Recently the rewards for Reaper Miniatures’ Bones3 Kickstarter appeared on my doorstep and it was a varied collection of terrain and miniatures. Not only was it varied in models but in the type of plastic as well which solved a lot of issues from earlier campaigns. Big animals, monsters, and terrain all seemed to work just fine and re-positioning bent details a fairly simple, if wet, process. Thinner models from Bones1 suffered from being overly bendy (as opposed to bent) while some of the finer detail, like women’s noses, seemed to get lost or blurred. Bones2 saw some improvement in both issues but not much. Since the Dragons Don’t Share set from that campaign showed us what Bones could really do with terrain I expected more of the same in the latest offering. While there are plenty of terrain bits the mausoleum, graveyard fence, and spare weapons are actually hard plastic. The white Bones plastic is less bendy in this campaign and has been replaced by a soft grey on a couple of sets. The thinner parts and finer details appear to be cast better than the early ones as well. Nice to see sharp delineation on the female figures’ faces. I’ll have to find some to shift into the painting queue.
I decided to start painting my Bones3 set with some dwarf figures. No surprise to anyone, I’m sure. I picked them, actually, as part of my drive to paint a large number of villagers/zero levelers and there is an orc and elf on the way as well. I’ve got a ridiculous collection of unpainted miniatures that could be townspeople, non-player characters, angry mobs, whatever but the definitive word in their description being “unpainted” means I’m storing the wrong stuff. I much prefer to store painted minis. Add in how much I would enjoy Dungeon Crawl Classics’ Zero Level funnels with minis and I decided to start adding them to the ever growing painting queue.
I’ve got all the Bones1 and 2 villagers minis based and waiting for paint as well. With the Secret Weapons Dungeon tiles I’ll be ready to run Nebin Pendlebrook’s Perilous Pantry in 3D.
My gaming group’s growing interest in Frostgrave was just the excuse I’ve needed to get back to building terrain, especially ruined city pieces. Ever since the days of Mordheim I’ve loved not only the concept of warbands exploring the ruins of a fantasy city but also creating the pieces that will help illustrate said metropolis. With plans to combine them, I had assembled the parts to both of Games Workshop’s Witchfate Tor and Ruined Tower models quite some time ago and then set them aside, other projects being prioritized. In addition, a friend had given me a box full of partially assembled buildings that he and his kids had been working on until their interest drifted from Mordheim. There were some pieces that were really promising and I have pulled them out of the box more than once to contemplate what they might become.
I started by dusting off and cleaning up the tower sections I had set under the table after priming them black. I began painting from the top because I figured the top section alone would make usable terrain while I worked my way down to the base. I love these kits for the thickness of the walls, ease of assembly, full interiors, and wonderful details. This is really Games Workshop at their best and being such is covered in skulls. Many of them I decided to paint as stone details but there are several places where they look cooler as real bone. The alcove candles comes to mind.
The two pieces stacked together are already offering height to the battlefield. Four more floors and it will be perfect for the Silent Tower scenario.
My friend and his kids were using foamcore, balsa wood, and some architectural details from Games Workshop to build their structures. They were in early stages but had tons of potential. I decided to start with the smaller, simpler ones as a sort of warm up.
There are a few more in the box I haven’t photographed yet but I will do so before I start cutting and gluing. The piece that looks like the front of a small chapel is intriguing and the massive “Lodge” has my imagination spinning. In addition I stumbled upon an old resin ruined columned temple I had forgotten about. I better get cracking, KublaCon isn’t that far away.
With the funding of their second edition of Kings of War Mantic Games was able to create two new armies, the Forces of Nature and the Forces of the Abyss. The concept drawings of the demons, imps, and fiends that would inhabit the Abyss caught my attention from the first time I saw them. I had waited patiently for the miniatures to arrive though with so many new troop types and sculpts it wasn’t easy. My order included units of Succubi, Lower Abyssals, Molochs, Gargoyles, an Efreet, a champion, and a huge resin Archfiend.
Besides the monstrous infantry Molochs, the Effrit and Abyssal Champion figures are cast in metal. The sculpts are very nice with lots of movement and options and the metal they are cast in isn’t as brittle as that which the spears from my set of Bulwarkers. That is important when there are so many delicate pieces. I’m looking forward to painting these guys and know I’ll need to order a couple more so I can build both variations. Other than a cursory inspection of the Molochs I haven’t started my monstrous infantry so haven’t formed an opinion beyond,”Nice sculpts, clean castings” and, again, I’m going to want more of these guys.
What I was most interested in were the plastic sprues because I have really liked what Mantic Games has been doing with their plastic miniatures and the concept art for the new pieces was wonderful. When I went over them in detail I wasn’t disappointed. Each sprue holds enough parts for five soldiers, details are sharp, there’s parts for alternate models, and every sprue comes with two Imps (for a total of four different sculpts). That means every regiment of Lower Abyssals and Succubi comes with enough to make a unit of Imps. That they are fun sculpts is a bonus.
The Succubi have two weapons each that can be matched or mixed up, as I am doing with the first unit I’m assembling. While there isn’t an alternative unit there are extra heads. I will say that some of the parts are delicate and a little fiddly to work with but worth the effort as these ladies look deadly. Here’s the sprue before I started work.
The Lower Abyssals, on the other hand can be assembled as three different units; weapon and shield, great weapon, or fire throwing Flame Bearers and they also come with extra heads.
I have to say I’m really pleased with these. I’ve already commented on the clarity of detail but the poses have movement, the faces have charm mixed with malice, while the Imps are so much fun I’m really looking forward to getting to work on them. I’ve already started on the Efreet, Abyssal Champion, and the Archfiend.
Oh yeah, the resin Archfiend. This thing is HUGE and I love his face (those teeth!). The pose is fun and this monstrous hero can be assembled with or without wings but really… wings are so cool. Did I mention the flaming hands? This guy is awesome and really deserves a Secret Weapon Lava Fields Base ordered special.
In short, the new Abyssal army is full of fun, unique new miniatures that are a great deal for one’s gaming cash. Mantic Games has really come a long way in a very short time and I’m excited to see where they go next. There are Forge Father tanks in my near future after all. Despite this excitement to begin painting these minis I must confess to some growing trepidation as all the flames in their hands are really going to call for some serious amounts of object source lighting (OSL) and that is not one of my strengths. Only future posts will tell if I am successful.
Now that I’ve seen what Duane, my Greater Earth Elemental, can do in Kings of War it is clear I need another of these guys. Heck, I need a Horde of Lesser Earth Elementals but am still seeking the right minis. Until then Duane and the guy above will have to hold their own. I am really pleased with these castings and it just reinforces my belief that big things with shallow details is what Bones plastic is best at. Even though they tower over the rest of the army (not hard as they are dwarfs) they are light weight. Add their low cost and they are the perfect choice to add some punch to my dwarf army.
Duane was a fun one to paint and fairly easy to prep not to mention very fast paint job. As with other Bones figures I find it easiest to shave along mold lines with a brand new x-acto blade. The rocky surface made it easy to see most of the imperfections. The new guy on the other hand is all textures and shapes. Of course that also made him quite the enjoyable undertaking. Too bad I don’t have any 25mm squirrels to add on to him.
Finished painting Belit and her first officer. They have other names on the Hasslefree website but they currently escape my memory. I also finished the two dwarf spearmen I glued to my new plastic Micro Arts bases. I have to say I am so pleased with them I am looking to purchase more especially the Graveyard line I skipped first time around.
The last two Hasslefree dwarfs I had armed with my extended spears were finished so got glued down to two more of the Ancient bases. I like how scattered bits of masonry and tile work look a little like my Kings of War army bases. Ties them all together even though they aren’t for the same game system. All from one great kingdom no matter what system or scale. I’m a bit odd that way.
Not only am I going to need to some of the Graveyard bases they just released but will need more of the Ancient for my growing dwarf force. Then there is the Frostgrave gang that will need to go on the Enchanted bases so I’m sure there will be more pictures in future.
Some of the first figures I tackled when my box of rewards from Reaper Miniatures second Bones campaign on Kickstart arrived were what I called the Hero-on-Big-Base figures. Very characterful figures mounted on large, sculpted bases. Fairly easy to see why they appealed to me right away. The names I use are entirely of my own making so don’t try looking them up in the catalog.
The first was a ghoul like character whose visage was miscast to the point of offending the camera. No, really, it is a terrible casting with a concave face that I was able to build a bit of a nose onto with green stuff. Came out alright but the rock is my favorite part, truth be told. I don’t see him leading my Kings of War Undead anytime soon.
Since this guy is covered in pieces of castle and appears to be standing on a tiny tower I thought of him as The Rook. There is just something fun, goofy really, about the exaggeration of these minis and wearing big bits of architecture seems perfectly acceptable. Sort of medieval meets anime’ really. Just look at the size of the blades. Despite all the masonry, Rook is a fairly simple figure so I kept the paint job simple and finished in just under an hour.
I’m no sure why all the male knights in this set are bald but it is what it is. Must have something to do with the helmets none of them are wearing. Demonblade ,or DB to his friends, has lots of fancy armor so I figured the shoulder plates should be differentiated and went with bronze. Weathering them was half the fun. Like Rook this fellow was kept simple and finished in just under an hour.
If there was any doubt as to the influence of anime’ on these sculpts then this cleric’s hammer should banish them. I’m guessing it would weigh more than the holy warrior and his armor combined. Must be some divine inspiration or magic that makes up for the physics. It was the rough stairs of the base that first drew my attention to this miniature and where I started work. A dunk in a mug of hot water before a bath of cold to straighten the shaft of his weapon and he was ready for painting. I had such fun with his various layers and materials that I went well over my self imposed time limit. The shoulder pad was especially useful for some heraldry.
Chaosgrrrl! and Rojo.
One of the last ones I painted from this set as I really wanted to spend some time working on her charming shield. Another massive weapon but at least she has some armor covering the side of her not protected by the tower shield. With the anime’ influence it seems that female costumes can often be as small as the weapons are large so this was a step in the right direction. Her navel maybe exposed but those spiked plates on her armor aren’t just for show. I named her shield Rojo and saved the bound demon for last. I liked the idea of him having opinions, arguments, and conversations with the lithe chaos warrior so tried to paint them eyeing each other. Sort of a twist on the whole Elric/Stormbringer relationship.
The heavily armored warrior woman looked rather Greek in her crested helm so I opted for a Spartan color scheme besides, I had intended to patina her armor when I saw her picture in the campaign and there was already a lot of red on my wet pallet from working on Rojo. That I got to play with the natural aspects of stone and ivy was a bonus really.
She was looking pretty good but just not complete and it wasn’t just the bad photos. She needed something else but I decided against adding any outside materials. I was also trying to keep each Bones mini under an hour but regularly stretch that on fun figures like this one so I compromised and put her aside over night. After coffee and breakfast I picked her up and just began painting. The wet pallet I’ve started using was very helpful with this I can tell you. It is super useful for unit painting but that’s a whole different post. I might still add a red gem to the hilt of her sword but all in all I think she really came out well.
Having painted a fair number of Reaper Bones to date I have formed a few opinions. While the material has short comings it definitely has some big benefits. First problem issue I’ve found is that fine detail (like women’s noses, fingers, the Ghoul Lord’s nose and eye) can be mashed up or missing. The second is the mold release used sticks around and messes with paint adherence. The latter issue is solved by my better cleaning the minis beforehand while the former is harder to solve. Now the positives begin with the price of figures being downright cheap. So cheap I don’t mind taking chances on color schemes or painting techniques as well as picking up figures I might not otherwise (I’m looking at you Bugbear and Gnoll troops) so now have a big collection of dungeon dwellers ready to go When Dungeon Saga arrives. Another plus is the wide variety of minis Reaper has already produced so one is spoiled for choice regardless of genre’. Storing them before or after painting is aided by the fact that they are light weight and when you start collecting miniature war gaming armies that starts to matter. My favorite aspect, so far, is that once finished the acrylic paint seems to bond with the bendy plastic and flexes rather than chips. I do love how the terrain pieces paint up with the bases in the above post as examples. Honestly, I’m more excited about working on the ruins included in Dragons Don’t Share than either the adventurers or the dragon. All in all, I like the material though I think I may limit future Bones purchases to architecture and BIG monsters. Those come out wonderfully and really benefit from the light weight.
MicroArts Studios (http://microartstudio.com/index.php), in conjunction with CoolMiniOrNot (https://www.coolminiornot.com/), recently used crowdfunding (Kickstart- https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/coolminiornot-base-system-featuring-micro-art-stud/description) to begin producing themed plastic base inserts. These varied widely with everything from Desert to Forest and Tech to Chaos Wastes, each included a number of three different sizes (20x 30mm bases, 12x 40mm bases, and 2x 50mm bases). Being the base obsessed nut that I am I picked up several of these but of course no where near as many as I desired (really wanting some of those Desert bases once they hit the general market). My collection includes; Planking, Tech, Arcane, Jungle, Pipework, Mystic, and Ancient. The last two looking perfect for my dwarfs as well as general role playing while the rest either fit other genre’s or just appear fun to paint (I’m looking at you Jungle set).
The pieces are designed to plug into a round base but could easily be used on their own if one prefers a more streamlined look. Personally, I have become very fond of this style of presentation as it feels like a matted frame around a nice piece of artwork and is large enough to hold interesting details and create a micro environment for the figure to exist in.
The bases’ sculpts are creative, beautiful, and nicely varied within each set I received. The injection molded plastic holds some very crisp detail and the mold lines are barely visible so make for very fast clean up. That they have the potential to be much cheaper than resin is very exciting to an addict like me. There are all kinds of fun bits to entertain the painter and viewer alike. Everything from scorpions on the desert theme and magical pools on the Arcane to wires and piping of Derelict and the lush growth of Jungle. As soon as I saw them I had to put a couple together to paint up immediately. Besides, I had several figures that have just been waiting for the right presentation.
As I had two converted Hasslefree dwarf spearmen left over from my Kings of War Regiment (see previous posts) I picked out two of the Ancient set. I also pulled out two of Planking to attach a couple of Hasslefree pirates I have been itching to paint. The Ancient two painted up easily and look great all on their own.
As I already had the pins in the figures’ feet it was simply a matter of finding where they fit best without any trimming. I’ll adjust and remove details on future figures but wanted my first to be unadjusted. They really set figures off beautifully and will tie warbands together wonderfully in addition to personalizing role playing characters. I am hoping we see even more themes in future but have plenty to keep me busy for quite some time.
I’ll be posting updates as I use more of these as I really love working with them. Besides, Belit and her first mate are coming along well and deserve a photo shoot of their own.