Mars Miniatures

Mars Miniatures

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Oldhammer Elves: How Night Elves became Dark Elves

The Drow/Dark Elf forces on my blog are getting some reinforcements...  of the Oldhammer kind.
I just painted up a dozen Citadel C09 Dark Elves.
OK, some of them are Marauder.

After a little bit of internet research, it seems that the pre-slotta Night Elves, were replaced by the slotta Dark Elves.  I believe the pre slotta figures are sculpted by the Perry Twins and are some of their earliest work.  But the slotta figures are done by Bob Naismith.  I love both, but this post is about the Naismith ones I just painted...

Lets bring out the ladies...

 In the old 80s catalogs, the center figure is listed as Mace Girl.
You dont want to take her on a date!
When they tell you she carries mace in her purse, its not the spray kind.

The tagline in the ad for these Dark Elves in Citadel Compendium 2 reads:   
"Cruel warriors and evil sorcerors from the black, haunted forests of the Dark Elves."

 The figure in the center is called Death Maiden. 
Im betting she listens to Death Metal while out partying all night with the girls. 
But on the drive home, she puts on some Iron Maiden, just to relax.

In my 1st edition white book there are no Dark Elves mentioned yet.
There are Sea Elves, High Elves, Wood Elves, and Night Elves! The entry under the stats for the various elves reads:

"Citadel Elves are available as C9, and the Night Elves are available as a boxed set.  Citadel also produce the award winning Ral Partha Elves under license as P2."


"...Night Elves are evil perverted Elves and do not cause Fear, they Hate other Elves."

But looking through the Forces of Fantasy supplement, the term Night Elves has been replaced by Dark Elves.  So the change was pretty early on.

On a sidenote, its interesting to see Ral Partha actually listed in a Warhammer rulebook.

 On the left we have Sword Maid, in the center is Guard Maiden, and on the right is a Marauder Whelpmaster. 
I dont have the warhounds for her to give commands and/or treats to. 
But Im sure I can scrounge up a monster or two in the meantime, while she waits for appropriate oldhammer puppies to arrive.

Look at that big hair, except for the one on the left.

In the Collecting Citadel Miniatures Collectors Guide, the following is written:

"Citadel Dark Elf miniatures owe a lot to traditional Dungeons & Dragons Drow. They are frequently painted with blue skin in early Citadel catalogue material and there is a higher percentage of female models in the Dark Elf line than any other, reflecting the matriarchal nature of Drow society."

The pre-slotta Night Elf Patrol is a 10 figure set with more released through the Fantasy Tribes line.  Most of the artwork for Elves in the 1st edition box set and the Force of Fantasy expansion are of this Night Elf Patrol.  I really want this and will hunt for them until found.

And here they are as a unit.
I love me some stunties like all good oldhammer aficionados, but these Drow Girls are a treasure to me.


These girls will not be showing up in the Shire campaign, they are being reserved for battles on the other side of the Misty Mountains.

They came all the way from Menzoberranzan, under the Mountains of Mourn, just to find out that the "Annual Rhosgobel Gargoyle-Wing Competitive Eating Festival and Championship" was cancelled due to wizardly emergency.
Well, the ladies dont want to hear any excuses from Radagast and are determined to find him and make him pay for their costly trip.

Oh, also forgot to mention that these Oldhammer figures are noticeably smaller than my Reaper Dark Elves.  But thats to be expected from modern scale creep.  Again, I will have no problems putting these classics along with the modern figs on a gaming table.  Those Reaper Elves eat more wholesome foods in Moria.  Perhaps they need to start attending the Rhosgobel eating contests!

Will Alyssa, the Mother of Dragons, be kind to these new She-Elves?
Or will she feed them to her pets?

Stay tuned, true believers~!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Oldhammer LOTR - A King in the North & A Wizard in the High Tower

Before we get to the big battle of Willowbottom to decide the fate of the Shire, let us travel far to the north to find the ranger known as Strider...

This particular Aragorn figure is from the box set known as BME3 Balrog, Encounter at Khazad–Dum.  I dont have the box set, nor any other figures from it besides this Aragorn. 

 So fluffwise in our campaign, Aragorn, the heir of Isildur, is busy defending the Wall at Castle Black against the Night King, the heir of Slitherine.  Despite being outnumbered a thousand to one, the Rangers of the North put up a valiant defense.  Attackers are repelled from the Wall itself every hour of every day.  The Castle is also constantly being breached and the battle is fought corridor by corridor, room by room. 

Aragorn has loyal companions fighting beside him - the young Jon Snow, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, and the half elven sons of Elrond - Elladan and Elrohir.  Aragorn outranks all the other rangers, as befits his status as the True King of the North. 

And while each day the Night King is defeated, each day he rises back from death.
For he is immortal.

Aragorn knows he is losing a battle of attrition.  Maester Aemon has formulated a plan of action that will take the bravest of Rangers beyond the Wall to a mysterious Weirwood in the Ice Bay of Forochel.  Aragorn remembers his history, and his family heritage.  A thousand years ago, his ancestor, King Arvedui retreated there to Forochel and made allies with a tribe of people known as the Lossoth.  In the end Arvedui met tragedy there in Forochel, will Aragorn make the same mistake?

Meanwhile, far to the south...

 Gandalf the Grey is a prisoner on top of Isengard Tower.  The head wizard, Saruman the White has betrayed the Wizarding Order and turned to the Dark Side!  Saruman knows that Gandalf has found the One Ring, but nothing he does can make Gandalf reveal where he has hidden it.

Saruman:  We must join with Him, Gandalf.  We must join with Sauron.  It would be wise, my friend

This Gandalf is the one from the original 80s box set, BME1 - The Fellowship of the Ring.

 Mord the jailor of Isengard checks on Gandalf in his "sky cell".

Everyday, Mord tortures Gandalf and threatens to throw him out the Moon Door... a hole in the floor that is a long drop from the very high tower of Isengard.  Everyday, Gandalf wonders if Radagast has forgotten the task he was given to send an Eagle to Isengard.  Did Radagast know about Saruman turning evil?  Or is Radagast just a forgetful nincumpoop?  The Grey Wizard regrets that his life is now dependent on the Brown Wizard's reliability.  He worries about Frodo and wonders if the little Hobbit is still safe.  And the Ring... is it secret, is it safe?

Gandalf:  (To Mord) Tell your master that the more he tightens his grip, the more star systems will slip through his fingers.

And everyday, Mord brings in the mind probe to break Gandalf's will.

Mord:  Your resistance to the mind probe is considerable. It will be some time before we can extract any information from you.

Gandalf:  Mr Mord, how kind of you to visit.  Have you come to ensure the taxpayers' dollars are keeping me comfortable?

Mord: Now... Mr Lehnsherr. Or should I call you Magneto?  I'd like to have one final talk... about the house that Xavier built and the machine called Cerebro.  

Gandalf:  Same actor, different movie, bub!

Mord: Tell that to Count Dooku!


So a small little post to show off what Gandalf and Aragorn are up to and why they arent in the Shire.
This reminds me that not all games in the campaign make it to this blog.
For which, I apologize if there seem to be gaps in the storyline.
Tyrion, Radagast, and Arwen's adventure in Moria never got an update.
Perhaps its best not to explain at this point, though.
It will be more exciting to find out what happened in the course of the upcoming posts after the Shire campaigns are wrapped up.

But suffice to say, that Radagast is definitely at the center of why everything is getting screwed up in Middle Earth!

If my blog is like Marvel Movies then:

Phase 1 was all Moria posts, Phase 2 is the Shire and Eriador, Phase 3 is Rhovanion with Mirkwood, Rhosgobel, and other areas on the eastern front of Middle Earth.  I actually have 6 Phases in mind, all written on post it notes.  

Perhaps to emulate Star Wars, we should aim for 9.  Three sets of trilogies for this blog then...

At least thats what I have planned.  Like any good Dungeon Master, Im also planning that the game will go off script at any time.

Back to your regularly scheduled Shire Campaign...


Monday, September 12, 2016

Frodo Lives!

At last, the Ringbearer himself graces this very blog.
Thats right. 
Frodo Baggins is here!

Frodo had planned to leave Hobbiton with Gandalf and head to Rivendell, but Gandalf never returned from his meeting with the head wizard of his order. 
So he took it upon himself to start the journey and hopefully meet Gandalf at Bree.
With him, he took his gardener Sam, and his cousins, Merry and Pippin.

Here is the sleepy little village of Crickhollow in Buckland. 

So as not to appear suspicious when he left Hobbiton, Frodo bought this house in Crickhollow.
Then he told everyone he was moving to Buckland.

Back left to right: Pippin, Merry
Front left to right: Sam, Frodo

And here are our halfling Hobbit heroes!
They are proper 80s Citadel figures. 
As you can see, Frodo isnt messing around.  He is wearing his Mithril shirt and is carrying the magic sword Sting.
In our version of Middle Earth, Bilbo had the foresight to give Frodo his shirt and sword right away.
I like how big Pippin is.  He really is a bully of a Took.
Merry is a fancy Hobbit.
Sam is carrying all sorts of pots, pans, and sundry supplies.

They are anxious because night has fallen and there is fear among the townsfolk of Crickhollow. 
There are reports of enemies nearby.  The townsfolk have locked themselves in the cellars of their homes and Crickhollow is silent and dark.
They see dark figures, in the distance... is it Goblins?

At the end of the road a Hobbit and a pony arrive from the east.

It is Frumpy Bolger, the youngest brother of Fatty Bolger.

Frodo:  Hey there Frumpy!  Where is your brother Fatty, he was supposed to be here?

Frumpy:  Sorry Frodo, he joined Lobelia and the Hobbit Militia down in Longbottom. 

Merry:  Oh, I dont suppose you heard the news?  Longbottom was burned down by Orcs and Gobbos.  They say the defenders retreated to Willowbottom.  Im sure Fatty is ok.

Frumpy:  I hope so. 

Frumpy: My brother asked me to buy supplies for you in Bree and a horse.  This pony was the only one left for sale.  These are dark days.  Apparently everyone is buying horses these days to get away.  His name is Bill.

Frodo:  Bill the pony, huh?  I think he will do just fine.  Looks like he and Sam are getting along already.

Frumpy: (whispers and motions)  Everyone get down... there is someone across the road.  Its a Goblin!

The Hobbits creep up to the wall and peer over it.

Sam:  Thats no Goblin... its an Elf!

Its Legolas Greenleaf, Son of King Thranduil, Prince of Mirkwood Forest!

Legolas:  Do not be afraid, little Hobbits!  Elrond of Rivendell sends news and advise!  Gandalf the Wizard is missing and Rivendell itself is under siege. Elrond says, you should go west to the Grey Havens!  There you might find safety... for awhile at least.

Pippin:  We cannot go west!  Greenskins raiders have burned Hobbiton. I heard that Black Riders are watching the roads between there and the White Towers. 

Legolas:  Well, we cannot go east, hordes of evil forces are heading this way.  I suppose the only direction we can go is... south?

Frodo:  Yes, there is an alliance army forming in the south.  They say Hobbits, Dwarves, Humans, and Elves are gathering in Willowbottom.  There are enemies in every direction, but at least there, we might find safety in numbers.

Legolas:  Then let us go now, for I hear the howls of wolves in the distance.  Gobbo scouting parties are coming!

And so our heroes are off to Willowbottom.

Frodo:  Goodbye, my new house!  We hardly knew ye.

Legolas:  The enemy are already here!  Get off the road, Hobbits, while I deal with these Gobbos...

Frumpy:  Not only did I buy Bill the Pony at Bree... but I also got a pretty good deal with this used wizard staff!

Legolas fires off arrows at blinding speed to kill the Wolf riders before they can get more help. 
Frumpy tests out his wizard staff and fires off a fireball at the enemy.
Some poor wolves get their fur set on fire!

Frodo and friends get off the main road, but 2 brutish Orcs spot them!

Frodo:  For the Shire!

Legolas heads back and helps Frodo out.

Sam:  Dont hurt my pony, you villains!

Meanwhile, at the Crickhollow townhall, a couple of Orc archers are sniping at our heroes!

Frumpy carefully aims some Fireballs at the Orcs.

Frumpy:  Superior firepower always wins!

Legolas:  Ok, enemies all dealt with.  Anyone hurt?

Frodo: My Mithril shirt saved me, back there.

In the cellar of the townhall, the heroes find many civilians of Crickhollow. 
They persuade them to follow them to Willowbottom. 
As they head out towards Buckleberry Ferry, more and more Hobbit villagers join them.

Frodo and friends pass through the towns of Brandyhall, Rushy, and Deephollow. 
At each town they cry "Fear! Fire! Foes!" and the villagers join the evacuation of Buckland.


So, rolling dice for this small skirmish was hardly necessary. 
Legolas counts as a Wood Elf Noble with a Bow of Loren.
He gets Waywatcher too, so Forest Stalker, -1 to hit from enemy missiles and Scout ability.

And Frumpy?  Hobbit wizard in training.
Frodo with his Mithril shirt (3+ save) and Sting (counts as Sword of Sigismund; +1 Str and strikes first)
At any rate, this post was more of a fluff piece anyway.
Sets us up for the big showdown in the Shire...

On the other hand, if this skirmish was lost, I would have had to plan games where the allies are trying to rescue Frodo and the Ring before they are taken to Mordor.
That would have been fun too.
Be careful what you wish for though.
Because that can still happen!
Remember... probable doom and certain woe lurks around every corner of this blog.

Obviously, I have no problem straying far from the accepted canon of Middle Earth.
We are going to "wing" it, as the saying goes.

All I know is that there is no way that Frodo is going to make it to Mordor by stealthing it.
Or cheating by riding with the Giant Eagles over Mount Doom and dropping the Ring into the lava.
Oh, you thought that would work, Frodo?
No sir, something terrible has happened to your fine feathered friends.

Is that a chaos warp storm over the Eagles Eyrie in Hithaeglir?

Aughra: Another Great Conjunction coming up! Anything could happen! Whole WORLD might burn up! 

Ok enough with the spoilers!
Concentrate little Hobbits... one battle at a time.  Right now its time to save the Shire!

Next post:  Battle for Willowbottom

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 7 - Sarn Ford, Battle Finale

Here concludes the Battle for Sarn Ford...

The eastern allied flank routs after severe casualties inflicted by the Beholder.

In the center, Jakjak continues his crushing advance into Bugman and his Beer Cart defenders.

Boromir and friends attack Boneclaw.

While the east was won in favor of Evil, the west is won for the allies!
Wallace pursues and destroys the Undead.

Giblet and the Doomstickers flank the Beer Cart!

Boromir mauls Boneclaw with some ground and pound.

The Beholder crushes the last resistance of Baron Hawk and his Reaper Dwarves.
The Swan Knights rally and charge the Beholder.
Will they break the beast?

The Swan Knights are food for monsterous Eye Beast.

The Beholder looks at the tasty wizard next.

Boromir takes on Jakjak.

Things look grim for the Gobbos as the Gondor infantry move into flanking position.

Jakjak and the Gobbos break.
Caught between the Beer Cart and the Gondorians, they are beaten and drowned in the river.

More victims for the almighty Beholder!
This is it!
Boromir and the Beer Cart versus the Beholder.
Wallace and the Gondor infantry move to surround the Beholder.

Even Boromir stands no chance against the Eye!

The Beholder is surrounded, but will it be enough?

I bet everyone forgot about Oddgit and his Gobbos!
They jump at the surprised Gondorians.

But in the end, the allies squeak out a victory.
A damned near run thing...

Here are all that is left at the end.
Wallace and a handful of scouts.
Badly mauled Gondor infantry.
And a few valiant Beer Cart defenders!
Hey, at least no Beer was spilled during the battle!

Merlin seems disturbed that Wraiths and Greenskins are pillaging the Shire.  Is this more than just raiders?  Or has a Great War begun in Middle Earth?

Merlin uses the Palantir on his staff, though he knows it is dangerous since Sauron may have captured one of the other Seeing Stones.
He risks it...

He sees Rivendell surrounded in a sea of Orcs and Undead.
Far up north at the Wall, Aragorn has joined with Castle Black's forces for a united Rangers defense force. 
Even so, many massive armies have bypassed the Wall and the whole of the Shire is about to crushed. 
The road west to the White Towers and the Blue Mountains is no longer clear.

It seems that Merlin's quest to the White Towers, Boromir's quest for Rivendell, and the Beer Cart's quest to the Blue Mountains cannot be completed.


Boromir:  Merlin what we can do to save Middle Earth?

Merlin:  There are many movers and shakers in play besides us.  But still, we must all do our own part, no matter how small.
Boromir: What part will we play?

Merlin: (recalls an old oath)  "Be without fear in the face of your enemies.  Be brave and upright.  Speak the truth even if it leads to your death.  Safeguard the helpless.  Do no wrong. That is your oath."

Boromir: The knights oath...

Merlin:  Well we cant get to Imladris and the Shire is no longer defensible.  There is an alliance army to the north at Willowbottom.  We must try to save them and then save as many Shire civilians as we can and lead them to a safe place.  Some place where the walls are as hard as stone and as immovable as the mountain.

The Dwarves:  (all together)  Khazad Dum! 

Merlin: Yes!  Khazad Dum, the Dwarrow Delf, Dwarf Home...
we must find as many free peoples as we can and take them to the safety of the mountain.  How many inhabitants can fit inside it?

Bugman:  Umm... everyone.  Its a 2 days walk from one side to the other!  Oh... One little problem.  Theres a Balrog, and a Wraith.  And some Orcs and Gobbos, Undead.  Oh and Dark Elves too. Aaannd... they have Dragons.  Tiny little ones though.  But without Beer and supplies the Moria Defenders are doomed!

Merlin: Well, looks like we got some work ahead of us.  Maybe we can find supplies for Moria someplace other than the Blue Mountains.  First things first.  Lets get to Willowbottom and make some new friends.


So that concludes the Beer Cart mini-campaign.

And while we dont get to see Rivendell, the Blue Mountains, or the White Towers any time soon, Im excited for the big Moria homecoming that seems bound to happen!

But first things first!
We will shift our focus back to Buckland for a bit and then on to the Battle For Willowbottom.

Next post:  Frodo Lives!

Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 6 - Sarn Ford, Start Of Battle

As the allies approach the river crossing of Sarn Ford, they see signs of a recent battle. 
Wallace reports to Baron Hawk that a battle between Greenskins, Men, and Elves took place here. 
The Greenskins won and from the column of smoke that can be seen further north, it looks like they have burned a town or two.
But most importantly, the scouts report that some Greenskins are still guarding the crossing.

Boromir says he is sworn to fight evil everywhere he finds it. 
The Dwarf commanders agree that they should hunt this Gobbo army before they burn even more towns.

 Boneclaw the Wraith and his Undead troops at Sarn Ford.
Winter is here!
Except its not cold weather at all in the Shire.
Its rather nice and pleasant really, which really annoys the agents of the Night King!

 Boneclaw has been sent to the Shire to scout the area for the Night King's armies.
But if he can pillage a town or crush an army or two, he wont mind.

 Jakjak is a young Undead Frost Giant.
He has a still living cousin called Wun Wun who fights in Mance Rayder's army.
He has another half giant cousin who is the groundskeeper for some snobby ivy league wizarding school.
Jakjak hopes that someday he can persuade them to join the forces of darkness and not have to face them on the field of battle.

 Oh look!  Its our old buddy... the Beholder.
The Beholder has once again been pressed into the service of the evil powers.
As he was minding his own business in Forodwaith playing in the snow drifts, a pack of bully Wraiths from Angmar captured him and through their sorcery they have spellbinded him into obedience.
Looks like there will be no peace for this poor fella.

Giblet the Shaman and a unit of Goblin spearmen known as the "Doomstickers".

 In Warhammer, there are many types of Goblins: Night Goblins, Forest Goblins, and Hobgoblins.

 There are also the lesser known Gnoblars, Fire Kobolds, Hill Goblins, Bogarts, Mere-Goblins

 And in 1st edition there are also Red Goblins, Great Goblins, and Lesser Goblins.

 But these fellows are just plain "Common Goblins".
Despite this, the Doomstickers are desperate to prove their worth in a crowded Goblin world.

 The Oddfellows are sneaky gits.
They have been following the allies and want vengeance for their defeat at Tharbad.
Someone asked who makes these figures...
With the exception of Oddgit himself and maybe another lone Gobbo, most of these figures are Midlam minis, sculpted by Kev Adams.
I think Oddgit is a character from the 4th edition Idol Of Gork campaign supplement, which I dont have.
I got him in a trade and he didnt have his staff, so I gave him a severed head instead.

Khan: Of course! We are one big, happy fleet! Ah, Kirk, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? [pause] It is very cold in space! 

The armies face off at Sarn Ford.

Looking south from the Evil player's side.
The allies outnumber the baddies and are sure to outflank them on both sides.
But dont underestimate the power of the Beholder...
or Jakjak...
or the Wraith!

The Knights of Minas Tirith are the first to attempt to cross the Ford itself!
The Beholder is not impressed...

Wallace and his highlander scouts will outflank the western side.
The Gondor infantry are at a disadvantage against the undead, as they have to slosh through the river.
The Undead poke their spears at the Gondorian foot soldiers.
Im house ruling that units in a river, that are attacking enemy on the river bank have a -1 to hit in combat because of the slippery conditions.

At the last second, the Evil player switches Jakjak into the Beholders position at the center versus the Gondor Knights.

The Beholder swings east to stop the knights of Dol Amroth from flanking the Goblins.
The Reaper Clan Dwarves attack the Doomstickers.

On the western side, its slow going, but the skellies are being ground back into dust, one skull at a time.

Jakjak and Boneclaw the Wraith are too much, even for Gondor's finest.

Bad timing, the Swan Knights are able to charge the flank anyway.  That doesnt matter to the Beholder as he wades into the fancy looking knights.


Next post:  Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 7 - Sarn Ford, Battle Finale