Monthly Archives: February 2017

Building a Frostgrave Warband

Frostgrave is, as I’ve noted, happening at Madicon. Although I’ve seen some rather impressive Frostgrave setups at the various HMGS conventions, this is going to be a fairly low-key afair: just a 6×4 table stuffed with terrain and folks handed wizards and warbands to push around until they run out.

For this to work, though, everything has to be pre-generated. We’ve done the Frostgrave-day thing before and it takes hours for people unfamiliar with the system to make decisions about school, spells, and hirelings. Wasted time. So, I’ve generated cheat sheets for the warbands I’m bringing to share: everything someone would need to play on the single sheet (with the QR sheet on the back).

Am I not considerate?

This process brought to mind some rules of thumb I’ve had rattling around for the best way to approach Frostgrave from an army-building perspective.

First off, all hirelings in Frostgrave (not counting the hirelings in the supplements) fall into the following ruthlessly broad categories:

Equipment Hireling
Hand Weapon Thug, Thief, Apothecary
Handweapon & Shield Man-at-Arms, Knight
Two-handed Weapon Infantryman, Templar, Barbarian
Two Hand Weapon Treasure Hunter
Crossbow Crossbowman
Bow Archer, Tracker, Ranger, Marksman

And I mean ruthlessly broad, here.  An Apothecary’s got a Staff… but you’re Two-handed weapon guys are going to be more martial than some skinny jackass with a Health Potion, so just give him a stick with a nail in it and call it done.  You could probably even conflate the Hand Weapon & Two Hand Weapon groups, but Treasure Hunters are so useful (and supplemental options), it’s justifiable to treat them separately.

(Most of the options in the supplements fall into these categories as well: they’re almost all Hand Weapon or Two Hand Weapons.  Only the Javelineer, with his javelins, and the Pack Mule, who I really just want to run as an actual Mule, are problems).

Within each category, you want some differentiation.  Two-Handed Weapon dudes, for example, ultimately come in three flavors: if you have three models equipped with two-handed weapons and they’re all different, you can point to the shoddiest-equipped and call him an Infantryman, the better armored one a Templar, and the gnarlier looking on a Barbarian.  Or you can say that they’re all Infantrymen, or Templars, or that the two with the scarier looking weapons are Templars and the guy with the spear is an Infantryman… whatever. By making your models individual, you buy yourself flexibility.

At a minimum: simply build two from each category. You’re not likely to need to run eight Thieves, right?  Two Crossbowmen will set you.

So:

  • Hand Weapon Dude x2
  • Hand Weapon & Shield Dude x2
  • Two-handed Weapon Dude x2
  • Two Handweapon Dude x2
  • Crossbow Dude x2
  • Bow Dude x2

And make each model of each pair sufficiently distinct from the other (worrying less so about the two Treasure Hunters & Crossbowmen).

If you want to do more than that, I think it’s worth pushing a couple of those groups up to three models each:

  • Hand Weapon Dude x2
  • Hand Weapon & Shield Dude x3
  • Two-handed Weapon Dude x3
  • Two Handweapon Dude x2
  • Crossbow Dude x2
  • Bow Dude x3

If you really want to run more than two Thieves, go for it, but I just did the two (plus the two Treasure Hunters).  There are a couple of options across the Hand Weapon & Shield that you might want to take, and several options for the Two-handed Weapon and Archer models.  In the case of the Archers, I made a point to give at least one of them a Hand Weapon: remember, you want to be able to distinguish between the two models.

Both approaches obviously give you more models than you can run at once, but it’s so much easier to paint the 12/15 models together and be covered for the duration of your Wizard’s treasure hunting than to not and end up needing to assemble and paint a second sword-and-board guy halfway through a campaign.

Of the four warbands I’m bringing to Madicon, I’ve used this model for two of them: I’m bringing an assortment of Skaven just culled from my many, many Skaven models. I’ve got a Clubmen warband that’s simply a Warlord Games clubmen blister with a best-match for model to Hireling type.  But this is the approach I’ve used for my Cultists and my Barbarians: basically how I’ve wrangled all of the different options in those kits.

With models built: which models to start with?  I gave JC the following advice yesterday: “M is good, take as many bodies as you can, and Apprentices only look optional.”

Which equates to: 8 bodies in a starting warband with 300g to spend. Take two Thieves.  Take two of the following: Man-at-Arms, Treasure Hunter.  Then take two of the following: Archer, Crossbowman, Infantryman,.  Obviously, there are many more ways to spend your starting gold, but it’s good place to start, and stays within the above recommendations for building models.

 

Terrain & Mat


The subject of Frostgrave at Madicon came up, and was sufficient motivation for me to pull the couple of terrain pieces I have hanging around unpainted out and fix that.

Not much: a second set of Pegasus Ruins, as well as a Warhammer Fortified Manor I picked up at my first Games Day.  They’ve been around assembled and unpainted for a closer to a decade than not.


I also pulled out some fabric I’ve had and painted it: green felt in a 3×3 with all the green and brown craft paints to give it some modulation, and some brown felt sliced up for roads.

And, on a whim, hit Home Depot for a mat to make fields, and lucked out in finding one with no print: so a good 2×3 worth of crops.

Nothing magnificent, but definitely serviceable.

I don’t think a 3×3 will cut it for Madicon: we’re going to give a bunch of folks pre-gen’d warbands to push around in a grand melee.  I’ve got more terrain than this, but probably not enough to pad out a 6×4 with -this- density.  It’ll probably be okay, though.

Base color scheme 

I’m really digging this color scheme: I kind of want to see what it’ll look like on a mech or something.  

Maybe I’ll pick up a Merc TAG or something and try to do it up enough for Historicon/NOVA.

It’s my not-grey grey that I use on A7Vs, Averland Sunset, and Ushabti Bone.

(Also, I’m posting through the WordPress app for the second time.  Hoping that gets me posting here more.)

Weekend Workbench

Three day weekend I hadn’t been expecting, so I’m painting.  This is what I’m working on at the moment:


A bunch of Warsenal Taugak bases for my Combined Army minis, as well as some Jaguars and Intruders. 

Infinity, in other words.

Flames of War – WWII

Just a quick note because this is something I talk about occasionally, but have a hard time putting good words around.  This morning, I saw this photo from Breakthrough Assault’s post about Corrivalry:

This: this is what I’m talking about.  I really like the WWI version of Flames of War. When I flip through the FoW rulebook, the stuff I see looks cool. I like the idea of playing WWII Flames of War.

But then, at the game store, I look over at people playing it, and I see the above.  That’s a parking lot of a dozen tanks, just parked like they’re at the mall, arm-in- arm, stopped inches away from as many or more artillery pieces, just hangin’ out.  This doesn’t look like fun to me, and it doesn’t look historical.

Anyway, not trying to shit on the game; just pointing to what, exactly, sticks it for me.

Tutorial – How I Paint Faces

I’ve been pretty self-satisfied about my faces lately, so I figured I’d knock out a quick walkthrough of how I paint Caucasian faces while wrapping up my Blood & Plunder minis over the weekend.

I did have a couple of issues putting this together:

  • Like an idiot, I deleted a couple of the step photos.
  • I’m less than thrilled with the end result of the demo (but at least I have other examples of successful faces.

It’s kinda hard to tell the difference with some of these steps (which is why I accidentally deleted some of them), which is why I’ve supplemented the mini photos with a photoshopped face (source for the original image).  I’ve kept the strokes rough because I’m just paintin’ with a mouse, but also because frankly on a 28mm figure, that’s what brushstrokes are actually going to look like.

Step 0: Primed

I normally basecoat grey or, more recently, black with white zenithal highlights. This was a spur of the moment thing, so I ended up just basecoating white.  Won’t matter much.

Step 1: Basecoat

Paint everything GW Bugman’s Glow.

When dry, paint everything GW Cadian Fleshtone.

The goal is Cadian Fleshtone, but the coverage with it is poor enough that it’s just simpler to basecoat with the base paint.

Step 2: Layer

Block in shapes with GW Kislev Flesh.  Get the nose, eyebrows, cheeks, chin and jawline, lips, forehead, ears.

Step 3: Wash

Wash the whole thing with GW Reikland Fleshshade.

Step 4: Highlight

Now’s the time to be precise.  Pick out details with a fine-tipped brush and GW Kislev Flesh.  Target the nose, chin, eyebrows, lower lip, ear tops and lobes, and the tops of the cheekbones.

Step 5: Eyes

(Of course I kept all of these.)

With as fine a brush as you can manage, fill in the eyes with GW Rhinox Hide.  I’ve seen other people do this with black, but I think it’s too strong: you want to draw attention to the eyes, but you don’t want your figure wearing mascara (unless you do).

Go over the brown ovals with P3 Menoth White Highlight.  I prefer this because it’s a bright ivory… but it’s not actually white.  Leave some brown around the edges, though, to help the eye stand out.

If you screw up: just go back and touch up with more Rhinox Hide.

Take a pointed toothpick.  Sharpen the point.  Dab it into the GW Rhinox Hide you used above.  Wipe off the excess.  Pick a direction and poke it into the eyes.  I used to do straight-ahead, but it’s just easier to do the eyes looking off to the side and maybe more dynamic?  I’m using brown here because, again, I think black is too strong.

I did blue on the Frostgrave Barbarians last month, and thought it was really effective.  I might pursue this: do color, do the dot larger, and then maybe go in with a black dot as a pupile.

Step 6: Glazing

Mix about 50:50 GW Wazdaka Red : GW Emperor’s Children: looking for a nice rose color here.

Then thin that sucker out with a lot of water and a drop or two of matte medium, until it’s at about this level of transparency:

Better to be too thin and require multiple passes than not thin enough and ruin everything.  If you need to do multiple passes: just make sure it’s dry before the next one.

Carefully apply it to the cheeks and tip of the nose.  Maybe the ears if you feel like it.

Take some GW Dark Reaper, and thin it out as much as you did the rose.

Now apply it to the beard area.  In this example, I think I went too dark: you can do that, but I’m generally not trying to do stubble, just to give some color to the face.

Step 7: Wrap it Up

Finish painting the other details on the head.  Teeth, if you can see ’em.  I like to draw a little line of GW Agrax Earthshade between the lips (if the mouth is closed) or just in the mouth (if it’s open).

Other Examples

Here are a couple of practice heads I’ve been working with.

And some Frostgrave faces I think came out well and photographed OK.  This is where this approach has really clicked for me.

Summary

  • GW Bugman’s Glow basecoat
  • GW Cadian Fleshtone basecoat
  • GW Kislev Flesh layer
  • GW Reikland Fleshshade wash
  • GW Kislev Flesh highlights
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • P3 Menoth White Highlight detail
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • 50:50 GW Emperor’s Children : GW Wazdakka Red glaze
  • GW Dark Reaper glaze
  • GW Agrax Earthshade detail

Hopefully this helps someone out.