Sunday, 21 June 2020


For Fathers' Day, I was given the best gift possible.  Some time to paint!

The result was this Grenadier Troll (another Nick Lund sculpt).  I decided to go with a green skin, to keep it in step with those Nick Lund Orcs, but with a slightly paler tone overall (GW Gretchin Green base, GW Camon shade, highlighted with a mix of Gretchin Green, VJ Green Gray and Ksilev Flesh).

Lovely model to work on.  Just enough detail for interest without being fiddly (cough, GW, cough).  Tons of character. And a proper amount of metal.

The face looks pretty well proportioned from the front.  Side on... Less so!

Just waiting for a Billy Goat to come along.

I should probably try to make this mail look a bit rusty.  Basing will have to wait until I can get some suitably sized mdf bases.

I was particularly pleased with how the hammer turned out, it actually looks a bit like a stone!  A bit more convincing that just grey with white drybrushing.

Of course I'm now left with a big problem.  Do I repaint his twin with the same green colour, or leave hime in his existing fleshtones?  

Tuesday, 16 June 2020


I was having a tidy up recently of my photo folders on the laptop, and found some images of the various ogres I've painted over the years.  I have a real soft spot for the 'C Series' ones that Citadel produced around the mid to late 80's, mostly designed by Jes Goodwin I believe.  Over the years I've managed to pick up pretty much all of them, with the exceptions of the Bloodbowl ogre and the Mutant Ogre (which I gather is pretty rare as it was tough on moulds so not many were made).  I've then added to the collection with a few from the Trish and Ally Morrison ones and some later GW sculpts (but still pre Ogre Kingdoms).  In theory I could have used them as mercenaries in my Warhammer Armies, but to be honest that was just a weak excuse!

Let's have some group shots.

The two on the left (above) pretty much started it.  They were initially part painted by my brother , Craig (who did the awesome freehand work on the banner and Hrothyogg's belly plate), but later finished and touched up by me.  The Ogre Thug on the right is all my own work.

Here's that amazing banner up close.  Classic John Blanche Evil Sun.  It's a pity Craig didn't continue with miniature painting, he had a real talent for this sort of thing.

Left to right - Skrag the Slaughterer, Axenarf (Hasslefree Miniatures, more on him later), Mordheim Ogre Pit Fighter.

Ogre Warrior, Chaos Ogre and Mordheim Ogre Mercenary.  The Chaos Ogre originally had two heads but I removed one and sculpted mail over the shoulder to cover where it would have attached.  The feet were also a bit twisted and he wouldn't stand flat, so the left foot is positioned as if he;s just flattened a sharpened stake (presumably to get at the soft squidgy archers hiding behind it).


Skrag the Slaughterer

Ogre Shaman (not happy with the blue robe, I may come back to that some time)

As I say, I have most of the rest of this series awaiting paint.  Going back over these images has me tempted to get them out and give them a coat or two.

Champion and trooper from the Golgfag's Mercenary Ogres Regiment of Renown.  I have Golgfag himself in storage somewhere, but he's actually the poorest sculpt of the set, and these guys are noticeably smaller than the rest.

Mordheim Ogre mercenary.  This one always looks to me like Hoggle from The Labrynth took steroids and developed a bad attitude.

Mordheim Ogre Pit Fighter

Marauder Miniatures Ogre. Love the renaissance style to these ones, and the fantastic detail like the powder charges, ram for the gun hanging on the belt, and the burning slow match in the hand.  You might recognise this chap as my profile picture.  He also featured in one of my first blog posts setting out how he was painted step-by-step (first one can be found here).

I think I have about three more of the Marauder ones awaiting the painting table.

Finally there's this chap, Axenarf, produce by Hasslefree Miniatures and sculpted by the awesome Kev White.  I love this guy.  He's basically Skrag, but re-imagined and even bigger.  The face style is a great fit with the Citadel chaps, but the sculpting is just so crisp and detailed.  

I'm not that keen on the work done on the skin tones, I may revisit that now I've learnt a few more techniques.

Check out the detail on that fist!

I have a resin version of Hasslefree's later version of Axenarf, but I think I'm too intimidated by the sculpting to start on him!

Painting models on this scale was really enjoyable, the size gives room and is easy on ageing eyes.  plus the larger bases are an opportunity for a little more fund with the basing - nothing too fancy, just the odd arrow shaft, rocks, cobble stones and, in the case of the Ogre Shaman, his last meal!

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Fantasy Warriors - First Game

Here we go then, first game of Fantasy Warriors.  I feel I must apologise, however, for the use of some unbased and, in at least one case, unpainted miniatures.  Mea Culpa, I wouldn’t do it if I weren’t playing solo.  I promise I’ll try to do better by next time.

It's also going to be a long one, as I made a lot of notes as I went along to check that I was following the rules correctly.

This would be a straightforward Encounter between Dwarves and Orcs.  No scenery to muck about with, just a mob of (mostly) greenskins trying to batter their way through a pass to get to the rich farmlands beyond.

Armies in Fantasy Warriors are organised around separate ‘Commands’, with their own leader, under an overall Warchief.  Interestingly, the stat lines for Warchiefs and Battle Commanders are exactly the same, and you pay more points for their leadership stat (between 1 and 5) than you do for their basic profile.


Warchief (leadership 4)

Wizard (15 magic points)


1st Command

Battle Leader (leadership 4)

14 Dwarf Warriors with hand weapon and shield, leader and musician.

5 Dwarf Cross bows

2nd Command

Battle Leader (leadership 4)

12 Dwarf Axes (2 handed axe), leader, musician, champion and standard

1 Giant Crossbow and two crew

So a pretty hierarchical structure for the Dwarves, which seemed appropriate.  All the dwarves are ‘Disciplined’ (which affects how they react to circumstances) and ‘Veteran’ (which affects how well they fight).

Quite a lot of the game revolves around variations of a ‘quality test’, so those two traits are quite important in defining how units react.  Disciplined units will have a wide range of results that result in them being generally OK, tribal or fanatic ones are more likely to reach extremes, with fanatics in particular likely to go into ‘bloodlust’ in response to events (such as taking casualties or being ‘threatened’ - more on which later).


Warchief (leadership 4)

Wizard (18 magic points)


1st Command (directly under Warchief)

5 Orc Bodyguard

2 Trolls

12 Orc Veteran Infantry with hand weapon and shield, leader and standard

14 Orc Infantry (average) with hand weapon and shield, leader, standard and musician

2nd Command

Battle Leader (leadership 4)

5 Orc Archers (average)

1 Orc Ballista and two crew (average)

The Orcs were structured differently, with the main force gathered directly under the Warchief, and a separate command of missile troops.

Most of the Orcs are ‘average’ quality and ‘Tribal’ type, except the one unit I upgraded and the bodyguard, who are veteran, and the Trolls, who are ‘unpredictable’ quality (you roll every time you have to test on quality) and ‘fanatic’ type.

Before the Battle

Fantasy Warrior has quite an extensive set of events that happen before the battle.  That may sound like it would get in the way of the actual gaming bit, but I kinda like it as it sets things up nicely and gives some great context and character, rather than just deploy and get bashing.

As Orcs perform better in ‘bad light’, the archery command scouted.  The Dwarves didn’t scout as they are just as good during the day or night, so it mattered less to them.  With a good dice roll, the Orcs outmanoeuvred the Dwarves so chose to start the battle at nightfall.

You can have a command ‘scout’.  If it goes well, you can have some control over the time of the battle.  This is important as certain races perform better or worse in darkness (something I’ve never seen in any other ruleset).  If it goes really well you outmanoeuvre your opponent and completely control the time and place.  However commands that scout start out the battle at a disadvantage, behind the main force and disorganised.

This game comes with a need for counters (YMMV), which can be downloaded here.  One of them keeps track of the time!  If either you or your opponent are affected by bad light, it makes scouting more important, and adds an interesting time pressure to your strategy.

Both sides decided to make Boasts.  The Dwarf Warchief boasted “I will stay upon this spot like a rock!”, while the Orc Warchief promised his troops that they “shall destroy the enemy by sunrise!”.

Warchiefs can make boasts before the battle.  If they still hold true when you have to make Command Tests later in the battle (usually caused when you lose a character or leader), you get a bonus - if they don’t…

The Orcs also decided to Read the Omens.  A risky move, as a bad roll could work against them, and they had no soothsayers to add bonuses to the roll (yes, you can include them in your list, but if you lose them the omens automatically turn bad).  The Orcs rolled a 4, the Omens were good!

With the pre-battle shenanigans complete, the two sites deployed, 24” apart.  The Dwarves formed a solid line, with both commands on ‘Hold’ orders.  Their plan was simple, hold the line against whatever reached them after the crossbows had thinned them out.

The Orc Warchief deployed his command on ‘Attack’ orders, with the trolls in the centre, flanked by the two Orc Warbands (the ‘Hands’ and ‘Moons’), and the Warchief and his bodyguard behind as a reserve.  The Orc archers and ballista, having scouted, had to deploy behind, on ‘Hold’ orders and ‘Disorganised’.  The Orc plan was also simple, throw everything possible at the centre of the dwarf line, Trolls first.  But they would also need to get new orders to the archers.

Sorry about the round table, it was the only one spare!


Each turn follows the same order:

1 Make Threats

2 Shoot

3 Move

4 Combat

5 Issue New Orders

6 Influence (basically rallying)

7 Command Test (if needed)

Magic can occur at any time, including the pre-battle stage, as there are spells to influence scouting and the time of the battle.

The time dial

No one was in range to shoot or issue any threats.  The Orc Warchief’s Battle advanced, with the trolls taking the lead.  He also sent new ‘Oppose’ orders (flexible orders allowing movement and shooting, but not combat) to his Battle Leader using a Courier (a trained messenger.  You can also use any rank and file soldier, but there is less chance of the new order getting through on time or even correctly).  The Battle Leader rolled high and the order was immediately accepted.

"You want us to do what now?"

The Dwarf wizard now opened up hostilities in earnest, striking the trolls with a magical Blast, rolling 4 dice for damage, and using up 12 of his magic points (it should have only been 6 - 2 points for the range and 1 for each die of attacks, but rolling double or triples increased the cost accordingly, if I’d rolled a triple, that would have been the end of the wizard as it would have exceeded his available points!) .  The damage rolls resulted in 3 ‘kills’.  Trolls get a save, but failed one, resulting in one less Troll.  Having taken more than 25% casualties they had to take a casualty test, which resulted in the remaining Troll going into ‘Bloodlust’ (oops!).

Dwarves 'Blackening the Skies'

The Dwarf crossbows shot at the moon clan, ‘Blackening the Skies’ (archers have six volleys available per battle, and can choose to shoot more of them off in one turn to maximise impact).  7 hits resulted in two Orc casualties.  The Giant Crossbow did the same against the Hand clan, again causing two casualties.

The Orc Ballista attempted the same in return but with no results (the Orc Archers remained out of range).


I got the turn order badly wrong here, the Dwarf Crossbows shouldn’t have been able to shoot as movement follows shooting, not the other way around)


The Dwarf Archery continued to take a toll, with both the crossbows and the giant crossbow causing one casualty each (normal shooting this time).  The Orc ballista managed to get a hit this time but it was turned by the Dwarves’ heavy armour.


The Crossbows blackened the sky again, this time causing 6 casualties and killing the unit’s leader!  Now down to just three, they took a Casualty Test and ended up ‘Shaken’ but still in the battle.  The giant crossbow took another casualty off the Hand clan and the Orc Ballista did... nothing.

Things got interesting now as the remaining Troll crashed into the Dwarf axes.  In its bloodlust fuelled frenzy it took down two dwarves, but they held their ground and chopped it down in return.  Having taken casualties the dwarves had to take a Casualty Test but were OK (although if they’d rolled one higher they would have gone into Bloodlust themselves, possibly risking the Dwarves solid line and exposing their flank).

"They've brought a Troll..."
As we all know, Orcs prefer to work for a greater evil...
Photo without the cat


The remains of the Moon Clan tried to Threaten the Dwarf Warriors to its front (Threatening gives you a chance to reduce your oppositions morale, or even make the run-away, before fighting them; I didn’t think the Moons Clan stood much of a chance, but wanted to see how it went).  Their threats and insults had, unsurprisingly, no effect of the stoic dwarves, but the bearded ones clashing of axes against shields (disciplined troops can’t initiate a threat, but can respond to one) was enough to persuade the Moons that they had urgent business elsewhere as they routed!

"Look how threatening we are!"

The crossbows (big and little) held their remaining volley of arrows for another opportunity.  The Orc archers were finally in range but were useless, and the ballista used it’s last volley to no effect.  The orc wizard was slightly more effective, causing three casualties on the dwarf axes with a Blast, using 12 magic points for an attack on five dice (just like the dwarf wizard, he rolled a double).  

The Evil Overlord encourages his troops

The Orc Warchief sent new orders to his battle leader, telling them to attack.  The order was accepted from the courier OK (but only just).


Time is running out for the Orc Warchief's Boast

The Hand Clan and Dwarf Axes hurled insults back and forth but to no effect on either side.

"Your Father was a hamster and your Mother smelled of Elderberries!"

The crossbows launched their final volley against the Orc archers, scoring 3 casualties and routing them!  The giant crossbow launched its final volley against the Hand Clan but with no success.  Both sides now had no archery left.

The Dwarf Battle leaders both joined their warriors in time to bolster them, before the Hands charged into the Dwarf axes. While the Dwarf WIzard, who had regained some magic points by resting attempted another Blast against the Orc Warchief’s bodyguard, causing two casualties (he rolled another double, leaving himself just one magic point).

Barbecued Orc Bodyguard

The combat between the Hand Clan and the Dwarf axes resulted in one casualty to the dwarves and one to the Hands, but with both side passing their casualty tests OK.


Last chance before sunrise

If the Orcs couldn’t destroy the enemy by the end of this turn their boast would fail.  They couldn’t get enough units into combat to achieve it by brute force, but if they could rout or destroy at least one Dwarf Battle Leader, there was always the small chance of a catastrophic series of failed Command Tests!

Taking a chance, the Warchief and his bodyguard threatened the Dwarf Warriors, but with no success.  The counter threat however saw an appalling dice throw from the Orcs, and the bodyguard and Warchief fled the field!

Seeing his leader running, the Battle Chief attempted to regain some honour by charging the crossbows with the courier, causing one casualty and leaving the crossbows Shaken.  The Hands now looked like the Orcs' remaining chance, but they only caused 2 casualties for the Dwarves 4 and ended up Shaken themselves.

Desperate Times...

The Hands and Dwarf axes remain locked in combat

Having lost their Warchief, the Orcs now faced a Command Test (Taken by every Command and Individual character in the army).  Their Boast still held (just), giving +1 to the roll, and the omens were still good (!), another +1.  But the routed Warchief gave them a minus three.  Both remaining commands rolled one…

It was all over, as the Orcs fled back from whence they came!

"Run away!"


I rather enjoyed that!  

Having a fairly extensive set of actions before anything hits the table might be considered  a bad idea normally, but it was all resolved quickly added a lot of character and context to the game and, most importantly directly impacted on it - making boasts or reading the omens isn’t just an isolated action, you have to structure your strategy around them.  I played this out solo, but I can imagine it being rather fun making your boasts and reading the omens in character!

Scouting also has a genuine role, especially if you need to avoid bad light.  I do recall that scouting success in WFB 3rd edition could also allow flank marches which might be fun to add.  The whole concept of bad light, and of there being a time pressure to the game as a result, is also something that I really can’t recall finding anywhere else.  I’ve occasionally come across rules for darkness, but they generally treat everyone the same and just seem to reduce ranges but this is something different and actively encourages scouting as well.  My only reservation is that the day and night are rather short on the dial, only 6 spaces, so with armies deploying 24” apart and your average infantry unit moving 6”, they appear to be spending anything up to 8 hours just getting across the battlefield! I think I may play it as only one change in light is allowed, so the time dial is just measuring how long you have left until that change happens.

Leaders being leaders is an interesting difference to WFB. They can bolster the fighting strength of a unit (but not massively), but being in a unit hamper their ability to command and receive new orders.

Again, the ability to threaten units before attacking really adds character, and as it turned out made a huge difference!  Like so much of the game though it’s a balance of risk and reward (and one that encourages proper units with standards and musicians, which is never a bad thing) - it panned out poorly for the Orcs this time, although I will admit I took some big risks, partly because it felt suitably ‘Orcy’ but also because I wanted to see what would happen.

I really like the archery rules.  Having limited volleys means making tough choices about how and when to employ your shooting (a situation that would be familiar to any War of the Roses general).  ‘Blackening the Skies’ is a great concept, do you measure out your volleys to support units throughout the game?  Or expend it all in one massive attempt to shatter a threatening unit?

Magic use was a bit limited in the game, with both wizards only using one spell, but that was partly because my ipad with the main rules on ran out of battery part way through so I couldn’t look more up!  The basic concept works though.  There’s only one level of wizard, but you pay points based on how many magic points you take, and they’re expensive! So unless you are going to invest stupid amounts of points in magic you’re going to be using it sparingly and trying to pick that crucial moment that will make a difference. I like that you can use spells at any point (even in the pre-battle scouting phase for example).

I’ve read some reviews that have described the game’s combat phases as dull, but I don’t see them as any more so that Warhammer, or Dragon Rampant or most other games, it’s just mechanics and they work fine, leaving room for the interesting stuff.

Overall it felt like a game where you were having to weigh up the pros and cons of each action carefully, not relying on special rules and uber elites. Is it worth the risk of reading the runes or threatening that enemy unit? Should your Battle Leader join that unit that's about to be charged, or is there a chance he may need to receive new orders from the Warchief soon? Is now the time to use up most of your magic points and how big is the risk of your wizard expiring if it goes wrong?

So, enjoyed it and definitely up for another go.  The Orcs were hampered by their archers being delayed by scouting, so they need a better solution, and I need a wizard.  Oh, better do those bases too!