About Me

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My name is Gavin McClements. I am a wargamer and family man, living in Los Gatos, which is a suburb of San Jose, CA. Building terrain is one of my favorite aspects of the wargaming hobby - in fact, lately I've become more interested in making my battlefields "pop" than in actually playing.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Warmaster Bretonnian army - Building thoughts

I was thinking that a Bretonnian army would be easy to build because they could be so easily proxied.

Here is a proxy list that I'll be pulling heavily from:


This list needs a lot of help because I'm not sure which models to get for it. There are so many "Knight" models out there, but I dont truly understand historical periods, etc, so if you have advice?

The Kallistra line looks really promising for most options because they're in strips, and seem to fit the bill. NOTE: Kallistra bills themselves as 12mm. This might explain their larger size *LOL! (at my own silliness for missing this)*

Bowmen - 803 Romano British Archers

This is their H-903 100YW Longbowmen: [YES!] - as seen at http://warmasterdk.blogspot.com/2014/11/10mm-knights-and-bowmen-kallistra-100yw.html

Men-at-Arms [polearms and spears] - 802 Romano British Spearmen

I have to admit, however, that their 100 Years War models (H-901 100YW Men-at-Arms) looks a little more "Bretonnian" in my mind?

Peasants - 804 Peasants

Squires - 809 Romano British Horse Archers

Knights - These should be regal - after all, they're the heart and soul of the Bretonnian army. The Kallistra "British Romano" knights dont have the right look, I feel...still looking.

A friend recommends: "Stick with the 100 Years War & War of the Roses stuff. The Tuetons are a bit too gothic and while cool I'd give them a pass too. I'd also pass on the Romano British, that pretty much dark ages stuff (400 AD).

Oh 100 Years War French would be the best."

100 Years War "H-904 100YW Mounted Men-at-Arms" perhaps? [YES!]

H-1005 WOTR Mounted Men-at-Arms, perhaps? [YES!] - as seen at http://warmasterdk.blogspot.com/2014/11/10mm-knights-and-bowmen-kallistra-100yw.html

Some smaller options (not 12mm):
Magister Millitum's AOK 22 and AOK4 for flavor - AOK23 is a foot command
Grail Knights - H-8001 Teutonic Knights

Pegasus Riders - Eureka

400FAN47 http://eurekaminusa.com/collections/fantasy-10mm-by-alan-marsh/products/400fan47-pegasus-knights

Trebuchet - Kallistra HA-06 Trebuchet

General -Kallistra 808 Romano British Command

Also H-908 100YW Command:
Also H-1012 WOTR Command? So many to choose from!
H-8005 Teutonic Command
 Hero - See General, above

Enchantress - This could be the female mounted on the Unicorn, to the left (Eureka 400FAN19) but dang...only one comes in the pack and I don't really need another whole pack...

Unicorn - Mount (see above)

Pegasus - Mount - Not sure...Pendraken has one (no pic) and Eureka has their Pegasus Knights (see above) that I could get extras of...

Hippogriff - Mount - use the Pegasus Rider models to be on it? Hmmm...

MM has some riders, but I cannot find images:

Grail Reliquae - special

Friday, June 26, 2015

Warmaster Nippon list building

I've been eyeing the Nippon list as something that looks fun. They also look to be reasonably balanced with lots of options to keep the list from getting stale. For some ideas of fluff, check out https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_Redi9cZJ5iYXlDT0xjcGxOaVE/edit from http://warhammerarmiesproject.blogspot.se/

Alternatively, this is a variation on the Fan list from the 2009 Armies book.

One note: If I go with Magister Militum as I am inclined to, you'll see a size difference between the Nippons and my other armies. Here is a MM Ashigaru (with spear) compared to the far left model, a Eureka Elf Archer:
As a side note, I just discovered www.castlearts-it.com/ so will have to check out their tasty items!

Samurai - Magister Militum has a splendid line. Some Mix-and-Match could be fun between the ranged and hand-weapon models, since Samurai are a 3/1 unit.

Kallistra is neat because they come in strips - but so far, I've been very impressed with MM's models.

Ashigaru Spearmen: Again, many choices. http://www.magistermilitum.com/scale/10mm/sam6-ashigaru-with-spears.html seem like a good way to go - their spears arent too long, which seems to be an issue the Kallistra spearmen have?

Ronin: It seems that the only way to differentiate these from Samurai, since according to reports I've read, ronin were allowed to keep their arms, is the back banner - so let's try some models without those.
Kallistra H-9002 Foot Samurai seem to fit the bill:

http://pendraken.co.uk/Renaissance-c12/Samurai-sc41/ has other options as well.

Warrior Monks: http://www.magistermilitum.com/scale/10mm/sam8-warrior-monks.html seem an obvious choice.
 Zealot Monks - http://eurekaminusa.com/collections/fantasy-10mm-by-alan-marsh/products/400fan34 seem perfect, and the "wizard" look might help out the Command stands a bit.

Shrine:Check this out! http://www.castlearts-it.com/index.php?page=prodotti&cat=giappone&scat=ES has the perfect shrine!
Temple Imps: These are basically kobolds, from what I can gather online.

Temple Oni: http://www.15mm.co.uk/products/sgfp02-oni-pack (they're a bit large, listed at 23mm tall, but oh well...)

A smaller version could just be the "Ogres" from Eureka - not as cool looking, though!

Tengu: http://www.15mm.co.uk/products/sgfp01-tengu-pack (again, a tad big at 20mm, but oh well)

Samurai Cavalry: MM again has the most dynamic poses that I can see, and the archers and swords are split already.

Temple Dogs: I would LOVE to use some Eureka Ki-Rin or Fu-Dogs for these. Regarding if the riders come separate, Eureka's response was, "All of the sets 400FAN35-40 come with separate riders, none are one piece." So YES, this will work!

Another great option is http://www.magistermilitum.com/scale/10mm/fmc615-temple-lion-dogs-x9.html

Daimyo / Abbot: Likely a few choices in the many Command packs I've located. I'm SURE I'll have enough...

Pendraken has a Seated General. He's, well, not intimidating, but what the heck.

Hatamoto: Again, the Command packs will have figures I can use.

Dragonne: This is going to have to be converted, I think. How about Lions from Splintered Light  (15mm...seems appropriate):
 ...and wings from a Eureka Gorgon rider? (hopefully they'll scale well)
For the rider, well...I hate to say it, but maybe a Samurai Ape from Pendraken? He seems to be one of the only separately modeled rider I can find - and I can paint the face as a mask - easy enough!

Or...I could just try this Winged Lion from Iron Wind:
(This was done here, methinks, or very close):

Or...a "Drakkone" from IW:

Retinue: So many models needed!
Kallistra's "H-9006 Samurai Command" and "H-9010 Samurai Banners and Standards"
Pendraken's http://pendraken.co.uk/SAM20-p2952/ 
NINJA! http://www.magistermilitum.com/scale/10mm/sam9-ninja.html

Lastly, not for Warmaster so much but for Mayhem, maybe, here is a Celestial Dragon from Iron Wind:

Magister Militum:
  • Tengu x2
  • Oni x2
  • H-9006 Samurai Command x2
  • H-9010 Samurai Banners and Standards x1
  • H-9002 Foot Samurai x2
  • HK-106 Korean Command (variety, maybe?) x1
Splintered Light
  • MISC02 Lions x1

  • 400FAN13 Gorgon Rider x1
  • 400FAN34 Shaolin Monks x4 (?) - need 4 units
  • 400FAN37 Fu-Dogs x2 at least


Of note:
Irregular Minis 10mm Samurai
TSAM 1,2 Mounted samurai TSAM 3,4 foot samurai TSAM 6,7 Ashigaru

*This is also a good reference, as he gives his opinions on what to use:

TERRAIN: Fujimi has some cool 1/300 scale castles available at Hobby Link Japan.

http://folk.uio.no/arnsteio/samurai/  has some historical comments about the different manufacturer's historical lines, if interested. To summarize:

"Pendraken: Pose = Several of Pendraken's figures have an earlyish sengoku feeling; e.g. their ashigaru bowman has no armour, and their Ashigaru Spear has no jingasa helmet, just a hachimaki head band.  All samurai cavalry were attended by go-kenin; these are probably best made with Pendraken's running figures, though I mix in some AIM for variety. Pendraken's "SAM8 Ashigaru Naginata" is very useful; with a straightened weapon it is a charging yari-wielding ashigaru in standard-issue ashigaru kit. Their armed peasants make for great variety.

Irregular: Pose = Quite static. Although Irregular has the weakest range, their figures will enhance the visuals of your army when complementing the other brands. I like the variety their straw raincoats can provide. None of Irregular's figures have yari, just naginata. This is unfortunate. TSAM6 is possibly the most useful 10mm samurai figure on the market (naginata-wielding ashigaru in standard-issue kit, standing at attention), doing time as nagae-yari wielder or banner bearer (I exchange his short naginata for a long piano wire) and a host of "standing around"-related tasks.

I use Pendraken and Irregular cavalry together; this gives a good choice between active and passive poses. Samurai horses were small (130cm to the shoulder) so it can't be that bad."

Castle Arts claims: "My models are fully compatible with Pendraken, other clubs have already bought my samurai and integrated them perfectly."

In all my blisters the sashimono (samurai or ashigaru) are INCLUDED.
AIM (?) seems to be the middle between these two, but seems out of print

Banners and Historical Resources
Amazing Samurai resource: http://www.samurai-archives.com and check out their banners at http://www.samurai-archives.com/mon.html because sometimes it's neat to replicate real world stuff! See some of it in cool pictures here.

Painting: (taken from http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=384752)
"The good thing is that the "rules" for army painting when it comes to sengoku period armies should be seen as more of a general guideline. It's not like Napoleonic armies, and you can find examples of all kinds of ways that armies looked, from those who were almost uniform and well structured towards the end of the period, to some forces that were little more than a bunch of haphazardly equipped troops with very little in common.

Here are the general "rules" as I interpret them after reading a bunch of books (some better than others):

1) Armour were laquered, with black being by far the most common colour. On second place you will find rust-brown, and then red. Far lower than these you will find unusual laquer like blue, gold and green, which were unlikely to be worn by rank-and-file.

2) Dresses were usually not uniform, with samurai typically wearing more expensive and colourful dresses, and ashigaru and peasants wearing everything from barely a loincloth to dresses with more dull colours like brown, grey and buff.

3) Uniforms were rare, and most troops were responsible for getting their own gear, or had them provided by their direct feudal lord. So even if a lord dressed his 25 guys equally, his neighbour would not dress his guys exactly the same. Generally, places with more resources had more opportunities for mass-equipping troops, and you would see more uniformity in equipment and heraldry the later you get in the period.

Units wearing predominately red, for example, are usually from the latter part of the period, when power had started to get centralized around a few leaders. But even the famously "all red" army of Ii, were likely not able to equip their entire army with uniforms, and it was more likely that they could muster front ranks wearing mostly red.

4) Heraldry, in the form of different types of banners, were the main way to identify military formations on the field. Not dresses or armour.

For me, especially at 6mm, these "rules" means that I tend to take some artistic license. If you paint an army with mostly black armour and just random colours for the sleeves and pants, it won't look all that inspiring on the battlefield. Especially not if you have two opposing armies looking more or less similar. So I tend to use coloured armour far more than is realistic, and also semi-uniform dresses.

For example, when I paint my two Takeda contingents, I decided to go with red armour on one, and green on the other. Very unhistorical, but it looks great. For both the red and green armoured ones I paint most of the dresses blue, white or yellow. Also unhistorical, but this means that I get some kind of cohesion between the contingents by using the same palette for the secondary colours.
Most importantly, this means that I get the whole Takeda army to look very different from the opposing army, which has all black armour, with Tokugawa forces wearing mostly blue dresses, and Hosokawa wearing mostly red dresses. Finally, the banners ties the different contingents together.

(Example of varying Takeda banners tieing together the army with uniform colours, despite armour being different. From left: Takeda, Takeda, Hosokawa, Tokugawa, Takeda, Takeda, Takeda)

So, basically I disregard "rule" 2, no uniform dresses, to make the armies look more interesting in 6mm. I find that the scale demands that you paint with strong colours and bold colour schemes, or the minis will just blend into each other. So I might be even more ahistorical in this scale, simple because painting 6mm is a different beast than painting 15mm or 28mm.

As I see it, you can decide to go for representing a historical look as close as you can, or use some artistic license. Personally I use periods with more rigid uniformity (Napoleonics and WW2) to get that aspect of the hobby, and I use less rigid periods (Sengoku Japan, Medieval Europe) to make more "fanciful" armies. As long as you are honest about which way you go, do what suits your passion, and paint according to the end result that you have in mind.

Edit: just because I can't shut up:

When painting Baccus 6mm samurai, I find that I have a limited number of areas to use to convey a colour scheme. These are
1) The armour
2) The pants and sleeves
3) The belt and sun cover on the jingasa helmets of ashigaru
4) The banners

The scale is simply too small and the number of soldiers too large for the lacing on the armour to be a) possible to paint without investing too much time, and b) visible on the finished rank-and-file troops. I do paint them on generals and stuff though.

So, for a 6mm army, I find that if you keep two or three of these areas similar for an entire contingent, you can vary the others and still keep them looking uniform, without looking identical. You will typically want to paint at least one of them in a striking colour, and another one in a contrasting colour that makes the striking colour more visible.

What does this mean? For example, I find that painting the belts and sun cover on the helmets white is a great way to make a dark coloured armour visible. Combine it with a bright colour on the sleeves and pants, and the whole miniature becomes visible, despite them being small. If I went with a dark blue belt, the whole torso and upper legs would risk looking like a blur. With a red armour, you could go with a very light blue or yellow belt, and still get this contrast.

This also affects my choice of colour on banners and sleeves/pants. For example, in the picture you can see that the Hosokawa has a bright yellow banner, black armour, and red pants/sleeves. I find that the two bold colours make a good match, and the black and white areas inbetween them (armour and belt) helps to keep them from "bleeding" into each other.

So, if you are unsure of where to begin with painting 6mm samurai, you could always make a general plan of attack based on these areas. Decide which ones you want uniform and which ones you want to vary (depending on how historical you want to be), and think about if you can put more neutral colours (like black or white) in between the more striking colours."

My Reintroduction to Warmaster

I had my reintroduction battle to Warmaster over the weekend with my friend Aron and his wonderfully painted armies. As we sat to choose our armies, he asked, "What do you want to play?" "What do you have," I asked. "All of them" was the response :)  Gotta love it.

We ended up choosing his High Elves vs my Dark Elves, 2000 points. This isnt a full battle report, but a few pics of the action and some comments.

The formation of 3 melee units in column with a ranged unit spread across their front made for a nice brigade. Dark Elf shooting is brutal up close, but surprisingly the crossbowmen actually fought well in hand to hand!
 The forced drive back of ranged is a little much, I think. It seems like something that units should be able to defend against instead of automatically going back if they suffer even a single hit. This ranged battle between his elves in the barn yard and my line of crossbows by the church went back and forth. Invariably the unit that fell back would just march back forward to their former position, but I guess that's part of the game, right? It takes an order to do so, which is a potential fail...
Once the Hydra got in battle, Oh Lord...however, this photo illustrates my core problem with the command mechanic of Warmaster.

In the top left, you can see a Dragon Rider escorting a brigade of Silver Helms, and in the left forefront you can see my Dark Riders. My riders got one order and advanced to this position; they then took one hit and the right column was driven back 2cm...there they stayed the rest of the game. The High Elves had it worse, though. Those knights NEVER MOVED. Aron even swapped out commanders towards the end, trying to do anything to get them into the fight.
I guess that's the game, though, right? Things dont go the way you want...but it rankles a bit still. Oh well. Here you can see the Cold Ones tearing up some archers on the hill to the right flank - good fun and eats!
 This is mostly where we ended it. You can see the High Elf dead pile in the top left, while mine was significantly shorter.
I blame this video on my win :)  Aron had purchased some new dice specifically because of this balance video, and his new dice arrived in the mail as we were setting up the game - and they rolled horribly!
 So over all, I had a really enjoyable time. I am buying 10mm armies for Mayhem, but might as well make them Warmaster-legal, right? I also bought a copy of the Battle of Five Armies rules, as Aron informed me that they are pretty much the Warmaster Ancients + Magic, etc combined.

I really didnt like that both of us had units sitting around doing nothing for the entire game. A "standing order" or "guaranteed first turn order" house rule that I've read about might fix this - but I'll try to get over it. Until next time!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Assembling the Warmaster Wood Elves pt. 1

Most everything has arrived for my two new Warmaster armies. I've walked my hotel through a complete renovation before, and the paperwork that was required then was enormous - I felt a bit similar as I tracked all the different manufacturers and orders coming in for this project.

Again referencing Athens Fantasy's blog, I started sorting my Eureka into the different poses. Let me say this about Eureka models: SO MUCH FLASH! Seriously, though...they're nice models, but cleaning them is going to be a LOT of work, and some models are really bent out of shape or slightly broken (bows, spears, etc).

Honestly, I felt like I was sorting a CCG instead of models from a renowned manufacturer, because of the 7 packs of Eureka archers I ordered, no two were identical in quantities. After all was said and done, I ended up with:
Pose 1: 48
Pose 2: 47
Pose 3: 7
Pose 4: 7
Pose 5: 6 (!!)
Pose 6: 48
Pose 7: 48

I guess in the end, things mostly averaged out, but yea, one pack didn't even have the Standard Bearer (#5) in it!

I also had 7 packs of the Infantry to sort.
These were even more random in their quantities, assuming because there were 8 poses instead of 7 (and at least every pack had their 3 command models!). I ended up with:
Pose 1: 43
Pose 2:37
Pose 3: 7
Pose 4: 7
Pose 5: 7
Pose 6: 44
Pose 7: 38
Pose 8: 36

Here is the sorted, non-cleaned up lot:
I don't have my Pendraken models yet (ordered from The War Store on May 7th...almost a month ago), but here are some comparisons with Copplestone, Eureka, and Magister Militum.

On the left is Eureka 400FAN24, on the right is Magister Militum FEF-404. MM is bigger and nicer, but they should mix nicely I think, especially since Eureka is much more dynamic in pose.
This is a Eureka archer 400FAN07 on the left, with a Copplestone Casting TM17 Ranger on the right. CC is HUGE compared to Eureka, with the head of the model on the right coming to 13mm, and the Eureka model being almost exactly at 10mm (the base is included here). I will likely compensate by putting the smaller models in the back to try a little "forced perspective"...fortunately I don't have many CC models, and the Pendraken models coming are mostly for the Vampires.
These are some Tree Kin and Dryads options. Leftmost is the 15mm Splintered Light Dryads (note the dryad in the tree is about the same size as the farmost right model), then SL Wood Trolls, 6mm Lesser Treekin from Microworld Games, and lastly a dryad from the Eureka Woodland Creatures package.
Finally, the big guys. On the left is the Eureka Wood Troll, then Splintered Light 15mm Treeman #2, and then the Microworld Forest Giant.
More as I get more sorted and organized...