Thursday 30 December 2021

Ending the Quest of 2021

As 2021 dwindles down into it's final hours, I've played my final games of the year.

Fittingly, these were several games of Heroquest in which we rediscovered the joys of 1980's game design ("Is there anything to stop us just standing by the stairs searching for treasure?"), taking the Barbarian, Dwarf and Elf on quests for gold, hostages, gold, vengeance and gold.

On the journey many lessons were learned, including: 'always search for traps'; 'never be first through a door'; and 'stand close to the injured guy so you can steal his stuff when he dies'.

My favourite part of the whole game was when mercenary behaviour fully kicked. The 'team' inched their way along a corridor towards a single Orc, risking only a square at a time for fear of traps, hoping that the others would take all the risks.

Heroquest remains a good game after all these years. It has some issues, which is to be expected, but I'm really glad I've finally got it painted and played.

Looking Back

Attention now turns to my resolutions from last year. Let's see how I've got on.

1. Paint more than I acquire - SUCCESS

If you read my last post you'll realise I've achieved this with room to spare - Acquired: 165, Painted: 232. I've been helped in no small part by being not allowed out for several months, meaning that I was able to focus on painting.

Not actually painted this year...

However, I've also rationalised my purchasing habits; I think I only started one totally new project (the Tzeentch Daemons) this year and turned my attention to working on many older projects I already had miniatures for.

Newer doesn't always mean better

2. Play the games I have been planning - PARTIAL SUCCESS

Being able to get back to gaming eventually has turned my attention to more planned games than previously, with me not only returning to the Bolt Action Stalingrad campaign with Pete, but also getting quite some way into the Quest of the Ringbearer with Matt (and beginning War in Rohan).

Fleeing the Black Walkers

Some projects and campaigns, such as Dropzone/Dropfleet, have remained on the back-burner, but these have give way to other campaigns like Lurkers from the Deep for 7TV which is started and will hopefully be followed fairly soon by Orsa the Fearless.

"Maybe I'll go round the back..."

3. Experiment more with solo gaming - PARTIAL SUCCESS

I actually did quite a few solo games during the year. Mainly this was using the excellent Five Parsecs From Home rules. I really enjoyed playing this and it's probably the best solo miniatures game I've ever played.

Fortune's Fools

On top of this I messed about with solo games to teach myself rules, such as with 40k, or to try to create my own rules, such as with Icons. However, my solo playing notably ended when the opportunity to play actual human beings reappeared in the summer.

Red vs. Blue

I'm not sure that I am naturally a solo gamer, clearly preferring more social games, but I do enjoy telling stories, and so I probably will return to the crew of the Fortune's Fool and revisit the Avengers in the Savage Land at some point.

Overall, I'd call 2021 a success. Notably, my gaming has taken a much more narrative turn this year, and it's something I have really enjoyed; probably more than the abstract smackdowns more typical of wargaming.

Looking Forward

Turning my attention to the future, I'm going to stick with the three resolution format, as it gives specific goals, without losing focus.

1. Paint more than I acquire

Lead Mountain, Colorado

It's tried and tested and keeps me honest in terms of getting painting done and not constantly buying into the next new shiny thing to come along. Also, storage space is really becoming an issue, and so without some sort of limiting factor I might even have to consider the horror of selling painted miniatures...

2. Continue telling stories

Heroes of the Tractor Factory

I really like narrative games ang so I want to ensure that things like Quest of the Ringbearer, War in Rohan, Stalingrad, Fortune's Fools, Avengers: Breakout, Lurkers from the Deep, and Orsa the Fearless continue to progress. No doubt other stories will join them, but this is where my heart lies in wargaming.

3. Just play more games

A Humongous Crash

The last couple of years have had a severe impact on the amount of games most of us have been able to play. I like playing miniature wargames, especially the social aspect of it, and so I just want to get more games in. This probably means going to events, but also making myself more available to play and putting the effort in to make arrangements with those people who I don't play as much as I'd like to.

And so there we have it. 2021 is done. Bring on 2022.

Happy New Year to you all, and I hope that next year sees even more of a return to pre-pandemic normality, but if it doesn't, at least we're getting used to it. In the wise words of Lord Vetinari of Ankh-Morpork:

"If it continues long enough, even a reign of terror may become a fondly remembered period. People believe they want justice and wise government but, in fact, what they really want is an assurance that tomorrow will be very much like today."

Wednesday 29 December 2021


Get it?

They're Orcs. They're gone from the painting queue. There's eight of them.


Tough crowd.

Basically, I've finished the Orcs from Heroquest just in time for our annual Crimbo shindig, this year with added festive lateral flo-ho-ho (that cracker joke credit goes to Pete, before he complains).

I don't know whether it was the fact that they were the last stretch; that there were eight of them; or that the sculpts are probably my least favourite in the box, but I really found painting the Orcs a bit of a chore.

Added to that, there were a much larger amount of problematic mould lines and flash on these models compared to everything else in the Heroquest set, meaning that I've still not quite cleaned up several areas.

There was a single broken weapon to fix, which was done once again by using the oversized weapons from the old GW Zombie sprue.

Although these guys aren't great, they are done and I've painted the entire set in just over a month, which doesn't feel like bad going.

These are likely to be my last finished models of the year, meaning that unless there are some VERY generous gifts in the post, I have significantly beaten my target of painting more than I acquire.

Acquired: 165
Painted: 232

I shall be back in a couple of days with my traditional resolutions and round up of the year post.

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Changing Rooms

My bid to get all of my Heroquest set painted before the 30th continues apace, with all of the furniture finished.

I genuinely think that the terrain that came with Heroquest is one of the things that really made it come alive, and, despite the simplicity of the mechanics, added to the immersion.

It's one of the things that I think games like Imperial Assault or Descent miss out on with their 2D tiles, and one of the reasons I could never really engage with Heroclix and its maps.

I've not done a lot with any of the pieces, as a lot of the colour is added by the cardboard elements. The throne was probably the simplest to do, just going with a base, a wash and a light drybrush.

The two tables were done in a similar manner (as was all the wood), just with the support bar underneath and the central detail on the kegs being done silver to add a different colour.

The cupboard and bookcases had rats and skulls to do. The skulls are just Wraithbone with a coat of Skeleton Horde contrast paint. 

The rats were done quickly with a Rhinox Hide base and drybrush of Ushabti Bone, followed by Kislev Flesh for the tail, legs, mouth and ears. All of this was then washed with Agrax Earthshade.

One of the rats was missing its tail, so rather than try to mend this, I've just given it a bloody stump with Blood For The Blood God technical paint.

The rack is probably my favourite piece of the bunch for nostalgia reasons. Young me revelled in its gruesome nature.

Again, nothing particularly to note in the painting, although I did paint holes on the leg manacles (you can't see them here), which were otherwise solid blocks.

The alchemist's desk has a surprising amount of detail to pick out, including letters in the half open drawer. It seems odd that this has so much going on compared to almost everything else in the set.

You may be aware that it is missing the separate scales. I left these out of the box the last time I played (last year) and since that point they've been floating around my game room, I'm just not certain where theyvare right now. I'll add them when I can lay my hands on them.

I've done the weapon rack with the red and blue theme of my Bretonnian army, which is something I did with the armour piles in my Mantic Terrain Crate. It at least allows them to be consistent should I use them together, even though these weapons are ridiculously large.

Yes, I've just noticed the blue spot on the scimitar. That will be fixed.

For the treasure chests I moved away from the brown base to go with gold to suggest metal banding. I'm not sure it was the right decision (silver might have been better) but it's done now.

Of all the Heroquest terrain pieces, these are the ones I'm least likely to use outside of the game. They are the most odd looking and I have all the chests from the aforementioned Mantic Terrain Crate to fill that particular niche.

So, I'm on target to succeed with only the Orcs left to go (and they are mainky finished). Also, that's another 12 models done and a fairly low key Christmas (in miniature terms) has only added 4 models to the pile so far.

Acquired: 165
Painted: 224

Thursday 23 December 2021

Heroes of Legend

Having churned through the minions of Morcar for Heroquest, I decided to take a break from batch painting to tackle the four heroes: Rogar the Barbarian, Ladril the Elf, Durgin the Dwarf, and Telor
the Wizard.

One of the things that I never really appreciated until I actually started painting them is that the red plastic the models are made in reflects the colour palettes of these four in the artwork.

Ladril the Elf mixes the ability to fight with the ability to wield magic (he's clearly a bard). When I played as a hero, I used to favour this ability to do a little bit of everything over the specialisms of the Barbarian and the Wizard.

I experimented with using Apothecary White contrast paint for his hair and I like the outcome enough that I suspect that a Geralt of Rivia might be somewhere in my future.

I remember painting Telor as an Elf mage to go with the plastic High Elves that came in the 4th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle box, so it was nice to revisit the model.

I'm slightly concerned that the red gloves and cape give him a bit if a superhero vibe, but Khorne Red washed in Agrax Earthshade and then highlighted is a bit more subtle than a certain child of Krypton, so I think I get away with it.

Durgin the Dwarf is the character chosen by true connoisseurs of the game. His abilities are subtle yet powerful in ensuring the heroes survive their quests.

I've always wondered whether Durgin was based on the White Dwarf magazine logo, or the logo was based on Durgin.

Rogar the Barbarian wielding his mighty Browdsoard. Heroquest easy mode. Look at the muscularity!

Actually, please don't, I've messed up the legs and probably need to revisit them. However, I can at least feel confident that my painting has improved since the last at time I did this model.

Another 4 down (only Orcs and some furniture to go), and I'm feeling confident that I'm going to meet my goal. I'm also feeling confident that no matter what Santa brings, I have enough of a gap to still be in the black by the time the new year rolls around.

Acquired: 161
Painted: 212

There won't be any more posts until after the weekend, so I'll take this opportunity to with all my readers (both of them) a Merry (and safe) Christmas.

Sunday 19 December 2021

An Eye For Interior Design

A bit more progress on getting my Heroquest set painted before the end of the year. Another busy week of work has got in the way, so I went for a few easy wins with the furniture to go along with the three Fimir.

Fimir are one of my favourite monsters from the Warhammer universe, although they were written out many years ago die to their less than family friendly method of reproduction.

My first encounter with the Fimir was in Heroquest, where they stand between the Orcs and the Chaos Warriors in terms of toughness.

Painting them involved a significant amount of Agrax Earthshade, and I kept them uniform as I don't really imagine this almost hive-race having much in the way of individuality.

It's amazing that so many years on that the Heroquest furniture still holds up. There are definitely better options available, but pieces like this tomb are still eminently useable.

Admittedly, the cardboard elements on pieces like the fireplace ate showing their age, but I assume it's a relatively cheap method of production which I'm surprised has never really been copied.

Of the three grey pieces of furniture, the altar is the most involved, but as ever I've kept things simple. I can see this turning up in a variety of genres, especially Pulp adventures, such as further installments of Lurkers of the Deep.

Another six pieces down. I have the heroes, Orcs and the wooden furniture to do. Next up are the heroes because I want a bit of variation.

Acquired: 161
Painted: 208

Monday 13 December 2021

Lurkers From The Deep: Issue 1

The New England town of Marshport is the centre of a web of suspicious and sinister activity along with rumours of more dreadful occult practices. The authorities have gathered all their resources to raid this nest of ne'erdowells and shine the light of justice on their dark practices.

Detectives Maguire and Grant, and a small patrol from neighbouring New Haven, have joined the raid. The NHPD have been tasked with arresting Doctor Fiske, responsible for producing Fiske's Old Peculiar, a 'cure all' rumoured to give it's users a notably 'fishy' complexion.

This is the first scenario from The 7TV: Pulp feature pack Lurkers from the Deep, a Lovecraft inspired story of government agents tackling criminals, cultists and creatures from beyond.

In this scenario, I took on the role of the nefarious purveyor of a 'transformative' substance known as Fiske's Old Peculiar.

Doctor Fiske - Star
Hugo (Hulking Henchman) - Co-Star
1 Cultist with SMG (Triggerman) - Extra
3 Cultists (Bootleggers) - Extras

Meanwhile, Matt led the NHPD seeking to arrest Fiske and uncover evidence of his wrongdoing.

Detective Maguire (Amateur Sleuth) - Co-Star
Detective Grant (Stalwart Sidekick) - Co-Star
'Sarge' (Police Sergeant) - Extra
Detective Redshirt (Beat Cop) - Extra
4 Boys in Blue (Beat Cops) - Extras

Despite significant casualties on both sides, the game ended in a crushing 8-0 victory to the villains. Not only did Fiske and most of his henchpeople escape, but the police also failed an axed test at the end before they could gather any evidence.

Matt wasn't helped by one of the Cops transforming into a Fishfolk Devil on turn two, and the continuity error on the third page was the result of a cliffhanger card and allowed a weaker cultist to escape, which ultimately proved significant.

I have some building, painting and searching my miniature collection to do before we play the next scenario. Significantly I need to work out how to make a harbour.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Goblin Up The Numbers

The race to complete the full Heroquest set before New Year continues with the 6 Goblins.

As these are old school miniatures, I've gone for an old school look to thr Goblins, using Warboss Green (which we all know is clearly Goblin Green) washed with Biel-Tan Green and highlighted with a bit more Warboss Green.

I decided to add a bit of variety by making their clothing different colours. I just this simple by choosing paler colours on a similar palette and giving them a wash of Agrax Earthshade.

Obviously, I made sure that I did one of them in red as an homage to the artwork on the cards in the game.

All in all these were quite simple to do, which, given how busy this week got, was a bit of a relief.

I've now got just the Fimir, Orcs, Heroes and furniture to do. I'm feeling positive about this.

Six more painted and a few more miniatures packaged off to people as Secret Santa gifts also has a positive effect on my numbers for the year.

Acquired: 161
Painted: 202

Sunday 5 December 2021

The Finest Miniatures In All The Land

Work on my self inflicted target of painting the entire contents of the original Heroquest box before the end of the year continues.

Any man can tell what they are from over five hundred yards away because they were made in the glory days before Games Workshop was destroyed from within.

There's not an inch of pretentious over complexity about them.

This is a Gargoyle

This is an abomination.

This is a Chaos Sorcerer, who takes on multiple roles in the games. Most notably he's the almost indestructible Witch Lord, but he also doubles as Sir Ragnar, the prisoner who needs rescuing from the Orcs and later turns traitor.

If only the heroes could have spotted his evil intent.

Many a young lad, including this one, took some of their first steps in miniature painting with these fine figures.

At times, I felt like that young lad, in the process of putting far too much paint on the Chaos Warriors and struggling with the horns that merge into both the helmet and the shoulder plates because plastic casting has come on since 1989.

Another six down and chance to pay homage to one of my favourite things on the whole internet: this cracking unboxing of Heroquest.

Only 21 to go...a possibly the furniture.

Acquired: 165
Painted: 196