I have a fair number of miniatures that I buy simply because I want to paint them not because I have any game use in mind. This is often the case with sculpts by Kev White. His dwarf character pieces lead to my starting an entire Kings of War army but that’s for other posts. This is about some of the wonderful female figures he has created that demanded paint as soon as I had them in hand. These examples come from his own company Hasslefree Miniatures (http://hfminis.co.uk/) as well as Reaper Miniatures (http://www.reapermini.com/). The bases are from Secret Weapon Miniatures (https://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/) as well as MicroArts Studios (http://shop.microartstudio.com/battle-bases-c-3.html).
Bunni (with a heart dotting the i)
So, there are a few of the pieces I’ve finished that were sculpted by Kev White. I hadn’t intended on focusing on his work initially but once I started going through my pictures I realized I had plenty by just him. That means I’ll have to do separate posts for the Bombshell Babes or other pirate minis I’ve been working on. Until then, it’s back to the painting table. There’s always more dwarfs to paint after all.
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 The white Bones plastic is less bendy in this campaign and has been replaced by a soft grey on a couple of sets.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.
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.
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.
I have been in love with Hasslefree Miniatures’ (http://www.hfminis.co.uk/) Scooby Doo Gang as Zombie Fighters figures since the first time I saw them. I knew if I ordered them I would find a reason to use them eventually but it wasn’t until KublaCon 2012 when I acquired a HorrorClix Undead Cosmonaut that I knew I had to make a diorama. Okay, a little clarification on my use of “acquired”. Necron99 actually picked it up as part of his Friday night flea market haul. Immediately upon seeing it, I grabbed it and said he was needed to face my Scooby Gang. Being a man who appreciates aesthetics as much as he does classic cartoons he graciously agreed to let me have the radiated figure. Then it was a a simple matter of ordering a Zombie Dog Walker and Deep Sea Diver (would need some conversion) from Reaper Miniatures and my cast was complete.
Now, if they were going to be fighting zombies, real zombies as opposed to guys in rubber masks, then their Mystery Machine would really need an upgrade. I have found that Daemonscape (http://www.daemonscape.com/index.html) is a good place to start for science fiction vehicles and after some looking around settled on the armed and armored, four track Snow Cat.
Now that I had the pieces assembled it was time to plan out the display board and start painting but that can wait for another post.