Mars Miniatures

Mars Miniatures

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Trial of Balin, Lord of Moria(?)

Another year draws to a close here at the Moria Reclamation Project, with its ups and downs.
2015 saw its launch and the initial Moria Campaign.
2016 branched out to a wildly outrageous Shire Campaign.
And with 2017, we should see alot of smaller campaigns in Bree, the Misty Mountains, and then a return to action for what could be the close of the Moria Reclamation Project. 
Whether it ends in Eternal Dwarven Glory or Ignominous Defeat will depend (as always) on the coming battles and the luck of the dice! 

Back in Khazad Dum, Balin promises to make Moria great again!
But is he a pawn of the Chaos Gods that brought him back to (un)life?
Or will he become the greatest Dwarven Hero ever?

We now take you to the action in a secure location deep under Moria, in the barricaded underground fortress known as Easthold...

Left to Right:  Balin, De Solay of the Iron Claw Clan, King Arombolosch of the Ral Partha Clan

Balin:  My fellow Dwarf Lords, I have just returned from the Mirrormere and received Roac, our faithful Raven, King of Ravens.  Yes, it was Roac that spoke to Thorin and company at Erebor long ago.  His news is from our human allies, the Beornings.  They have been ambushed and their caravan of supplies are lost.  There is no word from Bugman, or the Iron Hills, or Erebor.  Everywhere in Middle Earth, the Free Peoples are under attack.  We are alone, with no supplies.  If we continue to stay here in Easthold, we will grow weak from hunger and worse... from Beer thirst!  While we still have the strength, I say, we march out of Moria into the Valley of Azanulbizar where we fought and defeated the Greenskins before!

Jacques De Solay:  I speak for the Iron Claw Dwarves!  We have just arrived from the Iron Claw Hills (not to be confused with the Iron Hills) and we are prepared to fight for Balin, Lord of Moria!

King Arombolosch:  We Ral Partha Dwarves were saved by Balin in the Savage Lands deep below Moria and owe him a blood debt.  We stand with Balin.  Thats right!  #StandWithBalin

Left to Right:  King Ulther of Karak-Ungor, Priestess Brienne

King Ulther:  Balin, son of Fundin, one of the companions of Thorin Oakenshield is a Dwarf to be respected, but he died.  This Balin before us now, was raised from undeath by the powers of Chaos.  As King of Karak-Ungor, I swore an oath to fight against Chaos Dwarves!  The only reason I have not yet declared war on Balin and his allies, is the respect I have for Thorgrim the High King and the other Dwarven Kings assembled here.  We are besieged by enemies without... and within.  I move and vote that Balin is guilty of the taint of Chaos and demand judgement is passed on him!

Brienne:  I am the High Priestess of Valaya, our Goddess of healing and protection.  How long will She continue protecting us, if we ally with the Ruinous Powers of Chaos and their minions?  I also vote guilty!

Left to Right: Gimli, Nindalf, King Gorrin

Gimli:  My Lords!  When did this war council turn into a trial?  It was I who searched for Balin in the depths of Moria and brought him back to you.  I have fought beside him and know in my heart that he is no slave to Chaos!  I might not be a King, but I vote innocent.

Nindalf:  As one of the few Dwarven Wizards, I will now use my Magic 8-Ball...  (in wizardly voice)  Oh mighty 8 Ball, is Balin tainted by Chaos? (reading the answer)  without... a... doubt...  Oh, this silly thing must be malfunctioning again!  At any rate, I vote innocent!

King Gorrin:  As a Dwarf King and a Dwarf Lord of Legend, I vote that Balin is innocent of charges!  In fact, Im pretty sure the other 7 Lords of Legend agree with me.  Do they get votes too?

Left to Right: Axetooth of Clan Ratnik, Thadar of Clan Heartbreaker, The White Dwarf

Axetooth:  My father was slain by Chaos Dwarves!  I vote guilty!  Sorry Balin...

Thadar:  With Prince Helfast missing I speak for the Heartbreakers and say with a heavy heart...  guilty. (seriously in real life, I cannot find him anywhere!  I have all the rest of my Heartbreaker Dwarves, I looked everywhere and wonder where he is.  Must have been lost during the great re-basing project earlier this year)

The White Dwarf:  Without declaring my secret identity, as a former ancient Dwarf King, I also must unwillingly declare Balin guilty.  Chaos is a terrible thing... look what its done to the humans and those pesky elves.  We cannot risk a Civil War among Dwarfkind at this moment, but we must draw the line against Chaos.  Im sorry Balin...

High King Thorgrim

High King Thorgrim:  As the judge, I cannot vote, but I will pass judgement.  Balin, the accused cannot vote for himself, of course.  So, as I see it, so far, the votes are 5 to 5.  With only 3 more votes coming from the last 3 members of the council...  What say you...  Speak...

Left to Right: Runelord Kragg, King Kazador, Slayer King Ungrim Ironfist

Runelord Kragg:  Chaos cannot be trusted.  Guilty.

King Kazador:  I have led my Goldshield Ironbreakers against the Chaos Dwarves before...  And I do think that the followers of Chaos must be destroyed on sight...  But, I think this is a special instance, this isnt just any Chaos Dwarf.  Its Balin!  Out of all Thorin's companions, he was the most trusted.  Why?  Because of his heart.  Gandalf trusted Balin too!  If only he were here to speak on his behalf...  I vote...  innocent!

King Ungrim Ironfist:  So its up to me then... is it?  Ahhh... Leave it to the Slayers, they say!  I like Balin.  I like Slaying.  Before I was the Slayer King, I was a Troll Slayer.  Then a Giant Slayer, a Dragon Slayer, and even a Daemon Slayer.  Where there is Chaos, there are Daemons.  If Balin is indeed tainted by Chaos... where are the Daemons?  None, see?  Until I see Daemons around, I vote Balin is innocent!  So there, let this trial be over and lets figure out what to do next about the Balrog and his forces!

High King Thorgrim:  (bangs a gavel)  Balin is innocent of charges!  Court is convened for a Beer break (if any is left that is).   Also, as Balin said in the beginning, I agree with his plan of marching out of Moria while we can and making a stand in the valley of Azanulbizar!  My Dwarves!  My Kin!  Send word to all stout hearted Dwarves everywhere, sound the horns of war!  Prepare for the 2nd Battle of Azanulbizar!

Balin:  (in thought to himself as he watches the Dwarves cheer for him)  Roac, the Raven King... 
   Balin, Durin, Raven... King... ring... ring...  THE RING!
   There was more to this Mirrormere vision.
        I died there once...
                I wont be dying there twice.
                           I am Balin, the deathless!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Cabin In The Woods - Making A Balsa Wood House

 For a change of pace, I wanted to put my hobby time towards something else, other than painting...
Its arts and crafts time here on the blog!
I broke out a steel ruler, a new sharp x-acto blade and some balsa wood.
Here is my attempt at scratch building a medieval style house.
I only had one balsa wood panel though!
Which means I didnt have enough wood to build a 2 storey Tudor house like I wanted.
So, its a ranch style house then...

Here is my humble little house with the roof off.
Next time I think I will use bass wood instead, balsa is just too soft.
So turns out, maybe Im lucky that I only had one balsa wood panel.

The interior.
The roof will be removeable, so minis can be hidden inside.

The front door gives me a Evil Dead cabin flashback.
The wood timber frames are long balsa strips.
Thank Sigmar this exists, I would die if I had to cut those out by hand.
The door however, I cut irregular shapes out of to make it look more realistic and uneven.

The back of the house.

With the roof on.
I still need to get some cardboard off a cereal box to make shingles for the roof.

The window sill is great for putting pies on.
Or maybe its a drive thru window! 

The door handle is the opposite end of a paint brush.
I couldnt find a dowel anywhere, so had to improvise.

And here we have the completed house, with shingles and a gritty paintjob.

Im thinking this house is going to be used for Bree.
Breeland campaign here we come!
Painting assets are being relocated to some vintage Citadel humans.
The ones I have predate the Empire/Bretonnia distinction, I think.
Raise the army of Breeland!

Which means, the "Return to Moria" campaign will have to wait a bit...

Yup, if I can build one house, I can build a village!
Funny, how one balsa wood strip can derail the Moria storyline.
But thats how fickle the dice gods and the terrain making impulses are.

With the Shire campaign a bust for the allies, perhaps the humans at Bree will be more successful at fighting off the hordes of evil...


Sure, anyone can buy buildings from Pegasus or GW, but there is something special about making them yourself.
They might not look as good as Ziterdes or Tabletop World, but they will be uniquely your own.
And the scratch building thing is definitely more Oldhammer-y than buying commercially available terrain.

But, be warned, it was time consuming!
Time of construction was at least 4 hours.
But now that I know what Im doing, the next ones will be faster, or should be.

Also, I very much enjoyed every minute of constructing it.

Its yet another very rewarding addiction to add to any hobbyist's list of addictions...
Sorry if this inspires new potential fantasy architects out there!  ;p


Friday, December 9, 2016

Battle of Willowbottom, Pt 8 - Final Clash

The final turn...

Overview of the highway of death

At the Townhall, the Hasslefree Dwarves and the Cannon crew break and are run down in pursuit by the Wolf Riders.

Merlin and the Hobbits watch as the Greenskins approach.
Merlin lets a final lightning bolt loose and burns a couple of Gobbos.

Boromir and the Gondorians break and the end is sealed for the alliance! 
Shelob was too much, even for the noble Gondorians to stand against.
Gondorian infantry are running in all directions.

With the allied center broken, ranks of Undead and Orcs march towards the farmhouse.
Its a landslide of foes swarming towards the remaining allied forces.

Swamp Groot crushes Captain Drogo and suffocates him in mulch.
Wraith Raccoon and Baron Hawk trade blows, but their duel ends in a stalemate.
If only there was more time to see this battle finished.

The Hobbit Militia routed when the Gondorians broke.
Legolas tries to rally them, to no avail.

Lobelia:  Get out of the way, Elf!  Cant you see we are running here?

Legolas is grateful that the Orc pursuit/charge didnt reach him.
The Gor Brothers are sad that they will not see 1 more turn to chop this pansy Elf into pieces.

The northern road battle ends in anti-climatic fashion, as both sides hold firm.
Reinhardt comes close to slaying the Orc General Remulak, but the game ends without a clear victor in the duel.

The allies lost the battle by a score of 4 objectives to 2.
Frodo and friends get to the Beer Cart and Bill the Pony.

Sam:  Time to go, Bill!  What a terrible day...

Frodo:  The Shire is lost, Sam.  But at least the allies held them off long enough for all the civilians to escape through the secret path.

Dwarf Cook:  Dont you worry there, Frodo.  We Dwarves will keep you Hobbits safe in Moria!  Once we clear it of enemies, that is!  You'll see little Hobbits, Dwarven halls full of hospitality, beer and meats.


This concludes the Battle for Willowbottom and the Shire campaign.

There seems to be animosity between House Mormont and Gondor now.
The Bear Islanders are blaming Boromir for not marching to the hill.

Word is spreading among the Northern Houses that the Southerners cannot be trusted.

The alliance seems to be broken.
The Northern Humans are heading to Bree, or trying to.
The Gondorians are retreating back to Gondor.
The Elves are isolated in Rivendell.
At least, the Hobbits are heading to Moria, to go and live with their Stuntie cousins.

If anything, Frodo's trust in the Dwarves is growing.
Legolas doesnt seem to approve of the Ring heading to Moria.
But what choice does he have?
From Moria, perhaps they can head to Lorien and seek the guidance of the Lady of the Golden Wood.


Battle of Willowbottom, Pt 7 - Impending Night

Nightfall is imminent, but the battle can still be won by either side...

With Objective 1 secure, the Greenskin hordes move on to the Townhouse.
Snarktail and his Wolfriders leap over the barricades tearing and biting at the Dwarf Thunderers.

With Snarktail's arrival, Wraith Raccoon and Swamp Groot crush the last of the Dwarven gunline.
Out of his entire unit, Raccoon and Groot are the only survivors.
But finally Objective 3, the Townhall, has fallen to the hordes of evil!

Merlin and the Hasslefree Dwarf Wizard combine their powers to overcome Gravelord Nito!
The Dwarf Wizard uses alchemical magic, Transmute to Lead on the Wraith's magic weapon, rendering it useless.
And though they cannot wound him due to his ethereal nature, the allies win on combat bonuses.
Gravelord Nito is banished!

The Organ Cannon crew see that the Thunderers have routed and decide to move the cannon to the other side of the wall.
The Hasslefreesians also form up next to the warmachine.

And still... on the hill, Lady Mormont fights with only the House banner bearer beside her.
No help arrived for them, but Lady Mormont makes her defiant last stand.

Meanwhile, on the northern road, Remulak forms up a hasty defense.
Already, Legolas is raining death from afar and thinning the Greenskin ranks!

The Hobbits consider charging the battle at the crossroads, but wisely waits for the Dwarven forces to consolidate.

The Reaper Dwarves hop over the Farmhouse wall and charge the Dark Orcs from behind!
Just in time too, as the Dwarf Cooks are being slaughtered to protect the Hobbits.
Frodo will never forget the fierce loyalty of the Dwarves.

Wraith Raccoon and Groot charge Merlin and the Dwarf Hasslefree Wizard...
But where did they go?

Choosing survival over honor, the Wizards have both decided to flee as a charge reaction.
They form up next to the last surviving Dwarf Cook and the Hobbits.

Dwarf Clan Reaper see Wraith Raccoon out in the open and heads towards them.

Snarktail and his dogs charge the gun!
This is it.  The time for the Hasslefreesians and the Cannon crew to show their mettle.

And things look grim for Boromir as Shelob sweeps into the Gondorian flank!

Reinhardt and his Band of the Hawk charge Skarsnik's Gobbos, while Bugman's Rangers charge the Oddgits.
But the Common Goblins are arriving on the scene with their Shaman.

Legolas fires off a multitude of arrows at the approaching Common Gobbos.
The Hobbit Militia charges the Gor Brothers in the flank.

Another pic of the battle for the northern road.

Battle of the Generals!
Commander Reinhardt challenges General Remulak to personal combat. 
Remulak readies his spear and tells his Tusker to feed on the Stuntie.

Baron Hawk and Captain Drogo of Clan Reaper are looking for a fight!

Wraith Raccoon:  Come get some!

Swamp Groot:  I AM SWAMP GROOT!


The die is now a 4+ that next turn will be the final turn.
And it comes up a 4.

So one more turn to decide the fate of Willowbottom...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Battle of Willowbottom, Pt 6 - Tug O' War

The struggle continues...

On Objective 1, Arya and the Rangers are flanked by Goblin Archers.

Shelob attacks whats left of House Mormont.
The Goblins continue their assault up the hill.

Tyrus Forel and the Bear mascot prepare for death by mandible.

In the backfield, Skarsnik rallies and reforms.
The Oddgits to the right, are suffering the effects of animosity and are taking their sweet time getting back into the fight.

The Organ Cannon blasts the Mumakil.
Thats one monster down... if only they can use the cannon against Shelob!
Gravelord Nito charges Burlock and the Cannon crew.
The Wraith will take vengeance for the fallen Mumak.

Groot and the remnants of his unit continue to battle the Dwarf Thunderers.

Merlin sees Burlock fall to Gravelord Nito and gets the Hasslefree Dwarves to accompany him.
If he can save the Cannon crew, maybe they can take out Shelob with the warmachine.

The Dark Orcs are maneuvering around the Gondorian flank.

But are they going to attack Boromir's unit... or are they after a juicier target?
With Merlin and the Hasslefree Dwarves on a mission, Frodo calls his friends and the Dwarven Cooks to "man" the wall!

And just in time too...
The Cooks trade their ladles for cleavers.
Frodo and friends nervously await the Orc charge.

Reinhardt massacres the Orc Archers and then continues his slaughterfest.
The Band of the Hawk is on a winning streak!

And Reinhardt's target?
The Uruk Fireballs who have been assaulting the farmhouse.
The Reaper Dwarves and the Hobbits cheer!

Tragedy strikes...
Frumpy the Hobbit wizard is cut down by the Chaos Warriors.
But Legolas slays the Sorcerer Amon Doom!
Down to his last wound, Legolas grits his teeth and prepares to fight the remaining Chaos Warriors.
Bugman and his Rangers arrive to help out.

Wallace and the highlanders on the far right drive off the last of the Wolfriders.
At a terrible cost in casualties though.

Back at Objective 1, Arya and the Rangers finally succumb to the Greenskin attack.
They rout and are run down by the Savage Orcs.
The Goblins cheer as they have taken control of this Objective.
Which should be pointed out, that starting next turn, a die is rolled to see when the game ends.

Shelob has eaten Tyrus Forel and the Bear mascot.
And Wolfriders are running around the hill...
This flank has folded!
But the hill is still defended.
The Orc generals are wondering what it will take to break House Mormont...

Lady Mormont and Shelob in a staring contest.
Shelob is impressed that these humans are still fighting for the hill.
The House Mormont warriors have the special rule Unbreakable, which means that they will fight to the death!
House Mormont may be few in number, but they are fierce.

Burlock is slain by Gravelord Nito.
Merlin and the Hasslefreesians surprise the Wraith with a flank charge!
The Cannon crew might be saved, at least.

The big mess in the center.  Its havoc!
Boromir, shows Roborr the power of Gondor and drops him.
But the Gor Brothers remain steadfast, even though they witness Roborr's defeat.
Now the Unnamed Wraith charges the Gondorians.
Boromir vs the Wraith.

General Remulak gets the Oddgits moving and tries to get Skarsnik to form alongside him in the center.
They are going to need to reform the battle lines quickly.
Remulak nervously looks at events to the east...

The farmhouse.
Gorgo and the Fireball Uruks break!
The Hobbits and Reinhardt pursue them and run them down.
Baron Hawk and the Reaper Clan hold and reform.

Glorious slaughter!

And the Chaos Warriors are defeated.
Legolas still lives...
Bugman and Wallace pat the Elf on the back.
With the Farmhouse secure, the east flank is entirely under allied control.


Variable turn end begins, which means its imperative to start controlling objectives.

Objective 1 is under Orc control.

Objective 2 (Hill), 3 (Townhall), and 4 (Crossroads) are closely contested.

The allies are in control of the east flank and Objectives 5 (Farmhouse) and 6 (Marsh Path).

Also, if Objective 6 is under Dwarf control at end of game, then the Shire civilians are able to escape south.