Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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From the painting desk #44 – Horrors of the deep

October 23, 2016

Last year’s Halloween game was a success, so I’m running another one this year. With my interest going the way of pirates in the Caribbean, this year’s event will be themed accordingly. A few newly painted minis have joined my roster for the game:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

This crab man is one of the post-apocalyptic mutants from Ramshackle Games. A somewhat crude but characterful sculpt, his crustacean appearance makes him a perfectly themed old school Hollywood sea monster. The model was fun to paint, the different ridges and textures making him perfect for drybrushing. I drew some inspiration from real life crabs for the pincers, really making them stand out from pale orange/yellow body.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The second model is a Reaper Bones spirit. As it was a nice, translucent green plastic, I didn’t do a lot of painting on it apart from a very light white drybrush. After some consideration I painted in blue glowing eyes (which don’t look as horrible as in the photo), but left it at that. I mean, if you’ve got a special effect with the material, why paint over it too much? Instead, I devoted some extra attention to the base.

I’ve themed both bases in the “dark, unearthly ocean floor of death” style I used earlier on my undead pirate now permanently named Armitage Shanks. I added an old Warhammer tobstone and some broken planks to the spirit’s base to suggest a shipwrecked sailor.

These were a fun diversion, and will be going on the table in less than a week! Comments welcome as always.

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Super pop culture showdown!

July 27, 2016

You’ve heard of pirates vs. ninjas, haven’t you? It’s one of those pop culture tropes that just sort of sprung up, most likely [citation needed] through the following chain of reasoning:

  1. Everyone loves ninjas.
  2. Everyone loves pirates.
  3. Ninjas are tougher, though.
  4. No, pirates are.
  5. Pirates vs. ninjas it is.

I’ve long known Paul “Cheetor” Shorten – who runs the wonderful sho3box blog – from the miniatures blogosphere, as we started our blogs around the same time and were both initially blogging about zombie miniatures. He’s lately been working on his wonderful pseudohistorical fantasy Japan project (see the tags Shonen Knives and Kurîpu jima), and with me working on my pirates…it figures. When I made the travel plans for our Spring UK trip, we threw in a week in Ireland and set aside time for a blogger meet-up! This gave us not only the chance to spend some quality time with Mr. & Mrs. Cheetor, but also the opportunity to put the question of pirates vs. ninjas to rest through the gentlemanly art of wargaming.

I won’t bother with a long write-up of the game itself. It was a fairly quick one, using the Song of Blades and Heroes mechanics roughly cobbled together from various Ganesha Games titles. The dread undead pirate captain Armitage Shanks brought his dastardly crew to the peaceful town of Kurîpu Jima to steal their obviously cursed treasure.

To be honest, we kept the game short and sweet, spending much more time setting up the table and talking about miniatures, wargaming and everything related long into the night. The result of the game, perhaps luckily, didn’t solve the question of pirates vs. ninjas – Cheetor’s ninjas soundly destroyed my pirates in combat, yet what was left of wily captain Shanks’ crew managed to make off with the treasure.

Without further ado, here’s a bunch of photos! Most are fantastical reconstructions instead of actual in-game pictures. You can click on any photo for a larger version.

All in all, we had a great time! My sincere thanks to Cheetor and Mrs. Cheetor for accommodating us and making all this possible. It was a pleasure playing on such a beautiful table against such a gentlemanly opponent. I was very happy to finally get to meet a fellow blogger who I think of as a friend after years of online-only communication.

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From the painting desk #38 – Living pirate, dead pirate

November 23, 2015

Two more miniatures for my pirate project, and very different ones at that. The first one is a merchant sailor by Galloping Major Wargames, mercilessly press ganged into service as a pirate:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

A simple paintjob on a lovely miniature, he adds some firepower to my group. I really like the Galloping Major minis, as they’re neat sculpts and very chunky. They’re also very tall, but fit in nicely with the rest of my ranges.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The other miniature is an undead pirate by Black Scorpion Miniatures. I absolutely love this range – the undead pirates are really characterful and evocative of the whole “cursed to wander the seven seas” vibe. I painted the model using a different style than with my living pirates, using plenty of heavy drybrushing to make him more worn and weathered. I used black decorating sand mixed with pizza herbs to create a sort of afterlife base, drawing inspiration from Terry Pratchett’s depiction of The Desert, an afterlife of greyish-black sand, and adding some withered plants for a more maritime feel. I threw in an old GW metal skull for additional effect. I think the end result is quite pleasing, and creates a lovely contrast with the living pirates and their bases of almost white sand, as you can see in the photo below.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

That’s 33 miniatures painted this year, and the pirate project moving along nicely! I’m looking to build a small band of undead pirates as well, because…they’re undead pirates, that’s why.

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From the painting desk #31 – Cutthroats

May 4, 2015

A couple of newly painted miniatures, both nicely fitting under the “cutthroat” definition. They bring this year’s painted miniatures count to 10.

The first one is a pirate by Foundry.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

 

A lovely, characterful mini that (unsurprisingly for Foundry) suffered from poor casting. The barrel of his gun was so misaligned that I replaced it with a plastic one from a GW set. I didn’t bother to smooth the join over with putty, but I think it looks decent. This pirate heralds one of my two new projects inspired by Salute, so expect plenty more pirates in the future. It’s really fun to paint these bright colours!

The second mini here is a half-orc assassin type from Reaper’s Bones II set. We bought the entire set for our regular RPG crew, and spent yesterday painting models for our upcoming characters.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Anyone who knows me (or has read this blog a bit) should know that I hate cleaning up models. The Bones material is quite nice, but can be insanely awful to clean up as you can’t really scrape it. As we were making minis less for viewing and more to be used as playing pieces, I simply left some sections uncleaned. Yes, it looks awful yet it doesn’t look to bad at the same time – the worst parts are luckily hidden by the photo angle. This was a familiar palette with browns and greys, and I think he turned out very decent. We had a great time painting, and I’ll be sure to share the rest of the minis once they’re finished.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be painting again. Feels like coming home after a while.

 

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Mini projects #3 – Finished!

April 30, 2015

Over two months ago in February I posted on this mini project I had, painting up six miniatures for the Frothers Salute 2015 game – Return to Castle Frotherheim. I’m happy to announce that while I haven’t much reported on them, they did eventually get finished the night before my flight to London. With Salute now behind me, this post is a look at how they turned out. They saw action in the Frothers game, got plenty of nice words and the goblins, bought ages ago in Orcs Nest returned to London, finally painted. I also painted a few old treasure piles from Mithril’s old (1988) Smaug set, but those are all but impossible to photograph without them looking absolutely rubbish.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

It was fun putting in more effort than usual, and I hope the models show it! The bugbear was a bit of a rush job, being the last one finished. All in all I’m still very happy with them. Painting a mini project like this really suits me, as there isn’t an overwhelming amount of miniatures to paint or a ton of scenery to construct. It was also fun painting stuff using different colours compared to my usual palette – the red skin on the hobgoblin type is a good example. By the way, this was the first time I ever painted while watching television. I always figured that it would be impossible, but it turns out that competitive games of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and episodes of American Horror Story provide a good backdrop to painting, especially when blocking in initial base colours. These models bring my painting count this year to a total of eight!

As for the other mini project, that has been pushed further along into the future. Fear not, I’ll talk about it eventually.

Oh, and Salute 2015 really re-lit the hobbyist in me, so expect the blog to be updated a little more often in the future.

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From the painting desk #30 – Goblin

February 10, 2015

This is my 300th post as well as #30 in the From the painting desk series. It’s somehow appropriate that the mini in question is not some fancy-pants resin wonder, but rather a simple, humble goblin that I bought ages ago from Orc’s nest. The miniature itself is from 1995, so it’s a youthful 20. It’s part of my ongoing mini project, which you can check out in my two previous posts.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I’m really happy with the mini. It’s a very clean sculpt and was a wonder to paint. I spent more time on layering than usual (even if the photo doesn’t quite show it). The self-sculpted flagstone base turned out fine too, and I added some flock to represent moss creeping in between the stones.

I don’t know how many goblins I’ve painted green during my WHFB days, so painting one yellow was a welcome change. He turned out looking suitably nasty and dirty in that good old D&D goblin way. I look forward to finishing the rest of the band of misfits.

 

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Mini projects #2 – Sculpting bases

February 8, 2015

One reason I like these mini projects is that they are a great way to not only paint miniatures that have been sitting unpainted for ages, but also because they’re a great chance to try out something new. This time it was sculpting bases. I wanted my old school baddies to have flagstone bases to fit the D&D vibe.

The process was quite straightforward. I simply slapped some ProCreate putty on the base, smoothed it some and cut in some regular-but-irregular grooves for the flagstones. I then added some nicks and notches and used a small stone to press some texture into the putty. On some bases I left a few empty places for flock to represent flagstones covered in dirt or eroded. Surprisingly simple and effective!

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The end result is fairly pleasing and I think it will look nice once painted. As usually happens with stuff like this, my technique improved the more bases I made, the first being the one on the bugbear (conveniently hidden in the photo) and some of the goblins having the last ones.

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Mini projects #1 – Old school nasties

February 6, 2015

I’m currently working on not one but two mini projects. That’s an unintentional pun by the way – even if they’re both miniature projects and quite small in terms of the number of miniatures involved. Both are related to my upcoming (and now somewhat customary) trip to Salute in London. In this post I will show off the beginning of the first one. The fun folks of FU-UK! are putting together a participation game of traditional dungeon romping. This provided me with a great chance to paint some classic fantasy miniatures long buried at the back of my miniatures cupboard.

This group consists of traditional D&D bad guys: four goblins (Heartbreaker, 1995), a hobgoblin or half-orc (of unknown make and year) and a classic bugbear (Citadel/TSR, 1985). They look like they’ll be fun to paint as they’re simple, clean sculpts. The goblins will not be the green of Warhammer of Warcraft but rather something along the lines of red, brown and yellow as per their D&D description. Updates will be posted as I get to work on them. If someone recognizes that unknown miniature, I’d be happy to know details.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

As for the other project…I’ll get back to that later.

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From the painting desk #28 – The Witcher

January 9, 2015

In my previous post I showed off my Witcher conversion, and a mere four days later he is fully painted! Much like the conversion, this was a fairly quick and rough job, mainly to ease me back into painting and to produce a painted miniature in a decent amount of time.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I kept the palette quite muted, as Geralt (as the witcher character is called) is depicted as a sombre, battle-worn character. For the same reason I drybrushed the clothing fairly roughly to make them appear a bit more worn and dusty.

The eyes were a special case. The fiction reports that witchers – the mutants that they are – have reptilian eyes. Surprisingly I got the eyes painted on the first try, so better knock on wood! Naturally I don’t have the camera to show it off, so you’ll just have to trust me. I added some stubble and scars as per most descriptions of the character.

All in all, it’s not the prettiest of paintjobs, but still very serviceable. Seeing as he’s the first mini I’ve painted in some eight months, I’m happy enough with the plastic White Wolf of Rivia.

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Off the back burner

January 4, 2015

New year, newfound enthusiasm! I can already feel myself getting interested in miniatures again – spending several hours today working on them is a sure enough sign. I figured I’d write a few words on the subject of getting back in the saddle after a half year long break, based on what I’ve been doing today.

For me the important thing is to get going, to actually do something. I need to put water in that dried-out pot and give my paints a good shake if I ever actually want to paint something after a break. It doesn’t matter what I paint or whether I have a huge project planned, the crucial bit is getting things done.

I noticed today that budding inspiration needs to be carefully nurtured. I started thinking about my projects: which one should I work on? It started to feel overwhelming, so I changed my approach. Instead of focusing on results and progress, I decided to do something fun and inspiring and to not be too self-critical. I actually ended up with two things:

The first one is a piece from Leading Edge’s old Colonists’ Last Stand set. It’s a great mini, showing the fateful moment a facehugger latches on to an unsuspecting victim. As you can see from the photo, this one was in a half finished state. To make it fit in with the rest of my minis, I had glued it onto a circular base and added some xenomorph-y tendrils with greenstuff. I’d even undercoated it and given the victim’s coveralls their first layer of paint. The mini had then sat on my desk collecting dust before getting returned to the cupboard housing my un- and semi-painted miniatures.

Why did I pick this one to finish? I’m on a bit of an Alien franchise kick again, after watching blu-ray versions of the first three films and reading two books: Alien – the Archive and The Art of Alien: Isolation. On top of this, the miniature was well on its way to being finished and I’ve always loved it. Not to mention that it doesn’t have a lot of fiddly detail, making it a pleasure to paint. It doesn’t have any real use as a gaming piece other than as an objective marker or something, but that’s okay. Actually, it just might be what makes it appealing right now.

hugtime

Click for a larger version

I took some ProCreate putty and added some more tendrils to cover the base up a bit more. I wasn’t too careful, as the base will get a hefty dose of glue and gloss varnish to make it look nasty and wet. I’m pretty happy with it at the moment!

Another thing that I’ve recently been interested in is the Witcher franchise. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a grim and gritty fantasy world created by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, focusing on a witcher – a monster hunter – named Geralt of Rivia. There are books, games, comics and even a cheapish tv series (which has also been cut into a poor movie) available. I bought the PC games years ago in a Steam sale, and they’ve been sitting unplayed ever since. I finally decided to tackle them, and it was a great call. Altogether I spent some 60+ hours on The Witcher and The Witcher 2 and read three of the four published books.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

While the idea of a small project based on the franchise isn’t a far-fetched idea, I decided to start small – with a single miniature. Naturally it was Geralt himself, the White Wolf of Rivia. I went for a quick plastic and putty type of thing, and knocked him together from a bunch of old WHFB Empire plastic pieces. I roughly shaved a bearded plastic head, resculpted the mouth area and turned his fancy leggings into boots. All in all, it’s rough with mould lines, uneven putty and the like, but hey, it should look decent once painted. Again I went in more with inspiration than self-criticism, which seems to be a good choice! I haven’t done fantasy miniatures in ages, so this was a fun diversion. Who knows!

I’ll leave you with the intro cinematic to Witcher 2. If this doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what does…

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