Friday, 30 March 2018

Review - Wardlings

Over the years I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with pre-painted miniature lines.
As an old school miniature gamer something has always felt slightly 'off' about pre-painted miniatures but I think they're good for the health of the hobby game industry because they remove a potential barrier for player (and GM) involvement.
Having said all that, for someone like me who does like painting miniatures a pre-painted line has to have something unique going for it to actually appeal to me personally.  Wardlings has more than one unique thing going for it.

Wardlings is a new line of pre-painted fantasy miniatures from WizKids.  the figures are packaged and scaled identically to the current WizKids Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder miniature lines and are made from the same material.

The first thing that makes Wardlings stand out is that all the characters are younger children who still look like serious adventurers.  There are lines out there that include miniatures for kids but they tend to either be chibi, cutesy animals or less serious in tone.  The Wardlings are clearly young kids but they are armed, armoured and look ready to explore a dungeon or a haunted house and stick it to evil doers.

The second thing that makes the line unique is that each pack comes with an animal companion.  I really like that some of the companions are classic animals (dog, badger, etc) while some of them are more exotic (genie, winged, snake, etc).  Small animals and well detailed familiars can be hard to come by and not only are these figures well sculpted and cast they are all also really well painted right out of the pack.

The Wardlings line is a great option for anyone running an adventure for a younger audience that still doesn't want their adventurers to be cartoonish and will also really appeal to young fans of the Spirit Animals series of books.

Although the figures are good to go right out of the packs, I'm going to re-base mine to match my existing D&D figures and may do a few touch-ups.

Personally I hope Wardlings is a success for WizKids and if they expand the line beyond these initial six packs I'll definitely get their new releases as well.


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Is anybody looking for a saviour?

Continuing with my "theme" for The Walking Dead, which at this point is just the 'No-Rick-Grimes-club' I've got three more survivors ready to put a stop to Rick's violent Ricktatorship.

For anyone following my posts but not familiar with the game there are themed factions other than Rick's Group but unfortunately due to the sequence of releases I have a hodge-podge of antagonists without a real theme.

First up I have my new leader (sorry Shane); Negan.

Negan is an absolute beast in close combat and has a leader ability that is fuelled by making an example out of his less worthwhile followers.

Sticking with that I needed to add some low point cost cannon fodder and luckily had two unaligned figures on hand.

Reggie came in the Shane pack.  I don't recall his role in the story but his role in the game will be a low cost figure that I can use to fill out a force.

Andy came in Negan's pack and will fill the same role as Reggie.  Oddly (odd to me anyway) Andy looks a lot like John McClane from the first Die Hard movie.  Unfortunately I didn't realise until I took a picture how pronounced the mold line around his head was.

Happily this gives me a few more options to build around if I play my next game before The Governor is released.


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Garkas The Warlock (final form?)

After more back-and-forth than I think I've ever put into a character or a model before I have finally settled on a build for Garkas as well as a miniature.

As soon as I decided on an arcane spell-caster I was drawn to the Warlock because it seemed more flexible and sturdy than a traditional academic wizard.  I'm pretty stoked to see how that actually plays out in the game.

In addition to Garkas I also painted up a figure to use as his familiar when he hits 3rd level (I had originally forgotten the rule and thought he got his familiar at 2nd level).  As his allegiance is to "The Fiend" I went with a Dark Imp.  For the Dark Imp I used the WizKids Gargoyle which to me honestly looks too small to use as an actual Gargoyle.

One of the things I really like about using the older plastic Marauder model is that although he is still big and buff he is now a fair bit smaller and less bulky than his armoured Dragonborn adventuring companion.

Garkas is made up of a Games Workshop plastic Chaos Marauder miniature with a studded leather breastplate sculpted on and a backpack and some accessories from the Frostgrave soldier sprue.

I've already cautioned my DM that after re-doing my character 4-5 times and re-doing the miniature 4 times if he gets Tomb Of Horrored in our first encounter I'll probably just have a complete mental breakdown during our game.

Lets all hope that doesn't happen :)


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Warlock - What I've learned (so far)...

After sharing around pictures of my figure for my Warlock the other day I got a lot of really constructive feedback.

There were issues and imperfections I was certainly already aware of but after looking at the feedback I got I decided to take another crack at it.

This time out I used a multi-part marauder as my base and started sculpting on the torso separately prior to assembly (which wasn't an option with my previous choice of model).  Once I got them side-by-side on my desk I also realised my first choice figure was HUGE, not only was he bigger and bulkier (which I was okay with) he was roughly the same size as the figure I did for a fully armoured Dragonborn Paladin, which in my mind made him now way too big.

Starting with a smaller figure and being better able to control the putty fixed a lot of the issues I had had on my first pass.  Having said that once I had him done he looked too much like a 'soldier' and not enough like an 'adventurer'. 

So I'm taking one more pass at this before I get painting.

My game isn't until Monday, I have plenty of time....


Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Warlock character WIP

Back to my comment in my last post about not having the miniature you need...for my upcoming game I've decided to play a character that I'm 99% sure a model just doesn't really exist for.

I'm going to be playing a one-off in a small group (originally 2 players, now 3).  My friend Grant chose to play a fighter-type (my previous post's Dragonborn Paladin) so I figured I should play some sort of arcane spell-caster.  Given that it's a small group I didn't want to play a stereotypical physically frail wizard so I went with a Warlock and and threw back to Fighting Fantasy using Balthus Dire as my inspiration.  Using that as a starting point I needed to hit a few key points on my miniature and my character:
1.  Physically powerful and imposing
2.  Lightly armoured (but not unarmoured)
3.  Heavily armed
Most 'martial' wizard figures are armed with fancy swords but I wanted more brutal simple weapons in line with the actual rules for D&D.

So, I decided to do a conversion and go way outside my skill-set by attempting to sculpt a major part of the figure.  It turned out okay but I definitely learnt something for next time.

I started with a Khorne warrior from Games Workshop's easy to build line, left the head off and took the bottom spike off the axe.

After that I rolled out layers of green stuff over the torso leaving the arms exposed.

Once the green stuff was on I rolled it smooth using a round toothpick (soaked in water to keep the putty from sticking).  I left it to harden for about half an hour and then used a cut-off plastic tube as a stamp to add studs to what will be a leather breastplate.

I tidied the edges of the armour up a bit with a hobby knife, added a head from the old Chaos Marauders plastics, and added some shoulder pads to hide some of my rougher work.

It turned out acceptably but was very difficult to work the putty over the existing musculature of the chaos warrior and that resulted in the whole thing being slightly more bulky than I planned.
If I had the whole thing to do over again I would have cut the figure at the waist and then removed the arms.  At that point I would have built an armature out of wire to connect the head and arms to the legs and puttied over the armature rather than the existing torso.

Live an learn I suppose.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to paint him in the next day or two and then we'll see how it all came together.



Saturday, 10 March 2018

Dragonborn Paladin

I'm sure I've mentioned this before but no matter how many figures you paint if you participate in RPGs at some point, or multiple points, you will need a character model you don't already have in your collection.  I'm currently gearing up to be an actual player in a D&D game and in spite of the fact that that means I only need to provide two models for the game (one for my character, one for another player) somehow I didn't already have either model in my collection.

My character will be a Warlock wearing studded leather armour and armed with an axe.  So no big surprise I didn't have a figure that had that combination of gear already.  I'm currently converting a model which I can hopefully get done before my workload with school really picks up next week.

My buddy Grant decided on a Dragonborn Paladin which has really been a staple D&D character since 4th edition was published a few years back.  Having said that I've personally never played one or used one as an NPC so I had never gotten around to painting one.  One of the other issues with the Dragonborn is that when they first came onto the scene as a playable race the models that were available were largely underwhelming so I didn't rush out to grab any.

Fast forward to now o'clock and the WizKids line has some really nicely detailed and proportioned Dragonborn character models.  I got one of their Dragonborn Fighter packs and it came with two excellent looking choices.  The only issue out of the pack is that one figure was armed with an axe and the other was armed with a mace while Grant's character uses a sword.  Luckily I had an extra Reaper figure kicking around that had a somewhat fancy and over sized sword that looked like it would be a good fit for the model.

When it came time to paint I had somewhat stupidly painted myself into a corner.  After buying the model I rushed to get it started so I base-coated and washed the armour before I asked Grant what colour dragon his character would be.  In my head I was thinking of chromatic (red, blue, green, etc) dragons and never stopped to consider he might choose a metallic dragon.  He went with silver and that's when I realised I either needed to start over or find a way to create some contrast between the armour and his character's skin/scales.  I gave the armour an extra black wash to darken it a bit more than normal and then after painting his skin two shades lighter than his armour (boltgun metal for the armour, chainmail for the skin) I gave the skin a thinned down blue wash. I think it turned out okay but if and when I paint the second Dragonborn from the pack I got I think I'll plan ahead a bit more.

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out and its nice once again to have added a figure that is something completely new for me.


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Mallard joins the Swinetrek expedition

The fourth and final 'new' member of the Swinetrek expedition for This Is Not A Test is Mallard the duck-man.  In my head he sounds exactly like Jason Alexander.  The figure is the Duck with S.A.W. from Black Scorpion Miniatures.

My starting crew for my This Is Not A Test campaign will be the three pigs I had painted last week along with one of my Gallus Gallus miniatures named St Hubert.

I'd like to find a few more sci-fi animal mutants to add to my warband as it grows.  Time to start scavenging around.


Friday, 2 March 2018

The star is ready for her close-up

Link Hogthrob might have been the captain and the leader of the Swinetrek but the true star was always Ensign Piggy.

Ensign Piggy is the final of the three characters from my latest Interloper pack (I've got to think what to do next from them) and has been painted a slightly different hue than her two male companions.

This completes the 'core' of my new warband for This Is Not A Test, I do have one more character I want to add and then I think I'll have a look at the freelancer section with an eye to adding something different to add another flavour to my warband.

I can't wait to get these three on the table next week and stick it to the man!


Thursday, 1 March 2018

The doctor will see you now

The second member of the Swinetrek is now done; Doctor Julius Strangepork.

The doctor is the second figure from the Interloper Miniatures pack that contained the previously painted Link Hogthrob and the soon to be painted Ensign Piggy.

I need to pull out my This Is Not A Test rulebook and figure out exactly what role Doctor Strangepork will play in my warband but regardless of skills or abilities I'm just happy to have him on board.