Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Vahn Oberon

One of my main antagonists for the Witchfire Trilogy Vahn Oberon is now done!

Normally I would use this space to editorialise a bit about the model I just painted but it's hard to talk about who this guy is without spoiling some of the details of the adventure I'm going to be running.  To stick to the basics Vahn Oberon is a wizard living in Corvis in the Iron Kingdoms campaign setting.

That does it for me for 2013, tomorrow; the year in review!


Sunday, 29 December 2013

Church Of Morrow

Father Dumas is now done!
I experimented with a new way of doing off-white robes and it almost/mostly worked out the way I wanted.  In hindsight I should have washed each section individually and then moved on to the next section after the first dried but that's a lesson for next time.

My two key representatives for the Church Of Morrow will be Father Dumas and his young acolyte to be named later.

So far so good, now off to work on a villain or two!


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Up On A Soapbox: Now Hiring Wizards, No Experience Required

I've been a role-player and a miniature gamer for almost 30 years now and in that time I've been able to find miniatures for almost everything I could possible need for a fantasy RPG no matter how bizarre (half-orc monk?  yep I've got that) but in spite of that there is one figure that I feel has consistently eluded me; the low level human male wizard.

There are literally hundreds of 25-30mm male human wizard figures out there but they all seem to either be old-men patterned after Lord Of The Rings wizards which just doesn't gel with my idea of how a low-level wizard would look, or they are "battle" wizards armed and armoured in a way that doesn't really work for a Pathfinder or D&D game.  Ironically as soon as you start looking at elf or female human figs there seem to be a lot of good choices but I can't seem to find a human male that fits the bill.

I can't tell if my problem is that I'm being overly specific or if my problem is that what I want isn't what other players and GMs want but I would love to find a half-dozen or so male human wizards that don't look like high-level bad-asses.

Anybody out there have any suggestions?  Anybody out there encountered the same problem?  Anybody out there have their own "why can't I find this?" type of figure?


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Witchfire Trilogy Prep in the home stretch! (WIP)

I'm excited about this.  I have 11 more models I need to get done and then I'm ready to run the first session of my Witchfire Trilogy game!  There are a couple of other figures I would like to get done but these represent the last of what needs to be done before my players hit the table.

First up I have three of the primary NPCs for the game.  Left to right are; Father Dumas (the PCs patron), Alexia Ciannor (the objective for lack of a better way to put it) and Vahn Oberron (who is really just not a nice guy).  I'm hoping to get Father Dumas and Vahn Oberron painted before Christmas mostly because that's the time line I set for myself, I'm also stoked to get Alexia done but she is less of an urgent need.

Next up are some figures that will be doing double duty in my 'classic monsters' game as well as The Witchfire Trilogy; Pathfinder Goblins!  I can't say enough about theses figures, as a longtime D&D player I've used tons of goblin miniatures over the years but with the exception of Games Workshop goblins they've all lacked character, and the problem with Games Workshop goblins is just that they are definitively Games Workshop and somehow feel out of place in other settings.  The goblin is the iconic Pathfinder monster and they have a ton of background and are really a lot more interesting than 'orc-light' which is how they are frequently portrayed in other games.  These are Reaper Miniatures that were sculpted by Chris Fitzpatrick (of Crocodile Games).

And last but not least a peek into the possible future.  The collected edition of the Witchfire Trilogy that I got has 2 bridging adventures to create a bit more of a campaign flow.  In the first bridging adventure the PCs may encounter one or both of the beasts below.  I'll keep my explanation brief so as not to ruin anything for my players but after a fairly typical high-fantasy game with wizards and monsters and stuff in the first bridge the PCs get their first real taste of the Iron Kingdoms setting when they have an encounter with a Steamjack.

I've got another "Up On A Soapbox" coming tomorrow but it will be less my view stuff in the game industry and more or a casual observation followed by a request for some help.


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Up On A Soapbox: badly sculpted vs badly designed

The other night I assembled and primed 2 more Iron Kingdoms figures for my upcoming Witchfire trilogy game and I found myself having an odd thought "these figures are really well sculpted...but kind of badly designed...huh...never seen that before..or have I?"

Anyone who's collected miniatures for any length of time will have unfortunately ended up with some poorly sculpted figs (details too shallow, arms that run off into bodies, proportions that are just wrong, etc) it's pretty common and is happily pretty easy to avoid.  But what's a lot more rare is when you get a beautiful, well-sculpted figure with lots of great texture and detail but still suffers from some sort of critical design flaw you just can't get past.

So, I assembled Father Dumas and Vahn Oberon the other night and was immediately struck by the fact that neither of these guys have feet!  Now to be fair they're both sculpted with long flowing robes that would for the most part conceal their feet but each of them has an area where the left foot (oddly the same on both figures should be visible.  On Father Dumas the left side of his robe is slightly raised...but there is no foot underneath, on Vahn Oberon the back left side of the robe is slightly raised...but still no foot.  Honestly I like both of these figures (you should see them painted before Christmas) so I kept looking at them trying to justify in my own mind why they're sculpted this way, but I really just ended up making it worse for myself.  When you trace Father Dumas' leg outlines through his robes it starts to look like he's got some weird knock-kneed stance going on and rather than conveying a sense of movement it looks like his robe is getting blown up from underneath a-la Marilyn Monroe (which doesn't really seem appropriate for a priest).  Vahn is slightly better but his legs are posed like he is walking to his right while he's twisted at the waist significantly to his left and his staff is pointed at a roughly 90 degree angle to the left of his body while his eyes are turned roughly 45 degrees to the left...it's not awful....it's just weird.

Neither of these figures is so bad that the odd design choices are a deal-breaker for me but it got me thinking; how many other figures are out there that are well sculpted but oddly or illogically designed?
Any thoughts?


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Get by with a little help from my friends

When I was younger (teens and early 20s) I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons.  When I was playing a lot, and in school for that matter, I had tons of friends who played and we all had similar schedules and availabilities.  Since I've gotten older (I won't say more mature) the biggest struggle with RPGs I've had is getting a group of 4-6 friends who can all find the same time so sit together around a table and play.  When D&D 4th edition got released I really wanted to try it out so I decided to just get together with the 2 friends who were immediately available and play.  The challenge wasn't scaling the adventure back for 2 characters, I found the challenge was making sure that the adventure could be completed with the 'roles' that the characters fulfilled, this was further complicated by both players choosing to play wizardy characters (so no fighting, sneaking or healing in the group).  My Band-Aid fix to the problem was to have an NPC fighter and an NPC cleric accompany them on their adventures, although this was a workable solution over time it lead to an almost comedic need to constantly replace the 2 NPCs who were getting killed by the players choices and circumstances.

So fast forward to 2014 when I'm kicking off my Witchfire game.  I will again be running a small (2-3 players) group but this time one of the first players to commit has chosen to be a fighter so that's one key role filled.  The only other role that is essential in my opinion to a low-level Pathfinder group is a healer of some sort so I realised if another player doesn't choose that role I will have to dip back into the NPC pool, but this time I don't want the adventuring NPCs to represent a pool of Hit Points to be expended when the PCs don't want to risk themselves.  To this end I've decided to write and paint up a non-adventuring type of Cleric who may (if necessary) accompany the PCs on the adventure.

Basically our intrepid (yet to be named) Cleric is a young acolyte who although academically well  versed and knowledgeable is not a fearless walking spell-casting tank to supplement the party in combat.  If you think of the character Carl from Van Helsing you're probably not too far off.

The miniature is another from the Rusted Heroes line and was perfect for what I had in mind.  He certainly doesn't look like an Iron Kingdoms bad-ass warcaster/priest but that's exactly what I was trying to avoid so I'm happy.  The paint job was super-basic this time out, monk's robes and next to no gear lends itself pretty well to quick paint jobs.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Return to Mirkwood!

About a year and a half ago I started painting up an Elf force to play through the Fall Of The Necromancer Campaign for Lord Of The Rings with my friend Stan.  We played through a couple of scenarios but then real life got in the way, I started working in a different area, and we got a little derailed. 

Earlier this week Games Workshop posted their pre-order info for their new Hobbit miniatures and there were a TON of awesome new elf figures.

I want to get a pile of these but I'm putting it off for a week or two and in addition to showing what I'll be painting next I thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about why I'm deferring my purchases slightly and my thoughts on miniature pricing (trust me, it goes hand-in-hand).

When new figures come out, especially from Games Workshop or Privateer Press the first thing that usually happens is a bunch of people jump up and start moaning about the prices.  Now I wouldn't make a statement as ridiculous as saying price is irrelevant but lets keep in mind what exactly we're talking about here; miniature war gaming is a first-world luxury purchase based pastime, no one is forcing you to buy more miniatures or to replace the old miniatures you already own, those are your choices.  Having said that I found myself thinking the new elves we're a bit too pricey for me and I probably wouldn't buy them...that thought actually caught me off-guard, I've never decided not to buy something solely based on price before, where did that idea come from?  And that's when I realised why I thought they were too expensive, because I still have a bunch of unpainted elf figures.  It has nothing to do with price difference from last year, or figure counts in boxes, it just felt like bad value to me because I still had stuff for that collection I wasn't already getting full use out of.  It's funny how all the figures I've gotten use out of feel like great value for my money but all the ones sitting unpainted in boxes feel like a waste, huh?

So to that end I'm going to paint my last 16 unpainted Lord Of The Rings Elves (shown below) and then I'm going to get started on the new Hobbit Elves.

Anybody else out there excited about the new Hobbit miniatures?


Thursday, 28 November 2013

She started out as as skeptic, but now...

The third member of my initial Threshold team for Strange Aeons is Dianna Skully.  I picked her colour scheme and look based on Dana Scully from the X-Files slightly re imagined as a pulp period character.

I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted a mix of skill types for my characters and Dianna is filling the academic role.  This is a tough character in the game to develop because her lack of combat skills and upgrades has made her survivability (through my first 3 games anyway) quite poor but she hasn't yet developed the skills to be particularly useful as a treasure seeker/researcher.  I did catch one lucky break early on, she sustained a major injury in her first game and got a lucky roll on the recovery chart so she is now basically fearless.

So far I'm happy with what I have but I think I need to add 2 types of figures to this collection so I have some other choices when I inevitably need a replacement for a fallen team member.  First I need at least one and hopefully two generic armed men in suits as replacement Threshold agents if I want another combat oriented character, secondly I need to paint up a couple of legitimately academic looking (students, professors) characters so that I can potentially replace a single fallen Threshold agent with multiple cheaper civilian characters.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Two war buddies with the Innsmouth Look

Over the years my gaming hobby has had a strange relationship with H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos.  I've always been a fan of the background and I've read all of Lovecraft's better known works but even though Call Of Cthulhu is one of those RPGs that's been around for ever I have only ever played it once, and that was about 20 years ago.  I'm not sure why it's never been a game system or setting that I've used but I suspect a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm not entirely convinced nameless horror and not being sure if you're going insane or not works well with a group dynamic.

Fast forward to now and there is a new way to game Cthulhu, Strange Aeons, a skirmish miniature game that none-the-less has some narrative and story telling elements anchored in Cthulhu mythology.  In preparation for my first games I dug through my backlog (by the way the one thing it turns out I don't have a lot of is 'pulp' miniatures) and I came up with these 2 figures to represent my first two Threshold Agents.

For my first 3 Threshold Agents (the third one should be done tomorrow) I took a mix of skill types and equipment.  My leader is Rick O'Connell (the guy with the 2 pistols) and he's an all-round solid fighter type who is brave and decent at either ranged or close combat.  His buddy Nigel Bottomtooth will eventually be filling a sniper role on my team, I say eventually because until he's acquired another skill or two he's actually nothing special with that rifle.  My final team member is more of a scholar but we'll cover her tomorrow.

If you're considering another skirmish game I would definitely give Strange Aeons a look.  The rules are balanced and there are some interesting scenarios in there.  My only knock against it would be that starting out it isn't really possible to end up with any characters that feel like the hero or protagonist of a story...but maybe that's really kind of the point.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Blood Angels: Beginning my Tactical Squads

I started work on my first 3 Tactical Marines a few days ago and thought I'd show how things start.

The plan is to do 2 Tactical Squads and I'm hoping to make 12 of the 14 bolter armed marines I need out of the simple 3 piece figs from the old 3 pack of marines.  I've tracked down 9 so far so I just need to get my grubby hands on 3 more and I'm set.
There are 3 reasons I've decided to use these figures to fill out the squads:
1.  Call me a traditionalist but I actually like the poses.
2.  After my recent trauma with plastic figures falling apart on me I'm not excited to assemble the 10 separate pieces to make each bolter armed trooper.
3.  I'm being lazy.

The basic process I've used starting all my red Blood Angels figures is 3 steps before I do any detail work:

1.  Clean and assemble all the figures

2.  Thoroughly undercoat every figure in black

3.  Spray on a light coat of Army Painter Pure Red Spray

The reason I undercoat black and then spray the red as opposed to the more traditional (when using coloured sprays approach) just spray a heavier coat of red to do double duty as paint and primer is I like the somewhat uneven look using the red spray over a black primer gives me.  It looks more like the armour itself is actually painted red and less like it's been cast from a red armoured material.

My next 3 steps should be showing up here in a day or two.


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Orc Characters

These are the 2 pig-faced Orc characters I have done so far.

Not much to say here, obviously one is a fighter type and one is a shaman/wizard.

I think I'll be starting something a little different tomorrow.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Ex Illis....some mixed feelings

As part of my ongoing prep for my Witchfire Trilogy campaign I realised there would be a number of occasions where I would need figures for members of the city watch.  These are basically men-at-arms wearing heavy armour and armed with halberds.  I got a copy of Ex Illis a couple of years ago so I already had the perfect figures on hand and I'd been looking for an excuse to paint them for a little while.

Once I dug these guys out I started going through all my Ex Illis stuff and getting really excited again.  The game has great figures and a fantastic plastic tabletop as well as a cool setting with lots of neat stuff.  I got so excited about the figures that when I was done putting together my men-at-arms I threw together this Decurion (an angelic army general) to lead my forces.

By way of a coincidence Ex Illis (which was discontinued about 18-24 months ago) is re-launching via a Kickstarter campaign.  The great thing about the re-launch is that this time they are going to publish a rulebook so you don't need an iPad to play the game.  I don't want to turn this into another discussion about the many reasons I'm not a fan of Kickstarter (support your local retailer by the way) but I do have to point out that this particular Kickstarter seems even more ridiculous than most.
Basically the only new product included in ANY of the Kickstarter packages is the rulebook, every other incentive or add-on or whatever is a model that existed before and has probably been sitting in a warehouse for a year. 
I say my feelings are mixed because I am still genuinely excited to be painting Ex Illis models again and I intend to support the game once I can make my purchases through a brick and mortar retailer again but this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me question whether crowd-funding is actually doing anything for us (you know us; the crowd) or if it's just become a low risk way for game companies to sell us products? 


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Judge Death

I said it would a bad guy and Judge Death is just about the baddest guy to ever square off against Judge Dredd.

I got this figure years ago as part of a bundle with a bunch of other Judges from Wargames Foundry and at the time I really wasn't interested in models for the dark judges at all.  Now here I sit years later wishing I had bought all 4 of them.

I basically did him up in the same colour scheme as the regular judges I just added in a bit of bone on his armour and painted his flesh in a more necrotic tone.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Pig Faced Orcs...better late than never....

Well my plan to enter Strategies Games & Hobbies painting contest was foiled by what is fast becoming one of my main adversaries...going to the post office.

Two of three projects got finished but never actually got packed and sent so boo to me.  They are however hosting their Secret Santa event again this year and that was so much fun that I'm definitely doing it again.  I express shipped my entry last year but an event like that is too good to pass up.

Anyhow today I'm showing off 4 of the pig-faced Orcs from Otherworld.  These guys were painted alongside a more heavily armoured leader-type but I'm holding him back to show alongside the  Orc wizard figure I also got.

Hopefully I'll get my first dozen agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. done today!


Monday, 4 November 2013

Knight Of The Rose

I finished up my Knight Of The Rose from Fantization tonight.  The original plan was that he was going to stand in for Captain Helstrom in the Witchfire Trilogy but now that he's done I feel that he looks too young and once again not steampunky enough.

In spite of that I think he's a great looking figure and I'm really happy with how he turned out.  I'm not sure when I'll use him for a game but next time I'm a player (rather than a GM) in a fantasy RPG I might use him.  I'd say probably close to 50% of all the characters I've ever played in fantasy RPGs looked like this fig.


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween Hero....sort of

Happy Halloween everybody!

To me Halloween typically means two things; creepy undead, and people dressing up as their favourite characters.  So tonight's entry is a little bit of both.

Supreme Zed is a villainous character from the Pulp City superhero miniature game.  The character is basically a cross between Bizzaro and Frankenstein and he is another member of the Necroplane faction (of which my earlier Sunguine figure is also a member).  By the box art Zed is meant to be a completely different colour scheme but I couldn't resist painting him up in Superman's colours.

I had one other Halloween inspired late addition on my painting table that didn't get done today but I may just roll him out later this weekend.  Even though I wanted him as part of a Halloween post that doesn't change the fact that I don't have enough Judge Dredd bad guys yet, and this one certainly is a bad guy.


Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Devil's Night Devil

I mentioned this morning that I decided to add something to my painting mix for the week.

I've had this figure kicking around for 4-5 years and truth be told I have no plans to use it for any game anytime soon but it suddenly hit me today that I'm not using Halloween the way I usually do to motivate me to do a project so I figured I'd shoehorn this (and tomorrow's fig as well) in to make me feel like I participated hobby-wise in the holiday.

So it might be obvious but for 'Devil's Night' I've painted the devil-looking-demon from the Helldorado Demons starter box.  I got a bunch of Helldorado miniatures when they first came out and I think most of them are fantastic but the ones that really drew me in were the various "damned" figures in the demon line.  Not being familiar with the game rules at the time I bought the figures I also bought the starter box for my chosen faction but because none of the figs in that box really excited me I never painted any of them until today.

This devilish looking fellow seems like he would serve as a great stand in for a lot of different games but somehow I can't escape the weird feeling that I've painted a figure so I can wargame Tenacious D videos......


The final Thrall...seriously....I mean it this time....

I finished up my Thrall from the last Hobby Grab Bag, and shortly thereafter a thought that should have occurred to me before finally hit me; I've painted 4 of these...I should have just painted a whole unit.  But in any event I'm going to move away from the Thralls for a bit.

This guy is a great fit with the first 2 Thralls I did in terms of size and style (love those swords), but I love the fact that they are nonetheless distinct and different as RPG figures always look out of place to me if they are overly repetitive.

Same colours and techniques used here as for the others.

I may (hopefully) by posting another fig here tonight that was not something I was planning on doing but decided on this morning on a lark.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Hobby Grab Bag: More Fantasy and Superstuff!

I've been "away" for awhile but wanted to show 3 of the 4 new projects I've been working on and share my thought on a couple of others....

First up I've decided to replace one of the Thralls I just painted for my Witchfire Trilogy game.  When I looked at the 3 models I had done together the smallest one really didn't fit in with the other two.  The size wasn't really the issue what I noticed stood out was how the swords looked on the other two with their glowing runes and realised that having one model without was going to look out of place.  So I've got a bit more work to do on this fig and then he'll join the team.

Next is another fantasy fig I'm not still not sure if I'm going to use or not.  The figure is a knight from Fantiaztion's "Rusted Heroes" line.  It's a skirmish fantasy game that I don't know anyone who plays but it was on discount at one of my local retailers so it gave me the chance to pick up some knight and cleric models on the cheap.  I'm considering him as a Captain Helstrom model (again for the Witchfire trilogy) but the absence of a pistol or any other techie bits makes me a bit hesitant.  At any ate he's a cool figure so whether or not he makes it into that game I'm sure I'll be happy when I finish painting him.

Here's a thought most gamers have experienced at one time or another; you walk out of a movie theatre and your first thought is "boy I sure would like to game that movie/battle/scene/etc".  After seeing the trailer (JUST THE TRAILER!) for Captain America: The Winter Soldier I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to game a big throw-down between the forces or order and chaos in the Marvel Universe at least once.  So I've decided to re-base and touch up every SHIELD agent figure I can get my hands on.....now if only I can get an actual Winter Soldier figure somewhere....
*Incidentally for those of you unfamiliar with the Heroclix line I think this is the first time I've ever posted a 'before' picture.  You can see the paint jobs are serviceable but will look out of place as-is next to actual painted figures.

I also want to touch on a couple of other irons not-quite in the fire yet.
I'm really eager to continue work on my Blood Angels but after my plastic cement fiasco of a couple of weeks ago I'm not super-excited about the idea of gluing together a bunch of 10+ part tactical marine models.  I had decided to ease myself back in by buying some of the boxes of 3 plastic marines with bolters (which are simple 3 part models) only to find they are now special order only.  So I will be doing up some tactical marines after I'm able to get my hands on some of the simpler style models.
Warlord Games has just released their new Judge Dredd Miniatures rules, so I will also be getting cracking on getting those done ASAP.

A lot going on hopefully I'll have some completed models to show for some of this before the end of the week!


Monday, 14 October 2013


In my recent digging for figures to use in my Iron Kingdoms/Pathfinder game I've come up with a few perfect fits and a few near misses.

In one of the bridging adventures the players are retained by (and may end up fighting) a character who is attired heavily in black leather and doesn't appear to carry any weapons.  Although Privateer makes a model for the character I figure it's only 50/50 whether or not he ends up being a combat encounter to I figured I'd look in the old backlog to see if I had a reasonable substitute.  It didn't take long for me to find a Pulp City super-villain who looked pretty good for the part but once I started painting him I just felt he was missing 'something' (honestly, I still don't know what) to make him feel like a steampunk-fantasy miniature.  I decided to push ahead and get him done anyway in case I ever circle back around to Pulp-City and he came with a cool zombie-French bulldog.

His name is Sanguine, he's a vampire partnered up with some alien invasion guys in Pulp City so I'm not sure if he'll ever get used but he seems like a handy sort to have around.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp, therefore....

Back to the D&D "classics" today.  I got my 2 Rust Monsters from Otherworld Miniatures finished.

When I first got into role-playing I started with the old D&D Basic Set 'Red Box'.  The player's guide in there kicked off with a solo adventure where the big baddy towards the end was a Rust Monster.  Ever since then I've felt that the Rust Monster was a fairly iconic D&D Monster even though I don't recall it making a single appearance in any other published TSR novels or adventures.

After looking at the D&D pre-paints I had on hand of the Rust Monsters (which were WAY too small to use) and consulting the Monster Manual I found that Rust Monsters are meant to be a mostly tan colour, honestly that look just didn't work for me.  Instead I decided that if Rust Monsters eat rust (basically) they should be more rust-coloured.

I started off by coating the entire model in a thin coat of Mephiston Red (mostly so it would settle in the crevices) and then dry-brushed the entire model Mournfang Brown.  After that a wash of Agrax Earthsahde and once that was dry I went back and applied a second wash of Baal Red on just the torso.  Picked out the details and then they're done!


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Alexia's Triumvirate of Thralls done!

Alexia's final (for now) Thrall is done!

Yet another cool Reaper miniature that I bought years ago without really knowing what I was ever going to use it for and now it's ready to saddle up and play some games!

Next stop on the Witchfire train will be Alexia herself and then I need some waterlogged zombies and a Thrullg.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Alexia's Thrall Army grows!

Quick update on my pig-faced-orcs; the five trooper models are done but I've decided to refrain from showing them here until they make their appearance at Strategies Games & Hobbies.  Having said that I do have a 6th pig-faced-orc (the wizard) who will be getting finished up this week and then he'll be posted.

This weekend between assembling and priming my Rust Monsters I got another Thrall done.  I've been reading my way through The Witchfire Trilogy and I have to say it has me pretty excited to run some games in that setting.

Today's Thrall is the smallest of the three and also has the least amount of details.  Regardless he still has a lot of texture on his armour and he turned out fairly well.

A few more RPG figures and then I think I might finish some Judges on Lawmasters.


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Hobby Grab Bag: It's all about roleplaying

This week in the grab bag I'll show a bunch of the next batch of RPG figs I'll be working on for both my Pathfinder game and Strategies Games & Hobbies painting contest.

First up my Alexia Ciannor figure.  This is one of those things that will be doing double duty because she is both the central character in The Witchfire Trilogy and she is a unit leader (sort of) for Warmachine's Mercenary faction.  Although the Privateer Press model for Alexia is pretty cool I've had this great Confrontation figure for years (probably more than 10 years at this point) that I knew I wanted to use for something and she's a perfect fit for Alexia.  I can't remember her name (package is LONG gone) but she was a variant of a named character for the Griffin faction for Confrontation.

Next up 2 more Thralls for Alexia.  As much as I swore I'd get away from doing undead for RPGs for awhile Alexia has some power and control over them so when it comes to gaming The Witchfire Trilogy I will need a bunch of undead figures that fit with the look of the Iron Kingdoms and I'm trying not to have them look all piratey.

And last but not least, the start of my pig-faced-orcs.  I have the day off tomorrow so if all goes to plan these will get finished tomorrow and then I might, emphasis on 'might' have enough time to do a third entry for the Immortal Brush Competition.  I just started these guys but much like my gnolls the figures are so crisp and well textured that they are super easy to paint.

That's it for now, got to put a rush on the orcs but those other figs probably won't resurface again for several weeks, I've also got some more Blood Angels waiting for my attention around here somewhere.....


Saturday, 28 September 2013

A new thrall joins the fray

After typing my post the other day about starting work on some miniatures for The Witchfire Trilogy I decided to go digging through my figures to see what I already had on hand and what I would need to get ordered up.

I was quite pleased to find that I had 3 Reaper figs that would excellent Thralls for Alexia.  The first one of these got primed and painted in about an hour.

I'll show you the other 2 tomorrow in my next 'grab bag' installment and I also found an old Confrontation figure that is perfect for Alexia Ciannor herself.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Fourth Gnoll and thoughts on a Pathfinder game

Today I finished the fourth of my five gnolls, the fifth one is going to go on the back burner for a little while for two reasons; first I need to get moving on those pig-faced orcs if I want to get them done on-time and secondly because the final gnoll has some demonic elements on her and I want to get a corresponding demon figure of some sort and paint it to match.

Today's gnoll is the group's leader; the ranger.  I really enjoyed this figure because much like the other gnolls in this line (Chainmail) he has a lot of texture which makes more detailed figures incredibly easy to paint.  As I mentioned earlier I went for a slightly browner tone on his red fur but other than that his hair and fur are very similar to the gnoll cleric from a few days ago.

I have started collecting and painting figures for 2 separate Pathfinder projects.  The first as I mentioned is my 'classic monsters' game which will basically be a one-off dungeon crawl over the holidays featuring the who's who of classic D&D monsters.  In addition to that I have decided to get organised and commit to running a 12 part Pathfinder campaign in 2014.  I had the opportunity to do a lot of gaming this year but very little on the RPG side so I'm going to plot out a series of linked games and run them once a month next year.  For that I have decided to use The Witchfire Trilogy by Privateer Press as my foundation, played using the Pathfinder system.

This means that at some point (probably November-ish) the classic monsters will give way to some Warmahordes and pseudo-Warmahordes figures for role-playing.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Walter The Wobot

One of the things I've recently been finding funny about both pop-culture fandom and the rise of nerd-culture in popularity is how some of us see (or remember) things we really liked in our youth.

The best example I can give from my younger days is when the first 'modern' Batman movie came out staring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson there were loads of people who were suddenly comic fans talking about how Tim Burton had finally given Batman the dark presentation the comics had always had, which was really ONLY true if your entire exposure to Batman at the time was the comics Frank Miller had written.  Fast forward a few years and I see the same thing applied all over the place, my personal favourite example being the unfortunately bad reception the movie Punisher: Warzone received.  That movie was very true to the tone of Punisher comics in the 80s and early 90s, the Punisher himself was incredibly violent and dark but almost everything that happened around him was pretty ridiculous.

But what does this have to do with miniatures I've been painting?

Well, here's the thing, earlier this year Judge Dredd fans like myself got to enjoy the awesome Dredd 3D (by the way you should all go out and buy a copy of Dredd 3D) and almost immediately everyone began spitting on the grave of the 90s Stallone Judge Dredd movie.  First up, let me be perfectly honest as a movie goer and a Judge Dredd fan I did (and still do) think that movie was (and still is) awful, but having said that it gets beat up a lot for things that really weren't wrong.  Case in point; Rob Schneider.  A lot of things in that movie just didn't belong (romantic side-story, ABC Warriors, Dredd not wearing his helmet, etc) but as an ACTUAL fan of Judge Dredd and 2000AD comics I thought Rob Schneider was great.  Most people forget that Judge Dredd is not a dark, gritty view into the future...it's a satire of those exact things, and as such it has certain characters who highlight the ridiculousness of the setting as a whole.

Enter Walter The Wobot.
Walter The Wobot is a robot with a speech impediment that functions as Judge Dredd's valet and provides some comic relief.  Walter frequently tries to do the right thing but it turns out wrong due to either his own ineptitude or the unfairness of the world in which he operates (sound like any movie character we were just talking about?)   I don't know how necessary a miniature of Walter is for gaming Judge Dredd but he's an awesome character and a great fig so I had to paint him up.

Also, it means I didn't technically break my own rule about skipping ahead on new Judge Dredd models.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Third Gnoll

(I bet you thought I forgot about these guys)

There can be a lot of different motivators to get a hobby project done.  Sometimes people rush to get something done for a tournament or campaign, sometimes people are trying to get something done for a painting contest, sometimes it's an RPG and sometimes it's because you can't let yourself start "the next thing" until you finish "the last thing".  And so I circle back around to my gnolls.

Just the other day I received the next batch of figures for my planned 'classic monsters' fantasy RPG (I've firmly decided I'm definitely going to use the Pathfinder rules) which consisted of 6 Pig-Faced Orcs and 2 Rust Monsters from Otherworld Miniatures.  These figs look AMAZING and I can't wait to get started on them but I can't bring myself to get going on them until my gnolls are done.

To that end I painted the third of my 5 gnolls, this one is the cleric of the group.  Following my friend Darren's suggestion I went with grey skin and red fur for a straight from the Monster Manual look.

I think it turned out pretty well, but for the next fig I'm definitely going to go for more of a brown-red for the fur.

If I can get the other 2 gnolls done this weekend I think I'll take a crack at doing the Pig-Faced Orcs as my fantasy unit entry in the Immortal Brush Competition!


...oh, and one other thing.  In the same order as the Otherworld fantasy figs I also got 4 of the new Judges on Lawmasters from Mongoose/Warlord.  That means that the same fire that got lit under my butt to finish those gnolls might also get me to finish my last 10 Judges on Lawmasters from the previous generation of Mongoose miniatures.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Immortal Brush Entry 1: DONE!

Part 1 of my 3 part plan to enter Strategies Games & Hobbies Immortal Brush Tournament has gone according to plan (which is great because part 2 fell apart.. literally, more on that later).  I did some touch-ups and changed the colour of the body armour on 5 of my space fascists and I'm quite satisfied.

I added highlights to the eye-lenses on the gas masks, cleaned up the bases a bit and repainted the body armour a MUCH lighter shade of gray (Dawnstone vs Skavenblight Dinge).  The overall effect is quite striking but unfortunately doesn't photograph particularly well (still being multiple shades of gray).  This will now be my new paint scheme for my space fascists and when time presents itself I will be going back and bringing my other finished figs from this collection up to date with these colour changes.

I'm glad part 1 went well because as I mentioned part 2 fell apart, those Celt figures actually fell apart while they were sitting untouched on my painting table.  I had assembled 3 units last week (5 Celts, 5 Sanguinary Guard and 6 new Greatcoat troopers) and when I came home from work that night I found them standing stock still with various arms, weapons and upper torsos just lying next to them.  The culprit appears to be my plastic cement because all the damaged figures had globs of the stuff crusted on the busted joints but none of it appears to have actually melted and fused the plastic.

I'm undecided at this point if I'm going to build another 5 Celts using a different glue, or if I might just pick a different unit altogether.

Stay tuned and find out!


Thursday, 19 September 2013


I got some more Teen Titans Heroclix packs today so I thought before I go full bore into my paint contest entries I'd do a bit of touch-up work to knock out a quick project.

One of the Wildstorm characters that has found a new home in DCs New 52 is Caitlin Fairchild; formerly of Gen13, currently of The Ravagers.  One of the things that is cool about the Teen Titans set is that it includes both a "classic" Gen13 version of Fairchild as well as a New 52 version in new costume.  In addition one of the things that worked out well for me is that I got 2 of the Gen13 version (which I prefer) and 1 of The Ravagers version, so I can have one of each for Heroclix games while still having an extra one to chop up and re-paint for my other superhero games.

I'm fairly happy with how my repaint turned out, although I wish I had noticed that rough spot on her leg before I took the picture instead of afterwards.  This will give me another "brick" type hero for my games.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Hobby Grab Bag - Painting Contest & Another Blood Angel!

Hi all,

I've been a bit scatter shot hobby-wise again but I'm doing 2 (maybe 3) projects with a hard deadline of October 1st.

I've decided to participate in the Immortal Brush Competition at Strategies Games & Hobbies in Vancouver BC.  I'll be entering 2 categories for sure (5 man squad sci-fi/modern and 5 man squad fantasy/historical) and hopefully a 3rd (one of the large model categories time permitting).

For my sci-fi/modern entry I've decided to go a slightly different route than usual.  I'm going to take some figs that I speed painted awhile back and fix them up to a higher standard of painting.  I'll be starting with 5 of my space fascists from Wargames Factory's Greatcoat Troopers box.  I've been planning on these multi-use figures standing in for Bauhaus in Warzone and Viridians in VOID/Urban War, they could also work as Imperial Guard in Warhammer 40,000.
The picture below is how they looked when I pulled them out of my figure case this morning...not bad but definitely not paint contest worthy.  They'll probably get finished first because they represent the least amount of work.

Next up are 5 Celt Warriors from Warlord Games Celts box.  I've wanted to do historical gaming of this era forever but the amount of stuff I would have to paint has always seemed quite daunting.  Lately a few of my friends have discovered some skirmish level games that might work so and old idea has become new again!  These will get done second because I do want to get them finished and I think my best shot in a paint competition will always be "unit" categories because that doesn't seem to be where the elite painters enter.

And last up I am 90% done my next Blood Angel, the Librarian from Space Hulk.  This is just a continuation of my ongoing effort to get an actual Blood Angels army done in 2013.  I might actually also use the large model category in the painting competition to get a larger Blood Angels model done (like a dreadnought) but if that's the case I'll definitely have to run out and buy one this week.

There you have it, bit of a mess but I'm enjoying it!


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Commander Dante

My first special character (do they still call them that anymore?) for my Blood Angels is done; Commander Dante.

I've always really liked the Dante and Tycho figures with their angelic gold battle armour and Blood Angels iconography but I have to admit in this case I painted the figure because I wanted one of the benefits he provides to the army list.  By taking Dante as an HQ choice Sanguinary Guard become Troops which gives me access to more jump pack equipped forces to fill my Troops slots while also allowing me to take more Terminators in my Elite slots.

This particular Dante is one of the Citadel Finecast line.  The great thing about Finecast is it's nice and light but captures deep and subtle details really well.


Monday, 2 September 2013

Sgt Lorenzo and 1st squad finished!

Sgt Lorenzo ended up taking me almost as long as the 4 troopers under his command to paint but I think he was worth it.  The sarge is a great looking figure with tons of fantastic Blood Angels iconography and I think he'll look amazing on the table top.

Now that his entire squad is done I thought I'd get them to all pose together for a group shot.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The REAL firepower

No Terminator squad would be complete without an Assault Cannon armed trooper.

The assault cannon has been my favourite weapon in 40K for years, it's terrific at tearing up lightly armoured infantry and in different iterations of the rules it has even been effective against vehicles.

Next up Sgt Lorenzo and then it's time to get started on another unit.


Monday, 26 August 2013

Knock knock....

Today the chainfist armed Terminator has joined the squad.  In the original background the chainfist was mostly intended as a tool for penetrating bulkheads and pressure doors but has since become possibly the most popular secondary Terminator weapon available.

Next up...Assault Cannon!


Thursday, 22 August 2013

The march of the Blood Angels continues!

Got my second Terminator done this morning.  No radical deviations from yesterday's fig but he does represent progress.  I've got to say now that I'm painting these my only regret is that the contents of Space Hulk weren't slightly more geared to making a second proper Terminator squad.  Having said that I'm still super-excited by how each figure is unique and different.

Looking forward to moving on to the chainfist armed figure next!


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My first Blood Angel terminator is done!

I'm using the Blood Angel Terminators I painted for Darren over the last year or so as templates/test models for my own figures.  The 2 most significant differences will be that mine are being based exclusively for 40K and will not do double duty in Space Hulk, and, I'm not painting my Librarian "Chapter Approved" colours.

My first model is one of my favourite storm-bolter armed figs from Space Hulk, the one who is crouched down and tearing up a deck plate.

I started off by priming the figure black and then after the primer was dry applying a light spray coat of Army Painter Red.  The armour was then given a wash of Agrax Earthshade before moving on.  The nice thing about the wash is it also draws your attention to areas of separation on the model and helps keep painting neatly.

Once that was dry all the metal was painted Leadbelcher and then given a Nuln Oil wash.  I also painted most of the iconography Dawnstone before giving it a Nuln Oil wash as well.  I decided on the grey tone for the skulls and eagles because in the original flavour text it mentions the icons being stone and it was typically some shade of grey in the original art.

After that I picked out some details.  Sybarite Green for the eyes with a narrow highlight of Necrotite Green through the centre.  All the blood drops were base coated Xereus Purple then highlighted Khador Red Base then washed with Agrax Earthshade before being given a final highlight of Khador Red Base.

So that is the start of my Blood Angels army.  I feel good about the colours and think I'll end up with a fairly cool looking army.

If anybody has any suggestions please feel free to send them my way.