Sunday 25 February 2024

Whirling Death: A Tale of 4 Armies

Progress continues with getting my Wood Elf Army rebased for Warhammer: The Old World with what are, to my mind, the quintessential Warhammer Wood Elf unit: the Wardancers.

I say this in full knowledge of the fact that many will consider Glade Guard or the mighty Treeman to be more iconic. There might even be folk out there that idolise the heady days of the four-horse chariot racing between the trees.

However, Glade Guard (Archers) and Treemen are arguably lifted straight out of the pages of Tolkien (whilst the chariot was a gloriously silly thing), whereas Wardancers have always felt very much a Warhammer concept.

Although I may be wrong about this as almost all of Games Workshop's IP is nicked from somewhere, Wardancers make Warhammer Wood Elves different and are responsible, I think, for pushing the design team in a more tribal direction over time, away from the well used tropes of Middle Earth.

Although I didn't strip these models, they did need fairly extensive work doing. I used my original base coat and wash paint job as a starting point and set about highlighting up pretty much every aspect of the models.

I was somewhat surprised to discover how slack I'd been at trimming flash from these models, and so there was a fair bit of tidying up to do.

The miniatures are from a range of iterations of Wardancers and I think the guy with the spear is the oldest of the bunch.

As well as cleaning up untidy paint jobs, I also took the hair and leaves to brighter yellow and green respectively to give the miniatures a bit more 'pop' on the tabletop.

Simultaneously I calmed down the orange, using Ratskin Flesh, as my Trollslayer Orange had dried up and I'm impatient. Having said that, it gives them a more earthy tone that I like.

I also took the time to get some difference between some of the browns use on the models, something I'd not bothered with previously. This also adds some visual interests.

As I'd used orange on the model, the orange leaves aren't as crucial for this unit, but it does tie the army together well.

I've now actually managed to physically rebase the entire army except for the Treeman and the Treekin as they are currently having layers of sludge removed from them. The characters and cavalry are next in line for the tidying up treatment.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 201
Lead Mountain: 849

Thursday 22 February 2024

Awakening of the Wood: A Tale of 4 Armies

And back to the forest I go for, I believe, the only unit for the Wood Elves that is actually still available on the Games Workshop website: Dryads.

Not that I ever buy direct from GW; that way madness lies.

Dryads are one of those kits that I remember to actually be a bit of a pleasure to both assemble and paint. They used to come in a box of 12 (it's 16 now) and had enough bits and variation to make every model pretty unique looking.

They also had really dynamic poses for the time, and really sinister look, so I can see why they have remained part of the Age of Sigmar range.

In fact, I think that the Dryads might have dictated the direction that the Sylvaneth (that the copywritable name GW gave to Wood Elves) range went in.

On top of that, when it came to painting, a brown base coat with a wash, followed by picking out the leaves and eyes got them looking good very quickly.

So much so that when it came to rebasing this unit, I felt no need to do any repainting at all, except for changing the eye colour.

In fact the only irritating thing about the unit was that they came in a box of 12, but the minimum unit size was 8.

Fortunately, there were enough spare bits on the sprues for me to fashion three extra Dryads emerging from the ground, something that looks much better following the rebase thanks to the Green Stuff World leaves, giving them an ambushing vibe.

I then took my total to 16, and two units by adding the metal special character model Drycha to one of the units as this was still cheaper than buying a second box.

Amusingly, now that Dryads are available as boxes of 16, Warhammer: The Old World allows you to take units of ca change...

Drycha serves as the Nymph (unit champion) for the unit, whilst a conveniently placed animal skull identifies the Nymph in the other unit.

You'll notice that Drycha and the second unit have a more yellowish hue than the first. This is to make the units distinguishable on the tabletop (the first unit also have leaves).

Previously I had achieved this by giving them a light drybrush of a bone colour, as I was aiming for a silver birch sort of effect. However, during the rebase I gave them a coat of Skeleton Horde contrast paint to make them less jarring.

Apart from unit numbers, the reason I didn't originally use Drycha as a Branchwraith (a Dryad character) was that I had a plan to convert one of the Juan Diaz Daemonettes.

It's nothing more clever than Dryad bits stuck to the Daemonette body: notably replacing the claw arm with a Dryad arm and having lots of branches protruding from her head and back.

I'm aware that the camera really suggests that over ten years ago I really should have thinned my paints when doing the skin. However I'm leaving this model as it is for three reasons.

Firstly, I didn't want strip the model as I like it and I'm not sure that I would achieve the same effect again. Secondly, adding even more paint could just ruin it. Finally, the overly thick paint gives her skin a 'bark-like' texture which seems appropriate, suggesting that her alluring appearance is an illusion.

I'm only counting eight of these as having been painted, as one unit and the Branchwraith only had their eyes done. Still, it's nice to make some quick progress towards getting the full army done.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 193
Lead Mountain: 849

Tuesday 20 February 2024

The Lady's Wrath: A Tale of 4 Armies

We ride to war!

After a furious bout of painting, rebasing and rule reading, I've finally managed to get a game of Warhammer: The Old World.

Pete relented and agreed to give me a game, mainly because he's also being pestered by Mike, and so I saddled up my Bretonnians and prepared for battle.

As this would be a learning game, we decided to keep it simple and only have 1000 points each. In a further bid for simplicity (and less to remember) I also opted to include no magic items.

My army was as follows:

  • Duke on Hippogryph
  • Paladin with Battle Standard
  • Damsel on Bretonnian Warhorse (Lvl 1)
  • 8 Knights of the Realm
  • 5 Knights Errant
  • 3 Pegasus Knights
  • 10 Peasant Archers (skirmishers)
My Damsel opted to take The Lady's Gift spell from the Lore of the Lady as this was something she stood a chance of casting successfully and might help the knights weather the storm of shot that was going to inevitably head their way.

It was inevitable because Pete had brought along his Dwarfs, which are the oldest fantasy army he has as far as I know, and he went for what has always seemed a fairly standard set up.

  • Dwarf King
  • Dwarf Thane
  • 15 Longbeards
  • 20 Dwarf Warriors
  • 10 Thunderers
  • 1 Cannon
  • 1 Grudge Thrower

Only the King was 'runed-up' with the Master Rune of Skalf Blackhammer and a couple of Runes of Fury, making him somewhat dangerous to face in combat.


Due to the small size of the game, we opted to play on a 4'x4' table and used the suggested terrain amount in the rulebook, leaving us with quite an open field.

The Dwarfs opted for a classic castle formation, with the Thunderers and artillery in the centre, with the infantry blocks securing the flanks.

I opted to split my deployment. On my left I put my Knights of the Realm and my Pegasus Knights. I had an idea that I might be able to turn the flank of the Dwarfs if these two units could hit the Dwarf Warriors at the same time.

I also put my skirmishers in amongst the ruins.You won't be seeing much of them in this battle as they did absolutely nothing of note, except not dying.

On my right I put the Knights Errant 25" away from the Thunderers. Their job was to ride onto the jaws of death with the goal of silencing these deadly missiles troops.

My general heroically positioned himself behind the abandoned Grail Chapel. This was a decision driven by piety (what better place to pray to the Lady?) and absolutely nothing to do with hiding from a cannon.

On the subject of praying, I obviously did and so the Dwarfs would take the first turn.

Dwarf Turn 1

In classic Dwarven fashion, Pete opted to slip the command and movement phases and went straight to shooting, and his artillery opened up with roaring fury, ripping into my Knights of the Realm, whose long flank was impossible to hide.

Dwarven aim was true and the Lady seemingly abandoned the Knights as three were blasted from their saddles, reinforcing the sense of urgency required in getting across the battlefield.

Despite the accuracy of the war machines, I was helped by the fact that the cannonball stuck in the ground after disintegrating one Knight, and both of the characters in the unit escaped harm.

Additionally, Pete didn't realise that Thunderers can now move and shoot (with a penalty) and so missed a round of inaccurate shooting with them.

Bretonnia Turn 1

Pete's traditional Dwarven opening volley was met with an equally traditional Bretonnian advance as almost every unit matched forwards.

The only unit that didn't were the Peasants, but the less said about them the better.

I opted to move my general more towards the centre of my army. A decision which had nothing to do with his proximity to a tooled up Dwarf King.

I actually moved my general to give me options on where to send him as I suspected that my depleted Knights might now struggle to break the Dwarf Warriors, even with help from the Pegasus Knights, especially if they took more casualties from Pete's shooting.

Dwarf Turn 2

In a shocking turn of events, the Dwarfs made use of their movement phase. The Longbeards wheeled to threaten the flank of any unit that charged the Thunderers.

In retrospect, this was a moment when the new rules really made a difference, but this wouldn't be apparent until later.

The Dwarf line opened up again, but to much less impact. Whilst the cannon (a much reduced threat in the new rules) took two wounds off the Bretonnian Lord, the Thunderers failed to have any impact on the Knights Errant. The Lady of the Lake had clearly decided that she would intervene today as they made three 6+ ward saves.

To add injury to insult, the Grudge Thrower misfired and destroyed itself, leaving the Bretonnian advance pretty much unscathed.

Bretonnian Turn 2

In move that surprised absolutely nobody, the Bretonnians charged at the first opportunity. The Lord on his Hippogryph led the line and was joined by the Knights of the Realm and Pegasus Knights in piling into the Dwarf Warriors.

It was a lacklustre charge in which saw the Knights Errant narrowly win combat on a technicality and force the Thunderers to give ground, part of the new combat resolution rules.

This drove the Thunderers back 2" and the Knights Errant followed up, narrowly taking them out of the charge arc of the Longbeards.

This was the significance of the Longbeards' move earlier. Unfamiliarity with the new rules meant Pete wasn't factoring in the push back with his positioning, which meant that it would be another turn before he could get this powerful unit into action.

In other news, the Dwarf Warriors were ripped apart, failed their break test and we're run down by the Pegasus Knights (deliberately) and the Knights of the Realm (accidentally)

The general restrained his pursuit and reformed to face the remaining Dwarfs.

This was a very successful turn only marred by the Damsel failing to cast her spell at the beginning of it.

Dwarf & Bretonnian Turn 3

I forgot to take any photos on Dwarf Turn 3, but given that all that happened was that the Longbeards and Cannon repositioned whilst the Thunderers and Knights Errant gently shoved each other, this isn't really a surprise.

However, on the Bretonnian turn there was more action. The Damsel finally managed to successfully cast The Lady's Gift on the Knights of the Realm (which would stay in place until the end of the game).

Then the charging continued. The Pegasus Knights went into the flank of the Thunderers whilst the Lord on his large Hippogryph took advantage of being able see over the combat to charge the Cannon.

Unsurprisingly, the Cannon crew were killed in short order. However, the stalwart Thunderers once again held their ground, killing two of the Knights Errant, leaving the Longbeards and opportunity to finally get into combat.

Dwarf Turn 4

The Longbeards charged, taking them out of the Bretonnian General's charge arc and into the Knights Errant.

However, despite this, the Dwarfs really struggled to penetrate the Bretonnian armour and so the Bretonnians held and only gave ground.

Bretonnian Turn 4 onwards...

The Knights of the Realm came thundering in and blows were exchanged. The Dwarfs took light casualties and were pushed back.

The battle lasted for three full turns and saw both the Thunderers and Knights Errant finally destroyed. The Dwarfs were pushed back, despite the King slaying the Paladin, and their fate was sealed on Bretonnian turn five when the Hippogryph tore apart the rear of the unit and put the rest to flight.

Final Thoughts

After one game, I like it.

This is fundamentally the same game as Warhammer Fantasy Battle 6th/7th edition and seems to have removed everything I disliked about 8th.

I like how the new combat resolution mechanic adds a nuance that wasn't present before which needs to be considered. This left Pete's Longbeards out of the fight a bit too long, and suggests that some old wisdom about deployment needs to be reconsidered.

It's hard to say anything concrete about the new magic system as we had so little, but I did like the fact that Pete could try to dispel my 'remains in play' spell Rach turn.

The game was severely impacted by a couple of issues in the new rules. War machines are less deadly and cavalry charges are more guaranteed, which in a Bretonnia/Dwarf clash is quite significant. Dwarfs might need to put more thought into match blocking and redirection that previously.

For me, the star of the show was the Lord on Hippogryph, who was a force of wanting destruction. Perhaps indicating a return to a world of Herohammer.

I suspect that he might find himself facing more cannon the next time he goes up against the Dwarfs, and he's almost certainly got a somewhat terminal appointment with Pete's High Elf Dragon Prince in his future.

Observant readers will realise that this is a new model for the army, and that he's not actually riding a Hippogryph. The differences between Griffons and Hippogryphs are negligible and there's no chance for confusion in game as only Hippogryphs are available to the Bretonnian army.

I've had the Griffon model knocking around part painted for years and bought a painted Knight of the Realm model at Vapnartak a couple of weeks ago. The colours worn by the Knight just needed highlighting to be more akin to my army and the Griffon needed finishing off.

I'm delighted that he avoided new model syndrome and I'm really pleased with this first foray into Warhammer: The Old World.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 177
Lead Mountain: 849

Sunday 18 February 2024

Hail of Doom: A Tale of 4 Armies


Continuing with the rebase of my Wood Elf army, I've turned my attention to the core of the army; the backbone of the Asrai; the thin brown line...urgh...that sounds wrong...the Glade Guard.

In Warhammer: The Old World, the Wood Elf army requires at least one unit of Glade Guard to be included. This rule takes me back to the 3rd edition Warhammer Armies book and the reason why I never started a Wood Elf army back then...because in 3rd you had to include 30 archers before you could pick anything else.

As it happens, I do actually have 30 archers in total, but felt like a lot to a teenager getting by on pocket money and deliberately unspent lunch money.

Anyway, I basically followed the same approach as with the Deepwood Scouts, the major differences being that the cloaks are a lighter colour and so needed more definite shading and highlighting to get them consistent and as they aren't wearing hoods I decided the hair needed to be more vibrant than it was.

Going through this process with 20 models took me back to the reason why I wasn't a more motivated painter in my youth: batch painting.

As a teenager, Warhammer Fantasy Battle was the primary reason I was buying miniatures (along with a chunk of Bloodbowl) and I found the chore of painting whole units overwhelming and so never got very far.

I think that if I'd been playing something with more individual character models (perhaps even 40k) I might have learned to enjoy the process sooner.

Anyway, getting all twenty done was a bit of a slog. I did have a bit of remodelling to do as I wanted to remove the two standard heaters from the units as they are a bit of a gift to the opponent on units that don't stand up well in combat.

I previously only included them because tournaments were insisting on a certain amount of standards in an army as some factions gained an advantage from not having them. They had their benefits as I could use them as bait to draw an opponent in, but I've decided to forgo standards for now.

The only model I've painted from scratch in in this batch is the somewhat large headed unit champion that older readers might recognise as Torallion Leafstar, the Elven player character from Advanced Heroquest.

Basing was also done in the same way as the Deepwood Scouts and I'm really liking the splash of colour the orange leaves bring.

I'm pleased with the progress this week as I feel this was a hump I needed to get over and the Wood Elves will start to move more quickly.

I've now bought some of the newer sized bases for the Dryads, Treeman, Treekin and cavalry (no, I did not pay GW's ridiculous prices for these) and so will crack on with rebasing the rest of the army. I'm aiming to do less repainting with the Dryads, so I should hopefully have them ready soon. However, I do intend to strip the Treeman and Treekin as I really want to do those models justice.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 176
Lead Mountain: 850

Sunday 11 February 2024

If You Go Down to the Woods Today: A Tale of 4 Armies

Well, it's not really a big surprise given that I said I'd be moving on to my Wood Elves.

I've moved on to my Wood Elves.

Specifically some Deepwood Scouts, which are essentially Glade Guard with the ability to skirmish and, well...erm...scout.

I distinguished my Scouts when I first built and painted them by giving them hoods and making their cloaks a darker brown, which is more than enough to make it clear on the table top.

Now that they are back to proper skirmishing, rather than that bizarre checkerboard ranking they had to endure in 8th edition, it's even clearer.

As my Wood Elves are much newer than my Vampire Counts army, there wasn't that much that needed doing on them.

I gave each model a wash of Agrax Earthshade and a dry brush of Ushabti Bone to pick out details. I then went back over the skin, stitching and gold trim to highlight them up.

The drybrush didn't look right on the cloaks so I gave them a coat of Wyldwood contrast paint.

I finally decided to give the bows and arrows a more wood-like colour and so went with Baneblade Brown and a coat of Skeleton Horde contrast paint.

Finally I finished off the arrows with white fletchings.

Obviously, the big issue that needed addressing were the bases. I'd previously transferred this army onto MDF multi-bases for Kings of War, and opted for moving them back over to Warhammer: The Old World onto the new 25mm base sizes to give me an army I could to take to play with outside of my immediate gaming group.

I'm not certain I'm going to go to events, but it gives me the option.

I figured popping them off MDF would be fairly straightforward, but I was wrong. It was a real challenge to get them off what were incredibly strongly bonded bases without snapping any legs or feet. In fact, the force needed actually broke a couple at the waist joints (yes, I assembled plastic miniatures with super glue, what of it?).

I'd never been fully happy with my basing of my Wood Elves, either for Warhammer Fantasy Battle or Kings of War. I think this because I'd gone for more browns, which had made everything look a bit drab.

So this time I aimed for a dash of colour to provide contrast.

My initial basing was done with Stirland Mud and a few small stones glued in place and washed with Agrax Earthshade. Then I added some Battle Zone Field Scatter from Javis Countryside Scenics which is pre-mixed flock with varied colours including grey and pale orange stone and darker, more wintery green static grass.

The final touch was some Autumn Leaf Litter from Green Stuff World to add that splash of colour. It's not actually as vibrant in real life as in the pictures, but it does set off the brown models and should really tie the army together as I used orange for some of my elite units.

I ended up doing more work on this unit than I intended, but I'm really pleased with how they look now. I've started in on 20 more Glade Guard to get the core of the army done before I start moving to the more unique units.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 156
Lead Mountain: 851

Saturday 10 February 2024

Final Countdown: A Tale of 4 Armies

When I set myself the goal of getting my existing Warhammer Fantasy armies tidied up with their backlogs fully painted, I didn't think that I'd have two of them done by the beginning of February.

Admittedly, the Bretonnians were already done, but I have got my entire Vampire Counts army fixed, touched up, in some cases repainted and everything from my Lead Mountain finished off.

These two are the final nails in the coffin of this particular section of my personal challenge. A mounted Vampire Counts and a Wight Lord Battle Standard Bearer.

One of them has been in my army for a long, long time, whilst the other was constructed totally from my bits box.

The Vampire Count has been built to represent the Red Duke, the main villain from the Circle of Blood campaign pack and the body was taken from an Empire knight (I think) I had kicking round. The armour reminded me of that worn by Gary Oldman in the Dracula movie in which the main villain was Keanu Reeves' 'English' accent.

He's mounted on a spare Bretonnian Warhorse as the Red Duke is Bretonnian, so that makes sense. The head is actually the original one from the model serving as my Necromancer on foot. The cloak comes from a Frostgrave sprue, the sword is from the Empire Militia kit and the shield is actually from the Zombie Dragon rider.

I had to get a little creative with the right shoulder pad as the Bretonnian arm I used didn't match the left arm. However, I turned to that most useful of kits, the Horus Heresy Leviathan Dreadnought, and carved something appropriate out of the ball socket on the spare foot.

I'm not sure if it comes out ont the photos, but the armour is done with Fleshtearer's Red contrast paint over silver, again trying to evoke Gary Oldman...but also, he's the Red Duke.

I still have a transfer shortage and so Salamanders decals were used to match the Black Knights. Also, it looks like a dragon, and armoured vampires are Blood Dragons, so it works in my head cannon.

Overall, I'm pleased with him. I now have all the Undead characters I need for the Circle of Blood and I have three different Vampires to lead my army: on foot in an infantry block, mounted with Black Knights, or on a Zombie Dragon being shot by cannonballs.

My Battle Standard Bearer is from the ancient Skeleton War Machines boxed set. His name is Reaper as he used to carry a scythe and be holding a decapitated head.

Due to breakages he got repurposed into a BSB Manny years ago, but his banner was actually the horned skull from the from of the chariot. Rebuilding that model meant ripping this one apart and so he got stripped, repainted and a new banner added.

I'm quite proud of this banner.

Long time readers of the blog will know that I usually avoid freehand like the plague. However, given the fact that I couldn't really lay a transfer over the stitching on the flag, I felt I had no option.

I went for stippling with a variety of blues the creat the sky, and then did the same with great for the land, which I carefully edge with pale grey to give it definition. The tower is a very simple affair with only notional highlighting, but I think it works.

The banner doesn't quite fit the colour theme or mood of the army, but that helps it stand out, and I like the idea that it's a tapestry torn from the walls of his castle and restitched together.

With these two models done, I've now completed the 'revamp' of my army. I still can't quite do full armies for the Circle of Blood as the first scenario requires 1500 point force drawn only from Skeletons, Zombies, Ghouls, Spirit Hosts and Skeleton Horsemen (which aren't a thing in Warhammer: The Old World), led by a single level 2 Necromancer.

I will need to put some thought into how I tackle this. Perhaps I can draft in Tomb Kings allies as the Skeleton Horsemen, get some Dire Wolves (as their battlefield role is similar) or more likely add a unit of ghouls.

However, that's for later. My Vampire Counts are done for now and I'm moving on to rebasing my Wood Elves.

In other news, I went to my first show in a long while and attended Vapnartak at York Racecourse. As ever, there were lots of excellent boards on display, my favourite was possibly this Battle of Scarif table done in a very small scale.

Display boards are great for getting ideas, and although this board was trying to sell me a medieval game, I was more interested in where the Trebuchets came from.

They are apparently from WizKids and come as a single piece, either painted or unpainted. Either way they are significantly cheaper than Games Workshop's offering and looked really good on the board.

Shows are a great way to remind yourself of lapsed projects and this Venetian board (which I don't think was actually for Carnevale) made me recall that I still have some Gondoliers to paint.

Obviously, going to a show meant buying a few things, and one of the best features of Vapnartak is their bring and buy section, which always provides a bargain or two.

This year it provided a Mordor Troll still on sprue for Lord of the Rings and a painted Bretonnian Knight, who is destined for the back of a flying beastie.

Still on a Bretonnian theme I picked up a box of Fireforge Mounted Sergeants to use as Mounted Yeomen. They were reduced in price so 16 models ended up costing about half the price of 3 from Games Workshop.

Finally, I popped by the Crooked Dice stand to say hi to Karl and pick up the Resistance leaders from 'V'. My 7TV: the 80s Kickstarter is due to be delivered this month and it includes some more Visitors, and so I figured I'd need to start the fight back.

So I've achieved a good amount, but I've also gained miniatures. However, I'm pleased I'm now at a point where I can, according to my own rules, add to the Vampires as I see fit.

Acquired: 10
Painted: 146
Lead Mountain: 851