+ Tallowlands Invitational II +

+ Kick-off +

+ The past weekend saw the opening matches of the Tallowlands Allcomers Invitational; where the PCRC's Blood Bowl teams compete for the coveted Six Species cup. +

Omricon's Ulfheim Undjedhi take on Lord Bolod the Hungry's Slough Wyrms in the opening match.
+ Last inload saw the first couple of pages of the pack; here's the first bit of meat. I'll continue uploading the rest of the pack over the next couple of inloads, so please do feel free to play along – I'd love to hear how y ou find the rules. +

+ We've got a nice mix of teams involved, including Humans, Bretonnian, Necromantic Horrors, Dwarfs, Lizardmen and Skaven – some great opportunities for grudge matches here. + 

+ A couple of highlights from the opening match – results will be updated at some point this week. +

+ inload: Hut-hut-hike! +

+ Blood Bowl! +

+ You are invited to watch the inaugural Tallowlands Allcomers Invitational; also known as the Six Species Cup +

+ An exciting linked series of Blood Bowl matches, kicking off Pflugzeit 317 (February 2017), and preceding Exhibition Matches. +

+ For today, an [exload] of the first couple of pages of the pack. Click for EMBIGGENING +

+ inload: Throng of Nog +

+ Throng of Nog +

The dramatis personae of the Hall of Nog – Left to right: the Runesmith Tremblestave; Thane Nurnanog and his scyldbearers; the Weartling Cwichelm; and Kazasturn, Gesith of the Cyng.

+ A marching to war +

+ Played a game of Warhammer 9th edition Age of Sigmar last night; a 600pt skirmish that pitted the dwarfs of Nogthrong against the unquiet dead of the barrows. The points limit was largely down to 'what have you got vaguely painted' more than anything else – so apologies for the rather basic paint job on some of my dwarfs! +

+ While I had played a (rather cool) scenario written by Bob Hunk, this was my first foray into commanding more than one unit, and in a traditional clash of opposing forces. We played a scenario from the General's Handbook that revolved around capturing points on the table. + 

+ I don't have many pictures from the game, but here's a picture of the Wight King in combat with a unit of Longbeards. For future reference, it turns out to be a fairly poor idea to send troops to take out Wight Kings, as they regain wounds when they kill enemy models – much better to send likely-looking heroes to duel them! +

+ The Thane of Nog, bashing some skeletons heads in, slightly ashamed of the unfinished nature of his troops. +

+ A unit of Longbeards on the left flank proved vital in holding the battleline steady, and preventing the skeletons from pushing on to the ill-defended (but valuable) home objective. +

+ My first impressions are positive. The game was smooth, I felt that I had some interesting decisions to make, and the dynamics of the game remained immediate, revolving around order of combat each turn, rather than in army list generation and early-game manoeuvring at the cost of late-game interaction. For this reason, the game remained tense right up to the end. +

+ Of course, perhaps this was due to the fact that dwarfs and skeletons are amongst my favourite fantasy tropes, and a clash of infantry lines (rather than the general 'Kaiju-fight' of certain game) is right up my street. I'm keen to give the game another go, perhaps at around 1000pts. +

+ inload: ...to the new+

+ ...to the new +

+ I was the happy recipient of a copy of Burning of Prospero (BoP) at Christmas, and last night saw me digging it out to start building. I had toyed with the idea of converting the set using the 'true scale' method, but eventually decided that I'd prefer to save the time and just enjoy having a stand-alone boardgame – I enjoyed Battle for Calth (BaC), but cannibalised a lot of the pieces for my truescale marines, and so it's sitting there a little forlorn. In any case, the models are fantastic straight out of the box. +

+ In addition, there are quite a few other Thousand Son/Space Wolf forces in my gaming group, the PCRC. By building them straight off the sprue, I'll be able to field them alongside the others for a properly apocalyptic game with no wonky sizing issues at some point in the future. +

+ Here is one of ten enlarged test pieces (a Space Wolf, in this example), and the only one to receive paint. I very much like the dark chromatic grey paintscheme I worked out, and will definitely be using that on the Vlka Fenryka for the game. It's essentially a glaze of thinned Charadon Granite over a grey-primed figure, which is then partially removed using a clean cloth or finger while still wet. This creates a very natural gradient. +

+ Models for the game +

+ While the models in BoP are lovely – it was a genuine pleasure to sit down and simply build stuff straight off the sprue – I couldn't resist adding a few personal touches to my set. Having lots of bits left over from BaC, I decided that these figures would combine parts from BoP and BaC, alongside a few parts from my bits box, in order to make the two opposing forces in the game visually distinct. +

+ Members of the Rout. To my mind, the Vlka Fenryka are pragmatic above all else, so I'm not really concerned with uniformity. Instead, I am aiming for a more visually brutal, dynamic look for the VIth Legion, mostly based around the Mark III set, but with suitably parts swapped in to suggest the slightly archaic look of the Legion. While these are the Loyalists, they're only nominally goodies. I wanted to play on that slight dichotomy and give them a look similar to Chaos marines in 40k. +

+ I definitely want to have a light touch with any 'wolf' parts. The crests here are a good example of what I think feels right to me, though I may add a pelt or charm or two. It's the difference between using a feather, and using a chicken. +

+ In contrast, I've built the arrogant warrior-sages of the XVth with a much cleaner, more uniform look. As befitting their studious (some would argue war-shy) nature and open, civilised culture, I've opted for the most advanced armour broadly available to the Legions: Mark IV 'Maximus' armour. In order to introduce some variety, I've kitbashed extensively with the Mark III armour from BoP and Mark IV from BaC, but have heavily favoured Mark IV helms and backpacks to contrast with the grilles and pipes of the Mark III I'm using on the Wolves. +

+ You'll spot a few Forgeworld pieces – the lighter greys – scattered here and there, particularly on the Sergeant. These are included for variety of pose as much as anything else. +

+ A close-up of the sergeant and a couple of others. +

+ inload: From the old +

[exload subroutine: GOODCHEER – date spindle MMXVII]

+ From the Old... +

+ Hope everyone had an enjoyable break over Christmas, and we're all raring to go. The start of a new year is a good time to stop and take stock of things, and this applies as much to hobbies as the more fundamental parts of life. +

+ Backburner projects can niggle. This has been the case for me with both my Warhammer Dwarfs and my Warmachine forces in general. Stepping over that initial hurdle and just getting started with them has been a bit of a hurdle – it's always easier to go with an existing project, as there's less thought required in terms of techniques, painting methods and so forth. As a result, the models remain in storage, unpainted, unprimed, or even unbuilt. No glorious battles for those poor souls. +

+ Fortunately, the same things that dissuade you from the first steps of a project prove to be the things that are most rewarding when you do get started. The challenge becomes rewarding, and your enthusiasm is rekindled. The start of 2017 proved the perfect chance to get another unit for the Throng of Nog built. +

+ I've left the shoulder pads off these fellows, as it opens up the fairly limited poses a little more. Aside from a few trims here and there to alter angles and weapons, these are straight out of the box – the aesthetic of these models is pure poetry; just what I picture for the dwarfs of the Warhammer world. +

+ I also continued putting some paint onto the Protectorate. I'm working in fairly small chunks, and aiming to get a game or two in as a staging marker/deadline. Pictured here are two solos nearing completion (the vassals at the front right), plus a light warjack and the ubiquitous choir. +

+ I believe the men of the choir are some of the oldest sculpts that Privateer Press still produces, but they've a perfect example of a solid concept executed decently. They're not great sculpts from a technical point of view (the fabric of the tabards around the waist is very angular, for example – I initially mistook it for unusual hip plates!), but they portray a really strong image and are full of character. For me, they represent a style of miniature – hand sculpted and cast in metal – that has great nostalgic value for me. Such figures share much the same appeal as the Oldhammer movement. +

+ Digging these figures out and getting them one stage further to their finished state was fun and gave me an odd sense of relief. I realised that I'd been feeling misplaced pressure from my hobby; which is silly, really. I'm sure some of you will have felt a similar misplaced sense of expectation, so I'd encourage you to use the new year as a reminder that none of this really matters – for me, it was exactly the thing to relieve my end of year hobby malaise and get me enjoying myself again. +

+ What have you got on the backburner? Consider this a little encouragement to engage with your hobby and start the year off on a productive note; with no sense of pressure or expectation. Good luck! +