Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Fellowship on Durin's Causeway

I've had a few requests for pictures of the LOTR model figuires on the Causeway terrain piece, so I set up a scene and had a go at photographing it...

I have to say, its quite a tricky thing to photograph well...

The first few pics are with fill-in flash...





The next few are the true night time shots, no flash, and where I have tried tweaking the exposure... enough so you are not blinded by the light of the fires, and yet no so dark that you can't see the figures... Tricky work I can tell you... tripod and timer function a must for this... and patience!

These are the best pics I managed tonight...





I hope you enjoyed them and they give you an idea of scale with the models featured on the terrain piece...

Now just have to actually play a game on it!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Welcome Ste!

Well its been a wee while coming, but I got the chance to meet and greet Ste Haran , of Off t'club blog fame.

I have followed Ste's blog for many moons now and some time ago it was announced Ste would be migrating to New Zealand from the UK, as I had done several years ago.

Ste finally arrived here a couple of weeks ago, and as you can imagine it takes a little while to get over the jet lag, and sort your self and your family out, when you first move to a new place, especially when its the other side of the world and you're living out of a suitcase till your shipping container arrives... been there, done that, got the T-shirt! ;-)

So it was great to finally meet Ste today, over a game of Lord of the Rings/Hobbit SBG...

I had had a game lined up tonight with Andrew, but a last minute logistical hiccup forced Andrew to cancel. Luckily for me, Ste was coming up to the club simply for a meet and greet, so a quick change of plan, I'd bring two armies along and we'd get to have a leisurely game, and have a chat to get to know each other...

We played Mordor vs Rohan & Gondor Alliance; ~580 points.

Faramir and a Minas Tirith Captain led the Gondorian foot, whilst Theodred commanded the Riders of Rohan.

Shagrat and an orc captain led the Mordor foot, whilst a Mordor orc shaman led the warg riders.

A fling of the dice and we were playing the High Ground, which became a battle for control of a large rocky outcrop in the centre of the board.

We played at a leisurely place and chatted away, a very pleasant game, not taken too seriously at all...

Here's a few pics to peruse...

Battle is joined as the infantry engage... the debut of the Mordor Uruk-Hai and they make their presence felt!


The Gondorian infantry is pushed back in the early part of the battle...


The warg riders try and circle the flank of the battlefield, wary of getting shot by the Riders of Rohan and perhaps trying to draw them away from the main scrap near the rock....


The Riders of Rohan arrayed initially for shooting... the first volley wasn't bad but the second one wiffed and then they too were in melee...



The man himself, all the way from Yorkshire!

Ste Haran

It was rather cool to get to meet a fellow blogger from elsewhere in the world... the way the blogging community is, it felt like meeting up with an old friend...

Meanwhile the scrap continued, Rohirrim and warg riders clashed on the flank with Theodred benefitting from a well timed and positioned Heroic Fight, killing an orc in the centre of the board and then galloping off to aid the flank...



The remaining central riders had just managed to break through the centre and come round behind the orc infantry line as we called the game with time running out...


It was still a close game and probably could have gone either way...

We totted up VP's and were both amused to discover it was a 0-0 draw, as neither of us had troops in base contact with the rock! Doh!

Main thing is we got to meet and enjoy a great game of LOTR!

Looking forward to more games with Ste, and getting a growing bunch of gamers together interested in LOTR :) Ste's shipping container is about a month away and then he'll get to unpack his armies... among other more important things of course! ;-)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Durin's Causeway - Finished!

At long last I have finished Durin's Causeway. 

It's been a marathon journey, and as usual what seemed like a simple idea at the outset, grew and grew in the making...

Unsatisfied with how the suggested terrain looked in the Fellowship of the Ring Journey book, to play the game, I started making this to look more in keeping with the movie. It's still far from a perfect copy, and several things I did my own way, either for practicality or play-ability reasons.

I am more than happy with how it has turned out, though the amount of effort that has gone into building it, compared to how often I will actually get to play on it, plus I have still to figure out where to store and keep it, having yet to be resolved, has led me conclude this is most likely my folly! ;-)

However, I am still happy to have built it and will look forward to playing the FOTR scenario upon it :-)



Just to put things into perspective I have included the movie sequence which the terrain piece is derived from. It's an epic and iconic movie moment, and also gives perspective for any blog readers who are not fans of or simply have not seen the movie...



Here's how it looks under normal lighting and fill in flash photography...




And then some more atmospheric 'night-time' pictures. These took several goes to get right and I still think they are perhaps a little over-exposed but I haven't figured out how to reduce the exposure on my camera settings as yet. It took me all my time to get these to work at all!

Never the less, I hope you enjoy them...












I left this picture un-cropped, just to give you an idea of how big it is... its roughly 3' x 3' x 3', give or take a few inches...










The next terrain piece on my list of to-do's is to finish Balin's Tomb, which is actually for the scenario, before this one! Yes I know, I know, I should have made that one first, but oddly enough this one had given me most cause for concern so I had decided to tackle it head and get it out of the way first...

Ah well, that is part of the madness that goes on in my head! ;-)



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mordor Uruk-Hai

I love fielding loads of orcs in my Mordor forces, that horde rabble look is certainly appealing and can at times also overwhelm an opponent... but your humble orc is not the best fighter Mordor can offer... enter stage right Mordor Uruk-Hai !



The Uruk-Hai were a much bigger and stronger orc that Sauron first created, I believe, but that Saruman also later bred in his fortress of Isengard...




In the movie, we see the Mordor Uruks at the Tower of Cirith Ungol, when Shagrat and Gorbag get into a fight over Frodo's mithril shirt... their squabble, rolls out across the fortress as the orcs of Gorbag fight the Uruk-Hai of Shagrat, effectively destroying each other and leaving the tower unguarded, for Sam to enter and rescue Frodo...



In the game the Mordor-Uruks have a better Fight skill than their orc cousins and are also stronger. But they are still lightly armoured so relatively easy to kill still.



There were only three models made, that I have come across, two Uruks with sword and one with a two-handed mace.




To beef up their defence a bit I have added shields to the sword armed Uruks. A couple of these were spares from my box of Morannon orcs. Two more I made from Instant Mold Milliput casts of the same batch of  Morannon shields...


So the idea was to have a warband with six of these strong orcs, backed up by six spear wielding regular orcs, most likely led by Shagrat - War chief of Cirith Ungol. A supporting warband with a banner led by an orc shaman would also be a useful accompaniment.


These troops were due to get their first blooding tonight at KWC against Andrews forces of Dol Amroth, but Andrew is recovering from a bout of 'Sauron's Revenge' aka 'Montezuma's revenge'... so we'll delay their debut until next week.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's in a number? It must be the spambots!?

Like most bloggers I have always been interested in the amount of traffic the blog attracts, and obviously hope that I am appealing to at least few good souls out there in my hobby related ramblings...

So I often look over the stats Blogger offers...

Here's a recent snap shot:


Page views yesterday ties in with a recent blog post ( Edward Kenway), and shows a days blog activity of about 900 hits that day... That's consistent with what I have seen with my recent traffic which is usually about 7-800 hits per day normally and peaks at about 900-1100 when I put up an interesting blog post...

However wondering what the 'real picture' may be I downloaded another blog hit counter, called Statcounter, and gave that a whirl alongside. Here's what it came up with over the same last week:


































A similar peak coinciding with the blog post yesterday, but at 360 hits, it s a lot less than the quoted 900 Blogger hit stats... so just what is blogger recording? Is it all those Spambot hits too, whereas Statcounter is managing to filter these out somehow?

I don't know, but thought it interesting to mention here!

For those interested Statcounter is easy to add to your blog, with clear instructions to follow on their website and it's FREE! Check it out!

Cheers
Scott

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Edward Kenway - Pirate Assassin

A brief return to the Seven Seas... and a certain video game inspired character; Edward Kenway, of Assassins creed 4 fame...

As mentioned earlier, this figure came to me as a fine gift from a fine fellow :)

I have painted him up in a colour scheme, matching as well as I could, the box cover art of the video game.



Armed to the teeth, as any good pirate or assassin worth his salt should be, with a brace of pistols and a pair of cutlasses... Arrrrrr shiver me timbers mate, they don't like it up 'em! ;-)


Here 'Eddie' leads his band of merry nair-do-wells, against a Royal Navy detachment at port...


... I'll admit I don't fully understand the plot of the video game... seems to be some odd mix of Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean... some chap goes back in time from present day to the period era occupying an Avatar-like being and runs about killing people in his quest to find some required item...

No doubt my son will fill me in with the details if they are going to be relevant in our miniatures gaming!

Thanks again to the Legatus for the figure, much appreciated :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The defence of the ruins of Cair Andros

The year is 3017 of the Third Age of this world...

A sense of foreboding lies over the realm of Gondor, as if some great event is about to take place... Long has Gondor dwelt in the shadow of Mordor, its visceral threat evidenced by dark clouds over that cursed land, punctuated by flashes of flame as Mount Doom rumbles restlessly in its long slumber...



Ever have the borders of Gondor been tested, whether by foul orcs from Mordor itself, or the varied races of evil men of the East, in thrall to Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor.

On this fair summer morn, Faramir is north east of the great city of Minas Tirith, checking the northern borders with his company of rangers, around the ruined outskirts of Cair Andros. The small garrison here guards the norther crossings of the great river Anduin, which lie in direct course to the Gates of the Black Land, the Morannon...

It is not only Faramir, who is in the north that day, but Boromir, his brother, also has just arrived from Minas Tirith. Travelling with a company of the Tower Guard, he is inspecting the borders of Gondor, looking for weakness...

The meeting of the brothers is a joyous time, but their merriment is short lived as Faramir's ranger scouts bring in news from further north. Dust clouds herald the approach of a host of men on foot and horse, led by a great man borne in horse drawn chariot. The wainriders have come, once again!

-----o0o-----

Our second game at the KWC, saw Andrew and myself enjoying another game of LOTR/Hobbit. 

Andrew had wanted to bring his Eastern Realms force featuring Easterlings of Rhûn and Khandish troops led by a Khandish Chieftain in chariot. This would give me a good chance to try out my fledgling Gondor force that I have recently competed over the last month or so.

We decided to keep the points at 600 for the army size, as we have found this is a big enough size to include some decent monsters or heroes, without being too large that we cant get conclusion in a comfortable evenings playing time.

As I arrived at the club, Andrew had the table set up ready to play, having arrived earlier... a couple of dice throws later and we were playing 'Lords of Battle' and I won the first dice to choose sides and start deploying...

Lords of Battle is basically a kill fest where you score points for all the kills you achieve and points for wounds inflicted upon and fate points used up, by enemy heroes... Once one side breaks (down to 50%) you roll a die... on a 1-2 game ends, otherwise play on ... and check again next turn and so on...

-----o0o-----

Deployment:

Andrew had set the board up with his Gothic ruins set, depicting the outskirts of a ruined settlement.

I had Boromir, leading a warband of WoMT (Warriors of Minas Tirith), Faramir leading a mixed warband of WoMT and Rangers and a Captain of MT leading a warband of WoMT. An all infantry force, with strong armour for the most part backed by a few rangers.

Spying Andrews force I could see a mixed formation; solid heavily armoured Easterling foot troops and kataphract cavalry, in addition to lighter armoured Khandish foot and light bow armed hosremen. ( I love the look of these troops they have a real Mongol horde look about them, and I have started acquiring some to compliment for Mordor forces.) At their head was a very grand looking Khandish Chieftain riding his war chariot. Super job on this by Andrew - nice to see the extra effort to add reigns and even the addition of severed Gondorian heads!

As usual we deployed in alternating warband fashion, and I was wary of being caught in the open too much against the cavalry and chariot. So I deployed Faramir's warband first, holding the central ruin, with covering archer positions to the fore and flank. Andrew placed his Easterling foot centrally which I countered with Boromir's warband, centrally positioned. Andrew placed his Khandish foot reinforcing the Easterling foot, against which I placed my last infantry warband on my far left flank, led by my Captain. Finally Andrew placed his cavalry and chariot on my right flank, looking possibly to sweep through the weaker flank held by my rangers...

Battlefield deployment

"The board is set... the pieces are moving..." ... great line by Gandalf!

The brothers hold the Gondorian centre

Rangers hold the Gondorian right as the Rhûnic cavalry look to turn the flank.

-----o0o-----
Battle is joined!

I won priority for the first turn and charged forward with most of my troops, whilst the rangers continued to hold the ruin on my right flank.
























The Khandish cavalry went up the flank as expected...



























...but the Easterling kataphracts led by the Khandish chariot, swung in towards the centre and the end of the Gondorian line...





















Initial bow fire from the rangers killed one Khandish horseman and unhorsed another. Two shots at the chariot instead hit the kataphract but failed to penetrate the armour.

The early part of the fighting showed the difference between the heavier armoured Gondorians and the lighter armoured Khandish foot troops. The Easterlings and Gondorians being a match for each other, in the centre, but Boromir made a slight difference here, though was making hard work of it...



Sensing the risk to his right flank, the Khandish warlord continued towards that flank escorted by two kataphracts...





























The Khandish light horse galloped in towards the ruins the rangers were holding, bows twanging, trying to flush them out...
























Battle was fierce all along the main battleline. Faramir had joined the fray against the kataphracts attacking the end of the Gondorian line. Boromir still tried to push through the Easterling centre, trying to get towards their captain.




























The Khandish chariot rumbled into position now to reinforce the faltering Khandish flank, now just waiting for a gap to charge into...



The rangers feel the pressure as the Khandish light horse approach, they can wait for another round of shooting before they will have to retire...


The strong Gondorian armour continues to hold out against the Khandish foot...


The rangers pull back just in time as two warriors rush to help the now faltering Gondorian right, one ranger is too slow to react and caught...


Battle rages and the Khandish chariot rider makes his presence felt crashing into the Gondorian soldiery... as Boromir finally gets to the Easterling captain. Meanwhile the Khandish chieftain on foot finds himself surrounded for the second time...


Boromir fights on, urging his line to hold... Faramir at the flank battles on with the kataphracts...


The Khandish foot troops have been sorely beaten by the Gondorian foot, but now the gaps in their ranks are terribly exploited by the charging chariot and Easterling kataphracts, and brave Gondorian soldiers begin to fall...


The Gondorians continue to hold, with pressure on all sides now, but they keep battling and evil men of the East continue to fall...


A ranger has fallen in the ruins but the other light horsemen are fought off, and Faramir has felled the kataphract he was engaged with...


The Khandish chariot mounted chieftain continues to batter his way forward into the Gondorian line knocking men over like bowling pins... Boromir is too far away to help, being engaged still in the centre with the Easterling captain... The Gondorian captain will have to hold as best he can...


The battle rages on in the ruins...


Boromir battles on with the Easterling captain... the line thins as other troops pull back to help other positions...


 ...trying to hold the Easterlings, whilst greater numbers try to deal to the Khandish troops...



The chariot crashes on into several Gondorians... and the Khandish Chieftain on foot battles on having survived being surrounded twice!


The rangers see to one of the horsemen, but are beaten back by the other, the line against the Easterlings holds as more Khandish troops fall, but the chariot is unstoppable... felling the Captain of Minas Tirith!


The final Khandish light horseman is surrounded in the ruins and pulled from his horse, ending the pressure on the Gondorian right flank..


The khandish Chariot crashes on its trail on destruction, the Gondorian left now sorely tested and looking to crumble...


Boromir is still engaged with the Easterling captain...


... as Faramir fights off the last Kataphract on the Gondorian right... finally cutting him down from his horse...


The battle rages on... the flank ruin is secure and the rangers can now look to move to reinforce the centre... and Faramir can start to try and turn the Easterling flank... The remnants of the Gondorian left, having dealt with the Khandish foot troops, now look to withdraw to the centre... away from the chariot threat...


...if they can lure the chariot that way, Boromir may be able to deal with it, that is our slim hope...


A brave Gondorian trooper charges the stalled chariot, impeding its charging movement, Faramir is starting to turn the Easterling line, but a kataphract moves up to threaten this bold move...


Can Gondor hold on...


The brave Gondorian who charged the chariot is dispatched, but Boromir has finally managed to fell the Easterling Captain in the centre.


And at that point the fateful chance cube comes to rest, showing battle is over this day... dusk has come and both sides withdraw...


Boromir stands holding the centre, with his brother Faramir close at hand...


The two Khandish war chieftains have crushed the Gondorian left...


You have fought well this day little brother!


-----o0o-----

And so ends our battle, a most enjoyable and brutal game. The casualties shown below...



The final victory point tally shows a slim victory to Gondor with final scores for casualties inflicted, and wounds suffered and fate points used up, by heroes as, 28 - 22, in Gondors favour. At the end, both sides were broken.

A thrilling game and we look forward to our next installment.

Andrew wants to bring his beautifully converted Dol Amroth army so I will be fielding the varied foul troops Mordor has to deploy....

Join us in a fortnights time for the next thrilling encounter!

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