Sunday, 23 June 2019

Is It Lustria Or Amazonia?

I've been quite happily completing and using my vintage Undead army as you'll have seen from my recent posts, and of course, I've been looking at other lists from the older Warhammer editions with an idea of perhaps painting a normal sized army of 3000 or so points, myself.

I had considered Amazons, but the collectors prices being asked are ludicrous. Now, I am not adverse to paying for something I want as my recent purchases of Joe Dever's Undead testifies, but £15 for a 25mm figure which will be extremely susceptible to lead rot? And when I need 200 or so?

Bollocks to that!

I looked at Slann too, but again there are some silly prices for what are really not that spectacular a range if viewed with a rational eye. Hell, how many people bought these and then discarded them in the early 80s? Very many...

But, out of those two armies, the Slann are the only army to have a couple of formal lists, thereby negating the need to fudge an army together.

So, what to do?

well, it was here that my friend and fellow vintage miniature enthusiast David Wood of The Little Soldier Company came to my rescue with his recently released Tenoch range, who amazingly bear a striking (some may say uncanny even) resemblance to Slann. Rather fortuitous that!

Here's a pic from Dave's site of a figure which is based loosely on an old illustration by I think, Paul Bonner, realised in 3D by Kev Adams - that ticks the Oldhammer box and scratches the vintage itch enough for me.

And so, there was the matter of an army list which, made me reach for the Book Of Battalions in the Forces Of Fantasy supplement for 1st ed' which had the rather wonderfully named 'Clawed Feet Of Mylkbeotl' list, used in the play testing of the rules.

At around 200 models, it's a nice size with lots of variety and some funny 'fluff' which will bring a bit of character to the force on the table.

So, I dropped David a line and despite interrupting 'quality time' he very kindly (for that is his way) took an order from me, cleared up a few aesthetic fine points and sold me an entire army, with the addition of 20 more eunuch slaves, because I love the models and the idea of a front line of slave troops, shielding the Slann, really has aesthetic and fluff potential.

Anyway, monies changed hands and I am awaiting the delivery with somewhat sweaty palms.

It was whilst chatting to a friend n the phone last night, that the matter of natives of the Amazon cropped up, as I said that the old Citadel Pygmies, whilst in my opinion lovely, would upset two many of the so called 'liberals' who seem to be as populous as maggots on a dead cat at present.

So, my friend suggested the ranges from North Star, which I thought inappropriate for my old school needs, but which we both agreed would make rather wonderful subjects for a game in their own right.

I mean, we are talking tribal sized formations of say a hundred warriors, armed with archaic  technology and no armour, along with poisoned darts and arrows, running amok in what must seem like a large world to them but in fact may only be a few miles in area, enacting ancient tribal disputes. Wonderful stuff!

Add a party of European explorers or even some Cthulhu inspired nasties and it changes yet again. As I said - wonderful!

So, I may just have to speak to Nick over at North Star and make this one a reality.

And finally, being a fan of the sartorially elegant or just plain dandy, I am considering a pair of striking 'painted leather' brogues:

And with that dear readers, I shall sign off for the present.


Friday, 21 June 2019

A Mystery Solved, 80s Ambience Established, Nerves Soothed

I have been mulling of late over the fact that my 80s retro experience has been missing something.

I checked my gaming shelves - all was good.
I checked the DVD collection - all present and correct.
Something was not quite right though...

I pondered, I mulled some more and delved back a little further and then I cracked it. So, with a small purchase I rectified the situation thus:

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Warhammer 1st Ed - Norse Vs Undead, & The Great Wizard Emerges!

On Saturday, I sat down to my first game of 1st ed proper since the late 90s.

The two armies were Undead and Norse to 2000 points. I was my usual self in that I tried to do what was unexpected. I didn't go for loads of high end troops and kept my magic users to the minimum (you have to take one per brigade with Undead) which meant that for those 2000 points I got:

Brigade 1 

Necromantic Nick - level 1
14 Skeleton cavalry
14 Mummies & a champion
20 Skeletons
20 Skeletons

Brigade 2

Simon, Master Of The Dark And Necromantic Arts - level 1
30 Zombies
30 Zombies
30 Zombies
20 Skeletons
5 Spectres
5 Spectres

My opponent fielded a pretty standard but balanced Norse army but had higher level magic users and the obligatory unit of Berserkers who are a game changer when they get stuck in.

I opened with an advance of my army as a whole along the length, but the cavalry being faster, took possession of a hill on the left flank.

Ah yes, the terrain... We kept it very simple and quite like the type of stuff the average school kid could muster and deployed it symmetrically with a central left hill/ridge and fenced off cemetery on the right.

Turn two saw the cavalry charge a large unit of Bondi who tested for terror as per the psychology rules, and ran away, the cavalry ending up on the table edge, and reforming.  Turn two had also seen the Undead army suffer from the effects of instability, and a couple of units were incorporeal for the turn with another two losing troops to the effects, so the rest of the turn was pretty vanilla. The Berserkers turned to face the the cavalry.

Turn three saw the Berserkers go into frenzy and hit the cavalry, pushing them back. In the centre the Norse skirmish line, made contact with the Zombies. The right flank was pretty moribund throughout the game, with neither side wanting to commit to fighting across the linear obstacle of the cemetery. In first edition, there are no ethereal rules, so the Spectres, instead of simply gliding through the railings, had to hike up their robes and climb over. Imagine this if you will...

Turn 4 saw the Berserkers hit in the rear by a Skeleton unit, and they valiantly (and expectedly) pushed back these and the cavalry to their front, but it meant the Mummies (who being an expensive unit would have been a good target for them if allowed to run free) were unmolested and heading towards another large Bondi unit.

Turn 5 saw the Berserkers push back the cavalry from the table and follow up, removing themselves from the table, and the Mummies charge the Bondi who fell prey to the effects of terror, breaking and running. The left flank was mine!
At this point, my opponent conceded the game.

It was a a really fun game because it was far from a 'done deal' for the undead, and given that I created the army whilst in bed with my morning coffee and having not played WH 1st ed since the mid 90s everything went very smoothly.

And so, a good day came to an end.

In other news, the Gnolls for the Kickstarter should all be cast this week, and Martin Buck completed the next release in the shape of The Great Wizard, who just oozes Oldhammer and Old School charm:

Thursday, 13 June 2019

A Real Hotchpotch Of Bitter, Sweet, Happy, Sad & Old School Geek

It's been nearly two weeks since I wrote anything here, and it's about time I resurfaced and updated this blog.

On Friday 31st of May, my wife was rushed into hospital with what the medics thought with 90% certainty was sepsis.

She was completely out of it when she reached the admissions ward and was given a battery of tests, drugs, drips and scans. For my part I spent Friday night laid in bed thinking what I'd do if the worst happened, and all those things you normally, simply don't think of.

Well, 'luckily', it was a combination of 3 infections and a massive retaliation by her immune system, and so she was fragile but deemed able to be released on Saturday the 1st with a bag load of medications.

As I type, she's back at work, but on a reduced working day, as she recuperates. As it happens, her grade allows her to work from home for 99% of the time, so that means she does not have to add a commute to her day.

As you will have seen in my previous post, the bloody expensive vintage Dark Elf army I bought, arrived beaten up beyond belief. I raised it with Paypal, and escalated it. It was a crystal clear case of the item being piss poorly packed and thereby getting beaten like an egg.

A few days passed, and the decision came back unbelievably in the favour of the seller, who had been seemingly accusing me of 'altering the item after delivery'

Well, just a fucking minute, I'd gone over to the depot that morning, paid a fair old sum on customs fees in advance of the demand arriving and with my wife in hospital, to avoid it being held in a depot over a 3 day period, so sure, I'm going to do that and then knock the crap out of a vintage army.

So, I had to make a few calls to Paypal, explaining the implications of the decision and as I had got through to the E.U call centre, they understood very clearly where I was coming from and thereby re-opened the case, requesting that I completed the appeal process.

So, I spent a couple of hours presenting a case, in the way I was trained to do, back when I was a government wage slave, took several videos of the unopened parts of the order being unwrapped, photographed everything and filed it all away, pending some repair quotes I needed.

No sooner had I done that, my email chimed and I was shocked to see that Paypal had found in my favour and refunded me in full, and told me that the goods were mine as they and not the seller had made the refund, because let's face it, when your decision maker, get s a personal and does so inaccurately, there can be some serious repercussions. And besides, my claim was 100% accurate and the seller had blatantly lied.

As someone once quipped to me, 'A dance is fine, but a fuck is out of the question'.

I was also offered a load more of the pre-slotta undead collection of the late Joe Dever, author of the Lone Wolf books. Well, as I already had a load of them, it was imperative that I added these to my collection. Now, I knew that these were fragile and rare models, so imagine my pleasant surprise when Dave Ryan at Caliver Books delivered them to me beautifully wrapped and without damage.

I had to rebase them, and two were affected by lead rot beyond redemption, but the fact that I was able to restore and take ownership of some truly iconic models was a fantastic feeling, akin to being 12 again and first finding the Fantasy Tribes range in the cabinets of GW.

This is what arrived:

All very nice indeed, as I am sure those of you with taste and acute aesthetic sensibilities will agree. I look at these and I remember so much which has passed. I remember the threat of nuclear annihilation, excellent music, great friends both living and passed on, fantastic shows packed with manufacturers rather than two bit tat touts, all night games, being immortal and the sense that we were kings of our world on the cutting edge of something which was a lifestyle choice, not a mere hobby.

And that in turn got me all depressed, because it seems so fresh in my mind, but is out of reach forever. BUMMER!

My old compadre with whom I spent some of the best times of my life as a teenager, Roger, has decided to become a golf coach at a monastic retreat, and so decided that figures were to be sold. I rather rashly suggested that I may be interested, as I'd sold him my own 28mm Renaissance collection a while back, and he, being the same kind of addict with a penchant for the colourful feather, slashed doublet and proud codpiece had added it to his own collection, then increased the whole shebang again.

Well, we had a little chat and an agreement was made. On Saturday last, I had the pleasure of not only taking ownership of a lovely collection:

But what was much better, was that for the first time in decades, I got to have a couple of hours chatting with Roger, who I have always found funny and sarcastic in a combination I find most pleasing. He's one of a scarce few people who will tell me without fear of conflict, exactly what my shortcomings are and how he feels, and that is something special.

I can think of perhaps only three other people who can do likewise, and they are all people who I wish I could see more of, but whom when I do, I find it easy to simply pick up as if we'd just popped out of the room for a few moments. It's a rare thing, so if you know people like that, cherish them and savour those times together because they matter.

We talked about this and that, and my good lady wife saw the rarest of sights - her husband being gregarious and light. I'm no misery, (OK I am) but I do not let my defences down with people very easily at all. She heard a few stories she'd never heard (and she has heard and played a part in many over the last 3 decades).

I confess, that I didn't even pay much attention to the boxes at the time. I just paid the bill, handed Roger a coffee and got on with the serious stuff.

Anyway, it did me a world of good, and I genuinely ache to have another chance to get together again, because no matter how austere and serious we may want to be, I do think that underneath it all, we are the same rock obsessed chancers we were 35 years ago - in a good way.

Roger first got me listening to Jethro Tull, and as I type I am listening to 'The Flying Dutchman' with a moist eye. I am not ashamed to cry these days. It does you good, and if you can cry when you think of good times, then you know they really were good times.

I have so many ideas and thoughts about my past piling up in my head of late, but no time to order them and lay them down in type. How can you convey feelings in a way that those who were not even born when you were playing your first Warhammer games or learning the WRG Renaissance rules - and who style themselves as 'old school' gamers?

You can't because they did not have the sights, sounds and worries which were the backdrop to the golden age. As soon as I think I can somehow do justice to those greatest days of my generation, you'll be the first to know.


Well, let me round off this update with my latest purchase which undoubtedly makes me king of the geeks or maybe just a sad old bastard (you decide - I don't give a toss).

My wife joked that I could do with a bead spread made of old White Dwarf covers.

I thought that it was a splendid idea and managed to commission a quilted throw in exactly that vein...

How awesome is that?

And on that note, I shall bid you farewell.


Saturday, 1 June 2019

Death Of An Army...

Well, I got back from the postal depot today, having waited just short of a month for my $625 Dark Elf army (all vintage Marauder) to arrive from the U.S. The box looked all good and so I paid the customs fees and took it home, to find...

At this point I simply stopped unpacking them... Waste of my fucking time!