October 22, 2017

The Old World Army Challenge


I've joined a painting challenge to complete a 1000 point Oldhammer army in six months, at a rate of 200 points per month (with one mulligan month in case sh!t happens). That seems a leisurely pace to me, but that's kind of the point. It's really easy to build up an army over time and we always have the option to paint more than 200 points. I haven't been painting much at all recently and I thought the challenge might be a way to gather a bit of inspiration.

With around 30 talented members of the Oldhammer community participating, we seem to have every 3rd and 4th edition Warhammer army covered and I'm looking forward to watching these armies grow. I'm painting a 3rd edition Slann army (really the only edition I've ever wanted a Slann army). There are very few examples of painted armies of these guys around these days. The models were hard to find even when they were new. The range was never really expanded either, with many troop types composed of a single model.


I started collecting Slann a year ago with a very lucky (and very expensive) find on eBay - the core of several units still in their original blisters! I've expanded the force through purchase of individual models here and there since then and continue to do so when these rare models appear. I only managed to paint ONE model since I started the collection so hopefully I can keep up with the challenge and end up with a new painted army in the process!


Anyway, you can follow our progress on a blog dedicated to the challenge. The painting kicks off November 1st and I'm looking forward to getting started!

August 24, 2017

Donnybrook... Why You Should Have These Rules!

Wargames Illustrated has a fairly new series that runs in the mag these days, called 'Why You Should Have These Rules'. Apparently it's a shout out for people to submit articles on rule sets they love. Donnybrook, written by myself and Barry Hilton, is surprisingly featured in the September issue of Wargames Illustrated!

The article is written by Rick Hudson and is a glowing review of Donnybrook. This is a gentleman neither of us know or know how to contact to thank properly, so I'll say thanks here. Maybe Rick follows me or follows the LoA blog where we've also said thanks! Producing a book is a huge undertaking, especially with a team of two, and it is always gratifying to see other people enjoying our efforts!

Donnybrook seems have quietly gained a following. Folk's have been using them for conventions. There's a new Facebook group (Donnybrook, the Skirmish Game) set up by fans. We know we've been remiss in supporting the game and hope to fix that it in the future, but many people have taken what's been offered and run with it, which is absolutely in the spirit it's intended!


For those who don't know what I'm on about, Donnybrook is a fast and fun skirmish game set in the period of the League of Augsburg (1660-1720, but read the article - it works almost unchanged for any pre-vehicle period) which is easy to pick up and full of period flavour. The book is 110 pages of rich colour with 186 beautiful photographs, maps, original artwork, seven scenarios, example game in comic strip format, period primer for numerous conflicts, faction guides/force builder, points system and comes with a satin finish full colour quick reference sheet. In is soft cover and perfect bound. The book also contains a force roster sheet template.


The rules are based on a card driven turn system. At a minimum, a force for a small game consists of one Character and four Units. The Character represents YOU on the table top. The Unit sizes range from four foot or three mounted models to twelve foot or nine mounted models, depending on their quality. Standard size games use six Units and large games use eight. There are eight factions to choose from - Army, Civilian Mob, Covenanters, Cultists, Highlanders, Outlaws, Rapparees, and Tribal. There are optional rules for including additional Characters (one per Unit) and these models come with various abilities to influence the performance of your army - most are unique to your chosen faction.


Donnybrook is available in the US from Warfare Miniatures USA or in the rest of the world from the League of Augsburg shop. You can still get printed copies or we have PDF's available which you could have in your possession tonight!

August 16, 2017

Wandering Around Ireland, Part IV

You thought I'd forgotten about this didn't you? I've just been super busy and these kinds of posts are much more of a time investment than the 'look what I just painted' type (though I've had precious few of those too). The first part of this day saw us around Newtown Butler and Athlone, but the rest was spent around Aughrim!


Again let me mention how strange this battlefield was to me as an American. In the US, I think the entire field would have been seized and turn into a park with admission fees, guided tours, and designated walkways. There was a Battle of Aughrim shop in the center of the small town, but it was closed so we left from there and went to the remains of Aughrim Castle that guarded the causeway.



And when I say we went to the castle, I mean we parked the car, climbed over a pair of bloody fences, traipsed through a sheep pen (see below) and hiked right up to it while discussing trespassing laws in Ireland. Barry assured us he's done this before. I think I could outrun him so I followed along...


Then began an epic car ride along back roads searching for the small plaques that marked specific points in the battle...

Here is Attibrassil Bridge which crosses the Tristaun Stream. Jacobite dragoons held off early attacks by the Dutch, Danish, and Huguenot Horse at this point. These pics involved Barry and I climbing over another wall and scaling a fairly steep bank, but I wanted to get some good shots so I could build a similar bridge for the tabletop. There was a bull in this field (last pic) and though he was a good ways off, we could see the hoof prints in the mud around us. Bob sagely stayed on the road and promised to help us up if the bull came our way - after taking some video with his phone no doubt!




We toured more sections of the forward Jacobite lines. What these photos fail to capture are the slopes and grades of the terrain. There is dead ground where entire battalions would have been hidden at times. The first is good shot of the marshy ground that dominated the center of the Jacobite forward position.









Then we looped around to the rear of the Jacobite lines, climbing onto Aughrim Hill (and climbing across yet more fences). There was an ancient Bronze Age fort on Aughrim Hill that St. Ruhe used as a command base. The places is completely overgrown and none of the pics I took around it show anything more than a mass of greenery. Standing inside the bowl of the structure it was more obvious, but from the outside we walked past it the first time. Looking down from the summit of Aughrim Hill, you would have had a good view of the armies as they maneuvered to the east.




Commander Hilton leading the troops in the advance...



Back in the car for a quick trip around to the Williamite position. The Tristaun Stream actually runs through the whole battlefield (see Attibrassil Bridge above). Something that struck me is how tiny this stream was, but it made a formidable obstacle in the battle. I'm thinking I've been modeling my rivers too wide on my game boards! The Tristaun Bridge shows me I'm definitely making my bridges too big...





A little further along behind Urraghry Hill which would have been the command position for the Williamite army (most likely the power poles would not have been there). Hey, look... Sheep!




We considered climbing another fence and climbing to the crest of the hill, but the day was waning and so were we. We still had a fair ride to reach Mullingar where our next hotel was reserved. It turned out to be very posh (thank you, Mrs Hilton). We spent several hours of dinner (closed the place down) and retired to bar, discussing the battlefields, wargames, and toy soldiers. What a great day.

More to come... next we head to the Boyne!

August 6, 2017

More Donnybrook Dark

Work has been stupid the last few weeks, but I FINALLY got the Scandavian Pack Master model finished for my wolves from my Donnybrook Dark project...


The model is from one of the dismounted dragoon command packs (WLOA89) and I added the cloak with green stuff. I wanted the model to appear more like a civilian or specialist who lives outside of the uniformed discipline of the rank and file soldiers. Using a model from a different theater (and a fur hat) was a great way to make him stand out from the 'turnback' coats of the others, even though I used the same color palette as my garrison troops.


I'm very happy with how this guy turned out and shows even simple conversions can add a lot of character to an army!

Several people have gotten in touch to ask about the wolves. They are old Ral Partha sculpts that I've had for years. They are probably still available somewhere...

More stuff as I find the time...

July 24, 2017

Sons of Ultramar

My alterego has been extremely busy the last month or so working 50-60 hours a week, but I've not been completely idle on the hobby front - I just haven't had time to sit at the keyboard and post. The newest edition of Warhammer 40k, which I think is the best in decades, has prompted the start of a new army...


The new Primaris Marines are fantastic models. These are Intercessors - the equivalent of Tactical Marines. These new 'true scale' marines have much better proportions and some really dynamic poses. So far most of the offerings have been single pose kits, but for the most part I've been happy to build them as they come. Games Workshop will be turning out flipping great piles of Primaris Marines in the future so there will be plenty of scope of customizing units then.

It's taken me weeks to decide which chapter to paint my shiny new models. Although the background story GW has come up with allows you to field Primaris Marines along side their existing brethren, I didn't want to mix them with my Red Scorpions. I don't really like the idea of my rank and file towering over my terminators so I'm going to build a new army composed of all Primaris Marines and possibly some mortal servants of the Emperor (I have a full set of the Execution Force Assassins I've been looking for an excuse to paint) that won't seem out of place being a head shorter than these mighty warriors.

As you can see, I settled on Ultramarines. I did this for several reasons. My first inclination was to paint them as Imperial Fists. I even did a test model. The yellow armor looks great, but it took forever to get a clean finish, even over a white undercoat. Somehow I also only have ONE squad's worth of Imperial Fist transfers... I must have a hundred sheets of Ultramarine transfers, plus all of the new kits come with them.

Secondly, it is still unclear exactly how the new Primaris Marines are incorporated into the chapter company system. Some of the squad decals now sport numbers higher than ten - the new Space Marine Codex is due out in a week so we should have more answers then, but I was going through this process over a month ago. The poster boys for GW's collection has been the second company of the Ultramarines, so I knew I couldn't go wrong with choosing them. I intend to add squad markings to my units when I have more concrete info.

I'm happy with my choice. These have been relatively quick to paint and if I weren't away from home so much right now I could have had the entire box set finished by now. I haven't decided if I want to add some battle damage or weathering yet - I'm kind of enjoying the factory fresh look of these guys so far.

I'll have lots more Ultramarines (so far I have one box of everything they've released and more on preorder) in the future and post some thoughts on the new 8th edition of 40k as well. We've played more 40k since the launch of eighth edition than I think I played in the entire run of the last edition. I've been using Orks (LOVE these guys in eighth), but I'm looking forward to getting enough Ultramarines painted to get them on the table.

July 11, 2017

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Since Barry has started posting his new Donnybrook stuff I figured it was time I put in a bit of work on mine since I have yet to assemble a Donnybrook collection for our period (having tricked Mr. Hilton into painting several hundred models for the project, what was the hurry?). Actually, I've been developing a force for a few months now, but I've been waiting until I had a decent sized force to roll out the images.


Wait - is that a TROLL?

Well, yeah. This is for Donnybrook Dark as we've been calling it. Take the Cultist list from Donnybrook and throw out all of the stuff about the supernatural elements playing on the superstitions of the time - monsters are real...

The Mourne Vale lies between the kingdoms of Scandavia and Rusland. This fell region is a  land of brooding forests, lonely hills, and haunted ruins, but amid it's desolation lies treasures of a forgotten empire.



The king of Scandavia is wedded to a Fey Queen (some claim ensorceled). The men of Scandavia do not practice magic, but have an alliance with the folk of the Queen and may call on creatures of the forest and darker places when called to war.



The shadowed realm of Rusland is ruled by a dread necromancer. Warlocks and sorcerers march in the armies along side mortal soldiers and they may call on dark powers, marshaling spirits, undead, and other wicked creatures to their banners.

...or something like that. I REALLY wanted to paint some of the GNW stuff, but I didn't want to commit to battalions and regiments as I have my hands full with my Ireland project on that front. Donnybrook seemed like the perfect answer.


I started with the Swedes... err... Scandavians! The captain is an easy conversion, replacing his right arm with a pistol arm from a cavalry trooper. Currently my force consists of the following:

Captain (Hero d12)

Officer (Veteran d10)

Sergeant (Veteran d10)

Drummer (Drilled d8)

8 Line Infantry (Veteran d10, 2 force points)

8 Garrison Infantry (Drilled d8)

6 Winter Wolves (Drilled d8)

1 Troll (Brute d12)


I still need to make cool names for my characters. I'm actually missing my Pack Master (Drilled d8) which is the only type of character you can attach to a unit of beasts (wolves, bears, etc.), but he is sitting on the painting table and I'll get to him later this week. I also want to add a second unit of Garrison Infantry (with a Standard Bearer) and a mounted element of mercenary Teutonic (German) Horse.

I have sketchy rules for the monsters. Basically the wolves are treated as Horse for the time being. They don't cause fear like the Hellhounds because, well, this is Donnybrook Dark - wolves are just not scary.

The Troll is a different story. This is Örjan. You may have noticed rather than Drilled d8 or Veteran d10 he is labeled as a 'Brute d12'. This isn't meant to refer to his etiquette or table manners. Slavic trolls come in all shapes and sizes, but some could actually be quite erudite. The Brute tag simply means that the d12 is used only for physical actions - attacks, breaking down doors, etc. If Örjan wanted to attempt to climb a tree (who knows why) or any other special action that doesn't require strength, the troll uses a d6 to resolve other actions. A troll DOES cause fear (enemy models must throw a 6+ on their Ability die to shoot at, charge, or fight) and is also hard to kill (gets to roll on the Wound table like a character with a d12).  Also, Brutes don't generate special character slots. I haven't decided if one force point buys one or two trolls as it needs more playtesting to determine what's fair - I have a second troll named Hugo on the table as well.

The terrain is a work in progress, but far enough along to serve for a couple of pics. The Mourne Vale isn't always wreathed in snow, but I decided to really make this entire project something different. I've had a set of the Citadel Realm of Battle boards ever since they were first released and decided it was finally time to paint them (more on that later, but essentially a set of six 2x2' terrain tiles that are wildly expensive and covered in skulls).

I'll certainly have more in the future. After I paint my Pack Master, I'm going to turn my attention to the sons of Rusland - stern infantry, dashing Cossacks, witches, and zombies...

May 18, 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon

Shadow War: Armageddon is the revival of the Necromunda rules by Games Workshop and it has my group gearing up to play a campaign. The rules are nearly identical to the game from the 90's with the main difference being that rather than desperate gangs of underhive scum, your force can be drawn from elements of any 40k army (though I think you could happily build any of the old gangs with the Astra Militarium list and use the old skill trees for advancement).


This is Fingob's Ladz, my Ork Kill Team. Fingob is the brute with the Power Klaw (overkill for a starting gang, but it's what my model has - if I run Orks for the campaign, I'll paint up a new Fingob with a Kombi-flamer). His right hand ork, Fester, is a kunning Spanner Boy and carries a Big Shoota. The rest of the mob consists of four Boyz (Hef, Cloutgob, Mangeye, and Naffbitz) and three Yoofs (Pulg, Wort, and Snik). I have zero idea of how effective this gang will be, but I just love playing Orks!

I can make five or six Kill Teams just by pulling minis form my cabinets, but I plan on custom designing another Ork mob (Bloodaxe Kommandos) and a Inquisition Pacification Force.

I'm still working on some proper underhive terrain, but my urban sprawl should do nicely for now...





We've going to get in some games tonight. I'll have some notes on what happened in a few days, but these are just for fun and to get to grips with the rules so there won't be any real record keeping yet.

May 3, 2017

Wandering Around Ireland, Part III

The next day of our trip took us to lots of different sites!


Before leaving Enniskillen, we stopped at Enniskillen Castle and just had a walk around the outside. On March 11th 1689, Gustavus Hamilton formally declared Enniskillen for William of Orange. A day later, James II landed at Kinsale seeking to win, with victory in Ireland, the springboard for an assault on England. Throughout that month, the Enniskilleners harassed the Jacobites, sending out lightning raids from this island stronghold.




After our trip to Ireland, I have plans to add a couple of small castles to my terrain collection for the period. This was only the first castle of the day! Driving south we passed a sign for Balfour Castle in Lisnaskea. Being in no particular hurry, we turned around and followed the sign...


The stands on the grounds of a church, behind a graveyard. It was built around 1618 under grant from King James I. I have found little information about the place in the period covered by Beneath the Lily Banners, though some notes on the place say the castle was 'damaged in 1689'. There was a small action at Lisnaskea before the battle at Newtownbutler so the damage in question may have occurred around that time.

A bit farther south is a castle we know was involved in at least two actions during the fighting around Enniskillen - Castle Crom. There is a massive Victorian castle of the same name on the site, but the one we were interested in is a small ruin that lies to the south. Barry told Bob and I that Lord Galmoy tried to take the castle by bluff with a fake cannon made of tin. The Enniskilleners wouldn't surrender without a fight and apparently the Jacobites blew up their toy gun by trying to actually fire it!



Several months later, a second attempt to take the castle was made by Lord Montcashel with several light guns possibly as many as 1000 men. The defenders made use of temporary outer earthworks to bolster the castle's strength and again the Enniskilleners managed see the Jacobites off.


One fascinating detail we found on a nearby plaque was that some of the current walls are 'fake', built as ruins to enhance the view of the place from the Victorian Castle.



Again I was truck by the fact that we were able to simply walk up to this monument. I took three times as many photos as I've posted, with an eye toward capturing detail for building a model for the game table.



Winding our way south, we stopped on the side of the road at one of three sites believed to be the location of the Battle of Newtownbutler (Barry wrote a series of articles on this conflict). Basically the Jacobites formed up on a hill behind a bog and taunted the Enniskilleners to 'come over and fight'. Turns out the bog wasn't much of an impediment - either the ground was not as poor as believed or they knew a path through. Bottom line - the Jacobites were routed. In any case, this spot fits the description of the field very well. This photo possibly shows the hill where the Jacobites deployed...


Here is the bog that would lie between the armies...


... and this open ground would be where the Eniskilleners started.


On to Athlone! Ok, somehow I didn't manage to get any pictures of the castle at Athlone. The modern day city is built pretty close to it all the way around. We probably should have popped across the bridge and got pics from the other side, but I didn't think about it at the time, The castle museum was interesting but again I didn't take many photos... well, we did get one...


It's easy to see why grenadiers were so feared!

Next time we are off to Aughrim...