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Monday, January 1, 2018

Death on the Reik- Scale Model of Castle Von Wittgenstein

My favorite RPG might just be 1st Edition WFRP, followed by 2nd Edition AD&D. So with that in mind my thoughts have been turning to iconic images from 1st Edition WFRP. And if I don't have enough "irons in the fire" as it were when it comes to Warhammer projects my thoughts have been turning to the next large scale terrain project.

What got me thinking about it is this: 
T1 The Village of Hommlet was a classic, seminal module for many and the Moathouse (meat grinder thought it was/is) stands a indelible image of AD&D. I think for me it would be fairly easy to do something like this, but its already been done as it were. And I should add its an excellent model all around so no need to do it again.

So with that in mind, my thoughts have started to coalesce around this, a scale model of Castle Von Wittgenstein from Death on the Reik.

It's certainly an ambitious undertaking at a 25-28mm scale, but after this I think I can pull it off:

I don't think anyone has ever done something quite like this in terms of an old-school module as a terrain piece, that is in WFRP terms.

Now, I do have the module (obviously) but one thing I'd have to decide early on is which route to go. What do I mean by that? The floor plan/map is not the same as the art which is to be expected.
The tougher route to go with is the art because its just that one picture from the cover and the backside not shown would require some guess work based on the map.

NOTE: I've posted this a couple of different places (Chaos Dwarfs Online and the RPG Site) to gauge interest/ideas/feedback.

Right now this is in the idea phase only.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Nippon Castle for Warhammer- Part III

Wow, the Nippon castle has been garnering a lot of attention on the web, keep up the comments guys and many thanks; especially the shout out here, thanks Scot!

I've stepped back and taken stock of where I am with the project at this point which is to say a lot further along then when I really picked it back up in October. Overall I'm pleased with the pace I've been on and have been enjoying the whole project. I've even found time to work on other projects like the siege equipment, paint a few units and other things that strike my fancy.

But, the title of this post says Part III so what am I working on right now in relation to the Nippon castle you ask: As I mentioned in Part II I've been re-reading my stack of White Dwarf magazines from the range of #220-235. In particular, in #225, Nick Davis' "Jungle Fever - Part 2" where he covers the creation of his Lizardman Castle has been of particular interest. #224 is where the rules appeared for 5th Edition Siege rules for moats which I'm drawing on as well, so here is the point of this post, moats.

As you can see, I've started on the beginnings of a moat for the castle. The moat will obviously surround the entire castle to simulate a Nippon fortress situated on the lowlands of Nippon (or Nihon?) near rice patties perhaps? I deliberately started at the most difficult part of the moats, the corner towers knowing the wall sections would be far easier. I also took inspiration from the corner board sections of 3rd Edition Talisman.

From there, once finished I also have been formulating ideas to create a way to raise up the entire thing so it will sit on a series of cliff walls to simulate a mountain top type of castle. That is further off and I will be using fair amount of paper-mache to make the mountainside.  In this, the 6th Edition High Elf Army Book has some interesting photos of minis and mountains so we'll see.

Note- my overall progress of my Nippon Army is tracked over here at Dogs of War Online.

Speaking of paper-mache, I took a brief side track to work a tomb/barrow, first seen in the 6th Edition General's Compendium on page 52. I started out when I looked at a barrow I created about 15 years ago. I was going to pull that apart but just decided to create something from scratch. Then remembered the barrow in the a fore mentioned General's Compendium. You'll have to excuse this photo as I remembered to take it as I was applying the paper-mache. But I digress, here is the barrow:

As you can see, the top will be removable because I'm insane apparently and need to add all kinds of stuff to the interior..

And if the barrow/tomb were not enough of a bonus, I've also been working on redoing the river pieces of the terrain that Jeff and Dave created 25+ years ago! I widened them a few years back but now I've added gravel to the river edges and will be painting them shortly. Need to add a few more bends and another river crossing part. You'll have to excuse the quick photo on this one too, I only remembered to take a picture after I had already started on it and undercoated one.

I think that's all for now. Good gaming in the new year everyone.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Nippon Castle for Warhammer- Part II

While I haven't updated the blog in a bit, I  have been plugging away and highlighting my progress on the Nippon castle for Warhammer Fantasy Battle over at Dogs of War Online. One of the things I've been trying to reconcile is that its not an Asian/Oriental/Japanese castle* but a castle set in the mythical Warhammer world. Those are two very different things but it seems I have a hard time separating it!

As such,  the walls and castle are very symmetrical which is very unlike a traditional Japanese castle which snaked back and forth with large sprawling grounds and multiple walls and moats.  Since gunpowder was not widely used in medieval Japan,  castles, were for the most part made of wood and with very large moats. Tthis had the practical effect of  said castles taking up a very large amount of ground.

What I created however is a conceit to the physical limitations of  building a castle at 28mm scale and my gaming table which is  5x6 in terms of feet. It fits, but even with centering it in the middle of the table there isn't a ton of room on the edges (note its not centered in the photos below). While rules exist for playing siege games across the editions I'm planning on  using the siege rules for 3rd Edition, warts and all.

One benefit of using the 3rd Edition rules for siege is this lack of space is accounted for with Remote, Encamped and Ready zones that are part and parcel of the rules. For those not in the know these rules formed areas outside of the table top where action took place, essentially "off table" as it were.

As is depicted above you can see the corner towers are all complete now, along with the previously completed corner wall sections.The tops of all four towers are removable to facilitate the placement of war engines as needed.

After I took these photos I began the process of gluing down stones an gravel in preparation of painting in the not too distant future. I'm also in the process of determining what the "inner" courtyard will look like so stay tuned.

* Note no offense implied, sad this has to be stated, but this is the day and age we live in...

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nippon Castle for Warhammer

Hello all- Been a bit busy of late, but have been working hard on Warhammer terrain. Case in point over at Dogs of War Online work on my Nippon Army continues. Aor more accurately, work on my Nippon Castle continues.

At this point I'm so far into working on it I cant really stop (nor do I want to!) But, I've also come to realize that it probably would have been cheaper to buy some already made terrain available from outlets on the web. But therein lies my main argument against that: I work on the castle when I want to and at my own pace, also I'm having a lot of fun doing it. It's relaxing to do and something away from technology (which I get a lot of Monday through Friday working in IT at my job).

I originally started on the castle in the Spring of 2013 and I've worked on it in fits and spurts ever since. About a month ago I picked it back up and have been diligently been working away on it. What started it off was I took a step back and started working on the outer walls which admittedly are inspired by the walls from Siege & Conquest from the Warhammer Historical range. I think as strange as it sounds, that is what spurned me on. I then went back and fixed some of the flaws in the main structure and it keeps getting better and better.

Of course, here are some photos (this AM I started working on more of the roofs of the outer walls).

Here is where it stands as of a week ago:

Here is where it stands as of a last night after about one week week of work between the photos. It may not look like much but I spent a lot of time fixing the roofs of the castle and strengthening the whole roof structure as well.


More updates will be on Dogs of War Online as I continue to work on what is turning out to be a long, but very fun project. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The reason for my Nippon mania in Warhammer- 80s Ninja Craze!

As I blogged about here in post here I've been working in my Warband of Nippon in anon again, off again fashion. Currently, its in the on mode, huzzah.

I've just completed a few far eastern/nippon/samuari type major purchases and will be rounding out two units with enough minis to have a sizeable force to play with. I've currently tracking all activity on this particular army over at Dogs of War Online. As you can see I've made substantial progress with the ninja, for those inclined here is a picture from the blog featuring my first unit rounding to form:

I've been having a lot of fun scouring eBay for these guys and I am nearing the end of my quest to have one of one each of the ninjas from back in the 1980s (there were 48 in all).

But, only recently I stepped back and wondered just why? Why the interest in ninjas? No it wasn't the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles either (I missed that by a few years). The roots of my being smack dab in the middle of the 80s Ninja Craze was this awesome great/bad movie, AMERICAN NINJA!

Of course, after watching it on HBO I wanted to be a ninja so of course I then proceeded to make some ninjatō, painted them silver and proceeded to whack the crap out of my friends with them. I also had some ninja stars to fling around too with my main target being the garage drywall. Of one thing I know for sure, I also dressed up as a ninja for Halloween one year too, probably seventh grade. My mom has a picture of it, but I'm not letting that out to become the next internet meme.

So there you go, 80s' Ninja Craze, 3rd Edition Warhammer a few short years later with some vestigial traces (and the let down of no Nippon army from GW*) and then going full-bore later in my life. I guess what was once old is now new again?

As a final thought one does have to deal with a Inverse ninja law...

* Games Workshop teased at Nippon on page 194 of the 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay book, "For the moment we shall pass over these lands, leaving their exploration to others. A complete guide to the lands of Nippon is already under development." Looks like that became never with the move to 4th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle and then "Herohammer".

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Power, Mystery and the Hammer of the Gods

I've written this post in an on again, off again fashion for over two years as it goes off the beaten path of the blog as it were... But I feel compelled to blog about it anyways (Hey, its my blog), hope you enjoy my musings.

"Power, mystery and the Hammer of the Gods" is a reference to an answer Jimmy Page gave to a searching for just the right photograph, of the band and to me (and a lot of others) that sums up the mystique of Led Zeppelin*.

Absolutely true. To me they are THE band. Led Zeppelin is the best band then, the best band now, the best band there every will be. And the kicker? I was 7 when they disbanded. I never got to see them on stage, but I am a huge fan none-the-less.I started as a fan back around 9th grade. I big influence was by buddy Jeff who was and is a big fan back then too.

The band was and is legendary. To say I'm a huge fan is an understatement. The abilities of the four are definitely greater then the whole, and taken as a whole, the whole is greater then the sum of the parts. They complemented each other like no other musicians I can think of. And because of this is why I think they are the best rock and roll band of all time.

Some might think they are dated (I've heard this recently), but to me their music is timeless, as timeless as the Beatles, perhaps more so. In terms of musicianship, Paul McCartney was head and shoulders above the rest of the Beatles. But with Led Zeppelin? The argument can be made that all four were among the very best in their respective areas. I don't know too many people who will argue that Jimmy Page isn't one of the greatest guitarists of all time. That John Bonham isn't one of the greatest drummers of all time. That John Paul Jones wasn't one of the greatest bassists or that Robert Plant wasn't one of the greatest rock n' Roll vocalists of all time. In fact aside from Freddie Mercury or Ronnie James Dio who is a better singer?  The abilities of the four and their ease at a multitude of different styles of music is impressive. Then add Page's monstrous abilities as a producer at a time when it was unheard of for a musician to be his own producer?

With the Beatles, the whole was greater then the parts in my opinion, with Led Zeppelin, both the parts AND the whole are greater, and that's saying something. They were and are greater then anything before or since. I don't know if we will ever see its like again especially in light of the state of music today.

An interesting part to their storied career critics hated them (still due to a degree), were rarely on radio (initially), had no number one hits and yet were still the biggest band of the 1970s. That geriatric rag Rolling Stone still is dismissive too them to this very day. But as Gene Simmons put it so ever so eloquently when speaking of Rolling Stones' dislike of Kiss: "Being accepted by aging hippies is not high on my priority list."

Led Zeppelin's albums and their live shows made them. It would only be after they disbanded that they reached a near mythic status. That and the fact that for the next 25 years every band tried to be them and to sound just like them. Try turning on the radio and not hearing Stairway to Heaven at least once a day from 1980 to 2000, or even now. 

In the end it, was perhaps fitting that they called it quits after the death of John Bonham, they had given us 12 years of dominance and never really faltered to any great degree. Like Henry V's short reign as King of England in the early 1400s, Zeppelin burned bright across they sky, like a comet. They didn't have any time to be bad.

And I leave you with what might be their greatest song in terms of range (hard to argue with Stairway, but...)

As Zeppelin famously said in a great song: "Then as it was, then again it will be".

Postscript: In the time I took to write this blog-post, a new band has come along that echoes Zeppelin, Greta Van Fleet. While not exactly Zeppelin there are a lot of influences and aren't direct copies like Kingdom Come (Kingdom Clone). I like them a lot and look forward to seeing what they come up with. Their 4-song EP is excellent and highly recommend it.

* I'll add that while I'm tolerant of free speech to a large degree, I'm not entertaining trolls about Led Zeppelin. If you want to rant about lawsuits and plagiarism? Do it elsewhere. Want to discuss why you don't like them, fine, hurling the crap of plagiarism? The web is a wide-open place. I'm sure you can  find other places to do so.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Part VI- Repainting the Wood Elf Force- The Dragon Rider

Back after a ton of summer activities with the kids. While all those activities were going on I wasn't complacent in terms of painting. In fact for summertime painting I got quite a bit done.

This next guy, the ever cool Dragon Master from the Citadel range (notes here). Like the rest of the Wood Elf force this particular model was purchased not for a Wood Elves per say, but yes, you guessed it: an ally for my Empire force in 3rd edition. This purchase represented the start of my High Elf force  which in years would number 14,000 pts. I quickly painted the model up and his debut was against Jeff and Dave's forces (Orc and Goblins/Skaven respectively) during the Ice Storm of 1991 at Dave's house. Since it was just me on the other side I played a combined Empire, Wood Elf and High Elf force. I don't remember too much other than we setup the board on the front living room floor as the power was still out, nor who won. I do recall however they were conspiring to knock him out early, as in like round 1. So against all odds I won initiative and charged across the board and got him into hand-to-hand combat. Don't remember what happened after that, but pretty sure I spoiled their casting of Windblast or Hurricane.

After that Jeff more or less stopped playing so Dave and I played a lot more. This particular dragon would end up as a general for my High Elf force, joined by another Dragon Master model as the army standard bearer and 4 more dragons. The cool thing about the High Elf force in 3rd edition is you could field a force made entirely of dragons which I did a few times. The downside was at 315 points the +4 Shock Elite Dragonkin riders only had 1 Wound...

After moving to 4th and 5th the model sat for a bit until I stripped it of paint and redid it into the form you see now. I made the butterfly wings from regular painting canvas that I cut out to the right shapes and stiffened with successive coats of a watery glue. A small wire forms the leading wing edge to give it additional support. The odd thing was that I modeled a saddle and plunked a 4th edition Empire Rieksguard knight on it  Not sure if the mini ever saw combat in that form.

Since getting back to Oldhammer I've been reassigning models to their proper place in the army lists and it just didn't really fit with the Empire, but I didn't want to trash the dragon. So I touched up the paint job and put the original elf warrior and saddle back on. Upgraded the base to a 50mm base and Bam, done. Moral of the story? Never throw anything away!

So with all that he really wouldn't fit into my High Elf force either with its blue and white paint jobs. What better place to assign then my reborn Wood Elves? Adding fall foliage and once again ties it all back in. 

Next up? I'm still looking for 9 more wood elves from the plastic Warhammer Regiments set for two more archer units (I have 31 now, so two units of 20 is the goal). I did pick up 2 more 4th edition Glade Guard models which I'm using for my Kinband Warriors. I don;t know why but I like these models a lot. They might very well be next as I now have 2 archer units, 1 wardancer unit, a wizard, general, treeman and now dragon rider painted. the force continues to be reborn!

Adding to all of this I'm also working on my reborn 3rd edition Dark elf force and have just finishes a unit of 10 Dark Elf Dark riders. (and yes, you can see some "under the brush" Cold One Knights in the background).

So stay tuned.