Saturday, 26 March 2016

Hypaspists done

The final nail in my macedonian army ... all other parts are for successors and later. I had been using thureophoroi as stand in hypaspists but now i have the real deal.

Miniatures are forged in battle. I lean toward the spear armed view of this unit simply due to its varied uses on the battlefield ... although i can envisage they could change weapons as the need arose. I must say that in the 400 pt sword and spear army that i run, i can't afford them as actual hypaspists but run them as hoplites. I use them as a connection between my phalanx and my cavalry usually which is a specialised role well suited to the hypaspist.

 The final figures of my pike army is on the bench and i can see an end in sight. I   have already painted around 20 units with 6 to go ... two of them lights, one medium and 3 heavies left.

 Incidentally these hypaspists may well be used as imitation legionaries in Mithridates army as they have spear and javelin ... but the round shield may not be accurate ... but then again we aren't too sure about the details of imitation legionaries so who can say.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Even More Terrain

For those of you that have played a IHMN game at Throbbington Manor , or have seen some of my Egypt styled posts before, then nothing may appear new.

 But wait just a moment! Added to this table is quite a bit. I have been silently building the caps or tops for my desert hills, some mesa-like columns of rock and two extended bridge pieces. I wanted to have arching walkways stretching across the table (but not so high that your figures topple off and break.) I wanted to have daring escapades where characters run across these divides under a hail of bullets while deadly hand-to-hand takes place beneath.

 With these I decided, after the idea came bubbling up from the section of my mind that houses memories of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", to have a bit of a set up (I'm not playing games atm due to caring for my newly arrived daughter) and take an image or two to see if it all worked like it did in my head. (I do indeed like a set up of wargaming figures and terrain ... esp new pieces I have finished and - I believe - this helps me think of new ideas and enables me to see how the pieces can be used.)

 And the following was created ... an archaeological dig site in the middle of Egypt ready to lure the curious and greedy alike into the parched sands - which may be hiding some malevolent ancient power ... I'm quivering with the adjectival eruptions already.

First shot ... vanilla. I'd try and point out the hill caps ... but they have blended in very well that it would be a long boring description. 

With my mediocre photography skills and camera, I tried for vanilla and a bit of a lower angle. 

Trying to show those overhead walkways ... each is around 3 inches from the tabletop. Should be enough room for miniatures and some of my chubby fingers. 

Hey, I forgot the trees. Palms now present ... more images! Hey, there's a cap in the centre foreground - the third layer of the hill with a nobbly boulder atop it. 

The main section of the temple and the longest of the bridge or walkway sections ... around 2 feet. 

And now with some miniatures ... the diabolical Professor Abir and members of the Ancient Nubian order dedicated to preparing for the return of the Pharaoh. 

The greedy members of Abdullah's Slaving Bastards have arrived to pillage the tombs of their ancestors. These men care nothing for morality and fear the whips of their master more than the threat of eldritch curses. They are making their way across the longest of the walkway sections. The walkway is support by the rock columns I made recently. 

The confrontation between fanatic and base villain ... By the way, some of my favourite Slaving Bastards are present here (Al-Hurun - the Arabic super-hero, Fat Fakir, Farook and Jabar.) All my colonial miniatures sport name tags and I, and others, love the narrative additions and opportunities this delivers to gameplay. I have watched players chase around meaningless characters in game terms just because it is the same person that shot "so-and-so" last time.) 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Frustrated Gamer ... Diddles about

I'm not really frustrated, I just can't play at the moment. After the birth of my first child, Ella, last Friday, I'm currently out of the gaming circuit.

So what does a non-playing wargaming addict do? He diddles about with himself, to wit ... setting up figures, gazing longing at them, taking photographs, painting when able and making some more terrain. I'll post about my new adventure gaming terrain soon but this one is about the images of my Macedonian army. This is the latest army to the Throbbington gaming stables and one of my favourites. The basing has only just been completed (two weeks ago approx.)

 It must be first said ... I do not take a good photo.

Above, in the slightly blurred image, is Polydamus and Onomastus, my two elephants. I simply love how these two brutes turned out. Forged in Battle. 

The light troops are very photogenic. Xyston miniatures. For only lights they make a dazzling impression (at least to my eyes) on the battlefield. 

The engine room of the Macedonian army ... the pikemen. I'm going to name each unit. The massed effect is something I have become enamored with. I went to four ranks deep rather than 3. I might the right decision. Back to Forged in Battle ... my favourites. 

Xyston hoplites. I must say that I had a devil of a time painting these and I'm not 100% certain of the outcome. From this distance they look every bit the stolid defenders of Hellas ... and I show them confidence on the table which they have invariably repaid holding the left flank of the phalanx. 

Alexander himself, bedecked in royal purple ... I envisage from the later stages of his Asian campaign. Behind him is the temple to ... I haven't decided. Apollo is the all purpose god, but then again it may be a sanctuary which favours more than one. 

Commander of the left flank, Kraterus. I imagine him as the bulwark of my force, often asked to hold against great odds. Almost like a Parmenio ... with the treachery issues. 

The daring and noble hero of the right - Ptolemy. He has never failed in battle and his men always rise to the challenge when his bright blue cloak is seen flapping behind his galloping horse. 

Down the battle line, didn't really work this photo. I have 19 units complete. All based and prepared for use with Sword and Spear rules as my gaming group simply loves them. I do like them but would be happy to try the Arte de Guerre - just to suck and see. 

Well, there it is ... a Macedonian, Successor and soon to be Mithridatic army almost done. I believe I have around 6-7 units to paint and the entire project will be complete with an enormous choice of units enabling the recreation of phalanx style armies from their inception to the end of their use. 

As I final note I would like to put on record that I have NO interest whatsoever in using this force as a gammy and cheesy Seleucid or Bactrian army - these feature so heavily in ancients wargames it makes me want to puke! (The scythed chariots will only be used by Mithridates.) I like armies that are not filled with elite troops to the detriment of rank + file who did the bulk of the fighting in history but can be 'chosen' around when army lists allow too many restricted choices. 

The army above will belong to Phillip, Alexander, Ptolemy, Cassander, Kraterus, Demetrius, Antigonus, Lysimachus, Eumenes, Mithridates and possibly even Pyrrhus. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

Mithridates getting closer

Here is my next step toward putting the army of Mithridates on the field ... scythed chariots ... my Sarmatians are just visible in reserve ... just some thureophoroi to go!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

IHMN Esoteric Extravaganza Backstory Episode 2

Blood from Wily Nassif’s battered and ulcerated mouth dropped metronomically to the floor of the sparse and dusty cell. The enthusiastic interrogation techniques of the best of Scotland Yard’s constables had been utilised to their fullest to attain information after Nassif’s capture during the catastrophic disaster that was the culmination of the Esoteric Extravaganza. 
While Sergeant Bustard recovered his breath from a recent session with Nassif, Dr Watson consulted Mr. Holmes who observed impassively from a corner. Greyish plumes of smoke emanated from his pipe to seemingly correspond with conclusions as each sparse response was drawn from the tightened lips of Nassif. These mostly confirmed the blatantly obvious … London was in ruins and the Empire in disarray. The time gates, opened by the actions of the Sultan of Baksheesh, alias Abdullah, continued to belch forth the abominations of past aeons turning modern London into a nightmare visage of all that was violent and perverse from the possible history of the world. Into this pause in interrogation, a moment of silence, contemplation and compose, another form seeped into the room. 
“A response to this line of questioning seems unlikely to pluck ripe fruit, Dr Watson.” Each word of the sentence seemed to snap promptly and abruptly shut with the deliberateness and decisiveness of hard wooden heels impacting upon rigid cobble-stones. The detective raised his glance just a little, drew deeply from his pipe, and a slow exhale was his only reply. 
Again the precise voice spoke. “A more rigorous line may indeed be needed. Something quite outside the constabulary directives." 
“No doubt you used the tunnels beneath this establishment to reach us,” stated Holmes. 
“It would take an obtuse mind indeed to neglect to connect the hero of the conservative establishment with ‘St. Swithern of the Burning Orifice’s Hospice for the Cruelly Abused,’ came the exacting reply. “Do you not suppose the loss of our wonderfully decadent metropolis plagues me also?” questioned the mysterious figure. “The subtraction of the sublime pleasure of rollicking through Whitechapel’s alleys and dissecting its forlorn inhabitants bothers me acutely.” 
“But my trail,” interjected Holmes, “was not a garish and tormented tableau of blood.” As he spoke these words he rested a light hand on his stalwart companions shoulder to restrain him from beginning to pulverise their new acquaintance. Even Watson had deduced his identity. 
“Whether you recoil from my achievements or not,” continued the benighted reclining figure, “now is not the time for the two greatest bulwarks of the Empire to bicker. We can either combine our intellects to the problem at hand … or perish just as London perishes beneath cloven hooves now. Our salvation rests in the methods of our tormentors.” 
“Devil …” Watson spat forth the words, “do you devise that we directly drive toward the demesne of the diabolically discriminating Dr Dias? Deluding the denizens which delay us may deliberately invite our deaths.” 
“While he might be droll …” the figure paused to smirk,”he’s no dullard,” directing his gaze to Watson. “Once we have the good doctor, keeping him safe until we can reach one of the portals will require heroics to which I am most unaccustomed. But I believe what follows will be my speciality.” 
“You mean to step through time to slay the man that precipitated this fiasco,” Holmes added with growing fervour. “You seek to use the weapon of the enemy against him.” 
The mysterious visitor had already turned away leaving his final response to echo behind him through the catacomb-like corridor of his egress. “I’ll rendezvous with you and your lackeys behind Margery Slackgrogan’s Depilatory Boutique in three hours. From there our assault will commence. They will be sure to be waiting.” 
“Their sorcery will surely reveal our stratagem more promptly than our deduction, Watson,” Holmes said gravely. He crouched plucking a single fine hair from the floor which had only just settled after being ejected from the stranger’s whirling cape as he departed. 
Holmes ruminated silently. Bertie is certainly brighter than a goldfish, but I sincerely wish he neglects to bring the corgis.

Part 2 of the Esoteric Extravaganza IHMN event coming soon ... dare I say the 'Empire strikes Back'?

Esoteric Extravaganza Backstory Episode 1

In co-operation with IHMN and Throbbington Productions ... an epic tale of action, adventure and duplicity ... filled with daring heroes and swarthy villains ... the greatest Empire on Earth will be imperiled ... and coming soon to a wargaming table near you ... "The Sultan of Baksheesh." 
After the death of her beloved, Albert, Queen Victoria gifted to her capital a profound fascination with the occult. Over the years this fascination has grown to become a melancholy mania as the masters of the world seek answers about the challenges which await in another world where their technological mastery and ingenuity appear to mean nothing. 
In conjunction with the upcoming Empire Day grand parade in London, the organisers have added an ambitious addition to celebrations ... "The Esoteric Extravaganza!" 
The Extravaganza will summon from the furthest flung parts of the Empire every mullah, swami, brahmin, guru, monk, prophet, mystic, medium, psychic, shaman, witchdoctor, rabbi and alchemist of note to this conference on the otherworldly. 
No doubt the influential, fashionable and wealthy from around the world will be drawn to this event including even crown heads of Europe and beyond. And, to be certain, the London constabulary will have its litigious and watchful eye strained to capacity as the Extravaganza will be sure to attract other elements energetically applying arts of chicanery and charlatanry to dupe the unwary. 
The event will also be sure to draw in agents and companies versed with the "Great Game" seeking some advantage for their nations and masters or to protect them from potential persuasion and perversion. 
The much vaunted 'star' of the "Esoteric Extravaganza" will be none other than the 'Sultan of Baksheesh' the noted mystic from the sands of Arabia. His unparalleled prestidigitation will be sought by the high and mighty. Even his mere arrival thrilled the eager and heady crowd lining the Thames docks. This photograph from 'The Times' (Friday 13th July, 1891) reveals the Sultan resplendent with his entourage of prefects of the paranormal.

Esoteric Extravaganza IHMN Episode 2

This Tuesday evening saw one of our usual games of "In Her Majesties Name" erupt. I had been working on the backstory and scenario's for this one for some time. This week would be a do or die event for the British Empire. Either they could fight their way through one of the time gates ... or all London would remain in the hellish grip of Cthulhu. 

(Please note I will post the backstory I wrote to begin each of the scenario's on my blog ... if interested please have a read under "The Esoteric Extravavganza." 

The mission for the gallant lads of Albion was simple. Gather the occultist Dr. Dias from his home and convey him across the table to one of the ancient Egyptian time gates. After the Esoteric Extravaganza (a species of World Fair for the Occult) had gone horribly wrong for the Empire, these damn gates had been springing up all over the countryside. The gates belched forth the worst imaginable creatures from the entire accumulated history of the Earth. To combat this vile situation both Sherlock Holmes and Spring-heel Jack (aka 'Prince Bertie') had hatched a cunning plan to return the Empire to glory through the very devilish machinations that had damned it in the first place. 

Great Cthulhu himself stands immobile in the centre of the battlefield. He seems to be resting after a hard days despoiling. Woe betide he who wakes Great Cthulhu!  

Dr. Dias awaits his attendee's to being his harrowing dash to the time gate. As you can see the loyal sons of the Empire far gathered from far and wide to answer the call. Pictured here are the African Rifles fresh from battles on the M'Bopo river. 

London's Finest set out on the right flank. Holmes and Jack are in the lead. Just whether their tenuous alliance would hold throughout this battle and the next was far from certain. If the current plan was a success, there was still the matter of manipulating a 'Grandfather paradox' to see that the architect of all this destruction would never be born ... in short they seek a permanent end to that arch-enemy of the British Empire ... Filthy Abdullah the Slaving Bastard! 

Here the forces of Abdullah set out toward their foe. Abdullah stands, with monkey on his shoulder, near the right column of the time gate. His second in command, Al-Hurun the Arabic superhero, stands with scimitar and buckler in the bottom left of the image. Al-Hurun has tasted defeat only rarely but the blood of his enemies many times. 

The heretic pharaoh, Akhenaton, and his cultist await the onslaught of the British forces. Without ranged weapons they were ill equipped to match the African Rifles firepower or the moderate ballistic aggression of Scotland Yard. Please note "The Plunger" ... the most dastardly of the cult ... an individual who certainly "punches above his weight" in most battles. 

On the far left flank of the British forces were the brave men of the Transvaal. They formed firing line before the oncoming cultists of Cthulhu led by a Deep One magus. However, the South Africans were not without their heroes as well ... Rudi of the Transvaal (who had twice killed Cthulhu with naught but a combat knife) relished the thought of sending more cultist to Hell. 

The Great One has awoken! Cthulhu lumbers forward and a bobby is lucky to dive out of his path just in time. The African Rifles, Sherlock and Jack form a protective barrier around Dr. Dias. They shuffle over to let Cthulhu stomp by. As his movement was random, no-one was too confident in avoiding the behemoth. 

The forces of evil amass behind a ruined home. The Slaving bastards began to move around the side to try and gain flanking shots on the South Africans. They had to be careful as far down the table a British officer with a hunting rifle strafed the open ground. 

Back on the left all Hell had broken loose. The cultists did not falter under the hail of fire from the South Africans (their pluck rolls were quite extraordinary throughout the evening ... matched only by the London bobbies) and soon had engaged. The ferocious fangs and dark arts of the cult were hastily driving the enemy back. Would Rudi with the Holy Knife of the Transvaal (kind of like an African 'Spear of Longinus') be able to turn the day?  

The Great One ... perhaps attracted by the smell of blood ... suddenly turned and waded back toward the centre of the field. Suddenly the British scrum around the good doctor was beginning to look like a horrible idea. Abdullah and several cultists had sprang onto the ruins and battled it out, truncheon against scimitar, for this commanding spot. From here Abdullah hoped to rain down grenades ... but the London bobbies were tenacious.  

And then the time gates suddenly activated ... each player had been rolling dice to determine if they had triggered these devices by close movement ... but ill fortune two had opened a mystical portal to the past. To the horror of Holmes the mighty Kong lumbered through the gateway. The officers and men of the African Rifles were directly in his path. Dias was in deadly peril! Would the greatest Empire fall this day? Was the sun to set on Victoria's dominions? 

But Abdullah was not to have things all his own way ... A second gate activated transporting a horror from antedeluvian past ... a Tyrannosaurus! Only one man smiled ... the slaving bastard known as 'Azim the Lech.' He was probably the most depraved and defiled creature currently stalking the planet and he looked up in wonder at the scaled tackle of the beast. Just to the right of the beast can be seen the growing melee atop the ruined house. Even Akhenaton joined the fray ... from this position he tried to use his powers of mesmerism to prompt an attack on Dr. Dias ... but the minds of the British forces were too set on their goal to be so easily manipulated. 

Great Cthulhu took another abrupt turn and collided directly with the king of the dinosaurs. Azim had now reached fever pitch and narrowly escaped what seemed like certain death but the same could not be said for the saurian. With a terrific snapping sound Cthulhu broke the neck of the monster. 

Although on a smaller scale the hand to hand combat that had broken out now across the field was no less dramatic than the recent battle of the titans. Here Sherlock Holmes battles desperately against Al-Hurun (the Arabic superhero) and two slaving bastards. This fight would continue unresolved until the conclusion of the game. Sherlock kept several of the Slaving Bastards engaged that could have been useful elsewhere. 

By this time the scrum around Dr. Dias had almost reach the mystical gateway. In the background a knot of men from the yard covered their advance with the lively fire from their military rifles. 

Another fierce knot of warriors strive to deal death to each other. Sairah the assassin and Akhenaton stand against Springheel Jack, Baraka (the extremely violent manservant) and a London bobby. Jack was soon to fall as was the femme fatale. 

With a final rush Dr.Dias reached the mystical destination. There were just too many of the British troops to engage at the end. A notable effort was almost completed by 'Fuad the Slow' who had lain unconscious for 6 turns. He suddenly sprang to his feet and attacked Dr. Dias. Stabbing at the Doctor's heart his blade, he was only turned aside by the voluminous copy of  the 'Cultes des Ghoules' which the occultist never relinquishes. Fuad was then swamped and murdered. The brave "Boy" can be seen just to the left of the column engaged in combat with a swarthy balucchi. 'Boy' had already smashed his one weapon, a champagne bottle, trying to kill Fuad. 

But this minutiae was all moot as the doctor strode through the portal guaranteeing victory for the forces of Victoria. God Save the Queen! Who knows what befell the brave men and women who still toiled and fought on the field that day. If Dr. Dias is successful no-one will ever be aware of the many gallant and devious deeds performed.

 Next stop ... the birth place of Filthy Abdullah. Dias will have to co-opt any soldiers he can to aid him complete his mission once he arrives. But there will also forces to oppose him as the headwaters of the M'Bopo river is one of the most dangerous places on Earth. If the conception of one of the most evil men in history can be prevented London and the Empire might be saved. To do this he will have to ensure that all amorous stimuli are stilled in the vicinity ... or burning down the hovel in which he once lived will probably do just as well.