The painting bug finally caught hold of me again, and the result is a whole mess of Vikings. Previous to the last week or so, I had slowly worked my way through two Berserkers, a Hearthguard, a Warrior, and my Warlord. 5 models. I have now more than tripled that, and I have also convinced a friend of mine to take advantage of Gripping Beast’s black Friday sale, so I’m actually going to get to *field* these ruffians (and not as Ostlanders).
Viking Paintfest, Round 1:
I started with these three Bondi (warriors), as they were ‘based’ and primed and ready to go. Realized pretty much immediately that if I was going to work on multiple minis at the same time, I should do more than 3. So I finished that first night by grabbing a few more that I’d already gritted the bases on and priming them.
This brought the count to 5 Bondi and Gunnar Hamundarson. I don’t have Njal yet, so he was probably a silly choice to paint at the moment, but it’s just such a great model.
I used a lot of different colours on this lot (and so many browns!), but I like the feel of it. Uniform in their lack of uniformity, if you will.
And there’s that batch finished, and bloodied up. I think I mixed about 7 shades of red for this group; I reduced that to about 3 for the next lot.
Next lot! 7 miniatures this time: 2 Berserkers, 3 Hirdmen (hearthguard), and 2 Bondi.
I went with this combination because it would finish off a bunch of units that I’d started over the past year (usually one at a time for local painting contests).
I picked up some GW Nuln oil to wash the armour (is it weird that I’ve never bought any previously?) and decided to try a few more interesting shield designs.
Mixed results. I’m not exactly a freehand genius, but I’m happy enough with the results. Once I’ve bloodied these fellows up a little it should soften the aspects I feel look weird.
It takes a pretty serious effort on my part not to overdo it with the blood. Maybe I do anyway, but it strikes me as pretty unlikely that vikings wading through a battlefield *wouldn’t* be visibly bloodied, so here we are. Weapons and hands seem like obvious candidates, and I picture shields just being another weapon; either via a classic bash, or using the edge (with shields this big, though, maybe that’s unrealistic? I have no personal experience with dark ages combat, haha). That’s enough overthinking for now…
So, the result of this latest painting binge? I have now painted:
Gunnar Hamundarson and my Warlord.
One point of Berserkers.
1 point of Hirdmen.
1 point of Bondi.
Next up? Another point of Bondi and maybe Njal or a mercenary unit, depending what finds its way onto my desk.
Before I get started here, I would probably mention that the meta I play in is relatively casual. We’re competitive, we play to win, but the vast majority of us would rather lose an interesting game than win a boring one. With that in mind, the following thoughts and opinions might get more or less mileage based on your own community, but I think the core sentiments stand.
One of my favourite things about Infinity is that it’s not a list-building exercise. What you bring will totally impact your game, and your ability to react to situations or complete specific objectives, but the miniatures you put on the table are far less important than what you do with them. There are totally benefits to preparing ahead of time, but that isn’t enough on its own. [Aside: the primary reason I could never really get into Warmachine/Hordes is that it always felt like the opposite; the outcome seemed determined before the game even began, because no amount of skill seemed able to overcome a ‘weak’ list.] I feel like one of Infinity’s strongest selling points is the necessity of *playing* well. In a straightforward Annihilation scenario, a really skilled Infinity player could do decently with a list provided by their opponent.
That said, in ITS and other scenario based formats, a well planned list can still be a huge benefit. This is usually my weakness. Life makes a lot of demands, and I don’t always make time to sit down and prepare lists. I often set up the tournament and then just select a couple of appropriate lists from among my past creations. This generally serves me fairly well. I play vanilla, and tend to like well rounded ‘toolbox’ lists that provide me with an appropriate response (albeit a limited one) to just about every game-based situation that’s likely to come up. I’m usually short on specialists, so I have to both play well, to make up for those shortcomings, and really pick my early targets carefully (I often lean towards trying to get second deployment in these cases, since my ability to respond effectively in the early game becomes particularly important to me). In Direct Action tournaments I generally do really well; Operations tournaments are harder but I can usually eke out enough minor victories to place in the top half (we’re a pretty small community, so that still usually means I’ve placed). It’s a bit of a slog, though, and I sometimes feel like I play too slowly when I have to lean so heavily on tactics. I can speed myself up by using Limited Insertion, but I’ve had mixed results with that so far. It definitely keeps me fast, but I wind up really feeling the paucity of orders.
The last couple of tournaments I’ve tried to prepare my lists around the declared scenarios. The first time was a very small tourney where I had a pretty rough day with the dice, so it was hard to tell whether the lists were working or not. A couple weeks ago was the second time. 3 rounds: Nomads (can’t remember if it was vanilla?), Qapu Khalki, and Military Orders.
Round 1 (Acquisition) – Nomads
This was the scenario I didn’t plan for, and was my best game. Controlled everything, and even got the Classified objective (I *never* get my Classified objective), so it couldn’t have gone much better. I played a strong tactical game. I had to, since my list didn’t provide any really advantage.
Round 2 (The Grid) – Qapu Khalki
I lost this one, and I shouldn’t have. I brought a list that should have crushed it, and then focused on all the wrong stuff. Tactically, this one was a tire fire. I brought a Limited Insertion list with 7 specialists (I think 5 were Forward Observers). Peter’s QK went first; he had no useful specialists for this one, so his only hope was to kill the Designated Target, and to kill me before I could tag some Antennas. He did indeed manage to take out the target with his Datatracker for 4 points, then got into playing some long range tag with me. We were pretty even, dice-wise, and both lost a couple units. On my turn, I neglected to respond to the situation. My initial plan when designing the list was that I’d wait for the second turn to start attempting to designate antennas; this would avoid wasting orders on antennas that my opponent would just flip back anyway. You see what happened there? I let my preparation trump my tactics. Peter *couldn’t* flip antennas. Designating even one would have netted me a guaranteed 3pts. Half my list or more had Anti Materiel weaponry, so another 3pts would very likely have followed in my second turn. Instead, I focused entirely on trying to remove some of his units, thus giving him 2 full turns to reduce my numbers before I even attempted to *fulfil the scenario objectives*. He eliminated most of my specialists during his second turn, and took out the last one with an ARO during mine. I managed to kill the Designated Target, but not with my Datatracker. I lost, 2-4. Peter approached the scenario with a nearly useless list, but played with his weaknesses in mind and prioritized eliminating my strengths before I could put them to use. I failed to respond to the situation at all, and let my preparedness be a hindrance. Well played, sir.
Round 3 (Rescue) – Military Orders
80% of this list had terrain rules, and I selected one of the other 20% as my Datatracker out of habit (I often use the Unknown Ranger because I find he survives very well). That’s about how this round went. I spent about half the game’s orders dealing with 2 *very* hard to kill units (ignoring them as much as possible would have been a much better plan), and then made a bad call in my last couple orders of the game. I used an order or two to try and clear a path when I should have just triggered AROs instead. The orders used up trying to remove threats meant that my Datatracker couldn’t get his civilian to my DZ (to add insult to injury, I also failed to remove the threats). The extra order worth of movement would have gotten him there, which would have resulted in a major victory instead of a minor one, and that would have won me the tournament. Our first kit ever, and I was so close… but so far. I put too much faith in my lists, and let my preparation get in the way of my tactics.
It was an eye opening experience. I still came in second, and I had a blast, but it hurt to be able to look at the games and see so easily what I’d done wrong. If only I’d opened my eyes earlier, while playing. Hahahasigh.
Well, we continued our Forgotten Pacts campaign last week, and it was *insane*.
Three of us again (Chris and I, plus Alex joined us for his first game of Frostgrave!), so we settled from the corners.
Three of us meant 9 treasures, so the board started with 9 barbarian berserkers. Every dead berserker spawned two more, and they started to add up fast. My warband killed about 10, and while Chris and Alex were less overwhelmed by barbarians than I was, they still took out a few each. Never mind appropriately armed miniatures, I had to use almost the entire bestiary I’d brought with me (we had boars and dogs counting as barbarian berserkers by the end).
Katie the Wolf was trying to get into this watchtower (there was a treasure on the top floor) when fresh barbarians started spawning on the nearby board edge. It was probably the most ‘popular’ spawning edge by a significant margin, and it meant she never made it to the tower door. She did manage to stem the tide for a few turns, though, and was responsible for about half the berserkers taken out by my warband.
My early game is often about sending a few fast soldiers to grab the treasures nearest my opponents. Playing this scenario again, I’d probably worry less about grabbing those treasures and instead focus on getting to those in the middle of the board. I definitely underestimated how quickly the berserkers would pile up (9 to start plus 16-18 double respawns means over 40 barbarian berserkers even *without* random occurrences), and I’d be pretty wary of those board edges in the future; every barbarian you take out near a spawn edge has basically a 50/50 chance of putting another one right on you.
Oh, and I lost another dog.
The Wayback is back, and it’s taking the form of Mordheim! I’ve set my Dwarf Treasure Hunters aside this season, and have opted to run an Ostlander warband. It’s a little bit of a mess because I’m building around the models I want to use, which is resulting in some largely unimpressive axes and shields, but I’m enjoying the flavour of it all.
Say hello to Clan Spearhavok. The above photo was taken *after* my first game, so it does not include my clan Elder (leader), as he perished as a result of my very first game this season. Yep. Rayle, Breaker of Chains died in glorious single combat against a centaur. My very first post-game included one of my Blood Brothers becoming the new leader. The sassy dwarf’s name is Pip the Slayer, and she’s in charge now.
Other Heroes going into game 2 are Katie the Wolf (sword and long dagger in the front row), Gunnar the Long Fang (not pictured, he would join to fill Pip’s now vacant Blood Brother slot), and my Priest of Taal, Seventh of Dusk’s Talons (the Lord of the Feast miniature from a Hordes army I’ve never really done much with).
Henchmen groups are the Butchers of Ostland (two-handed weapons with wintery bases), the Reeking Mayhem (viking berserkers), the Kodiaks (sword/shield pair), and the Long Death (archers on either side). The rest of the pictures are from the second game.
Gunnar the Long Fang and one of the Butchers of Ostland have just dispatched an enemy after a charge; the Kodiaks duke it out with Mad Dog.
One of the Long Death prepares to take a shot. This first round of shooting resulted in brilliant hits for both members of the Long Death, but they mostly missed in subsequent rounds.
Pip the Slayer leads the second Butcher, Katie the Wolf, and the Reeking Mayhem toward the enemy.
Same crew, different angle. I was planning to finish painting Katie the Wolf the other night, but I ended up basing a bunch of stuff instead (including Katie herself, which would be why the evening went that way, haha).
I managed to fell the Ogre Bodyguard pretty quickly, but the opposing heroes proved to be a much bigger problem. The dice didn’t seem to be much on my side, and despite some valiant efforts made by my warband, I lost soundly.
Seventh of Dusk’s Talons, the Priest of Taal, was the most unfortunate. Never much skilled with a sword, Seventh found himself overwhelmed, suffering a crushed hand, a smashed leg, a chest wound, an old battle wound, and being blinded in one eye. It was determined that perhaps he lacks the will and ability to be the clan’s spiritual support in battle, and he has retired to a less involved role. His apprentice (The Jackal’s Teeth) has replaced him.
No Henchmen were killed, but one was found to show particular promise; Anja Born of Death has left the Butchers of Ostland to lead as a Kin-Hero.
February brought me my new Saga books along with some viking dice, wire spears, and a couple of new units. The wire spears meant I finally finished assembling all of my previous units (I’d been holding out, avoiding those soft metal spears they came with).
All of this also got me jazzed to paint something for the local shop’s historical miniature painting contest, so I picked out a hearthguard that was already prepped and primed and got cracking.
You’ll notice I’m also using my citadel painting handle for the first time. I picked it up a little while ago, but I’ve only painted cars for gaslands since then so this was my first real opportunity to try it out; colour me impressed. Even using the non – beveled Renedra base, it kept a good grip throughout the project.
Flat Earth for the ground, Red Leather for the helmet, Golden Yellow for the hair/beard, and a Game Colour orange for the tunic. It was a very bright orange (I think I’ve previously just used it for Escher gangers), and I had doubts right up until the final clear coat.
The pants are a Heavy Opaque Blue (I love the coverage the heavy Game Colours provide) and mostly Gory Red on the shield.
Oily steel for the metals, and I mixed some of my Red Ochre pigment into my gore to get it a bit chunkier and I liked the results; I’ll definitely do that again.
And that’s my first Viking Hirdman, all painted up and waiting for me to paint up some fitting compatriots.
First two Freebooter Amazons to be painted will be one of the Atl-Atl pair, and Occepa; today I’ll be focusing on the former. I expect Occepa’s crocodile armour will take a bit more time and energy and I wanted to get one of these finished for this month’s Paint the Thunder painting competition, so Atl-Atl #1 will be painted first.
Initially I was thinking I’d work on them simultaneously, so the base flesh coat can be seen here on both of them.
I’m making use of Vallejo’s Red Leather quite a bit for the armour on this one; I’m a big fan of the colour and use it a lot, which I like to think has the unintended side-effect of bringing my warbands together. Like they all shop at the same armourer, haha. My minor focus on Frostgrave over the last year or so has resulted in me having more varieties of blue than in most other colours, so I’ll be making use of those as well. I also just really like using the blues; they generally look pretty good on most models, and seem like a colour set that’s not impossible in a fantasy setting. Of course, in a fantasy setting, I suppose *any* colour is reasonable… you just need to tailor the setting to provide the dyes. Grin. Still…
Skin tone is a Vallejo Medium Flesh (it generally feels darker to me than the Dark Flesh does, but maybe that’s just me), with Vallejo Charcoal grey for the hair. I’ve been liking it as an alternative to black, because it darkens well with a wash, while still retaining some depth, which avoids me having to try and build depth with drybrushing and/or highlights, which I don’t feel very strong at (especially where hair is concerned).
My initial washing effort involved a Vallejo Skin Wash, which seemed insanely dark. I always think I’m going to like it, and maybe if I did a lot more highlighting as part of my process I would, but it was just so much darker than expected. Even then, it would probably have worked just fine, but it’s also redder than I think I expected. I might try it with one of my other Amazons – like I said, I feel like it should work for them – but it just looked too much like the Red Leather (oh, that left foot!), which sort of muddled the entire paint scheme. Ended up going with the old standby, Citadel Reikland Fleshshade, and I feel good about the result. I did make use of the Skin Wash for the armour, and I really liked the result I got there. The Vallejo washes are significantly more intense, and I’m never quite prepared for what I get when brush first hits model. What I probably really need to do is just sit down with some miniatures I *don’t* care so much about and get in some practice.
The base is Citadel Stormvermin Grey, I think, washed with Citadel Agrax Earthshade and drybrushed with Citadel Flayed One Flesh. I used some Vallejo Dark Green (I think?) wash to add a bit of colour and depth afterward.
Close enough for my first Freebooter Amazon, I think. I’m not very good at taking pictures of the process, am I? Once I get painting I just don’t really think about it, and there are way better painters than me out there providing tutorials. Ha. Nonetheless, I am writing a blog so I’m trying to provide a little more detail in case something I’ve done actually does grab you. No reason to make it impossible to suss out. Next time: Occepa!
In anticipation of Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, I’ve been browsing around for fun and appropriate miniatures I wouldn’t generally have a use for. Freebooter’s Fate came up in one of my searches; I was leaning pretty hard into the Amazons. Shipping them was going to be a pricey option and the shop I’m at doesn’t have any easier access than I do, so I did some research and lined up a couple destinations to hit up while I was in Toronto a couple weeks ago. They had most of what appealed to me in stock, so I spent some moneydollars and got me some Amazons.
First off, they come with interesting bases. Square plastic bases with a recess that holds a molded metal piece. I was originally planning to put these minis on round bases, but these looked interesting enough that I decided to give them a shot. Annoyingly, they stick out significantly as is, as they’re a little taller and wider than really fits in the recess. This might be intentional (I suppose I could have glued them in place and then used green stuff to bevel/fill the base edges), but I opted to trim and file them until they fit in nicely, generating a little more of a defined edge.
The first one I put together was Canita, who stands on one leg and has a sizable headdress of sorts. The mounting hole in the molded metal base piece was a little on the large side, so I had to green stuff her into place. Unfortunately she’s pretty top heavy, so I had to get creative to keep her aligned (she kept falling over when left vertical).
Next up was a paired set which went pretty smoothly. I pinned the limbs (most of these Amazons are pretty slender, so the majority of these minis were pinned with staples) and the feet fit much more snugly into the base piece. Chicomeh and Matqueh complete.
The Atl-Atl pair is what things got frustrating again. The miniatures themselves are very clean, super minimal moldlines and almost zero flash. Unfortunately, every time a piece is attached to the ‘sprue’, it’s attached at a joint (you can see this in the initial Canita image as well). This means a whole mess of garbage metal in all the spots you desperately need to fit together cleanly. By the time I’d trimmed, filed, and cleaned a given part, I was left with some annoying gaps.
Given how many parts these are (Occepa is a *7 piece* miniature), this got old fast. Fortunately a lot of the pieces were arms, hair, and other forgiving joints, but it would have been far nicer to see the flash/sprue on the actual part, where I can clean and file it without obliterating crucial surfaces.
The end results generally looked great, but required a little more work to make fit properly than I think they should have. The arms had bumps and divots at the joints to allow for solid non-pinned connections, but then there’d be so much garbage metal burying the ‘bumps’ that it served zero real purpose anyway. I always ended up filing and pinning anyway.
Occepa is my personal favourite. She’s big and powerful, and wears armour made from a crocodile. But 7 pieces! Arrgh! Torso/legs, left arm (shield), right arm (hand weapon), hair, upper croc jaw, lower croc jaw, and croc tail.
Part of me was pretty tempted to paint some parts before assembling, but I ended up deciding that with this many finicky parts, I’d be better off putting everything together first, so I could be a little rougher during the process.
Painting is going to be a pain, but I’ll figure it out, no doubt. Lots of the trouble spots are going to be pretty hard to see, anyway. The tail and loincloth covers a lot, and the shield blocks much of her left side. Frustrating as I expect all aspects of this to be, though, I am super excited about it. I never realized I needed this miniature until I put it together, and now I want a dozen like it. It’s going to look great!