Here’s the opening stages of the one I call First Building. Not very snappy, I know, but it is an accurate description.
The one I think of as Building Two simply because it was the second one I started working on. Not sure why but the hole at the bottom of one of the walls didn’t work for me so I patched it up with some lightweight spackling compound. One of the criteria for the first couple of buildings was that I wouldn’t have to do much construction and could go straight to painting. As I was already spending the time patching a wall I didn’t see any harm in adding a little more detail but did compromise by making a partial stair.
The Long Row is going to take a lot of planning and work but I think it could become a wonderful piece and add verticality to our battle fields. I started by rearranging some of the interior walls to make room for stairs, glued in foamcoare where the floors would be as well as gluing the entire thing to a piece of thin plywood. Narrow, wooden coffee stirring sticks make wonderful flooring but have no strength so get glued on top of the foam core. The ends of the planks extend past the edge of the foam core which will be painted in dark colors helping with the illusion.
I use Tacky Glue for everything because it works on all the materials I’m using, the thickness greatly reduces oozing, and it cleans up with water. It also remains a little flexible after it dries which I find adds durability to terrain pieces. I used scraps, off cuts, and found items to build most everything but especially the bridges/ramps and ladders which are assembled largely from the scraps left from working on the buildings. One can never have too many of these items so I will be making many more of them in future. I even have a short bridge AronBC made and gave me to add to the collection. I put improvised railings here and there to look good and maybe reduce figures sliding off. Think I’m going to have to glue some skulls and shields to some future constructions.
After struggling with how I would gable the roof to make a platform for the exterior stairs I planned to build I realized most of my problems would be solved if the end building was just another floor taller. So I cut off the roof and glued in another floor. Not only did this give me more height and two more windows to shoot out of but the end of the attic was screaming for a balcony. You just can’t have too many odds and ends for figures to fire from or be shot off of in my opinion.
A wide flat brush combined with a wet palette makes short work of the bridges and ladders. Good thing I’ve got plenty more scrap to build more. We are going to need them.
I try to get to the three closest game conventions each year as they are the best places to interact with most of my oldest friends, meet new ones, and light my creative fires all in one very entertaining weekend. This time was no exception at DundraCon 2016 (San Ramon, Ca) with the highlight being all the Frostgrave we played. For those who may not have heard of it, Frostgrave by Osprey Games is a fantasy skirmish game in which players run a wizard and their band of adventurers seeking the arcane knowledge and treasures of an ancient ruined city (think Mordheim) that was destroyed in an icy, magic cataclysm. It is supposed to be frozen and snow covered but none of my terrain is so I figure there is a brief thaw in the neighborhood. I was delighted to break out long neglected Mordheim terrain and share figures from my also long neglected Role Playing Miniatures collection. Learning a fun new game was bonus.
One table had two gangs fighting it out over the treasures while a giant worm burrowed around under them. Eventually it burst out and much mayhem ensued. When we get together everyone pools their miniatures and terrain, especially the terrain. We all have little projects, okay, some of us have numerous projects that might not fill a three foot square battlefield but added up really look great. Plus I’ll jump at any chance to use the Abbey AronBC built based on a scenario in an old Citadel Journal. This time he had brought a figure from our ancient youth, a giant millipede and, like myself, he was happy to have it get table time.
I was ecstatic to game with so many of the beautiful Hasslefree Miniatures I had painted simply because I loved them. Now they had names and missions. Just to ice the cake, now I really need to paint three from the Unpainted Box to round out the gang. Who knew I’d need a thief? The game uses opposed rolls with twenty sided dice for spell casting and combat. If the caster/attacker rolls higher the number they rolled is also the damage caused. My first game started out well when I rolled a twenty on a twenty sided die to cast Elemental Bolt at my opponent’s wizard who happened to be in the open from where my wizard stood. Modifiers, armor figured out and BOOM! One dead wizard on turn two. We decided to set up and start again because it was about to get very one sided and to have that happen when one is focused on learning a new game seems ridiculous. Besides, there’s no fun in that.
The second game was a closer run thing with both of us hugging terrain and taking shots where we could. The silent tower and it’s connecting buildings are not only a major objective but also a magic null zone so the wizards were quite limited. A couple of henchmen were taken down here and there but it ended with both wizards deciding discretion was the better part of valor and backed away warily as the gangs hauled in their swag.
One of the things I really like about the game is the easy campaign aspect. It was always my favorite part of Mordheim and Necromunda as well because it encourages me to paint miniatures I might not get to as well as creating character and narrative. In this case not only did we use my wild boars, bear, and familiars but the Stone Mountain troll finally found a game use, granted my opponent used Wind Blast to immediately push him back off the table but he got on the table. It also moved the resin toads I’d picked up to the painting table.
So, a fun system that was much easier to learn than I thought it would be. The campaign book, Thaw of the Lich Lord looks very entertaining not to mention creatively inspiring. Now I have a list of old figures and projects to dig out and dust off. Going to to be making buildings, ladders, and bridges for a while.
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.
I received a classic Hudson and Allen Tower Keep not long ago and as I am attempting to only store new finished terrain decided to paint it right away. I have one I painted years ago in dark greys so wanted to do something different with this one, maybe go lighter. Necron99 was looking at it and noted that with the warm brown color the foam had turned over the years it really only needed a stain and highlight. Since the color would make nice base for ivory or tan I decided to test his theory.
After washing the piece, I began with an even coat of Agrax Earthshade directly on the foam, over the entire surface. Next I drybrushed with a tan going fairly thick since it was the base coat.
Stage three was a lighter drybrush of ivory. The various textures sculpted into different stones really changes the tone of the color.
I went with a dusting of white as the final highlight to really get the most out of the wonderful textures and details sculpted into the surface.
I painted the non stone details before using Secret Weapon Washes to weather the tower.
Well, there you go, Necron99 called it right. Pretty quick work, all in all. Might have to add this to the Frostgrave terrain box.
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.
I recently completed enough Hasslefree Miniatures crossbow armed dwarfs to assemble the second Regiment for my Kings of War force. Since it was pretty much the same process as the first one I don’t see any reason to go through all the steps though I did document it. I didn’t add a musician to this unit mostly because I could decide neither what instrument I wanted to use nor which figure to convert. In the end, not to decide is to decide and apparently I prefer no musician for this Regiment. That’s alright, the other half of the Horde has a drummer.
A very attractive unit that I am sure will hold it’s own on the battle field. It fits in nicely with the overall army look as well as looking like it is half of the other unit.
I think I’ve painted enough of this color scheme for a while. In fact, might have to change it up completely and paint some Forge Fathers for Deadzone and Warpath. Gotta admit, rather stoked about the possibilities offered by science fiction unit bases and vehicles.
And so it was that the great clans united to send a force deep into the mountains to reclaim the great underway, the Ungor Watt, from the depths and darkness in which it had been lost. Through smoke and fire the great campaign was fought and every victory paid for in treasure and blood.
It was the miners, in their relentless underground explorations, that first came upon the foundations of dwarf ruins, the remains of settlements lost in the great quakes and volcanic eruptions that had proceeded the great orc wars. Many holds had fallen, their populations slain and scattered, but others had survived, rebuilt. Some had even expanded and founded new colonies but none forgot the stories of the ancient underway that had linked the dwarf people. When ancient warehouses and barracks were discovered the explorers knew they had found one of the way stations of the great road way, the Ungor Watt.
Almost immediately a vast cavern filled with an underground lake was located within marching distance of the main camp. Unfortunately so was a force of heavily armed and armored, blood worshiping humans who had arrived via a cavern on the lake’s northern end. Immediately battle ensued with the dwarfs pushed back to the the perimeter of their own camp. It was only the stubborn refusal of the Quarrelers to break and the timely flank charge of Prince Garius and his band of Slayers that saved the dwarfs. Soon many more slayers would arrive and the battles for Darkwater Cavern would go on for a very long time. In the meantime word of the ancient water source made its way to the Rangers and they knew how to turn that water into beer.
Once again I was enthralled by figures from Hasslefree Miniatures and being Star Trek homages I couldn’t resist. Once the MicroArts base inserts had arrived these ladies moved to the front of the prep line. Besides, the beginning of a new year should be a time of looking forward and what’s more so than space travel? They aren’t any particular characters but I think of them as Nurse Chapel, Yeoman Rand, and Lt Uhura. Being Kevin White sculpts they are lovely and sport some nice details. I went with the three primary colors Star Fleet Old School uniforms came in as it just made sense with three figures and besides the yeoman sports a yellow uniform in more than one episode.
I tried to keep the details on the bases clean and the colors simple, almost what one might find on a television sound studio in the sixties. As I may have mentioned in earlier blogs, I love the plastic base inserts MicroArts makes. They really add level of place, a sense that the figure is moving through it’s natural environment and are just so much fun to paint.
I find myself wishing for more crew so I can build a foam core Gallileo 7 for them.
Such lovely, formidable ladies and who serve no purpose in my collection except the joy they brought me in their creation. I kept the bases nice and clean to match the sets of the original series. Those miners chasing the Horta were spotless. The bases would look great with weathering and damage, painted dirty, gritty, all Star Wars style. Hmmmmm, seems to me I saw Jedi on Hasslefree’s website…
Having joined in and thoroughly enjoyed Angry Piper’s (http://angrypiper.com/gaming/) November challenge to paint and post a dwarf a week I jumped at the chance to participate when he announced the December Wizard challenge. It gave me the perfect excuse to take on some of the wonderful wizard figures by Hasslefree Miniatures that were sitting in my Unpainted collection as well as a reaper Bones I really wanted to add some runes to. Since he was largely done I started on him while the other three were waiting for their primer to dry.
Week Two I had an Elven Sage who seemed custom sculpted for a character from a recent lethal role playing game a friend ran. Using the Dungeon Crawl Classics role playing rules, we each ran multiple characters as most of them wouldn’t make it to the end. The female half elf sage was the only one of mine who made it all the way through the harrowing adventure, still clutching the skull of an ancient fallen hero. Even though Aron doesn’t really use miniatures in his game I like having a 3D representation of my character and this one was perfect. The fact she looked fun to paint was bonus.
Next up were two figures I ordered as soon as they were cast in metal simply because I loved them and wanted to eventually paint them. I’m still waiting for the “Casting Lenore” to make it to pewter but was happy to have a reason to paint the one I have. But I finished painting Amalthea first so she became my entry for Week Three.
Finally, all that was left was “the one whom angels named Lenore”. With the holidays and all that they entail I didn’t actually complete her by the fourth Saturday deadline but as Angry Piper shared my issues he extended it until the end of the year. I sent my final photos off at 10:30 PM on the thirty-first. Whew, squeeked through.
Seeking some diversity for my Dwarf army in Kings of War I’ve wanted to add some units of Earth Elementals for quite some time. Since they are the cheapest horde available on my army list with Crushing Strength 1 and unwavering they are very attractive. That I would only need three per unit and they should paint up quickly made them almost irresistible. The only problem was the Mantic doesn’t make any models for them. So it was going to be a quest!
It quickly became clear that I could easily spend a lot of money on some incredible models but that was not anywhere on my plan, the spending lots of money part. I wanted decent minis. These where joining my dwarf collection after all. The models couldn’t be larger than Duane either as he is technically a Greater Earth Elemental, listed as a Monster (50mm base) while these were to be Large Infantry (40mm bases) and I wanted to build four Regiments of the guys which would require twelve miniatures. I wanted a selection of sculpts and styles because I saw them as being very individual. So it was off to eBay.
I had already gone through all my Reaper Bones looking for any elemental or golem that might work and found none. There were a couple of metal models that looked the part on their website I’d have to watch for good prices on. Plastic Dungeons and Dragons figures from Wizards of the Coast showed a lot of promise as well, having a wide selection of both ranges and styles. Since I didn’t play anymore and paint my own toy soldiers I had only been vaguely aware of these prepainted plastic models so wasn’t sure of the exact sizes of any of them. Multiple finds from a couple of sellers kept postage down and gave me a selection to choose from and compare.
In the end one was too small, one was way too tiny, and one was too tree like but with a metal Reaper mini to round things out, I had enough to start work. Among the mix I had four nice solid looking fellows called Elemental Walls I could spread out one per base, a couple of Medium Elementals sporting green gems that looked like they were bursting through the ground, and even two that reminded me a little of Jack Kirby drawings of The Thing.
I cut unit bases out of thick plastic card and used super glue to attach the figures. I then used my favorite standby, lightweight spackling, to create the ground and hide the round bases attached to the feet of the minis.
As soon as this was in place I poured crushed charcoal (reclaimed from used up water filters) over it, pressed it down then tapped off the excess. Once these were done I set them aside to dry over night.
Painting was as straight forward as I assumed it would be. Bases were coated in a dark brown I touched up the basic paint job the figures had come with. Well, obviously the metal figure was primed before being base coated in grey and brown. All the figures were washed with Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil. Then it was matter of highlighting and weathering.
Here’s another place the wet palette came in very handy. Fresh paint of various greys and browns arranged in a circle for easy mixing made short work of the last three regiments, the first having been assembled and painted as soon as I had three minis I liked together. I glued down some mixed flocking here and there before spraying them all with sealant. When that had dried I glued on tufts of grass and small brush for a more natural look and to match my dwarf force. I had skipped adding the architectural bits and pieces my dwarf units have as I wanted these guys to work in a Forces of Nature army as well. I do have an antique army of painted Wood Elves packed away after all. So I have four finished Regiments of Large Infantry to bolster my army.
Not only do I have four regiments but I can also combine them into two Hordes.
Once I’d located the minis I wanted these units were fast and fun to paint. I think they fit together nicely as well and will look great along side Duane and Brother Stonebrow.