Friday, May 20, 2016

Welcome to the Dungeon...

A small backlog of photos of Reaper Miniatures finished over the last few months today folks; as is normal lets kick off with our valiant heroes:

 Firstly a barbarian and a well armoured cleric.

 The rippling muscles on the barbarian were certainly a challenge, possibly more exaggerated than I normally like, but the effect is pretty good.

Next up a pair of moody elves.

 Painted months apart these two, a young wizard and a ranger I guess look thematically similar.
Lastly, and occupying an awkward middle ground, is this character, described as a witch on the Reaper website:

 I think I was going more for 'sexy wizerd'  but I can take their point; if seeming implicitly a little distrustful of smart women!

I find the back of this model a bit odd, lots of "what's going on with that bit?" type thoughts during the painting process, as a result this model idled on the table for many weeks.

Alongside these a few more nasty gribblies were churned out.  Nothing complicated you understand:

I know which treasure chest I'd rather find.  I believe the one on the left is called a Mimic or something, either way as an enchanted trap it'd happily have your arm off.

 A low level rank and file Skeleton is matched here by a Wight.  The Wight was a really easy model to do thanks to basically just being armour and two flowing robes.

This skeleton came out very different to the other Reaper ones I've done so far, but that shouldn't be an issue, who's to say he was in the ground as long?

Lastly, some more Goblins.
Well the never appear in just ones and twos do they.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jabberwocky - Finished

So, monsters really don't have to take a long time to paint; so it would seem.  Maybe it is just because I finally have some free time, maybe it is because a Jabberwocky isn't dripping in lace, facings, buttons and brocade.

Above you can just about make out why brass-rodding the tail or leg would not work, both are either too flexible or too thin to support it.  The clear rod is visible but not too intrusive for my eye.

The painting technique was a doddle for this one, after retouching the base coat with a dark green, I gave the entire model a glaze of military green plus a dab of black.  This was very dark, but responded well to an overbrush of the original base coat the following day.  Then I gradually added yellow to the mix and applied several dry brushes, with gradually smaller brushes slowly focusing on the highlights.

The red began as a mix of dark red with a tiny amount of the base green, dry brushed and blended at the transition area and more completely painted further along the wings and so on.  This was then overbrushed with unmixed dark red, followed by drybrushing repeated layers of red, with lighter red then orange mixed in.  No three layer technique here, just keep going until it looks right.

The chest/belly was next with the base green mixed firstly with a buff yellow, then increasing amounts of pale yellow then a little white added.  All that was then left was the claws and teeth - sand brown up to a pale linen shade, and the eyes.  A super simple base to match the rest of my Reaper dungeon models was all that was then required.

No time at all really.  But I'm really happy with the look.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

45eme de Ligne

I'm getting older, I can't deny it.  The other day I went to a rave and didn't dance at all.  Granted it was held in a shopping mall rather than a warehouse, and I was sober, but nevertheless; pensionable behaviour.

Also, it seems to take me 50% longer to finish a Napoleonic unit than it used to, and that's not even allowing for the reduced amount of free time to dedicate to painting I have whilst doing my Masters Degree.  The unit presented here realistically reflects 30 hours of toil, possibly too little return for the time?

But regardless, the 45eme de Ligne are ready for battle:

Ligne in Line
In column from the rear
 Half way through painting I was almost ready to give up on these, as they looked absolutely awful, but such is the long process with uniforms of this detail, that you have to just stick with it until they're done, it's only in the last few hours of labour that the effort is rewarded.  The converted Colonel came out rather well too.

Converted Colonel
I hope I never have to build and paint another regiment of Victrix French infantry though.  They are just too fiddly!

The 45eme is a regiment with a long and colourful history in the Napoleonic wars, with battalions serving in both Napoleon's Western and Eastern campaigns, as well as finally winding up at Waterloo.  You would do worse than to read up the short version of this at the site of their Re-enactment Group.

With these and the German allies I did earlier in the year, the infantry shortfall in my French force is somewhat resolved, still not enough to exactly match my Anglo-Portuguese, but much closer to balance.
Packed with goodies!
There are now 5 boxes like this, packed with British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German troops; getting on for over 600 of them.

Probably time to try and get another game arranged, eh?

Friday, May 13, 2016

What to do with a Wonky Monster?

Working through my Reaper Bones collection, and looking to find uses for them to boot, I've pulled one of the monsters out of the selection; the Jabberwocky.

John Tennial's original illustration

It's a great sculpt, based on the original illustrations of the absurd poem, however the model itself once assembled has, shall we say, issues with its' balance and posture:

Go home Jabberwocky, you're Drunk

The soft poly Reaper uses simply can't cope with the weight of the pose resting on the slender leg, a dynamic lean of the pose only becomes an image of a creature caught in the middle of falling over as it serves to encourage the model to collapse in a heap.  The centre of gravity furthermore is outside of the base, or along its very edge, making staying upright on a level surface impossible; hence the tin lid blutacked to the base here.

This would not do, so drastic action would be needed.  One bonus of the bones material is that it's easy to modify - cut, drill and so on - so I set the the bits boxes (of which I have surprisingly few) to find something suitable to make it stand upright and balance better.  I found I had one old GW flying stand kicking about in a pile of bits and so felt its' transparency and relative strength would solve the problem.  I drilled through the base with nothing more than a pin vice and some good scissors, to widen the hole, so the fit was tight.  It was then a simple case of forcing the model into the right position and drilling an alignment hole into the underside of the Jabberwocky.

It penetrates a 'delicate area' in Jabberwockey anatomy

That done he was still a little wobbly, so to secure everything I added a thick wooden base; and hussaaah!  Works!

Sobered up 
Now he's ready for a proper paint job, a whole separate challenge.  But at least I've managed some progress on that front of late (of which more, soon).

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A new army Sneaks in

I've been away folks, to parts foreign and of some relevance for the blog.  Perhaps something on that later, but whilst away my order of miniatures for Dragon Rampant arrived.  Oh, I guess I didn't mention I'd finally picked up a copy of the Fantasy variant of LR did I; well that was a thing that also happened.  University study is basically out the way for the summer, so fun times and army building are a coming...

Anyhoo.  I decided that for my first dedicated Dragon Rampant force I wanted to do something that was new, but also cut a clear path away from old Warhammer armies and Kings of War too.  Instead I fancied something themed on D&D and other classic roleplaying games.  After looking at what I had to hand for inspiration, and what was available on the net, I settled on a small order from the Reaper Miniatures ranges:

Modern Classics
So it's going to be a Kobold raiding party, with Bugbears providing the heavy hitters, and maybe a little surprise leading them too.  It means painting about 40 models, which shouldn't take too long seeing as how tiny the Kobolds are, but these little dog-warriors should give me an entertaining variant instead of Goblinoid nasties.

I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Boardgame Roundup

A few words on recent board gaming activity are in order today folks, I obviously do a lot of board gaming but tend to keep the blogs focus more on miniatures, still, I hope you won't mind the diversion.

Firstly I was pleased to receive the last of my Conan Strategy Game pledge this week, when the freshly minted Adventures in Hyboria expansion arrived.

Conan with Lightsaber, it appears...
 The expansion greatly increases the involvement and Influence of Conan in the game, as well as adding a new type of unit for the players - Spys.  I've yet to do more than scan the components, but they look to be of the promised high standard and will no doubt provide some interesting wrinkles to the base game.

I'm happy to report that I managed to get a game of 1812: The Invasion of Canada going in the last week.  Given the original cost of this game, I'd really like to get my money's-worth from it, but more than that, it's one of the best board wargames I've ever played.

The field at the end of play
It was only as a two player game on this occasion, but the game can accommodate up to five players; recommendations are that it works best with two or five players.  Head to head, I duelled with Ross' command of the British for five rounds; the Native Americans seized Detroit and the west whilst the British marched south from Montreal; things looked bleak for the Americans.  

Little did the British know that I had a forced march and a naval manoeuvre in hand and was able to sweep troops across Lake Erie and the Niagara.  Although the British had signed the Treaty of Ghent to end the game when they thought they were ahead, they suddenly found themselves on the back foot.  It was only by a paramount effort that they were able to pull the game back to a draw. 

As a light wargame, 1812 provides everything I could want from it; easy to learn and simple mechanics, but one's that provide for an enormous range of possibilities.  A game that is hard to master, and should vary every time.  Highly recommended.

Much of which can be said of Concordia too, except the wargame part.

What have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
Concordia is an archetypal 'Trading in the Mediterranean' Eurogame, a sneering cliché critics of European board games like to throw around; and sure, there is no fighting in the game, no dice rolling, no randomising element during game play to speak of.  But the game manages to address this with a semi random board set up and a card driven play mechanic that allows players to forge differing strategies for success.  

The game is only partly about the action on the board too, for all your efforts to establish trading outposts across the known world can be for naught if you don't acquire enough favours of the gods (cards) to maximise your efforts.

This would be a good Monopoly replacement for the more able family group, or for gamers looking for a mid weight game with plenty of re-playability.  Just ignore the dull as dishwater box cover, which really doesn't sell the game.

And on a final note for my British chums, if you've not already noticed, get yourself down to your local branch of The Works (or online) for they again have a batch of modern board games in stock, including for the military minded amongst you 'Sun Tzu', 'Chosun' and 'World of Tanks - Rush', as well as various others of a more varied nature; all seem well regarded by those I know who've picked them up, with perhaps 'Origin' 'Artificium' and 'Madame Ching' being the best reviewed:

For £10-12 each you really can't go wrong though, most of these games would've been £30-40 each.