Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Sad News...


So I can't say I knew the man well, but I did have the good fortune to spend a day on a photoshoot with him, and share a pint at one of his favourite pubs in Newark back in the late nineties.  Heck, he even bought an article off me for WI back in the day, thus marking the 'highpoint' in my publishing career until my Masters Thesis got published.

Rest in Peace, Sir.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

2021: Year of Diversions


Or, I have a problem sticking to one thing.

Progress on the Africans continues well, but there is nothing finished to show today.  However any number of other things have either been started or finished - sometimes it's hard to differentiate between the two.

so, a couple of pieces of graveyard themed terrain got kinda out of hand:

The Realm of the Dead

Yeah, I ended up doing an entire table's worth of terrain; well to be fair, enough for two tables at least.  A solid mix of GW terrain sets, parts from Reaper and Mantic, 3D prints and scratchbuilt parts; plus a terrain cloth of similarly coloured faux-suede.  Good fun and other than railings and roses (and interminable skulls) easy to do.

a Reaper Miniatures graveyard walls set, plus lots of bits

Just part of a GW graveyard set

All this is leading somewhere surely?  Well of course, by a process of leftovers from commissions and financial spendthriftery I've ended up with a pair of 2,000 point Age of Sigmar armies.  At least I've made a good crack at one of them so far; the Nighthaunts, a.k.a. Spooooky Ghosts!

Crawlocke the Jailor

30 Chainrasps

There's a few more bits done, making so far for 44 models - about half the army, but mostly of the cheapest unit cost models, so a good 1,500 points to go.  And just as GW announce another edition of their chuffing rules (these of course could be passed over in favour of Dragon Rampant, given my past opinions on Age of Sigmar!)

As to the other force, it predictably is Stormcast Eternals, as they are so common you can pick them up cheap all over the place at present.  I've done a couple of test models, but that is all so far:

It was for a painting challenge however!

So I pushed out the stops...

I also turned some eBay money last year into Blackstone Fortress, mainly for painting.  I've done a few of the models so far, but this is the best:


I'll continue to pick at these, but one of the models in the game reminded me of the Eldar I used to own (and love) and made me wish I could dabble in those again.  Well, 40K Killteams promised to scratch that itch, and soon I was working on some Exodite warriors as yet another side project:

Guardians of a Maiden World

Some ancient monoliths

Of course, they're Aeldari(TM) these days, but who's quibbling.

It's all a bit fantasy and Games Workshoppy by my past standards here.  And true, but of late GW figures are getting as good as their prices imply (sometimes!) and certainly get the painting motivation going.  Still one more 'fantasy' project kicked off and has no GW models in it, just an old-school aesthetic influence.

Turnip28* is a weird alternate history game based on a stagnated Napoleonic society infected by poisonous root vegetables, fungi and cultists.  The look is as if John Blanche was the Duke of Wellington's war artist and medieval armour was in vogue for trench warfare.  It's wild!  The Creator began with the world first, and then backfilled rules, the explicit initial intention being to kitbash models from the ranges of historical miniatures already on the market, which to gamers raised on a diet of GW and other fantasy miniatures' ranges, seem ludicrously cheap, encouraging experimentation.

Copyright: Max FitzGerald

Well, what do I have literally tonnes of bits lying around spare of?  It was a no-brainer to at least have a go:

Some Chaff

But history buffs, fear not; I still have hundreds of good proper Napoleonics to get to in time.  And as of yesterday, another historical project has been proposed, something perhaps with a more biblical bent...

I hope I can finish a few of these this year; and as the UK finally crawls out from under its COVID rock, play a few games with them too!

.*(scroll down for the free basic rules) 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Building on an Empire


Made more progress on the Malians, by painting some northern allies/subjects.  A unit of Tuareg spearmen:

Image from my Insta...

 These are Gripping Beast models straight out the pack.  I had a lot of fun with the various indigo colours for the clothes.  The shields are intended to reflect Hippo hide, which images show to be pretty dark, with a reddish-purplish hue.  The spears are brush bristles with flattened and shaped tips, I bought and cannibalised one yard brush head 20 years ago and it's still going strong, it'll outlive me!  The standard represents what is apparently the Mali imperial standard of the the period, but I can't prove that.

Of course with a burgeoning force, I need terrain; having done a bunch of palm trees, I'd been pondering how to go about convincing buildings.  I was both looking forward to the idea of some major scratchbuilds, and dreading the practicalities of doing so.

Glorious, tricky.

Fortune smiled however, and quite accidentally I came across the African range from Fogou Models.  This led to a very quick cost-benefit analysis and 15 minutes later I pressed fire on an order:

Looking good

With a neutral paint job these will be perfect for Mali, and pass muster for another 'secret' project.  The models are in a very strong resin, and dripping with texture, they should paint up a treat and I couldn't be more pleased.

All good.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Painted Malians


I know I seldom post nowadays,  but I'm not Idle.  The Malian project has seen some attention with the first two units now being finished:

Mandinke Bowmen

Fulani Javelinmen

Both units feature varying degrees of GreenStuff work, and represent my best efforts to research and represent a largely overlooked nation.  The bases are modelling clay, painted, much like the Scicilian Normans I did last year; I used a fairly exotic range of GamersGrass tufts to get an exotic feel to the bases.

Next up is a fairly simple unit of Berber spearmen, one of the advantages of Mali from a gaming and modelling standpoint is that it was a culturally diverse empire with many troop types available to it.  Down the line are cavalry and a novel command group; but they are a lot of scratchbuilding and some time away...


Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Quick Painting Guide for Heavy Rust


We're always learning new techniques, aren't we?

Originally working on a small group of Nighthaunts as a quick eBay flip and painting challenge, I tried a few new approaches on the models.  Having sold one commission of them, I ended up with an inclination to paint more, and now have getting on for 2,000 points worth to get to at some stage.  Also I picked up a few methods to get some nice effects.  One of them you can have a look at below:

That's it really, No self respecting historical warrior would use a weapon in such condition, but for fantasy miniatures, or for other rusty implements or equipment, this may prove handy.



Friday, February 12, 2021

People of the Grassland


Progress on the Malians' has yet to reach the paint stage, but I did finish a fairly heavy conversion of another twelve miniatures:

These represent the various Savannah natives, converted to Islam in name at least, if not wholly in spirit.  Limited sources describe Javelin armed men, with a long spear, sometimes also bows and shields.  As there will be plenty of bowmen in the force I've opted to leave those off here, lest they appear armed to the teeth!  

These were originally Ila, from Northstar Miniatures Darkest Africa range; first order of the day being to chop off all their head dresses.  There was a lot of clean up on the models, due to a rather flashy mould, but the underlying sculpts are good, and physically, exactly appropriate.  

Upping my sculpting skills with furled headscarves and moulded leather shields, again based on a mix of limited primary sources and secondary interpretations.

That's two units ready to go under the brush.  My other major commitments are out the way (more on them soon) so I should press on!


Monday, February 01, 2021

Terrain for a New Age!


2021 so far has been about two things hobby wise, a substantial commission taking up most of the miniature painting time, and a flurry of terrain building for the games studio, now I have the luxury of a permanent gaming space and plenty of storage.

So to breeze through the terrain:

American run down house

This is one of the Renedra plastic kits, easy to build and really quite big, also different enough from the Perry American house that the two are not visually identical.


Dread Statuary
These are from an Endertoys 3D print set, I got from Amazon for £20.  Lots of parts and good value.  But yes, you can totally see the printer lines; these are done from a plastic extrusion (?) style printer - the older type.  Still no complaints for the price, and super quick to paint.

All these pictures are pulled from my Instagram by the way. @Dean_AKI_UK.

Ancient Mediterranean Village

Pig Sty, my favourite piece!

Two storey house detail

These were made from Foamcore, as you may be able to tell, but I used Wills plastic Pantiles for simplicity.  The foamcore is skimmed with a wash of heavily diluted wall filler, the wooden beams are bamboo skewers; and the pig sty roof - my favourite piece - is a little bit of genius (humble, much?).  For that I picked up a bamboo sushi rolling mat and cut out a section to cover the roof, making sure to superglue the bindings where I was to cut them (well before cutting)  this made a simple roof suitable for a low quality farm building.   To add to the effect I snapped a couple of beams.  The fence is made of more bamboo, just chopped up and glued togerther.

12 feet of 5" wide River

9 feet of 3" river and some specialist pieces

Okay so maybe these are the pride and joy; and if I get round to it, totally worth a full tutorial.  My makeshift foam river was a real let-down; so I undertook a major renovation, shifting to MDF rivers sections in two widths.

Well, that feels like quite a lot actually!  So much so, that I should save the figure painting for another day.



Sunday, January 03, 2021

New beginnings, or Progress? First Malian's


 Hello 2021 and all that.  Eff off 2020!

So, some way back I was talking up a project, and doing little else.  But I finally made a start.  Figures have been purchased, all destined for some degree of conversion to satisfy my needs, and the first handful have been prepared.

So what we have to show today is merely that stage of progress, but with a little discussion beside. 

Mandekalu Bowmen

From the limited historical records I've found to date, it appears the bulk of the Mali Empire's military strength was in infantry, predominantly armed with weak bows, javelins or spears.  Leather, and possibly iron helmets were issued amongst the infantry, but most other items were personally provided, with poisoned arrows being standard to compensate for the strength of the weapon.

My starting point here is some of the Wargames Foundry African natives with bows, decent models which have the advantage of the right sort of bone structure.  You may raise an eyebrow to that, but West Africans from what I can deduce do not look like Zulus or Sudanese, the two other readily available selections for African figures in 28mm,  These look, well, as right as is possible without attempting a lot of sculpting.

Then again, as is obvious, there is a fair bit of green stuff going on here, based on the handful of statues of these warriors and one good reconstruction by Angus McBride:

Mandinke by McBride

I added a selection of details to get the look, some had the more complex garments added, some helmets, and all the knife, sheaved on the upper arm.  The latter further augmented by sculpting and casting tiny knife models in UV-activated resin.  More on that another time maybe.

As a little artistic license, the unit commander gained some exotic feathers on his helmet, and they were done.  All ready now for a lick of paint.

But that will have to wait until some more financially rewarding tasks are finished...



Sunday, December 06, 2020

TML's new home


Anyone who follows this blog may recognise yours truly has moved around a lot; it's not as a result of my 'Career' or anything, just, well; life.  Hopefully life settles down now, and part of the relative silence of late has been due to the efforts to move and set up the new TML Towers:


The new venue is a permanent dedicated space in my new shared home.  Shared with my partner that is.  Lots of shelving allows for storage of all my miniatures, games, books and art materials; alongside the work computer, a smart TV, PS4, record player.....

Yeah, pretty nice. 

But also, maybe most crucially, a permanent 6'x5' table surface; extendable to 8'x5' when required.

We can have some proper games, when the world allows again.

Fingers crossed this tower is built to last; I'm already rather fond of it!


Thursday, December 03, 2020

Painting from lately....


Hello, occasional readers.  This is your, now, very occasional writer.  This is just some progress photo's for those who haven't switched to stalking my Instagram (see below).

Reaper Bones Stone Circle terrain piece.
One of a set of Ogres, painted using undershading techniques

A Warhammer Underworlds Medusai

This lovely model got me featured on the Warhammer Community Twitch stream; which certainly felt like a feather in the old cap!

Age of Sigmar Nighthaunts

A Banshee
Chainrasp Horde

Lord Executioner

The Nighthaunts are on eBay presently, but I may yet pull them and add a another model or two.  If they sell, they sell.

However, the main effort of the past two months has been the moving of TML towers to another new fastness.  This time we hope it's one that will stick, as we have a permanent dedicated studio/games room.  But more on that in another post...