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Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Sewer Dwellers Rose in Cambridge

What a good day of 3rd edition gaming!

I played a few games, I saw a beautifully painted Bretonnian army and had a thoroughly nice day.

My main opponent for the day was a High Elf player. We decided to play a an ambush as I my army seemed to outnumber him (as they should with Skaven Vs High Elves). We set up with a base of Forrenrends and took it from there.

My first turn saw my four Jezzails fire straight down the line and hit subsequently and wipe out almost his entire that was traveling in column. Seriously, he was down to some Sea Elf Beastmasters with some fish/squid/crag gribblies that we bodged some rules up for (you should be able to see them in the photo's below, they're Foundry Mini's and they're very nice indeed) and two Eagles.

This was enough for me to suggest that we start again. My opponent suggested that I reduce my Jezzail count from 4 to 2. I agreed and we started again. This time we played out the game and I lost. I'm not going to loose too much sleep over this as to begin with the idea was for us to just duke it out but after set up my opponent decided his victory condition was to get off the table edge that had just a unit of Rat Ogres to protect it, the bulk of my Army being in the opposite direction. Not wanting to spoil an amicable game I agreed and a bit of a Benny Hill case then ensued where I was never gpoing to catch an army that moves as fast as me. Moral victory to me for being a nice guy I think and that's more important than winning!

Anyhow, photo's below, enjoy (although they were taken on my camera phone so a bit dodgy).

Yes those are Skellies, I like to add extra troops because I never feel like I have enough................

The Sea Gribblies

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Sewers of Cambridge

The Gutter Runners are mustering the horde in the sewers below Cambridge ready for the Oldhammer stylie gathering at the Cambridge Wargaming Club.

I've given my shields a hasty new coat after the Oldhammer weekender rush job that I wasn't happy with. I'd experimented with a few brighter colours but they didn't really work so they've been muted. I had meant to paint on some iconography but I left it to last minute so they're just a drab flat colour (which to be fair suits my painting style anyway). They'll do for tomorrow but someone needs to remind me when I get back to get to do the finishing touches.

Everything is packed and I just need to amend/tweak my army list from the one that I used for the Weekender. Let's hope I can a) get a game and b) continue my winning streak with the ratsies if I do. If I have time when I get back I'll do a quick report on the whole day.

Oh and if any one that reads my inane musings is attending then please come and introduce yourself, either to myself of Erny, always glad to meet like minded gamers.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

My Tail Grows

So where were we?

Oh yes, it was October 1992 and this happened:

Erny and I had uncovered a copy of a White Dwarf in our local New Agents, it had the above picture on it and detailed the new version of Warhammer, I think it was the September issue previewing the release. We instantly knew this was something huge that was happening. Over the next few years I played more Warhammer than I ever have done (and probably will do) in my life. Mostly against Erny to begin with but later with like minded friends I met at School.

We saved our money and bought Warhammer 4th edition within a month or two of its release. We split the contents of the box, Erny got the Goblins and I got the High Elves. We started playing the new version instantly. We used the army lists published in the white Armies supplement included in the box and dabbled with the spells in the same book (We also wrote our own spell lists that we used prior to the release and purchase of Battle Magic). I borrowed an Elven Knight from Erny’s Wood Elf Army for a general, I used the Heroquest Elf as a Mage and made use of the cardboard template of a bolt thrower. A drop into the local GW at the end of a shopping trip to Luton (the subject of GW Luton may be the basis of a later post) with my Mother yielded the purchase of a Teclis model by her for me. I remember the experience because my Mother told off the chap who served us for just taking the money for the miniature and not putting it through the till. The chap acknowledged his error and sheepishly put the thing through the till. My birthday followed soon after and I invested my birthday money in Tyrion, more Spearmen, more Archers, the Marauder Unicorn riding Mage, a unit of Silverhelms and the High Elf book. I was converted into a Pointy Ear, Skaven were no longer my first Army of choice.

Over the next few years I played and collected High Elves and also collected a fair chunk of Undead. I cast longing looks at the Skaven army but the cost of the army was prohibitive. The Undead were a horde army but the plastics made them a more viable force to collect on a budget. The Skaven plastics, when released with the Skaven Army book, were as big as the Advanced Heroquest ones and didn’t really appeal. I bought the Skaven book and 3 boxes of the giant Clanrats but they never really grabbed my attention fully and they became a periphery army.

Then, in September of 1995 my Mother passed away.

I found comfort in escapism. I needed a distraction. The Skaven became a project. I immersed myself in the Army book, reading and re-reading, I started buying blisters of Jes Goodwins beautiful metal Clanrats on my weekly trips to GW Luton that I made with my friends. Within a few months I had two units of 20 metal Clanrats with spears including full command of Champions, Musicians and Standard Bearers. I moved onto Stormvermin. I started to collect the large metal ones of 4th edition, each blister had 3 of these and one 3rd edition halberd wielding Skaven in it (it is now this model that is used enmasse to make my present unit of Black Skaven/Stormvermin). and along with my original Skaven army I had a usable force. Eshin came next and by the summer of 1996 I had the makings of the Skaven Army I had longed for many years before. Adversity can breed productiveness in some cases and in me it had bred the passion, desire and dedication to finally own what I had dreamed of. Any collector of a horde army will tell you that the sheer quantity of mini’s needed is a massive dedication in money and patience. It would have been in time also had I been a painter, but I still hadn’t found my painting style for these (Skaven)blighters just yet, or anything else really. I’ve only just really found the pleasure in painting, for a while lack of self-belief in my abilities as a painter held me back. I’ve gotten to the point now with my painting that I don’t care, I like it and that’s all that counts. I won’t win a Golden Daemon or a Golden Gobbo but I don’t aspire to that. I want something that looks effective on the table top and that’s what I’ve achieved.

It was this army that bred in Ernie’s hatred of 4th Edition Skaven Assassins and if you ever bring the topic up with him he’ll still rant and rave about them. The incident that prompted such an adverse reaction was a game I played against a Dwarf army Erny was commanding (it was one of the many joint armies we had growing up, Chaos, Undead and, to a lesser extent, Orcs and Goblins also fell into this category). Erny had a central unit of Dwarfs that he’d tooled up and that weren’t going anywhere due to the Army Battle Standard he had planted in their midst. I charged him with a unit of Clanrats and two Assassins jumped out and stabbed him to death before he could swing an axe in anger, an incident that swung the game in my favour. Forever after is there an entry inscribed in the Great Book of Grudges at how unfair it was that Skaven got characters like these in the their rank and file when Dark Elf equivalents (a force Erny coveted for a long time before finally collecting them some years later) were in the Characters section. Honestly it can be amusing to set this particular rant off but be warned that the author makes no apology for the feeling of regret you have afterwards of empty wasted hours……………………

It was also around this time that I organised, and won, a mini tournament between my friends and I. This tournament took place in the summer of 1996. The battles were not particularly memorable but one hugely significant outcome of my insistence that the Characters be named (Chris Wardell’s Vampire general “Drop Dead Fred” will live long in the memory) was that a legend being born in my living room. My Skaven Warlord was named “Varl Snickit” for the very first time. He has remained my Warlord ever since. Sometimes he defers leadership to Greyseer “Vasqueel” (edition permitting) but he is very rarely left out of the army altogether. Both nearly always go into my main block of Clanrats (as per the advice of Andy “The Horned Rat” Chambers in his seminal Article in WD 137) and are accompanied my Battle Standard Bearer “Neek”. I finally had my Skaven Army.

A few months later 5th edition appeared and I got distracted by Bretonnians and Chaos. It was not until the release of 5th editions Siege rules that my interest in Skaven would peek again……………………………………………

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Anyone Fancy a Game of 3rd?

On Sunday the 29th of September there's a bit of a 3rd edition bash going on in Cambridge at the Wargames club there, ping Erny at and I'm sure he'll give you the details.

Needless to say the Under-Empire will be rising at the event..........................................

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Bad Camera Day

OK, some exceedingly blurry pics of some of my Skaven, I hold my hands up and admit they're shockingly bad photos.

The Horde

My main Clanrat block, need to add a few more to make it up to 60.............

Clanrats with spears alongside some Black Skaven/Stormvermin (depending on edition being played)

Plague Monks, Jezzailachis and my slowly growing Stormvermin (11 to date but I scour ebay for more)

Love dem Globadiers!

Gutter Runners Ahoy!

Rat Ogres led by Throt the Unclean

Plague Monks


That Dude with the big halberd and the back banner is Warlord Varl Snickit (and has been since the mid 90's).

Saturday, 14 September 2013

How My Tail Began

One Christmas Day, I think it must of been 1987 (please feel free to correct me Erny) I happily unwrapped my presents, the pick of which was a mixture of Transformers and Gobots (my dear Mother had mistakenly thought it was Autobots Vs Gobots). My Brother unwrapped two rather heavy and rather dull looking hardback books. Glancing over from my Transformered up delight I thought this very boring. Little did I know that my Brother’s two rather heavy and rather dull looling books were going to change both of our lives forever..................

When I'd had enough playing with my toys I started to investigate my Brother's present haul. The orange book was heavier than the brownish/blackish one, both had images of battles on the front but the latter was more interesting because it had better pictures and as my Brother poured over the rule book I slowly fell in love with the pictures in Warhammer Armies. The images of each troop type had me captivated and the ones that intrigued me the most were those of the Skaven.

I was seven years old so the descriptions meant little. It was the illustrations that were amazing and instantly told me that this army of rat men were dirty, gritty and armed with crude scavenged weapons and armour. I was also captivated by the Poisoned Wind Globadier's gas mask, he looked totally different to all of the rest. At my young age I imagined a cartoon with these characters in it.

I loved them straight away and I knew that if I ever played my Brother's new game then I wanted to be these rats and no other army would do. It would, however, be a good few years before I was ready to play the game itself, my Brother's need for a regular opponent being the driving force. He would play with his Wood Elves and I would be his Orcs. We used a mixture of cardboard counters cut from Forenronds Last Stand, Ruglud's Armoured Orcs, Skarloc's Wood Elf Archers,  Heroquest Orcs on cardboard bases and the Orcs, Goblins and Wood Elves from Erny's Warhammer Regiments boxed set.

It was this boxed set that gave me the first Skaven warriors to command. Sadly 10 Clanrats are hardly a formidable army so they were instead deployed as an ally contingent for the Orcs. They had no Standard Bearer nor Musician and their Champion was denoted by being the only model with a hood, the rest had bare heads. When we bought Advanced Heroquest they were bolstered by a whole 20 more Clanrats. They were massive miniatures but a unit 20 strong was too big an opportunity to miss as back then we regarded 20 warriors as a massive unit. A dodgy paint job marked out the champion this time.

Later a trip to our local hobby shop, the Guardroom, had a chance stumbling over someone’s fledgling Skaven army for sale, I couldn't afford the whole thing but a between us Erny and I afforded a Seer, a Jezzailachis, a Warpfire Thrower Team, a Beastmaster with two Rat Ogres, an Eshin with a net, 10 more plastic Fantasy Regiment Clantrats and a single Skavenslave.  This allowed me to play with a small Skaven Army for the first time. We used the principle of dividing maximums/minimums by a third/two thirds for 2000/1000 point armies respectively. I used 9 of the Fantasy Regiment Clantrats as Slaves and put the single actual slave model in their front rank. I don't remember any of the few sporadic games I played with this force, I can only say I didn't win any of them because back then I never did. My only opponent was my Brother and he always won (he's 4 years my senior and back then that age difference was a major factor).

It was around this time that Erny returned from the local Games Workshop with a copy of White Dwarf that contained an article I still cherish to this very day. He handed me the article with the enticement "You're going to want to read this". It was, of course, White Dwarf 137 and the article in question was penned by Andy Chambers and featured his own Skaven Army. This to this very day is my "Liber Bubonicus". My holy text. The painting of the miniatures, the overall feel and the tactical advice were simply awesome. 

Sadly it also showed me what a real Skaven army should look like and at the age of 11 I knew that I couldn't afford to build an army of that size. I turned my attentions to Dwarfs for a little while, without actually buying any. I remember the first army list I ever worked out with my Brother, it was a Dwarf army not a Skaven army. I planned to collect the Army of Dwarf-things right up until the release of 4th edition and Jes Goodwins new High Elves. My Skaven, whilst still loved were boxed up in a "Mitre"trainer box. This was the end of the 3rd Age of Warhammer........