Archive for the ‘Miniatures’ Category

h1

Terrain upgrade

February 27, 2019

Like many other hobbyists (I assume), I have terrain pieces amassed through the years. After showing some old green hills in my previous post, I figured there might still be some use left in them. While I claimed they were from the 1990s, thinking back I’m fairly sure they’re mid-2000s as I remember us making them in my current apartment, so 10+ years old at least.

Click for a larger version

Now, when these were built, we prized durability a lot. The hills were carved from blue foam and then covered with a pva/sand mix. A phrase from an old White Dwarf sums it up: “In the morning you’ll need dynamite to shift it.” Of course the sand we used was a very cheap one, so it’s coarse as anything (and I’ve still got about 5-6 kg of it down in the basement). This in turn led to the hills (and the gaming boards built in the same manner) being terribly miniature-unfriendly. Basically, if you knocked a metal mini over, it was almost certain to chip. Good times!

Click for a larger version

I was already contemplating throwing the hills away, but as they already existed, I started thinking that they could be revived and actually put back to use. Out came the craft store acrylics, the static grass and the tufts, as well as some coffee stirrers, tea leaves and some sunken resin barrels and what do you know, they actually turned out pretty nice! The static grass helps with the aforementioned chipping issue too.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

They can be used either as table edge pieces or put together to make a larger island. Painting them as islands obviously limits them to more nautical games, but I’m fairly certain I’ll have some of those with my lovely new ocean mat.

Click for a larger version

Here’s what they look like with scenery items and miniatures placed on the pieces.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

I think it looks mighty nice! Finally, a before and after shot:

Click for a larger version

Sorry for the slightly overexposed quality of the photos, the pieces are so large that I had to rely on daylight rather than my usual lighting – and to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered to tweak camera settings.

 

h1

Custom mat from Deep-Cut Studio – a review

February 16, 2019

It just so happened, that I wanted a gaming mat for sea battles – possibly unsurprising considering my pirate infatuation. Turns out such a mat isn’t all that easy to find! You’d assume it to be a common gaming mat staple: a lovely, greenish-turquoise Caribbean seascape is pretty iconic and it’s not like pirate gaming isn’t popular. However, this assumption would be wrong. While there are seascapes available, many of them are very much a dark blue. This is nice in itself and probably fits most naval games wonderfully, but it’s not ideal for evoking a sunny Caribbean/West Indies feel. Furthermore, I wanted the mat to be mousepad material as it’s easy to store, lays flat and has a nice feel to it.

After doing plenty of googling and window shopping, I ended up looking at Deep-Cut Studios’ custom mat printing service, Print-O-Mat. I was overjoyed, now all I needed was a suitable image, and surely one would be easily available. How wrong I was. As is apparent in hindsight, you need a very big image for a quality print, and I was going for a 3x3ft map – roughly 90x90cm to fit my small table. While there are beautiful stock photos of Caribbean waters, you need a very high resolution for a high quality mat. After spending hours searching through various photo archives both free and commercial, I settled on something especially designed for the purpose: a printable battle mat image from Tiny Worlds. A bargain at $4.50, it suited my needs wonderfully. While it was also very blue, purchasing it as a file meant that I could simply use Photoshop to tweak it to my needs. I edited the colour balance to make the mat more green to evoke the correct genre feel.

Original on the left, colour-tweaked on the right

Pleased with the result, I headed to Deep-Cut Studios’ site and used their simple interface for creating the mat. The final price for a 90x90cm mat was around 40€ with a flat postage rate of 15€. Deep-Cut is situated in Lithuania, so no customs charges for a Euro customer. I was quite happy with the price altogether! The mat was very speedily delivered in a work week, and boy, was I impressed with the end result.

As you can hopefully see in the photos, the mat is crisp and vibrant. While colours are a tad darker than the original image, it’s still a faithful rendition and looks pretty much just like I imagined, and it should be noted that the lighting conditions and camera settings distort the colour in the photos! I threw down some super old hills that were originally made for WHFB way back in the 90s (I think) as well as some of my badlands/scifi cork outcrops that make for surprisingly nice rocky shoals. I love how it looks.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Overall verdict: I’m super happy with my custom mat. Great quality and quick delivery at a very reasonable price point. While a part of the credit obviously goes to Tiny Worlds for the original image, I’m really, really happy with Deep-Cut’s service and will likely use them again.

h1

Rubble City go go

February 1, 2019

Painted stuff! Not miniatures as such, but very useful nevertheless. Inspired by both Azazel’s monthly challenge and my lack of time to focus on miniatures, I figured it would be fun to add some generic scenery pieces to my table. All of these are from Fenris Games, one of my favourite companies for miniature terrain, and part of Fenris’ Rubble City range. For a change I figured I’d photograph the pieces on the gaming table!

Click for a larger version

I actually painted these fieldstone walls last year after buying them at Salute, but as I gave them a bit of touch-up, I thought to include them here as well. There’s nothing super special about them, but that’s pretty much what I like – they’re nice, clean and generic enough to go with pretty much anything.

Click for a larger version

There’s a similar charm to these rubble walls and corners that I got as part of Fenris’ Rubble City Kickstarter. Like the fieldstone walls, these are super clean sculpts and very crisp casts so a veritable joy to paint.

Paint jobs were simple, but I’m happy with the end results. I painted all the pieces using mainly craft store acrylics. I started with a dark brown base coat, stippled on browns and grays, followed with progressively lighter gray drybrushes. I then slapped on some Agrax Earthshade and finished everything with Athonian Camoshade (think Agrax Earthshade but green) at the base of each piece and painted splashes of the wash here and there. I think the stone looks quite naturalistic, which is what I was going for!

These are really useful gaming pieces, so I figure’d I’d show you a couple of shots with figures. The walls and ruins fit wonderfully into my Caribbean setting, but would definitely not look out of place on any fantasy or even modern table.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

h1

From the painting desk #62 – Dastardly pirates

December 15, 2018

Plenty (for me) of painting done recently! I haven’t added all that many pirates to my pirate crew recently – that changes now. I realized I have a ton of wonderful pirate miniatures, and what do you know, they could be painted! With that intro, here we go:

Three 28mm pirate miniatures

Click for a larger version

On the left is a female pirate from Bad Squiddo that I bought on our visit to CRISIS in Antwerp in early November. While she’s pretty much on the borderline of almost being too fantasy, she’s just suitable enough. A lovely sculpt in general, her hair looks weirdly unfinished which gave me a bit of a headache. Are those ribbons? Dreadlocks? In the end I just painted everything as hair. That gripe aside, she looks very menacing and has a sweet Jack Sparrow/Black Sails Anne Bonny mash-up vibe. The axe is brutal, too. The miniature is also a great example of a non-sexualized female pirate miniature, we definitely need more of those.

Next up is a carpenter from Black Cat Bases. While he’s not explicitly pirate-y – he could well be used as a carpenter on a merchant ship – I added him to my pirate crew. A lovely, characterful sculpt that was fun and easy to paint. What more could you ask for?

My third pirate in this lot is one of my favourite pirate minis of all time, a knife thrower by Foundry. He’s one of the most characterful pirate minis in existence, and looks like a really rough customer. I used a darker skintone (as with the female pirate) for some variety, I think a pirate crew should be a motley one. There’s a narrative element as well, as in my imagination he’s not a European – I’m sort of thinking Queequeg in Moby Dick, so some South Pacific blood in him. Absolutely loved painting this one!

These three are a welcome addition to my crew. They bring my pirates up to a total of 18 or so – might be time for an end of the year group shot?

They also serve as a great reminder, that when basing and painting style are consistent, you can easily mix miniatures from different manufacturers despite the somewhat different sculpting styles.

h1

From the painting desk #61 – Terrors that flap in the night

November 18, 2018

It’s more than a couple of weeks since Halloween, so time to recap! As is tradition, I put on a horror themed miniature game for my friends, which in turn was a good incentive for me to get some vampires painted.

Click for a larger version

These two ladies are part of Bad Squiddo’s My Last Sunrise line, and they’re lovely! I showcased the third one in a previous post. Long, flowing robes and clean sculpting (courtesy of Gus Kearns) made these really fun to paint. Again, I went with a very grey skintone – I had both corpses and statues in mind. I painted the robes in bright colours to counterbalance the grey skin. The painting isn’t as smooth as I’d like – it was a bit rushed so the blending is just not there especially on the blue dress. Other than that, they’re ok.

Click for a larger version

Another miniature from said Kickstarter campaign, this one needs no introduction. He’s obviously the big D, Dr. Acula, Alucard, the mysterious owner of Carfax Abbey…so yeah Dracula. A quality sculpt by Gary Morley and a easy to paint mini, I’m quite happy. As with the notorious cloaker, I went with a very, very classic look with red cape linings and all. I went for a more human – if pale – skin than with the brides, to represent Dracula being a bit more sophisticated and trying to blend in with humans.

Click for a larger version

This one is from Reaper, and documentation in this blog reveals that I bought the mini…nine years ago, back in 2009. Sheesh. Well, after nine years of waiting, she’s now finally painted! As you may have noticed, I love painting red, so I went with that here as well. It was a quick, rough-ish paintjob but I feel it does the trick. After all those years in the cupboard I’m just happy that the mini is finished. It’s still a pretty neat sculpt, so kudos to Derek Schubert!

Click for a larger version

Vampires come in all flavours, and this one from Heresy is definitely one of the nastier-looking ones. Paul Muller has managed to sculpt one of the nicest vampires around, in my opinion. I gave the mini a really quick paintjob consisting mostly of drybrushing and washes, but I’m still immensely happy with the end result. It looks like a nasty beast, just like I wanted it to.

The Halloween game itself was great fun as usual, with vampires successfully eating every single villager before sunrise. A random selection of photos shows you many of the usual suspects appearing in these Halloween games as well as some of the painted minis showcased above. You can click on any photo to open a bigger version in a new tab. Thanks to the players for the photos!

The hunters…

…and the hunted

Nosferatu stalks his prey

A hapless nightwatchman flees from approaching zombies

A damsel in distress

It’s a monster rampage!

Due to some really poor luck on the vampire’s part, these two basically spent such a long time together that they became a couple

 

h1

Citadel painting handle – a review

October 27, 2018

After 20+ years of painting, little tends to change in my painting routines. While obviously the level of painting goes up slowly but surely, the biggest change in my painting has been the adoption of a wet palette a few years back. Imagine my surprise when I found myself looking at a new painting tool! I’d been hearing a lot of positive feedback about Citadel’s painting handle, and as it’s a very affordable piece of kit (6,50€ here in Finland), I decided to give it a try. Now, I’ve hardly ever used a painting handle. While I have occasionally experimented with blutac and paint pots, a few occasions of minis suddenly falling off and crashing into the table quickly dissuaded me.

My friend Crab Man sitting comfy. Base is 25mm round.

Having used the handle for a week now, I’m really happy with it! Also, it has changed my painting a bit. The handle is very nice to grip, the spring mechanism holds the miniature’s base securely (although I’ve only used it with 25mm round slottabases so far, it should work with 32mm, 40mm and 60x35mm oval as well). It does help with finger strain, and helps me keep the model I’m painting just a little bit higher, keeping me from hunching down as much as usual – something my neck and shoulders are thankful for. It also keeps my grubby fingers away from the mini itself. The only downside I’ve noted is that the stiff mechanism can be a bit difficult to operate with one hand – although that obviously helps secure the model in place.

Overall verdict: There isn’t all that much that you can say about a painting handle review-wise. If you’re looking for a new painting handle, or are looking to try one, and use minis on round plastic bases, you could do far worse than this. At the price point it’s excellent value for money, and I’m looking to buy one or two more just for convenience. As an added bonus (or minus, depending), it looks a bit like a somewhat painful adult toy, while it’s actually a pain-lessening adult tool.

You can get the painting handle from the Games Workshop web store as well as their physical stores.

h1

From the painting desk #60 – All the single ladies

October 19, 2018

With my painting desk finally set up and Halloween approaching at full tilt, I’ve been painting a lot in the last couple of days. It’s time to showcase my first finished minis in god knows how long.

The first one is a pirate from Black Scorpion. I really love the posing of this mini, it makes for a nice change compared to typical fighting poses and gives the character a whimsical, flirty feel. I painted the legs as having pants on because I’m quite sure no one would choose to dress their female minis in a cropped top and a loincloth while the men are fully clothed, amirite Black Scorpion? For a bit of diversity and a painting challenge I went for non-caucasian skin which I think turned out nicely. The closed eyes are a nice touch and saved me the trouble of painting eyes!

Photo of pirate miniature blowing a kiss

Click for a larger version

 

The second miniature is a vampire from Bad Squiddo’s My Last Sunrise Kickstarter. It’s a wonderful sculpt of one of Dracula’s brides. I love the combination of alluring and monstrous on the mini – the exposed leg and flowing dress create a wonderful contrast with the snarling, beast-like face and the hand that is almost a claw. And no, that’s not white in her hair! I haven’t yet given this mini a blast of matt spray so the old Citadel ink I used catches the light something awful.

Photo of female vampire miniature

Click for a larger version

This was super fun to paint! A really crisp, clean sculpt and it was easy to make her look good. The drapery is great and the face is full of character. Of the three female vampires in the KS, this one looks least like a human, prompting me to paint her in a very gray, inhuman tone. For the base I went with my autumn mix as it fits the horror theme much better than my bright Caribbean basing.

It’s really good to be back in painting action. Hopefully plenty more blog posts on the horizon too!

%d bloggers like this: