Friday, March 30, 2012

Gripping Beast Saxon Thegns used for SAGA

Finished these four Gripping Beast Saxon models last week.for an additional point to go with our SAGA Anglo-Danish Warband.

We used parts from the Viking Hirdmen box set to modify these guys to use the two handed Dane Axes. Some modifications were made to avoid having the same pose on all four miniatures

One of the Hearthguard for use in SAGA

Here's his heraldic shield design, hand painted.

Another Anglo-Danish Huscarl for SAGA

Shield designs for the unit..

Another fine brave warrior for viking age combat!

I'll have additional images of the new castings mentioned in our last post soon!

Have a great battle!
The Old Crow

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What do Gripping Beast, Ral Partha, Old Glory and Black Scorpion have in common?

They are all on the workbench at Battleground Hobbies!

We have a batch of Old Glory miniatures needing painted so Joshua has been working on getting them done for us! You can see 5 Old Glory elf spearmen on horseback on the left and 5 on foot just to their right. These were purchased years ago when they were only 3.00 per pack. Nowadays they are around 12.00 retail. There are 6 Ral Partha elf irregular spearmen in font of the Old Glory guys.

On the far right are 4 Anglo-Danish Huscurls with the dreaded 2 handed Danish axe. These were built using components from the Gripping Beast Saxon Thegns and Viking Hirdmen box sets. In the middle are a couple miniatures from Black Scorpion, Diamond Joe and Ahiga Apache leader.

We also started experimenting with casting with hobby stone. There are a bunch of great accessories we've been trying out. More pics of all the above as we get them completed.

Here are a couple images of Joshua hard at work, in the early stages, on our Apache leader from Black Scorpion.

Adding some color. More, hopefully soon!

Til next time,
Have a Great Battle!
The Old Crow

Sunday, March 25, 2012

SAGA Battle Report – The Feast of Crows

“My lord Danaan, are you well enough to…” 
was all Hoarst could manage before the shield slammed into him.
“Get me my armor!” bellowed the Anglo-Danish Warlord “I’m well enough to defend my people and land you son of a lame sow!” His armor bearers quickly brought in the leaders mail shirt and helmet. The fearless warlord was still recovering from being struck by sword and javelin just a few months earlier “Now what else was there beside those damnable Welsh!!”
“There is a band of Norsemen also approaching from the east” Hoarst replied, regaining his lost composure. “Both warbands will converge on a farming community just to the north, here” Hoarst pointed out the location on a map laid before the chieftain.
“How long will it take to rally our forces?” Breas questioned.
“We’ll be ready in just a few hours sir” he answered.
“Then let us be off to meet this foe! Tonight there will be a feasting for the crows!!” The lord of the Danes declared and a great cheer from those nearby went up and was carried throughout the village.

The warband marched through the day and before dusk they arrived at the farming village. The Welsh could be seen riding in from the Northwest and the Viking war party was just outside the village to the east.

Breas Danaan placed a hand on his side, feeling the ache in his bones from a javelin that had pierced there months previous. He vowed the Welsh warriors would not get away this time.

“Now we fulfill our oaths and sing the songs of warriors going to see their ancestors!

Abaixo, lá eu vejo meu pai.
Abaixo, lá eu vejo minha mãe, minhas irmãs e meus irmãos.
Abaixo, lá eu vejo a linhagem de meus antepassados de volta ao começo.
Abaixo, eles chamam-me.
Convidam-me a tomar meu lugar em
Asgard nos salões de Valhalla,
onde os espíritos da Verdade podem viver para sempre.

'Lo, there do I see my father.
'Lo, there do I see My mother, and my sisters, and my brothers.
'Lo, there do I see The line of my people Back to the beginning.
'Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them.
In the halls of Valhalla...
Where the brave May live...

The brave warriors surged forward to meet their foes….

This was a three way battle between the Danes, Vikings and Welsh. All three warbands were 4 points and selected the same build. A warlord, two units of Hearthguard and two units of Warriors. The battleground had a copse of trees centered on the table, fields to the north and south and a small pond to the east. There were dwellings, one by the northern field between the Vikings and Welsh another to the west separating the Welsh and the Danes.

The Welsh set up in the Northwest corner, the Vikings in the Northeast and Danes in the Southwestern corner.

Turn one
The Welsh started by moving one unit of warriors south, the Welsh Warlord and a Hearthguard unit moved toward the trees. The other Welsh warriors and Hearthguard moved due east toward the Viking lines.
Vikings responded by cautiously moving both warrior units westward and their beserkers moved slightly to the south. The Viking warlord and retainers held their ground to see which way the battle would flow.
The Anglo-Danish forces moved forward, warriors to either flank, hearthguard units and warlord in the center.

Turn two
The Welsh warlord and hearthguard unit moved to the center of the field between the forest and northern field. Their westernmost warriors advanced warily staying behind the rough ground and dwelling. At the northern end of the battleground the warriors advanced to the edge of the field. The hearthguard doubled their move and advanced into the field, hurled their javelins and slew three Viking warriors.
The Anglo-Danish forces continue their northward march, preparing to engage the western Welsh warriors and get to grips with the Vikings.

Turn Three
In return the Viking warriors attack the Welsh and slay all four Welsh Hearthguard, losing only one warrior in return. The rest of their brethren move toward the Welsh lines.
The Welsh Warriors retreat from the Vikings and the Warlord moves on the double with his hearthguard across the swampy terrain and to the south of the Viking lines. The western warriors move and hurl their javelins at the Danish warriors. They score four hits but the Anglo-Danish “shieldwall” saves them all. The Welsh warriors move and throw again, this time slaying one Dane.
The Danes fall upon the Welsh warriors, slaying all but one! To add insult to the injury, the Welsh hits are all saved. The lone Welsh warrior retreats from the combat. The warlord, hearthguard and warriors advance to midfield

Turn Four
The Welsh warlord and retinue taunt the Viking beserkers to draw them out from the shelter of the dwelling and cast their javelins at the crazed northmen. The Viking use a point of fatigue to raise their armor so nullifying the two hits. The last western warrior attacks the Danes and dies in the attempt but keeps them from advancing.
The Viking beserkers now demonstrate what they do so well. The hurl themselves at the Welsh warlord and hearthguard retainers. With added attacks from their battleboard and extra armor from using fatigue, the beserkers slay all before them and lose only one of their own number to return attacks. Thus the fury of the northmen is dealt out to the Welsh!

Turn Five
Welsh rest their last remaining unit of warriors.
The Daish Warlord and Hearthguard charge the Viking Warriors and slay several but lose three hearthguard in the process so the Warlord Breas Danaan falls back to the eastern unit of warriors.
The Remaining two Viking warriors moves toward the lone Danish hearthguard and the bitter fighting leaves no survivors.
Turn Six
The Welsh remain in their corner as they have no hope of any comeback.
The Anglo Danish warriors, led by their warlord attack the Viking beserkers and slay them but lose three of their own in the melee. The Warlord then attacks the last two Viking warriors slaying them both.

Turn Seven
The Welsh and Vikings both move away from the Danes to deny them any additional victory points, thus effectively ending the game

The hard fought battle left only 8 Welsh Warriors, 4 Viking Hearthguard and the Viking Warlord. The Anglo Danes remaining were a unit of 7 Warriors, unit of 5 Warriors, unit of 4 Hearthguard and their Warlord.

The victory points were tallied for kills and the result was a Viking win:
Vikings = 17, Anglo-Danes = 12 and Welsh = 7

The clear winning fight was the ferocious Viking Beserkers taking out the Welsh Warlord and 4 Hearthguard in one round of combat. This earned the Vikings 7 victory points and the edge over the Anglo-Danish forces.

Breas Danaan lowered his mighty axe and looking from the fallen northmen at his feet, he surveyed the carnage around him. His body gave way to the pains of past and fresh wounds and he leaned heavily on the axe that served him so well.
“It will be several months before they try again sir. I think we’ll have a respite” said Hoarst.
Breas was not so sure. The Viking warlord had left the Danish settlement but only after realizing he was outnumbered and had lost his best men. He’d be back and sooner than Hoarst thought.
“Tonight we honor those who have gone to our ancestors” Breas stated “Tomorrow we worry about the future.”

Friday, March 16, 2012

Model Building Anyone? The Miniature Railroad and Village at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh PA

Here in lovely south western Pennsylvania we have quite a few attractions for visitors. One of those is the Carnegie Science Center. I know, you ask what does this have to do with hobbies? Well, in the science center they have a model railroad that would knock your socks off. Even if you are not a train enthusiast and the O gauge locomotives don't thrill you, the sheer magnitude of the layout and amount of models built is unbelievable.

Here's a plethora of photos to show you what we mean....

This is looking down the length, forests, rolling hills, rivers, beautiful stuff!

 The Miniature Railroad & Village features 105 animated scenes that shows how people lived, worked, and played in our area spanning the 1880s to the late 1930s.

Things like beating rugs and chopping wood...

 Swinging and fetching water from the well...
 Hoeing in the garden...
and even a moving shooting gallery.

Other favorite models include, architect Frank Loyd Wright's Fallingwater

Pittsburgh baseball in the early days at Forbes Field

Punxsutawney Phil at Gobbler's Knob! He even moves in and out of his groundhog house looking for his shadow.

An old amusement park that was torn down in the name of progress called Luna Park

All the rides spin in one way or another, the roller coaster even works!

Sharon Steel Mill

Drakes Well, the first oil well in the United States

The Miniature Railroad also features over  250,000 trees, 85 automobiles, 1 Incline (Monongahela Incline), 60 trucks, 22 horse-drawn vehicles...

14 aircraft, mostly at Roger's Field. The hot air balloon even rises above the layout only to descend once again.

A replica of the historic Manchester-Farms is the latest addition to this extraordinary display.

Here's the back half of the farm

And the brick works with river in the background. The boats do move along the waterways. There are trains below the rivers that move slowly and have large magnets attached to the tops. The boats have corresponding magnets in their bottoms.
Nice engine house and turntable,. There was a mechanic welding on the engine in the third stall. You'd see the light flash every few seconds.
Excellent details like the man on the ladder painting his house guy mowing his grass on the left.

 The layout even fades from day....
... to night!

 and there is so much more...
Waiting at the station...

If you get a chance to visit, look for all the little hidden features like the lady rocking her baby to sleep in one of the houses, a couple dancing in a second floor window and a hunter chased up a tree!

I hope this inspires you to build!

Lastly, we'll leave you with the guy in the outhouse whose door keeps falling open!
He does keep closing it!

Have a great battle!
The Old Crow

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to Build a Ziggurat Ruin for Warhammer Lizrdmen

Finally got the Warhammer Ziggurat finished for a Lizardmen army to defend or Goblins to invade!! This was another project started and finished to the point of using it to play Warhammer with, but it needed finishing touches. So we'll take you through building it step by step.

As mentioned, this was a piece started a while back and used along with the jungle terrain we showed you how to make back in October. You can see the previous post here.

Start with basic polystyrene insulation board which can be easily acquired at any major hardware/construction store.The bottom piece is approximately 18" wide by 15" deep. Start by measuring off 1.5" x 1" blocks along the edge and score the board with a pencil.

The next layer is 2" shorter along the front and the back can vary. We are going up to a third partial layer of stone and sloping it down in the back. We also chipped the edges with a hobby knife and carved out some of the seams between stones.

The back was sloped with a hot wire foam cutter. You can also see how some additional blocks were cut.

We were fortunate to find a gallon of latex paint in the "wrong" mix bin that was gray, so we painted the entire structure with it.

Then take some watered down black paint and wash it into all the cracks.

It should look a mess when done, like this.

Then drybrush a lighter gray over the entire structure. We used a can of "Stone Texture" spray paint leftover from another project to give it a little something extra. Then onto the plants. Here's a smattering of foliage getting ready for action. A piece of hardboard was glued to the bottom for stability.

Check your local craft store for small leaved stems that hold a bunch of individual pieces. Get a variety of tropical leaf types.

Once you pull off the individual items you will wind up with a stem looking like this.

Trim it down about an inch for a lower level or a bit longer if you plan on putting plants near the top of your ziggurat. That will allow you to push it down through all the layers

Now attach different individual stems to your main stem to get the jungle look and feel.

We drilled a pilot hole right near one of the seams where we felt plants would sprout...

and shoved it in. We later pulled it out and added glue into the hole and on the bottom of the foliage. Add these bundles around the entire piece.

Next we took our magic mixture of medium gray ballast, spring mix blended turf, old spices (oregano and parsley), coarse turf and stirred till all ingredients are thoroughly intermingled.

Apply hobby glue into cracks where the mixture will be...

and apply a liberal layer over the glue.

In areas of heavy vegetation we added some mossy foliage along with our mixture. 

Next we painted a dark green up the back slope where the grasses would be their thickest...

.. applied glue and more of our mix.

Here we applied the glue in the same pattern as the block  and then as it would naturally grow out of the cracks.

Lastly we added little extras like lost gold medallions under plants..

and extra chunks of gold dropped by would be thieves. A couple less fortunate chaps lost their heads on a wild treasure hunt and now hang around as omens to those who might try the same.

Goblins never can take a clue, here they are charging up the back side of the ziggurat!

And taking up firing positions!

Anyways, I hope you find this helpful and a start to expanding your gaming terrain.

Til next time,
Have a Great Battle!
The Old Crow