Mars Miniatures

Mars Miniatures

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Mother Of Dragons (And Hydras, And Basilisks Too!)

This post today is about dragons...  and some Dark Elves too!  Not just any dragons, mind you, but baby dragons!  Err, I think the proper D&D term is young dragons, somewhere between hatchlings and adults.  Also, we add a little more fluff to our storylines, particularly for our Drow/Dark Elves/Night Elves, who havent been active since their debut.  I have been wanting to give more screentime to their main characters... so here's their chance.

Here's a nice little monster its a Citadel C29 Chaos Hydra.  Ive named her Slithers and painted her purple to match her mistress - the Countess Alyza. 
Alyza cares for her hydra very much, as you can see she is scratching one of Slithers seven heads.

Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons

These are Reaper dragons which are not new to this blog.  I used them as full grown dragons for my 10mm Warmaster project which Ive moved on from.  Well, the dragons have been rebased and now live on in 28mm Moria! 

This fiesty lil fella is Custard.  While he has been hatched underground, his ancestors were once mighty forest dragons. 

This red dragon is Ember, he's got some breath on him! 
Mama mia! Thats a spicy meatball!

And here is Oona the basilisk, her uncle (on her mothers side twice removed) became a famous star a few years ago because of some silly little movie about under aged "wizards".

Nimbus is the youngest of Countess Alyza's wards.  He is a bratty blue dragon who can spit out lightning when he has a tantrum.

And here is Slithers and Oona, hiding behind their mom.
They have security issues because the other hatchlings teased them for not being "proper" dragons.
Schoolyard Dragon Bully: Why dont you have wings?  Why do you have too many heads? 8 feet? Thats gross!

Alrighty, enough with the new minis! 

Time for the fluff... 

When last we left you, a certain battle took place in a scary room full of angry little Dwarves who carried cruel weapons...  (from the point of view of this story's protagonist)

Vermithrax wandered long in the damp dark caverns.  He remembered being prodded by Orc spears and goaded into a battle.  All he remembered was running towards a glowing room full of Dwarves.  Vermithrax yelled for them to help him, save him from his cruel Orc masters, but Dwarves dont understand Dragon speech.  Instead, they slashed at his neck with axes.  They bashed his toes with heavy hammers.  And stabbed his wings with spear and sword.  The Orcs lost the fight, and he escaped, trampled over his Orc prodders and outran the whips of his taskmaster.  Now here he was, hungry, tired, and alone.  Vermithrax collapsed and began to doze off into the sweet numbness of draconic dreams.

Wandering on paths that other men have not seen. Behind the sky. On the other side of the rain.

Until he hears a soothing voice who promises him safety.  To lead him to a cool pool of healing water (somewhat slimy, but who's judging)   
Just a little further, little dragon... 
She speaks Dragonese, thinks Vermithrax, but maybe I shouldnt be so trusting!
But what does he have to lose, he lets her guide him onwards.

Vermithrax reaches a pool of water and gingerly dips his toes in the slightly nippy waters and lets out a sigh of relief.

Countess Alyza calls for the High Alchemist Grigori, to concoct some of his healing potions.  Grigori is also called the Master of Poisons.  Ok normally he makes deadly poisons, but reverse a poison and its a potion, right?  Vermithrax gives in and swallows a vial or two and feels much better immediately!

There is no pain, you are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move but I can't hear what you're saying

Alyza asks Vermithrax his name.

Time to decide if he trusts her, for a dragons true name is power. Vermithrax thinks about the bloodlust he detects in Alyza.  Blood... disease?  sickness.  Blood drinker!  But she has been sooo nice!  Vermithrax relents and decides to throw caution to the winds of fate.

Alyza says: "I shall call you Vermy!  Vermy meet my other children!"

They swarm around Vermy and snort and sniff at him, welcoming him to the tribe.  Success!

While the dragonlings begin to play with their newfound friend, Lord Commander Alric the Cursed enters the watery cavern and takes Alyza aside.

Lord Alric: The Orcs are preparing to attack the East Gate.  The Dwarf forces who were victorious at the Chamber are moving back to join their main army, if they do the Orc attack will fail. 

Alyza:  You want to help the Orcs?  Thats new!

Lord Alric:  True, Orcs are not our friends but the Dwarves are even worse.  We must not allow the Dwarves to regroup. 

Alyza:   What do you want of me?

Lord Alric:  Use your dragons to harass and delay the Dwarves!

Alyza:  Risk my dragons?

Lord Alric:  I will send Magister Ludi and his Shadowfire cultists to help with these hit and run attacks.  We will have them running in circles, then when they are tired and demoralized, we will strike and defeat them!  After that, we will move on the East Gate and slaughter everyone remaining there, be they Orc or Dwarf!  While there are countless more Orcs in the Underdeeps of Moria, at least here we shall be the masters!  The Drow will rule the upper halls of Moria again!

Alyza:  So be it!  But afterwards, I want first choice of the Dwarven captives.  Three quarters of the captives will do.  I need fresh blood for my baths... and my baby dragons are hungry for fresh meat, they grow tired of foul orc kabobs.  I will bake those meddling Dwarves!  Dwarf pot pie will make my babies grow to be big and strong.

Lord Alric: Half of the captives, Countess.  You get first choice, fine.  But only half.  Your dragons arent the only ones that need to feed. 

*Lord Alric's cursed sword begins to howl*

Alyza:  (to her dragons)  Children... pay attention please!  Custard!  Let go of Oona's tail!  The real playtime is coming, children.  Here is what I want you to do...

~ ~ ~

So there is our fine little treat of a post!  Hope you enjoyed it, as much as I did in making it.  Until next post...


Monday, June 29, 2015

The Battle Of Balin's Tomb Part 2

Yeah, this is supposed to be a Warhammer Classic 1st edition blog, but I dont think those rules translate well for skirmishes in dense terrain.  So for this battle at least, I used LOTR SBG.  Its simple and provides dependable enough results.  At some point in the future, I want to create my own mishmash of SBG LOTR & Warhammer (and any of the other dozen or so rules sets on my shelf); taking the best bits I like about them and hammering it out.  Anyway, my philosophy is that complexity should be in the scenarios, not in the rules.  With that in mind...

This is a defensive scenario, where the defenders must protect an objective (Pickles the Dwarf) for an unknown number of turns, I used playing cards to determine when Pickles finds the map and the Dwarves may then exit the area via the eastern board edge.  The Joker card was that marker and I shuffled it in among 11 other cards.  Then I took another 6 cards and placed that on top of the 12, which meant that the Joker would show up sometime on turns 7 to 18. 

Victory conditions for the opposing sides are:
1) Decisive Dwarf victory = Defeat all Orcs
2) Dwarf victory = Pickles finds map and exits eastern edge
3) Orc victory = Pickles is slain without finding map (or map never leaves the board, Pickles may pass the map to another Dwarf)
4) Decisive Orc victory = Defeat all Dwarves

To add some more spice, I also ruled that certain Face cards meant a special random event had taken place, of which I made 3:
King of Hearts = Young Green Dragon with Orc handler arrives on random board edge
Ace of Hearts = Dark Elf scouting party arrives on Western edge, these are Orc "allies".
King of Diamonds = Hodor and his Dwarf mercenaries arrive on Eastern board edge

So there's the basics of the thing, lets see how it played out...

Grombrindal's scouting force in the northwest is assaulted by a wall of greenskins!
Those Reaper Orcs look massive in relation to Dwarves.  Which suits me fine, I want my Dwarves facing insurmountable odds.
Is that Porkins at the very front?  Fall back you brave little pork!

Henchman 1: What we gonna do now, Tony?
Tony Montana: We gonna war, thats what we gonna do. Come on, Sosa, you wanna go to war, we take you to war, okay?

They fall back to the Northern doors, where King Gorrin and 3 other Dwarf Lords form a defensive line!  Lets hope it holds, because now a Wraith has joined the Orcish host.  The Wraith is "sapping will" from the heroes and "draining courage". 
King Gorrin raises his sword in defiance of Orcish threats!
King Gorrin:  Stop! See this royal magical sword, it means I am a King and I order you to stop your Orcish aggression!
Dennis: Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. 

Meanwhile in the southwest, Gloin sees a second front of Orcs surging towards his position.  At first, Gloin decides to keep his heavily armored Dwarves on the highground to buy time for the defenders.

But the enemy have archers and superior numbers!

Run away! Run away! Run as fast as your little fat feet will carry you!
To the Chamber lil stunties!
Sir Robin: Would it help to confuse it if we run away more?

The Dwarves position themselves in the doorway and as the Orcs pop up from the stairs they get greeted by axes to the face!  Oh, now the best part, Nindalf the wizard gets some sorcerous blasts as well to smash them back down.
Those Orcs will find a hard time of it, crossing that archway!
Bridgekeeper:  Stop. Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Sir Robin: Ask me the questions, bridgekeeper. I'm not afraid.

As the battle rages all around, Pickles keeps searching for the map.  Grumpy keeps close watch.

And a King of Hearts is drawn!  A Green Dragon appears...  where?
(By the way, its an Oldhammer dragon. 1987 Citadel Young Green Dragon)

That Dragon ends up right in the worst darn place.. north east corridor!  Guess Grombrindal and King Gorrin wont be able to hold this place while being surrounded by both Wraith spells, and now Dragons teeth.  Into the room, Dwarven lords!  All Dwarves are now in the Chamber itself.

Gimli takes a suitably dramatic position to cheer up his companions with a rousing speech.
Ahem, they may take our lives, but they wont take our freedom...  or some such...  For Narnia?!?  Boo!
Behind him, you can see Pickles and Grumpy, and behind them, the southern defense.  At least Nindalf and Gloin have successfully stalemated the Orcs there.  For now at any rate...

Over the shoulder Gimli cam.
Thats alot of hurt coming our way, boys!

We're all in strung out shape, but stay frosty, and alert. We can't afford to let one of those bastards in here.

Whats this?  A horn sounds in the deep.  Its a King of Diamonds for an event!  Which means Hodor and his hoarders arrive... right on the south eastern corridor catching those pesky orcs in the flank.
They're attacking from behind us!
Turn about!  Look to the rear!  You dogs, move!
There are too many!  We cant hold them!

And as Hodor sweeps the lower corridor, Gloin and Nindalf burst out to take the upper platform.
Orcs are caught on the stairs and surrender, while the rest flee for their lives! Back into the chamber, everyone!  The whole southern defense force rushes back to fight with Gimli, Grombrindal, and King Gorrin.

Overview of the action.
On the left, Gloin and Nindalf find themselves face to face with Murkillor the Wraith!
In the center, Gimli and the Dwarf Lords manage to hold the line.
And on the right, Hodor smashes through the greenskins and are about to flank the orcs below
Hodor has turned out to be a beastly Orc killer and a hero to boot!

Closeup of the center, Gimli's throwing axes find their mark on the dragon, while the dwarves below him hack at the beast dropping its wounds to 1!  Also, Kimril the Slayer and Lastro face off against a big Orc brute!

The moment of truth has arrived.  The Wraith strikes Gloin with his Morgul Blade attack and... instant death?!  But wait, Gloin can still make a Fate roll to save... and he does!
Nindalf strikes back with a lucky sorcerous blast and the Wraith dissipates into nothingness with a terrifying wail!  Of course, what is dead may never really die, but it wont cause any more trouble, at least in this game!

With their main leader defeated, the Orcs lose heart and their force begins to crumble.  The Dragon also has had enough and tramples some Orcs in his haste to find a cool and slimy pool to dip its wounded aching tootsies in.

The last of the Orcish assault is driven from the Chamber Of Mazarbul!

Finally, at the very end... Pickles finds the map.
Grumpy harumphs...
Alls well that ends well, Grumpy!
Its a Decisive Dwarven Victory.  Scenario probably needed more orcs, or less Dwarf heroes.
(Oh let them have some happiness for a day or two!  Dwarves will find sorrow and woe eventually in the deep dark of Moria!)

So, what was it all for?
We have a map to find Balin and whatever is left of his colony.
Oh what about Baron Hawk and the Dwarves that left to secure the crossroads?
They have successfully done so, but more Orcs are on the way, and Dark Elves have also been sighted.  They are closing in on our own colony at the East Gate of Moria.  The Dwarves decide they must put off finding Balin for another day and return to warn their comrades of the gathering storm.  They must begin bolstering their defenses for the impending attack.

So theres my first proper battle report.  Hope you readers enjoyed that.  I think the pics turned out pretty good, considering I didnt put too much effort into it.  Oh and I forgot to mention, the Chamber of Mazarbul terrain piece is Ziterdes all the way from Germany!  Took a little time for it to arrive, but they kept in contact with me and let me know.  When it did show up it was so well packaged and had no damage from its long trip.  Bravo Ziterdes, thumbs up from me.

So, whats coming up next?  Im not slowing down the pace one bit.
Well, a nice big terrain piece is!   And some warmachines to defend it!  Ah, now Ive said too much...

Until next post, keep on "keeping on",

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Orcs and the Battle Of Balin's Tomb Part 1

Its been a long time coming and now finally Im happy to show off some painted Orcs on this blog.  These are from Reaper, but I do have some vintage Citadel being prepped for painting.  I also plan on making some purchases from RalPartha Europe for Kev Adams Orcs and Gobbos, Harlequins from Black Tree, and more...  So the iron fist of the Orc will flame the fires of industry in our little Moria Project and will be sure to cause some Dwarven misery in the near future.  In this post we also show some story fluff and the initial defensive setup of the Dwarves as they struggle to defend the Chamber Of Mazarbul or Balin's Tomb as it is also known (but at this point, we still dont really know if Balin is dead, do we?  Perhaps he is just mostly dead?)

The leader of this band of ruthless Orcs is a Wraith with a sword of blue magickal fire.
 H.Boy: What's his name?
T. Manning: His name is Johann Krauss.

H.Boy: Johann Krauss? Sounds German.
T. Manning: He's the top man in...
A. Sapien: Ectoplasmic.
T. Manning: Yes, thank you. Ectoplasmic research.  Comes highly recommended by our European liaison.  "Liaison."  I love that word, don't you?  It's so hoity toity.
H.Boy: I don't like Germans
T. Manning: No fingerprints.
A. Sapien: Here he comes. 
H.Boy: Germans make me nervous.
T. Manning: No photo. Dossier says, and I translate, "He has a nice open face."

These 5 Orcs are massive brutes and the fella in the center is Gragg the Elf-Slayer.
Readers of this blog might know there are indeed some Elves in Moria who might have a problem with this monster.

More Orcs with their banners, drums, and horns.  And some pointy arrows!

These Orcs look pretty hungry.  Not a good thing, especially if you get caught by them.

Hungry Orc:  I'm starving. We ain't had nothing but maggoty bread for three stinking days.
Grishnak:  Yeah! Why can't we have some meat?!  What about them? They're fresh.
Ugluk:  They are not for eating.
Grishnak:  What about their legs? They don't need those.  They look tasty!

So those are the new additions!
Now on to more fluff and the disposition of the Dwarven forces.
When last we left you, Gimli and friends enter the mysterious glowing room...

A quiet solemnity falls over the grieving Dwarves as they enter the Chamber Of Mazarbul.  It is also known as the Chamber of Records.  In the center is a tomb.  Somewhere high above, light shines down upon the sarcophagus which reads "Here lies Balin, Son of Fundin, Lord of Moria"

Another view of the room where you can see the northward facing doors.

One dwarf picks up a book, which seems to be a record of the colony.
"Drums in the deep.  Bar the doors.  They are coming..." (You know the rest!)
It is grim reading, and a terrible end.  But wait...

Pickles the dwarf has found a small parchment.  "Thats not the end of the story!"
Pickles:  "Hmm.  Says here that Balin, son of Fundin, Lord of Moria...  has been raised from the dead by Ekalim the Mad.  What few dwarves survived have turned to the worship of Nergal and Khorn!  They have fallen back towards a secret fortress in the Underdeeps below"
Gimli:  "Balin lives!  Not sure who these Nergal and Khorn are, they sound friendly enough (doh!) but at least we know some of our kin are here.  We must find them!  Where is this secret fortress?"
Pickles:  "Ummm... sorry Gimli, the directions and map are on another page.  Look, theres hundreds of pages littered all over the floors here.  If it is still here, I will find it!"

At that moment, Captain Drogo, rushes in.
Drogo:  "Orcs have been spotted!  They are massing in the central hallways to the east!  If they take the crossroads we will be cut off from the rest of the colony!"
The Dwarf commanders decide to split their forces and send half to secure the crossroads, and half to remain here in the Chamber to guard Pickles as he searches for the map of the secret fortress.
Baron Hawk, Capt Drogo and his thirty dwarves, 4 of the Dwarf Lords, and a few others head out to the crossroads.  Hodor and his mercenaries are stationed between the crossroads and the Chamber and given orders to come to the rescue of whichever force needs help the most.
Gimli:  What about west?  We should send a few scouts to make sure we arent surrounded!

Overview of the western approach to the Chamber.  There is some flooded floors on the westernmost approach (bottom of the screen).  The left side of the Chamber is facing north and has some doors.  The right side is facing South and has an open doorway and stairs.

Gloin, Gimli's dad, takes some heavily armored dwarves to the south-western side and finds a rise that looks over the western approach.

Meanwhile, Grombrindal the White Dwarf, takes a few brave dwarves to the North-west... right to the edge of the flooded caverns.  If any enemies approach, they should hear a splash or two. 

The 4 remaining Dwarf Lords of Legend guard the Northern doors.

Right inside the Chamber itself looking at the Northern doors is Gimli and his personal guard

And the final defense of Pickles, is led by Nindalf the Wizard and 2 particularly grumpy looking Dwarves.

So there you have the setup.  Will Baron Hawk and Captain Drogo secure the crossroads?  Will Pickles find the map in time, before they are overrun by greenskins?  Will Hodor the mercenary hold the line or run for the hills?  Tune in next post to find out!  (Which should be in a day or two!)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Dwarves Of Legend Box Set & "The White Dwarf"

Its that time again! Oldhammer dwarves in the house... or Mines of Moria, rather.  We start with the Dwarves of Legend box set (from 1985), with 8 famous Dwarf Lords and fantastic retro 80s art by the inimitable John Blanche to top it off.  I did not have this as a kid in the 80s, but I did have the Heroic Fighters of the Known World box set, which makes me want to re-purchase that again (but I needs must concentrate on stunties. Oh and orcses!)  Also on this post, I have 20 dwarves that I purchased relatively cheaply on ebay.  These are more wonderful Citadel dwarves to add to my ever growing old school collection.  While I do have Ral Partha, Hasslefree, Reaper and more figures in my painting queue, the oldhammer lead will always jump to the front of the line.  Lastly, you will see some new terrain, but only glimpses of it.  Dont worry, you will see its full splendor in the next post.  As per usual, we advance the storyline of the Moria Reclamation Project a wee bit, but I promise a proper battle report will accompany the full reveal of the new terrain perhaps next week. 

Alrighty then!  Onwards to pics and text...

That artwork makes me think of the Lone Wolf "choose your own adventure"-like books of my youth.

King Gorrin, Slayed Gorbald the Gruesome greenskin at the battle of Drakkaz-Snor.
Uther, vowed to slay 100 Skaven every 7th day.
The Baron, fought against the despicable Count Horlichs of Averland
Angus, fell at Klumti Pass crushed by the bodies of his dead foes.
Kimril Giant Slayer, first slayer and bested the Giant twins Thunderguts and Stormbelly.
Throbin Death-eye, axe polished in blood and a agze that was said to slay with a glance.
Lastro Lupinthrall, cursed to howl at every full moon by a Norscan witch.
Borax Bloodaxe, amassed a fortune that required 5 vaults to store.

And here are the 8 Dwarf Lords of Legend in their painted glory.

Kimril the Slayer, Borax Bloodaxe, King Gorrin, and Angus

Deatheye, Lastro, Uther, and the Baron

Here is Grombrindal, the legendary White Dwarf himself and his 2-handed weapon paladins. 1d4chan has this description:  "He is a mysterious dwarven warrior with an impressively long, white beard who sometimes appears when dwarves are beset by a particularly great and terrible battle, hurling himself into the fray and assuring the eventual victory of dwarfkind." 

Grombrindal and his two hammerer bodyguards.  Every dwarf that fights for the White Dwarf is a paragon of dwarven virtue and these 2 are mighty warriors indeed.

The miniature in the center is Skag the Stealthy.  Im sketchy as to his fluff, but I think I remember reading that he helped avenge the first burning of Bugmans Brewery(?)  At any rate the figure and rules are from the unfortunately named "Grudge of Drong" expansion for 4th/5th edition?

I like the little golden pig on that fellas helmet! I shall dub thee Sir Porkins!  
Red 3: "Cover me Porkins!"
Porkins: "Im right with you Red 3"
Porkins: "I gotta problem here... I can hold it"
Red 3: "Eject, pull up"
-Sounds of fried bacon-
Red 3: "You will be avenged, Piggy!"

In contrast to Grombrindals heroes, here we have a unit of 10 treasure seeking (arent they all?) mercenary dwarves led by Hodor the treasure porter.

Hodor has a magical treasure chest that has a spell of Holding on it.  It can carry 100x its size thanks to its magically enhanced interior dimension. (hmm thats beginning to be my explanation for everything on this blog. Ahhh, im a lazy writer, what of it?)
Hodor: "Hodor says, you stunties get more gold for Hodor!"
Do these sell-swords care for nothing unless its shiny and/or tasty?

Han:" It is for me, sister. Look, I ain't in this for your revolution, and I'm not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money."
Leia: "You needn't worry about your reward. If money is all that you love, then that's what you'll receive."
[to Luke]
Leia: Your friend is quite the mercenary. I wonder if he really cares about anything. Or anybody.
[she stalks out]
Luke: [calling after her] "I care."

Four more gold loving hoarders

So, off they go, the 8 Dwarf Lords Of Legend, Grombrindal with his paladins, and Hodor with his mercenaries.  They entered Moria through the Western Gates and have been travelling eastward in search of fellow dwarves.

King Gorrin has been leading the expedition from the front alongside Grombrindal.  Never far behind is Hodor, who is always on the lookout for treasures.  Wait! what is that shiny-ness ahead? Is it gold, is it danger?

Oh, its just Gimli and Baron Hawk who are looking for clues as to the whereabouts of Balin, Lord of Moria.

Another merry meeting filled with tales (and probable lies) of daring and bravery.  Gimli asks Grombrindal and King Gorrin if they have seen any signs of Balin or his colony.
King Gorrin: "Why yes, we were about to explore that mysteriously glowing room above yonder staircase."
Gimli: [looks around at the collective heroes] "Lets investigate this together, Lords of Legend! Are you all with me?"
All:  "Aye"
Baron Hawk: "My wee birdy smells danger ahead!"
Grombrindal: "Is that code for something?
King Gorrin: "Cover me Porkins!"

Buttercup: "Thats the fireswamp! We'll never survive"
Wesley: "Nonsense! You're only saying that because no one ever has."

And as the great assemblage of heroes peer into the mysterious room...

The screen fades out.

Oh, dont you just hate cliffhangers!?!?
Will our heroes survive the dangers of the mysterious room?
Tune in next week for another tale of most probable doom, or at the very least some definite woe...