quick fixes for dungeons.  I mean, who doesn't have cells...in a dungeon!?

Not sure what's next.  I did slap together some battlemechs, but I'm on a dungeon roll at the moment and have a game to run on Saturday.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cobwebs in the Caverns!

After playing a mediocre game of Frostgrave (undecided on how I feel about that game), I got the urge to sit down and crack on with some painting for the dungeon crawl project.  This was a nice change from the utter blitzkrieg of Battletech miniatures lately (disclaimer: I received eight city-tech plastic mechs in the mail today, so look for that soon!)

Here ya go!

I did up two of my last Tre Manor sculpted Bugbears (really dislike some of the other bugbear figures I had done -- wanted some options).  The Bugbear unit is up to eight figures now.

The dogs are from Reaper I believe, and I just needed some suitable hounds, since they pop up in a ton of dungeon crawl games, as opponents and allies.

The last three figures were a complete...random project.  I was watching a certain film about a suitably sized amount of mischief in the rather diminutive orient and suddenly wanted to kitbash something for the dungeon crawl.  They'll work as any kind of undead beastie (necromancer, wights, etc.).

More stuff in the wings and in process.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Updates (11/1)

  • Added 3025 Javelin, Wasp, Stinger, Locust, Urbanmech, Ostscout, Firestarter, Valkyrie blank cards.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Edits and Updates (10/31)

  • Added 3025 Charger w/ modified special ability.

  • Added 3025 Marauder, Crusader, Ostsol, and Ostroc.

  • Revised Hemes II (missing "fast" icon)
  • Revised Assassin special rule.
  • Revised Cicada special rule.
  • Replaced all cards for the above w/ new ones.
  • Added 3025 Wolverine, Vulcan, Scorpion, and Phoenix Hawk.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

3025 Assault Mechs

Here are the Assault Mechs (Note: The first test mech from 3050 is included here, notated by the red "3050" tag on the card)

And painted mechs