Careful, the apeman is angry

This little, angry chap I finished a few nights ago. It is the Apeman from Citadel’s Night Horrors range and released around 1987, I believe. The mini is slightly crude and not particularly interesting, but while painting it the apeman really started growing on me and I am now really looking forward to using him in an upcoming game. The paintjob is very simple but I tried to work in some subtle changes in the colouring of the fur, which sadly has disappeared in the photos. Well, they are there, believe me.’

While he ended looking very much like a typical ‘snow ape’, my inspiration for the paintjob actually came specifically from this illustration found in the AD&D 2ed Monstrous Compendium. I always liked the odd little scene portrayed in the image; in particularly the strikingly not very D&D fighter. Fun stuff.  



King F’yar by Tony Ackland

Tony Ackland’s drawing of his orc on wyvern

Wow, this one really challenged my photo set-up and skills. Sorry for the odd pictures!

What you see here is of course the orc on wyvern sculpted by Tony Ackland and released by Citadel back in 1984. This would indeed, to my knowledge, be the first model to pair those two and thus sparking a long working relationship between orcs and wyverns. The model a few years later came to represent the power-hungry King F’yar in the Orc’s Drift campaign. Nevertheless Ackland’s wyvern seems rarely to show up painted on the web. I am not sure why, but my guess would be that the style simply is too archaic and pre-“golden age” Citadel, even to the tastes of many within the Oldhammer community.          

The model is fairly big, even by today’s standards, and the lizard-like wyvern completely steals the show. I really love the strange looking, winged beast. I had never seen the sculpt before I went to the first year of BOYL. I cannot remember who had brought the orc wyvern, but it certainly caught my eye and I captured one for myself on Ebay a few months later.

Tony Ackland is a magnificent artist, I love his drawings, and his sculpting on large models, like wyverns and war machines, is brilliant. His work in smaller scale however is not as good, and the orc riding the wyvern was quite complicated to paint. It has quite a lot of details, but all of them sculpted in very low relief, making then hard to interpret and paint. The fangs of the orc, for instance, are barely anything but hinted lumps and this you will find repeated in all other details as well. This leaves the orc somewhat unsatisfying to work on, and while I am very pleased with how the wyvern turned out, the orc is I bit frustrating to behold. But then again, this is some of the stuff you have to face as a collector and painter of old lead.

Nevertheless, I am quite happy to finally having painted Ackland’s wyvern. It is a striking sculpt, and now I also have the joy of finding a practical way to store this rather fragile chap!

To base or not to base?

I am pondering a little problem at the moment. It has been quite some time since I ventured into painting any fantasy war machines, but I am now working towards finishing an old project of mine (more about that at a later stage), which involves a goblin stone thrower. For this I roughly two years ago got my hands on the lovely Skull Crusher, sculpted by the one and only Kev Adams and released in 1986 as part of the Machineries of Destruction series. Cool stuff.

The Skull Crusher box cover

Now, as suggested by the title of this post, my problem is if I should base stone thrower or not. I’m really in doubt here as both solutions have benefits and drawbacks. To base it would allow me to do all sorts of fun things with the model as a whole and turn the thing into a little mini diorama, just like Mr. Adams did when he painted the Skull Crusher himself for the box cover.

The Skull Crusher as painted by Kev Adams. Lopvely, lovely Work in his classic style. Photo by Steve Casey.

However, these bases can be slightly clumsy in actual gaming situations and somewhat limit the integration of the model on the table. For instance, the classic problem of wanting to put the stone thrower on a hill, but the base is too big for the hill, while the model as such alone would fit nicely. You know the problems. And then there of course also is the crew – should they be integrated into the base or not?

So many decisions to make.

If you have any advice, let me know, I would be glad to hear it, while I slowly start prepping the model.



Elderly dwarf and baker

I have been painting Orc’s Drift miniatures off and on for a while now and here you see two further specimens from that list of distinguished models. Two lovely chaps. To the left we have a dwarf elder who in the campaign scenario is named Gymlet. It is a splendid little sculpt with a ton of character. He was a pleasure to paint; especially working on his face was fun. The other mini is another villager – the baker – with all the old school charm of the entire ‘villagers’ range. Both sculpts are quite simple, without many details, but I guess this is exactly what makes them work so well. Unadorned and simple, yet full of life.

With those two painted I have finished most of the minis connected to the campaign, missing only a few orcs and of course King F’ar on his wyvern. In fact, I have finished those as well, but they still await proper basing, but they will show up in a blog post very, so if interested, stay tuned. 





S.O.D. a success

This weekend a little meet-up, somewhat ambitiously called Scandinavian Oldhammer Day (S.O.D), took place in Copenhagen at the fittingly named Rogue Trader gaming club. It was a nice day spent among eager Oldhammer enthusiasts and curious onlookers, who came to see what all the fuss is about. There was painting going on, a bring-and-buy table, two painting competitions with awards were held and a number of games played – I am not sure how many. I took note of a game of Mordheim and a game of 4th ed. Warhammer Fantasy Battle, which was about to start when I left.

I ran a Rogue Trader scenario twice which was brewed up by my gaming pal Thorbjørn, alias Dr. the Viking from the Clovermilk blog, and myself. The scenario was a small scale four-player thing with a two-hour time limit and it worked really well, I think. The players were happy and we had a lot of laughs – zoats seem to have this effect on people!

As I was mostly standing at our gaming table and busy GM’ing I did not managed to take very many or any good photos, but this is roughly, what the game looked like from my table edge. However, I have uploaded the scenario as a PDF with this post and by way of the photos I guess you can reconstruct fairly easily how the whole thing worked. I can upload the four gangs from the play along with their stats at a later stage when I have taken pictures of them.

Thanks to the good people from Rogue Trader for setting the whole thing up and cheers to Thorbjørn for the collaboration. We will strike back next year with more chaotic Oldhammer fun!

Here you find our scenario:



Isle of Dread, Chapter 1: The power of Voodoo (Who do?) You do!

The set-up

Malcon deWitt and his party have spent the better part of a week in the shitty little village of Tanaroa, where they have been drinking rum and bad wine and prepared themselves for the expedition into the heart of the Isle of Dread. The heat and the humidity is choking, but the group of northern travelers have slowly gotten used to the local conditions and despite the fact that no one is overly eager to enter the jungle, it does seem like a relief to get moving. Thus the day finally comes when Malcon and his party are striding up towards the gigantic wall, shielding both the village of Tanaroa and the whole peninsula from the jungle and wilderness.

The party arrives at the large gate, guarded by local tribesmen who only reluctantly open the portal to let the group of travelers through, but soon after Malcon and his troop are surrounded by dense, green tropical forest. Strange animal noises, odd bird cries and eerie growls a heard from deep within the jungle and the northerners now more than ever feel themselves far from home. A small path runs north, travelled by the tribesmen who every now and then use it to reach a large tar pit roughly a two-day journey into the jungle. Malcon and his friends agree that they will follow the path as far north as possible.

Sweaty hours go by and the shadows lengthen, but then suddenly something happens. One by one the members of the party note how the jungle has grown silent. The animal sounds have disappeared and the birds have stopped singing. Scouting up ahead the halfling Jolly Drake sees something which looks like corpses on the path, but strangely enough no carrion birds seem to flock over the bodies, which indeed is a bad sign. Nevertheless, Malcon orders his men to examine the matter more closely; perhaps they may find something useful. The party draw their weapons and approach carefully.


The scenario background

An outcast pygmy medicine man has set up a trap along the path leading to the tar pit. From a little hole in the ground, hidden in the bushes next to the trail, he is able to call up the dead and make them walk and attack. By luring travelers on the path into ambush he kills and plunders the unlucky victim with his zombies. Tu-Tu Tonk, as the medicine man is called, is no mighty sorcerer, but he is specialized in animating the dead and thus quite dangerous. When travelers are occupied with the examination of the corpses on the path of previous victims, Tu-Tu orders the attack from his hiding place, and this is exactly what happens to Malcon and his party.  When entering the combat Tu-Tu is to place three groups of six zombies on the table, entering from the left, right and front of Malcons and his group.

 Tu-Tu Tonk (10th level wicked pygmy medicine man)

4 3 3 2 2 2 4 1 7 8 7 7

Equipment                                                                        Magic Points: 25

Bone club (S2)

Spells (2 1st level)

1 Animate Zombie (3 MP) Range: Zombies have to enter at the table edges / Summon D6 zombies

2 Aura of resistance (1 MP) /6+ AS



4 2 3 3 1 1 1 8 4 4 4


Hand weapon (S3)


Causes fear


Malcon’s goal: Examine the corpses on the road and pick-up anything useful. Exp. awards: +d6 to all survivors, +1 point pr. wound caused, +5 points to the model who discovers the secret hiding place of Tu-Tu Tonk.

Tu-Tu Tonk’s goal: The aim of the wicked medicine man is to kill as many of ambushed travelers and steal their food as well as their equipment.     


Special rules

Deployment and first game turn. Malcon and friends, who have the first turn alone on the table, deploy at on the path at the edge chosen as his entrance point. The Tu-Tu player can hold back the zombies for as many turns as wished.

Corpses. Place a number of markers in the middle of the table representing the corpses used by Tu-Tu to lure travelers.

Surprise attack. One of the corpses lying on the path is actually a zombie. If the player examines the zombie it attacks and the models are immediately engaged in HtH combat. The zombie attacks first in the first round of combat. Afterwards the combat goas by Initiative as normal. Mark beforehand which corpse is the zombie.

Tu-Tu’s hiding place. The concealed pit where Tu-Tu is hiding is defined prior to game start. Choose a spot, a bush or any other terrain feature, within the proximity of the table centre. Tu-Tu is hiding in his pit with a small zombie familiar who follows and medicine man around and protects him. The familiar has normal zombie stats.

Discovering Tu-Tu’s hiding place and fighting him. Tu-Tu is completely hidden away, but there is a chance of hearing his chanting. All miniatures within 10 inches of his hiding place must roll a 2d6 against I when he uses his magic. If successful they hear his low chanting and know that something or someone is hiding there. For each new roll against I the following turns the miniatures gains a +1 pr. attempted roll (+1, +2, +3 etc.). If moving a miniature into base contact with the spot where Tu-Tu is hiding, the medicine man and his pet zombie are discovered and engaged in HtH combat. If Tu-Tu dies all zombies on the table collapse.

Animate the dead. Tu-Tu calls the dead to come. They thus don’t rise from the ground but enter from the table edges, though not from the edge which Malcon and the group used as their entrance point.


How it went down

The general layout of the 4’x4’ table

Casualty markers serving as corpses on the path. The sitting mini is of course the zombie mentioned in the text

Rasmus leading Malcon and company to examine the scattered bodies on the path

Malcon deWitt and his party advances into the jungle

The party is closing in on the corpses

Panna and Jolly Drake take the rear and guard the mules

All of a sudden zombies start crawling out of the underbrush from the front and flanks of the party. Yes, I know it is ghoul minis, but here they serve as zombies

Malcon, Ricco and Peter watch as the zombies advance

More zombies advancing on the party at the behest of medicine mand Tu-Tu Tonk

The loyal hound Kenza charges the nearest zombies while Malcon’s men clash with the living dead around him

Kenza in combat while his owner and friends watch

More and more zombies are closing in on the party

An overview of the battle. “Fresh” zombies are slowly approaching down the path

Malcon deWitt to the right, Ricco di Leonora in the middle and Peter the Melancholic on the left

The zombies are slowly engaging all members of the party in combat

The zombies are gradually taking down members of the Malcon’s party – even his loyal hound Kenza is floored

Jolly Drake runs for cover and fires his sling at zombies while a henchmen struggles for his life next to him

Another overview of the battle

The zombies have discovered Jolly in the bushes and come for him now

A zombie has taken down Peter the Melancholic while his friends still struggle on

More zombies are still approaching

… And still more zombies advance

Jolly is in serious trouble now

Surrounded by foes Ricco is finally taken down by the living dead

A crucial turn of events. After having fled and return to the combat Jolly discovers Tu-Tu working his magic from his hiding place. Jolly and a warrior search the bush and drag out the medicine man. A fierce struggle thus began (of which I took no good picture…)

Malcon fights for his life while Jolly and the warrior fight the medicine man working his necromancy

The final moment of the battle – more zombies are closing in on Malcon, but Tu-Tu was stabbed to death by Jolly and all remaining zombies dissolved.

Postgame notes

We had a blast with this little scenario. The zombies kept rolling in from the edges of the table giving the combat the desperate feel of “zombie horror”. It also worked well with Tu-Tu hiding and being discovered just in time to avoid total catastrophe for Malcon and his party. After the combat we rolled for recovery and all the fallen turned out to be only lightly wounded and thus back in the next game. The only exception was the warrior Panna, who injured his leg and for the two next combats suffers from halved movement. On the experience front Malcon killed enough zombies to make a character development roll and gained a +1 on Leadership, Jolly Drake was allowed the same and gained a +1 on Initiative. We then rolled for Random encounters and first learned that yes, next session will have a random encounter, and the second role determined that it was going to be… more pygmies. Thus, instead of using them as a random encounter, we decided to make the pygmies the main scenario for our next game which sadly first is to be played on 17 June.

Finally, for those interested, these are the stats of Malcon and his party after the first game:


Malcon deWitt (10th level human hero)                                                       EXP: 91

4 4 3 4/5 4 2 5/4 2 9 7 7 7


Two-handed sword (-1 I/+1 S/-1 to AS)

Heavy armour (5+ AS)


Ricco di Leonora (5th level human hero)                                                      EXP: 27

4 4 3 4 3 3 4 1 7 7 7 7


Sword (S4)

Light armour and shield (+5 AS)


Jolly Drake (5th level halfling thief)                                                           EXP: 33

3 4 4 3 3 2 6 1 6 7 6 8


Short sword (S3)

Sling (S3/Range 18”/may fire twice within 9”)


Peter the Melancholic (5th level priest of Manann / Magic Level 1)                            EXP: 26

4 3 4 3 3 2 3 1 7 8 8 8

Equipment                                                                        MP: 13

Sword (S3)

Spells (3 1st level)

Fire Ball (1 MP cost, 24“range, D3 S3 hits)

Ward of Arrows (2 MP cost, -1 to hit, magic missiles dam -1)

Bewilder Foe (4 MP cost)


Kenza (Warhound)                                                                           EXP: 1

6 3 3 3 1 4 1 6 4 6 6


Bite attack (S3)


Daff (human guard)                                                                          EXP: 0

4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7


Sword (S3)

Crossbow (S4/Range 30”/-1 to AS)


Mullio (human guard)                                                                        EXP: 4

4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7


Sword (S3)

Crossbow (S4/Range 30”/-1 to AS)


Nixi (human guard)                                                                          EXP: 2

4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7


Sword (S3)

Crossbow (S4/Range 30”/-1 to AS)


Krigle (human guard)                                                                        EXP: 3

4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7


Axe (S3)

Light armour and shield (5+ AS)



(human guard)                                                                EXP: 1

4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7


Spear (S3)

Light armour and shield (5+ AS)


Panna (human guard)                                                                         EXP: 0

2 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7 7 7 7

Equipment                                             Injury: Severe leg wound (half M for 1 more game)

Spear (S3)

Light armour and shield (5+ AS)


Things to come and entering the jungle

When I stopped posting images of my minis on the blog a while ago it was largely because I was busy with writing other stuff and at the same time began to question the whole point with the blog. Having had some time to think it all over, I thought that one thing which actually would make things a bit more interesting for me would be to write more about the actual games we play and not solely focus on the minis. There is an abundance of great, great blogs showing minis and serving as inspiration; you gotta love sites like Magpie and Old Lead, Leadplague and Belched from the Depths, to mention but a few.

However, at least when it comes to the so-called Oldhammer scene, the emphasis seems first and foremost to rest on the minis and not the games as such. This, I think, is a shame. Thus I will in the future attempt to write about the scenarios we play in my little gaming group and give as much information about those games as possible in order for others to potentially be inspired. Not because what we do is terrible cool or innovative, but because it often is these small glimpses into game situations and scenarios which sparks fresh ideas; this is at least what I often experience. The downside is, of course, that you will have to live with my shoddy English, but this is how it has to be.


The call of the wild

As I have written in my last post, we have launched a new fantasy campaign using Warhammer 3rd ed. rules scaled down to skirmish level. This means no units, no wheeling and all that other stuff. We have furthermore implemented an experience system more or less similar to what you would find in 1ed. Necromunda and the post-game casualty and injury tables from Rogue Trader. All of this is to give the campaign a sense of progress on character level as well as a sense of continuity to the story we tell through our games.

The 1ed of the Isle of Dread Module, here with fun cover art by Jeff Dee.

What is more interesting is what it is all about. The campaign we are playing is basically the old D&D module The Isle of Dread, written by David “Zeb” Cook and Tom Moldvay. We are thus here talking some proper old school stuff. As most of you probably will know, the scenario was the first real outdoors adventure for D&D when published back in 1981, and it was later re-released in 1983 as part of the classic blue box D&D Expert set. The copy of the scenario we are using is actually from my old version of the box bought back in 1991, I would guess. I actually never played the scenario in my D&D days and this little venture is accordingly my first use of the scenario, but it is cool finally to use something I have had in my collection for such a long time.

My old battered copy of the blue Expert box set and the not so battered Isle of Dread module with cover art by the great Timothy Truman.

If not familiar with the module, you might wonder how this would work as a miniature based game. Of course we cannot use the scenario straight from the text, but the thing is that the whole module is very open and in essence a long list of random encounter, a few fixed encounters and a climax taking place at the centre of the Isle of Dread mentioned in the module title. The island itself is, by the way, a riff on the island of King Kong including giant creatures, dinosaurs, fierce tribesmen etc.

What you see here is the super-secret DM map provided in the scenario for the players to explore. The player version looks like the second map below and is mostly blank, as the players are to explore and fill in the white as they travel land inward. When, in our campaign, following a path the party can travel up to three hexes pr. session, when forcing their way through wilderness they only travel two hexes pr. session.

The super-secret DM map

The Isle of Dread player map.

What we basically are doing in our campaign is to record the travels of our group of protagonists as they travel inwards on the Isle of Dread and experience encounters as they move along. We operate with two types of encounters. Each of our sessions has one main encounter or battle, functioning as a little scenario. As part of the post-game we then decide where our protagonists travel next and if they come across a random encounter. For this we roll a D6: On a 1-2 the party are confronted with what probably is a hostile encounter. When this encounter happens we also decide by roll: 1-2 pre-scenario, 3-4 during scenario or 5-6 after scenario. The random encounter therefore serves as a little prelude or aftermath to the scenario proper, or it can be integrated into the scenario as such. The slightly altered random encounter lists we use looks like this:

The random encounter tables we use. A () indicates the no. of appearing if there is a possibility of more than one

To add further details to the campaign, we decided to keep track of food rations, equipment, gold etc. and give our party with two packmules, all of which might serve as the inspiration for potential future scenarios and encounters.

So what is it all about then? The background is as follows.


The Black Pearl of Dread

Malcon deWitt, a former citizen of Marienburg, has spent a few years adventuring in the Empire after deserting from his unit of mercenaries. Never fit to follow orders his ambitions and taste for the good life drew him to follow his own course. Through many encounters he drifted southwards into Tilea and finally he entered the great city of Remas, which became his new home and base of operations. From here Malcon explored the ancient ruins of the region and sold the art objects and treasures he salvaged. Along the way he met Ricco di Leonora, who became his close friend and collaborator, and they in turn were joined by Jolly Drake – a renegade halfling thief whose nimble fingers soon became crucial to their operations in the tilean ruins.

The trio has one thing in common: They all share a huge appetite for wine, gambling and exuberant spending. The opportunities for such is great in sunny Remas and the trio are thus broke more often than not. This fact has gradually begun to take its toll on their spirits and the three friends started to have serious conversations about the future. They somehow needed to find a quest with a worthwhile payoff, enabling them to withdraw from active life and enjoy the fruits of their efforts. This opportunity came half a year ago.

Here the priests of Manaan come into the story. Malcon had previously done business with the order, whose cult is prominent in Marienburg and gives Malcon sweet memories of childhood. The temples of Manaan is sought by many merchants and travelers. In Remas a sailor ravaged by jungle rot and the liberal imbibing of lotus juice has delivered a strange tale to the priests of Manaan in exchange for a bed in the hospice of the order. The sailor told how an ancient ruined city exists on a plateau in the centre of the Isle of Dread, found south of Sartosa. In this ruined city a huge black pearl, called the ‘Pearl of the Gods’, is resting. This pearl is supposedly vested with eldritch magical powers and just waiting to be grasped by anyone bold enough to transverse the fever plagued jungles which surrounds the plateau.

The Warhammer World with the Isle of Dread marked with a red circle


This tale was alluring, but the basis for the story was also resting on the words of a fever ridden, half drug-crazy sailor. The priests of Manaan therefore decided to offer Malcon and his friends a proposition; they were to travel to the Isle of Dread and claim the fabled black pearl.

The deal is that the priests of Manaan finance the journey for Malcon and his party as well a number of henchmen to accompany the group. If they find the pearl, and it turns out to be what it is said to be, the priests will pay the party a huge sum of gold. Furthermore, the group may claim whatever treasure they find on the island; the priests are solely interested in the pearl. This proposal Malcon discussed intensely with Ricco and Drake over a couple of days and finally they agreed to take the job despite all the problems with a long sea journey and the dangers on the island itself.

Malcon, Ricco and Drake, accompanied by Malcon’s loyal hound Kenza, ten men-at-arms and a representative of the order of Manaan named Peter the Melancholic thus left Remas by ship and headed south. Talking to the sailors onboard of their vessel they soon learned that there is at least one inhabited settlement on the Isle of Dread, called Tanaroa, on the southern tip of the island. This little settlement is inhabited by a mixture of the indigenous people of the island, pirates, smugglers and adventurers passing through. Tanaroa is located on a slim peninsula which is cut-off from the rest of the island by a giant wall of ashlars build by the gods. This, at least, is what the natives claim and they only rarely travel into the jungles to the north, saying that the heart of the island is taboo because this is where the gods sleep.

During the voyage to the island two of the men-at-arms died. One fell overboard, the other was stabbed to death by a drunken sailor. However, despite these small setbacks Malcon and his group has now arrived in the hot, humid village of Tanaroa where they plan to stay awhile to gather food, equipment, mules and perhaps further information about the island.

The first chapter in our campaign will follow soon.