Sunday, 10 December 2017

December Oddments: Finished Models

Introduction

Just over a month ago, I showed the state of my workbench (here ==>).  Since then, I've been trying conscientiously to finish some of the longer-term projects which were contributing to the clutter.  Whilst this task is by no means complete, I have made progress; here are some of the results...

Super Dungeon Explore: Emerald Valley

I've been working my way through one of the Super Dungeon Explore expansions: the "Emerald Valley" warband set.  So far, I've completed the hero that came with this set (the Silver Chevalier) and have moved on to the monsters that inhabit the area.



This is Glimmerwing, the mini-boss who controls Emerald Valley.  She's a 'Fairy Dragon', which seems to mean that her strengths in game terms are in magic use rather than physical power.  Having said this, I'd say that the model looks quite robust enough to chew off some adventurer's head!



Most of this mode is simply painted green and then highlighted with 2 or 3 lighter shades.

The wings were more involved, as only the "veins" were done in green.  The "membrane" between these prominent lines was painted in a pale undercoat and then coloured with several thick washes/thin paints (take your pick).  Water was used on the brush to lessen the intensity of each colour when further away from the focal point, or even to blend a little with an adjacent colour.

Whilst the result isn't perfect, I'm reasonably happy with it.



The Emerald Valley warband itself consists of pigs and mushrooms.  Not scary?  Take a look at these elite Okoshrooms!  Basically, one of these is a very large mushroom man with a rope around its middle, tied to two large mace heads.



There's not a lot of detail on the mushroom bodies, but I have attempted some subtle shading nevertheless.  Fortunately, the rope, face and cap add plenty of colour and texture to draw the eye away from the bland body.

Out of curiosity, why does a mushroom need a fig leaf (or equivalent)?  Modesty seems unlikely, both from a botanical point of view and also because these berserkers don't seem the types to be worried by such a consideration.  Who knows (though it's probably better if you keep your answers to yourself)?


Hordes of the Things: Barbarians

My Barbarian army for Hordes of the Things has been growing steadily.  Last year, it was large enough to provide one part of the force which took on Santa in my annual Christmas Game.  Since then, I've expanded it by adding some panther cavalry, with the ultimate aim of being able to field 48 or 72AP (i.e. 2 or 3 times the normal HotT army size).



I've been looking for a general for the second 24AP "army" and here he is.  As soon as I saw this model, I knew that I had found my barbarian chieftain!  He is, of course, Kovornik, the Barbarian Outcast from the Frostgrave range.  I've classed him as a somewhat-unusual Behemoth General.  In HotT, Behemoths are usually big, dumb things such as trolls or giants, not leaders.  It'll be interesting to see how well or badly this works in practice...



This is a all-resin model and it's incredibly detailed.  For a long time I was too scared to do much with it, but once I knuckled down I found that it wasn't too hard after all.  Still took a while to paint, though...



Finally, here are some more Barbarian warband elements.  The figures are all 28mm castings from Black Tree Design, though this time there are some conversions in amongst them.  Some of these BTD models were spearmen, but I wanted them to represent HotT warband rather than spear bases.

The standard bearer is an obvious and straightforward adaptation; the top of the spear was cut off  and replaced with a banner from an old set of plastic Warhammer goblins.

Two other spearmen had their entire right arms (including the spears) removed at the shoulder.  These were replaced by arms from the same set of Warhammer goblins, one waving a crude sword and the other holding a large, curved horn.  I was very pleased to find that he plastic parts fitted very well and were just the right size and style!


Conclusion

As always, this isn't everything on which I have been working recently, but it is fairly representative.  It's a considerable relief to be completing models again and reducing the clutter on the work bench - especially as Christmas is coming up very soon.  After all, who knows how much new stuff I might be given then?


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Relic Knights: Cerci Speed Circuit

Introduction

A few months ago, I showed some factions for Relic Knights (an Anime-styled skirmish game, made by Soda Pop Miniatures/Ninja Division):
This week, I have finally completed my third (and, so far, my largest) faction: Cerci Speed Circuit.  These women - they are almost all women - are from a planet devoted to racing, gambling and other reckless activities.  "Live fast and die young" is a motto that could have been invented for them!  



Hell's Belles


Hell's Belles are a street gang of young women who ride fast jet-bikes.  If you can imagine a cross between a slightly more grown up version of St. Trinians schoolgirls crossed with the outlaws from Mad Max then you wouldn't be too far wrong!



Note that there are only 2 poses amongst the plastic bodies for this set.  Also note that the sculpting on them is not the best; detail is a bit soft, especially around the faces.   I've made a number of minor conversions to make all the models look different.  Several of the figures have had caps or helmets added, or even have an entirely different head from my spares box (Crooked Dice's "Daredevil Sisters" donated the redhead with the two pigtails).



Note that due to a packaging error, there are only 2 bodies in many of the early "Hell's Belles" box sets, even though there are (as intended) 3 bikes, 3 heads and 3 sets of arms.  I was fortunate enough to have my eBay seller supply one extra body, but that still meant I was one short to fit all the models.  I eMailed the manufacturer, who very kindly sent me a replacement body free of charge.

This new figure was a metal casting, quite unlike the five plastic ones - she's the one in the white costume on the leading bike in the picture above.  Although some cutting was necessary to make her fit the bike, this figure is cleanly cast and overall a much better model than the plastic ones.



As for painting, this was an opportunity to go wild!  Bright and varied is the order of the day, so there are plenty of reds and yellows, as well as some distinctly unnatural hair colours.  Mind you, Cerci must be a very warm planet, I think - there is a lot of bare skin present, though in some cases I painted this as tights or body suits.


Suicide Queen


The leader of the Hell's Belles is a reckless show-off known as "Suicide Queen".  She rides a souped-up jet bike and is known for stunt driving and trick shooting.  Personally, I can't see her lasting very long...

[Addendum: Suicide Queen is a Questing Knight with pseudo-Jedi mystical powers and as such has a cypher (a sort of familiar).  In this case, her cypher is a small, brown, dog-like creature called "Rollo".  I have painted that model, but have forgotten to take a picture of him and therefore cannot show him alongside her].


Pacers


As might be expected for a speed-obsessed planet, Cerci operates a number of rescue 'bots.  These sentient machines are called "Pacers".  Apparently they are obsessive fans who will douse your burning machine with fire-suppressant foam whilst quoting race statistics at you...


Rin Farrah


At first, Rin Farrah appears out of place here; she's an assassin with a very long sniper rifle.  What's that got to do with racing?  Not a lot, perhaps - but it probably has a lot to do with gambling/crime syndicates and failed bets.  Don't welch on your debts or we'll send round the hit woman!

The barrel of this model's gun is very thin indeed.  I did consider replacing the slightly-warped plastic with a length of brass rod, but in the end I decided that it would be quite a lot of trouble to do this.  I can always revisit the decision in future, if the gun barrel bends or breaks.


Princess Malya


Princess Malya is a Relic Knight, which means that she has powerful psionic powers and has earned a big, stompy robot.  In this case, her robot/mech looks sleek, fast and colourful, as befits a style & race-obsessed faction.



Of course, Princess Malya also has a cypher.  Her familiar is an innocent-looking rabbit thing called "Mr. Tomn".  He's probably not quite as naive as he appears...


Conclusion

I'm mildly annoyed to find that as well as "Rollo" (mentioned above), I've omitted another couple of figures: the Relic Knight "Marie-Claude" and her cypher "Esmee".  I must have forgotten to photograph them at the same time as the other models and at this time of year it's now too dark to take decent pictures.  Maybe I should set up a proper lighting booth; that would allow me to take photos without relying on midday sunlight?

Collectively, the 1st edition Speed Circuit models are not all the greatest sculpts ever.  They are cast in a strange "resin/plastic" material which loses a lot of fine detail and it can be hard to fit the parts together.  However, I think that with some care and attention they have painted up fairly well.  So far, they're my favourite faction for Relic Knights!

Sunday, 26 November 2017

The Grey Harbour House

Introduction

As part of my ongoing efforts to produce terrain for games of Pulp Alley and Congo, I decided that I need a small, coastal village or port.  Obviously that'll require an extensive water feature and some boats (such as the steam launch which was the subject of my last article) - but that isn't my immediate focus.  For now, a village just isn't going to work without some houses or huts...


The Missionary's House


The first building is simple: it could be either the house for a missionary or a local trader.  This MDF kit comes from TTCombat, where it is sold as "Grey Harbor House A" for £10 (note the U.S. spelling of "Harbor", even though TTCombat is, I believe, a UK-based company).  It's a fairly basic MDF and greyboard kit of a planked, wooden house set on brick foundations.

I've scratch-built a thatched roof for the building; this seems more versatile than the kit's original roof for the relatively uncivilised parts of the world in which I'm likely to set games.  It's the first time that I've used teddy-bear fur in a model and I'm not sure I combed it out as well as I might.  One side is much flatter than the other; the fur fabric seems to have a "grain" or direction and I was combing against it on the near side you can see in the picture and with the grain on the far side.

As an aside, TTCombat also sells Grey Harbor "B" and "C" models which have a similar style but which are a bit larger (the "C" house has 2 storeys).  It would be entirely possible to build a complete settlement from just these types.




Now here's something of a mess.  I've tried twice to fit the interior of the building with a plank texture, printed once on paper and then (when that failed miserably) printed onto cardboard.  The glued-down result has been as you can see: wrinkled, shrunken and with extremely poor colour retention.

I really don't understand why this has been such a disaster (twice!), but I'll have to do something to remedy it; I cannot leave it as it is.  The floor of the model did have scribed planks, but I thought it would be awkward to paint these and I chose the printed paper route instead.  I'm wishing that I hadn't gone down this route now...




As sold, the model has a simple, MDF, tiled roof.  I painted this up as well; you can see it in the photo above.  This gives me the option of making the building more or less "civilised" to fit in with the setting for a particular game.  Indeed, the tiled roof could probably be used for games set in the present day for many of the warmer parts of the world.



Conclusion


I'm sure that this will be a very useful building, especially with the choice of roofs, but it's not enough on its own!  And I'll need to fix the flooring; it's really awful...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

A 28mm Steam Launch

Introduction

In my last few posts, I've mentioned in passing that I'm working on terrain for a colonial African settlement, with a trader's or missionary's house, some huts (yet to be bought/made) and a river (also yet to be built).  This will be used for Pulp games and for the Congo rules.



One of the items which is quite important to this setting, at least in my vision, is some river traffic.  I've got some small dugout canoes waiting to be painted, but I also have a steam launch that can be used to take goods and/or passengers up the river.  I just completed the model this morning, so now is a good time to describe it!


The Steam Launch



Firstly, this model is a laser-cut MDF kit from Sarissa Precision, costing the grand amount of £10 at the time of writing.

The hull went together very easily - it has a stepped appearance which gives the impression of a clinker-built boat (look it up if you need to know what this means).  If you wanted a smooth hull instead then I imagine it would be straightforward enough to apply a combination of filler and sanding to achieve this.  I was happy enough with the basic effect.

The boiler and condenser were made up from a large number of not-quite-identical MDF disks stacked on top of each other, with a guiding rod down the centre.  They were all numbered, so the job is simple - though a little care is needed to ensure that they go on in the right order (and the correct way up!).  I found it useful to smooth over the edges of the stack of glued disks with filler so as to remove all the join lines.


Modifications


Laser-cut MDF works very well for large, flat surfaces.  However, it's not so good for thin items such as poles, masts or gun barrels; in my experience such long items tend to be rather fragile.  Consequently, I replaced the MDF mast with a simple length of bamboo skewer, carefully selecting the straightest piece I could find.

Similarly, I cut a length of drinking straw to use as the boat's funnel.  This fitted over the spigot that the manufacturer had provided at the top of the boiler.  [I built this model a long time ago and cannot remember if Sarissa Precision provided MDF parts for a funnel.  I think they must have done so, but either way, I did my own thing here.]



Finally, I constructed the awning slightly differently from the kit, partly through concern about the possible fragility of the corner posts and partly because I wanted easier access to the deck during gaming.

I replaced the corner posts with lengths of bamboo skewer, one at a time.  As I did so, I drilled a hole down the centre of each skewer and glued in a cut-down nail.  This was not for added strength, but rather because I wanted the flat, iron heads to be on top of the posts so that they could act as landing pads for magnets.

When I finished each replacement post, I cut the corresponging MDF support post from the awning and replaced it with a small, rare earth disk magnet (4mm x 1mm, if I remember correctly?).  Once all four supports had been treated in this way, I was left with a canopy that holds in place well - the magnets are quite strong - but which can be popped off easily when greater access is needed.

The rest was just painting: the hull is white with a red waterline, the decks are a reddish brown and the machinery is a black/grey.  Add on some weathering, some mast stays and a coil of rope on the foredeck and we're done!


Conclusion

The Sarrissa Precision Steam Launch is a straightforward kit which provides a very versatile model of a fairly unusual subject.  It's obviously inspired by (but not identical to) The African Queen - the story of which was set in the early days of World War One.

I'm not convinced by the use of MDF for all the components, though obviously it makes the kit simpler for the manufacturer.  As I mentioned before, MDF is especially fragile and/or unrealistic for long, thin, round parts.  Fortunately, the mast, funnel and canopy supports can be replaced easily and cheaply by an experienced model maker.

Overall: a very welcome addition to my Pulp and Colonial games, after a few modifications have been made to improve robustness.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Progress.

Introduction

Last week, I showed some pictures of my cluttered workbench (here).  Even if you didn't realise it, I noticed from this article how many of the models present were "blockers"; they had sat around waiting for attention for weeks, months or even years.

This thought shamed me so much that I decided to try to finish some of these stalled projects, or at least put more paint on such models.  Often, the inactivity is self-reinforcing - when I finally started to work on the pieces below, I found that often they weren't so difficult (or so far from completion) as I had imagined after all!


The Strathclyde Welsh


Some time ago, I started to build a SAGA "Strathclyde Welsh" warband.  Where I live, these are the local boys (at least, the Strathclyde part of their lands is local, not so much the Welsh part).

I started this warband so long ago that I daren't even look it up in the blog; I'd probably be horrified at just how long these have taken.  Anyway, these are the last 6 of the 16 warriors, 8 hearthguard and a warlord, thus completing a basic 4pt SAGA force - hurrah!

Of course, I've got another 8 Strathclyde foot warriors that are still mint-in-blister...


The Steam Launch


Progress has been made on the MDF launch; it turns out that only a few colours are needed to paint this model.  I've still to dirty it up a bit, since I'm aiming more for a working boat "African Queen" look rather than a modern-day cherished & polished Victorian heirloom.  When the painting is done, I intend to add some rope - probably a coil on the foredeck and some mast stays.


The Missionary's/Trader's House


My other "colonial" project at the moment is this house.  The basic building was almost finished anyway; I've added the interior floor since last week.  Mind you, that hasn't gone very well as the paper on which the flooring is printed has wrinkled terribly.  I might have to think again about how to do this...

Behind the house is the tiled roof which came with the model.  I've base-coated it, but haven't detailed or weathered any of the tiles.



Having considered it a little, I thought that it would be nice to have a thatched roof for the bungalow; I could then use it in slightly less "civilised" parts of the world.  Initially, I thought of just covering the already-built, tiled roof with teddy bear fur, but in the end I cut out new pieces of MDF to make a scratch-built, second roof.  This is the first time I've ever worked with fur fabric - it seems to be going well so far.


The Generator



Finally, the generator got a little love.  I have almost finished a new "hoop"; this will fit in the middle of the existing piece.

After that, I'll need to build some platforms and handrails in the gaps on either side.  At this stage, I have no idea how I'll do this!  It sounds like a job for which the old "Platformer" kits would have worked well - but I don't have such a thing in my spares box.  Oh, well - I'm sure I'll have an idea sooner or later...


Monday, 6 November 2017

The Workbench, November 2017

Introduction

It's been a while since I did a workbench post (June 2016, to be precise), so I thought it might be time for another.  Have I completed all the models which were present then?  Is the area less cluttered than 17 months ago?  Let's find out...


The Workbench


Nope, it's even less tidy than before, if that's possible.  I even have the leaves of the desk extended and covered with models, as well as piles of boxes and other stuff down the sides.

Let's take a closer look at some of these ongoing projects...



On the left are a couple of boats (a steam launch and a sampan) for Pulp and/or colonial games.  On the right you can see the ponies for my final six Strathclyde Welsh warriors.  After I've completed them, I'll have a basic 4 point Strathclyde warband for SAGA and will therefore be able to play them in a game.



The paint station is covered in a huge mix of different models, all part-completed.  Amongst other things, you can see:
  • A ducking stool (and Puritans to man it); this will be used in witch-hunting games.
  • Some members of my Frostgrave "red" warband.
  • Various figures for my Hordes of the Things "Barbarian" army, including more foot warriors and a wooly rhino (in the small, black box).
  • Some of my son's Warhammer 40K Tau models: a missile turret and a battle suit.
  • Part of a relic/mecha from Relic Knights (also in the black box).  The large circular base for this is partly visible in the bottom right of the picture.



To the right of the paint station, but still on the desk, is a box of Relic Knights figures.  These are Star Corsairs and are a mixture of very nice and quite awful poses!



On the right-hand leaf of the desk you can see my long-promised generator model.  I'm thinking that this is more 20th century (so, Pulp or Spy-Fi) rather than futuristic, but who knows?

Behind that is another of my son's Tau models, plus a cardboard space fighter and another cardboard model (a refuse truck) on which the glue has failed; the components are all falling apart and I haven't yet decided whether it's worth trying to rescue it.



Moving on, here is a pile of 3 sci-fi "colony" buildings, partly painted.  I really must make more progress on these.



Finally, this is an MDF building (minus the roof, which hasn't yet been worked).  It's going to be a colonial trader's or missionary's house.  I've ordered some fur fabric with which to "thatch" the roof; hopefully that won't take too long once I have the material.


Conclusion

I really need to finish some of these models, if only so that they can be put away and not take up so much room on my desk!  The thought of having so much incomplete stuff was so depressing that recently I couldn't face painting.  Instead, I spent much of last weekend building some Saracen heavy cavalry to start a new SAGA warband...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Batrep: The Witches' Revenge

Introduction

Fore several years, I've played an annual Halloween game.  Usually, this has involved witches and has been gamed with the marvellous "Song of Blades and Heroes" rules.  Here are some of our previous efforts:
So far, the record for the forces of darkness in these games has been poor.  I'd even go further and say that they have performed dismally!

This year I've made some changes to the attributes for both sides, but especially for the witches and their minions, hoping to make them a bit more cost-effective.  In particular, I've removed Flying from the witches and added a sorely-needed Leader instead.  Also I've toned the ghouls down a bit by removing the Savage attribute to make them a bit cheaper.  Can the evil-doers win a game?  Read on to find out...


The Scenario


We decided to repeat the scenario that I created for The Flames of Justice: one witch has been captured and is about to be burned at the stake.  It's up to the other two sisters of the coven to rescue her before the Puritans can light the bonfire!

One adjustment was made to the setup rules for this scenario: we decided that any attackers with Swarm or Stealth attributes. or which was designated as a Ghost, could set up without being limited by proximity to a defender - as long as they were placed in or touching a piece of terrain.  This would represent them having infiltrated the town ahead of the battle and then appearing suddenly from under a hedgerow, through a wall or similar.

Forces were slightly larger than the previous time we played this game: each side had 2 commands.  There were 3 players; Steve took all the evil-doers and my son A. and I each took half of the humans.  Roughly speaking, these were the forces:
  • Witches: 2 witches, 2 hell hounds, several ghouls, 1 ghost.
  • Ratmen: 1 leader, several dog-sized rats, 5 swarms and 1 gigantic, berserk rat monster.
  • The Colonel's Men: Colonel Brandon, Sir Jasper (the magistrate), Sergeant Stone, several musket-men and several other soldiers.
  • The Witch Hunter's Posse: John Sterne (the witch hunter), Brother Matthew (the mad monk), Major Fairfax, several musketeers and several swordsmen.

From the other perspective: The rat monster contemplates an apparently-deserted village street, with just the pyre in the distance.


The Game


Fairly predictably, the combined forces of evil (witches and rats) advanced.  They were very successful with activation rolls and even managed to assault the nearest defenders.

In return, most of the men just stood around, bewildered at the sudden onslaught.  A notable exception to this: Sir Jasper, the magistrate, lit the pyre.



On turn two, most of the men again held their positions; their leaders were all engaged in combat and the ordinary foot soldiers weren't going to move without specific instructions, or so it seemed.

One dog-sized rat was shot by a musketeer (so, first blood to the humans!), but otherwise Colonel Brandon was hard pressed by a hell hound and a pack of ghouls.

In a most unlikely turn of events, the captive witch on the pyre caught fire and blazed brightly; within a moment she was consumed by the flames and killed!  [What?  That happened in our last game too!  On the first possible turn where the fire might injure the captive, we rolled a 6:1 split on the dice.
  • Witch: combat score of 2 + roll of 1 for a total of 3
  • Fire: combat score of 1 + roll of 6 for a total of 7.
Fire doubles witch, so witch dies].

At this point, the men have technically won the game as the captive cannot be rescued alive.  We decided to play on anyway - and I made a mental note to revise the victory conditions for this scenario.



Before the soldiers could celebrate, a horrendous rat monster charged through the smoke, grabbed the nearest man and smashed him to the ground.  Major Fairfax and his immediate group were sandwiched between various rat swarms, giant rats and the black-robed rat priest.  One swordsman perished immediately; the rest of the band were forced to fight back-to-back against the seething horde of rodents.




Their desperate plight was saved when Major Fairfax fired his pistol into the sea of grey bodies.  He must have loaded the weapon with some special ammunition in anticipation of such a foe, for he caused a gruesome kill on a section of the rat swarm, causing the rest of the rat tide to part like the red sea and scatter in several directions.



On the other side of the bonfire, the rat monster flattened the next man to stand in front of it.  Only John Sterne (the witch hunter) now stood in its way.

Colonel Brandon was harried backwards by hell hounds; only his skillful direction of his horse enabled him to stay in one piece.

His retreat was covered, in part at least, by Sergeant Stone.  The portly NCO held his ground as if rooted to the spot; neither the hell hounds nor the ghouls could move him or penetrate his armour and cause him injury.




The rat monster tore through John Sterne as if he was of no more consequence than any of the other men.  In desperation, Colonel Brandon broke off from his fight with the hell hounds and faced the gigantic creature.  At least being mounted, he could strike at it without being disadvantaged by inferior height.



Taking advantage of the scattering of the rat swarms, Brother Matthew charged up to the plague priest, screaming some very unholy imprecations.  He swung his staff so hard that the rat-man's skull was shattered and its brains splashed over the cobbles [another gruesome kill, though not very many other rats were close enough to require a morale check].




Colonel Brandon survived his initial encounter with the rat monster, but then decided to withdraw and seek reinforcements [the rat ogre killed another musketeer; this took the Colonel's force below half strength and he partially failed a morale check, as did Sergeant Stone].

The monster, perhaps confused by the smoke, didn't follow the Colonel.  Instead it moved around the other side of the pyre to seek fresh prey [it was still berserk and therefore had to attack the nearest enemy.  Although it could see Sir Jasper on the other side of the bonfire, it couldn't quite reach him - yet].



Elsewhere on the field, Major Fairfax's men were hunting down the rat swarms.  Although this wasn't entirely one-sided, they did manage to kill enough to reduce the rats to half strength.

No-one really cared about the resulting morale checks for the swarms, but everything swung on what would happen to the rat monster.  Of course, it rolled a triple '6'; the huge creature's blood lust was so fierce that it didn't even notice that it was almost all that remained of the rodent force!


A collection of heroes surround the rat ogre.  From the left: Colonel Brandon, Sir Jasper, Major Fairfax, Brother Matthew.

In one desperate gamble, all the remaining men who could reach assaulted the monster at the same time.  They had basically one shot at this before the completely undamaged witches' force overran the centre of the village.



The dice were rolled, but it was only enough for a push-back - probably about the worst result possible for the men, since they hadn't (quite) managed to place figures to prevent the monster from retreating.  At least the defeat cost the rat ogre its berserk status...



After this, it was all too obvious that the humans were doomed.  The valiant Sergeant Stone, who had done so much to hold up the dark forces to the west, was surrounded by ghouls and torn limb from limb.



Once the witches and their hell hounds attacked Colonel Brandon from behind, the game was effectively over.  Rather than fight it out to the bitter end, the defenders conceded and we went off to get some lunch.


Conclusion

Yikes - that rat monster is an unholy terror!  It has a combat score of 5, plus 2 for being berserk (at least until the first time it is defeated), plus another 1 against opponents who are smaller than it (i.e. just about everyone).  That means the only way to defeat it is to gang up on it, ideally with 5 or 6 men at once.  In this game, we weren't able to concentrate our forces in such a manner until too late - and even then it was too little.  Contrast with the last time that we used the rat force, where the monster was killed almost immediately!

The witches handled their force competently and didn't lose even a single model, but were stymied by the often sluggish behaviour of the hell hounds (this has happened in other games too; these beasts just don't seem very biddable) and by the heroic resistance of Sergeant Stone.  He may not have landed any blows of his own, but he just couldn't be killed or pushed out of the way for much of the game.  Also note that the ghost underperformed: it drifted about the battlefield but didn't do much other than moan softly!

Finally, the captive at the stake was burnt to death.  I'm going to have to revisit the victory conditions for this scenario, as an against-the-odds, technical win for the defenders in turn two just doesn't feel right!