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Sunday, 31 August 2014

HOTT AAR - Ratmen Invasion of the Barbarian Lands (10mm)

As I've been busy making a playing area for HOTT (DBA) and painting up new off-the-shelf 10mm Pendraken Armies, I thought it was time I tried them out in anger. So this afternoon (after I'd done all my jobs!) I sat down to play my first solo HOTT battle between my recently completed Ratmen and Barbarian armies.

Barbarian Army: (above)

1 x Hero General (4AP) – mounted on Bison

1 x Riders (2AP) - mounted on Bison

1 x Magician (4AP)

6 x Warband (12AP)

1 x Shooters (2AP)

Ratmen Army: (above)

1 x Hero General (4AP)

1 x Shooters (2AP) – Blunderbus & Bows

1 x Artillery (3AP) – Gas Bombs

1 x Magician (4AP)

2 x Beasts (4AP)

3 x Lurkers (3AP)

4 x Hordes (4AP)


Preliminaries: Dicing for attacker/defender the Ratmen won. They then dice for the starting edge and this gave them the edge beyond the river. The Barbarians deployed within 600 paces of the opposite edge, with their newly finished Stronghold just to the right of centre.

My plan, for what it's worth, had the Riders covering the left flank, the Shooters the right and the General and his Wizard in the centred flanked by Warbands.

The opposing Ratmen deployed just their side of the river. General and Magician centrally located, surrounded by Hordes and Beasts. A base of Shooters and Artillery in amongst them, the Lurkers not deployed for now.

Move 1: Defender first move, d6 score of 6PIPs. A lack of familiarity with the rules led me to separate out the Magician and Riders who I now see can both move at 500 paces per move. To correct the error I used up 3PIPs to move them together and used the rest to move the army forwards 200 paces.

Move 2: the Ratmen were also suffering from my lack of experience. I'd split my two groups of Beasts up where they could have been grouped together as a faster moving attack force. Instead I had to satisfy myself with crossing the river 200 Paces. This has left half the force facing two separate bits of bad going - woods. With my last PIPs I deployed the three Lurker bases to face the Barbarian troops in their bit of  bad going (built up area/ woods).

The first base of Lurkers were beaten off by the Barbarian Warband and flee off table. The second had more success driving their opponents back one base depth. The final Lurkers attack achieved a stalemate.

Move 3: only 3PIPs this time. Moved the Riders/Magician combo towards the left hand wood and closed two Warband bases onto the remaining Lurkers.

Combat in the BUA was not as conclusive as I'd hoped. One more Lurker element forced to flee the table but the other put up stiff resistance and drove their Warband opponent back.

Move 4:  Only 3 PIPs for the Ratmen this time. These were expended advancing the army in extended line to clear the woods on the bank of the river and for the remaining Lurker element to close in on his Warband prey. This was to be their undoing as with the supporting element alongside them, the Warband easily destroyed the Lurkers once and for all.

Move 5: 5 PIPs gave the Barbarians a few options. They decided to reform their line protecting the Stronghold using 2PIPs and send the Riders in to attack the Ratmen's flank using one more PIP. The final two were saved for a magical attack on the Beasts coming out of the left hand woods.

The Riders attack drove the Horde back into the woods but failed to destroy them. The Magicians attempts to ensorcel the Beasts base were thwarted by the woods, leading them to recoil back. (I realised afterwards that there was no need for them to do this).

Move 6: the Ratmen go on the attack. The Horde lurched from the woods to attack the Barbarian Riders as do the Beasts who charge into the unsuccessful Magicians. The rest of the army maintains it's steady advance towards the Barbarian line.
I'd hoped to fire the Artillery, but couldn't as they'd moved this turn. The combat between the riders and Horde resulted in a recoil for the Riders whilst the hand to hand between the Magicians and Beasts was a draw.

Move 7: a maximum throw of six PIPs allowed the Barbarian General to link up his line and advance towards the Ratmen Horde for a final showdown in Move 8(?). The Riders returned to the fray and the Magicians were determined to deal with the Beasts to their front.

The Barbarian Shooters released an ineffective salvo on the nearest Beasts. The Riders and Ratmen Horde fought to a draw and the Magicians were forced to recoil.
Move 8: Ratmen launch an all or nothing assault on the Barbarian line. Support fire from their Artillery being successful in destroying the Barbarian Shooters on their right flank.

However things did not go their way. 
The Magicians beat off the attack from the Beasts and in the main combat, three elements were destroyed (the General, 1 x Horde and 1 x Beast).

As all but three of the Ratmen elements were commanded directly by the General, the Ratmen losses we're too great and they would have been defeated on their next bound.
Victory for the Barbarian Hordes!

I really enjoyed myself playing this game. Once you get beyond Phil Barkers confusing use of the English language you are away. I found a QRS on the Yahoo site which is all you need once you get going. I can't wait for the next encounter.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

HOTT Terrain Boards - Part Five

Finally it's all come together. The first four boards are finished.
There has been some warping, particularly the plain board, which surprised me. In an effort to overcome this I painted the back of the board in neat PVA and left it to dry. This does make a difference and I think storing the boards in a RUB with the armies stacked on top will help keep them relatively flat.
The boards, hills, box of terrain and (so far) five 10mm Pendraken armies all fit comfortably into a 21litre box that cost a tenner.
Here the Wood Elves face up to a Mountain Dwarf Army. Most of the terrain pieces (trees, huts, White Horse, Stone Circle etc) are resin items by The Square. These are only really available from his stand at shows and whilst cheap and cheerful, are really very well sculpted.

Now I need two new Strongholds - for the Barbarian and Ratmen armies.
Starting with a 60x80mm mdf base and a large thatched hut from the Square, I sculpted a palisade fence from Milliput and cocktail sticks. I also added double doors to the hut from two pieces of a coffee stirrer. For the Rats I've sculpted the entrance to a sewer from milliput with a "festering pool" outside which is a resin shell hole from The Square.
Once this had all dried, both received a coat of dilute PVA and fine sand. Also in the shot are a random monument from The Square that I thought might make a useful objective some fir trees mounted on an mdf hexagon base and the heavy brigade from my Dwarf army - all from Kallistra.

I've got to wait for them to dry before undercoating and painting.

HOTT Terrain Boards - Part Four

First attempt using Colette's spray craft glue failed. I should have been suspicious when I saw the £1 price tag, but hindsight is a perfect art! 
Even with the World's supply of clothes pegs, the edges lifted once it was dry. So back to tried and trusted methods.....good old PVA.
Edges of the mdf painted in a yellow/green mix to match the flock and they're not too bad. I'm happy with them, maybe not to everyone's cup of tea, but they'll serve the purpose.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

HOTT Terrain Boards - Part Three

The remaining two boards were finished in the same way as the first. One with a river bend, the other a plain grassed board ready to receive the hills.
I had watched Woodland Scenics YouTube video on hill making with their vinyl backed realistic grass sheets and thought how hard can it be?

My wife has a crafting heat gun, so with a former made from artists foam board I had a go.....
As a first effort I wasn't too disappointed.
I had originally intended to fix these to the boards permanently, and to use this effort I'd need to mask the edges a bit with clump foliage and rocks. At this point I decided to have another go.
Second time round, leaving a 12mm margin around the edge of the former, things went much better. In fact I decided I'd make 3mm mdf bases for the hills and use them as seperate terrain pieces.
I'll touch the edges up with paint and I think they'll do the trick.
While all this was going the four finished boards had dried. Ok there's some slight warping, but not too bad. I'm pleased with the finish so far.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

HOTT Terrain Boards - part two

This morning with the paint dry it was time to get on and fine detail the roads and rivers.
Roads first - these were painted Dulux "Intense Truffle" and then when dry, a coat of Vallejo Sepia Wash was applied. Finally, when this was dry the whole area was dry brushed with sand coloured paint.

You'll notice that I've painted the edges of the board to make them look neater and to help everything blend in better. The colour is Dulux "Enchanted Eden".
The rivers were first painted Dulux Green. Then a roughly central stripe of Dulux "Lost Lake" blue was applied. When dry this was topped with a narrower still central stripe of Vallejo Royal Blue. Finally a liberal coat of GW Blue wash was painted on.

This was left to dry for an hour before three coats of spray gloss varnish went on to give it all a wet appearance (left to dry between coats).

Finally the river banks were tidied up with Dulux "Intense Truffle" and a coat of sepia wash.
I'd decided to use Woodland Scenics Realistic Grass matting (the vinyl backed stuff) to finish the turfed areas. I made paper templates of each section of grass to ensure I cut the matting accurately.
You can draw on the vinyl backing with a sharpie pen or similar.
This ensured each piece was a perfect fit. I glued it on with PVA. Not the recommended a Woodland Scenic glue as this was £8 a pop and I'd rather chance my £1 Hobbycraft PVA first. I accept that I may need to beef up the edges with contact adhesive or something similar, but I'm hoping to cross that bridge when I come to it.
To start with I've just done two of the four boards. I'll leave these overnight and see how well they've stuck. Hopefully if all is ok I will tidy up the edges that border the roads and river banks with some fine sand (suitably blended in) and some flock. Then they will be ready for use. 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

HOTT Terrain Boards

Finally got started on my modular boards for HOTT. My initial plan is to make four starter tiles.
Two tiles with a river (1 straight with a road crossing it at a ford/bridge, the other curved), one tile with a crossroads to join to the straight river tile and the final tile with two hills. As you'll remember I started with eight x one foot pieces of 6mm mdf thanks to Mister B&Q....all for £9.
To make the river recessed into the board I reached for my newest toy (Courtesy of my Dear Wife!) my Makita Router! The course of the waterway was drawn on the two tiles - 20mm wide. Then I cut it out to a depth of 2mm with my 10mm cutter freehand. Far simpler than I feared and leaving a lovely finish after a quick rub with a sanding block (wearing a mask and glasses of course).
I then had a bit of a disaster. I'd had this brain wave to use rare earth magnets to help hold the finished tiles together on the table. This failed......first they proved too weak to hold on and second I'd forgotten my schoolboy physics about magnetics and polarity! It was never going to work....Doh!
Never mind onward and upward to the roads. Using Hobbycraft self-adhesive foam rubber.
Cut into 20mm wide strips it was stuck down to ensure like the rivers, it leaves the board at the centre of the edges so they match up.
To blend them into the board and form the banks at the edge of the road I use decorators caulk.
Then, when dry, a coat of PVA and some scattered budgie sand.
Finally for today, an. Undercoat of spray grey primer for the roads and rivers. These will be painted largely using match pot paints ..... Currently 4 for £3 in B&Q.
More tomorrow.........

Thursday, 7 August 2014

My New HOTT Armies - Barbarian and Ratmen

My birthday present from my daughter......Pendraken HOTT armies!
A great way to pick up a ready to use army for the HOTT system. The Pendraken 10mm Barbarian Army is only £6! Combined with some Minibits laser cut bases and there you are....
The other army was the equally good value 10mm Ratmen Army.
These armies are a great sideline away from the grind of painting a big project. Taking very little time to paint to a high standard.
I fancy getting an Arthurian Legend and Orc armies next. But first I'm going to have a go at building a dedicated play area from mdf. I bought a 1200x60mm sheet of 6mm mdf and the kind man at B&Q cut it into 8 @ 300mm squares free of charge! I'm going to fit the edges with rare earth magnets to hold the boards together and decorate them with terrain that enables them to be assembled a number of ways.
As for safe storage..... A really useful box is just perfect! I'll let you know how I get on.