Mars Miniatures

Mars Miniatures

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ruined Medieval Buildings, The Lovely Wreckage Of Bree

Just finished up painting these Armorcast resin terrain pieces.
And... more than 200 Undead troops as well, lots of bones coming up in the next post!

So, lets examine the Ruins of Bree...

So I got 5 ruined structures here.

This one has a nice chimney

...and a bay window

Nice creepy textures

Armorcast are made to order, it seems and takes quite awhile to arrive.

In my case, it was more than a month from order to delivery. 

Still, I think it was worth the wait.

But be prepared to deal with lots of miscasting! 

There were some extraneous miscasts on the joins that were a pain to remove and fit together. 

Epoxy putty helps alot to fill the joins.

I used a limited palette of paints for the ruined muddy remains of Breeland.

This one was once a fancy building.

Either a cathedral

Or a civic building

Im thinking a terrible bombardment of some sort happened here

or perhaps a devastating spell

But life goes on, in the ruins of Bree!
Here is the portable Prancing Pony snug pub!

Barliman orders the best barrels be brought out for the troops.
The defenders of Breeland could use some liquid courage to bolster their morale.

Master Howland sets up a forge to upgrade the weaponry of the Resistance

A nice sparkling fountain in the ruins

Radagast sets up a little wizards study to prepare his Vancian spells for the upcoming battle.

And what stocks of coin, grain, and beer are kept in the baggage train, guarded by the Paymaster and some volunteers.


So there is the terrain for the battles to come.
Preliminary reports indicate that 2 large forces of Undead are approaching Bree from the north and the east.
The eastern force is composed of a massive zombie horde, led by wraiths.
The northern force is composed of an army of skeletons commanded by lich necromancers.

Aragorn, Radagast, Barliman, and Bill Ferny are debating whether they should wait for them here in Bree, which gives them time to entrench some defensive works.
Or to march forth and defeat one army at a time...
Smash the closer eastern force on the road.
Then afterwards turning north to face the second force.
It is unanimously agreed to destroy the invaders piecemeal.

The Undead player realizes he just made a mistake in not converging his forces before approaching Bree.

The strategy is made, we will see the outcome on the field of battle!

Next post:  The Shambling Hordes of Undead

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Midnight Rider & the Peaky Breelanders

A horseman rides into town, at the head of a large group of ruffians.
Is it the Midnight Rider?

♫  Go and tell the Midnight Rider
Tell the rambler,
The gambler,
The back biter

That you can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time  ♫

Indeed, it is him!
The Leader of the Resistance!

And he has brought a lot of proper Oldhammer friends to boot!

 Left to Right:  Aragorn, The Leader of the Resistance, the Peaky Breelanders

Yummy old school 80s goodness!

 This mini is coded as C33 Mounted Adventurer, Rogue with Dagger

I love everything about this model - the rider, the rearing horse pose.
Look at that horse's face!  And his 80's flowing mane!

And the rider himself is the epitome of rogueish-ness.
So who is he?
Who is the Midnight Rider?

Its Bill Ferny, of course!

Bill was once an informer for Mordor and for a long time he was able to hide his double agent status.
So while everyone thought of him as a villain and a traitor, he was secretly a hero.
He has been gathering info, men, weapons and supplies to combat the forces of Mordor and all the other myriad enemies of mankind.
Being in the confidence of the Ring Wraiths, he has learned much about the forces of Darkness.
He knows their weaknesses and their motivations (He is one of the few that actually knows about Mr Baggins and the Ring and why the Nazgul want him!)
This insider knowledge and having double agents still in the employ of Mordor, allows Bill Ferny to stay one step ahead of the game.

 In the center is Jack Ferny, Bill's brother.

Once when his brother Bill was captured by the Red Right Hand gang, Jack rescued him and took their gloves (with hands still in them!) as trophies.
Now he is known as "Red Right and Red Left Hand Jack".
Its a bit of a mouthful, isnt it?  But no one wants to argue that with Jack...

The Fernys are an old family from Breetown.
Even though the Fernys were always criminally minded, they were always proud Breelanders.

When they talk about their "Family Business" they mean it, because most of their gang are relatives or distant relatives.

Their gang, the "Peaky Breelanders" have now become folk heroes amongst the suffering commoners not only across Eriador, but the entire North.

 Gang warfare has always been part of their heritage, but now it is focused on eradicating the invaders.

 They have waged both an open war and a wave of assassinations against the agents of Mordor.
All across the north, their enemies tremble in fear, and the commoners cheer in hope with the news that each day brings.

 Every kill is finished with their famous slogan... "by order of the Peaky Breelanders."

So here we have the four main heroes of the Bree campaign.

Aragorn:  Bill Ferny!  You hooligan!  You really had us fooled all this time!

Bill Ferny:  Why Strider... you law lovin' Rangers were always a bit thick in the head.  I remember when I was young, you were always putting me and my pals in the lockup.  Still, Im glad you are here for the big battle of Bree!  Oh and later, we should talk privately about a certain Hobbit carrying a certain something into Moria with an Elven Prince from Mirkwood.  Seems to me, the Halflings, Elves, and Dwarves are conspiring without asking us Big Folk for permission... 

Aragorn:  Hmm... Im pretty sure it isnt a conspiracy, Bill...  Those races are our allies.  I wont close the borders to them and build a wall and make them pay for it!  

Bill Ferny: What about the Undead and the Greenskins?

Aragorn:  Well, we did build a Wall up North.  And we did make the Wildlings pay for it...  You know what? We need to build some Walls!  Around Bree now!  Still, its not a conspiracy, buddy...

Bill Ferny:  Its one of the chapters in the book, Strider!  Chapter 5: A Conspiracy Unmasked! Its right after Chapter 4: A Shortcut To Mushrooms.  Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book! 

Radagast:  Um... Tolkien, his name is Tolkien.

Aragorn & Bill Ferny:  (in unison)  Who is Tolkien?


Will other forces arrive before the next Undead attack?

Right now, Im wading through and assembling hordes of skeletons and zombies.

So before working on more humans, lets show some love to the forces of Darkness!

Next post:   The Black Rider

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Prancing Pony Militia

Aragorn and company finally get to Bree.
All his life, Aragorn has trained in the art of war.
But nothing prepared him for politics.
His dealings with the commoners has sparked an interest in him to at least try to understand them.
But, its hard work trying to get the communist farmers from preaching louder than the union worker activists.

Guy who has had enough:  Hey... hey... (crowd quiets down)  This is library....

All this politics is giving Aragorn a big headache.
Strangely, the bandits seem to be the least troublesome.
They just tease the farmers, and try to steal from the union workers.
Bandits at least are just lovable bullies.

Aragorn:  These protesters and anti-protesters are getting out of hand, Radagast.  Hopefully some Undead show up soon!  

Radagast:  Dont worry there buddy, they are being painted as fast as possible by our invisible blog chronicler!  BTW, you should hire that "This is Library" guy when you become King.  And not just because you need to have an Easterling quota in your cabinet, but Im pretty sure that he will be an internet meme someday.  

Aragorn:  Whats an internet?

Aragorn and Radagast lead a motley band of rogues into town.

Oh, I forgot to mention my new game mat from Deep Cut Studios, all the way from Lithuania!
I splurged and got the mouse pad material.  It folds out totally flat and the colors are great.
It just matches Oldhammer colors, like 80's gamebook art.
I got this one with cobblestones and another stony/mountain one for the Return to Moria campaign.

I highly recommend!  Thats a 10 out of 10 axes review rating from me.

Still, these ragtag elements are beginning to look like the start of an army.

Left to Right: Radagast, Aragorn, Barliman Butterbur
Behind them:  the Prancing Pony Militia

Aragorn:  So it is you!  Barliman, who would have thought?

Barliman Butterbur:  Thought what?

Aragorn:  That you would be the great Leader of the Resistance!

Barliman Butterbur:  The Leader?  Where?  Oh, you mean that you are?  (bows to Aragorn)

Aragorn:  Hmmm.... No, Im not.  But obviously you couldnt have been.  Well, then who is?

Barliman Butterbur: Oh.  Um, Ive met him several times as he has given his orders.  Its always orders with that fellow. But he always wears a mask to hide his face.  Time and time again, he has beaten the odds, and taught us how to fight and smash those Undead bastards!  He has brought us back from the brink of extinction!  Somehow he always knows what the enemy is up to.  Like he can read their minds!  The last orders he gave was to assemble here, because he is coming to reveal his face at last.  For a second, I did think it was you, Strider.  But then, how silly, you are just a "ranger".  How can a man who wanders the wilds be the Great Leader?

Aragorn:  Well, you are right about one thing, Im not the Resistance Leader.  Obviously it isnt Gandalf, he is imprisoned atop a tower.  And Saruman is a traitor, so not him.  One of the Blue Wizards from the East, perhaps?  Eomer? Did he ever come out of Moria?  An Elector Count of the Empire, or maybe a Bretonnian Lord on crusade.  That Luthor Huss fellow is gaining steam with the zealots, maybe him?  Eddard Stark is beheaded, so not him.  Or maybe a Southerner?  That Boromir, or his ranger brother, or maybe that Dol Amroth guy with a Swan hat... 

Barliman Butterbur:  Relax, he said he would be here...  Im sure we will all be surprised when he unmasks himself.  In the meantime, drinks are on the house!  We keep Prancing Pony Beer in our supply wagons.

(The Army of Breeland Cheers)

Barliman Butterbur, former proprietor of the Prancing Pony Inn, has turned into a hero of Breeland. 
During the many battles that raged in Bree against the initial Undead invasions, the Prancing Pony was burned to the ground like most of Bree.
The mysterious Leader of the Resistance has called upon him and his men to help save Breeland from enslavement and death.

Something clicked in Butterbur's head and he has been reborn hard.
Now he is called Baron Butterbur, first of his name, lord of House Butterbur, Right Hand of the Resistance Leader!

Most of the former Prancing Pony wait staff have now become military staff. 
The treasurer is now the quartermaster, the barmaid is now the cantiniere, the cook is a forager, the stable boy is a trumpeter, and the bouncer is the master of arms.

 Left to Right: Master of Arms, Quartermaster, Trumpeter
 Left to Right: Banner Bearer, Forager, Cantiniere

Like most things in the militia, the banner is still a work in progress.

Not all the Militia have been armed properly, some still carry pitchforks.

Also, the Shields havent been properly emblazoned with Prancing Pony heraldry.
So for the meantime, a white chevron on a green field will make do.

At some point, it would be nice if they all had spears like these fellows.
Except for the fellow in the middle... without shoes... and apparently without pants too!

When the big battles come, Butterbur reminds the men, that spears will be available (as casualties occur)


So who is the mysterious Leader?

Tune in next post to find out!

Also, isnt it disconcerting that Radagast seems to be able to break the 4th wall like Deadpool?
I guess it takes a combination of crazy and magic to see the bigger picture.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Radagast & His Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Quest

On the road to Bree, Aragorn and company run into....  Radagast the Brown and a company of foot Knights in full armor! 

Finally, this blog confronts the issue of Radagast and how he is at the center of all the bad events that are ruining Middle Earth!

Left to Right:  Aragorn, Radagast the Brown, the "Lost Knights of Arthedain"

Aragorn:  Radagast!  Dont tell me that YOU are the Resistance Leader!?!?!

Radagast:  (looking sad)  Um, no...  actually Im not.  Im not even a hero, really.  I have soooo much to make up for.

Aragorn:  (puts arm around the wizards shoulder)  Oh?  Whats wrong there, buddy?  You can tell your old pal Aragorn...

Radagast:  Where to start?  Umm..  so I was leading Arwen, Haldir, Glorfindel, a Dwarf from Westeros, and alot of Barbarians through Moria...  (see last years posts of basic D&D in Moria,  EDIT:  Ohhh, yeah, the very last ending adventure was not recorded on the blog.  Its all for the best, really!  Lets just let Radagast explain... But at least you can read how well they started off!)

Aragorn:  Ooh, did you run into Halbarad?  He was on a mission there with Eomer and Eowyn!  I hope they are ok?

Radagast:  Oh they are fine, Im sure, they took a different route than us.  But...  (sighs)  I lost Arwen and all the other Elves in the Tombs of Terror!  Haldir was impaled, Glorfindel is trapped in a rock prison, and Arwen stepped through a doorway that looked like a mouth!  It might have been a sphere of annihilation, but Im certain it was actually a portkey! (I claim DM's discretion in saving Arwen for a future adventure hook!)  In fact, as she disappeared, I noticed the faint odor of brimstone...  The dwarf Tyrion and his barbarians lasted a bit longer, they...

Aragorn: You let my beloved Arwen fall into... HELL!?!?   Arwen Evenstar, daughter of Elrond, grand-daughter of Galadriel, High Elven Princess of both Rivendell and Loth-Lorien...

Radagast:  Noooo... not that bad!  It was the odor of noxious fumes that could only be from the Dark Plains of Mordor...  So, shes fine...  as long as she keeps herself hidden in the shrubbery... and avoids the Orc patrols.  And the toxic pools.  And the Nazgul on winged beasts.  Oh and the Eye of Sauron thats like a searchlight of doom...  Look, Aragorn, we can go find her later.  Right now we have to save Bree.  Then we can save Arwen.  OH wait.  We have to save Gandalf from the top of Isengard Tower after Bree.  Thats why Im here, we save Bree, then get all the northern humans together to assault that traitorous Saruman...

Aragorn:  (facepalm)  Gandalf too?

Radagast:  Well, I was supposed to send Eagles to Isengard, but then... you know the Tomb of Terrors thing happened, and Galadriel banished me from Loth Lorien... and I forgot.  So by the time I got to the Misty Mountains, something terrible happened to the Eagles!  Terrible, Aragorn...  its Tzeentch, he must have planned this for a long time...

Aragorn:  Arwen, Gandalf, Eagles...  Im afraid to ask about the most important news of all...  Frodo.

Radagast:  Wait, who is Frodo?

Aragorn:  (facepalm)

Radagast:  I hope its not too important...

Aragorn:  (facepalm)

 This mini's actually code is Citadel C02 - Gustavus Ravenmage.
Of course, in my campaign... he is Radagast the Brown!

 According to the November 1985 flyer advertisement for C02 Wizards, you can buy them for a blister pack of 3 wizards for £1.50 

 The "Lost Knights of Arthedain" claim they are descended from ancient nobility from the fall of the Northern Kingdoms.

 Others call them "Robber Knights" and say they are just grave robbers who stole armor and weapons from the Barrow Mounds south east of Bree.

 Whatever the truth is, these self proclaimed Knights now believe in their Knightly vows.

They have certainly been instrumental in the Breeland Resistance, bravely holding the line and inspiring their fellows in battle.


So, yeah, that Tomb of Terrors adventure never made it to the blog.
But it was indeed disastrous.
Better to have it condensed as a footnote in the Moria Reclamation Project.

Yes, the Eagles are changed into something sinister.
But we wont have to worry about them in this current campaign.
That will have to wait for the Misty Mountains campaign later this year.
Lets just say, a certain Cimmerian will have his hands full with that fine-feathered problem!
I know I keep teasing him, but the Riddle of Steel is indeed coming, so get ready for that pop quiz, kids.
Along with that other quiz "What is best in life?"

Next post:   Prancing Pony Militia

Friday, February 10, 2017

Trade Union of Staddle

Onwards to the industrial town of Staddle...

Aragorn and company have reached the great East Road and the town of Staddle, known for its Blacksmithies.

Left to Right:  Aragorn, Howland the Hammer, the "Bellow Boys"

Aragorn:  Excuse me, I am Aragorn, also known as Strider the Ranger.  Are you the Leader of the Resistance?

Howland the Hammer:  No, Im not the great leader of the Resistance, but my sources tell me, he can be found in Bree tomorrow.  If he promises to fight for fair wages for workers everywhere, I will promise him my Hammer!  What about you, Ranger?  How do you feel about the 99%?

Aragorn:   Strangely, I know nothing about politics, really...  but I do know how to fight with a sword and a bow.

On the left is Howland the Hammer of Staddle.
He is the Master Craftsman, and all the Trade Union toughs recognize his authority.
With a word, he can shut down industry across Eriador with an event that is the most dreaded thing among the bourgeouis elite... Labor Dispute!

The "Bellow Boys" are honest workers.
Which is good for them, considering that before industry came to town, they were all members of notorious ruffian gangs.

They might not be high born, but they have access to weapons that are graded as Castle Forged Steel, because they are the ones who forge them!


Next post:  Radagast & The Robber Knights!