Howdah you like these?

11 Sep

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they develop a longing to game the Battle of Pelennor Fields- in my case I have wanted to ever since reading a Warhammer scenario for it in White Dwarf in the mid-1980s.

With that in mind, we decided to have a go at creating some Oliphaunts / Mumakil.

DSCF4102The smallest of ours are much larger than real elephants but nowhere near as big as the ones in the Lord of the Rings films or the nice-but-jolly-expensive Games Workshop models.

Our elephants are a mixture of Britains (as recommended in the aforementioned WD article), Early Learning Centre and cheap ‘made in China’ toys.

We made two varieties- heavy and light. The former are armoured- they have PVA glue soaked hessian fabric draped over them which has then been painted silver (when dry!)
The towers on top are made from paper coffee cupsDSCF4103

The light variety have small platforms made from chopped up wooden coffee stirrers mounted on a base of some kind of modelling putty. We used Fimo (don’t put the elephant in the oven when hardening it- for obvious reasons) but Milliput or green stuff would work fine..

The spiky sticky-up bits are the plastic sticks from a game of Ker-Plunk. If you can’t get Ker-Plunk, try Tumbling Monkeys instead (and you can use the monkeys themselves in a variety of ways!)DSCF4104

Now, the Haradrim types a-shootin’ and a-spearin’ from the top of the heffalumps are mostly 28mm El Cid range from Hat Industrie.

They are nice figures and were dirt cheap- £4.75 for a box of 32 and being sold off in our local (now defunct) toyshop on a buy one, get one half-price deal.


Chariots on the cheap

11 Sep

This is a lovely metal Warrior Miniatures Celt chariot. They are around a fiver- mine was a birthday present, my precious. Nice figures and nice horses too.


I like chariots so decided to make a few more.

Here they are.


The early ones have solid wheels (round headed plastic map pins) but they look better with spoked wheels.


I know Irregular Miniatures do a suitable, and suitably cheap, pack of wheels but I opted for a different method. I bought a Prince August 25mm Napoleonic cannon mould and used the wheels produced from that (they need a fair bit of trimming and filing and the mould itself needed a little cutting to ensure all the spokes were cast.)

The base of the chariots are card squares with coffee stirrer planks. And for the sides we opted for a bit of variety using plastic coffee stirrers of different kinds (including one with a nice wicker affect) the rounded ends of wooden lolly sticks (two side by side) or the round ends of medical tongue depressors- double fatness lolly sticks.

The bit that joins to the horses was made using bits of wire bent to the right shape and then covered in Green Stuff.

For horses, I went back to Prince August and cast some from the 25mm Fantasy Horse and Rider mould.

Bitten by the chariot bug, I also made a Narnian White Witch version pulled by plastic polar bears- made of coffee cup corrugated card and spiky ends of cocktail sticks.
And an OZ version. Princess Ozma’s royal chariot is a plastic bottle top pulled by a Hungry Tiger and a Cowardly Lion.



Continuing the Oz theme, here are Dorothy and the Wizard in a horse drawn buggy which started like as the sort of plastic clip you get on a printer ink cartridge.

Carnage of the Giants

17 Mar

dont mess

In anticipation of the forthcoming Jack The Giant Slayer film, we play-tested a Giants vs Men game this afternoon.

On one side, Byron had nine giants and on the other I had around 50 men- mostly Black Tree Design Saxons with swords, axes, spears and bows- and half a dozen plastic mounted knights from the Weapons and Warriors game.

Each Giants was given a name by Byron- for example Hammer, Smasher, Kill, Thumper, Attack…!

We set up on a 5 foot by 3 foot oval dining table with plenty of trees, a couple of hills and a castle tower for the giants to capture.


The game revolved around a simple card based system. Each player had a deck of 18 cards for their army which had instructions such as “All men may move” “Archers may shoot” “Four Giants may move” “Two Giants may throw”.

Taking alternate turns, the players draw a card from their own deck and either carry out the instructions and return to the bottom of the deck, or save that card for a future turn and do nothing on this turn.

Each Man had one ‘hit’- 4+ for unarmoured archers, 5+ form mailed foot troops and the mounted knights had two hits- one at 4+ and one at 5+.

What this means is that in order to kill a Man in combat or by shooting you need to scored equal to or above this score and in the case of a mounted knight you would need to make two hits. Giants each had 6 hits: 6+, 6+, 5+, 5+, 4+, 4+

big guyclose

We also assigned the Giants hits to areas of the body and imposed penalties eg 5+ were ‘leg hits’ and reduced movements, 4+ were arm hits and reduced ability to throw or number of attacks.

Combat was simple. If a unit / figure moved into contact with an enemy it would roll a number of dice to see if it scored any hits.

Men rolled 1d6 (swords or axes) or 1d8 (spears) and mounted Knights rolled 2d8.

Healthy Giants rolled 4d8 each which could be reduced as they suffered hits.

Ranged attacks were similar- archers rolling 1d6 each whilst Giants rolled 1d6- needing 4, 5 or 6 to throw successfully and then rolling 4d8 to work out the damage caused by blazing trees, farm carts or church bells! Any Giant rolling an initial 1 was deemed to have fallen over and took 2d8 damage.

The game worked quite well but play tended to get bogged down recording the penalties incurred by wounded Giants and the Men side appeared to have too many good cards allowing all units to move and shoot.

The Giants also got bogged down moving in single file between clumps of trees  and they proved vulnerable to archery.

Towars the end of the game, we abandoned the movement, throwing and attacks limitations on the wounded Giants and just went in for general hack and slay. The Men eventually triumphed, at high cost, and Byron took it well.

I will re-write the rules but use a similar mechanism for a re-match in the near future.

The defiant loser…



Wicc in progress

8 Mar

Here are five witches for my Golden Compass game. One from a D&D miniature, one a Hero or Horror Clix, three from Cluedo miniatures.



And here is Mrs Coulter, just for Jay:


Cream of Tartar

3 Mar

I’ve been planning a game based on the Golden Compass film for quite a while, and now I have my Tartars for the climactic battle scene…


OK, they are not exactly as in the film but they are near enough for us. The figures are 28mm Napoleonic French Imperial Guards from Wargames Foundry. I bought two packs (16 figures) which were being sold off cheap via their Ebay outlet.

They are based on 38mm white plastic discs which are actually the backs of badges. The wolf or dog daemons are Twilight Creations Zombie Dogs. These are quite cheap and you get 100 to a bag. Very useful in so many ways.


Being astute, you’ll notice only 15 figures pictured. One came with a severed head so I have kept him behind and may conduct experiments on him to see if I can come up with a passable resemblance to a Winkie Guard…winkj

A nice little haul…

3 Mar

The Car Boot Sale season isn’t yet in full swing but I did manage to pick up a few nice items this morning:

First up, a copy of the Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets trivia game. This comes with 8 plastic figures riding broomsticks, three balls with wings (useful for making winged monkeys amongst other things!) and an 8 sided dice. Not bad for a quid.



I also managed to track down a copy of the Cluedo game with painted miniatures. Here they are:


Ten figures- they are approximately 40mm in height. I am thinking about converting the three women on the left to be ‘Golden Compass’ witches. The rest may well be used as parents or Hogwarts tutors in a Harry Potter battlegame. Watch this space.


Here we have a cactus and a Gormiti figure. The nice chap (Polish, I think) wanted to give these to us for free but i gave him 20p in the end!

And finally, a box of 25mm modern soldiers for 50p. They have separate bases and are articulated at the waist (they separate into two halves). The poses are a bit weird but I think they may make suitable conversion fodder or be a good source of arms, legs and heads!


Heroes and House Elves

17 Feb

I’ve long harboured a desire to re-fight the Battle of Hogwarts in the comfort of my own dining room…

There are no off-the-shelf ready made Harry Potter miniatures but that is not necessarily a bad thing. We have managed to assemble or create a fair few suitable models over the past few years.

Some of them are here:


houselvesHouse Elf Liberation Front- these are Games Workshop Snotlings- a mixture of plastic and metal models. No conversion needed except to paint them flesh rather than snot green!

dumbledores army


Dumbledores Army!

From the left- Fred (or George), Luna, George (or Fred), Neville, Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione.

Fred and George are ‘O’ scale schoolboys- model railway figures I picked up in a shop a while ago- no idea of the manufacturer.

Harry and Ron are themselves- plastic figures from a small HP tie-in game. Neville, I think, was also originally a Ron figure from a similar source.

Luna’s body is that of an Irregular Miniatures woman police officer. The head is from a Heroclix figure.

Ginny was originally a Ground Zero Games female vampire slayer- ie a Buffy and Hermione was a GZG FBI agent- ie Dana from the X-Files. Being small 25mm adults they make good 28mm teen witches.