Monday, 30 May 2016

More temple warriors

hi all

I promise that the next post on Wednesday will be part one of a Bushido AAR, but I still have models waiting for review for Bushido including some on order with Wayland Games which should round out both of my current factions nicely.  So if you're waiting for me to get back to the zombie wargaming you'll have to wait a bit longer i'm afraid. If you're waiting for or wondering why there is very little Warhammer wargaming despite the title of this blog, then i'm afraid you'll be waiting even longer as that has slipped right down the pecking order.....

so to the post then I'm going to review some of the recent additions to da Grotto, Aiko and her Guardian are some of my favourite models for Bushido - right up there with Mizuchi. I love the background for this little lady and her very protective simian. 

The Temple of Ro-Kan gain some real punching power, the mighty fists of a Gorilla. Fiercely protective of Aiko, the Gorilla is a fearsome opponent at the best of times, when he is imbued by Aiko’s blessing he becomes almost invincible

There is a cracking story that provides an excellent background for this pairing on the GCT website and I'm not sure I would be allowed to replicate it here so I have attached a link for you to the website here. In fact all of the stories give a good insight into the game and are well worth a read (here's a link

With the Guardian I googled silverbacks in order to try and replicate the colours and patterns of gorillas.  Although I have seen many gorillas as I'm lucky enough to live close to two wildlife parks with amazing facilities and conservation efforts for Lowland Gorillas I 'd forgotten that they were not just black and silver and that often they had brown patches mostly around their foreheads/crowns but some on their flanks.  For my beast I stuck with just the forehead and crown to break up the rest, as I wanted him to be a big Alpha he had a liberal covering of silver from shoulder to thighs.  

Aiko was dressed in initiate robes for the Temple and as part of my faction she had the purple inititate's stripe to her traditional orange.

As for playing these guys, it really is a case of protecting Aiko at all times so she can control the big beast and blessing him with her Ki feat either increasing his strength or armour and then healing any wounds post fight.  The beast will wade in and just smash up most opponents enhanced by her blessing and maybe a card or two.

Also high kicking their way into da Grotto are a pair of young monks. First up we have Riku...

A favourite of the temple elders and new initiates alike, Riku personifies what it means to be a Monk. His mastery over water allows him to achieve awe inspiring feats on the battlefield, creating walls of water out of the very air to hinder his opponents

Hotaru thanks the Kami’s for guiding her to the Temple of Ro-Kan and Master Ekusa. She has learned to contain her powers but still fears unleashing her full potential. Hotaru’s desire to control her innate abilities provides little comfort for opponents left ablaze by her fiery attacks. The Temple have found a welcome addition to their order in Hotaru.

Riku was a joy to paint, really enjoyed the figure and the same with Hotaru, I had a chance to practice my elemental paint palette.  i do struggle a little painting water effects as I tend to go a little bit too blue! but this water is being dynamically drawn from the air using a Ki feat so wasn't going to be anything other than pure water! i did try to add some greeny blue tones but they suffered in the poor photography.  I particularly enjoyed painting Hotaru's flames with blending of tones from Vallejo light sand up to orange brown, i wanted the source of ignition to be almost pure white with the ferocity of Hotaru's "flame on" attack.  Both monks get either white stripes or a white sash to indicate their status in the order.

hope you enjoy

97:60 (-37)

figs bought:painted (difference)

Friday, 27 May 2016

A Tale of 4 Gamers - part 3

Hi all

it's time for the next part of our "tale of 4 gamers" series.  we decided last time to involve you, the gentle readers of this blog to grade our efforts out of 5 based on the standard of painting and the quality of the "fluff" provided (which you can see here) and we heartily thank those (Bryan :-) )who rose to the challenge and gave us those scores, believe me when I say it has spurred us on to do better this time around.  This time around we needed to finish off the last of our lower caste units of either Warriors or Levies in preperation for the more elite units next time.  So without further ado I present the next chapter in our SAGA......

Andy's Faction

The sound of whirring disturbed the still, tranquil air of the quiet meadow in East Kent, long thrumming vibrations followed by loud cracks of stone impacting wooden targets.  "Again!" barked sergeant Alf, "The lord Waelwulf is watching, he is judging your worth!" he added looking over at the totally disinterested warlord, who was busy talking animatedly with Edgar his burly second in command and ignoring the drills of the serfs in the middle of camp.

Alf sighed and turned his attention back to the dozen or so of scruffy, ill-kempt peasantry who were busy rooting around for the smooth, round pebbles they kept in bags slung over their shoulders.  Each serf loaded the pebble into the long leather slings they all carried and the thrumming started again as the slingers whirled their deadly weapons around their heads briefly before letting the missiles fly. Twelve cracks resounded around the meadow as all of the shots hit the target some 50 yards away.  

The enormous noise caused the Waelwulf to look up in annoyance at the serfs to voice his displeasure.  Quickly that look of annoyance passed, replaced by a more thoughtful mien as he mentally calculated the number of hits on the already splitting timber targets to the number of slingers.  Beckoning to Alf who rushed over and bowed deeply before his liege lord.

"Sargeant, who are these 'men' and what are they doing" he snarled.

"Slingshot practice m'lord, these scum have been pressed into service by the Bishop and given to you for service" Alf babbled, the warlord's famed temper was well known and Alf feared that he would be blamed for the poor looking 'troops'. "But they's real good already m'lord" he continued in the hope that he could deflect his superiors ire. "They can hit any target most times and at a good distance too."

"Can they do it at 75 yards?" sneered Waelwulf. 

"Yes m'lord, easily." cowered Alf. "They can do it at 100 yards if it pleases m'lord"

"Excellent, set up the targets for 125 yards then Sergeant, lets see what these oafs can do and if I don't hear twelve hits, you will know it!"  Waelwulf called over his shoulder as he dismissed the visibly trembling soldier and walked back to his war council.

So my faction is 'boosted' by the arrival of 12 levies/serfs armed with slings.  I umm-ed and arrr-ed over whether or not to include these lesser warriors as they are next to useless in combat.  However I decided I could do with some ranged weaponary and this was my option choice.  The figures are a mix of existing ancient Britons that I already owned (8) and the remainder of my plastics that I got in the 4 point starter army from Gripping Beast (4), for the required 12.  Paint wise I went with more natural and dull looking colours, these pressed men would not be supplied uniform or given any equipment so I did not need to try to tie them into the main force.  The 8 I already owned were certainly close enough to join in without me updating their paintjobs so they stay untouched and therefore I only add the picture for completeness as I did not paint them for the challenge.

Gripping Beast models for the challenge

the complete unit

Chris's Faction

The first twelve of the Jarls Bondi were now pushing forward towards the dunes ahead of them. The dark longship had beached itself firmly taking on an ungainly list to starboard. Now as sleek and imposing as a fish out of water, flapping helplessly on the wet sand. The Jarl watched his men intently. He turned to face Olaf the beserker, who's shattered face was hidden in the shadows of the great bear skin he wore. He could see the pulse in the berserkers neck racing. The concoction of bog myrtle and whichever other substances Thor had deemed necessary were having the desired effect. "Soon my friend....soon......soon you will see the Halls of Midgard". He pushed past Olaf towards the rest of his Bondi. "Prepare the ship" he uttered, a quiet command which broached no argument. The oars had already been stowed inside the ship, placed in a lattice work around the great mast. The Jarl hefted his huge axe in both hands and swung with all his strength. The great blade flashed with irresistible momentum, hitting the mast with a thunderclap, a huge crack splitting it vertically. Again he swung, and again and with one final blow the mast toppled slowly forwards, coming to rest protruding over the bow of the longship like a great battering ram. The Jarl dared not show the pain that ripped his huge chest apart, he ignored the bitter taste of blood flowing up from his lungs, suppressing the urge to cough. This was too important a time to show weakness. His son saw but caught the Jarls eye and rapidly turned away, vaulting over the prow into the shallow water. The Bondi, the Jarls most loyal Hirdmen and Olaf and his three companions, looking more like bears now than men,their movements animalistic and ferocious. The lasted them passed the Jarl the burning brand they had prepared. The Jarl moved to the prow, running his hand along the gunwale. No time for sentimentality. He threw the burning brand towards the lattice work of oars, drenched in oil as soon as they were placed. A sharp crackle of fire appeared instantly, spreading quickly around the stump of the mast, licking the ropes and rapidly taking hold. The Jarl swung his great frame over the side, his son supporting him as he landed, only then did he spit the foul tasting mouthful of blood into the sea. Soon the Jarl and his warband were pushing into the dunes. Behind them the funeral pyre of the longship roared in conflagration. The first fire of many had been lit................soon the sound of screaming would begin.

So the second unit of 12 Bondi followed exactly the same process as the first, the only difference being these were all equipped with swords or axes. The 24 Bondi in total will either be used as 2x12, or 2 to 3 units 8 strong depending on points of the game. The Vikings benefit in SAGA from larger units being able to sacrifice men for huge amounts of extra combat dice in an ability called Valhalla. So they were white under coated, base coloured using a small palette, Army Painter dip,shield decals, based and varnished.

Click for OptionsClick for Options
Click for OptionsClick for Options

Damon's Faction

Amhlaidh and his brother Alasdair looked over at Rob's group of warriors and winked at him with big grins on their faces. Rob scowled back and walked away. Rob didn't really like the brothers they took things far too light heartedly for his taste and now he had lost a bet to them that they wouldn't kill the Norman horses first and they had.

It had been a bloody battle but they had knocked the norman scum from their saddles and battered there skulls in whilst the weak that uses bows scampered away tears running down they're faces. Chants of "Lachlan Lachlan Lachlan" rose from the throats of Toisech and Soer-chele alike.

"Now we march on the village" shouted Lachlan, "their women and riches will be ours by nightfall" Rob glanced over at the brothers groaning to himself knowing that half of his loot share he will now have to give up to them knowing that they would not let him forget this.

Getting these models painted was great to do and I am thoroughly enjoying painting. Although I have a great range of paints now thanks to Richard the colours I felt weren't quite right so I mixed all the large base area's adding black to darken them down a little.
I am still new to this painting lark and as I sit here writing this I can't remember the names of the paints I used and I don't have them laid out to check as I have to pack them up in shoe boxes and put them away each time I use them. Having a 4 year old running around just means I am writing this quickly before I go to work so just don't have the time.

My first group of warriors I wanted to look not too clean and I am really happy with the look of them. I have taken a couple of close ups and of 3 models including Rob. I am really happy with Rob despite Bryan's low score and I love the guy in red with his patch on his robe. Although in Saga there are no such things as leaders or heroe's in a unit for my own personal taste Rob will be the leader figure as units normally look to an individual for direction.

My second group of warriors a experimented on a little bit. I did tartan on a couple.

I was feeling brave but I didn't want all my warriors wearing tartan so I did just the one, making it dull as he is a warrior not a heathguard and another had a sash so I did that tartan too.

This group will be led by a pair of brothers. See pic just by pure chance these mini's ended up looking like brothers so I added a little detail to the bottom of his robe seens as one had a sash.

Rich's Faction

Hugh's father had been apoplectic, word had spread quickly of how Hugh had saved the peasant farmer from the hangman’s noose and now Hugh’s reputation was in tatters. His fathers screaming had little effect on the young man and he actually enjoyed seeing the old man so angry. His rage held no fear for Hugh any more in fact he pitied him. He knew about the blood on the old mans stool's his fathers doctor was instructed to keep it quiet but the man was prone to drink and it was easy to make the fool talk.

Hugh had left the  castle after the last row.  Gerald's family had made him so welcome they all knew they owed not only their husband and fathers life to Hugh but also their own. By saving Gerald Hugh had saved them all and they owed him everything.

For Hugh it was the family he had always longed for. The laughter and the love was so new to him but felt like the life he had always wanted. It was then that Hugh had taken the family into his trust. They had managed to recruit a few other local men into the ranks but Hugh and Gerald knew they needed professional soldiers if they were to survive the coming invasion and that needed coin.

Hugh knew his fathers tax returns would be heading to Caen after the Easter festivals. He knew the route and the men that would be accompanying. He knew his father was arrogant enough to believe no enemy would dare challenge him. But he hadn't thought his own blood could be his enemy.

Hugh and Gerald plotted and with the aid of another six men they knew what had to be done. With the coin they could pay men to join them especially mercenary men from Genoa the type expert in crossbows. They would follow anyone for silver and Hugh would soon have plenty.

The whole of Gerald's family had been there when the plans were made and as the men left the house to lay ambush Gerald's wife Helen called out to them. “Stop I have something for you,” the men stopped and turned “ we can't have you being recognised now can we” with that she began unfolding the clothes she had been secretly working on for days. “ here my brave soldiers” as she passed them round. “ put them over your heads to mask you. I call them your Robing hoods !”

The men laughed as they pulled them on. “Come” said Hugh. “It is time to rob those who don't deserve it. Maybe after we have our army there will be some left for the poor”. At once they all laughed. The irony was not lost on Gerald ,Hugh had saved him, a poor peasant. Maybe he would save more poor men from the evil of powerful men. With that he laughed kissed his wife grabbed his bow and followed the others out. 

Despite being the smallest unit I had to paint and therefore the most straightforward I had put myself under huge pressure. With two days to Lord Nash’s deadline I hadn't begun work on my warriors. Luckily with a day off work I had the opportunity to put brush to figure.

Image result for robin of sherwood
yes i can -  dGG
My crossbow men were a warrior unit and the deserved better treatment than my levies. So no dry brushing this time but I also needed to paint quick. I choose a colour scheme that tied them into my levies but also gave them a more generic look as professional soldiers would need. I decided on a blue scheme as my first taste of Norman soldiers had been from the great itv show robin of sherwood made in the mid 80’s. I'm sure Lord Nash will come up with a pic for you. Also as some of the crossbow men had leather padded armour I went for a reddy Brown to keep the scheme across the units. Hopefully you will see an improvement on last times efforts. Now it's off to paint the gee gees. Can I have an extra week please !!!!!  [NO!!-dGG]

nice kitchen towel back drop!! - dGG
 So that's it for another week.  Please if you can score the boys and myself out of 5 for the quality of painting and the quality of the fluff provided - again please take into account Damon's relative lack of experience on the painting side.  I do encourage you to do so and the rest of the Nerd Herd are up for it so please please take the opportunity, only Bryan did last time so of all the many many (all 32 of followers of the blog would score us that would help us out.  No pressure though ;-P

Next time, i.e two weeks today will be the first of the elite fighters showcased so something to look forward to.

hope you enjoy