Monday, November 26, 2012

My Single Dedicated HOTT Army. . .

As I noted in an earlier post, DBA (and the Baron) got me back into wargaming after a 10-year-plus hiatus. When I moved to the Twin Cities the first time, Jeff Bolton introduced me to HOTT (Hordes of the Things), and then convinced me to build an army in 28mm. At the time I was firmly entrenched in a DBA/DBM 15mm universe. To get to critical mass quickly with this "first" 28mm army, I traded some stuff to Lead Addict for some plastic GW skeletons (and some older metal) that were in various states of completion. I spruced up the Addict horde, added some odds and ends that I found myself and soon had this 24-point Undead army ready to go:

A closer look at the elements?

3 Elements of Knights at 2 points each:

4 Elements of Hordes at 1 point each:

1 Behemoth (evil treeman) at 4 points:

4 more Hordes at 1 point each, because an Undead army can never have too may Hordes: 

An element of Beasts (rabid wolves) guards the other flank at 2 points: 

A Magician General, in this case a "Vampire" Dominatrix (from Foundry) leads the army for the final 4 points:

And then there are some alternate elements for those "special" tactical needs.

2 elements of Flyers at 2 points each:

An element of Sneakers (Dwarf skeletons from Fenryll) at 1 point and 1 element of Shooters (Black Tree maybe?) at 2 points: 

And Lurkers, of course (GW and Reaper), at 1 point apiece:

And last but not least, my favorite "Three-headed Undead Ogre" that I play as either a Hero or a Behemoth, at 4 points either way:

I think it's a Ral Partha figure. First time out we played with a house rule. When activated, the owner rolled a D6; on a 1 or 2, Larry was in control so any movement had to be away from enemy; on a 3 or 4 Curly was in control so movement had to be toward the enemy; on a 5 or 6 Moe was in control and the element could be moved as the owner wished.  It was fun. . . once, but really too unpredictable for an expensive 4-point element.

One of the features I really like about HOTT is the Stronghold, an architectural feature that exists simply to be defended, and has its own intrinsic combat factor. The Stronghold lets you put a "castle" on the table and actually fight over it without a lot of complicated siege rules. It's quite abstract, but I like it. I have yet to be involved in a real siege game that I would want to repeat. 

So I built a Stronghold for the Undead, designed to be set at the base edge of the playing surface. I was into HOTT enough now to be thinking about the "theme" for my Undead army. A fan of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles at the time, I decided my Undead were led by vampires that had been driven out of ancient Egypt and lately taken up residence in Britain. There they could face off against all manner of Celts, Romans, "Britons," Saxons, Vikings and Normans, as well as the Elves and Trolls of Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword.

Then I moved to Tulsa, and introduced a group of the locals to Great Hordes! (GH!)*, our house-ruled big-battle version of HOTT. We played a lot of GH! in Tulsa, and I decided I wanted to "upgrade" my Undead army to better complement the Stronghold and be "truer" to the established theme. And since I am a notoriously slow painter, this decision pretty much made sure this would be my only HOTT army for awhile. . .

The upgrades are the vampiric Prince Kha-Ris, a Magician (actually GW's Zacharias):

An element of Knights (Confrontation minis):


 3 elements of Beasts (from Reaper):

An Aerial Hero; Cruella, as she became known in Tulsa (more Reaper goodness): 

2 Flyers, Cruella's aerial support:

3 Behemoths (a Zombie Wolfen from Confrontation; not sure where the skeletal ogres came from; and a GW Varghulf):

One lonely Lurker so far (the Undead Troll is from Reaper, and the magic user is an old, uh, I mean. . . classic GW mini from the original Addict score):

Artillery (bolt-shooter from Ral-Partha? vampire overseer from Reaper): 

And some straight-up vampires (think Dracula and his warrior brides, from Ral-Partha and Reaper) that I field as a Hero or Blades depending on the need:

Where are all the undead hordes you ask? Next up on the painting table are lots of Celtos skeletons and zombies, along with a few more odds and ends, to fill out this army with the requisite Hordes. If anyone is interested, I could share the painting process on a few skeletons and zombies as I get into them. . .

See ya!

*for more on Great Hordes! you can check out the previous posts with the "Great Hordes" label 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spotlight on Tulsa TNT

Tulsa TransNational Transport is my fictitious commercial airline company set within the Crimson Skies universe. Part of the official corporate lore:

Tulsa TNT was born in the wake of the Republic of Texas' secession from the United States. Texas annexed American Airways holdings in Oklahoma along with the entire state when Texas declared Oklahoma a "Protectorate." Its current Chief Executive, C. Christophe Cluche', originally a native of "French" Louisiana, was annexed as well, but has done his best to build a thriving aviation entity under the watchful eyes of The Republic. "I prefer a Republic to a Collective, even if it can be damned hard to tell the two apart some days," is a quote often attributed to Cluche' by his defenders, when his affinity for the Oklahoma Freedom Fighters (OFF) is mentioned by his detractors.

Tulsa TNT was basically created to provide plunder and cannon fodder for the pirate gangs and militias of our Crimson Skies games. I have succeeded brilliantly as my dismal record of protecting corporate assets, as well as escort flyers, can attest. TNT's most prized possession, the luxury liner "Jewel in the Crown" has been shot down and resurrected twice already, mainly due to the corporate escorts' inability to protect it.

Following are photos of all of TNT's aircraft assets, with a brief description of each. Enjoy!

The Jewel in the Crown is currently the largest passenger liner in operation out of Oklahoma. Her two main routes are between Tulsa and Austin in the Republic of Texas, and Tulsa to Chicago in the Industrial States of America. The Chicago run is the most hazardous of the two, as the borderland between Dixie and the Collective is fraught with peril, and not just the piratical kind.

(Model note: The Jewel is a stock build of the 1976 Testors HAWK model of the Graf Zeppelin in 1/245 scale. This same kit allows you to model the U.S.S. Los Angeles at 1/200 scale. FYI I reckon the Crimson Skies models to be 1/200 scale and this zep model works well with the Crimson Skies models. I added gun turrets to the Jewel from a WW2-era destroyer model. The Testors HAWK kit has recently been re-tooled and re-released with a "hard" plastic body instead of the soft plastic of the original. I picked up two awhile back at half-price on ebay with the idea of building a military version and maybe a pirate, as well. Some day. . .)

4 Kingfishers provide escort for the Jewel and are physically carried on board, ready at all times to launch in her defense. The Kingfisher is a hardy plane that was designed specifically for zeppelin escort duty. I find it to be slightly under-gunned (that must be why I can't defend the Jewel properly), but it is a great looking aircraft.

The "eyes" of the Escort Wings are provided by the 2 Seers, nimble, lightly armored airplanes with long range and great speed. The Seer makes a great courier, too.

An Albatross float plane provides security in river and lake country. 

TNT also boasts an impressive fleet of autogyros. The Bird Dog was designed for standard police and security service.

Short-hop commuter service is provided by the pair of Liberte'.

 And finally we have a more upscale passenger autogyro, the Metroliner.


 Next up for Crimson Skies? The People's Collective militia, the Wichita Windstorm. I'll share when I finish painting.

See ya!