I have to admit that I really like black and white sketches and pictures. It’s probably a throwback to my utter lack of talent in that respect.
Whilst I can’t claim to have any kind of extensive knowledge on the ‘fantasy’ art world, there are a couple of artists who jump out at me.
If I were to name my favourite fantasy artist it would probably be Alan Lee. His work in the Tolkien world is just phenomenal. It just bought the whole world to life and it was always his b&w illustrations that attracted me the most. His art is Tolkien’s world personified.
However some of the earliest works that caught my eye and influenced my childhood were from Paul Bonner. His sketches regularly appeared in White Dwarf towards the end of the 3rd Edition fantasy and there was a certain crispness to them and the expressions captured seemed so much more realistic that other artists.
So with that preamble our of the way, I’ll share some of my favourite illustrations from him. Ones you rarely see when searching online for his work (including a sketch of elves. I mention this as he is renowned for rarely drawing/painting them).
The picture of Muenchbek is probably one of my all time favourites but I also love the wardancer in the final picture.
I’ll have to throw out a mention to davekay and his scent of a gamer blog who inspired the idea for this post as it is definitely not my normal fare.
Further to my previous post, this month I’ve continued Azazel’s challenge to give some love to some long neglected models. The victims, I mean lucky recipients were the 4th ed. wood elf spearmen that one of the command groups in the last post will lead.
These will make up the bulk of my Crimson Guard (I may have just had an Action Force/GI Joe flashback with that name) and will be fielded as Eternal Guard.
These will be reinforced by 10 of the newer plastic Eternal Guard models (again part painted) and 4 oldhammer models (that are technically high elves and also need some love), to make the unit a more viable size when using them on the battlefield.
I do have the shields somewhere but they are with my stored figures/boxes at my folks so I’ll have to have a rummage when I’m next down there. I did take a quick look on eBay but frankly the cost of the old shields seems somewhat high.
I have also come to the conclusion that I really am crap at painting human/elf faces so I’m going to have to go away and watch some vids on this, as the base, wash and highlight didn’t work very well.
My painting time (or more accurately, lack of) over the last few months has been rubbish even by my standards. I have about 6 different projects on the ‘tray’ and am flitting between them without really progressing on any. So I made a concerted effort to at least clear something by the end of the month. (Edit: this post should have gone out at the end of Feb but I forgot to post it – doh!).
I decided to tackle first the oldest items (in age rather than time spent on the painting board, as that ‘honor’ goes to the Glade Lord on Great Stag who is probably verging on at least 6 months. *hangs head in shame*).
In this case the oldest were a wood elf 4th ed. command group. These I painted to match the 1st and 2nd generation wood elf plastic archers I completed over the last few months.
This was very much inspired by Azazel’s neglected model challenge. I’ve only had these models since the early 90’s…
And as a bonus, I completed a second command group (also 4th ed.). These were the matching set of the above but for a melee unit. They were designed to go with the old 4th ed. metal wood elf spearmen, of which I have a load and yes they are also part painted from way back in the day and have now joined the paint board. The spearmen are entitled the Crimson Guard (for reasons that will soon become obvious) and will be fielded as Eternal Guard.
The standard bearer in this group is one of my all time favourite wood elf sculpts. It’s just something about the way he grasping the cloak round himself (and has nothing to do with me wishing I could do that in the artic bloody cold we currently have here!). This is offset by the champion being one of my least favourite.
The banners have yet to be completed but I’m going old school with them and will be sketching/tracing a yet to be decided design onto paper and then painting it, before cutting and glueing it to the pole (in a similar way to my Orcs from the same period).
Hey there sports fans, Crassious Clay here to present this special episode of the Witching Hour with none other than Diego Mary-Donna.
Thanks Crass and in this special we will be looking at the up and coming Gronn Fjord Raiders (GFR). A Norse team currently residing in one of the lesser known leagues of south east Londinium.
That’s right Diego, this is a team that has come out of nowhere and quickly become a fan favourite what with their predilection for ignoring the ball to concentrate on what some have said to be an excessive use of violence in their games.
‘Excessive’ Crass? You’re not talking about PEEVS again are you. Good honest Blood Bowl fans should take it upon themselves to hunt down and extinguish the life from any member of ‘The People for the Eradication of Excessive Violence in Sport’ (PEEVS), using extreme prejudice!
I couldn’t agree more Diego but to get back on track, under the fearsome coaching of the ‘dread Auditor’
Don’t Crass, that man’s grasp of numbers sends shivers up my spine, they say his mother slept with an abacus and he was the offspring of that unnatural union..
err I’m not sure that’s right Diego but anyway crunching the numbers seems to have worked for him as they won two of their first three pre-season friendlies at their Greenvale Stadium.
Let’s take a quick recap of those games before looking at their opening league game shall we.
Game 1 – 02/02/18 – GFR vs Marieni Daulphins (Humans) – Coach – Dan R
The GRN attracted a modest crowd of 3k vs the 10k travelling fans. The numeric advantage meant that everytime one of the opposing human players were knocked into the crowd, they were gentle escorted to the reserves box in the dugout, rather than treated to the infamous hospitality of the average blood bowl fan. Midway through the first half with most of the human team laid out, the Norse runner (Floki the Swift) lived up to his name and scored a touchdown. The Coach of the Daulphins, Dan R, at that point decided to throw in the towel and this incensed the fans so much that they tore the team to pieces and Dan was forced to go into hiding meaning the league had one less team in attendance.
The bonus for the Raiders was that they not only gained both purses (allowing the recruitment of a thrower for the team) but gained both team MVP’s and in a stroke of luck they both went to the Ulfwerner, Cadoc the Bear who gained Mighty Blow as a result. They also siphoned off some of the visiting fans who, unhappy with their former team’s performance, decided the Raiders were the new team for them.
Final score 2-0 (we used the old BB rules where you always won by 2 touchdowns in the event of a withdrawal – though you don’t gain any SPP’s for the additional TD’s)
Game 2 – 10/02/18 – GFR vs The Orcward Orras (Orc) – Coach – Paul R
The second game undertaken was a favour to one of their new sponsors, who had asked them to play against a rookie coach and offer some tips. The Raiders agreed and proceeded to coach the Orcward Orras in the only way they knew how.
Word had gotten round about the new team on the block and the crowd was much larger this time with the Norse pulling in 9k fans vs the Orcs 10k.
In the first half the Norse slowly wore down the orcs using the ancient art of crowd surfing. The dice gods looked unfavourably on the Orcs and the Norse injured, first the Orc thrower (curtesy of Ragna, the No. 9 lineman) and then a Black Orc Blocker (Uday the Yhettee really took a dislike to him). Luckily for Paul they were just badly injured. In the final drive of the first half, the No. 4 Norse Berserker (Eirik) ran home a touchdown.
The second half saw the Norse team stage a classic flank attack, stacking all their big hitters on the right flank.
They easily punched through on the wing and with a sure touchdown in the bag, they couldn’t resist going for a cheeky level up, cocked up the hand off from the thrower to Eirik, which allowed an audacious Orc Blitzer to nick the ball from under their noses.
Not standing for that, the Raiders unsurprisingly knocked the orc into the stands but the orc fans got to the ball first and chucked it half way up the pitch. The Orc No.2 Lineman was first to the ball and passed it into the hands of the No. 8 Blitzer, who managed to scored an outrageous touchdown, using an amazing show of twinkle toes to dodge his way through a mass of tackle zones! Paul’s team then started to improve their Orc Smash! (TM – Paul R 2018) and badly hurt the Norse No.10 lineman Gudmund Stonehand but neither team were able to gain the upper hand and claim the win.
Final score 1-1.
20k winnings each and +1 FF to both.
The Norse MVP was the scorer of the touchdown and this gave Eirik enough points to skill up and unsurprisingly he decided to take mighty blow.
A very fun game and it showed how quickly fortune can turn in this game.
Game 3 – 19/02/18 – GFR vs Skavenblight Scramblers (Skaven) – Coach – Greg F
How the mighty have fallen. The Scramblers fell from grace in a large way and for several seasons were not heard from. They reappeared this year under a new rookie coach hoping to climb to back up to the lofty heights of their heyday. This fall really showed when the Norse counted 12k fans vs the Skaven’s 7k.
With a team value considerably lower than the Norse, the Skaven were able to hire a wandering apothecary for the game.
The Skaven won the toss and elected to kick. Cadoc the Bear (Ulfwerner) started the carnage by badly hurting Skik, the No. 8 Skaven lineman. Ragna Dagfinn then followed this up by fracturing the leg of Strot, the No. 5 skaven lineman (meaning he would miss the next game). The big guys spent the half knocking each other down with no ill effects to either but the rest of the team added to the casualties with a plethera of knockouts. In the sixth turn, Floki (the norse No. 5 Runner) finally managed to actually pick up the ball and he ran up the pitch and in the final turn of the first half, scored the first touchdown.
In the second half, Eirik (No.4 Berserker), outraged that a skaven player had gained a SPP for a completed pass, smashed the hand of the offending skaven thrower (Skeexranq – No. 10) to try and ensure it wouldn’t happen again. This meant a second skaven would miss the following match. Ragna then added his second casualty of the game by taking down the Rat Ogre but the Skaven apothecary leapt into action healing the damage caused (annoyingly I couldn’t find who had taken down the Rat Ogre at the end of the match which meant I missed leveling him up). With the injuries and knockouts to the Skaven team multiplying, the Norse were able to take down the ball carrier and Magnus (the No. 3 Norse Beserker) then ran in the second touchdown of the game.
The final score was 2-0 to the Norse, who took away a purse of 50k GP and also gained another Fan Factor for the win.
The MVP’s went to the Norse Yhetee, Uday. This was enough to level him up and to follow the trend he took Mighty Blow.
Floki (runner) scoring was enough to also enough to level him up and he took Dodge to give him the Blodge combo.
As an aside, Greg and I met after work for this game and tried out a new (for us) central London venue, hosted by the London Wargaming Guild, a book and play style meet. It was a very friendly place and crowd, hosted at the Seven Dials Club inbetween Covent Garden and Tottenham Court tube stations (almost next door to the Cambridge Theatre). As a bonus it had a bar next to the gaming tables. The only small thing against it was the volume of the music. Don’t get me wrong I like loud music but it was a touch too loud for normal conversation when playing.
Game 4 – 23/02/18 – GFR vs Cold Sea Hawks (Dark Elves) Coach – Chris R – League game.
In the first of my league games, I faced off against Chris’s Dark Elves. There was a good crowd in attendance with 10k of the Raiders fans and 12k of the elves.
We used the alternative inducement rules for special cards, which allowed Chris to take one for 50K rather than the standard 100k.
The Hawks won the toss and elected to kick to the Norse. The Raiders played a card that allowed them to get +1 on their KO rolls for the game and the Hawks played one that allowed one player to be nominated to receive an extra MVP if they were on the pitch at the end of the game. I know you are thinking what I was…challenge accepted!
In the first half after receiving the ball, the Norse tried to undertake their normal tactics of smash the opponents and knock them into the crowd. Although Cadoc got an early casualty against the DE No. 11 lineman and the team crowd surfed a few other players, the Dark elves retaliated and KO’d 3 of the Raiders, meaning by turn 3, both teams were unable to adequately cover the width of the field. With their high agility, the Dark Elves were able to capitalise the gaps in the Norse line and sack the Raiders ball carrier but with some desperate defending against them, the Hawks failed to convert their advantage.
In the second half the Norse deployed in a deep defense (to maximise the number of dodge rolls with modifiers the DE’s would need to take) and with a slight numeric advantage. They quickly increased this with Eirik badly hurting the DE No 4 Blitzer (who had Guard) thus removing the main anchor of the DE offensive threat (edit: it is possible that he was injured at the end of the 1st half rather than the very start of the second). The Dark elf team then proceeded to cage their runner and moved from one side of the pitch to the other (in a manner similar to ‘pong’) waiting for the Norse to make an error. The Norse played the waiting game, slowly closing the net on the cage removing one DE player from the field each turn. Maneuvering for the final sack, the Norse left one lane with minimal cover and the remaining DE blitzer snuck into the Norse half.
The DE runner attempted a desperate move to clear the ball from his half and used a Heroic Feat that removed any negative modifiers from passing, giving the long bomb a great chance of succeeding. Not happy with the initial roll (due to the modifiers cast by tackle zones) he used a reroll and completely fumbled the pass leaving them in a perilous situation. The Raiders proceeded to sack the few remaining elves allowing their thrower (No. 13) to run in a touchdown in the final move of the game.
Final Score 1-0 to the Raiders.
The Norse took home a purse of 70k and used this with their treasury to purchase another reroll. They also gained another FF moving them up to a total of 5.
Cadoc the Bear (Ulfwerner) got the match MVP, which together with the casualty he caused, leveled him up to Veteran status and he added block to his skills.
This was an extremely close and cagey game one of the closest i’ve had in a long while and a definite learning experience. Chris was unlucky not to score in the first half, a 1 rolled when ‘going for it’ really put paid to his plans. The ability of the elves to slip though the smallest gap and his insistence of dodging out of block zones to minimise hits was definitely playing to their strengths and my one slip up in the second half, again, nearly meant he scored.
oh and just to confirm he didn’t get his bonus MVP as the player was knocked out and off the field at the end of the game. Challenge completed!
Considering that i’m running the club competition I’ve been rather slack with posting any updates on my own blog. In fairness this is mainly because i’ve been using other avenues to report on it in order to reach the actual participants.
That aside the Group stages have now finished so it seemed an apt time to post an update with a few stats.
Due to some drop outs after the start we ended up with 15 competitors and they played 20 games between them to find out who would progress to the Quarter Finals.
11 different warhammer armies were represented (out of a possible 16) with only Tomb Kings, Wood Elves, Daemons and Ogres not present. High Elves were the most popular army with 3 players taking them and Dark Elves and Warriors of Chaos following behind with 2 players taking both of them (interestingly I rate these 3 as some of the higher tier armies*).
There were definitely two groups that I would consider to have been the harder groups (B & C), if only due to the players who were in them. In Group B, Antonio is the club 2016/17 WHFB champion, Chris was the runner up that year and Steve was the 2015/16 runner up. In Group C, Neil is a persistent Semi-finalist and Luke also reached them in 2016/17. It is probably not a coincidence that 2 of the lower tier armies* that qualified, Beastmen and Bretonnians, were in the other groups. (I’ll add that the only reason I qualified with the Beastmen is that Alistair dropped the ball on his final game, mainly due to animosity messing up his plans!).
* When I say higher or lower tier, I rank them by the number of options or limitations on their builds and play styles. Warhammer is still very much a game of skill and good generals, who know their armies and the game rules inside and out, will normally win against less experienced opponents no matter what army they use.
So now the groups are done we have the knockouts to play. In a difference this year and to try and encourage players to work on that side of the hobby, armies that aren’t fully painted, only get half tournament points in the knockouts.
This immediately puts the following players at a disadvantage:
Quarter Final 1 – Luke (though he knows his army inside out so still stands a great chance of going though, especially as his opponent is using Bretonnians and had never used them before this competition).
Quarter Final 2 – Antonio (he has a grudge match with Neil, who lost against Antonio in last year in the Semi’s but beat him in the Kings of War final. Antonio is a great player though, so could possibly go through but Neil is also very good so this will be a great match).
Quarter Final 3 – Steve (he is using my High Elves and they are only half painted which immediately puts him at the disadvantage. Luke, although has only been playing 8th for a few years, has rapidly become a good player and knows and has played with his army far more that Steve with his, so has to be the odds on favourite. Steve’s normal army is also Warriors of Chaos, so perhaps he can use the knowledge of the army to his advantage).
So players have until the end of March to play their Quarter Finals. Let the (knockout) games begin!
There is a town called Tewksbury in the west of England. It’s famous for a couple of things, having a large abbey and finding itself under 6 foot of water every time the sky sneezes. What it’s not well known for is a small known fact that in the summer, it has flags with heraldry hanging from most of the buildings in the centre of town.
I’m sure this has done some form of subliminal messaging into me and combined with the fact that I normally try and go for the polar opposite of the army I last used, meant that it could only be Bretonnians.
Out of all the armies available in 8th, Bret’s were widely regarded as the bottom of the power level (probably just below Beastmen). That isn’t to say you can’t win with them but it is definitely more challenging to do so. Well I like a challenge in an army and no one ever accused me of picking armies based on power level!
To help facilitate some further inspiration for paint schemes I rifled through my old WD collection and found a couple of great articles. The first hailed back to the oldhammer age and WD 136, when I believe the (uncredited) Perry Twins wrote an article on Bretonnian heraldry, including colour schemes, how to link lineage etc.
The next article actually spread over 3 WD issues but the below is from the 2nd one extract from WD220. In it the Nigel Stillman talks about building a fluffy Bretonnian army but what I liked is the painting of his knights errant in the same colours but all with different heraldry.
To be honest I enjoyed flicking through the older WD’s so much I thought i’d just share them
So I’m awaiting an order of 2 Trebuchets and 10 Questing Knights to arrive from Norba Miniatures (seriously their delivery times are less than impressive) but I have dug out my old 5th edition starter box models (22 archers and 12 KoTR) and picked up a substantial haul of knights from a club member including 18 knights (9 pre-painted) and 6 Grail Knights. Add to this a pre-painted BSB and Damsel (both to be touched up) I picked up on ebay and an unopened mounted and ‘on-foot’ damsel and I almost have a battle ready force. I really just need to pick up some Peg riders to be able to field a 2500pt force (although I did get 4 in a bargain on ebay, they went astray in the post, highly frustrating as I know they were sent, as I was tracking them. Still the guy did refund me with no hassle).
One thing I am already liking about the army is the low model count. Still, it is quite daunting thinking about the amount of effort it will take to paint them up. Still a break from wood elf green will be well received!