Sunday, 24 March 2013

All dwarfs are bastards in their fathers eyes...

So, having acquired the body for my Tyrion conversion (as mentioned in a previous post), I was still left trying to find a suitable head. I'd originally assumed that once I had the body in hand, inspiration would strike me like a lightning bolt (or a lightning lord), but alas nothing was coming to me. So I put the question to John, who came up with not just answers, but bits:

A variety of plastic heads, as well as an old Citadel warrior (as he'll probably look suitable with his plume chopped off) and a plastic chap from the Perrys, which he thought would make a good head donor for a Ramsay Bolton conversion, should I ever get round to modelling him. Minus two to the tally:

8 vs 24 = -16

But plus one to me being able to convert a miniature that I'll later be able to paint, so I guess that evens out? Karmically, if not mathematically for the tally...

And so, to start the conversion, the old head had to come off:

I carefully removed the helmeted head with a sharp knife and saw, and have dutifully stored it in my bits box, even though it's incredibly unlikely I'll ever need a hobbit head wearing a Minas Tirith helmet for a future conversion (but the packrat gamer in me insists that you never know when something will come in handy...). There were a couple of heads that I considered using, which were dutifully stuck on with blutac to be judged:

The former head won, because A) it's in focus, and B) it's better looking, both in terms of shaggy hair and fairness of face. I'm not slaving exclusively to the vision of either the TV Series or the books (or the card game, the art from which can be viewed here), but picking and choosing whichever suits me more, or in this case, a mashup of everything that stews in my brain... Beauty contest judging over, it was time to start the actual converting - cutting away the model's sword:

which involved a great deal of careful sanding to ensure that the surrounding detail wasn't obliterated by my clumsy cutting, so that I could pin in his new weapon, an axe:

The axe came from the Bretonnian Men-at-Arms sprue, and was chosen because it was small enough that it looked like a dwarf would be able to wield it, but chunky enough that it would take a pin (as I didn't fancy it falling off when I came to pain the model). It originally had a small pouch attached to it (as it is designed to be modelled hanging from a soldier's belt) but this was carefully cut and filed away. I did briefly consider giving him a fancier weapon (perhaps the hand axe from the Empire Greatwsords kit, but I don't have one of them unfortunately), but thought that the one I ended up using looked nice and brutal, a practical weapon for swinging into bellies, and cutting foes down at the knees. In hindsight, it's perhaps a little chunky, but alas these are the sacrifices we make sometimes...
Once that was done, it was a case of attaching the new cleaned-up head:

with a lot of careful sanding, to both the neck area to receive the pin and the head itself to shape the neck to fit against the body, as well as to reshape the chin. Funnily, when I was sanding down his chin, I slipped and took the tip of his nose off (spoilers if you've not read Clash of Kings - this didn't ruin the model). Then came using green stuff to fill the slot in the base and (again after some careful sanding) to turn his bare hobbit feet into little boots:

As I was uploading the pictures to write this post, I realised that I needed to lengthen the haft of the axe a little, to make his grip on it look a little more realistic - the green stuff is currently curing on it as I type, so I've added it in using some seamless photoshop Microsoft Paint work...

Which is the completed conversion, seen here with a half-painted Hasslefree beauty and a Heroquest Chaos Sorceror for scale:

Come Salute, I'm sure I'll be wandering past the Perry Miniatures stand and end up buying some troops to fight and die for him...

Friday, 15 March 2013

Judge Minty, Hobbits, and a Game of Thrones...

So, some goodies arrived for me:

The latest Frothers charity miniature, Judge Minty (complete with signed picture of Edmund Dehn), which is absolutely beautiful (as if you'd expect anything else from Kev White), and a couple of hobbits picked up on eBay. The one on the left will probably get a weapon swap and his shield sanded flat and be used for dungeons & dragons, and the little chap on the right  was bought to use for a Tyrion Lannister conversion.

Yeah, so I guess I started a new project. I gave the Game of Thrones TV series a second chance (the first time round, I watched five episodes back to back and got bored), this time watching it with my young lady, and got suckered in. So much so that I ended my Song of Ice and Fire embargo and bought the rest of the books (I read the first one a while back, and decreed that I wouldn't read the rest straight away, lest I read nothing else but them for the following months. That and the fact that it'll probably be a decade before the series gets finished...). I spent a while looking at various medieval miniature ranges, planning hypothetical conversions... Until I mentioned the project to John, who disappeared into the loft and dug me out some Perry mounted Men at Arms that he'd bought at a previous Salute and never used:

Because he's awesome like that. So, cool toys to cut up, but a hit to the tally:

8 vs 22 = -14 back into the negatives, for now...

However, using this as inspiration:

(awesome conversion by Mr.J over on the LAF)

It shouldn't belong before I'm back into the positives... (he says, having a strange sense of deja vu knowing there's a package on it's way from eBay...)

Speaking of eBay, I'm selling things to fund my upcoming wedding and offset the imbalance created by starting a new project - mostly manga currently, but the shinies will be on later (well, there's a BPRD heroclix set and a box of Dreamblade miniatures up now, if that takes your fancy): my eBay sales link

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The dead rise, and distractions...

So yeah, another quiet spell... Stuff's been happening, but I didn't want to make yet another post without any painted miniatures... But before we get to that, time for some blather!
(Although I'm not above slipping in a teaser pic of most of the painted miniatures, since that's a more interesting picture for peoples' newsfeeds...)

So, I finally got my Knight Models Arkham City models that Nicole ordered me for Christmas:

A Joker Crew and Harley Quinn, and Killer Croc to get me started. Well, that and a number of Heroclix sculpts currently taking a bath:

Although the paint on these more recent Heroclix releases seems somewhat unwilling to shift, even with the attention of the ever-trusty surgical spirit. It's probably worth mentioning a few things about Rocket Hobbies (the peeps that supplied us with such loveliness): they're awesome, they're our new FLGS, and they're a nightmarishly far way away from civilization to get to on foot. Especially when you're trekking down with someone that's just got over the flu because you think the fresh air will do them good. Ignore Google maps too, it's further than it looks and leads you down unlit backstreets and tries to make you climb barbed wire fences. But once you get there, you get Batman toys, so it's super worth it!

As was the original plan, all focus has shifted to this Batman project and Path to Glory (the Nurgle warband is now all converted and currently undercoated).

Until John came and told me his wife wanted to play dungeons and dragons.

Obviously, I assumed he was lying, and accused him of using his wife as a screen to ask me to play geeky games.

But then his wife mentioned that she fancied trying dungeons and dragons (after watching a documentary that mostly portrayed dungeon masters in a rather unhappy light, oddly). Which puts me here:

Trying to write an introductory adventure that's both interesting and straightforward enough to both entertain and simultaneously not put off five players of various experience levels. As was inevitable, I've gotten distracted from the finer details and plotted some campaign arcs that could last five years (Damn you extensive series of articles on dungeon mastering by celebrity DM Chris Perkins). But hey, once that's out of my system I can get back to writing an adventure that would work both as a one-shot or as a lead-in to a longer campaign... Either way, it's the perfect excuse to post my desktop background on the blog:

Heehee dinosaurs performing archetypical RPG roles, complete with wizard hat.

Which brings us to the painted miniatures:

7 zombies from heresy, as I need some undead goons to throw at players. (Oh, did I forget to mention that I'm one of those people that wants to use miniatures rather than tokens for RPG combat?) There were originally 8, but the other one (see here, although while looking for a pic I realised I also own the fantasy zombies sculpted by Steve Buddle, and perhaps should have painted them up too) I purloined for the zombie project, as I liked it so much...

Having decided that 7 miniatures wasn't enough to paint to break a six month drought, I also painted up this:

Some spectre looking creep that was originally a Mage Knight Dungeons monster - he was painted using thin layers over a layered grey undercoat to make him look a bit spooky (and just to clarify, the grey bits at the edges are smoke as he 'bampfs' in and out of the material plane to take a swing at a PC, not badly sculpted fur...)

Which brings the tally to: 8 vs 7 = +1 - back into the positive for the first time in what feels like forever!
The main problem I have now is that anything that falls into the bracket of 'generic fantasy miniature' is going to be assumed to be in the adventure I'm going to run... But I'm sure I can find some way to cram in a few surprises...