December 21, 2012

there was a terrible roar all around us, and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats

Once upon a time me and my friends I played WHFB with all discovered how useful a handful of swarms were. I was excited that both spiders and bats would make sense for my undead army, and I got to collect and paint 2 kinds of silly critters. Sadly, at the time, the bat swarm figures that were available were more than silly. They looked like muppets on lollipop sticks, and were really terrible. But thats what there was, so thats what I used.

Luckily these day there are some better options. Citadel's new versions are still basically crap, but a few others have stepped into the market. When I first saw these bats by Masquerade, I immediately knew that I was going to pitch my old swarm bases on ebay and replace them with this much more aesthetically pleasing variety.

They originally came in sets of single bats on sprues that you have to bend, pose, and attach yourself, building up your swarm as you go. Counting from the left to right, no. 1 and no.3 are this style.

A while after they released them, they took some of the bats and converted them to have interlocking wings, and then got those cast. In those later packs, there are two pieces on the sprue, each made of 4 or 5 connected bats. These are No 2 and 4 above. The little tree branch that holds the one grouping off the ground is part of the original casting.

The first variety are certainly a bit of work to get assembled, but if you take your time, and reinforce some of the joins with greenstuff, its not too bad. The pay off is that you can build them off of any type of structure you want. I'm particularly happy with the way the set turned out that I attached to the plastic ghoul I received as a sample from Mantic a couple years ago. For the other one I just cut a notch into the skeletons on the base, and jammed the bats wingtip in there to get a decent foundation.

They'd still probably fall apart if they get knocked hard on the table, or dropped, but short of soldering them or something, I don't see a way around that. they are super thin sections of metal, and while I guess you might be able to pin them, you'd be working at some insanely small clearances and weird angles. I'm just going to treat them nice and hope for the best I suppose.

Anyway, I think they look pretty fantastic considering I didn't put all that much work into them,  The ruins and things on the base are resin bits from Fenris Games, as always.

Bat used:
 Masquerade Miniatures pre-assembled bats
Masquerade Miniatures bat swarm kits

Reaper also do a similar version that isn't too terrible, and one that is.  I want to say there is another boutique eurpoean outfit that has since released another one in this same style, but I can't find it.  For my money, the Masquerade ones are the best option out there, despite the lack of US distribution, and expensive shipping for such a tiny parcel,  courtesy of Deutsche Post.

Klaatu barada nikto

This guy seems like he deserves some similarly evil benediction to go with his necronomicon sigil and bone armor, so there we are.

December 11, 2012

The Undeadening, Part 1

So, here are the new skeletons that I previewed in the last post:

I know the grateful dead motif is probably not that unique, but this batch is designed to fit in with the existing stuff from 20 years ago, and that's what I did back then, so I'm sticking with it.

Here are some of the old figures that they'll be joining:

Its a pretty rough old lot from back then.... some centaurs with fucked up weapons (these were some of the first conversions I ever did), the GD shields are sculpey, the bike is a Matchbox I think, and I have no recollection what the liche leadery type is from. Partha or Grenadier maybe.

It feels great to finally have them all done, even if they are mishmash of styles, skill levels, and figure styles, spanning a couple decades:

Oh, and it appears I miscounted at some point while I was planning this, so yes, I'll be doing one more* so the unit fleshes out at a nice 20pcs, and ranks up much more symmetrically.

*(As soon as I can find a single skeleton horse that is reasonably priced)

December 5, 2012

Exhuming the dead

Despite all appearances to the contrary, I have not actually forgotten what I started here, and have been making progress on this unit of horsemen to compliment my old undead army.

I am in fact, nearly done with them. They are sitting on my desk, all painted up, patiently awaiting the arrival of some new grass I've ordered for their bases. As their entire raison d'etre is to replace some really crappy old horsemen I have in the interest of actually completing my undead army of yore, I figured I might as well use this mailorder-interlude to work even more explicitly toward this goal.

Thus, I have just returned from the basement with the undead cav that are /not/ being replaced. Those that constituted my first serious foray into big fantasy battles, courtesy of the original Citadel skeleton army box:

30 some infantry, ~10 cavalry, and a chariot, all for about $25.00. Those were as they say, the days.

Back then, I hardly based anything. I did briefly glue down the ubiquitous green flock that makes everything look like a putting green, but the majority of my figures from c1992 (and for a long time after, if we're honest) are still simply based on plain black plastic. 

I realized months ago when I decided to finish this army, that it wouldn't entail simply completing the 3 units I have to do, but finishing the bases for all those old models as well. So tonight, while the newly completed skeletons looked on, I dusted off, clipped errant tabs, taped over gaps, and in one case actually replaced a homemade (and none too orthagonal) polymer clay base with a mass produced plastic one. I covered the old flock with glue and talus, and I am doing my darndest to get these old guys updated and completed so they can fall in with the new ones.  The bases however, is where the similarity will end. 

When was the last time you looked at a figure you painted 20 years ago, next to a current version of essentially the same figure. It is a bit shocking. Luckily, they're skeletons. Even an extremely un-practiced and inexperienced treatment of them back in the day manages to be more or less acceptable table top today. If anyone looks close, they'll see the horror of clumsy drybrushing. If they look at all they'll see the peculiar and at times dubious results of my first attempts at conversions. But, I rest easy knowing that all in all, it'll just be a big unit of skeletal toy soldiers, and that they'll be done.

Here are some of the new ones, as of a couple nights ago:

November 25, 2012


I've had this guy for years, and he's been base coated on my painting shelf for about a year, so I'm glad to finally have gotten around to finishing him:

This is the last (planned) addition I have to my minotaur unit that I've been re-tooling with mostly vintage Citadel beasties. I think this version fits in quite well with the group, despite being a bit more lanky. What was left off in the paunch department I think Paul Mueller more than made up for in the ripped muscles department.

November 20, 2012

He doth nothing but talk of his horse.

The last offering from this batch of Rogue miniatures, a Venetian merchant:

November 19, 2012

chitty chitty something or other

I'm told this is from the movie.

Child Catcher:

November 18, 2012

There can be only one!

Nearly at the end of the Rogue miniatures project, its time for the Highlander figures.

The Kurgan and Connor McLeod

November 14, 2012

Going Rogue

Some more samples for Rogue Miniatures:

crazy naked old guy:

Richard IV and Prince Edmund Blackadder:

November 12, 2012

Rogue nations

The first of a batch of sample Rogue miniatures for Andy at Ainsty castings to take around to the shows:

A leg creature thing (~26mm):

And a troll thing (~40mm):

Definitely decent creature sculpts. This is the first I've ever seen of Rogue figures up close and they all seem to be pretty nicely sculpted. 

July 23, 2012

not completely dead

Since I was so belated in updating the hot pot and the tree, I thought I perhaps owed the world a post about things yet to come, rather than those long since completed. In that spirit, here are some vague previews of things that may come to pass sooner or later. Whichever the case may be, they are periodically receiving my attentions at the painting table.

Something that I should have finished years ago this way cometh!:

And a little urban development:

More to come, at some point.

July 20, 2012

The forest is a college; Each tree, a university

This was very much not on my schedule for this spring. It unexpectedly caught my fancy, and I followed where that enthusiasm led. At first I decided to paint it just for something different, and because I had recently received the figure as a thank you for donating my halfling steam tank to a charity auction. Once I got to looking at it, I became more and more interested in the piece, and was quite interesting in finishing it.

I really like that this is far less anthropomorphic than most tree-man figures out there. The lack of a face is particularly effective. I hadn't really realized it until confronted with this figure, but the attempts to put a humanoid face on a tree is actually a large part of why I have been dis-satisfied with many other treeman figures I've seen. This one manages to really seem like a forest creature or a woodland elemental, and a lot less like a man in a tree suit.

All the more impressive when you realize the sculptor, one Jeremy Wright, is not a professional at this. While I don't think this was his first attempt at slinging putty, I'm pretty sure it is a fairly early effort from him. I look forward to more interesting work from him, if this is an indication of what he can do.

Dinner will be served shortly

A very belated missive here as I realize I never posted my second diminutive war machine of the year, a long over due halfling hot pot that that I've had laying around for a decade or so.

The additional cook comes from Impact! Miniatures.

March 29, 2012

Old Reliable, Pride of the Eleventy-First

When Hobbits go to war, they bring their tanks.

This is my annual contribution to the Frothers participation game at Salute. One of this years games is a Fantasy WW1 table, with British Hobbits and Russian Dwarves facing off against the Pickelhaub-clad forces of the goblins. It will no doubt be fairly entertaining.

The sharpshooter is a Hasslefree Kindred, and the tank is a resin kit from Ironclad Miniatures.

March 12, 2012

half of a half man

This is the little fellow who'll be taking pot shots out the hatch of the tank.

rumours of spring

Just in time for the spring equinox, we have Oberon, king of the fairies.

I've always loved this figure, but finally decided to dig out of the drawers of woe because it meets the criteria to be an entry for the friendly Q1 painting competition over at Frothers, which has a March31 deadline. I'm going to be engaged for much of march and not able to get much painting in on the weekends, so its a good thing to get this done and out of the way.

Its also that time of year again where I tend to take a little diversion to paint something for the FUUK demo game at Salute. 2012 is no different, and this year I've decided to put my efforts toward a little contribution for the Fantasy WW1 game.

First up I assembled this little resin VSF steam tank from Ironclad miniatures. I didn't like the little machine gun it had on the front so I swapped it out for something with a little more *boom*. I also dremeled away the top hatch to make room for a crewman.

A little brass sheeting and plastic tubing for rivets is turning into a replacement hatch cover to have slung open over the new opening.

I think its going to be a fun little project.

March 6, 2012

Trouble at'Mill!

My new command group, including one of the best two-weapon options I've seen in a while:

These will eventually be leading a unit of Rodoleros, though I've only completed a few test pieces so far. The final unit will be pretty sizable, and a mix of Wargames Foundry, TAG, and BrotherVinni figures. Here is a little taste of what it will be like:

I have to say, I'm quite thrilled at the prospect of fielding this unit; I think they'll look wonderful. The Inquisition figs were a joy to paint. Give Victoria Lamb some buisiness, and get a set for yourself. :)

February 25, 2012

Throwing goats

Well, well, well, what do you know. I finally finished this motherfucker.

I still don't know why it took so long, aside from some difficulties with color choices, and not wanting to create too redundant of a feeling with regards to the large number of magic users I did last year. But really, I think that was only a part of it. Its not like I was switching horses too much. I finished my standard bearer and general in the interim but otherwise my painting production has just been way down across the board this winter. Which is unfortunate, as its one of the best times to knock out a lot of work, but, hey what am I going to do. Stop rambling about this, thats what.

I like this wizard, and despite how long it took me to finish him, I never stopped liking it.

January 24, 2012

bob gobba gobbalin

Finally, here is my first completion of 2012, a rowdy little goblin patrol of Hasslefree miniatures.

They're pretty nice little figures, though definitely dimunitive, and like many HF multipart figures they have pretty small contact areas, and could probably benefit from pinning- of course the shoulders are very thin, so there is only the tiniest amount of metal to bite into. I decided the risk wasn't worth the pain, and didn't pin them myself . . .we'll see how they hold up.

January 3, 2012

General strike

I finally finished the groundwork on my general yesterday afternoon. I've always thought this figure was a perfect choice for a general, leading from in and among his troops. You don't get a much more iconic empire weapon than the halberd either.

Very happy with him, and a great way to wrap up 2011.