Saturday, 17 September 2022

Bang bang bang

Goes the beat of the drum:

Inorexibly, my small Skaven army grows! Batch painting the block of slaves before took ages, so I thought I’d break the Clanrats down into smaller chunks so I’d get the satisfaction of finishing things more regularly. Don’t worry though, I’m not planning on painting them all individually, it’s just that I liked the look of this mini so fancied painting him on his lonesome as something of a colour test:

I’ve gone with a blue as my main ‘uniform’ colour for the army, although I think I may have gone too bright on this particular figure for what is supposed to be a grubby tunnel dweller. I’ve decided to use red as a spot colour for leaders and elites, to make them stand out a little, which I know doesn’t really make sense in reality given that Skaven leaders should really be hiding at the back rather than standing out with fancy red neckerchiefs, but allow me this foible!

Painting this lovely lad (one of the Island of Blood sculpts - I chose him rather than a bell ringing chap as I’d already painted one of those for my unit of Skavenslaves) takes the army to

161/500 points (I was half a point out in my previous Skaven post, as I forgot that the Clawleader technically has a shield even though the mini I painted doesn’t).

No mention of the Tally yet, as the postman has brought more bits and bobs:

I know, I haven’t even painted the last lot of Warmachine nostalgia purchase, but funny story the one of the minis I’d bought previously was actually damaged that I hadn’t been able to make out in the pictures, and the seller was kind enough to offer to swap it for another one, but to make postage worth it I bought some more things - Arcane Tempest gun mages, because they’re cool; a Skarlock Thrall, because, erm… I thought it was cool; and Narn, because I think the Mage Hunters of Ios are oh you get the idea…

Annoyingly, the Sorscha mini in the previous batch of purchases turned out to have been liberally doused in superglue over her hand when I stripped her, and trying to clean her up her weapon just disintegrated, leaving me ever more frustrated trying (and faking) to drill into her tiny hand to take a pin to try and rebuild it, which killed the momentum on my planned Khador painting stone dead sadly.


66 vs 63 = +3

In other news, having finished painting the ghouls, I figured that as I now had everything except a vampire painted up I’d go ahead and play the ‘Lost in the Crypt’ scenario from Spellcaster magazine, since the chances of even rolling up a vampire or a wraith were very slim (I obviously encountered a vampire and two wraiths, as it seems in Frostgrave I can actually roll high, but only while rolling on an encounter table).

After failing to print out dungeon tiles in the right scale, I decided to go DIY and make myself a bespoke dungeon board using a large piece of old cardboard:

Complete with some additional declaration from my daughter:

So my new Captain, on their way to meet up with their new employer, manages to fall into a hole in the undercity and fights their way out, finding a magic bow, sword, boots along the way. Things started fairly well, as she plinked every monster she came across from a distance before sprinting from door to treasure to door, even managing to nuke a vampire (played by a lich mini, as I haven’t painted s vampire for Frostgrave yet) with a magic arrow and a lucky roll. Eventually she found the exit door, and decided to try and take down the two wraiths that were closing in on her to bank that sweet XP, but in the end decided discretion was the better part of valour and fled…

So, joining up with the rest of my warband, what next for my Necromancer and his merry band of chums? I’m tempted by the Hunt the Golem mini campaign, as my Necromancer has picked up a couple of constrict based spells so it makes sense that he’d follow up on related rumours, but I think first I might run through all of Perilous Dark to teach myself the key things for making solo Frostgrave scenarios, so it looks like I need to make some vapour snakes and a couple of constructs…

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Grotty goblins

Or ghouls, more specifically:

Frostgrave and Rangers of Shadow Deep use Gnolls extensively as their proprietary monster type, but in my games I’m using goblins (I blame the manga/anime Goblin Slayer, primarily), using the LoTR Moria goblins I painted ages ago. Needing some ghouls, I figured that the Hobbit Goblin town minis would fit in my world, as goblins that have become diseased cannibals and look a bit gnarly and gribbly. 

I converted a couple to have shoulder armour to make them stand out of the crowd for RoSD scenarios requiring a ghoul champion:

Or is it chieftain? I can’t remember off the top of my head, and my book is in the other room, but you know what I mean.

I also fished this lovely Heresy Miniatures sculpt out of the painting queue where it had languished undercoated for many (many!) years, swapped it into a non-lipped base, and painted him up with the rest to use as a ghoul king (there’s a Frostgrave scenario somewhere with one of those right?)

Such a beautifully detailed sculpt, although I did paint his sculpted testicles as though they were part of his loincloth (which I’m not entirely sure how it stays affixed, it looks like it’s pierced onto his waist…)

And here’s the rest:

Lots of fun painting such a sickly unhealthy skin tone, and then going over with crimson and green washes to make their books and sores look really unpleasant.

I probably didn’t need to paint so many, as I’m likely to encounter somewhere between two and four in my games, but this was the number that came in the lot I bought on eBay so I figured I’d do them all at the same time just in case, and all else failing that’s a ready to go warband for another game.

As ever, here’s a terribly out of focus posed shot of my Frostgrave Knight having a very bad day:

And some behind the scenes shots showing that I’ve largely sub-contracted set dressing and posing for these things:

Painting these beings the Tally to:

65 vs 47 = +18

Or at least it would have, if not for the postman…

I forget how I found myself thinking about Warmachine, but several weeks before they announced MKIV, I decided to go back and continue my read through of all the books and issues of No Quarter that I had stalled on somewhere around 2019, as I think the fluff and lore of that game is simply outstanding. 

Idly browsing the internet, I realised that I was only one rule book short of a complete collection (not counting the campaign pack that is apparently silly money), so I had a nose on eBay. ‘I’ll put on a lowball bid which won’t win, get it out of my system’ I thought to myself. And then I won it, of course:

As is often the case, I found myself thinking ‘ah, I could just do a small scale project, paint up the equivalent of a battle box, that’s what four minis at most? I’ll squeeze that in between Skaven units, just like they were a somewhat chunkier than usual palette cleanser’.

And while I do have two battle groups sat in various stages of painting in the painting queue, I had a hankering for the original Sorscha sculpt, as when the game was first launched I played a demo game where I had Sorscha, which is what first got me interested in the game (brief aside - this was either in Westgate Games in Canterbury or… Fantasy Workshop in Ashford?)

And since she’d have been lonely on her own, I grabbed her a couple of jacks too. 

And some Cryx bits, because they’re cool, and I’ve got Asphyxious and Cankerworm sat undercoated too.

Which leaves the Tally at:

65 vs 55 = +10

There are more bits on the way, of course - the Withershadow Combine I bought had unfortunately had the little skeleton puppet filed off which I couldn’t see in the listing’s pictures, but the seller kindly offered to swap the set I had for another, but to make the postage worth it I bought some more things, including a model for a faction that I have no other miniatures for, but he was cheap and looked cool so…

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Champion of the downtrodden…


Another mini finished for the Skaven army, this time a lovely old sculpt that will be the Claw Leader/Champion in my unit of Clanrats.

He’s from Vampifan’s collection, so I painted him singly rather than in a mass of his furry brethren, and like every Skaven sculpt of this era it’s a joy to paint, well detailed without being fussy.

As ever you’ll have to take my word for it that the pictures don’t do the model justice, he’s much nicer in hand than he looks magnified here!

I think I’ve also decided on a colour scheme for my army, which you’d think I’d have settled on before painting 30 odd minis for it… The plan is to go with GW Dark Reaper as a spot colour on the majority of troops, with a red (like the Claw Leader’s scarf) reserved for characters and important rats. I read through the Skaven uniform book, but after long considering the options there decided to just ignore it all and go with my gut.

This mini has actually been nearly finished for the best part of a fortnight, but last weekend we took the kids on a trial run camping in grandma’s garden before we take them out into the actual wilds, which impacted my painting time (but did give me the opportunity to move from the first to the second Gotrek & Felix omnibus, so my enthusiasm for Warhammer remains high!) - all that actually needed finishing off was painting his teeth and then washing those and his horns with a little sepia, so easily done.

Painting him brings the Tally to:

50 vs 47 = +3

And the Skaven army points total to:

152 / 500

Only the rest of the Clanrat unit, two characters, and an artillery piece to go!

In other news, I’ve rediscovered my love for the fluff and lore of the Warmachine universe, which I was steadily making my way through (back in the almost forgotten era of 2019), and have resumed making my way through pdfs of No Quarter magazine and eBay is furnishing me with the last physical expansion book that I didn’t yet own, and there might also be a miniature bought purely for nostalgia purposes on its way too… of course, plans for a ‘small scale, nothing crazy’ project are forming. Plus GW previewed some new LotR stuff, and despite the fact that I wouldn’t describe myself as a LotR fan I still find myself thinking about how easy it would be to slot in a little Battle Companies project, it’s only 6 minis and I could convert them from my bits box, although those metal minis of Osgiliath veterans are nice too, maybe I’ll just have a look…

I have a problem.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Ratling Gun!

The next step in my plan to conquer the overworld (or at least the part of it the chum I’ve challenged to paint a Warhammer army is standing on) with a sea of ratty types is completed:

Gorgeous, and a joy to paint, even if grey-furred ratmen don’t show up particularly well against my usual display board background.

I was so happy with these that they even got their vanity shots done using actual sunlight, unlike 99% of what I paint which gets photographed at midnight in my basement or balanced on my dining room table. See also, tufts and flock, making them technically the only fully finished mini in the whole army!

So, why the Ratling Gun? The first benchmark is 500 points, against an opponent painting an equivalent amount of Bretonnians, so my options from the miniatures in my collection were:

Poisoned wind mortar - move AND fire, good at killing knights
Warp fire Thrower - absolutely archetypical, good at killing knights
Ratling Gun - most likely to misfire, bad at killing knights, punny name

Me, in this situation:

Eh, I made the right choice. We’ll see how it goes, I’m generally luckier with D6s than I am with D20s. Plus, at this low points level the Bretonnians have a general on foot, so you never know…

The Tally took a hit in the opposite direction too this week, as GW are offering a free Skaven to cut out and keep this month, so I made an excuse to nip in for a pot of paint (not pictured) and grab one of those:

I mean I’ve got dozens already, but I always need more right? I might see about getting a pack master arm from somewhere and converting him, as the old plastic pack masters look a bit chonky compared to the modern cleanest sculpts.


49 vs 47 = +2

And to end the post, here’s a group shot of the army so far:

All 140 points of it so far - the Ratling Gun is only 7 points shy of that unit of Slaves it’s next to!

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Dem bones dem bones…

 …dem surprisingly well armoured bones:

Way, way back in the shrouded mists of the past known as March 2022, my family all had COVID, which wasn’t ideal, but on the other hand having a week off work did give me the opportunity to start playing some solo Frostgrave. Having made my way through the three scenarios of Dark Alchemy, I decided that the next thing I wanted to do was hire a Captain, and the solo scenario ‘Alone in the Crypt’ from Spellcaster issue 1 seemed like the perfect way narratively to introduce a Captain to my warband.

Scanning down the encounter table for the scenario to see what monsters I didn’t already have in my collection, I saw that I’d need some armoured skeletons. Most conversions that I’ve seen tend to be in full plate, transplanting skeleton heads into Perry medieval knight bodies (which was my initial plan), but digging through my backlog of kits one day I came across a box of plastic Vikings that realistically I’m never going to use for anything, and figured I’d give them a go as a base for some chain mail wearing skeletons:

Each miniature is a mashup of Viking (from Gripping Beast) and leftover Mantic skeleton bits (that I’m fairly certain I was gifted years ago by Infovore.Tim). As the shield arms are generally single piece with the skeleton bodies, this often involves a lot of careful cutting, scraping and filing to get everything to fit together.

I thought I’d taken more WIP pics than this, but apparently not, so we’ll jump straight to this shot of my four converted boys:

I figured four was enough, as the most you’re likely to encounter per roll on the encounter table is 2, and anyway I’ll be smashing these to pieces so quick they’re unlikely to spend much time on the table (oh sweet hubris…). I gave them a variety of different weapons to make them look less like a uniform unit, but conversely made sure three of the four had matching helmets so that they would have that visual detail to link them. What can I say, I’m a walking contradiction.

Whilst painting them, I fancied giving them all a cheesy skeleton logo on their shields, so dug out an old Chaos Space Marine transfer sheet. I know, it’s a bit silly (did they have skull themed insignia when they were alive? Did they repaint it after they were reanimated?) but some things are just classic:

And here they are after the rest of the paint job was done, suitably weathered:

Top tip for anyone using the verdigris effect paint from GW: make sure the lid is firmly on when holding the pot directly above your finished models! There was an… incident, that involved frantically trying to dilute bright blue paint and mop it off of the models before it dried, and a few touch ups. I think they only place you might still be able to see it is on their bases, but I can always pretend that’s an intentional effect, representing the magic leaking from these walking corpses and leaching into the ground…

And just to complete the set of images, here’s the back of them:

Painting these brings the Tally to:

48 vs 46 = +2

Back in the positive, and also so close to hitting the ‘miniature a week’ yearly average of 52 miniatures painted with 5 months still to go on the year!

What’s next? Back to the main project of Skaven, of course, but for the next non-Skaven miniatures I still need some ghouls and a vampire before I’m able to play that Frostgrave scenario…

Friday, 8 July 2022

Clutter makes a house a home

And I’m assuming the same is true for dungeons.

Looking at Frostgrave, Rangers of Shadow Deep and Dungeons & Dragons, one thing I realised was I needed more oddments of scatter terrain to give rooms some personality. So, with that in mind, as a little palette cleanser between Skaven regiments I finished off this:

Even gnolls need somewhere to eat their tea, right? The table looks a bit 3d printed in this picture (new phone, new camera, new clarity apparently) but I can assure you it’s not, it’s from the same Frontline Miniatures set I used to build my Fallout scavenger camp way back when.

No change to the Tally, as they’re not actual miniatures, but rest assured, they’re not the only palette cleanser on my painting tile right now…

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Happy Father’s Day... (from?) some scrawny ratty boys:

And here they are again, in actual natural light:

The downside to which being every flaw on these secondhand miniatures that I stripped is more visible in this picture, but for 2 points a model I don’t think I’ll lose any sleep over that. Pretend that lump on the bell is a specifically modelled clapper, wouldn’t you?

When you add the singular model for this unit I’d previously painted (last year!), we get my second complete unit for the Road to the Old World challenge:

Being that they’re only Skavenslaves, this isn’t a huge amount of points out of what I need to paint - between this and my rat dart, the running total of painted Skaven is now 85 points. Still quite a way to get to 500… on the other hand, in painting this unit I’ve now painted more models than my opponent will have to for his whole army, so who’s the real winner here?

Painting these brings the Tally to:

44 vs 46 = -2

(and also brings me a huge leap closer to my annual challenge of painting at least 52 miniatures each year to average one a week)

Now having a proper unit to shove around, I thought I’d see about making a movement tray. I dug out some materials from the basement:

And, suitably fortified with coffee, after sketching out what I wanted (a square base, with a lip around the edge that I could hopefully fold up) I tested it using the actual unit, as my ability to produce squares is not always perfect):

Then I cut it out, and removed the corners to allow the excess ‘lip’ I’d allowed for to be folded up.

Now, in my planning I’d assumed I’d be able to gently score the plasticard, fold it up, then superglue the corners in place. In theory maybe, but in practice it was much less accommodating. A quick Google suggested that heat was the best way to bend plasticard, so off to the kettle I ran, much to my wife’s bemusement.

This however was also a non-starter, and I was largely just mangling this poor piece of plasticard. so I set about drying and flattening it back into shape (additional weights courtesy of my son):

Plan B: cut out some strips of plasticard that I can glue down to form the lip. Lesson learned from initial attempts at that though is you should cut the thin strips off of a whole sheet rather than trying to trim them out of a pre-cut piece, as tiny pieces of plasticard bend and slide under your metal ruler like there’s no tomorrow when you try and cut them. I’m tempted to use matchsticks instead, but worry that they will look even more shonky than my initial plans.

I could order some from Warbases, or crack open the single pack of Warhammer modular movement trays that I have stashed, but the thing holding me back from pulling the trigger on either of those is that I’m still undecided on whether I’m going to expand the units at a higher point value, and being that my modular movement trays are a finite resource I might end up using them up to make smaller bases than I end up needing…

What’s next? Probably more Skaven, although there might be a little palette cleanser or two in there as well. The next unit might get painted in smaller batches rather than all at once - I’d probably have done more detail and highlights on this unit if they weren’t such a big blob, where it got to the point where I was just glad to see the back of them on my painting tile. Maybe five at a time for the Clanrats? But then again, that’s pretty much what the plan was for these guys, before I got carried away…