Thursday 23 May 2013

Reasons to love Heresy (Miniatures)

Digging through a shoebox full of miniatures intended for 7tv and Strange Aeons (and Fallout, and random miniatures I bought because I liked the look of them like the Black Cat Bases Bounty Hunter - what can I say, this shoebox is less organised than you might think) looking for a Crooked Dice head sprue that I thought I'd bought at Salute a couple of years back that I thought would be perfect for a Beric Dondarrion conversion, but apparently I do not in fact own, and I found this:

An old Heresy packing note. But why is that blog post worthy, I hear you cry? Why have you kept this slip of paper all this time? Well, in the special requests box on the confirmation page of placing my order, I asked for a haiku from Craig, Andy's then-packing minion, and this is what I got:

It's service like this that makes me want to keep supporting companies like Heresy, so long may they endure!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Lannister skirmish force: the beginning and some bugs...

So, I managed to finish painting the start of my House Lannister force for the ASOIAF project (for those of you googling - Game of Thrones):

It's a bit gloomy out today, hence the lack of natural light and otherwise terrible picture. The miniatures are Perry Wars of the Roses plastics, with the exception of the foot knight, who is an em4 metal from Forlorn Hope games. I went for a mixture of troops to start with, including pikes, bills and bows, as I plan to use an adaptation of the LOTR SBG ruleset.

Why Lannisters to start? I always sided with them in the books, I loves Jaime, Tyrion is always a blast, and the Lannisters are just overall awesome:

Oh, those zany Lannisters.

Five out of the eight miniatures are a bit of a departure for me, in that they include stripes - normally I'd either avoid painting stripes, or bodge it with some sloppy freehand and hope for the best, but I thought it was about time I started going about things in a sensible and orderly fashion:

It's as easy as marking out each stripe with a soft pencil and tape measure (actually the hardest bit, as my tape measure is kind of heavy, and you really need three hands):

Then fill in one colour:

Then the other:

Then it's just a case of highlighting as usual, simple! Speaking of going about things in a sensible and orderly fashion, I've even written down what paints I've used so that I can recreate uniform colours! Wonders never cease!

One thing to note about this batch of miniatures though: something went weird with my gesso. I think I may have forgotten to stir it, or gotten dust in it, or just generally layered it on too thick, but it was odd - there were areas with 'specks' on, little lumps that I had to scratch off and repaint - the annoying thing being, that I would keep discovering them with each layer of paint... Some were cleaned off and repainted smooth, whereas others gave an interesting texture (looking like a tear in clothing), and so were only moderately cleaned up. I may have been overenthusiastic in my application of gesso too, leading to some swamped detail on the boots and faces - unusually, the faces were one of the last things that I painted (as I usually do them first, to give the miniature a bit of personality as their stood in the paint queue), which meant that I didn't realise how bad it was, and had left it a bit late to clean off and re-undercoat... ah well, these chaps are rank and file, I did what I could to fix it as I went along but worst case scenario I hide these ones at the back...

I even got to do something I'd never done before on these miniatures - using static grass! I've previously used it on scenery, but this is my first time using it on a miniature's base. I also tried using flock, but couldn't find a way to make it look good - can anyone tell me where I'm going wrong? I tried a quick google search, but couldn't find any instructions beyond 'stick it to your miniature's base'...

It's not been all Game of Thrones focused though, as I finished basing these chaps:

A pair of giant centipedes for Dungeons & Dragons and general fantasy skirmish useage. The only problem with splitting your focus across projects like this being (as well as diminished amounts of things actually getting finished) that occasionally you get a fight breaking out on your paint tile:

Despite this seemingly boundless progress, as per usual the tally also took a hit in the wrong direction:

Metal Shagrat and Aragorn miniatures - I especially enjoyed that the Shagrat came in a pink birthday card, but once he was in hand he wasn't quite what I was looking for; I'd originally planned to use him for a Vargo Hoat of the Bloody Mummers conversion, but his armour is a lot scrappier looking than I'd expected. Not to worry though, I'm sure he'll make a fine bandit captain of some sort... The Aragorn, however, is destined to be the basis of a conversion of Jaime without his armour:

The problem being that I now need two more Aragorn miniatures (or at least the heads thereof) to shave the tiny metal beard off of for my armoured Jaime on foot and ahorse... (hint)

Ah well, fun fun fun, which leaves the tally at:

18 vs 341 = -323

Which leaves me thinking what to do next - my plan for the ASOIAF project is to do a number of 'warbands' of around a dozen figures each, which (*spoiler*) due to the mercurial nature of the majority of the alliances in the series (*/end spoiler*) would allow me to refight a number of encounters. For example, the Lannisters I've painted thus far with the addition of a Gregor Clegane miniature can stand in for troops raiding in the opening skirmishes of the War of Five Kings, add Jaime and then they'll do for fighting Starks in the Whispering Wood, and so on and so forth...

For the Lannisters, I plan to do some more pikemen (because they're pretty handy in the rules, allowing you to stack the odds massively in your favour if you position enough of them right), as well as some Lannister House guards with swords, spears and crossbows, based on Warriors of Minas Tirith with my cast heads, and then some mounted troops (which will give me a chance to try painting some horses), some more foot knights, some characters...

A ways down the road I plan to make warbands for the Boltons (grim northmen in pink? Why yes please), some Freys (since there's so many of them, they seem to end up in most conflicts), some Brave Companions (I've already got some Mordor Orcs and a Jester to convert into Shagwell), some Brotherhood Without Banners (although I'd appreciate it if people would stop outbidding me at the last minute on LOTR Ruffians that I want to use for these...), some Ironborn, the list goes on! If you've read the books though, you'll know that certain groups get a lot of mileage as it were...

Before all that though, I'll probably crack on with some Starks, based on Fireforge plastics with a variety of arms, weapons and helmets cannibalised from other kits, so that I'll have forces for some of the early skirmishes in the War of Five Kings. I'll need to make some sort of custom wolf shield though, as I quite like how distinctive it looks in the TV series:

Although it probably won't be a carbon copy, more inspired by...

Inevitably though, my small, manageable plans have occasionally veered into the ridiculous, including a couple of hours where I planned on building Westeros out of Mighty Empires tiles to look something like this:

But I soon dismissed that idea (so don't be surprised if my next post is along the lines of wow look I bought all these Mighty Empires tiles!)

I'll save the rest of the sixty seven paragraphs of waffle I could write about my plans for the ASOIAF project for future blog posts, and end with a small piece of housekeeping: after reading a post by Michael Awdry, I realised that I need to get sorted too - due to blogger being a bit of a bear sometimes, when someone starts following the blog I can only find their blog if they comment - so, if you're a follower whose blog I'm not yet following, comment so I can find you!

Monday 6 May 2013

Judge Minty

So Judge Minty is available to watch in it's entirety, and I really think you should:

Or at, if you have some aversion to embedded videos.

Not wanting to spoiler anything, but

1 - their Megacity is more to my liking than the one in Dredd

2 - Greg Staples makes a pretty good Dredd

I only picked up on a single continuity error (Minty only has blood on his teeth in the flashback of the incident that leads to him taking the long walk) but I'm more than willing to forgive that for a multitude of reasons! (Not least the shot of Dredd asking where his H-wagon is...)

Warning: if you're anything like me, you'll be planning on converting a gang of Cursed Earth crazies within about four minutes of starting watching...

Thursday 2 May 2013

100th Post, Post-Salute Post Post and the Lannisters I'm working on...

So, 100 posts! To celebrate, I've finally gotten round to changing my blogger profile pic to this:

Because as much as I love Sam & Max (RIP Lucasarts) it says more about me and my tiny attention span...

I even considered changing the header image too (as it's been a while since I painted any modern zombies) but I still like that it plays on 'Dead Lead Project', as it's a blog about dead lead (as in the miniatures that I will likely never get round to painting) rather than necessarily just miniatures of dead things. Any road up, on to more miniatures that I've acquired since Salute that I will definitely get around to painting:

The Dog handler from Warlord Games that was ordered at Salute as they'd run out (and even came with an extra dog) for my Stark force, and a bundle of bases from em4... the 40mm variety of which don't fit into the War of the Ring bases from Games Workshop that I hope to eventually use when I've painted enough miniatures to be playing anything bigger than a skirmish scale game:

Except for upside-down, when they fit perfectly. Curses. Oh well, it's better to realise something like this now than once I've stuck horses to them, and I suppose I can scavenge some Terminator bases from old 40k starter boxes...

A selection of bits and bobs from the Perrys that I forgot to pick up at Salute and some Blu Stuff, 2 part mould-making wonder goo (more on this later...)

Some mushroom men from Ral Partha, to go with the Hasslefree Agarix I picked up at Salute - these are especially dinky though, so I might need to convert some sort of Ogre-sized Myconid to balance it out...

A bundle of knights and a priestly type from Forlorn Hope Games, who seem to have more em4 miniatures than em4 do, for use as plate armour wearing Hedge and foot knights...

From Hasslefree, I got the metal Boudi that I wasn't able to get as Salute, and added a 'not Ramona' as well to take the sting out of paying for postage (and also because I made the mistake of reading other people's blogs when they included lists of things that they'd bought at Salute, more fool me...). It also came with a free dinky homunculus, to make up for the fact that the order was delayed by various shows, who I'm sure I can find a home for somewhere in the multitude of generic fantasy drawers (and should be pretty quick to paint, as he's so tiny!)

And last but not least, a delivery from Foundry, of the two packs that I wasn't able to pick up at Salute - the archer command (for commanding my Lannister archers) and King Ronnie's Court (as I wanted the jester to convert into Shagwell, of the Brave Companions / Bloody Mummers). I also added a pack of armed Medieval peasants to take the edge off of the shipping charge (better than it used to be, but still not ideal if you're only picking up a couple of packs), as I'd like to build a warband of the Brotherhood without banners at some point (and handily a couple of the miniatures in the archer command pack look like they'd be suitable candidates). Speaking of which, I could do with getting some LOTR Ruffians miniatures, especially the chap carrying the noose (Spoilers - the Brotherhood without Banners are fairly keen on hanging people). Foundry even threw in a free knight, which was nice.

Unfortunately though, this takes the tally to:

8 vs 339 = -331

What can I say, it's been better... Only 8 finished models this year though, that's a bit of a sting... I hope to change that (if only a little) though as I'm still working on the generic fantasy miniatures I need for D&D, as well as having built these:

My first Lannisters! Perry plastics with a metal knight from Forlorn Hope / em4 to give them some variety (and also so that there's at least one miniature that I can paint really, really quickly as he's entirely armoured), these chaps have since been gesso'd ready to start painting:

Finally, I've also been working on something else. Although I'm not sticking slavishly to either the books or the TV series for my Ice and Fire Project, I'm quite enamoured with the armour worn by the Lannister House guards in the TV series:

Plastic Warriors of Minas Tirith will furnish me with near enough armour, but the helmet is another matter. So, stealing inspiration entirely from Mr. J over on the LAF, I set about making my own:

Cut the head off of a plastic Uruk Hai (originally painted about a decade ago!) and shave it down so it's less recognisable:

Take a tiny square of plasticard:

and cut it into a crest shape:

and gently file until it's the desired shape:


Attach it to the trimmed down original crest of the Uruk helmet, and realise that you've been over-zealous with your scraping and filing. Don't worry overmuch though, that can be easily fixed with the addition of a glob of Liquid Green Stuff that can then be re-filed.

To ease casting (probably), attach the head to a pole. It's the sort of thing you see done all the time, so there's probably a reason for it (I jest, it's to provide a channel for the milliput to get pushed into, and will also form a handy neck on the cast head that can be trimmed down to the required size)

Many failed attempts with Blu Stuff later, such as attempting to cover the entire head and cut the Blu Stuff into a two part mould (for some reason I was expecting it to dry to a rubbery finish, but be warned, it sets pretty firm):

we have the first half of our two part mould:

I had it  end around the crest for ease of removal later. After some careful cutting to tidy up the edges and put in a slight slope to help align the two halves of the mould, we have this:

An incredibly unpretty mould. Looks aren't everything though:

As it works! The pictures pretty much as out of focus as a picture can be, so you'll have to take my word for it. Now it's just a case of cranking out some more of these and cleaning them up before I start working on push moulding some Lannister Lion shields, and then it's go-time on Lannister House Guard conversions...

I was also going to write an aside on my plans for my Ice and Fire project, and how I see the composition of each House's forces going, but I think that this post is already long enough that it  might be an idea to save that for another day...