29 March 2013

Review: 28mm Plastic Roman Veterans

A bit of a departure here for me. I'm going to review some models!

The kit being inspected is the Roman Veterans box, a set of 20 plastic 28mm Romans by Warlord Games, to accompany their Hail Caesar ruleset.

Now, before we get started – I don't do 28mm and I don't do historical. At least up until now. I play Warhammer 40k, Fantasy, Warmachine, Malifaux… you can see where I'm coming from. Most of the miniatures I own are 30 or 32mm 'heroic' scale models so in comparison these guys are like hobbits.

So why am I looking at this stuff, never mind buying it and painting it?

I've noticed a lot more plastic kits appearing on the market these days and from distance they look pretty good. I was intrigued to see how they compared to what I know, plastic Space Marines (© Games Workshop).

I placed my order on the Warlord Games website last Thursday mid-morning; I got an email to say it was being shipped on Tuesday evening this week and it arrived the next day. Not the quickest of deliveries, but not bad at all.

I only wanted to dip my toe in so went for the 20x Veterans box rather than something with more models in it. It has options for a Centurion and a Standard Bearer and Musician with the rest all Legionaries. I was disappointed to see that it only comes with 3 different body sculpts for the troops which, when building 17 of them, makes them look rather repetitive. In addition there are only a handful of alternative head sculpts so again repetition occurs quickly.

Being veterans these guys are battered and bruised and so is their gear. Lots of damage on shields and bandages on heads. I liked this and it's perfect for the application I have in mind for them.

The plastic itself seems good quality. As you can see I stuck my test models onto weighted 25mm bases, and standard plastic glue gave no problems with that or attaching limbs or shields (not like Privateer Press 'plastic' models). It all went together very easily and I could have added more with leg armour and other extras available on the sprue.

The detail on the sculpts is good. I especially like the Centurion and can't wait to get some paint on him. I would have liked to see shield motifs sculpted onto the models but I guess if you're doing multiple units and need different images a plain shield is best. The models came with a set of waterslide transfers which look good – won't be using them myself as I'd rather paint them on by hand, but if you had 20 to do the transfers might be a less laborious option.

I realise I've been spoilt with the quality and volume of extra 'bitz' on my 40k plastics all these years.  These models have limited poses and there's a lot of repetition but that's not to say I'm not impressed. I've a lot of faith in the quality of Warlord Games' gear – they have the pedigree to back it up – and these models do not disappoint. The quality of the product, sculpt and price per model is great and I will be dipping my toe in again at some point.

Price: 9/10
An absolute bargain, 20 models for 16 quid, fantastic!

Plastic Quality: 9/10
No problems at all, variable levels of flash and mould lines but good overall.

Sculpt Quality: 8/10
I have limited experience of this scale but they look great to me!

Poses: 7/10
Limited to sticking arms and heads on and limited alternative sculpts, but alright.

Extra Bitz: 5/10
A few bits here and there but I guess they're more of a 'nice to have'.

Overall: 8/10
Considering these are the first 28mm, non sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk plastic miniatures I've ever bought I'm really rather impressed. I am coming from a totally different perspective that most gamers who will be buying this product, my expectations were very high so the scores may seem a little harsh. I was looking for some Roman Legionaries – they certainly seem historically accurate (based upon my recent studying) and I doubt that I could find anything better out there at the moment. Very happy.

I'll do a post or two as I paint them and that will be the real test!


With the realisation that the scale of these guys is on the small side I have to amend the overall score to reflect the disappointment I felt.

Overall: 7/10

27 March 2013

Pre-Salute thoughts

With a little over 3 weeks to go until our day out at Salute I thought I'd have a look back over the last 12 months, the purchases made, and what I'm expecting from this year's event.

Last year the purchasing focus was Hordes/Warmachine, though the Malifaux interest was lingering.

As you can see from the image above I picked up an Everblight starter box, plus an epic Lylyth. The box set is complete, alas the epic warlock remains unfinished. The Cryx warcaster remains pretty much as you see him, as do the the bonejacks. The Hordes templates were used just the once in our trial game but I've read the Everblight army book to death. I'm embarrassed to say that the terrain is not painted, and in some cases still in the box.

So, with the exception of the Everblight starter box, not a terribly well used set of purchases in the last 12 months. I did buy additional Everblight models over the summer which were painted – e.g. the long-tailed Raek and Forsaken (to the right of photo above). I haven't even built much of the Cryx stuff I bought in the run up to Salute. However, these were not wasted purchases. I am still very interested in Warmachine / Hordes so will come back to them.

So what about this year?

Well, I have a completely different agenda this time around. I don't need any more purchases for my gaming at the moment – 40k has had enough spent on it and X-Wing has no new releases yet – so it's down to anything that looks shiny on the day. No, this year it's all about the more historical side of things.

You heard it here first – I have a secret project up my sleeve. Very secret. It involves very little painting of miniatures but Salute has surfaced at the perfect time for me to facilitate other aspects of the project. As such, my trip to Salute this year will be a fact-finding mission. I will be looking more closely at the demo games on display – might even get my hands dirty, you never know.

That's not to say that I won't be spending any money – please, it's Salute!

26 March 2013

Goblin Aid

It's in times of the worst circumstances that people come together. Once again our hobby community is showing its mettle when one of its own comes to harm.

For those of you who don't know, Kev Adams is a sculptor of great renown within the industry. He is especially known for his Ork and Goblin masterpieces and has worked for many well known names.
Earlier this week he was stabbed and beaten by three intruders at his home. He is out of hospital and on the road to recovery but is in a bad way.

Geronimo from Fenris Games and Dags from Ainsty Castings are coordinating efforts to raise money to help Kev replace stolen items and get back on his feet. Sculptors from across the industry are creating unique goblin miniatures for the cause, painters are painting and people are generally doing what they can to raise money from auctions.

Anyway, enough of me talking about it. Go over to the Goblin Aid Facebook page and catch up on proceedings for yourself.

25 March 2013

More X-Wing…

My fling with X-Wing continued this weekend with a visit to see Bull. Again I stuck with the contents of the starter box, given that it was Bull's first outing in the Star Wars universe.

We walked through the basics of the game, Bull flying the X-Wing and I took the TIEs. Bull was eager to get stuck in proper so we reset and got going.

Game 1 was the shortest and most brutal game yet, the two sides charging straight towards each other and opening up with everything. Luke ripped into the TIEs inflicting heavy damage but fell quickly to the combined shots of the Imperials – the dice gods finally on my side.

We played four games in total and came away with a couple of wins each – the latter games much more tactical, lots more cat and mouse. Needless to say, Bull was very impressed with how the game played, how easy yet tactical it turned out to be.

Elsewhere, lots of other hobby goodness happening in the background… to be revealed at a later date.

20 March 2013

X-Wing – Fighting Like Rocky

Last night I had my second evening of X-Wing gaming, this time with my old mate Fugs.

We played the basic setup again, however, Luke Skywalker got no extras and I swapped out Mauler Mithel for a standard Obsidian Squadron pilot in the second TIE Fighter.

Things got off to an oh so familiar start in game one. I decided to keep my TIEs in formation and chased Luke around the board getting plenty of shots in. However, my conversion rate was diabolical. When you consider I have only a 25% chance to outright miss on any one dice, I was beating the odds hands down.

After rolling 15 attack dice, over the course of several rounds, I had managed only 2 hits!!
That's before any defending rolls!!

My defending dice were no better and when Luke finally got a shot in, it wasn't long before I lost 'Night Beast' and then the Obsidian pilot. Round 1 to Fugs and the Alliance.

I hasten to add that this opening game lasted over an hour, such was the tactical flying and cat & mouse games being played.

We decided to have a quick second game in, so swapped factions – Fugs was looking forward to playing the Empire. Up to this point, in 4 games of X-Wing, I hadn't taken down a single ship. It was looking as if this wasn't going to be my game at all.

Fugs embraced his role as Empire pilot, making great use of their better speed and agility. After four or so turns Luke had lost his shields and was down to his last 2 armour points. I had managed to get the Obsidian pilot down to his last point, but 'Night Beast' was still on his full 3.

I bobbed and weaved like a man fighting for his life, but Night Beast took another point of armour off Luke's X-Wing – things we're looking bad. I managed to get the drop on 'Night Beast' and got a critical hit. When Fugs flipped the card to reveal the consequence, Beastie's TIE had taken 2 points of damage instead of 1. This levelled the playing field and left all three ships now on 1 point of armour each… things were getting nervy.

The next move would make or break the game for me… and I made a pig's ear of things, miscalculating  distance and leaving Luke in the sights of 'Night Beast' at range 1, giving him an extra attacking dice. Fugs fumbled his dice roll though and I needed to make 1 save off 2 dice. I rolled 2 focus, which would normally have spelled disaster, but thanks to Luke's special ability I could convert a focus to a dodge. Saved by the skin of my teeth!!

Buoyed by this brush with death I seized the opportunity to line up the Obsidian pilot and took him down. I then pulled a flip maneuver that left me with a stress token but 'Night Beast' nowhere to run. Realising I have shooting initiative (better late than never, eh?!) thanks to my better pilot skill, I flew straight at the TIE and shot him down.

My first two kills and my first game won!!!
What a total Rocky moment.

I have another game of X-Wing against Bull this weekend – let's see if I can improve on my current stats of played 5, won 1, lost 4… 7 ships lost, 2 destroyed.

Not sure the Empire or the Alliance would employ me right now!

14 March 2013

One Year Ago…

I saw this topic posted on Tamsin's Wargaming Girl blog and thought I'd have a quick look to see what I was doing this time last year.

The result was rather spooky.

On 14th March last year I posted about a game of Malifaux against my regular opponent Fugs.

Kirai Meets The Twins…

It was the next chapter in my battle to beat Fugs' Neverborn crew with my fledgling spirits, which hadn't been going too well up to that point. In fact I was finding it rather demoralising and was verging on something of a sulk rather than embracing the challenge.

It turned out to be our last game, for various reasons, and I haven't really played Malifaux since.

I didn't hear from Fugs for a very long time until just recently he got in touch again. He now has his own place in town and was very much up for some gaming again. Had the snow not ground the local area to a standstill we should have had a game of something this week, but it has been rescheduled for next Tuesday. Spooky that it will be almost a year to the day between games against Fugs.

As we approached Salute last year my interest and blog topics drifted towards Warmachine and Hordes and Malifaux has rarely been seen since. The release of the latest book 4 did nothing to reignite my interest – in fact I don't even own it. The new plastic models didn't inspire me either and I sold all the GenCon bits I'd bought. I do still like the game and would look forward to playing again, alas the leviathan that is 40k has taken centre stage again and looks set to dominate for a while yet.

But you know me, I'll always be distracted by shiny things – which reminds me, I never did paint those Batman figures at Christmas!

13 March 2013

My X-Wing reinforcements imminent…

After my X-Wing intro evening with Chris last week the bright lights got me and I ordered some reinforcements. I got an email this morning to say that they have been dispatched.

This will give Chris an X-Wing, a Y-Wing and an A-Wing to choose from (plus the Millennium Falcon!!). I'll have 2x Tie Fighters, a Tie Advanced and a Tie Interceptor in my fleet. Should make for some interesting games going forward… and maybe even my first win!

I'm hoping that this will be the last purchases before Salute next month – bank balance won't support more – but we all know how these things go!

11 March 2013

Nurgle Biker Champion – part 3

Nurgle Biker Champion - part 2

My Nurgle Biker Champion is virtually complete now as far as the building goes. I will no doubt nip and tuck some details before basing him and undercoating. He's a little more converted than I was originally going for but as the champion he has to stand out so I'll get away with it. The challenge will be to get the rest of the squad looking coherent without being as heavily modified.

The main addition was the fungal vents at the back of the bike. I had to cut away the back of the seat in order to fit the rider on, so needed some sort of visual replacement. I was going to convert the exhausts into fungal vents but they're a bit small to begin with and I didn't want to open the 'can of worms' that is major converting surgery, so this is the compromise.

I also added spikes to the wheels with bits of cocktail sticks, trimmed right back. I intend to paint them up as bone rather than metal so that it feels more organic.

I didn't think that Nurgle biker needed any kind of display or readout to ride this thing so the screen had to go. I tried a new technique I recently discovered – using a comb to roll out greenstuff, creating this piping. The impression is a bit weak on this one but the theory works well.

Elsewhere on the bike I added growth and mutations to disguise the original machine a little. I still need to drill out the exhausts and such but he is pretty much complete. On to the paint!

To be continued…

08 March 2013

X-Wing Intro Evening

Just over two months since getting my hands on it, last night was the first opportunity to play X-Wing. My friend Chris had come down from Maidstone to have a game… and it turned out to be well worth the trip.

Just to set the scene, Chris has never played a wargame in his life, never fielded an army of miniatures, composed army lists or pored over rule books for hours. I, on the other hand, have done all of the above for over twenty years. Whilst I would never consider myself a master strategist I do think that I can pick up games quite quickly… and I don't like losing, haha!

We went for the very basic set up to begin with. Chris took Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing accompanied by R2-D2, whilst I fielded the Tie Fighters of Mauler Mithel and Night Beast. The Imperial fighters are fast and very maneuverable but the Alliance craft has shields. It was pretty balanced on paper but how would things pan out?

Game one was finished quite quickly as Luke took down Night Beast in turn 2 and chipped away at Mauler Mithel for another couple before the game ended. I managed to take down Luke's shields on a couple of occasions but couldn't do enough to kill him. The whole thing took barely 20 minutes and was a great introduction to the surprisingly simple gameplay.

Game two was time for Imperial revenge… except it wasn't. Whilst I played the Tie Fighters much better, my dice rolling had deserted me and even point blank shooting (and all the bonuses that entails) wasn't enough to score even a single hit (photo above). Chris on the other hand was rolling like his life depended on it and was scoring hits with ease.

For game three we mixed things up to help our learning experience, I took Luke's X-Wing and Chris switched to the Imperials. The shields had been a real pain in the earlier games so I felt that I could be somewhat cavalier in how I played the X-Wing. Alas, again, the dice kicked me in the backside and after several turns of chasing each other around the board Luke was taken down, having only inflicted a single hit on the Imperials. Awful dice yet again and Chris could do no wrong.

A great evening of gaming and learning something completely new to boot. The fact that you can have a game so quickly is great and, as our model collection grows and we try out missions, we can have larger games with more tactics and challenges.

Chris went home unbeaten in his first three games of X-Wing, a very happy man. I commiserated with my latest purchase – the Millennium Falcon!!!

A big thank you to Chris for making the trip down to Folkestone after a busy day at work.
The Empire will strike back!

07 March 2013

Nurgle Biker Champion – part 2

Nurgle Biker Champion - part 1

Here's the first pictures of my Nurgle biker champ after the drill has had its wicked way and the first round of greenstuff has gone down. Still more to do, plus maybe some added extras, but you get the idea of where we're going with it.

Already things are looking much improved and nurgly. The wheels don't look particularly brutal so I wanted to go to town on them. They will eventually have spikes in them, but I liked the idea of it looking like they shouldn't work properly due to being so overgrown with mutation. Getting there.

The rider himself is pretty finished with the greenstuff, the focus now being any large areas of the bike, such as the fuel tank. The drill battered it with pock marks and now I'm working back in with growths.

Very happy so far. I don't want to go too overboard with the greenstuff but, as the unit champion, this model needs to stand out a little. The back half of the bike remains relatively untouched at present, but I have plans for that!

So, another post about the greenstuff stage then on to some painting hopefully.

To be continued…

04 March 2013

Nurgle Biker Champion – part 1

I spoke last week about a desire to build some Nurgle bikers. I need something fast in my army and at Toughness 6 (!!) these guys will do quite nicely thank you. Whilst I see a lot of people building bikers with meltas and power fists to go tank hunting I think I'll go down a different route.

Nurgle bikers are not the same as Plague Marines on bikes, they're simply normal Chaos Marine bikers with an extra point of toughness. This means that they don't get a bonus 'feel no pain' save, no blight grenades and they're initiative 4 not 3. The implication of this last point is that they will be going (mostly) simultaneously in combat with Imperial marines (looking at you Dark Angels!). Why then would I hamstring myself back to initiative 1 with a power fist or power axe when I'm likely to be outnumbered 2 or 3 to 1 and mostly likely be dead before I get to hit? Toughness 6 is great, but hits will land if rolled in sufficient numbers – white dice or not!

I want this bike unit to be a distraction to go out early in the game and take the heat of other units, maybe even assault a devastator or command unit to slow them down or hamper their effectiveness. With that in mind I have decided to go with a power weapon/flamer combo.

As you can see with my Champion model here, I gave the bike extended front forks and have added my own custom front mud guard. It's all looking a bit light weight at the moment but this is the pre-greenstuff stage, so all types of boils, rot and growths will emerge soon enough. I may even add some barbed wire and chain that I have kicking around (somewhere).

For the Champion himself, I've used a leftover Forgeworld body and shoulder pads and added standard marine legs instead of the ridiculous ones that come with the bike. I also managed to find a spare Ogre weapon, which looks far more nasty than a standard power weapon and, at a push, could represent a power axe when needed.

So at the moment the bike is looking ok but, as we've seen with my previous Nurgle projects, the greenstuff stage will change things completely. I have also added some pennies into the base to weigh it down and already it has added gravitas to the model when you hold it in your hand. Just how a model should be.

To be continued…