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Monthly Archives: October 2015


Altar of Freedom – trying out the shooting and combat

I wanted to give the Altar of Freedom rules a bit of a try out so set up a division apiece from each side at “First Bull Run”.

Some manoeuvre, shooting and close combat. Shooting is at 2 inches unless you are artillery (10 inches).  Cannon are pretty nasty at close range as you can imagine.  Since the game uses factors for combat effectiveness (from +3 to -3) for each unit (brigade) in the game, then a factor of +2 for artillery defending makes it a tough nut to crack for weaker troops (and not so clever for strong troops!).

Basically you roll a d6 for shooting and make some modifiers. The resulting number gives you the effect. It usually involves the fired on unit retiring the odd base depth and taking a fatigue point. Close combat is similar but the difference in scores is what happens. Again, this usually results in a retirement and a fatigue point. Serious results in close combat tend to give mean the unit is broken immediately. Friendly units that are unengaged and in base to base with you can strengthen you as well.

Once you have more than four fatigue points then you break. Broken units are sent to their HQ piece. If your HQ has been captured/destroyed then the unit is automatically destroyed. Otherwise, at the end of the turn you can make a rally roll (adding +1 if the general is close by and in site. If you rally (hard without the general as you need a 5 to stand and try again next turn or a 6 to return to duty).

In all I tried several situations and found that even a slightly weaker division can take quite a number of turns to either gain significant ground or lose ground. The tendency is to swing back and forth as fatigue points mount up. You can only shake off these points if there is no enemy close by at the end of the turn (so pulling out of the line and/or having another division ready to fill your vacated slot is advised unless you want to concede a significant amount of ground). Cavalry have a part to play as they move more swiftly and can keep the pressure on ene,y units with fatigue. They can also scout out enemy strength (if you are close enough to enemy units with your cavalry you can see their rating by peeking at the back of the base to see how good or bad they are).

In all, I think the rules around combat are good. They are easy to pick up, require some thought on how best to mount an attack or defence and need some careful thought about when to “go for it” and when to hold back or even retire to regroup.

I am really liking this game so far and hope to try a full game as soon as the scenery is completed.


Altar of Freedom – Timecast Roads and Rivers

I finally found time to paint up the rivers and roads I bought months ago to use in the 6mm ACW “Altar of Freedom” wargame.

These were from Timecast models (narrow roads and rivers sections). Basically, some pretty decent latex type scenic items that were easy to clean and paint.

I really like the Fords. Simple yet effective.

The flexible sections fit together well and sit over uneven ground quite well.

They were easy to clean with some warm soapy water (you don’t really need to do this, but it only adds a few minutes to wash and pat them dry with a towel.

The website says they don’t need primer so I just used part of a bulk pack of “Burnt Umber” (chocolate-brown!) watercolour paint that I watered down a bit. It painted on well (I put it on quite generously). It took about 2 hours to dry.

The roads and river banks were dry brushed with Vallejo Game Color Khaki paint. The river bed was painted with Vallejo Game Color Mutation Green then over painted with a drybrush of a blue shade (Vallejo Game Color Magic Blue).

I just need to add some static grass and such to the edges of roads and riverbanks.

Looking at all the maps in the two scenario packs for AoF that you need about 8 or 9 feet of river plus about 2 feet or so of wide river. The creeks I will find another way of modelling.

The roads I have cover 8 feet plus some junctions and fords. I need about 26 feet total to do the most complicated 6×4 board for AoF.

Review – Mantic Kings of War – Undead army box set

My good friend Dean recently sent me a box of the older KoW Undead army – the one with 110 figures (skeletons, zombies and ghouls).

Mantic have been changing their offerings and now have a similar box set of 90 plastic/resin minis.

I ordered one on a good deal (free postage, 10% off, plus a free soft copy rulebook!) as an alternative to getting the older box (which seems to be going out of stock a bit now in the UK – all change?).

The box has 20 Skeletons, 20 Armoured skeletons, 20 Ghouls and 20 Zombies. Plus there’s a unit of 10 Mummies.

The Ghouls come two to a small sprue and have limited head/arm combos. There are plenty of Zombie and skeleton parts that you can use for conversions though!

The skeletons and Revenant (armoured) skellies come 10 to a sprue with lots of variation (torso / legs are separate as are heads and weapon options. There is also an armoured dog and a base that can be used for a head or arm appearing out of the ground. Lots of potential here.

The Zombies come three or four to  base – you get 6 sprues in this set. Each sprue has three full size figures plus an extra round base that can be used to show something coming out of the ground. You will have to use two of these at least to get the twenty figures you need for a unit. Again, there are plenty of bits and pieces to give variation and a level of “gore”.

In addition to the 80 plastic figures, there is also a bag of 10 resin/plastic Mummies for you to build. They come with a variety of arms, heads and cloaks and look pretty menacing. The figures are pretty clean and don’t look to need much in the way of clean up. Though I would give them a bath in warm soapy water just to remove and possible release agents left from the casting process.

There are 9 sprues of bases (20mm squared) for all the figures to be mounted on (90!). These are sturdy grey plastic with a circular slot to hold the figure base firmly in place. I like this idea.

All in, the figures are well sculpted, look great when painted, offer a range of height options to creat a tide effect of advancing undead (e.g. link). The figures a ‘slighter’ in build than the GW ones, but IMO look ten times better. Good value for money when you get 90 or 110 figures for around £45

The softback rulebook is also very good. With army lists as well, you have everthing you need to play.

Here’s what is inside…. you also get four mantic points (not nine as per the older 110 figure box set).

My Frostgrave Soldiers – WIP 1 – 20 warriors

Here are the offering so far after a couple of hours with a knife and plastic glue.

I used 10 of the Frostgrave plastic soldiers (link) and also 10 of my Gripping Beast plastic Saga figures (Dark Age Warriors and Saxon Thegns in mail shirts).

I wanted to have more options, so the mail shirts were a necessary addition, courtesy of leftover Saxons!

I even got an unarmoured warrior figure to make a passable Apothecary with a staff.

I undercoated the figures lightly with Halfords white spray primer (good stuff for this job).

Here are a few other bits and pieces… some treasure (partly painted). Six old GW High Elves painted silver as statues for one of the missions, plus some possible Wizards… a Reaper mini (I think) and a GW Elf Wizard….

Review – Frostgrave – Soldiers box set

The Frostgrave Soldiers box from Northstar / Osprey is designed to allow players to round out their Warbands with enough variation of figures.

The box is sturdy card and contains four plastic sprues (made by Renedra). Each sprue has five torso/legs and a selection of 10 heads. There are several hand weapons, various rope bundles, pack, swag bag, purses, a torch, a quiver and an arm with a lantern. Plus there are two bows, two crossbows, a pair of two-handed weapons and two shields.

All, in a lot of gear for your adventurers. The stances of the bodies are pretty similar, as is the clothing. They basically look to be unarmoured, uncloaked and possibly with leather armour.

The lack of different poses can be compensated for by use of heads and choice of weapons. the bottom line, if you want to get a lot of cheaper cost figures for your starter warband then this is a good deal, especially if you can find a friend to buy half of them.

The three main issues I see are lack of poses; lack of any mail armour (a number of the higher quality troops in Frostgrave wear mail shirts) and the lack of off-hand weapons. You will need to get creative with a craft knife to make some variations for the game, as some characters have two weapons. Take a look at Guy Bowers’ post here… link.

This box seems very much centred around the protagonist with two-handed weapon or a hand weapon / shield. Left arms are mainly crooked for shields, or has a lantern in it. It would have been good to sacrifice one item on each sprue to see a potion bottle for the alchemist). A right-handed dagger would be good also.

The price tag of £20 for 20 figures makes them almost double the cost of say, Gripping Beast plastics for Saga. They are more versatile though.

The figures are fine and easy to glue. If you have any Renedra made figures for Saga (Gripping Beast Saxons, Vikings or Dark Age Warriors) you should find the scale and design familiar.

All In all I will give this box a 7.5 out of 10. The lack of a few items on the sprue was a bit of a let down. As was the lack of interesting alternate poses.

Review – AQMF – Martian Front – BEF Tommy Tanks and Scout Tripods

Here are some items I purchased recently to complete my All Quiet on the Martian Front Project.

First is a box of three plastic Scout Tripods… these use the same leg sprue as the Assault Tripods but have smaller heads and sit lower onto the legs (there is no rectangular “torso” piece). They get a smaller Heat Ray and a Targetter (or an empty hand, though can’t figure that anybody would not use the targetter as it is so cheap). Theres no additional weapon options, but the smaller heads do look neater than the big bulky Assault Tripod heads. shame they don’t put these in the Starter box IMO. I prefer the shape and size.

The box of BEF Tommy Tanks is just the same as the US Steam tank box expect it has three metal gun barrels as well. Seems odd to waste money on another SKU just for this little bit of engineering. The guns once painted don’t look too much different do they? I just needed more US tanks and stocks in the UK are dwindling (I have been watching suppliers for months and seen that items are going out of stock or just available for top dollar), I assumed they would be the same plastic sprue as the US tanks and they are. So, just buy these if you can’t find the US ones!


The other box was US Steam tanks. Same as the contents of the Starter box. Versatile and easy to build just add glue and paint.

Tools – Laser Pointer and Laser Line (“Target Lock”)

Useful for the game are a couple of laser tools – a cheap laser pointer from eBay that picks out targets (and anything else you care to point at – be careful).

Also, there is a “Target Lock” laser line generator from Army Painter. This device draws a red line across your wargame table to stop any arguments about what can be seen by one figure or vehicle.

The cheaper pointer worked just fine first time out the packet once the batteries are activated by removing a small paper disc from the screw-in end cap.

The Laser pointer was cheaper than the ‘Target Lock’ but is less sturdy than the ‘Target Lock’ but is better than a Pointer that I got from Army Painter and had to send back. The spring fell out of the barrel when taking the three batteries out!

The Target Lock is much better than the Army Painter IMO for quality alone. Its heavier (= sturdier).

Both devices are cheap enough and useful enough to add to the gamers chest of tools. They both came with the batteries needed (three AG13/LR44)