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 The white Bones plastic is less bendy in this campaign and has been replaced by a soft grey on a couple of sets.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.
In addition to building terrain and treasure tokens for Frostgrave there were a number of creatures on the random encounter chart I didn’t have any miniatures to represent. So I searched through my vaults of unpainted minis for inspiration and discovered several in the Reaper Bones section. Okay, so it’s really boxes in a closet but vaults just sounds so much more dramatic. One of the first ones was the dire wolf who I decided should be white to match the theme. Besides, it gave me an excuse to use snow on the base.
It isn’t really listed on the chart but the purple worm just seemed to fit into the group and could be used in a couple different scenarios.
Once I painted a giant worm I realized I really needed an even bigger bug because… well… because it’s bigger.
One of the very last things I finished painting before the game convention was an even larger bug called a Frost Worm. He’s so large he barely fits on his own base. Now, unlike Necron99, mine is a playing piece, not a medal winning paint job so I concede to him on this one. Still, I think he looks threatening enough to dominate a Frostgrave table.
Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I do own the HUGE worm/bug/monstrosity that is Mashaaf from Reaper Bones as well but have no plans on putting brush to it for some time. Then again, I might have to write up a multi-bug scenario and who better to play the boss.
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.
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.
Not only did I just get to try out the Kings of War second edition rules but I finally got to field several of my completed dwarf units for the first time. These included the general (Lady Ursula on bear), a troop of gunners, a troop of crossbows (with back up to form a regiment), a Stone Priest, his buddy the Greater Earth Elemental, the Ironguard, and the Hasslefree Miniatures Shieldbreakers Regiment I had just finished. While one can’t expect them all to survive their first encounter with conflict or even win the day, I just hoped they looked good and held their own. The dice always have their own say of course.
Hordes really come to the fore in second edition army construction. They are the key to diversity in your army as each Horde taken allows four Troops units and one of each Hero, Monster, and War Machine. Whereas each Regiment opens up only two Troops and one of Hero, Monster, OR War Machine. As always seems to be the case with my miniature collections, adjustments would have to be made. So my two Regiments of Bulwarkers became one Horde despite being of two different manufacturers (yes, it hurts the eyes) while a movement tray and ten figures helped my Troop of Crossbow become a Regiment.
Doing this allowed the right combination for me to field all the new units I had painted especially the Earth Elemental and the bear riding hero. This meant I only had one artillery piece but they had all been bloodied before so weren’t a priority anyway.
Ryan, being far more pragmatic, wrote a force containing two siege artillery pieces and two cannon, two heavy cavalry, and blocks of troops armed to crush dwarf armor. To make matters worse, he got the first turn and his cannon were painfully accurate. Must have had fresh powder because all four hit their targets, wavering my gunners and wounding the Shieldbreakers and Brock Riders. Ryan doesn’t like giant badgers.
The Headstrong rule worked for the gunners even if they couldn’t shoot and dwarf army advanced. The Rangers on the far right were able to Waver the archers facing them, the crossbow armed dwarfs wavered a troop of men armed with the same but the cannon crew were wishing for some of Ryan’s powder because they couldn’t hit anything.
On the dwarf right flank the wounded Brock Riders found themselves brought down by the Thunderous charge of knights on barded horse while the Shieldbreakers, braced in difficult terrain, barely held against the other mounted unit. This was already proving to be a fast and bloody game.
With the Brockriders gone there was plenty of room for the EarthElemental and Berserker Lord to charge into the knights, stone fists and rune hammers breaking open plate mail leaving the knights Wavered and backing up, quickly. Lady Ursula lead her Ironguard and the Shieldbreakers against the second unit of knights and wiped them out (even with a reroll from his Army Banner). The Rangers, moving up the flank, routed the archers with bowfire while the Bulwarkers moved forward through difficult ground preparing to face the Horde of pike advancing toward them.
Then things went berserk, no really, the human berserker unit charged the dwarf berserker lord wounding him but not wavering him from his goal of chasing down the knights that had killed his lads.
The human infantry with polearms attacked Lady Ursula while a human hero stepped around the unit of spear to blast the Shieldbreakers with his Boomstick. The cannon behind him did the same for emphasis. That was enough for the dwarfs and despite the re-roll provided by their general they fled the field, carrying their wounded with them. Lady Ursula fared better repulsing the charge but was left wavered and unable to make her headstrong roll. Fortunately the Ironguard and gunners were able to come to her aid engaging two units and holding the left flank.
The berserker lord, stone priest, and earth elemental took down the knights then pushed toward the cannon, dreading the shot they could see being loaded all while under fire from the siege artillery on the hill. The Berserkers turned around and prepared to charge the Bulwarker horde in the flank even while the crossbow unit of dwarf poured down the hill to do the same to them. Even taking a cannon ball to his granite chin (Ryan rolled one point under-whew) the elemental took out the cannon crew with the berserker lord then turned to support the mayhem transpiring in the center.
The human horde charged their dwarven counterpart with the support of their insane brethern causing wounds but not shaking them. Thus the pitched fight to control the center began. The battle shifted back and forth, massive piles of dice flying with all the flank attacks but the disordered charges from difficult terrain and Ensnare of the human horde made for a smaller percentage of hits. Even then, miniature blood was flowing.
Despite the loss of the handgunner troop Lady Ursula and the Ironguard were victorious if bloodied as were the Bulwarkers and crossbows. Unfortunately with their opponents dead or routed the wounded dwarf spearmen were an obvious target for the remaining siege artillery which saw off the survivors, routing them from the field with well aimed shelling. The characters from both armies then squared off while the berserker lord charged toward the reloading crews on the hill. While his massive badger mount was able to move out of their minimum range he wasn’t able to defeat Ryan’s ability to roll a six when needed and the tattooed dwarf was blasted off his mount by the lone cannon left on the human right flank. A truly epic shot. Did I mention that Ryan hates my badgers?
In the end the human artillery on the hill saw their general killed by a female dwarf riding a bear and the Ironguard take down the Boomstick wielding hero in revenge for blasting apart the Shieldbreakers. The dwarf crossbows and rangers had moved into range and were taking aim at the mortar crews when, at the end of turn six, Ryan rolled a three indicating the game was over. Dwarfs had taken the field.
We had chosen to play the straight forward Kill scenario and there was plenty of killing on both sides. It was an absolute blast with the battle lines shifting, great narrative moments, and much laughter. I really like the new rules and can’t wait to play again. Now I’m really going to have to name more of my units and characters, especially the elemental. He rocks, literally!
Working on a couple of figures at a time, assembled from two different Reaper Bones Kickstart campaigns as well as a MOUSER action figure, I have completed my unit of Colonial Marines. I think they came out rather well. With the sniper and the drone they are starting to look like Deadzone Pathfinders and with Warzone around the corner I can always use more science fiction figures in my collection.
I was really trying to avoid some of my usual color choices and since I really wanted to use some of the Blasted Wetlands (http://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=79_30_59) bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures I chose earth tones.
As I have mentioned in past posts, I have a habit of painting a couple of any unit or project at a time. While this may seem to slow progress I have found it suits my limited attention span actually increasing my productivity.
There was a nice variety of poses though some of the goggles had some mscasts they were easy enough to work around with either carving or green stuff.
The special weapons offered some interesting opportunities.
I tried to weather the flamer thrower supply tanks.
When the second Bones campaign rewards arrived and could clearly see the details and could tell it was medic I knew I had a squad on my hands.
Once the figures had been sealed they just needed something more. Taking inspiration from the title “Blasted Wetlands” I added some of Secret Weapon’s water effects and clumps of small plants. It’s a small change, literally, but it really makes a difference in my opinion. Just places them a little more into their environment.
I didn’t initially plan on them actually being a unit, I just wanted a cohesive look. The second Reaper Bones campaign had a few more similar figures that seemed to unify them all into one squad, especially when Tom gave me the MOUSER action figure and suggested I match the colors. The sniper was actually the first figure I painted in the color scheme though I left her on her “high tech” base as I figure she is perched on something keeping a protective eye on the squad.
All in all they make a rather entertaining squad. The drone rounds them out nicely. In fact, I like it so much I picked up a pack of seven. I have this image of the squad hitting the drop zone, sending the bipedal droids in all directions, moving like hunting velociraptors, to flush out the enemy and reconnoiter objectives. Of course they are way down on the painting priorities so for now I’ll entertain myself with this squad. Now back to the table glacier.
One of the things I have learned from playing Mantic Games’ Kings of War is that I need more mounted dwarfs. I’ve got a good supply of Brock Riders, with more waiting to be painted, but only one mounted Berserker Lord. I had been thinking about getting another of the Mantic models and swapping out the top half of the rider. The alternative was to find another manufacturer’s figure to substitute. So my excitement was understandable when the Bones 2 Kickstarter campaign added mounted adventurers, one of them is a female dwarf on a bear, to the stretch goals.
Now Reaper has tried to make the Bones bases more than plastic ovals by sculpting details onto them but I wanted her to fit into my Kings of War dwarf army so would need to build an entirely new base and had to remove hers. Bones plastic cuts very easily and like shaving the mold lines one should use a sharp blade and cut away from one’s own body parts. I have more than a few scars in my left hand reminding me of that core principle. I started my building with a Mantic 50mm base as that is what comes with their Berserker Lord on Brock model then added a couple of 25mm Scibor Ruins bases that match the rest of the army to see how it would all fit together.
Two blank 20mm bases in opposite corners evened out the surface before I glued down the rocks and tree stumps finally coating the “ground” with lightweight spackle. Since she was riding a bear I felt there needed to be some indication of being in the woods. Secret Weapon Tree Stumps really do the trick and for some reason look more real than real twigs though the rocks are genuine. No really, right out of my back yard.
The bear and rider, which come as one piece, were washed in watered down dish soap, rinsed thoroughly, and left to dry while I sprayed the base with white primer.
I’ve painted enough of the Scibor Arcane Ruins for this army so far that it doesn’t take me long to match the color scheme.
Having never seen the original figure in person before Reaper cast her in Bones plastic, there were details I only discovered as I was prepping the her (She has an eye patch?) and even more seemed to emerge as I started the base coats (There’s a patch riveted over one eye of the helmet and she’s wearing a scaled cloak?). The Bones plastic is so very white that some details just don’t stand out until another color changes the texture and shadows. That and my eyes, like the rest of me, are showing signs of age. I decided to make Paddington a black bear rather than a grizzly because they are smaller, like dwarfs, do well in rocky mountainous terrain, like dwarfs, and I had never painted one. Really, that’s a relevant reason in my mental math.
I kept my base coats clean mostly because it’s easier than cleanup later and that appeals to my inner laziness. This also makes it easier when applying washes. Once these are dry I built up two levels of highlights using the base color followed by a lighter version. The bear is highlighted with dark brownish grays, black can be a pain to highlight. Once both the base and figure were done I sprayed them with sealant before gluing them together with super glue gel.
I left the glue to dry overnight before adding clumps of static grass and brush. I try to avoid using one single color as that tends to look like a golf course so I mix up the shades of grass I use. This is another of those jobs made so much easier with the gel version of superglue and a pair of tweezers. I wanted it to look overgrown and long abandoned without obscuring either the figure or the details on the base. Much the same thinking as my Bugman’s Brewers base without the statues.
In the end I am really pleased with how this project came out. Lady Ursula and Paddington will join my Kings of War force as a Berserker Lord (Lady) on Brock (Bear) equipped with Ensorcelled Armor. The figure has armor, it makes her different than the other Lord on Brock (he carries a Blade of Slashing), and who wouldn’t want a DEF of 6? I’m looking forward to getting her on the field though I really think I need at least five more Brock Riders painted to give her some back up and benefit from her Inspiring Rule. Okay, maybe fifteen more in the long run but that will require a few more conversion decisions before starting the last unit.
Feeling all H.P. Lovecrafty and so pulled out all of the rats, rat swarms and (when they arrived) plague rats from my Reaper Bones collection. While the rats came on their own little flagstone bases I wanted to mount them on Mantic round bases. I figured I’d just sculpt some detail around them to match or I’d just cover the whole thing with flocking if it didn’t work out. The first material I used shrank when dried and looked terrible. Then I remembered Das Pronto, air drying clay, picked some up at my local craft store, and applied it to the bases, even the two I had tested other materials on. Guess I wouldn’t need to flock these after all.
As is my habit, I painted them in batches. This really helped me avoid my first instinct to paint them all grey. I started with the swarms and was halfway through before I noticed the skulls. The bright white material Reaper uses makes it hard to see details sometimes but that’s what more paint is for. I base coated them several shades of grey and brown before painting their little pink bits. When dry I stained them with Games Workshop’s Agrax Earthshade and left them to dry. After touching up some details and adding highlights of the base colors they were ready for flocking.
While I may have started the rats in grey I did limit it to two, so feel there was some form of victory. The larger rats were base coated, stained and then highlighted in lighter shades of the base coats and, obviously, left unflocked. Hooray for Das Pronto Air Hardening Clay.
Got to have some black rats to come creeping off the cargo ships, carrying their own tiny, toxic passengers.
The last two had to be white. I mean, how else are they going to take over the world?
While I was working on these the box of Reaper’s Bones2 Kickstarter rewards arrived with two huge, disease ridden rats in the core set so they were scrubbed with dish soap, glued to bases and put straight onto the table. These were base coated but I was far more specific where I used the different color stains. The boils and pustules were highlighted in a light yellow while the fur patches were painted browns (I already had black rats painted) and the fleshy areas given highlights of light flesh tones. Black eyes and shiny teeth finished them off before flocking the base (they didn’t have flagstone bases). They certainly are an intimidating pair.
It’s beginning to look like all I’m painting is Bones figures and while there are quite a few I’ve finished so far (and not posted), I’ve also been hard at work on my Oldhammer dwarf units and some wonderful Bombshell Babes figures and Hasslefree, there’s always a Hasslefree mini on the table and the Deadzone troops…
I guess I better get back to the table or paint a lot of cats. A whole lot of big, hungry cats.
The Kick Start rewards from the Reaper Miniatures Bones 2 arrived recently in a truly impressive box. There was hardly enough space in my apartment for it. While I’m far from finished painting the first set of minis I have made quite a bit of progress so don’t feel any need to wait on starting on these. First I had to fit them all into a much smaller space.
All the fantasy characters and a lot of monsters fit into one divided plastic box. The science fiction figures got their own box and the larger pieces will fit into one larger plastic box. Dragons Don’t Share came in its own fairly compact box so there it remains. This really helps with my storage issues and makes it a lot easier to get to the miniatures. Of course this also makes it far more likely I’ll get inspired to put color down on them. Speaking of inspiring, even during the Kickstart campaign the female dwarf riding a bear had me itching to grab my brushes. When I actually saw the figure I wasn’t disappointed and knew that’s where I’d be starting. That she has an eye patch practically guarantees she will become a Berserker Lord on Brock in my Kings of War army … and another post.
I’ve been following Chris Palmer in his quest to paint all of his Reaper Bones miniatures through his blog at http://allbonesabout.blogspot.com. I like the challenge he set himself as well as his fairly regular schedule for posting. It helps keep me moving on some projects but also makes me want to paint some of the Bones figures that may have escaped my initial attention and dropped low in the painting priorities. When I saw his giant spiders and scarab beetles I went and dug mine out of the box they had been waiting in and glued them to upside down Mantic round bases. I liked his color choices so much I pretty much just copied them. This had the added benefit of circumventing my usual pondering time which greatly speeded up painting which made me want to start the rest of the bugs immediately.
Being a long time Tomb Kings player I knew the value of swarms and scorpions. The scorpions were easy color choices and I decided to paint the swarms as smaller versions of the bugs I had already finished, again, avoiding the dangerous decision loop. The shape and size of the swarms precluded the need for bases so I just flocked the bits that weren’t creepy crawlies. In the case of the spider swarms this wasn’t needed as every surface seems to be some part of some spider of some unnatural dimension. I’m still a little freaked out by the experience.
I really liked the look of the scorpions once they were finished. I can see them causing no end of trouble for dungeon crawling adventurers. Guess I better write something up for Kublacon.
I think I’ll start the rats next.