Friday, October 5, 2012

From war to the painting table: Easterling Work in progress

OK!  When the Easterlings are not busy killing the "good" guys, they are being prepared for the tournament from a painting standpoint.  Here we have some early stages of the shaded basecoat on the cavalry.  I am trying to use my colors to distinguish Black Dragons from regular Easterlings, plus have them work with the colors of the Khandish allies.

I didn't want to have boring, "pure" golds, so I was mixing green and red together for my first layers.  I then started mixing in yellows, flourescent yellow, and even some space wolves grey to get variety.

I also worked on the horses, and the cloaks.  Once I had the cavalry pretty well set, I had to do the same with the infantry.

Here are the Black Dragon warriors.  I will have to do some extras of these guys to put on the board in case the Kataphracts are unhorsed.

More work on the cavalry, getting everything lightened up to the same level.

Same thing for the Infantry.  At this point, I decide to incorporate some red into all the Black Dragons.

As soon as I started getting the reds in place, I knew that it was definitely worthwhile!  Then I realized that I wanted to make a war drum for one of the cavalry (my figures are all the old metals).  I took some of my lizard bits and fashioned this.  I cut off the sword, and made a nice drumstick for him!

Then it was time to put some added touches on the other cavalry.  I had some skulls and heads that would help make these guys look as fierce as they had been in combat!!

I moved on to the bases, making some nice dark marble.

Just like all other shaded basecoats, I had to prepare the bases for all the darker shading glazes...

They sure look different when they are shaded, don't they?

I used a black, a sepia, a green and a brownish red for the dark glazes.  I even had a paper towel handy to dab away places where I wanted things to remain lighter.  That works very well on such rough surfaces!

Now I can start placing the figures onto their bases...  I will be sure to post the images of the dark glazes for the armor and cloaks.  The same process will also happen with the more 'standard' red Easterlings and their pikes.

Mortimer was very happy when his Puppets War figures arrived in the mail!  He could not wait to assemble them.  He might even let Cathy use them once in a while...

The Axles of Evil: Thundering hooves sound the Death of Gondor

Today's first match was back to the Khandish / Easterling alliance vs Rich's Gondor.  You can see the forces arrayed here.  You can see the Kataphracts, the Black Dragons, and the chariots, led by the King.

Rich's army, featuring the thrice killed Faramir, as well as some rangers.  He borrowed some army of the dead to go along with his Dol Amroth knights.

I was curios to see how this would work, as he outnumbered me 41-23!  The scenario was To The Death, where it is basically a kill 'em all sort of deal.  In some ways, his massive outnumbering could work to my advantage if I could isolate sections of his army.  Rich deployed his rangers in the woods (huge surprise!).

Here is the rest of the deployment.  My whole army deployed in or behind the building, while Rich had units up front on either side.

I knew he wanted to shoot the snot out of me with the archers, so I figured I would hide as long as I could until I could engage him, and make the bows useless.  Since I had the drum, I could move 13 with the mounted units, and 9 with my infantry!

On the first turn, I made a big move towards his Faramir lead troops.  I wanted to see what he would do with those guys.  I had no intention of going after them, since I could never get the numbers over there.  Instead, the ghosts and swans seemed like a tastier target...

I was still able to keep the building between me and the archers.  For good measure, the War priest cast fury.

Once the Faramir units went backwards, trying to draw me out, I decided to use the drum and go student body right, after the Ghosts and Swans.  I left behind all the heavy hitters behind the building so that he could not ignore that flank.  It was risky, since dividing the army in front of a numerically superior foe is a no no!  Also, I was leaving behind my fury, whcih would have given me protection from terror and random bow fire.

However, I was able to keep enough terrain between me and the archers to minimize any potential damage.  Also, I moved out the King's men on the left to draw some bow shots into the multi-wound, fate and fury bunch... Rich had a lot of unfortunate rolls, to say the least.  You can tell by all the "fired"

The Good force got priority, but I used might to charge the AoD and Swans.  I failed 3 tests, but enough guys made it so that the pikemen could pile in!  The King;s men went back behind the house.

The fights didn't go as well as planned for me this turn, but I was now surrounding the Ghosts and Swans.  The next turn would be the Big One as Faramir's boys continued to skedaddle to the rear...

Here it is.  I passed all the fear tests, as my guys wanted to say hi to Casper the friendly ghost.  Some Swans won combats by sheilding, but that was more delaying the inevitable.

The Army of the Dead showed all their weaknesses, which is the low fight skill and no protection against massed strength 4 attacks.  In some cases, I was rolling 6 to 12 wounding dice.  Not much can survive that!

What remains of the Ghosts and Swans is getting hammered.  The Swan captain miraculously survives, but is using fate, which still counts as victory points in this scenario.  My King stays lurking behind the building, preventing any shots coming his way.

The end comes quickly for the last of the Ghosts and Swans.

I do a final charge on the right, and whack the lone Gondor warrior on the left.  It's all about piling up casualties at this point, and staying in combat to eliminate bow shots.  More bad rolls for the archers render them a major bust.

The Faramir units high tail it towards the building, so the King keeps backing up, with the thought of moving to the one side of the building at the crossroads to hit the smaller Gondor unit with no Faramir.  That would get them to a break point, and provide more easy kills.

Now that the last Swan knight is dead, all of my units do a massive drum fed move to the right.  Now the archers are in big danger, and they even start to fall to chariot bow fire!

At this point, Faramir had had enough, and headed back to Minas Tirith.  There was not much need to play out the rest of the game, since I had amassed a 15-2 lead in kill points!  The strength of men (if it ever existed) was fading fast! 

This was the nail in the coffin, so to speak, of the Army of the dead.  For the high points cost, you can easily counter any advantage with a combination of much lower priced units.  Sadly, these will likely only see the table again in a special scenario that we create ourselves.

The stunning mobility of this army was the key.  I could move so fast, staying away from his nasty units, away from bow fire, and getting into position to isolate and destroy smaller chunks of the opposing army.  While I was outnumbered by almost 20, the extra attack generated by the cavalry and chariots actually make that number even.  When they start knocking guys down, it actually gives me a huge numerical advantage at the point of attack.

Those terrible terradons...

These skirmishing movement trays remain some of my favorite movement trays that I have done.  It was very fun, and it really fit the theme of the army.  These were also quite good at holding the miniatures in place, even if they were not magnetized (which they were).

Not only did it allow me to pack and unpack the unit very quickly, it was very easy to move around on the board, with no doubts by either player exactly where they were!  The whole 1/2 inch loose formation thing is not always followed with great precision in a game.  Even more so in a tournament when things are being moved very quickly.

Oh yeah, and the terradons were fun to convert and paint as well!!!