At the Height of Battle: Building and Painting

Putting together and painting everything in the “At the Height of Battle” set took a little longer than we had expected, but my wife and I had a great time giving life to these excellent figures. We can’t wait to get them on the table for a little skirmish, but I wanted to walk through our building and painting process.

Building these guys took a little extra effort. For the most part, the white metal casting was done well, with only a few ships having a noticeable difference in definition on the port versus the starboard side. For the most part, the detail was there and distinct, and where it wasn’t a line or a cannon could be fudged with the correct application of paint.

Korean Panokseon and their masts. Also some tools of the trade.

Some of the ships required a little drilling to make room for the masts. This also led to a temporary tragedy when my drill bit went through the side of the hole on the OAtakebune’s second mast. A little ‘greenstuff’ was all it took to right the issue, and with the primer applied it was almost invisible.

Drilling out space for the masts on the Atakebune.
Stupid Stubby Fingers! You can see the damage on the forward mast. I accidentally carved away the whole side of it.Well, it wasn’t the end of the world as some Greenstuff saved the day.
With the repair in place and smoothed out, the primer covered all sins.

For basing, we followed the directions of the rulebook and mounted everyone on 40mm x 30mm card taken from comic book baggies. Not sure why we had them, we don’t read comics, but there they were, so there they went. To stiffen everything up before we tried painting the bases, we coated them in liquid craft glue. In the end it looks a little funny with the giant OAtakebune and the tiny Sekibune sharing the same base, but I like the uniformity.

My wife, with much steadier hands, cutting out the bases from card.
Every ship assigned its base. It’s coming together.

We hand primed the miniatures with a brush and black primer. This was the first time we noticed that the primer occasionally slid away from parts of the miniatures, like there was some kind of repellent on the metal. Perhaps we should have washed the minis before painting, but in the end we managed to cover everything adequately. The primer stayed put so I guess it was a non-issue, but it had me worried for a moment!

Starting to get paint on them! You can be sloppy in the first few stages.
Korean ships sorted. At this stage we simply painted the banners and dry brushed some colour onto the water.
Japanese ships with their base colours in place. Much fine detail brushing was to come.

We wanted to be a little stylish with the different sides, giving the Korean and Japanese ships different base hull colours to help create uniformity among the sides. We kept the deck colour the same for both though. No idea of they’re historically accurate wood colours. Tabletop visibility and actually getting them done trumped that, unfortunately. One thing that I loved when looking at pictures in the rulebook and online was that there seems to have been a lot of decoration on Korean ships. Perhaps if I pick up some more I’ll do some experimenting.

In all their glory!

At the end of the day, Sacha and I had painted and based every ship. They were a blast to paint, but I especially enjoyed the Panokseon. They had some nice lines that really pulled the ship together visually from a distance. Now, on to gaming!

-Joe Fonseca

You can find the starter set here. LTAW gets nothing if you click on the link, and I purchased this set myself.

At The Height of Battle: Unboxing

A while ago I tried Long Face Game’s Russo-Japanese War naval miniature rules White Bear Red Sun (A campaign setting for Broadside and Salvo) and had a good time soloing some scenarios using paper miniatures. You can check out my report of the Battle of Chemulpo Bay. When I heard that they were teaming up with MT Miniatures to do a quick play game covering the Imjin Wars, the Japanese invasions of Korea in the 1590s, I was immediately sold. There is so little coverage of this important conflict, and to be able to game it out on the table with 1/1200 miniature ships was just too tempting. I immediately preordered a copy and, lo and behold, it just arrived!

The Box was a little munched during its journey from the UK to the chilly shores of Canada, but I’m happy to report that there was no damage to the contents. Opening the box reveals each of the different ships types included in the core box. For the Japanese, there are O-Atakabune, Atakabune, and Sekibune. For the Koreans, we get Geobuksen (the famed turtle ships) and Panokseon. There are seven ships a side, so an equal distribution, but it will take a closer reading of the rules and some historical accounts to see what kind of engagements I can knock together with this set alone. So far I love the look of the minis and I can’t wait to paint them up. The rulebook recommends using card bases so I’ll be cutting up so comic book board to mount everyone up.

Looking at the rest of the package, there are a lot of included game aids in laminated sheets that need to be cut out. I have no problem doing that, and I’m glad to see everything important is included. At first glance I’m wondering if I’m going to need some opaque backed card sleeves for the activation cards, as you can kind of see through their backs. As far as I can gather they need to be drawn to determine activation, so covering their backs will be important. The rest are great and include movement and fire aids, wind direction aids, and my absolute favourite, laminated sheets to record ship information. I like a clean table generally so marking things down is perfect for me, though there are included markers as well.

The rules are well written so far, (I only noticed one minor typo!) and the game looks to be the kind of light-mid game that I enjoy. I’m very happy to see that a good bit of history has been included too, not just in describing the ships but in going over the Japanese Invasions of Korea in general.

Overall I’m super impressed with this as a quick start package. My wife and I are going to be sitting down to paint up the minis and cut out all the tokens tomorrow evening, so check back for a little painting guide, a review, and an AAR of our first couple games over the weekend!

-Joe Fonseca

No review copy was provided, this game was purchased(immediately!) at my own discretion. Here is the link to MT games if you want to purchase the set yourself. Let’s Talk About Wargames gets nothing if you click here, so click away!

Warhammer Rising Part 1: A Classic High Elf Build for One Page Rules

We haven’t really talked very much about tabletop miniature content on Let’s Talk About Wargames, but we really should be. I started my wargaming career as a bright eyed youngster along two paths. One was dreamily watching Shogun: Total War‘s armies march about at 20FPS on the family Windows 98. The other was staring into the display cabinets at the local Games Workshop.

Tabletop wargaming is every bit as integral to the wider hobby as the other avenues of play, but the amount of time, effort, space, and money requried to make good on it might put some interested players off of the whole thing.

Getting Started with Tabletop Wargames?

Luckily there are some individuals and groups putting in the effort to make tabletop gaming more accessible. I’d particularly like to shout out the following:

Little Wars TV have been working to make historical tabletop wargaming easy to dive into with tutorial builds, a free ‘Dark Ages’ skirmish ruleset, and a series of excellent battle reports with historical commentary.

One Page Rules offers a myriad of fantasy and science fiction rulesets that fit on a single page, are easy to play, and remain model-agnostic. (Full Disclosure- I have been previously commissioned to write Narrative campaigns for OPR. Something I was eager to do because I love the system so much)

A Horror Unearthed: Unpainted Minis!

My wife and I recently helped my parents clean up their storage space and made a troubling discovery. Our Warhammer miniatures, which we had put away at the end of Undergrad and were believed lost to time and space, were just hanging out this whole time down in the basement.

Sacha’s army of Nurgle Chaos Warriors was almost perfectly intact and as beautifully painted as I remembered. My Orcs and Goblins were in a similar state, though less well done and less complete (there are always more goblins to paint).

Beneath them both, however, were the remnants of my high school High Elf army. Realizing that we don’t already have enough projects on the go (we do) Sacha and I decided that we were going to work on building, repairing, and painting this army to conform to One Page Rules’ Age of Fantasy: Regiments, which for my money is the best fantasy miniature game modeled after the classic Warhammer Fantasy.

High Elves Always Have a Plan

So how to go about doing it? Well first things first, we need to figure out exactly what we have as it lines up with Age of Fantasy: Regiments. From there we’ll need to know what models we need to acquire or remove to create properly sized units.

Then we need to get building and fixing. A lot of damage happened to these poor guys as they languished in boxes. I’m primarily the builder here, and Sacha is the excellent painter. Once we know what is what, it’s time to go through and glue, pin, greens tuff, and magnetize everybody. I’ll probably post some mini tutorials on these topics as I tackle them, with pictures.

The last step, once everyone is put together, is painting them up. Sacha has taken on the task of painting the monsters, heroes, and other big flashy stuff, and I’m going to be handling the rank and file.

More to Come: Historical and Fantasy Tabletop Game Coverage

As we work through this project, I’ll be posting regular updates and starting to trickle out more content related to tabletop miniature wargames, both historical, fantasy, and sci-fi. There’s a lot to cover but I’m a big fan (and more importantly a glutton for punishment.)

See you along the way!

Joe