Friday, 16 November 2018

The Mountain that Rides...

My journey through my painting queue continues, venturing to a miniature that has been about 80% finished for several years, Ser Gregor Clegane:

I'd had the metals and the yellows done for a time, but the dogs detail was putting me off. I bit the bullet and grabbed a tiny brush to bring him to the finish line! The sculpted detail is lovely, but a little shallow, so I had to improvise a bit. Squint a bit and it looks great!

I also went over the armour with a ton of dings and scratches to make it look like he lives for nothing but combat. Rules wise, I think I'll use adapted troll stats - he should be able to tear through a horde of regular troops! 

Also, whilst discussing trolls, he's a pretty big lad:

[Caption: Stark Bannermen and the very bad, terrible, awful day]

The Dark Sword A Song of Ice and Fire figures are a larger scale than everything else I'm using, but The Mountain is meant to tower over his foes, so I think it works in this case... Which is a bit of a shame, as there are some lovely figures in that range, but they'd just look out of place with my Perry troops!

I have a scenario percolating in my head involving the Mountain and some of his brigands trying to burn down a house (so I should probably get around to building and painting the Perry House I have tucked away somewhere) in the period where they rampaged around Westeros during the War of Five Kings, so who knows, maybe I'll make some more Stark troops next year..


37 vs -46 = +83

So, fifteen more minis before the end of the year to hit my Challenge target, what next? I've got a few bits currently on my painting tile, but then again there's an entire Blood Bowl team in the painting queue, choices choices...

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Freak on a Lich

Another random mini plucked from the painting queue:

He's a Mage Knight figure originally I think, so the detail is a little funky, but I quite like his imperious pose. He's been in the painting queue for so long that that's actually a GW base he's on, so he was prepared before I started buying bases specially for miniatures rather than just scavenging them from Warhammer kits.

I originally had ideas of trying to speckle a starry design on his robe, but the pressing need to finish an average of about two miniatures a week to hit my total of 52 for the year put paid to that! I added a little extra detail to his tabard though, to jazz it up a little. Also, carefully applied some guyliner.

He'll probably be a Lich (a word that should rhyme which 'itch', but I tend to pronounce 'leash' when I'm tired, much to the chagrin of my D&D group) in the generic fantasy project, or can get added to the box of miniatures that can be used to menace Conan. Which reminds me, I should get around to painting some more companions for Conan!


36 vs -46 = +82

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Dammit Carl!

Work on my Zomtober remnants continues, as earlier this week I finished Carl:

He was actually finished Tuesday night, but life happened a bunch (Rolo Tomassi at Scala last night was fun) and so I'm only getting round to taking pictures and posting today. We were going to pick up a mini lightbox from Flying Tiger this afternoon after seeing one on a Gunpla Facebook group, but our local one didn't have it in stock, so these pictures were taken with my photo board balanced on an airer in the bathroom instead...

I'm fairly fond of Carl, unlike the majority of the internet it seems. I didn't follow the TV series for very long, which might have something to do with it...

This sculpt is absolutely lovely. Much kudos to Mantic for the quality! I painted his lower half as being incredibly grubby, but I liked how his hoody had come out so much that I couldn't bring myself to cover it up with a layer of dust!


35 vs -46 = +81

What next? I'm down to two miniatures remaining from the batch that I had prepped for Zomtober, as well as a few half finished odds and ends that I've pulled out of the painting queue in an attempt to hit the 'have finished 52 miniatures by the end of the year' challenge I set myself way back when, but at the same time gee that Blackstone Fortress box game that GW are currently previewing sure does look apealling...

Monday, 5 November 2018

America! Fuck Yeah!

"Comin' again to save the motherfuckin' day, yeah"

A bit of a random one, this. It's something plucked half finished out of the painting queue that I worked on here and there whilst waiting for washes to dry on other things, mostly. He's a repainted Heroclix figure, so the facial detail is almost non-existant, but I'm passably satisfied with how the shield turned out, so there's that. After much deliberation, I went for a reddish leather effect on his gloves and boots, as a sort of halfway-house compromise between the movie style and the classic comic costume.

Finishing him means I now have a bevy of finished Avengers - but no one for them to punch... I do have a classic style Hawkeye eyeing me from my painting desk awaiting undercoat though, so who knows, you might see some more Avengin' types in the near future...

34 vs -46 = +80

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Survivember? Zomtober2: Electric Boogaloo?

Last night I managed to finish one of the figures that I'd originally intended to include as part of my submission for this year's Zomtober, but didn't quite get finished in time, The Governor from Mantic's 'Prelude to Woodbury' set:

Another rather lovely sculpt from Mantic! Detailed and characterful enough to be fun to paint and nice looking even with a fairly simple paintjob, which is always a winner in my book!

Now, my experience with the Walking Dead only extends as far as the comics (well, and the first couple of series of the TV show before we gave up on that), so I don't really know much about the pre-tyrant era Brian from the novels that this miniature is modelled after; I'm more used to this guy:

Maybe if I finish off all of the models in the starter set, I'll treat myself to an expansion or two and see if I can't pick up a model of the Governor once he's missing some bits...

Tally: 33 vs -46 = +79

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Zomtober 2018 week 4

And so, we find ourselves at the final Sunday deadline of this year's Zomtober, surprisingly having not once missed a posting deadline (he types, tempting fate). Thus, I present another six zombies, three at a time (because the pictures get even worse if I try to squeeze them all into one picture), which I think takes me to having painted one of every unique walker sculpt in my Walking Dead starter box bar the zombified Rick figure:

These three are fairly plain, and include the Limited Edition 'Ronnie' walker (the lad in the shirt emblazoned with multiple letter M's). I saw a picture of the actual chap that the sculpt is based on this week, and have no idea why I'd envisioned him as a redhead. Ah well, I still think it rather suits him...

Three walkers that I'm infinitely more pleased with - the first I love for the dodgy freehand on the vest; the second is a lovely figure, being from the Limited Edition Clementine & Lee Booster; and the third I love because despite a slightly odd facial sculpt (having a face shape not unlike a Necron) and appearing to be draped in a bin bag there's just something brilliant about it, and I thoroughly enjoyed painting it. I also went all out on painting texture on the jeans on this figure that is pretty much unnoticeable in these pictures (and real life), but hey I know it's there [he weeps].

Here's another angle on the deer-munching figure, as his hunched pose makes it a little hard to see when photographed with his pals:

Side Note: I haven't played any of the Telltale Games Walking Dead games, so don't really know the significance of this figure. I probably should get around to it one of these days...

But what's that, there's more?

Not content with just painting zombies for Zomtober, I wanted to try and add another Spawn Point to my collection to go with the ones from a previous year, to take my total up to four, which seems a better number for spreading around a table evenly...

My plan was to make a Spawn Point inspired by the mounds of bodies that appear in a Walking Dead app that I briefly played some time last year (might have been called Road to... something. I forget). Several levels had these mounds of bodies that every so often would wiggle and disgorge more walkers, and I quite liked the idea of trying to produce something inspired by them in miniature form!

I grabbed a base to match my previous ones, and set about cutting some cork to make a mound (in order to give the piece some additional height without having to use more miniatures that you wouldn't even see in the middle of the pile):

A couple of round bases made the perfect templates to give a regularly rising slope:

Although when I posed a miniature next to it, I decided that maybe it needed a little boost and gave it another layer of cork for height:

I popped a weight on top to hold it down while the glue dried (I started with PVA, but added some superglue when that took too long to set), and once it had, I applied some filler to smooth out the transitions between layers:

It was at this point that I realised that I'd grabbed the wrong tube of filler, having grabbed a tiling one that is more rubbery that that which I would normally use. Taking a Bob Ross like approach of 'happy little accidents', I figured I'd press on and see how it turned out.

I deliberated on whether to sand the base now (in order to make sure that there were no missed spots, as there might be if I tried to apply glue into the nooks and crannies between figures) or after I'd applied the figures (in order to make them look like they were slightly buried), and settled on the former. I didn't take a picture of that step, oddly, but imagine a slightly sad tiny wedding cake covered in sand and grit and you wouldn't be far off.

Now, for the bodies, I sifted through several boxes of odds and ends and came up with a few Doctor Who Miniatures figures, some Heroclix, as well as a Mantic Walking Dead Walker that I have several copies of the same sculpt of (one of which you've seen earlier in this post - I got two in my starter box, and I think got a couple as a sample at a previous Salute), and then scavenged some left over limbs and other assorted body parts from sprues, everything from zulus to Frostgrave Barbarians!

I tried the old 'hot water trick' on the Doctor Who figures to try and make them lie more naturally, but they didn't seem to take to it as well as other figures I've tried it on, so I had to fall back on cutting and re-positioning limbs, cunning placement, and in the end an avant-garde approach to realism. I also cut out some short lengths of sprue that I sunk into the base (thanks slightly softer than usual filler for making it so easy to jab a piece in, then fill the resulting hole with glue to hold it in place) to look like lengths of metal rebar poking out of the ground and rubble - a few were positioned to make it look as if the bodes had come to rest on them, rather than having a limb mysteriously held upwards of it's own volition!

A couple of nights of carefully piling tiny bodies, and I had my mound ready for a blast of spray undercoat:

Then it was just a case of frantically getting it painted as the Sunday posting deadline loomed ever closer! I went with a fairly muted palette, figuring that it's more a piece of terrain than an eye catching figure, and went to town weathering everything with grimy washes, as well as stippling on various shades of dust and grime, before finishing with a healthy dose of blood effects:

Here you can see the detail that I added to make it a Spawn Point rather than just a macabre piece of blocking terrain, a zombie hauling himself out from under the pile of bodies made from a Wargames Factory zombie body and reaching arm with a Westwind zombie head (as the Wargames Factory zombie face sculpts are awful, and only really useful to fill gaps between corpses on the pile as they do here):

Here is a size comparison against one of my original Spawn Points:

And with a survivor:

Whilst taking the pictures for this post, I realised that the base for this one was noticeably darker than everything else that I've finished, so went back and gave it an additional Bleached/Ushabti Bone drybrush, so now it looks more like this:

The piece as a whole is much darker than everything else I've finished, but hey, it's a grubby pile of bloody bodies, that's to be expected! If anything, I should probably go back and bloody up the ground a little more...

So, with that included, here is this Zomtober's complete output:

Not bad going at all, I think! I just need to paint some Survivors and I could even try out the All Out War rules in order to procrastinate on playtesting my own...

Which brings the Tally to:

32 vs -46 = +78

Hmm, 20 more figures to paint in the next two months if I'm going to hit that 'average one painted figure a week by the end of the year' challenge I set myself...

Also, for the first time in the history of ever, I'm disappointed that it's a four rather than five week Zomtober this year, as there were a few more bits that I had on the go that didn't managed to get finished in time to get added to this final submission. Who knows, maybe I'll get them finished and have a bonus fifth week post next week; maybe my hobby focus will sweep on to something else and they won't see the light of day until next year's Zomtober...

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Urban Basing - I'm sure I've already use a 'base-ics' pun already...

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been experimenting with how I base my zombies recently, so when I was making up another batch of them, I thought I'd chronicle the process in case it might be helpful to anyone else!

What you'll need:

  • Cork - I use IKEA placemats, as the art shop that sold the ideal thickness of proper cork sheet that I used to use for this sort of thing closed down
  • 30mm DS bases - use whatever you want to match the rest of your collection though, I mainly use these for my zombies because I've already got so many based like this and don't want to go back and rebase them all!
  • Tools - knives, files, glue (superglue and PVA), fingernails - you almost certainly have all of these already if you're a modeller, I assume

To begin, I cut out a circle of cork.

Fun fact: you can use a pound coin as a template to cut out an insert that fits into the indent in a 30mm DS base. Old pound coins were better, as they were actually round, but the new ones will do in a pinch!

When cutting cork, if I'm making something like a building where I want a nice clean cut, I'll make sure to use a fresh knife blade; with these, however, where texture is desirable, I'll use whatever old blade happens to be in the knife at the time and hack away with wild abandon...

Now, as it is, the cork I'm using is too thick for my tastes - if I was basing a superhero or something equally heroic, I might go ahead and use it as is, but I prefer something a little less 'herohammer base' for my zombies. So, I go ahead and roughly cut it in half:

Now, here is the special secret - in order to get the effect of worn, sunken concrete, I hack away from all sides, cutting a little at a time with a vague sawing motion, to avoid ending up with a flat, featureless surface:

It's a little hard to explain, but cut a little at a time, approaching the piece from all angles until your cuts eventually meet in the middle, and between that and the cork's natural texture, you should end up with a pair of pieces that have a rough but smooth texture...

Repeat this a bunch of times, and you'll end up with what looks like a tiny pile of delicious oaty biscuits:

Now, it's further detail time! Break some of the pieces up, tear off some chunks with your fingernails, dig out some chunks with knives and files!

I like to leave a few empty spaces on the bases, that you can fill with basing sand later to look like patches of sunken rubble.

Top Tip - when you glue them to the base using superglue, try and avoid touching it with your fingers, as they will inevitably get stuck to it, and you'll end up tearing off chunks. If this does happen though, pass it off as 'additional texture'.

To add some further variety, I also like to include some height differences between pieces to make it look like the concrete is somewhat sunken:

Cutting away an additional layer (or carefully filing, watching as the cork crumbles underneath your hands) lets you achieve this effect.

Not every base has to have a crevice in it though, or a mound of rubble, some are fine with just a little sand added in the next step!

Here are some from an earlier batch too - some of the original pieces used to cut the cork from were smaller than the pound coin used as a template, leading to some interestingly shaped pieces, as well as trying out some bases using blocks cut from cork as a basis:

(That one didn't look too great, so I hacked at the bricks a bit to make them look less unnatural, which led to them being a bit buried in the rubble - back to the drawing board for that one methinks...)

Once the groundwork is done (tee hee), it's time to glue on some sand. My basing sand is a carefully curated blend of sieved pet sand, small slate, and various grades of grit that I got from a guy on the LAF over a decade ago that worked in a lab somewhere sorting sand and grit by size (so many things in that last sentence could be hyperbole, but weirdly none are...). Water down some PVA, and fill any blank spaces left in the base with sand, before going back and adding some dabs of glue on top of the cork where you want there to be an accumulation of rubble. Bear in mind, you need to leave somewhere for the model's feet to go eventually! This is a step that you can easily overthink, and end up having it look really unrealistic with too regimented patches of rubble - to avoid this, I'd advise having a three year old do it:

When done, the bases should look a little like this:

Then paint away! I spray the bases black, then basecoat them with a heavy overbrushing of GW Codex Grey (although I think I'm on a pot of Dawnstone now). I wash everything with a heavy wash of diluted Vallejo Smoke, making sure that it really gets into all the details, acting as both shadow and dirt. Once this is dry (leave it overnight, or hold the base up to a lightbulb between your burning fingers if it's Sunday morning and you're racing a Zomtober deadline), drybrush away with successively lighter tones, thinking all the while about how glad you are that you cut the cork roughly earlier leaving you with such texture for this step - Dawnstone, then Administratum Grey (what used to be Fortress Grey in the old range), before finishing with a gentle kiss of Bleached Bone (Ushabti Bone?), which should leave you with some bases that look a bit like this:

Then it's just a case of tidying up the rims with a lick of black paint, and adding any additional details that you fancy, whether that be some faded road markings (pop on a white line then weather it with a few dabs of grey) or some grass poking through any gaps in the concrete:

Then it's just a case of carefully pinning your painted miniature to it, et voila:

Next time I make some, I may even go as far as printing out some tiny newspapers to stick to the bases...