Saturday 31 December 2022

The traditional end of year scramble…

 …to get the Tally back into the black:

Wolves! Ten, to be precise, as that’s how many you need to play the first solo Silver Bayonet scenario, and coincidentally the exact number needed to rapidly drybrush of an evening across the last week of the year to get the Tally back to zero.

‘But wait’ I hear you cry ‘in your last post the tally was only at minus six?’. That’s right, dear attention-paying reader, but Christmas has happened since then, and one of my presents was these:

A pack of medieval beekeepers from Midlam Miniatures, and accompanying hives. My wife has queried that I count miniatures towards the Tally but not small scenic pieces like the hives, but that’s just how the rules work. She also asked why I hadn’t painted the eyes on the wolves when I asked her opinion on them at nearly midnight last night when I thought I was done, so she clearly wants me to fail. (I did in fact then paint the wolves eye though)

End of year Tally total:

85 vs 85 = +0

Sunday 25 December 2022

The tiniest of Tims!

Merry Christmas to all that celebrate, and shapely Holidays if that’s your preference. This year’s Christmas offering is another of the Artizan Designs Dickens set, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim:

Let’s pretend that the sunken eyes on Tiny Tim are a carefully selected choice and not just a happy accident. The snow has a coat of gloss to give it a frosty sparkle that hasn’t really come across in these pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I’ve only got one more mini left to paint of those currently available, so hopefully they sculpt up some more of the ghosts next year to keep me in festive posts for years to come!

Obviously, had to use Muppet Christmas Carol for colour reference:

Which leaves the Tally at a jolly:

75 vs 81 = -6

This post is being drafted on Christmas Eve, so it’s entirely possible that by the time it goes live the Tally will have taken another hit in the opposite direction once I discover what Santa has brought…

Wednesday 21 December 2022

A mercenary life…

As the end of the year draws closer, so begins the desperate rush to try and drag the Tally back into positive figures. So, in that light, here is a miniature that has been basically finished since the end of September, when he was put aside for Zomtober, and I kept looking at unable to decide what else I wanted to do to finish him off:

Adding that little tuft of grass was the final touch I settled on, as I figured ‘done’ is a quality all of its own, and after spending a couple of months on my painting palette it was time to let him move on.

Unfortunately the harsh lighting of my dining room has washed out the cloak entirely, but in hand he’s actually very dark grey, fading to black in the recesses.

I think I originally bought him back in the day (an embarrassing number of years ago) purely on the strength of that impressive hat, and because apparently he worked well with Asphyxious’ pet Jack. Two editions of the game have passed since that point though, so who knows if he’s a smart choice to take anymore. Cool hats, though, are eternal.

Finishing him brings the Tally to:

74 vs 81 = -7

and also is another mercenary Warmachine model, still nothing completed from any of the factions…

So, what next? My next mini is already finished, but saved to post on a certain day (which I’m sure you can guess), but after that, I’m torn between the huddle of half-painted ratmen on my palette (which would drag the Tally up to 0, as well as being a step closer to being able to play a game of Warhammer), or the three minis that recently got undercoated, for next year’s soon to be announced ongoing project…

Monday 28 November 2022

Trees, but make them creepy

So, the second scenario for Rangers of Shadow Deep involves ‘nest trees’, and while I could just pop some Halloween spiderweb on some of my existing trees, I fancied making something slightly fancier (that I’m still going to slather in fake spiderweb):

(Please note, I’ve not had a chance to play it yet, this is just a posed shot)

So, many moons ago I came into possession of what looked to be an Armies on Parade board that features some of the old GW trees. A little studio engineering later, I’d reclaimed them from the board to put to use again. 

As they had previously been embedded into a board, it took some cutting and filing to flatten their rounded bottoms and make them suitable for basing in the same fashion as my previously completed trees:

Fun fact, couldn’t for the life of or remember what I’d initially used to measure out my tree bases, but after trawling through old comments on Instagram posts I realised that I’d used the bottom of a pot noodle during Lockdown…

My favourite tree of the bunch is probably one of the bendy ones, that I cut and filed in suck a way as to look like it’s bent almost double by years of wind and weather. 

Some Poundland filler was used to blend them into the bases a bit:

Turns out the textured paint I made way back when (on my birthday last year I believe) was still good, with a little rehydrating:

Then it was just a case of slathering it on with a glue spreader (which has since gone missing. I suspect foul play):

Apparently I didn’t take any pictures of the painting process. Rest assured, it was done quickly, using mostly Wilko sampler pots and heavy handed dry brushing (as well as a wash with some homemade dirty wash, as I’m not rich enough to use my limited supplies of Vallejo Smoke on terrain projects). Tell a lie, the base cost for the tree bark was done using a heavily diluted GW paint, which gave a mottled and unhealthy look. The Wilko tester pots are drying out a bit now, so some of the dry brushing went on a bit chalkier than I would otherwise have liked, but not so much that I’d go back and repaint them!

Then it was time to painstakingly apply moss and static grass:

I went a lot lighter on the foliage than on my previous trees, as I envisioned also using these as spooky trees in a barren graveyard or similar, where lush verdant growth might look out of place. And with that, they were done:

Five spooky trees! While the scenario needs four nest trees, one of the random encounters adds an additional one, so five is the perfect number.

The Tally also took a hit, as I ordered some minis from North Star using their Halloween offer, which apparently I forgot to take a picture of before ripping three open for cleaning and basing. I’d hoped to have them painted sooner, but unfortunately there was a pack missing from the original order, the replacement of which got caught up in the postal strikes and so didn’t turn up until the end of my week off of work… 

I grabbed ten wolves and two werewolves (for the first Silver Bayonet solo scenario), the lovely Silver Bayonet vampires (for the second Silver Bayonet solo scenario - I should probably paint up a unit!), as well a banshee because it was cool and heavily discounted, and even got a freebie mini too! All of which takes the Tally to:

73 vs 81 = -8

Back into the red! I should be able to drag it back into the positive before the end of the year, unless Santa comes laden with minis…

Sunday 30 October 2022

Zomtober 2022 week 5

And here we find ourselves back to our more traditional posting slot of almost too late for the deadline, but still squeaking in with another completed zombie:

The freebie zombie from GW actually painted up really nicely - regardless of how you feel about them having a gravestone in their back and a stake through their heart, it’s a nicely sculpted mini that takes paint exceptionally well, plus it has enough details to add a bit of visual interest without being so busy that it’s a bear to paint.

But what’s that there’s more? Not much more, admittedly:

A quick raid of my bits box and I was able to make a zombie bursting forth from their grave. Whereas the rest of the zombies got plain grey ‘city rubble’ bases, this one got some grass and moss as I wanted to really make it look like it was breaking through the ground, upending some plantlife, rather than just being a hand with some sand stuck to it as it might have looked otherwise. 

One of the reasons I wanted a very short zombie like this was that I also dug out a dreg that I converted way back when I was probably eighteen, that has his spear levelled in suck a way that he’d never rank up with other miniatures. Unless he’s behind someone like this hand, that is…

However, the dreg didn’t get finished, as Friday night became ‘desperate last minute Halloween costume making’ rather than the usual ‘painting and a cup of tea’:

See also Saturday morning, painting something a little bigger than may usual scale so that my son could be Toad from Super Mario:

He was very happy with the costume, even if his toadstool hat with all of its stuffing made him overheat somewhat (also, my wife sewed a complete Starfire costume for our daughter, which is even more impressive than this that I made).

But I digress - not content to have just a hand as my additional submissions, I pressed on Sunday evening to get this handsome chap finished:

The Mordheim Necromancer! Apologies for the terrible photos of him, he’s come out looking fairly washed out, but that’s more to do with taking pictures in the dining room on a Sunday night than anything else. Although on that note I took all of the miniature photos in this post at the same time, so I’m not sure why the Cursed City zombie came out with good looking pictures while the rest didn’t!

In hindsight, maybe I should have weathered up the Necromancer’s robes too, but on the other hand I’m assuming as an actual living chap he probably takes better care of his robes than the shambling hordes he’s bent to his will.

Skull! It has a rune carved into it, so some Carroburg Crimson smeared in and around it gave it a suitably grim and gribbly appearance.

So, in total this Zomtober we have the start of a unit of zombies:

Which if you add to the skeletons that I painted way back when means I’m probably approaching having more points of Undead painted than Skaven, so I’d best get back to painting some ratty boys!

All this Mordheim painting had me browsing eBay, and so after painting the Cursed City zombie I treated myself to the Ogre from that game:

He’s a nice sculpt, who doesn’t look particularly like he’s from AOS, so will make an excellent Ogre Bodyguard as being me I’ve obviously started thinking about a challenge where I paint up all of the Hired Sword options from Mordheim just in case I ever play it…

All in, this brings the Tally to:

73 vs 65 = +8

Sunday 23 October 2022

Zomtober 2022 week 4

Shockingly, here we are for week four in a row with another on schedule blog post - slightly later than usual as my Sunday today involved a lot more tidying up and less spooky season movies than usual, but that’s just the way of the world sometimes isn’t it?

This week’s offering is the Witch Hunter themed zombie from Mordheim (picture taken during a rain storm, unfortunately, so the natural light wasn’t as bright as it could have been):

Not as brightly coloured as some of my previous zombies, but still a characterful little sculpt regardless. I went for a lot of greys and browns for him, as is my usual approach to almost any miniature.

I experimented with painting the flaming torch in his hand as some sort of wyrdstone-tainted warp flame, but it… didn’t quite turn out as I hoped. Initially I went too heavy on the green, and so had to go over it with very thinned white to try and lighten the whole thing, and then applying black to the flames left it too dark overall, so I had to go back in with more white, then redo some of the green… after a while, you hit a point where done is as good as perfect, and that’s what you see here.


70 vs 64 = +6

Now a sensible person would continue building up a positive buffer on their Tally, but North Star just announced that there is going to be a money off code in their next newsletter, and I’ve got my eye on a few bits for Frostgrave / Rangers of Shadow Deep / Silver Bayonet, so who knows how long I’ll last before the Tally is in the red again…

Sunday 16 October 2022

Zomtober 2022 week 3

Another week, another Mordheim zombie finished and posted at a reasonable hour, posted while watching Hocus Pocus 2:

It’s a lovely sculpt, although the facial detail was a little soft for my meagre skills to make the most of. Everything looks good with a judicious application of blood though! The blue and yellow came out looking quite nice, so it was almost a shame to cover it up with dirt and grime, but he’d have looked out of place among his peers in pristine clothes…

Nipping into GW to grab a fresh pot of Rakarth Flesh as mine had completely dried out, I also grabbed the latest Mini of the Month:

Which is fairly handy, given that I have four Mordheim zombies and there are five Sundays in October (although there are a couple of backup minis in various states of preparation just in case). 

Side note on the Rakarth Flesh - being so used to my pretty much solid pot, what was supposed to be a light drybrush became an accidental overbrush, so that’s why the yellow sleeves on this week’s zombie look so pale. 

One in and one out brings the Tally to:

69 vs 64 = +5

Sunday 9 October 2022

Zomtober 2022 week 2

Another week, another zombie, this time the Sisters of Sigmar themed one from Mordheim:

Oof, I thought natural light was supposed to be the secret to taking better pictures? Then again, not rushing to take a picture before watching Hocus Pocus with your family probably ranks up there too.

I dug out an old pot of the GW Foundation range red (Mechrite Red) for her tabard, as I fancied something a little more muted than my usual method of painting red. It came out so nice that it was almost a shame to have to dirty it up with weathering, but grubby is as grubby does and so she got a layer of dirt and blood just like her companion from last week.

Her hair and skin got some green tones too to sell that unhealthy look, doubly thematic in that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hit this week’s deadline due to being sick enough to be off work. Luckily I recovered enough to put in the usual midnight Saturday finish in order to be able to post today.

Finishing her brings the Tally to:

68 vs 63 = +5

Next week: more of the same, hopefully! 

Side note - while Mordheim wasn’t high up on the project list for this year, painting these zombies has led to me watching an awful lot of Mordheim battle reports on YouTube…

Sunday 2 October 2022

Zomtober 2022 week 1 - Old World edition

As October rolls around again, it’s time for another month of Zomtober posts!

As ever, I planned and prepped for this month, but inevitably forgot that the first Sunday in October is only two days into the month, leading to some last minute painting as the deadline for the first post jumped forward - October’s always so far away until the week before!

We’re going back to Mordheim this year: 

Because Mordheim will always be awesome, and also since I have vague plans to do a small Undead Warhammer army once I’ve finished my Skaven army and played some games (looking at updating Circle of Blood because apparently I thrive on making rods for my own back).

Back in the days of the first lockdown, my planned project (until I got derailed by a buddy messaging saying ‘hey so have you heard of Rangers of Shadow Deep?’) was Mordheim, complete with planning out multiple warbands in a notebook. Having dug that back out, it turns out that there weren’t actually any zombies in my starting Undead warband, but given that I had this lovely metal sculpt (my wife bought me the boxed set back in the day) I figured I’d paint him up anyway! 

I went for a grubby paint scheme, even branching out away from my usual grey based scheme for zombie flesh. I especially appreciated painting grubby and dirty rather than trying for neatness when it hit one in the morning the night before post deadline day…

Before we hit the Tally, here’s a poses pic of my new shambling chum hanging out in an old graveyard:

Painting him brings the Tally to:

67 vs 63 = +4

The Tally may well go up again before next week’s post, as what I was painting before I realised how soon the deadline for this post was was on the final stretch before being bumped off of the painting handle…

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…