Sunday, 28 February 2016

First 2 Ravenloft Player Character models

As we close in on the early release date for Ravenloft (is it March 4th yet?) I'm working behind the scenes on the monsters and NPCs that we'll need.

Having said that I have 2 players that may or may not have models for their characters.  In any event I decided to get 2 figures done for them so we have them if we need them.  The real trick is that I needed two figures wearing scalemail, luckily Warhammer High Elves are multi-piece models (so  they're fairly easy to work with) and most of them dress in scalemail.

First up is Therien.  Therien is a wood elf cleric hailing from the Ravenloft domain of Sithicus.  For those of you unfamiliar with the setting; Sithicus is a twisted mirror slice of Ansalon from the Dragonlance campaign setting.  Therien is armed with a mace (which I couldn't find a bit for) and a crossbow.

Next up is Mark.  Mark is a human ranger from Ansalon from the Dragonlance campaign setting.  Mark uses two hand weapons and a longbow and is built entirely out of parts from the Shadow Warriors sprues.

I intentionally chose to do Therien and Mark up to look very similar for a few reasons:
1.  (practical)  I was using the Shadow Warriors as a base for both characters so whether I wanted to or not they were always going to look similar anyway.
2.  One of them is from the Dragonlance campaign setting and one of them is from a shadow version of that same setting and they are both from a woodland background so they should be somewhat similar stylistically.
3.  Everyone and everything in Ravenloft has some sort of dark secret, there are no coincidences, and this visual similarity may/will tease a later connection.


Friday, 26 February 2016

Some ramage to carry you through until next weeek

Most of my painting this past week is staying under wraps until the players in my Ravenloft game get started in a few weeks.

Having said that I did manage to wrap up a couple of figures that have been hanging out on my desk half-done for about a month or so.

First up Jon Snow from Darksword miniatures.  I haven't decided exactly what to use Jon Snow as yet and to be perfectly honest I wasn't as excited about him as I was about his pal Samwell earlier.

Jon is a perfectly adequate fantasy fighter/ranger/maybe-rogue miniature but there's nothing about the figure that truly jumps out at me.  Part of it might be the colour-scheme, but if he's a member of the Night's Watch there's not going to be much variation on that.

Next up is a Flesh Golem for Frostgrave.

This figure is also pretty basic but in this case that worked really well for me.  In the past every type of flesh golem figure I have gotten has either been monstrously large or overdone for my taste.  This one is a lot more basic which should work for me in multiple games.

I'm hoping before the weekend is out to finish two player character models that I can show for my game and possibly the count himself (hey, if he's on the module cover they can't exactly be surprised when he shows up).


Sunday, 21 February 2016

Gamma World - Gallus Gallus

The apocalypse is starting to get a bit weird around my place...

After getting ahead a bit on my Frostgrave project and deciding I'm going to hold off on posting my Ravenloft stuff until my players begin to see it I've had some time to circle back to some of my post-apocalyptic gaming stuff.

First up (for this year anyway) are the Gallus Gallus (chicken-men) for Gamma World.  These awesome figures as well as some others you should be seeing by the end of this week are from Interloper Miniatures.  Interloper has a fun range of pulp sci-fi figures that don't exist anywhere else in the market.

I will be using these guys for some games of This Is Not A Test in the near future, but before then there will be some more chicken-men and possibly some rabbit-men on the way as well.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Up On A Soapbox - A wretched hive of scum and villainy

The Internet.  Yes the punchline to my joke/comment is the Internet, but does it have to be?

I had a few of those experiences this week where I end up asking myself what the hell is wrong with some people on the Internet.  Having said that I have to call out the fact that looking back its been more than 6 months since I last found a group of people who could do with a nice tall glass of 'shut the f**k up' so maybe we're getting better?

When I decided to share my thoughts I first thought I really didn't have anything new to say and if I bothered to type all of this out I would be re-hashing old ground again, but as my thoughts took shape and I stopped to consider why I was disappointed I realised I'm starting in old familiar territory but I kind of end up somewhere new (new to me anyway).

Last night on line I was following a thread in a discussion connected to one of my current favourite miniature games.  A new person to the group asked a rules question that was very rules-lawyery but not inherently unreasonable or confrontational.  Within seconds the group split into two armed camps.  Side one took the position that if the rules don't say you can't do something than you can do it and finding these sort of opportunities in the rules are what make the game challenging and fun.  Side two took the position that the rules exploit clearly broke a part of the game and turned something that should have been simple fun and made it a rules-lawyer/power-gamer dick move.  From a personal point of view I identify more with the second group but I think that's more a question of play style than a position on what is right versus what is wrong.  But what came at the end is what really bothered me.

After a not-surprisingly hostile and immature debate from both sides one of the participants on side two declared he was leaving the group permanently because this kind of nonsense is what makes things not-fun for him.  A number of people called out the person leaving the group as being a poor loser and the memes flowed freely.  And that's when the troll (because as of now in the story he's not a person, he's a troll) who asked the initial question started doing his victory lap.  Because for a Troll the goal is never really to have a question answered, it's really just to be declared right in the eyes of his imaginary peers and to see someone else hurt and vilified for questioning him in the first place place.

Now again, I'm not naive enough to claim this is unprecedented behaviour on the Internet, but should we all just live with it?  The first sign to me that someone is being a bully is when they feel the need to constantly assert that they are NOT being a bully.  Should we all not be calling people on this kind of crap when we see it?

Years ago the NFL passed rules against excessive celebrations in the end-zone after a touch-down.  Is the Internet hobby gaming community really less civilised than the American football community?


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Blast From The Past - A Strahd for all seasons

I haven't gone back through my collection looking for older miniatures for a while but two things happened last week that made a trip to the past essential.
First up a friend of mine was looking for some painted undead for a game he is playing with his daughter and I knew I had some stuff in cases I hadn't used in a while.
Second, I started my prep work to run a new Ravenloft game so I wanted to look back at some of the stuff I had painted last time I ran a Ravenloft game.

When the much maligned 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released (which to be honest I really liked) I ran a casual group through some vaguely connected one-off adventures.  Me being me meant that there was a lot of undead and I knew that at some point The Count himself would make an appearance.  I decided on the unofficial-official Strahd Von Zarovich model from Reaper Miniatures.  I've got to say I've been a huge Ravenloft fan since the original I6 module and to this day this model stands up as one of the best interpretations of the character I've seen in a model.

I can't say enough about how good this model is.  For anyone looking for a readily available model to represent Strahd when they run Curse Of Strahd (coming out in March 2016!) I highly recommend it.  The figure doesn't lack for detail or texture but it isn't overdone.

Back to my 4th edition game.
As I was getting ready for my player's confrontation with the horrors beneath the castle Wizards Of The Coast released the Castle Ravenloft board game. I was elated!  It had floor tiles and most if not all of the miniatures I would need to run the players through my planned encounters.  The great thing about the Castle Ravenloft board game is that I came with a lot of staples of low level fantasy/horror; rats, skeletons, ghosts, gargoyles, etc  and although the models were vinyl rather than hard plastic most of them were very crisp and nice looking....most of them....

I decided to paint the "official" Strahd model that came with the game and was super-disappointed.  The figure itself is flat and uninteresting, and to boot he's actually a bit smaller than all of the various low-level minions the box came with.  The truly funny part is that when I put the Reaper model on the table NOBODY asked me who or what he was, they all knew.  But when I put Strahd from the actual game on the table everyone just wondered what he was.
Oh well.  Honestly the rest of the box contents still made this a great purchase even if the main character was a let down.

So those are the Strahds of yesteryear.  I'm working on a new Strahd model now that I really like but sadly he was gifted to me in a plain zip-lock bag so I have no idea who makes him or where he came from.  Maybe when I get him posted someone will recognise him and let me know who makes him.


Friday, 12 February 2016

And now my watch begins

In researching fantasy figures both for Frostgrave and D&D I came across Darksword Miniatures.  I'm a bit surprised I had never seen these before as they have a ton of figures inspired by the artwork of a lot of the old-school TSR artists.  Their other offer is a line of figures for the various characters from George R.R. Martin's Song Of Fire And Ice series.

I only recently started watching Game Of Thrones but I've been really enjoying it so I decided to order a few models to use where I could.  They seem like they will fit great with Frostgrave and should make good models for D&D.  I'm planning on running a Ravenloft game next month and the men of the Night's Watch in particular seemed like they would make good fits.

I decided to start with one of my favourite characters from the show Samwell Tarley.  Sam is the son of a minor noble who's father has always hated him for being fat and weak and not much good at any fighting skills.  Within 5 minutes of Sam's introduction on the show he has confessed to his new companions that he is a coward after taking a one-sided beating during a fight with practise swords.  What's great about Sam though is that he's smart and loyal and when the pressure is on he finds out he's not really a coward at all.

What I really like about this figure is that he's different from most traditional fantasy figures.  He's obviously overweight and doesn't cut a particularly dashing figure, but having said that he's not catoonishly obese of comical looking.  It's always great when you can find figures that look like 'real' people and not just high fantasy artwork.

I took a few liberties with my colour choices on Samwell.  When a man joins the Night's Watch it is traditionally referred to as "taking the black" as the Night's Watch dresses head to toe in black.  I've had a lot of experience lately with how washed out and incomplete that looks so  I decided to paint his tunic and breeches a flat green and then give them multiple thin black washes so that his clothes are almost black but still show some colour.  His dagger is also a shard of Dragonglass (obsidian) but once again I didn't want the figure to be be 100% glass so I painted it a bit more like traditional glass.

In addition to Sam a couple of days ago I finished a Mantic Zombie Troll for Frostgrave.

This unfriendly looking guy will be used for the next scenario for Thaw Of The Lichlord and then may also make an appearance in a D&D game at some point in the near future.

That's it for now.  A few more baddies for Frostgrave coming soon and I need to get started on my models for our Ravenloft game.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

And now, a more academically inclined wizard...

My Frostgrave warband has been coming along quite nicely both in terms of adding models to my collection as well as giving me constant excuses to paint new and only slightly different models.

Today I decided to circle back and update a character in my warband.  Professor Viatle has been the leader of my warband since I began the Thaw Of The Lich Lord campaign but I was never entirely happy with the miniature I was using.  When I first started the warband I had decided to use an old Lord Of The Rings model (Malbeth The Seer) but it once again fell into the 'old man with staff' look for a wizard and I'm honestly sick to death of that.

I wanted someone who looked mature but not 90+ years old and I also wanted to get away from the long robes and huge staff that most wizard figures favour.  The other concern with Frostgrave is that if I don't want to be endlessly mocked (and my fragile ego could never take that) then the figure must also look like they are equipped to deal with cold weather.

Sitting in a pile of figures I forgot I had I came across this Reaper Pathfinder model who was PERFECT for an updated version of Professor Vitale!

I love the layers on this figure, it really captures the feel of a lot of the Pathfinder artwork with characters looking like they are geared up for adventure in a utilitarian sort of way instead of a high fantasy artwork sort of way.

It was really nice to get this done because it always struck me as odd that the only figure in my warband I was never really excited about was it's leader and most powerful member.


Saturday, 6 February 2016

Dual purpose/Dual Wield

I'm playing in a Dungeon Crawl Classics game once more, this time as a thief with a short sword and an assortment of daggers.
I don't have a lot of figures that are armoured but lightly armoured in my backlog so I built something out a Bretonian man-at-arms and added some appropriate weapon arms from the Frostgrave soldier sprue.

Thus was born Jaqar; 4th level thief and member of the guild of The Grasping Hand.

The other thing that worked out about this is that I also needed a Treasure Hunter for Frostgrave and Jaqar will be doing double duty.  In Frostgrave most of the basic soldier types have 2 or 3 tiers of skill and value.  A Treasure Hunter is basic an upgraded thief,  So they're quick and lightly armoured but slightly more survivable than a starting thief and they also pack a stronger punch.

Painting one figure and getting 2 separate immediate uses out of it feels extra productive.


Friday, 5 February 2016

Reindeer Games

Frostgrave has hit on a great combination of 'classic' fantasy creatures and items mixed in with some new and truly unique stuff.

When Thaw Of The Lich Lord was first announced one of the things that got me really excited about it was the idea of the Rangifers.  The Rangifers are reindeer-men or were-reindeer or something.  Their origin is intentionally poorly defined to add to the sense of ancient mystery surrounding Felstad but they are basically bipedal intelligent reindeer that hate the undead.

The rangifers were needed for the fifth scenario in Thaw Of The Lich Lord where the two warbands encounter a fight between a group of rangifers and one of the Lich Lord's deadly Wraith Knights.

For the next scenario I'll be needing a Zombie Troll but I need to get my new Dungeon Crawl Classic character model done first.


Monday, 1 February 2016

Sellsword Captain and Les Impes!

This past weekend I finished up 4 more models for Frostgrave.  In spite of that I missed my deadline for getting my wizards done so boo me!

First up I needed a captain to join my Frostgrave warband.  There are a lot of different options for what kind of captain you can have but I wanted a fairly traditional older warrior type.  I had an extra Denethor (Boromir & Faramir's father) from Lord Of The Rings and he felt perfect.  He's wearing mail armour, armed with a sword and as a bonus has a fur-lined cloak so he felt he fit the background very well.  I went with a largely black colour scheme so he will blend in with some Darksword miniatures I'll be starting in a couple of weeks.

I also needed some Imps to add to the ever growing pile of wandering monsters.  I actually painted 5 of these same figures (on bevelled bases) last year for a D&D game but I wanted consistent basing across my Frostgrave stuff so I painted 3 new ones.  These are "Les Impes" from Ex Illis a Canadian wargame that had great figures but failed to get any traction in the market a few years ago.

Alright.  Here's my new "to-do" list  (all by Friday):
- 6 Rangifers (Frostgrave)
- The Mad Hatter (Batman Miniature Game)
- Mature Nephilim (Malifaux)

Maybe I'll get it ALL done for once