I finished up Ironskull’s Boyz for Shadespire this afternoon – it turns out someone at the Nagoya game club picked up the core set over the past week or so, so we’ll try some games out at this Sunday’s game day. With that in mind, I powered through and finished up these rowdy fight boys, leaving the Aggressors for another day.
They’re really lovely models, a joy to paint and full of character. I’m going to pick up the core set myself with December’s bonus, hopefully get some games in at the beginning of the year, and the combination of “how much fun I have with it” and “how many other people get into it” will help guide whether I decide to pick up another warband or two beyond the three I’ll have between these fellas and the two in the core set.
Last night and tonight I finished up my first model for Shadespire, a test for my orc scheme in the form of Hakka, muzzled boss wannabe.
The base isn’t done yet, but the fella himself is, and I reckon it looks good! His skin is blue to match my goblins for Fantasy Battle, and just to satisfy my contrary streak. Just his three brothers to go and I’ll be able to start getting some games on.
I sort of took a week off there, because I was waiting for a package to arrive in the mail and wasn’t feeling my hybrids (mostly, probably, just because I don’t have enough bases for them and so couldn’t “finish” them even if I painted them up). And last night, this came in the mail:
Yuss, I’ve decided to take the plunge and get into Shadespire. It’s proving very popular over here, especially among Japanese gamers (there’s a Japanese-language edition, and its modest space requirements for play and storage make it a great fit for how wargames are played here), plus I’ve heard good things about the rules. So, I bought a warband, and will probably pick up the starter set with my December bonus, so I can try to pull some of the local English-language crowd into the game. Whee!
Wow, it’s taken me a bit to get around to writing this one – not least, I suppose, because I’m a relative latecomer to historical wargaming. Coming into miniatures wargaming* via 40K and science fiction and so on, for a long time I had the (pretty common, in my experience) view that historicals would be “boring” because you’re limited to armies and events that actually happened. It’s really only since I came to Nagoya (nearly 10 years ago now) and hooked up with my group here, with its core of very groggy indeed grognards, that I started thinking about historicals as something I’d like to try.
I had a couple false starts, though, and I’m still not what you’d call an active historicals wargamer. Flames of War was very big here 5 or 6 years ago, and I made a start at an American armored rifle company, but I hit the wall I often hit, collecting and painting a fairly expensive and time-consuming platoon, only to realize that I was about a third of the way to actually being able to play a game. The same thing happened with Bolt Action more recently – I have a squad of Germans in my closet all painted up, but thinking about painting two or three more squads, plus some tanks and artillery or whatever, is just draining. (Why didn’t this happen with 40K, you ask? Well, a lot of that is the fact that I started collecting my Scythes with only the goal of playing Advanced Space Crusade in mind, so 5 scouts, 5 tactical marines, a captan and a terminator squad was plenty – but that’s another story for another day.)
What finally got me to take the plunge was 6mm. Epic has always been my great love in the 40K universe, and I’m very comfortable painting up models in that scale pretty quickly – and they tend to be cheap too. So when a friend proved open to the idea of trying Napoleonics in 6mm, I said what the hey and shelled out for a starter army from Baccus. Which, 6mm being 6mm, is plenty for a smallish game for like 5000 yen or so, and dead easy to expand out to the “as much as you’ll ever need” range for just another 5000 – a total outlay that I’m realizing, as I eye a second army for 40K these days, would buy me, like, two carnifexes.
But I digress.
Making a long story short, I ended up with a largish 6mm army of Napoleonic British:
…which, once my friend and I gave ourselves a solid deadline for a game, proved very quick to paint up – I probably did 2/3 of that force inside 3 or 4 months. We don’t play often, but when we do we use Black Powder with the very simple conversion of measuring in centimeters instead of inches, using the same values – and it works a treat for using 6mm armies on a regular 6′ by 4′ board. BP also has the benefit of being written by Rick Priestly for Rick Priestly, which means it supports huge armies and has a complexity that assumes you’ll be drinking while you play.
And, fortuitously, it supports many degrees of “interfacing with the history.” My friend is a massive Francophile, and has collected and painted a very particular historical French army, and always notes which units are which particular corps and so on. I, on the other hand, have collected a “historically plausible British force” and try to keep proportions of cavalry and infantry, and brigade formations, more or less as a real commander might have done, but don’t worry much beyond that. And all the same, we have a good deal of fun.
As for the other big historical wargaming period, Bolt Action is huge here for WW2, but I’ve already discussed my hurdles painting for it in 28mm. I’m also fascinated by Too Fat Lardies’ Chain of Command ruleset, which is as beardy as Bolt Action is cinematic, and has a very very good command and control (or “battlefield friction” or whatever you want to call it), which is very much in my wheelhouse as far as wargame rules are concerned. Alas, nobody else here is particularly interested in trying, but about a year ago I looked at my single 15mm platoon of Americans I’d painted for FoW, and realized that I could rebase them, add maybe a dozen more individual guys (dead cheap from Peter Pig), and have a complete platoon for CoC. Then I realized I could collect a complete platoon of Germans, plus a tank, from the Plastic Soldier Company, for just another 3 or 4000 yen, and suddenly I had two full platoons of WW2 troops in 15mm.
And man is 15mm easy (and cheap) to collect and paint and store. Add the fact that using a 28mm ruleset (like BA or CoC) in 15mm gives you an actually realistic ground scale, and the anal-retentive part of me begins to jump for joy. I even got some terrain, and at some point I imagine I’ll be able to convince someone to trade a game or two of CoC in 15mm with me for something they want to play, and I can actually use these dudes.
So that’s me and historicals. I’m still very much in the dipping-my-toes-in phase, especially since 8th edition pulled me solidly round to 40K for most of my gaming attention these days, but I’m keen on historicals in principle, anyway.
*I should say that I am old enough to have been a teen when Avalon Hill was still a very big thing, and I spent a lot of time in my youth playing hex-and-counter wargames in that vein. Midway and Submarine in particular got a lot of play in my house, in part because of my older brother’s fascination with the Pacific war and such.
One of the things I wanted to do when I started collecting my Scythes force was have a consistent, regimented color scheme across all squads – the full Codex Experience, as it were – because with my previous attempts at marines back in the day, I did it in sort of an ad-hoc way. I also wanted to improve the “canon” Scythes of the Emperor paint scheme, of which I am not fond, so writing up a quick outline document before I ever touched paint to model was a nice way of killing two birds with one stone. Those Bolter and Chainsword color planning things helped a lot, too, but fundamentally I found having everything all planned out before I even bought a model helped me a lot.
This is the basic color scheme progression. On the left is the basic trooper – black armor with yellow trim. In the middle is the fire team leader (who will lead the second combat squad if the full squad is deployed in this way) with a yellow helmet, and then the sergeant who additionally reverses the shoulder pad colors.
Squad markings are basically codex by the book, save that the fire support chevron is fully filled in to ensure readability of the squad number (and painting over transfers is a massive PITA, I tell you what). The chapter symbol is crossed scythes, but high-ranking individuals and company banners may display a single scythe instead.
Elite troops have white helmets. Originally this would have been 1st company troopers, but this has expanded to include any units which are usually filled by veteran troops. (In game terms, I’ve decided this means anything in an Elite slot – mostly because I wanted Reivers to have white helmets.) (And yes, elite fireteam leaders sort of get lost in the shuffle, but oh well!)
And finally, officers have red helmets – there are no official markings setting Lieutenants and Captains apart, as it’s usually easy to tell in practice.
I decided not to show company anywhere on the model, because I couldn’t think of a nice elegant way to do it that would preserve the limited palette I’m working with, work on any mark of armor (which ruled out what would have been my first choice, numbers on kneepads), and preferably be something I could do with a decal. So I was pleased to see that a lot of the codex chapters in the, er, codex, just don’t show company colors, and it fits with the Scythes fluff in that they’ve essentially had just the one company for quite a long time anyway.
And that’s that. The ooonly thing I might do differently is look into getting chapter symbols from Shapeway or custom transfers or something – each individual marine’s symbol is wonky in its own idiosyncratic way, sadly. Hindsight and all that!
And here that my 30-day challenge is done, I finally get around to actually looking into how to take good pictures of miniatures, heh. I think I got a couple! This is my Gravis Captain, and Zoraida, the leader of my Neverborn crew for Malifaux.
Wow, this was a quick 30 days! It helped, I think, that the first 2/3 were packed to the gills with a pretty hectic project.
On day 30 I didn’t paint, but instead went up to Ichinomiya to hook up with a little gaming group they have up here – 5 or 6 guys in a very very tiny plastic model shop.
I didn’t get a picture while it was still light out, but the shop is literally like 15 feet deep – there’s really only one table big enough for wargaming, but with a small group it probably doesn’t matter much!
I played a fun little 50-power game against the group leader’s Necrons. The more I play 8th edition, the more I think 50-60 points is really a sweet spot. Still a lot of fun, in ways that similarly small games often weren’t very fun in earlier editions, but pretty quick and (and this is my own personal opinion about scale) a better fit for the best-suited-to-skirmish-ness of 28/32mm models.
Next time I think I’d take 10 Intercessors instead of the 3 Inceptors – the latter are maybe a bit squishy to be a lynchpin of a force this small. But the double dreads did as well as ever (although a squad of 6 heavy destroyers will and did mess them up) and the reivers, as always, did the work, tying up his immortals for 3 turns before the near-dead ironclad moved in to help them out. In the end, the ironclad was able to chainfist to death the lord who was carrying the McGuffin and escape from the wrath of destroyers into the safety of combat by the end of the game, giving me the win. It was a close thing, though! A couple luckier wound rolls and it would have been very different.
It was a fun evening, and a good chance to meet some new guys relatively new to the hobby. It’s a bit of a drive up to Ichinomiya from here (about 40 minutes from either work or home on the tollway, an hour on regular roads), but I think I’ll be able to make it once a month or so!