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: