Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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Ghost Archipelago #3 – Murder parrots

January 23, 2021

I haven’t played any Games Workshop games in a good long while, but many of the miniatures they have been putting out in recent years really appeal to me. When the Corvus Cabal miniatures for Warcry were released, they definitely caught my eye with their cool fantasy post-apocalyptic vibe and bird skull helmets. However, I had zero use for them, so I refrained from adding them to my long, long backlog of unpainted miniatures. Our Ghost Archipelago project thankfully rectified this!

I’m currently painting up the Cabal to use as “Tribals” in the game – a catch-all that includes all sorts of tribal cultures living on the mysterious islands of the archipelago. This not only gives me a nice reason to paint them, but also allows me to construct a tribal faction that isn’t simply a fantasy repaint of an actual current or historical ethnic group such as the Zulu people or one of the many American indigenous peoples.

For these minis, I wanted a bold colour scheme echoing early Mesoamerican cultures, especially the Aztecs, although definitely through a pop culture filter. What this meant was bright colours and metallics. Instead of painting the bird skulls as actual bone, I painted them as golden metal masks, which I think is a nice effect. The Corvus Cabal’s feathered cloaks were painted in all the colours of the rainbow to suggest tropical birds. The words “murder parrot” came up, and this became my design guideline.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Painting was mostly Citadel Contrast paints, and I like how the models turned out. I went for a jungle look with the bases, as I imagine these fine people just erupting out of the jungle like a murderous flock pandemonium (I kid you not) of parrots. Here’s a couple more shots with some scenery for added measure.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

As the crouching mini is apparently a woman, as surprisingly a fair few of the minis in the set are, she is my entry to the Fembruary 2021 painting challenge.

Click for a larger version

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From the painting desk #74 – Efreet sultan

December 13, 2020

Lately, my blogging has been stalling for a very pedestrian reason: miniatures that I would like to show have not yet had their anti-shine varnish over the gloss, so they can’t be photographed. As I like to use spray varnish for that, it would mean setting up the spray booth, which would mean moving my printers and eugh…you get the point. My amazing solution? Show off minis that I haven’t gloss varnished. Genius!

I recently bought a second resin printer, this one a Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k. To test it out, I printed a variety of stuff, including this awesome free Efreet Sultan from Roman “gloomyKid” Bevza. I took it as Citadel Contrast practice, and the model is maybe 80-90% done with those alone. I’m now getting the hang of them, and they’re excellent – to the point that I may have provided Santa with some suggestions…

Photo of painted miniature genie

Click for a larger version

Much like the Ghost Archipelago critters shown earlier, this was a chance to paint something different. Having mainly done Hollywood-historical pirates for five years (!!!) now, I’ve really enjoyed doing something new, and I think I’ll keep on doing this. Previously, the lack of time has been a major hurdle: why spend very limited painting time on anything but your main project? Now with the whole global pandemic shutting down everything, there’s more leeway and maybe a need for some mental refreshment too.

As for the mini, I was considering a traditional/Disney’s Aladdin blue colour, but then settled on a fiery red look. Doing a bit of light Wikipedia research, I found the following:

In Islamic folklore the afarit became a class of chthonic spirits, inhabiting the layers of the seven earths, generally ruthless and wicked, formed out of smoke and fire. But despite their negative depictions and affiliation to the nether regions, afarit are not fundamentally evil on a moral plane; they might even carry out God’s purpose. Such obligations can nevertheless be ruthless, such as obligation to blood vengeance and avenging murder. An ifrit can further be bound to a sorcerer, if summoned.

I had this in mind, as I tried to make him look menacing yet not completely evil. The black eyes work well for this in my opinion. I attempted to make the coils of smoke look magical and otherwordly rather than normal smoke, which also enabled me to experiment with wet blending. The result? Not great, not terrible – but promising! I tried to get across the idea that the smoke is coalescing into the efreet, hence turning red near the top. It would benefit from a smoother basecoat, as I currently just paint contrasts over a black basecoat roughly drybrushed with white, and the roughness does show through. For the gemstone I did the whole old school Citadel gem thing, which I think I’ve managed to pull off decently for the first time ever.

For the base I went with my light sand look that I use with my pirate stuff, but threw some rocks in there as well. The idea was to suggest an arid environment, yet also have the model compatible with my pirates in terms of basing. I think I could have blended the smoke effect with the rest of the base a bit better, but didn’t want to spend too much time on it to be honest. At some point I want to put together some Barbary pirates, so this piece will provide that setting a bit more fantasy.

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Ghost Archipelago #1 – Wildlife

October 24, 2020

Recently, to perk ourselves up amidst all the pandemic shenanigans, Cheetor of sho3box fame and I decided to start a new shared project: Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago. For those of you not familiar with it, it’s basically fantasy pirates, lost world, dinosaurs and all the tropes you’d expect, with a nice skirmish game at its core.

This new project has been a massive productivity and inspiration boost. In the past two weeks I’ve printed and painted plenty of new stuff: things I’ve been interested in but haven’t had a use for, miniatures that have long been sitting unpainted and so on. As my main pirate project as well as my pirate hunters are Hollywood historical, it has been really fun to fully dive into fantasy pirate territory! There’s obviously plenty of overlap here, and I’m using similar basing for all the projects.

All of these pieces are from the excellent Depths of Savage Atoll Kickstarter. I’ve painted them mostly using Citadel Contrast paints. This is also a new thing for me! I usually paint by layering over a black undercoat, but with these, my approach is to first heavily drybrush white over a black undercoat, and then go to town with Contrasts and washes. A big shoutout goes out to Wudugast and Azazel for their great examples and tips on Contrast paint use. I growing quite fond of the paints!

Dire crab

Click for a larger version

Dire crab

Click for a larger version

First up are a couple of giant crabs. This is actually the huge Dire Crab model, but shrunken down. The tip of the claw still reaches up to the chest of a 28/32mm mini, so they’re not small!

Giant crocodile

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Giant crocodile

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I especially enjoyed painting this crocodile, as it was a really simple case of Contrast, washes and drybrushing. I went to town on the base with tufts from various manufacturers, and put in some Stirland mud as well. Once the model is varnished, the mud will get a coat of gloss to make it look wet.

Octopus miniature

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Octopus miniature

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For this octopus, I textured the paint with Milliput for an ocean look. I’ve got another one unpainted on the desk, and that one will get a more terrestrial base. They do hunt on land, you know!

Sea troll miniature

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Sea troll miniature

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And last, this huge Sea Troll. While I was originally going to go for much more muted tones, Cheetor’s comment about tropical fish struck a chord! In the end this one turned out to be one of the most colourful minis I’ve ever painted – especially since my 90s/early 00s WHFB days. I’m really, really happy with the look, and it was achieved using very simple techniques.

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Love and unicorns!

June 9, 2019

It’s not often that I manage to get my darling Emmi to paint miniatures, and it’s a crying shame because she’s really, really talented. However, it appears that when presented with the right miniature to paint, not too much coaxing is needed. Enter the unicorn!

Painted Reaper Bones unicorn

Click for a larger version

A Reaper Bones model, Silverhorn the unicorn (that rhymes) is nice and dynamic. Now, I hate, or at least dislike, painting horses. Too much flat surface and the blending is always rubbish and and and. Emmi, however, just went to town on this and before I had had time to manspl carefully inform her of the intricacies of miniature painting, she’d gone straight to wet blending (which I’ve never done), so yeah. It’s rare that I manage to get such smooth blends on my models, but of course this is her third model already.

The model actually sat almost finished for a year or so, and she finally got around to finishing the base with some Mininatur white blossoms. I think it looks awesome.

Anyway, she said she’s happy to paint more minis as long as I tell everyone how great she is, and I’m happy to oblige. She is.

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From the painting desk #57 – Headless Horseman

November 6, 2017

While my little hollow on the internet has been a bit sleepy, I’ve nonetheless been working on things. We recently had our now-traditional Halloween game, and I finally finished the Headless Horseman miniature that I originally intended for the Halloween game of 2015. Better late than never, I’d say.

Picture of headless horseman miniature

Click for a larger version

Picture of headless horseman miniature

Click for a larger version

It isn’t much of a paintjob – I’m not a fan of painting black, and he was black, black, black. Being in a rush didn’t help things either! As usual for my Halloween games, I was painting him on the afternoon of the game day. To make up for the somewhat lacklustre painting, I put a bit of extra effort in the base, which I think improves him overall. I thought about doing some sort of ghostly effect on him, but decided against it in the end. A part of the Sleepy Hollow thing is that there’s always the chance it’s just someone pulling a prank, so I wanted to leave that in there.

The miniature is a decapitated British Legion Trooper from Front Rank’s American War of Independence range, coupled with one of Front Rank’s rearing horses. While I’m not completely happy with him, he does look the part of the Horseman, so I count that as a success.

Here are a few shots of the Horseman in action, the game was good fun! Photos by my friend Mia.

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Headless horseman miniature

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From the painting desk #56 – Dragon

September 9, 2017

There comes a time, when we heed a certain call

and we finally pick up that dragon that we bought when we were 20 or so.

This awesome dragon has been sitting in my cupboard for years and years and years and years. I originally bought it way back when I was designing my own Reign of Fire inspired skirmish game of dragons vs. humans. As the movie was released in 2002, I assume that’s pretty much when the dragon was bought – meaning it has sat unpainted for 15 years. That’s the time it takes for a newborn baby to grow up and go through the Finnish public education system, or for a 20 year old, fresh out of high school geek living with their parents to become a 35 year old dissertation writing geek. Time flies, doesn’t it?

This was the result of yet another Random Platypus painting challenge, this time titled Old and mouldy. It was intended for people to finish pieces that have been mouldering away, so this was a perfect pick. It is a Reaper Miniatures dragon sculpted by Sandra Garrity, and should you want one, it’s still in production. I loved it back then, I love it now. The pose is dynamic and very dragon-y and makes the creature very imposing.

I don’t paint dragons very often, so I wanted to have fun with this one. I wanted to capture the feel of the old red box Dungeons & Dragons cover art by Larry Elmore, with the red dragon leaning over its piles of gold. I’m sure you’ve seen it.

I had originally based him on a 40mm square base, which was pitifully small. I had also propped him up with a piece of wire. Those had to go, as I wanted a more impressive base. A I was documenting the process for the forum painting challenge, here is a before-and-after photo.

Click for a larger version

The new base was a car mount for a cell phone holder – you can still make out the Nokia text in the centre. I had kept it lying around for ages, as you tend to do with stuff like this, in case it’s ever useful. The original store photos show the dragon leaning back on its tail, which I didn’t like. That’s probably why I propped it up with the wire originally. As I wanted to get rid of the wire, I had to gently bend the dragon forward to bring the balance up a bit. Once I’d done this, I pinned it to the base and secured it with ProCreate putty (not shown in the photo).

Painting the dragon was a fairly straightforward process. I knew that my patience for such a large piece would be limited, so I just washed and drybrushed away for the most part. I did do some layering on the belly, claws and teeth, but this was definitely not very delicate painting. The sculpt however is very forgiving, and I’m very pleased with the look.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Obviously the dragon needed treasure. I built small mounds out of ProCreate to represent piles of treasure, and sculpted in a bit of stonework to depict a dungeon floor. The treasure is painted ballast with some decorative jewel beads and painted over with cheap glitter nail polish – I definitely recommend both if you’re ever making miniature treasure stuff!

Click for a larger version

There you have it! A dragon to look nice in my glass cabinet and hopefully to terrorize adventurers in years to come. It would only be fitting for him to actually make it to a game of Dungeons & Dragons, so dear GM, if you’re reading this…

Things have been quiet on the blog front lately, as I’m doing some home renovation stuff and that’s taking up a big part of my time. I’ve still been plodding away at miniatures stuff, so hopefully I can show some of those soon.

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From the painting desk #53 – A cloaker

June 25, 2017

Like most hobbyists (I assume), I tend to buy miniatures that I like. Why bother with rubbish, when I have a backlog of unpainted minis that I’ll never get through? Occasionally I will make an exception, though. This is one of those cases.

What is a “cloaker”? So nice of you to ask, it is a super silly, old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons monster. Its schtick? To disguise itself as a cloak. Quoting from Wikipedia:

The cloaker clings to a wall, hiding among actual cloaks and blankets, resembling a semi-circular cape with a long mace-like tail, and has two claws at the ends of the “cape”. Numerous round black, button-like eye spots help complete the illusion; when the cloaker conceals its tail and claws it is hard to distinguish it from a real cloak.

Yeah.

For the reason I ended up painting a cloaker, we have to backtrack several years. I tended to frequent the Frothers forum, where people would post new miniature releases for often harsh but honest commentary. Up came the Black Tree Design cloaker:

“Wear me, human.”

As you can see, the sculpt is a bit rough, to be extremely kind. From pretty much that day on, “cloaker” became shorthand for a terrible miniature – “That’s dire. A real cloaker.”

Skip forward years and years, and a discussion on the Random Platypus forum – a haunt of many former Frothers – starts. The forum has paint-alongs, where various members paint miniatures that fit a common theme (“Villain” or “Giant”) and share their progress. Thus began the cloaker paint-along.

I’ll be honest with you, the cloaker miniature is terrible. It’s soft, it looks unfinished, it has a weird lumpy base…yet there’s something there. It might be the goofiness of the concept, or the legendary status the miniature has attained, but there is something endearing about it.

The sculpt immediately made me think of this:

With that in mind, I went for a very traditional Dracula cape look, painting the inside a deep red and the rest of the cloak(er) black. As one description of the monster says its claws resemble a clasp made of bone, I painted the claws white. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination or a feature of the sculpt, but I saw a definite widow’s peak and painted that in to further enhance the Dracula look.

Click for a slightly larger version

My paintjob was fairly quick and rough. Yeah, it’s an endearing mini and all, but it was something of a chore to paint, as minis lacking definition can be. Still, I’m pretty happy with the result. With the concept, the big lumpy claws and the buckteeth it was never going to be menacing, so I gave it a goofy, somewhat awkward expression which I think turned out well. The deep red makes the inside look disturbingly fleshy.

So there you have it, a little cloaker of a cloaker and it’s funny and awful and glorious. I kind of love it.

Should you want one of your own, go get it here.

 

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Salute 2017 part 2

April 28, 2017

Time for part two of my Salute report. This is mainly a photo dump of some of the things on display that I liked. Short descriptions when I can remember (or knew) what was going on. You can click on photos for larger versions, they all open in a new tab.

A dog looks on as the Russian revolution happens

Massive Star Wars battle going on

Some wild west action

Fantasy fun for everyone

A massive dungeon setup

Desert warfare

Lovely Frostgrave (I assume) diorama

A wonderful winter fantasy setup

Plenty of ruined walls to hide behind

More winter fantasy

Zombies break down a fence in a Walking Dead game

French and Indian wars

More French and Indian

They DO move in herds! A great Jurassic Park game

Hail to the king, baby!

Loving attention to detail

Welcome! To…

Papers, please! Slug Industries’ game in the vein of Escape from Colditz

Nazis roam the streets

The lovely cobblestone streets are currently on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/718310363/streetscape-28mm-cobblestone-road-sections

More of Papers, please

Storming the beaches of what I assume is Normandy

Love the explosion effects!

Giant steampunk robots in what I think was a demonstration of Wolsung

Massive 18th century battle setup

The gentry, happy behind their walls

The Random Platypus/Hasslefree collaboration table

Mawes incoming

A security meeting

Things getting tense

The coolness radiates off him in waves

Lovely detailing in the corridors

Ready to receive

A beastie comes charging in

You’re going to need bigger guns

Troopers protecting despot Drumpf

The second Random Platypus/Hasslefree game, a fantasy one

A miniature’s eye view

Dwarves and orcs clash

A look inside the dwarven hold

A wonderful upcoming giant from Heresy Miniatures

That is a big giant

Lovely minimalist setup, never caught a game on it sadly

Definitely not minimalist, lovely though!

Epic fantasy

Semi-fictional late-17th century clash between the Swedish and the Dutch

The table won multiple awards and for good reason

Disembarkation in progress

Villagers milling about

A fortress was involved a well

Advancing across the fields

“Oh deer.”

Row, boys, row!

The ship bombards the fort

…and the fort shoots back

A demo setup for Drowned Earth, currently on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1559814207/the-drowned-earth-miniatures-game

As you can see, there was plenty on offer – this was just a small sample of all the wonderful games and table setups on offer. If you haven’t visited Salute yet, I definitely suggest you do if at all possible!

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X marks the spot

January 6, 2017

The first thing of 2017 painted! I bought this Giant Doom Track Marker from Fenris Games, as to me it definitely fits a trope prevalent in pop culture pirate map imagery – the skull shaped rock (see this or this). Most likely known as Dead man’s rock, Skull rock, Cursed rock or something equally imaginative, this is one of the usual checkpoints when looking for hidden treasure, and as such it fit the project perfectly.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The paintjob was super simple, and the plentiful texture made this an easy piece. I gave it a black basecoat followed by a highlight layer of grey (I used an airbrush for this, as this is pretty much the level of complexity I can manage at the moment), then followed with progressively lighter drybrush layers and a black wash to dull it down a little. The rock features small, literally beady eyeballs in its sockets. I painted these black, put in a dot of white and gave them a gloss varnish. Onyx stones or the soul of a dead pirate? Who knows.

All in all this probably took less than thirty minutes from start to finish, so it was very rewarding and a nice and easy start to the painting year. In games it will function as a lovely little piece of thematic scatter terrain, like this:

"This is where the magick points?" "Yes ma'am." "Dig, ye scallywags, dig!"

“This is where the magick points?”
“Yes ma’am.”
“Dig, ye scallywags, dig!”

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From the painting desk #46 – Heroquest goblin

December 18, 2016

My latest painted miniature is a humble Heroquest goblin. He was painted as part of the Heroquest Hero Quest project, and you can read a more detailed write-up here. More photos there, too! At this rate, I’ll make twenty painted minis by the end of the year…maybe.

Heroquest goblin with axe

Click for a larger version

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