In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Angmar on the March!

Had a brain storm the other week and decided to use my NWF mountains for Middle Earth mountains too. Gives a bit more drama to the table and helps define the edges more (especially if I'm not using the entire table top).

My oldest friend Chris was down last weekend to help coach my squadron rifle team, but Saturday night was beer drinking and dice rolling. I decided to put out my new Middle Earth troops for some light and easy Dragon Rampant.

True to form all the new shiny got beat. Orcs got shot up by Elf scouts, the Trolls charged the Elf spears and broke, the Dwarves got destroyed by dragon fire and even Fingol with his shiny sword was grievously wounded in a duel with Morithol, resulting in the elves retiring behind their scouts and relinquishing the river crossing to Angmar. Of course, late in the game I realised that I'd forgotten about the expensive"invisible" upgrade on the scouts and ent, which would have saved them some fiery dragon breath!
Scouts and ent harass Angmar right flank 


Trolls charge elf spearmen 

Scouts shoot up orcs holding Angmar left flank 

General action along the river, Fingol and Morithol duel

This week though I've been able to finish off the second company of Orcs and the rest of the Trolls (who had been fighting with unfinished bases).


I am reminded of my very first lead figures. Purchased from the Squadron Shop in Detroit back in Grade 7 or 8. A pack of Der Kreigspieler "Fantastiques" orcs of the Misty Mountains. Even though they are long out of production, some thoughtful soul has put the original catalogue and many pictures up on the Internet.



Three of each pose. I was so excited by those 6 crude figures! I pored over that unillustrated catalogue listing a lot, day dreaming of more and someday refighting the Battle of the Five Armies, Helm's Deep or the Dwarf Goblin Wars. I never added to them obviously and they got sent to the box of D&D heros and monsters that grew during High school. But this latest project represents a bit of a return to those early day dreams.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Coming Together at Last!

As mentioned previously (http://rabbitsinmybasement.blogspot.ca/2016/08/ancient-codex-of-awesome.html) there were renovations at the Armouries which are home to my Squadron. 75 years worth of stuff had to get shifted and then put back without any time to sort through and discard the junk beforehand.

It's only taken 2 and a half months of sorting and sifting and throwing old files out (so many old files) but things are looking tidy and functional finally.

Plus my desk is cleaned off at last!


Clearing away the sedimentary layers of stuff also meant I could move the Admin Os desk into my office which really eases us working together.

Over my desk, under the cool picture of a Spitfire, is the certificate of authorisation signed 18 October 1941, officially forming 19 Squadron.

Door to my office with Squadron Standing Orders, Squadron Routine Orders, RCSU Routine Orders and Building Fire Orders finally posted. Visitors from higher HQ like to see that.


The pictures of the Golden Hawks aerobatic team and the Snowbirds aerobatic team to the right of the door are both signed by the pilots. The Golden Hawks were an aerobatic team flying Sabre jets from 1959-64.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Hawks

Door to the Training staff office and training aides storage room. Clean out the junk and you can actually find the useful stuff. The vanity licence plate is from an old CO who did many tours in the big chair and served with the squadron a long time. His grandsons are Flight Corporals.


Among the junk was this interesting box found in a locker in the basement.

Buried treasure! Not sure but I think navigators on Lancaster bombers used these to take bearings.

While a pair of Civilian Volunteers and I were doing this our marksmanship coach was getting our shooting programme started with some help from my oldest friend Chris. When Chris was CO of my old unit he took our shooting team to Provincial competition twice. He volunteered to help my team out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

First Cohorts for Middle Earth

It's been a productive weekend. Of course taking 2 days before and 2 days after to take care of some things has helped.

Here are the first troops for my Dragon Rampant Middle Earth project.

The first company of elite heavy foot dwarves. These are dwarven huscarls with a mix of axes, hammers and two handed swords. I gave them white flowers because of the edelweiss and it's association with mountain troops.



Love the full face mask!

A company of elite heavy foot Elf warriors to support all those archers and protect the Queen as she casts her spells.





The elves get yellow flower tufts to accent the blue and yellow shields.

The Elven King, a hero and a certain wizard who has come from the West. The king came with a spear but I had a nice sword in my bits box.




The design on the king's cloak helped me decide upon the colours for the shields and banner to pull the force together visually. Gandalf is from the Old Glory pack of wizards. My daughter had painted him purple or something about 20 years ago, but a week in a tub of Simple Green fixed that.

The banner was a challenge. Using the Two Trees of Valinor as a starting point I needed a dark background for the white and yellow. Also replicating the intertwined twisting design of the cloak and shields was fun to free hand. 

It was also impossible to duplicate exactly on both sides, but I figure the elves would appreciate the organic nature of the design.

Side one

Side two

I'm undecided about which one turned out better.

And because I'm equal opportunity, the first company of goblins are ready too. A pack of small orcs charging with some archers. For their skin I started with black, highlighted with dark flesh and then given a brown wash. For their clothes I kept to a muted pallet of grey and brown and then gave everything a brown wash. Armour was GW bolt gun or pewter, brown washed and then highlighted again. I hemmed and hawed over the shields and finally copped out and gave them the Eye of Mordor since we have no canonical reference for Angmar except for the orcs having red and black banners at the Battle of the Five Armies.
I am quite taken with the helmets some of them have

I was initially going to base them three to a 40x40 stand, but my art board is thick like the GW slotta bases and I didn't want to make them appear taller than the elves, so individually on fender washers it is.


I covered the bases with a layer of fine sand and gravel. I then painted them burnt umber and dry brushed sable brown over top. I then saw them from above and at an angle (as you would when viewing them in a game) and saw all these specks of shining steel! The washers, being an afterthought, had missed getting primed and I didn't think it necessary to prepaint them before gluing on the grit. So the thinned out burnt umber didn't stick and pulled away, leaving specks of uncovered washer shining through! I tried stabbing at the specks with a stiff brush to poor effect! Finally I ended up using some brown ink to get at the clear steel hiding between the pieces of grit.

I also did half of my unit of trolls. The skin was Vallejo kahki grey and then given a thin brown wash. I based them on thicker bases to cheat the eyes and help them look bigger.


The armies of Angmar also get another wizard. He's from the same pack as Gandalf. The sinister cloak and the Eye on top of his staff settled him as an evil doer. After soaking in Simple Green he got a red robe with some mystic yellow sigils around the hem and a black cloak. He obviously hasn't been completely corrupted, since he's still visibly human.
So there are three more companies of goblins and three more companies of dwarf elite foot,  plus the Elf archers in the pipeline. At this rate I'll be able field a few decent sized warbands for each side.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Remembrance Day

My Air Cadets performed an overnight vigil at the Cenotaph this year. They've been doing it for 12 years apparently. A third of them were new cadets who had only just been taught to march so watching them perform the evolutions to get the guards switched was amusing, but they were very earnest and took it seriously.

Here is the vigil guard at night:


Then in the morning we put on a team of all senior cadets who knew their rifle drill:


Of course they had to hustle back to the Legion hall to get some breakfast before the parade formed up at 10.

I couldn't see because I was out front, but my staff told me that they all looked sharp with minimal squirming and their marching was good too.

My Remembrance reading this year was "Unflinching, the Making of a Canadian Sniper" by Jody Mitic. An interesting memoir by a young man who lost both legs to a mine in Afghanistan. Most of the book is his early years and training, culminating in his deployment to Afghanistan. The details of how scout-sniper teams were used was quite informative. His recounting of his struggle with depression and addiction to pain killers was open and honest. His conclusion that he wouldn't change anything, because he met his wife due to his injuries, was humbling.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lead Exchange

Mikey and a van load of friends always go to Fall In. I made it once in 2008, but then my employment became rather precarious and I haven't had the funds or (perhaps more importantly) vacation time since. But, like the Children of Israel during the Diaspora, I live in hope. "Next year, Fall In!"

Mikey always takes a gym bag of stuff and gets a flea market table.  Sometimes he is just selling things from a previous flea market. But I'm not judging. He often makes buck or two on the deal.

This year I managed to see him before he left and was organised enough to send some of my own lead pile, hoping that with the greater attendance at Fall In over Hotlead, my unwanted treasures might find new homes and fetch decent prices.

When I found out that Sergeant Major Miniatures would be in attendance I sent a list of things to pick up. What Mikey sold covered most of my list, so I've managed a tidy exchange of unwanted lead for new lead that I'm actually interested in. So a Dwarf king with standards and more axe wielding huscarls for two more units of elite foot. Elf bowmen (can you have enough?). Orc command, spearmen and archers to make two more units of foot with integrated archers.

Mikey also gave me this nice 15mm resin Eastern European/Russian church that he snagged for three bucks.
So I can see my Austrian Grenzers fighting around that I think.

Tonight I also finished up a big 60 tree bag of Henke pine trees giving me 90 more. While I was at it I refurbished my old pine trees that I removed from their CDs and rebased to match.


As you'll note, I've added tufts of longer weeds and some flowers among the rocks and fallen logs to make things pop a bit. Some of my older trees look pretty scraggly, but some trees do in the wild. The small plastic pines are my oldest terrain, originating from a Fort Apache play set.

I've also been working on the first contingent from Middle Earth.
Elf king's cloak

Dwarf huscarls 

Elf heavy infantry 
Almost done really. Just a few more ink washes, highlights and pick out some details then the bases.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Elvish Heraldry


Now that I've been feeling all Middle Earthy, I've been scouring Pinterest for suitable inspiration for shield and flag designs.

When you Google Elvish heraldry you run across these designs by JRRT himself:

Heraldry of the Elves by Tolkien:

A lozenge is for males and circles are for female characters. But they look like quilt designs to me and aren't quite bold enough for flags.

Rohan and Gondor naturally have the most results with their clearly defined symbols. This page being a fine example.

Google Image Result for http://www.tolkiencollector.com/images/misc/banners.jpg:

But as you can see there are some nice elvish designs in the mix too. Plus one that might do for Angmar.

Of course trees and stars aren't just for Gondor. The design over the west gate of Moria as reproduced in most editions of The Lord of the Rings mixes motifs from both the realm of Kazad-Dum and the elvish realm in Hollin.

Tolkien:

This gets me thinking about the two trees of Valinor, pictured in this lovely design I found:

Telperion and Laurelin, the Two Trees of old in Tolkien's The Silmarillion.:

The two trees could be a nice design for a flag.  Then on the shields we could have one tree something like one of these:
Whimsical Tree of Life | Tree of Life #13103 | CreateMyTattoo.com...love the DNA trunk:
Tree Design:

Perhaps in a gold on white? Gold and/or silver on blue?

Noe to practice on paper before trying to paint it on a shield less than a half by three quarter of an inch!