Friday, June 30, 2017

A Small Woodland Skirmish

While painting continues for the larger, battle-sized project, I have been trifling about with some skirmish scenarios using the reprinted release of Knights and Magick from Heritage Miniatures.

Knights and Magick is a great, old school "nuts and bolts" rules set, where forces are assembled from the ground up, assigned quality level, armour class, and weapons and all paid for with points or credits. A unique '0 - 15" hit system is used, combined with some charts, to determine casualties. If a hit is successful on doubles, the result is a 'gruesome death' - no saving roll vs. constitution and any friendly troops witnessing must make a morale check.

With the amount of detail and customisation available, Knights and Magic fits right at the intersection of skirmish scale and role-playing game, which is where I'd like to be.

In our youth, my brother and I used to play the knickers out of Knights and Magic, and when a chance visit brought him to me door, we managed to get a game in...much to the dismay of my rangers.

Setup was fairly simple 105 points of five ranger "heroes" vs. 123 points of fourteen orcs, backed up by a single 23 point troll. The rangers would get to defend a hilltop ruin, while the orcish troops would have the benefit of attacking at night.

First turn or so, the rangers used their longbows to kill two or three orc archers, while the main orcish force advanced through some dense wood to hit the flank of the hill.

Orcish archery was mostly ineffective throughout the game, while that of the rangers was moderately effective. The troll was on the rangers before archery could make itself felt.

Turn three and four: The troll charged up the hill slope, while Ælfwina, the apprentice ranger, counter-charged the foul creature. Winnie actually scored a hit, but the troll rolled his save. Winnie was not so lucky, and she went down before the Troll's spiked club. 

Brandon, son of Brand, leapt to the side of the fallen girl. So to did Grÿsr, son of Gÿr. To no avail, though they hacked at the troll, both were slain (my brother's dice were afire and he kept making con rolls).

Finally, with Orcs were circling the hill, Crisagon, son of yet-to-be-revealed-in-this-picture, stood forth against the troll. My brother then uttered words that chilled me to the marrow, "You know, there has yet been a 'gruesome death' in this game."  I quailed as he reached for the dice. Double threes. Crissagon's head burst like a melon.  Ew...nasty.

The battle was over, all the rangers dead. The forest belonged to the Orc.

It was a pretty awesome game. And took about 90 minutes.

Post-game thoughts:
My brother called the game "brutal", in that his orcs had to cross three turns worth of killing ground. Once they closed to melee range, the balance would swing back to them. The troll was quite the wild card - in previous games, the troll had been dispatched by piling on the rangers. Best laid plans, and all that.

One point brought up was I had skint my rangers by only giving them a +1 weapon bonus with their favoured weapon. Bro pointed out if I raised it to +2 (for 1 point each) then all the rangers would have had +1 on their remaining weapons. 

Noted, adjusted, live and learn.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Repainting Mithril Miniatures

Súza Hey Dol!

It's been a few years since I began my LOTR/Arthedain project, but having settled into a new house and sorting out my miniatures, I've taken up the gauntlet again (as it were(.

I've been working on some skirmish forces and repainting some of the older Mithril miniatures that were part of the discontinued RPG line.

Removing the paint is complicated by the presence of the special Mithril undercoat - which I have never found to be all that special, and in fact am of the opinion it was a device to impede piracy (rather a good thing).

My first attempt was to follow a recommendation in The Miniatures Page, and use Simple Green as an overnight bath.

Mithril Miniatures
Mithril Miniatures

The results were mixed, with a lot of green paint left on the cloak and hair recesses. Possibly using a stronger solvent like Pine-Sol or Flash will give a better result...

Here's the same figure after an overnight batch of Pine-Sol. Even without the pine oil (removed from the product in 2012), the Pine-Sol did a much better job. Readers may note that the sword fell off - it seems the Pine-Sol dissolved whatever glue was used.

Mithril Miniatures
Mithril Miniatures

The figure will now be washed in dish soap, mended with epoxy, primed with metal prime, and painted, after which she will join my band of Arthedain Rangers for a skirmish game against the forces of Angmar.  Until next time - Namarie!


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Arthedain Requain

Here are some recently finished Royal Arthedain Army Knights (Sind. Reqain).  These are taken from the old Harlequin/Black Tree Legions of the Realm (cute, eh?) line. They originally had the White Tree on their surcoats and all wielded swords.  Lances were had from the Old Glory equipment line.

I went with a lighter blue to give them a bit of flash and dash. Silver buckles and trumpet (did you know that in JRRT's mythology, silver is a pure metal, while gold is considered corrupt?) and plain leather belts.  The saddle blankets are dark blue with a silver fringe.

There have been some interesting debates on how feudal the Realm of Arnor/Arthedain should be portrayed.  I tend to go with the Greco-Roman Ancient Empires model that the Prof seems to espouse - Gondor as Byzantium, Arnor as Rome.  Broadly speaking, these empires had a manorial system that would survive into the Feudal period, so the idea of "lords" existing in Arnor and Gondor makes perfect sense, without the Post-Hastings culture that JRRT openly disliked (the Prof was a self-identified Anglo-Saxon who loved Beowulf, and considered the Normans about as bad as Ghengis Khan).

To bring this post back on topic, I consider the Requain on a par with the Roman Equites - mounted gentry with a military obligation. The better families who ranked below patrician were obliged to field a certain number of horsemen. Over the years of the Republic, the wars took their toll, and more and more of the better "common" families were required to provide cavalry for the legions.

Something similar is easily envisaged for Arnor/Arthedain. The manorial equestrian class supports the King's knights and draws more heavily on the better sort of commoners as the wars with Angmar wear on.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eketani - Sword and Buckler Men

In the wars with the sister-realm of Cardolan, the Royal Army of Arthedain found an opponent equal in measure to itself.  The Cardolani Raggers (from MERP Dunael: Ragh Crann-Sleagha - Ranks of Pikes) had serried ranks of pikes which confounded the Arthedain knights (Sind. requain) and outreached those of the Arthedain Dírnaith.

Thus the Arthedain tacticians revived the Numenorian Eketani - short sword and buckler men, to disrupt the pike columns of the Raggers. Clad in leather surcoats to help catch and snag the pike points of the Cardolani, armed with a target shield to deflect and lift the opposing pike out of the way, and a short eket for wielding in the tight formation of the pike block, the Eketani were able to disrupt their opponents long enough for the Dírnaith to break them. These fellows also wear a steel corslet as added protection.

These figures are also old Time Machine/Mithril castings. Originally, they were spearmen - a short sword from the bits box was substituted.  They are painted in the blue woolen leggings and grey woolen tunic of the Royal Arthedain Army - household troops would wear their household colours.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


(Edit: I've switched out the word Ohtari for Dírnaith. Ohtari seems to be a word referring to a mounted soldier. More anon.)

It's probably fitting for the first miniature-specific post to feature one of the three units of Dírnaith (Sind./ man-spearhead) that I've painted for the Wars of Arthedain.

These are ex-Mithril soldiers of Minas Tirith that were once available from Time Machine Miniatures. They are based for Armati. The spears have been removed from the right hand and replaced with pikes from Old Glory. They are more likely to break than bend, but I hate bendy spears.

The history around these figs, as told to me by the caster, is that Mithril Miniatures couldn't sell "wargame miniatures" due to the rights being awarded to, well, the guys who currently hold the rights - aka Sauron's Workshop.  These figs were removed from the Mithril catalogue and TMM purchased them.
TMM has since re-focused on 54mm vignette-style miniatures, but perhaps it's possible to ask the proprietor to cast some as a special order? 

Somewhere I have target shields for these troops - only I'll need to dremel the White Tree of Gondor off each one before mounting.  Funny how this project had stalled...

Mae Govannon

Yes - that was the inevitable Gheek Tongue of Tolkien greeting.  I have loved the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit novels since childhood, and I'm steeped in the mythos of Middle Earth. I enjoyed the Peter Jackson films, despite their flaws, and usually have either one of them or the soundtrack thereof playing in the background when I desire wargame inspiration.

One of the things I like most in wargaming is canonicity. I like being able to say,"That's an orc!" and "That's not an orc!" and while I understand that folks might disagree with my interpretation, that doesn't dissuade me.

The basis of canonicity for my Tolkien Wargaming is the novels by JRRT, the History of Middle Earth series by Dr. Christopher Tolkien, the MERP RPG by Iron Crown,  and the films by Peter Jackson, in that order.

This blog was started to help propel an Arthedain army miniatures project that I started over ten years ago for the Armati rules system. The project stalled, but I'm determined to pick it back up, and have had some results in finishing miniatures that have languished on the painting table for years. That said, I will be updating less often than on my other blogs, but aim to post an update at least once a month.

So, Onward, for the House of Isildur. Arané harentuluva!