15 April 2018

The Terror, mini series review

I finished watching the new 10-part AMC mini series "The Terror" the other day and am positively blown away how good and atmospheric it was.

The series at its core is based on true events, revolving around a polar expedition with two British navy ships searching for the north west passage (in the frozen realms above Canada). Finding the passage would mean quicker trade routes east. However finding them means exploring blindly into terra incognita under extreme weather conditions, primarily the cold weather and ice filled waters.

I had read about that expedition a while back, one of many very interesting stories (the Terra Nova expedition another one) where explorers went out to discover things in the frozen regions on earth ending in disaster.

The title refers to both one of the ships of the expedition, and a weird creature that stalks the ice - adding a made up horror twist to the historical drama. 

The cast, sets and atmosphere is phenomenal - one of the best I've seen in a while. So good in fact that it kept me glued to the screen despite the beginning of the show can be slow and have no immediately clearly defined main character for you to follow. At the start of the show, the main character is simply the surrounding hostile environment that the expedition soon finds itself stuck in. The plot being mostly about coping and enduring the winter. But as the episodes fly by, a more clearly defined character and story is put in place and the show gathers momentum.

It never goes into full horror movie territory, I would say it stays grounded in reality for a majority of the running time of each episode. I don't know if I enjoyed the show as much because of prior knowledge of the expedition, or if I would enjoy it more not knowing anything. To me it was very interesting to see a representation of what most likely happened, which was pieced together during the years following the expedition.

It's a very well made show, with great attention to detail in both the period costumes, the ships and how the hostile environment is portrayed. The acting being top notch throughout the show certainly helps. And as the story unfolds, you are treated with great visuals, horror elements and madness.

I don't want to spoil too much by describing the show in too much detail, and reading up about the expedition may be a spoiler in itself. I still found the ending satisfying despite knowing a lot in advance. 

If you like like one or all of the following: stories like H.P. Lovecrafts "At the mountains of madness", movies like "The Thing" and are interested in historical exploration stories - this show is for you.

It is slow paced, bleak and depressing, so it will not be everyone's cup of tea. I was so enthralled by it that I had to purchase the novel which the show was based  on. That usually never happens.

The Terror 10-part mini series is a 10/10!

08 April 2018

6 pts of Normans painted and tested

This one went really fast, just two sittings and my second Norman warrior unit on foot is painted up. 
I counted the models left in the Norman warriors plastic box, and I have enough soldiers to make two more warrior units on foot! They will definitely be built and painted later on since I will be needing lots of infantry for the Anglo-Saxons.

Now I have 6 points of Normans so Caroline and I tried them out right away this evening.

We ran Vikings (me) against Normans (Caroline)

Vikings Warlord
3x Viking Warriors
2x Viking Hearth Guard
1x Viking Levy archers

Norman Warlord
2x Norman warriors, on foot

1x Norman warriors with crossbows
1x Norman warriors, mounted
2x Hearth guards, on foot

We also used the standard scenario from the 2nd edition core rulebook, it was great fun. Caroline liked the Norman battle board and said it was a lot more tactical and filled with more tricks than the Anglo-Danes she has been using up until now. Ideally more mounted units are needed, and they are coming.

I ran Vikings and thought it was nice to meet a new army, and found the 2nd edition Normans to be a very interesting and tricky opponent. They seem to have a lot of good options, their cavalry can evade charges from infantry easily, they can inflict fatigue if their shooting cause casualties and also cause automatic hits on units with fatigue. Their Warlord can also go batshit crazy with additional attacks and increased resilience!

The battle itself was a a nice grind and ended a bloody slaughter. The Normans had the upper hand in the end and had suffered slightly fewer casualties and winning the fight in the end.

07 April 2018

Norman hearth guard on foot

Two units of Norman hearth guards on foot for SAGA. These are all plastics from the Norman infantry plastic boxed set. I pretty much used all the chainmail bodies in the box (not counting the banner man/commander bodies).

I also made an early decision that I would use round shields for the hearth guards, both mounted and dismounted, to make them easier to differentiate from the regular warriors mounted and dismounted.

These painted up super fast, I went through 4 in one sitting/evening two days in a row. Next up will be another warrior unit on foot - which will give me a total of 6 playable points. After that I will revert to painting up mounted warriors and hearth guards and a levy unit of archers.

06 April 2018

Norman warriors with crossbows for SAGA

My Norman army project is slowly being painted up unit by unit. This weeks has been slow but I managed to finish a warrior unit of crossbowmen and two units of hearth guards on foot (will post those tomorrow).

These particular models are from the Norman crossbowmen blister from Gripping Beast. I like that there is a nice variety of sculpts within the blister instead of 2-3 poses. All of the crossbows were either a separate weapon, or you had to glue the front piece to the stock. Fitting was good and required almost no effort during assembly.

31 March 2018

Medieval houses set review

My second package from GameMat.eu featured a review sample of their "Medieval houses set", which is pre painted resin/plastic terrain ready to use straight out of the box for your 28mm games.

The set contains 3 houses, 1 large ruin, 1 well, 1 statue, 10 boxes, 10 crates, 10 barrels and 10 bags.

The casting quality is good, it's difficult to tell exactly what the buildings are made of. The company states it is resin based material. It smells a bit like the heavy plastic that garden gnomes are made of (if you have that frame of reference lol!). Worth mentioning is that the buildings are relatively light weight and probably hollow while the ruined building is heavier and solid. The remaining scatter terrain feels and looks more like resin of the durable/non brittle kind.

For pre painted terrain, the quality of the painting ranges from good to very good. The textures on the terrain lends itself well for repainting or touching up with a light dry brush if you want to add additional work. For me, they are fine and will be used as they come straight out of the box.

The terrain matches 28mm miniatures very well, the pictures show the terrain with one of my 28mm Frostgrave miniatures.

I really like that the terrain set comes with  the scatter terrain, the crates, boxes and barrels are awesome. I'm not a fan of the bags, I think they look more like parcels. I'm at a point in my life where I try to focus on painting miniatures with the spare time I have for the hobby, I'm really trying to cut corners finding ready to use terrain. This set is great in that regard. It may not be enough to form a full village, but it is a start - or at least a good addition to your existing terrain collection.

The sculpts for the buildings are good, the smaller buildings are all identical and are pretty nice, but my favorite is the large ruin. The footprint of the ruin is about as big as two of the houses. The sculpt is really good looking, and you could easily add more character to it if you want by simply adding tufts, flock or a bit of foliage to make it look more overgrown and deserted.

The only thing that I will be repainting a little is the statue, which is painted gold/metal. I will repaint the lower half of the statue to look like stone. The scatter terrain has uses for pretty much any period, and I will be using the houses and the ruin for games like SAGA, Empire of the Dead and Frostgrave.

I'm very happy with the terrain, and you will see it in my upcoming battle reports. GameMat.eu also has several other terrain sets, among them a big city wall that and natural terrain such as rock formations and cliffs.

You can check out their site and the rest of their range of pre painted terrain by following the link below:

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