December 6, 2011

General principles

This'll likely be the last empire project of 2011. I mean, sure, there is still this guy to take care of, but he's just sitting patiently on my desk, waiting for me to figure out what color to paint the trim on his robe.

The current front burner project follows smartly on the heels of the army standard bearer, the army general. Everyone needs one. He's been serving in the front ranks of my units for several years as a raw metal figure among more garishly festooned subordinates. But that time is drawing to a close. This month's contest theme over at the Empire forum is generals, so I'm determined to keep up, and get mine finished too. It'll be a nice coda to the year of painting and the renewed focus on my empire collection that I've had these last months.

Also, I'm open to suggestions for that wizard's robe trimming.

December 3, 2011

keep on keepin' on

Aside from a few spots I realize that I need to go back to now that I look at these pictures, this handsome little piece is done, yay!

Once again, hard to say enough good about Hudson & Allen. This is my 4th piece of theirs, and while they aren't cheap, they deliver on nice designs, solid materials, and paintability.

November 28, 2011

Keeping it real

While sections of the ruined tower were drying this weekend I spent some time prepping this wonderful citadel I've had for years. Its an expanding foam-resin model from Hudson and Allen, and I've always been really excited by its simple classic design and clean lines. So excited that I've never painted it, even!

It is finally underway, and I'm pleased for to be able to say so.

Also, while I was doing these first drybrush coats tonight, Juno paid a visit to the game room, which is a rarity. We talked about the tabletop, somewhat RPG-ish game I want to run for her and some of our other friends. I've had the idea for a year or so, and having some interesting player character figs outside the idioms of my existing WHFB collections is what drove many of my one-off character painting projects last winter. It was really helpful to sketch out some ideas I had and hear what interested her. She's probably the least into rule intensive, chart heavy, math laden gaming of any of our friends, and yet has an incredible imagination and appreciation for a rich world laden with real emotions, motivations, and other facets of character and story development. She'll be a real bell-weather for guageing how well I'm strinking a balance between hack-and-slash, and heavy role play elements. I don't want an excessive amount of either, and the whole thing is intended to be fun and easy, and free flowing. A tall order, but I'm interested to give it a shot.

I've also been revisiting some of the rule sets I started investigating for these games over the last year or more. So far the top two contenders are looking like Songs of Blades and Heroes, and Broadsword Adventures. SoBH looks a bit too simple, and straight up fighty... BS seems to have better flexibility for a little character development, and a not too complicated, but diverse enough basic character concept to allow us to deal with some of the crazy and creative things I expect my friends will want to do during adventures. It'll need to be stripped down on some fronts though if I use it, as only one or two folks I know have the patience or interest in something even as complex as that. If anyone has managed to run a light weight RPG / dungeon crawl with either of these sets; something a step or two up from beer and pretzels, several steps down from D&D, I'd love to hear any opinions you might have on it.

Anyway . . . I hadn't really indtended to write all that... mostly it was all about, Hey, check out the grey drybrushing on that keep, yo.

broke down palace

Knocked this guy out this weekend:

Didn't spend as much time on it as I did on the nicer LotR pieces. I just wanted to get it done, so its a little more bish bosh than some of my other stuff. I don't mind.

Its the most recent ruined tower kit from GW. Not amazing, but serviceable. I found one for a fair price, and a ruined keep is a nice bit to have on hand I reckon. I had originally planned to carve out all the skulls and resculpt in some bricks or something, but when it came down to it, I couldn't be bothered for the sake of this piece. Its fine for what it is, but not worth much effort to improve it. Basically I could buy it for less than my effort and time would be to build my own ruined, multi level, tower with interior access.

November 22, 2011

The World Serpent & The Hidden Hand

I finally finished my army standard bearer. Once again props go to the forum for their monthly competitions which have motivated me to knock this one out, and get started on next months project (empire general).

Oh, and incidentally, my militia won last month's contest over there, which is pretty neat. That makes 3 wins for my figures... I hope people aren't getting sick of me. :/

I'm going to enter the standard and the general, since I'd planned to do them all year, but maybe I'll lay off next year. Unless there is a category for artillery piece. . .. I feel a hot pot coming on soon!

Anyway, here be the grand standard of the Imperium Ordo Templi Illuminatus:

November 16, 2011

Charity Auction: Salute 2009 ltd ed Zulu vignette

This figure was originally donated by Richard at Otherworld Miniatures and painted by me for a fundraiser that ended up not happening. Its been sitting on my shelf, and I've finally gotten permission from the original organizer and Richard to go ahead and do something else with it.

So, I'm going to auction it off. As we're hot on the heels of Nov. 11, I've decided that what ever funds it receives will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

These folks do a lot of work for vets who return wounded from combat. They came to my attention as one of their local chapters from Ft. Lewis, worked with Habitat for Humanity to build houses for homeless veterans in Washington.

If you know anyone who you think might enjoy this vignette, point them this way, or feel free to over spend on it and give it to them for christmas!

$25.00 gets you an initial bid, and I'm covering shipping.

Auction Details on Ebay

November 8, 2011


Not much left to do on this guy but a few details and then figure out what sort of crazy design to do for his standard.

I can't say enough about this old halberdier. Its a really nice sculpt.

November 7, 2011

Standard and Poor

More props to the forum for their ongoing monthly project challenges. Their schedule has proven surprisingly motivational to me, and I'm really happy to have made the progress I have on my empire these last months. The steam tank was waaaay over due. Similarly, I've had plans, and even figures picked out, for some of my characters for quite some time, but since the empire feels like a very long term project to me, that sometimes saps any sense of urgency I might have to actually knock things out. For november the theme is Battle Standards. So I pulled this figure off the shelf, where he has sat with his halberd clipped off, collecting dust for at least a year. I fussed around with various finial ideas, mostly of the simpler variety of which I am generally overfond, but eventually came around to something a bit more ornate:

It is a bit more flashy than I'd usually go, but it /is/ my army's symbolic raison d'etre after all, right? It is appropriate for it to be a little more over the top. Plus, I've had these dragons for years, waiting for the right time to use such unique pieces... waiting for the right time is what has caused me to have a steam tank in a box for 15 years, and no painted general or imperial standard for about as long. So, I hacked it together, and came up with something that I think will make a fitting rallying point for the poor men of the empire who slog it out against dirty rats and stinky orcs time and time again. They deserve something kind of fancy I guess.

November 3, 2011

he's a magic man

I needed to do some prep work and order some weapons before I can expand my tribal militia, so while my bits are awaiting delivery, I wanted to work on something else. This guy was started at the same time as the rest of my wizard project, but I got tired of wizards before I finished him, so there he has sat, flesh done and ready to go. . . patiently waiting for me to make up my mind on color schemes, and find some motivation. I finally put some colors on him last night:

I really like both the blue tunic and the oiled leather over thingy... but now I have no idea what color trim both should have. I don't know what it is about this figure that makes it so easy to stumble at every step when I'm trying to plan him out. :/

November 1, 2011

Say one thing for Madponies, say it occasionally gets updated...

There are still reaches of the empire (my empire anyway) where the emperor's rule is largely in name only. In trade for this autonomy and the freedom to live as they always have, the tribes will come down from the hills when they are called to serve as militia, but only under the command of their own chosen; named men; heroes. The old ways are upheld. No one can rule a band of men unless he has earned it in combat and plunder. There are no hereditary titles in the mountains.

When The Feared walked out of mists, the men were dubious. Then nervous. Eventually it turned to respect. Among the hillmen, they believe that the side of his body tatooed in glyphs, prayers, and ancient incantations cannot be harmed by a normal blade. Given their own predispositions toward body paint before battle, it was no surprise that he would gather his own crew about him.

The Feared*

And some of his followers, men from the tribe of the black hand:

I don't normally bother with my own fluff, but it was imagining the back story that brought these figures all together and drove this mini-project as much as the release of this new burly barbarian from Hasslefree. So, the HF figure may or may not find use as a centerpiece for these guys in my fantasy big battle games, but he seemed to fit, and got me excited to paint some more whacked out naked tribesmen, so why not. Otherwise he'll be a great bad-guy or player figure for my dungeoncrawl collection.

I just knocked out the first 5 here for a monthly project on the Empire Forum (this month's theme is militia), but added to the handful I did a few years ago, I think I have the makings of a pretty striking militia unit.

Here's the new with the old tribesmen I did 4 or 5 years ago:

The stone bases on the new batch are all Fenris bits.

*With apologies to the Joe Abercrombie.

October 11, 2011

All ahead full

Presented for you enjoyment, H.M.T Hiram Abiff ; Imperial steam tank-

I probably picked up this model somewhere around 1998, so I reckon its time I put some paint on it. I swapped the driver out for 'Bronzino', the mounted captain from the Dogs of War galloper gun set. In lieu of the massive repeating handgun the original tank commander wielded, I cut away the front of the cupola and added the miniature cannon for him to discharge in close combat. That nice little bit is a sled gun from The Assault Group's 28mm rennaisance range.

The wheels come from Ork warmachines in 40k, and I think they look more appropriate than the planked wagon wheels it comes with. You can see the original pair here. I wanted to enter the tank in a contest but I hadn't sourced the ork wheels yet, so I had to finish it up temporarily with the stock wheels. I think the new set are a definite improvement.

In other news, I have another little project underway. The only time I've ever taken Free Company Militia in a game I used some ancient tribesman figures from foundry as stand ins. I've since thought that since I don't really play historicals, but do enjoy painting the wild tribal types, that they may end up being tarted up and pressed into service as tribal militia. I like the idea of them coming down from the hills of my empire to occasionally stand shoulder to shoulder with the more 'civilized' folk that nominally rule their lands. A bunch of random circumstances lead to me starting a small group of them, clustered around a giant brawler recently released by Hasslefree, who'll also make a great adventure figure. At some point the unit will get filled out, but for now I'm just working on these few mostly naked fellows. I kind of think they're going to look awesome.

September 26, 2011

o/~ hammer-hammerhart o/~

I finished off this great hammer wielding warrior priest this weekend:

September 19, 2011

get it while it's hot

While I wait for some parts for another project already nearing completion, I'm circling back to some figures I had started in spring and hoped to have done a while back.

Sometimes its a treat to pick something up and have already completed the flesh tones, and thus the basic personality is already set (if you, like me, find most of the personality of a figure to be defined by the highlights and shading of its face) and you can move straight on to picking the supporting colors.

This then, is one such figure.

He will find service in my Empire as a warrior priest.

I have to say that this is one of the best figures I've held in my hand in a long time. Steve Buddle sculpted it just before he packed in the freelance gig and went to work for Citadel. I'm glad he got the steady job he was after, but I have to say I'm disappointed for purely selfish reasons. This was the first of a new style he was exploring- more delicate, truer proportions, and grittier, but still with his trademark clarity and smoothness; shortly after he released it he closed up shop, and thats too bad. We could have used more figures like this out there.

It may not be the most dramatic or flamboyant pose, but it is a pure joy just to look closely at it and appreciate the lines he made. I've never enjoyed basecoating a figure before. Seriously. I wouldn't bandy about such praise lightly, but this is a great example of what art can be done at this scale. I'm not even doing it justice, but I've decided to not worry to much, and just have fun with a figure that I enjoy. ( It doesn't hurt that this one was broken on arrival, and I have a replacement in the wings too )

It looks like Heresy picked up most of the Spyglass 28mm resin stuff, including our clerical friend here, and infact, Andy seems to be selling them for a less than they originally went for. Which is great, because you should get one, despite the cost.

Also, I apologize for the crappy camera shot. I admit, I used my phone because it seemed easier to transfer it wirelessly than it did to use my regular camera and then physically transfer the file to my desktop. My lazyness is your loss I guess. . . I'll try and get better WIP shots in the future if I'm going to bother at all.

September 12, 2011

A little help here, Jonas?

Jonas is too busy stealing pigs and eating bratwurst to help out firing the hakenbüchse. This will probably see action as an alternate DoW galloper gun, empire cannon, or maybe some custom rules for a Hochland Long Rifle artillery piece with bonuses for being aimed by multiple crew. Or it'll just sit on my shelf, which would be fine with me. It was done mostly to make use of some Pro Gloria figures that I bought more to support the company's first steps than I did because I had an explicit use for them.

September 8, 2011

I thought you were dead!

Nope, just completely overwhelmed and distracted by the summer happenings. Well, the family visits are finally at an end, and the vacations and trips have calmed down, so I finally found a moment to put a few brushstrokes on a figure I was long overdue on finishing. This is for the paint-swap over at Steve Dean's place.

Stephan at ProGloria miniatures sent me one of his sausage-eating, pig-stealin, looting Landsknecht figures to paint, and it was quite a bit of fun. I have a few of the rest of his figures on the table for myself as well, and they are also nearing completion. Hopefully the next update wont be another several months off.

June 2, 2011

Novus Ordo Seclorum

And here is the finished mounted general. Grand master, Ordo Templi Illuminati

May 24, 2011

In search of Empire

Some previews from the work bench.

First one of 4 landsknechts I'm doing. A light artillery piece and 3 crew for me, and 1 lone looter for Stephan @ ProGloria Miniatures.

I had planned to just to these 4 landsknechts as my next project, but then I realized that I had a few days left on the monthly empire painting contest and decided to dig around in my spares boxes and see if I could come up with something that fit this month's theme of 'knights'. I found the old Borgio figure from the Dogs of War range, and with some judicious use of a dremel and some putty I was able to remove his more objectionable bits, and sculpt on some other bits. The result is a pretty OK conversion. Nothing extrodinary, but he makes a pretty good beefy hero type. I'll enter him as a knight captain / grand master or whatever, but the plan took shape with the idea of fielding him as a general in my army. I think he'll fit the bill.

May 15, 2011

Meanwhile, back in fantasy land . . .

Progress has been made. First off is a Red Box adventurer that I started months ago, and abandoned shortly there after. I just got bored with all the details on RBG figs, and on doing adventurers in general. As I was sitting down to paint the last few days I decided I better suck it up and finish it, or I never would. I'm actually still pretty happy with how it came out, though I spent less time on the last few stages than I might otherwise have.

And then, I finally finished 2 out of my 3 remaining wizards.

First up a slightly converted 4th Edition Celestial Wizard that I really like:

And then this great female elf magic user from Spyglass:

I'm just getting used to spring again. The arrival of warmer weather always throws me for a loop after winter, but hopefully I'll be able to strike a good balance between sunshine and outdoor activities, and still getting some painting done. Last summer I hit the balance just about perfect, so hopefully I'll be able to manage it again, and it won't be another 2 months before I have an update.

May 11, 2011

Miss Scarlett, in the study, with the pistol

I left this lady off the blog earlier since she was entered in the ongoing Steve Dean Forum competition, but she was just knocked out of the running by Mr. Dean's entry, so I should finally post her here.

In other news, I've been away from the painting desk pretty consistently for the last few weeks. I've finally just finished one of my next wizards though, and hopefully will get pictures up later tonight. I'll see what I can do about building my momentum back up shortly.

March 25, 2011

a worthwhile diversion

I came across a small monthly competition for Empire armies, and March's category was state troops. It seemed like a neat idea, and I wanted to do a test of my planned color scheme for my swordsmen anyway, so I put the wizards on hold for 2 days and whipped up these Foundry rodoleros. I'm really glad I decided on these figures; now that I have some painted up I'm even more convinced that this unit will look super awesome when its done. They may end up being the next big project after some singles. . . only time will tell.

These are also the first time I've tried pre-tufted grass. I've always thought the Silfor tufts looked pretty nice, but wasn't sure they'd be worth the money. Antenociti's Workshop picked up a new brand, Fredericus Rex, and I thought I'd give them a whirl. The colors are nice, and they go down fairly well, but I'm still not sure if the convenience is worth the money. A lot of the tufts are too big for a 20mm base though, so if I cut them down into 1/2s and 1/3rds, they may go a lot further, and possibly be worth the convenience of not having to flock by hand. The flowers were another one from A.W., that I'd been eyeing for a while, and they are definitely an excellent product if you want to add some decently realistic color to your bases. Not exactly cheap, but you get what you pay for.

March 16, 2011

do you believe in magic?

I don't normally say that things look better in real life, but in this instance the color boundaries really are accentuated by the digital CCD. One's eye blends them together a lot more than the computer does. I still like this classic gandalf-y type mage and his owl friend a lot, but I have to say, he'd look better if you were holding himin your hand. :)

March 15, 2011

I Master, Five Magics

Its time to update my wizards. Some for my Empire collection, some to use for the dungeon crawl adventure. To this end I have 5 magic users all primed and ready. Actually the flesh is done on them all as well.

Tonight I finished this Earth magic user / shaman type. I think he's probably my favorite figure of the group.

March 14, 2011

won't you blow your horn

NOW the dwarf unit is officially done. Thanks to this blog I was reminded of the Vendel fantasy dwarf range, and it turns out they have a nice musician figure, /and/ they nearly fit in with Hasslefree figures size-wise.

After removing the integral base and filing the feet down a ways, I managed to get him so his helmet is about the same height as the HF norman dwarves. Fits right in!

Hurrah! I definitely recommend checking out I Mostly Paint at Night . . . Mostly as he's doing some excellent work on these capable old Vendel sculpts.

March 10, 2011

Well he's certainly dead now, would anyone like to kill him twice?

Dr. David Black, your esteemed host during your stay at Tudor Close.

March 9, 2011

March 8, 2011

Légion étrangère

The French foreign legion team is done.

The role/names are per the armament and the designations in the Battlefield:Badcompany video game, on which the tabletop game is based.

Assault (FAMAS+M203):

Engineer (Panzerfaust+assault rifle (( should be a FAMAS, please ignore the fact that its a Beretta ;) )))

Medic (FN MiniMi )

Recon (sniper rifle)

March 7, 2011

Say hello to my little friends

And here they are, my new Empire dwarf unit. The majority are hand weapons+shield, but I converted 4 of them to spears so I can fill the front rank at least if I want to field them as a spear unit. Hopefully the musician gets here soon so I can finish them off for real.

Spear troops:

A few backsides

They look pretty good defending my new standing stone:

All 17 of them:

And the neat little stone:


Well the dwarf unit is so close to being done, that I'll wait to post a final picture of it rather than a 99% WIP. I'm working on the ground cover today (home sick from work), and I've found a new musician figure for it, which is on order. So I'll still need to do him to actually finish the unit, but I'll probably take pictures tonight of the rest of the crew.

My FFL are coming along, but it was hard going to get them to this point. I really can't justify painting camofluage (sp?). Maybe it would be different if I had a better rhythm, or a more formulaic system for doing it, but as it is, it was pretty infuriating, and hard to get into the process. I still think these fellows look okay, but I can't imagine a project with more than four figures.

I'm down to final details on these- goggle lenses, guns, faces, insignia... and that should be about it.

Another Fenris standing stone is getting ground work this afternoon with the dwarves, and I've started preliminary assembly of the ruined GW tower I bought a few months ago, so the terrain collection continues to expand.

I've also taken delivery of my remaining Clue figures from Artizan, which are cleaned and based, and will be primed today.

Progress on all fronts! Its a lovely thing.

March 1, 2011

where the banshees dwell

There is nothing quite like being able to knock out a project in a day. Much less after a full day of work. I've had this standing stone for several months and my enthusiasm carried over from yesterday's ruins to get this done too. I think it'll be a great piece of scenery and objective marker.

Full disclosure: I cut the base and primed it over the weekend. Everything after that was done today after I got home from work. :)

a clean well lighted place

The last of the Osgiliath ruins is complete, just in time to meet my deadline of finishing my mordheim ruins by the end of February.

I still have two more pieces to do but one of them is not a ruined building per se, and the other I actually bought after I'd set my self this deadline. When I made the declaration to myself it was specifically that I'd get the bulk of my outstanding ruins at the time (all 6 of the Osgiliath pieces) done before March. So, I'll call it a success.

The last two pieces were chopped a bit to become a single piece with a third story rather than a pair of ruins with 2 stories each.

I also finally got around to making some movable ladders for use with the various ruins in our Mordheim games. They are a little chunky, but I'm fine with them being a bit more game-piece like than actual scenic details. I'll make more once I have more kebab skewers on hand.

February 25, 2011

I'm a legionnaire, camel in disrepair

Working on all sorts of things at once, but when I need a break from doing loads of straps and shoes and weapon shafts on the dwarf unit, I take a moment to do a round on the FFL. So far I have the flesh done, and the first two coats on the uniforms.