Sunday, December 8, 2013

Small Ships from Games of War

I recently posted about Games of War's ship's boats the Tender and Jolly Boat. The next biggest vessels are the small ships called Sea Dog. Currently there are two versions of the Sea Dog available: a "normal" version (GOW-PS002) - which I will refer to as "SD1" for the rest of this article - and an alternate version (GOW-PS007) which comes with an extended mast and sail configuration consisting of pre cut plastic parts and wood beams (and which I will call "SD2").

Pirates on jolly boats attack the crew of a Sea Dog

The model of the Sea Dog was completely redone a few years ago (I guess sometime in 2011). I bought the original version of the Sea Dog in 2009 and painted it for my Chinese pirates. The original model was a bit simpler than the current one. The most notable difference is the rear of the ship as the current version is highly decorated.

The original Sea Dog (left) next to the new Sea Dog (2)

The original Sea Dog (left) next to the new Sea Dog (2)

I have always been very happy with the original Sea Dog model. For a very low price you get a high quality resin model.

The small monkey sitting on the yard is from Black Scorpion's accessory sprue (currently unavailable).

The little monkey from Black Scorpion's accessory sprue

The new Sea Dog (SD1 & SD2) however, is even better - especially the extended variant, which comes with a big mast configuration, a bowsprit, a tiller and a highly decorated backside.

I added further details using the anchor from the excellent Ship's Kit (GOW-SA001) and the swivel gun (GOW-SA004).

I wrapped string around the bowsprit to represent rope welding.

The bowsprit with additional rope wolding and
the anchor from the Ship's Kit (GOW-SA001)

Note the swivel gun on the deck railing

The backside of the new model is much more interesting with its decoration. However, this is also a big challenge: The large flat space in the center has to be painted in some manner other than mere filling the area with a single colour. I took the opportunity to try my very first freehand. The result gave the ships its new name: The Mermaid.

The highly decorated rear of the Sea Dog (2)


The current Sea Dog is a highly detailed, high quality resin model that comes at a very fair price (free shipping worldwide!). I totally recommend going with the extended version Sea Dog (2) which has an additional tiller, bowsprit and more intersting mast - all well worth the little price increase.

Lastly, let's hope to see some new ships from Games of War soon!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ship's Boats from Games of War

Games of War produces two types of ship's boats: A tender and a jolly boat. Let's take a look at them!

The first of the boats that was released by Games of War was the Tender - The Sea Pup (GOW-PS001). Some time later the Jolly Boat (GOW-PS005) was released. I'm not sure how appropriate this distinction is, though: from my understanding "tender" describes the purpose of the boat, while jolly boat is the type of boat, such as pinnace or cutter. Anyway...

The Tender / The Sea Pup

In 2009 I bought and painted two Sea Pups. They are very nice models with a detailed wood grain texture that allows for great results from simple drybrushing.

Tenders / Sea Pups from Games of War

Jolly Boat

I bought two jolly boats just recently. I am extremely happy with them: I find they look more interesting than the sea pups with the rowlocks and gratings. In addition, they are slightly wider than the sea pups and thus provide a bit more space for models. Again, these models have a great texture and can be easily drybrushed to great effects.

Jolly Boats from Games of War

Comparison of Sea Pup and Jolly Boat: 25mm round bases
can be placed better in the jolly boat

For more boats and ships have a look at this list of tabletop ships.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review: Coaching Inn from Tabletop World

On November 15th Tabletop World released their new Coaching Inn. I immediately ordered the building and it arrived just yesterday. Let's take a look at it!

I have been a fan of Tabletop World's buildings since I first saw their products at CoolMiniOrNot. So I made an interview with them in 2009 and placed my first order one year later (had to save for it for some time). Then their first range of buildings went out of production and their style somewhat changed to a more fantasy look. Now Tabletop World released their new Coaching Inn and I absolutely loved the look. I currently have a strong piratey focus in my gaming and I find the inn fits that perfectly (reminds me of CT-Scenery's pirate houses).

At 98€ (excluding VAT!) the Coaching Inn is amongst the most expensive buildings for 28mm scale so I figured a more in-depth review of the item would be helpful for other gamers.

The Coaching Inn from Tabletop World

The Kit / Contents

The main building consists of three pieces. Additionally, there are two chimneys and a fence piece for the balcony.

The contents of the Coaching Inn kit

Tabletop World's buildings are super easy to assemble. Actually, there is no assembly required: You just put the pieces together and remove them when you want to access the inside. The only other company I know of that produces buildings with a similarly clever layout that requires no glue is GrandManner.


According to Tabletop World their new Coaching Inn "is by far the biggest, most detailed and complex model we did so far". However, I would like to challenge that claim: One of their first buildings was the huge Ruined Coaching Inn. Unfortunately this building is now out of production - just like the equally impressive Guard Tower. In fact, to me it seems that the early buildings from Tabletop World were bigger overall, something like a heroic 28mm or 30mm scale, while their current buildings are more like 25mm to 28mm.

Here is a comparison with their Ruined Coaching Inn:

The new Coaching Inn next to the old Ruined Coaching Inn
The new Coaching Inn next to the old Ruined Coaching Inn

As someone who owns their huge Ruined Coaching Inn I expected the new inn to be bigger. But I have to admit that I am notorious for being disappointed when I first see the size of tabletop buildings. But even compared to their "normal" older buildings, e.g. the old Blacksmith's Forge or the first version of the Merchant House, the new inn is somewhat small.

The Coaching Inn next to the old Blacksmith's Forge

The Coaching Inn next to the first version of the Merchant's House

As you can see, the ground level used to be higher in their old houses, best visible at the doors. For these photos I am using a 25mm highwayman from Outpost Wargames Services, a 30mm pirate from Black Scorpion (of Redbeard's Crew) and a 28mm merchant from Lead Adventure.

The inn's ground floor is a bit low even for 25mm figures

The ground floor of the Merchant's House is much higher and
works even for Black Scorpion's large figures

To give a better impression of the Coaching Inn's size I took a few comparison shots with buildings from other manufacturers.

Comparison with the Farm House from GrandManner

Comparison with the Tavern from Stronghold Terrain

Comparison with the DIMA Coaching Inn - my first building that - to me - still sets
the standards for tabletop buildings

Style & Detail

What I immediately liked about the coaching inn is the L-shape and the angles. The house looks really interesting and has a certain "special" look to it. However, this comes at the cost of realism: Tabletop World's buildings are clearly fantasy houses. Fortunately they are not covered with silly skulls or other nonsense details like Games Workshop's scenery, which would completely disqualify them for historical use.
A common grief that some people have with wargames buildings is the exaggerated detail. Tabletop World's first buildings were made using balsa wood and/or coffee stirring sticks as you can clearly tell from the modest wood grain on the houses' wood bars and roofs. On their new buildings the woodwork seems to be sculpted with modelling putty: The wood grain is very deep and overexaggerated. Whether you like this or not is a personal preference. Personally, I find many of the figures I use to have a somewhat comic style regarding their proportions and as long as I don't have perfectly sculpted Tom Meier figures with super realistic paint jobs I find it suitable to have buildings that "work" rather than ones that look like true buildings, shrunk to 28mm scale.

Another very common problem with tabletop buildings is the position of the chimney. On this piece it is okay I guess. I have seen pieces where the chimney pops out of the roof directly above where there is a window on the floor below. On the inn it is okay, I guess. The chimney's would not really work if they were to continue through the floors down to the ground floor but they are positioned well enough to not feel obviously wrong.

What I like best about the inn is the backside with its huge round entrance. This looks very unusual and interesting. Another huge plus is the balcony because of its gameplay value: You can place a shooter to fire from there. Only I would have preferred the balcony to to be made of wood bars rather than stonework.

The balcony is big enough to place a figure


Removable roofs and accessible interior is important especially to skirmish gamers. Like all of Tabletop World's recent buildings this one, too, has a fully modelled inside.

The figures shown in the photos stand on 25mm round bases (from Fenris Games).

On the upper floor only the small room is accessible. As a downside there is no space intended for stairs on the ground floor. So some people may want to add a trap door to the upper floor piece and maybe a ladder to get there.

Casting Quality

As usual the casting quality is superb. Since the very beginning, when they released their first buildings, the have managed to maintain the highest quality in the industry. The resin is light, doesn't smell; it is sturdy, yet soft enough to not break when lightly hit. There are neither air bubbles nor mold lines so very little clean-up work is required. Excellent!


The Coaching Inn is a very nice building. It is not as large at Tabletop World make it seem. Its greatest strength in my eyes is the unusual style with lots of interesting features that sets it apart from the typical tavern type of house. It is in the same price league as GrandManner buildings though I prefer Tabletop World's material a lot. Many players will not spend this much money on terrain - those who do, will receive a high quality building that adds a lot to the gaming table. I hope that Tabletop World will continue and produce more buildings like this: larger, with more storeys and interesting features.

Final note: Christmas Special Offer

Until December 31st Tabletop World is having a special Christmas offer. In addition to the inn I ordered their excellent Supplies and Groceries sets and the sweet well. This qualified for a fee Cottage - how cool is that!

If you are interested in more of their products this is a great time to place an order with the possibility of getting a free Cottage or even Townhouse. Especially considering how their pieces become "out of production" over time.

The free Cottage that came with my order

Update April 6th, 2014: The finished Coaching Inn can now be seen here.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Another Games of War order has arrived

The other day I received a new bunch of boats and a ship from Games of War: 2 Jolly Boats (GOW-PS005) and the Sea Dog (2) (GOW-PS007) and some supplies.

I will be painting these now along with the Ainty ships. More when it's ready.

Check out the painted jolly boats here.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Preparing for Battle

Two days of gaming Dogs Ahoy! pirate skirmish ahead ...

More to follow on Twitter (maybe) ...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Lazy Forgings...

During the last couple of weeks, over at the Lead Adventure Forum, I have been following this thread by Sangennaru (aka The Lazy Forger) about creating a timbered house structure. The result is incredibly realistic and detailed.

Original master of a timbered wall by the Lazy Forger

Eager to paint up one of those nice pieces I browsed his website and placed an order for some of his cool creations. Check this out!

Modular Resin Roof

The modular resin roof is a very nicely detailed 11,5cm x 13cm piece. With a few of these you can cover large areas and create huge roofs for huge houses. I ordered four of them and I think I'd like even a few more. Useful high quality stuff like this, you can never have enough of!

Little Town

Little Town is a set of tiny houses. I actually do not intend these for any wargaming purposes but for a little board/card game project of mine. These cuties will take the game to the third dimension.

Just looking at them totally sparks my imagination and glad I bought two sets.

Lastly, this bonus stuff that was included is also a testament to the great detail of the quality.

So, I leave with an open appeal to all scenery & terrain producers to buy The Lazy Forger's latest creation and make it available for everyone: A beautiful, finely detailed stable.

Work-in-progress of the timbered stable by Sangennaru (source: LAF)

Update April 6th, 2014: Fenris Games now stocks some of these products as well.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Port of Gierburg - Part 3: Dock Section I Painted & Extras

In the previous instalment I described the building process of the first dock section for my Port of Gierburg project. Today I am going to show the finished piece, give a few painting hints and discuss extra pieces.

Painting the dock section

Painting the dock section was pretty straight forward and similar to my last stoneworks on the Town House and House Fronts. It's all about applying different greys (with brown, black and "bone") and some green and brown washes and pigments. I really enjoy painting stonework because you can get "all dirty", try out a lot of things and rarely do anything wrong in the process.

The main colours I used are Vallejo's Sand Light, Flat Earth and Neutral Grey from the Model Color range, plus a bottle of cheap black that I have been using for years. Mixing these colours basically gives you all you need. For the finishing touches I used watered down dark green and Devlan Mud (from Games Workshop).

I am very happy with the plaster cobblestones from Vampisol: they paint up rather nicely and look great as a large area. As usual I spent a lot of time painting individual stones which is the key to the effect.

Top view of the cobblestone from Vampisol

Trade Goods

The nicest half-timbered house is still just a boring sight when placed on an empty board all by itself. Adding bits such as barrels, crates and sacks to the gaming board goes a long way in making the table more interesting.

For habour scenes Ainsty Castings has a variety of very nice scenery items in their Tade Goods range.

Trade goods from Ainsty Castings

Similar items are available from Tabletop-Art: I bought the Stacked boxes and barrels set 2.

Stacked boxes and barrels set from Tabletop-Art

Compared to the Ainsty bits the Tabletop-Art pieces are much smaller. Especially the barrel stack (see photo, in the middle) appears somewhat tiny, although it is of course perfectly legitimate to have smaller barrels than the average 28mm scenery (funnily, the set is explicitly tagged as 30mm scale).

From the rabble-rousing leader of the Gierburg peasants I had a few crates left that I painted up.

A bunch of crates from

Now while I'm at it, I might as well mention the other products I either use or plan on purchasing:


Lastly, I finally used a cat and a mouse from the Dog, Cats, Mice (ACK011) set by Mirliton (see: Historical 25-28mm > Medieval > Accessories). I really like this set a lot with its characterful animals and highly recommend it.

Stronghold Terrain also has an animal set and I will definately want to add that to my collection of beastly citizens of Gierburg.

Scratch-built jetty

I extended the built-in GrandManner jetty by scratch-building a similar piece. Bascially it is the same thing as the gallows I did years ago, comprising of many coffee stirring sticks.

First, I build a frame for the jetty. The length was chosen to accommodate the Ainsty ships.

The construction is rather simple but took me pretty long to build nonetheless. The jetty consists of 88 coffee sticks cut to length. To give wood constructions like this a finely detailed look I find it important to do some work on the wooden bars. I filed the edges of each stick to give them an irregular cut-to-size appearance.

After glueing the sticks on the frame I used the spike of a compass to poke two holes near the end of each bar to give the impression of nail holes.

From the GrandManner harbour kit I had six bollards left (two per kit) that I could use for this large jetty. The bollards come with small slits meant for the GrandManner resin jetty piece's overlapping bars. I filled them with putty and then glued them to my jetty.

Painting was the usual drybrushing job with browns, greys and bone white.

The finished dock section

Now finally for some photos of the finished piece:

I set up the board with ships (the Old Glory Brigantine and Games of War's Sea Dog and two Sea Pup tenders) and buildings (fronts and Town House). Figures are Gierburg Peasants and Bounty Hunters painted by Simon Bradley.

Up next: Part 4: Dock Section II

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