Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Here be Demons

After a visit to a gift shop whilst on holiday, I’ve been able to cross some problematic demons from the Forgotten Pacts expansion off the list. I say problematic because their descriptions in the book are very specific, yet I’ve been unable to find any miniatures that they could have been based on.

Thankfully the aforementioned gift shop was selling some cheap toys of seaside creatures, which fitted the bill for some of the demons quite nicely.

First off the Kaylakids: floating squid-like demons that entrap their prey with their tentacles and zap them with an electrical discharge. These are simply plastic toy jellyfish given a quick paintjob and attached to a base with some wire. I like these models and am happy with the paintjob.

Following these is a pair of Grakyuras. Basically a cross between a crab and a turtle, these demons grab their target with their large claws and fling them about before devouring them. Plastic toy crabs fitted the bill here, modified with some Greenstuff to fit the brief a little more. I’m not really happy with how I modelled these, hence the rather uninteresting paint scheme.

There are plenty more strange (and specific) demons to think about, but next in the painting queue is someone to fight them all…

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Black Sheep

There are many great captains who ply their trade among the frozen ruins of Felstad. The reasons these great warriors lead their men into battle for any wizard rich enough to employ them are as varied as the fighting men and women themselves, but often involves some kind of fall from grace in the civilised lands from whence they came.

There is one such captain however, that has possibly fallen further than most: Kazranak the Black, Emperor of the Darklands.

It was a terrible day that men first began to explore the Darklands, for soon they became corrupted by the foul and evil things that called the blasted wastes their home. Those men strong enough to survive built up petty kingdoms among the ashen rocks, dedicating their souls to mad priests and even madder gods.

These dark kingdoms bickered and fought for generations, battling each other in a constant cycle of vendettas and blood feuds punctuated by occasional slave raids into less evil lands. But this changed when Kazranak the Black ascended one particular bloodstained throne and quickly conquered the rest.

By sheer force of ironclad will this mighty warrior of darkness built a super-state from the evil kingdoms: sending huge armies of black-clad soldiers to claim swathes of territory in his name, funded by great pirate fleets that plundered the kraken-cursed seas. His empire was vast, his hordes uncountable and his ambition limitless.

And then he fell in love.

The details are hazy; nothing but rumour and hearsay; for even now, decades later; no-one dare broach the subject with this brooding warrior. Suffice to say his quest to capture the heart of his intended led to the abandonment of all other pursuits. Inattention and neglect saw his mighty empire smashed into shards by ambitious rivals, lands reclaimed by the creatures once subjugated by his fanatics and his armies and navies cast asunder by constant defeat.

So now Kazranak the Black is left with a handful of followers, subsisting as sellswords in the icy ruins at the beck and call of knowledge-hungry sorcerers. Known derisively as the ‘Black Sheep’, they plough on, hoping against hope that their leader will one day will finally find that which tears his black heart to pieces.

Finally, something painted! I’ve had these knocking around for most of the summer, and it’s nice to get back in the groove with them. I needed a couple of extra thugs and archers, so I made some out of my various plastic sprues (and a little putty to add some fur on the thug with the axe).

I also had a couple of lead figures lying around (nabbed from the LAF sprue exchange scheme, so no idea of manufacturer), so I decided to paint them all together and came up with the back story, and hence the black and grey colour scheme.

I’m pretty happy with them (my favourite is the thug with the meat cleaver and foaming over ale tankard), and glad to have something done after a very quiet (gaming-wise) summer!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

“I Aten’t Dead!”

No posts for nearly a month? Tut tut JP…
Well, blame the summer holidays, traditionally a time when wargames and blogging about such things tends to go quiet.

While I have nothing of value to write about personally, there have been some interesting things happening in the world of Frostgrave that are worthy of a mention.

Ghost Archipelago

The Ghost Archipelago has returned. A vast island chain, covered in the ruins of ancient civilizations, the Archipelago appears every few centuries, far out in the southern ocean. At such times, pirates, adventurers, wizards, and legendary heroes all descend upon the islands in the hopes of finding lost treasures and powerful artefacts. A few, drawn by the blood of their ancestors, search for the fabled Crystal Pool, whose waters grant abilities far beyond those of normal men. It is only the bravest, however, who venture into the islands, for they are filled with numerous deadly threats. Cannibal tribes, sorcerous snake-men, and poisonous water-beasts all inhabit the island ruins, guarding their treasure hordes and setting traps for the unwary.
 In this new wargame, set in the world of Frostgrave, players take on the role of Heritors, mighty warriors whose ancestors drank from the Crystal Pool. These Heritors lead their small, handpicked teams of spellcasters, rogues, and treasure hunters into the ever-shifting labyrinth of the Ghost Archipelago. Using the same rules system as Frostgrave, this standalone wargame focuses on heroes who draw on the power in their blood to perform nigh-impossible feats of strength and agility. This game also includes 30 spells drawn from five schools of magic, a host of soldier types, challenging scenarios, treasure tables, and a full bestiary of the most common creatures that inhabit the Lost Isles.

Yes, the latest in the Felstat stable of games and expansions is coming soon, and it’s a bit more piratey than previous offerings. Author Joe McCullough has already previewed the game at Gen Con 2017 and a couple of advance playtests have appeared on YouTube.

My gaming buddy Giles seems keen to dip his toes in the warmer waters, having a plentiful supply of painted pirates at his disposal. However I’m not so interested at present.

This is mainly because my storage capacity is already at breaking point with my snowy-themed Frostgrave collection, and I’m loathe to fill up precious space with miniatures and terrain of a completely different vibe.

I’m also content with the Frostgrave rules as they are written and, as I understand it, the Ghost Archipelago rules, while based on Frostgrave, are subtly different. I don’t want to confuse things (and, more likely, myself) by muddying the waters. That’s not to say that I won’t try the rules out if someone in my gaming circle buys them, but any warband of mine will have to put up with boiling under their furs!

The Triple Sprue Challenge

One interesting upshot of the release of Ghost Archipelago is the Triple Sprue Challenge, a competition currently being held by Osprey Publishing.

The rules are simple. Using one sprue from each of the Frostgrave humanoid boxes – Soldiers, Cultists, and Barbarians (sorry Gnoll-lovers) – you must create three figures: a Wizard, an Apprentice, and a Captain. You cannot delve into your bits-box for pieces from other ranges – only components from the three sprues (and some modelling putty and wire rods for spears, staffs etc. if you like) can be used.
To enter, please either email photos of your unpainted creations to info@ospreygames.co.uk or share your images on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with the hashtags #Frostgrave and #TripleSprueChallenge. All entries must be received by 30th September. We'll put together a gallery of entries at the end for everyone to enjoy.
The judges will be an elite panel of Osprey Games staff, who will be looking for clever use of the components, interesting combinations of parts, and, above all, the coolness factor. One talented winner will receive the Grand Prize: a copy of the forthcoming Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago rulebook, the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago Accessory Pack and a box of the plastic Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago Crewmen! Three runners-up will each receive a copy of the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago rulebook (updated from a 20% discount voucher for the rulebook).

Now I love kitbashing figures from different plastic sprues, indeed I have a handful of soldiers primed and ready to paint, but again I’m not getting involved in this. This is because I don’t have the requisite soldier and cultist sprues needed to qualify (I have a shedload of barbarian sprues, and Gnolls, though they don’t count).

Sounds like a great competition though, and I’m eager to see what creations other people come up with!

Local Stuff

Unlike me, Giles has been putting on, and blogging about, a few Frostgrave games recently and they’ve been good fun to read. If you aren’t a follower of his blog, go and take a look!

I also hear tell of a Thaw of the Liche Lord campaign kicking off at the Hereford Wargames Club. I’m pleased that there are a handful of gamers in the club who I have managed to infect with Frostgrave-itis.

Once the kids are back at school and things are back to normal I hope to get a few more games in myself. Speaking of which, I’ve been invited to set up a Frostgrave table at the next all-dayer at the HerefordshireBoard Gamers Club on Saturday 23rd September – should be fun!

Other than that, I have the aforementioned soldiers to paint up, and a rather fruitful visit to a souvenir shop while on holiday to work on...

Monday, 24 July 2017

The Evil Shed

One of the Ulterior Motive cards calls for a wooden shack, within which the walls have been daubed with hideously evil markings. This building has been discovered by one of your warband and must be destroyed!

I could have probably knocked up some jerrybuilt shack, but found this MDF old shed kit from Charlie Foxtrot Models and thought it looked pretty cool. I also had the last of my bonus to spend, so into the shopping cart it went!

A nice, easy build and a good piece that fulfils the card requirements and isn't going to to fill up my terrain box.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Who Let the Dogs Out?

With sickly green tongues coated with acidic bile, running over razor sharp fangs, the Bile Hounds (from the Forgotten Pacts supplement) are on the loose!

Today I present a pair of demonic hounds from the always excellent Heresy Miniatures for your delectation – one standing and the other landing. These models need some assembly, but nothing too taxing, and come with a choice of heads.

I painted these up to look like some sort of Black Shuck devil dog, whilst hinting at their corrosive bite by painting the tongue and the spines yellowy-green. The graduation from green to yellow looks a little less abrupt in real life than in the photos.

Nice minis – always happy to give a shout out to Heresy. If you don’t have any of their figures then you’re missing out!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Night of the Hunter


The creature dropped his vessel into an orbital pattern and scanned the surface of the planet. This was the first inhabited world he had discovered since travelling through the wormhole and thus merited special attention.

His mandibles clicked as the main display screen flickered with readings. The planet abounded with a wide variety of xeno-forms; including many bipeds similar to the prey he had hunted on the planet the natives called Earth. But there were other, more unusual readings too: things with ambiguous life-signs, elusive ethereal bio-signatures and strange mechanical beings with no noticeable energy source.

Most intriguing of all was the readings given off by bizarre pockets of energy that pulsed and flowed in strange patterns. They flickered intermittently over a small archipelago in the equatorial region, but were mostly concentrated in an area in the northern hemisphere. If the scanners were to be believed, it was if the very laws of physics were in flux.

The creature leaned forward and jabbed the controls, commanding his vessel to land near this strange area. Skulls, weapons and other trophies rattled behind him as the craft shuddered through the atmosphere. The creature switched his monitor to visual, easing his ship towards the vast ruined city that lay before him. He growled in anticipation: he could feel that a most challenging hunt lay before him…

One of the Ulterior Motives cards calls for a hunter that stalks one’s warband and is able to teleport around the board. Now I could have used any monster figure for this, but the idea suddenly hit me that this teleportation could in fact be a creature that can turn itself invisible, ready to strike from anywhere. Of course there can be only one thing for this - the Predator!

I found a Copplestone figure on eBay, which I duly bought and painted up – it felt a bit weird painting a sci-fi mini for Frostgrave, but I’m pretty pleased with how he came out!

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Frost Collection Kickstarter

I've been contacted by Tim of Oz Clay Creations (here's a link to their Facebook page), who's spreading the word about a new Kickstarter campaign called The Frost Collection: Scatter Terrain For The Frozen City (here's the Kickstarter link)

This Kickstarter hopes to provide pieces of small resin terrain, designed to meet the many and varied Frostgrave scenario requirements, for example telescopes, corpse markers, altar with captive prince and so forth.

There are various sets on offer, with painted and unpainted options, as well as numerous stretch goals. Might be worth checking out!

(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with this in anyway and take no responsibility for the success or failure of the project)