Monday, November 28, 2016

Converted Cyclops

I'm really proud of this piece.  This began life as Reaper's "Kagunk, Ogre Chieftain" from their Bones line, which I decided to convert into a cyclops for use with Broken Legions or Dragon Rampant.

I shaved down the brows of Kagunk and filled in the eye sockets with Green Stuff before building up a central socket, bulging eye and heavy brow ridge.  I've never done any sort of sculpting like this before - the only things I've ever made out of Green Stuff before are stalagmites, which are pretty easy.

Kagunk painted up nicely: I really like the blue of the kilt and the leather straps came out especially.  His skin tone came out a little lighter than I'd originally intended; I had originally been trying for closer to James Earl Jones' complexion, since I do have a figure of Thulsa Doom to paint down the line, but the highlights kept coming out very chalky-looking, and I ended up having to go a shade lighter to smooth them out; this may have been down to the brush I was using or the broader expanse of muscle I was painting; the original combination might look better on a 28mm human figure than it does on this hulking slab of muscle.

The camera also makes this look lighter than it is.  I might go back and redo his eye - it's hard to tell here because of the shade of blue I used, but he does have a defined iris and pupil.  Redoing it with a lighter blue might look better and make this more noticeable.

All in all, I'm really happy with how he came out and I'm looking forward to seeing him in action on the tabletop.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Progress on the Home Front

Greetings, readers, and to my fellow Americans, happy Thanksgiving! I certainly had a pleasant one this year, spent with friends rather than family, and more importantly, I've taken some time off work to give myself a five day weekend, during which time I'm hoping to get some serious modeling work done.

Going through the rules for Broken Legions, I'm finding myself not wowed by them - certainly not the immediate, viscerally-positive reaction I felt during my first read throughs of Frostgrave and Lion Rampant.  I think I'm going to have to give them a play-through or two to really see if they're for me or not.  That being said, I'm revisiting Lion Rampant (I might be getting Dragon Rampant as a Christmas gift, which is the only reason I've held off thus far on buying a copy) and I downloaded the PDF version of Wargaming Soldiers and Strategy magazine issue 82, which has a Bronze Age variant, "Chariot Rampant." As some of you may recall, back in 2014 I made a rather large order from Wargames Factory, before they went belly-up.  Among what I bought were a box of Greek Hoplites, a box of Fantasy Amazons, and enough Achaemenid Persians to choke the Hot Gates.

Digging out the box of Hoplites the other night, I assembled a unit of 12, based on round bases for skirmish gaming, for use with Lion/Dragon/Chariot Rampant.  I can also draw from this pool of figures to create an "Argonauts" warband for Broken Legions.  I opted to model them with kopis-style short swords rather than spears, in part to make them easier to store and less likely to break in storage, and in part because the default Argonaut in BL carries a hand weapon, not a spear.

Shields will be glued into place after they're painted.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get out the box of Amazons and assemble a unit of them; in a game I'd probably field them as Fierce Foot or similar in Lion/Chariot/Dragon Rampant.  After that I'd like to start on a couple units of Persians, but we'll see how much free time I end up having this weekend.  I'm envisioning them as the backbone of a "fiery sorcerer from the eastern deserts" type Dragon Rampant retinue, supporting an elemental-summoning sorcerer and backed by things like cockatrices or manticores.

The weather should be nice enough to prime this weekend too - I'm looking forward to painting these guys once the Challenge begins.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Challenge Accepted!

Ready your brushes, restock your paint, examine your leadpile, because it's almost time again for the Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge! This year it's the 7th Painting Challenge, and in the spirit of the Seven Men of Glascony, the Magnificent Seven and the Seven Samurai, this year's theme is "camaraderie."

I've already sent in my enlistment email to Curt, and looking over the list of bonus rounds begun considering my options.  

Perhaps the most interesting twist this year is in theming the Curtgeld - the miniature painted as price of entry - around camaraderie; painters must work together to provide their Curtgeld.  Should be fun!

You can learn more about the Painting Challenge here.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Carry(ing Case) On Up the Appian Way

Good lord that's a tortured mixture of pun and pop culture reference in the title of this post, isn't it? Terrible.  But it's the best I could do to appropriately title this post.

Yesterday marked my six year anniversary with Gina, and in keeping with her tendency to be incredibly thoughtful and generous, she bought me a new carrying case for miniatures, Reasoning that I'm looking at building all these warbands and armies for various games and my stated desire to run demo games at the store, she decided it would be a better gift to buy me the carrying case I'd been eyeballing rather than more miniatures.  This is the unbranded "Sword Bag" from Battlefoam, with pluck-foam trays rather than precut.  It came with a 3" tray, a 2" tray, 2 1.5" trays and a 1" tray, which will cover all my needs admirably.

Atticus thinks this is for him.  

Additionally, we bought it from our local FLGS, rather than ordering it online, in the interest of supporting our local gaming community with our purchase.  Just Games was running a Thanksgiving promotion this week, meaning by spending more than $40 in store, we got to select a free game off a pile by the register, and we walked out having added "Nitro Dice," a card/dice racing game, to our collection.  It is a game that can be played with 2 players (unfortunately, a number of games we've bought require 3 or more players to run), so we'll possibly be checking that out this weekend.  I've played a couple very fun racing games in the past, and this one looks like it'll also appeal to my fondness for women in tiny shorts.


Moving on...

I also picked up a copy of Osprey's "Broken Legions" skirmish game yesterday; for those unfamiliar, the premise is that Greco-Roman Mythology is true, and Roman's continued survival rests not on the backs of its legions, but on small teams of "special forces" fighting a covert war to claim and protect relics of divine might from those who would use them to undermine the Empire Without End.  On the first read-through, I'm inclined to agree with Richard Rush's assessment in the comments on my last post, that it doesn't look like it really does anything that Frostgrave doesn't do as well or better, but I'm willing to give it a run-through in play and see if that changes my mind.

Either way, I think I only need to buy something absurd like three or four more figures to be able to field four 150 point warbands - a Greek, Germanic, Egyptian/"Cult of Set," and a Parthian one.  I don't have any Roman figures handy; truth be told I'm eyeing Foundry's line of Imperial Romans for this somewhere down the line.  I have a ton of Wargames Factory plastic Greeks and Persians that I bought on sale two years ago sitting in my closet that will fulfill the Greek and Parthian warbands, and the "Cult of Set" and Germanic warbands will mostly just repurpose the Cult of Set and Valkyrie warbands I've assembled for Frostgrave.

I think the only figures I don't have readily on hand are a werewolf for the Germans, an Oracle for the Greeks and a Prince and Magus for the Parthians, and those will be fairly easy fixes I think.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Change of Plans; Rolling with the Punches

If you've been following this blog for any length of time, you may have realized I tend to flit from unrealized project to unrealized project, doing lots of planning but very little actual doing on many of them.  Sometimes it's a matter of time/money, sometimes it's recognizing that a project is going to require a big expenditure on my part with very little return, sometimes it's just plain short attention span.  Sometimes it's about other projects muscling in to claim my attention.

It looks like Kings of War is going to be a big focus for my painting and modeling time and energy in the foreseeable future; my friend Tom bought the 2-player starter box, and I'm just waiting to pick up the undead from him next time we meet.

*childish grabby motions*

I'll also be doing a second army, a Kingdoms of Men force using Perry Miniatures' War of the Roses line.  This began as a means to give my mother a list of miniatures I would like for Christmas that aren't all skeletons and ghouls, but I've honestly become really excited about the tactical flexibility that the Kingdoms of Men list allows for.  I've been spending a good amount of time toying with different combinations of lists - how much artillery do I want to bring to the table, what role do I want cavalry to play, how many units of armor-piercing "can openers" can I get away with, et cetera, et cetera.  Gina bought me a Reaper Griffon yesterday to help me recuperate from a particularly stressful day, which will become the mount of my General on Winged Beast in higher point games.  Truth be told, I'm so excited for this army that I may put the undead on the back-burner and focus on the Kingdoms of Men list.

I might be able to buy myself a regiment at the end of this month, even with taking care of Christmas shopping and putting money into savings, which would be exciting, but I may still hold off even if the money's there - we're firming up plans to do a little bit of holiday traveling and are also hosting Gina's brother for Thanksgiving, so I may not actually have the money handy to spend on foot knights and archers.  Which is fine, I should probably wait and see what sets my mother finds for me in London before I buy anything anyways.

This doesn't mean that I'm putting away Frostgrave - I may shift towards a focus on playing, rather than painting, when it comes to the Frozen City, but I will finish the warbands I have started.

What I think I would ultimately like to do is position myself to run demo games of both Frostgrave and Kings of War at Just Games, my FLGS - Matt, the owner, has mentioned that he'd love to stock Mantic products but he needs evidence that the demand is there before he pulls the trigger on investing money and store space in Kings of War.  I'm hoping running demo games would inspire people to want to play; this is a bit of an iffy proposition, as when a Frostgrave store league was attempted a while back, it quickly fell apart as people decided they'd rather play at home than at the store, and I think the Warhammer grognards in the area have either gone Oldhammer or switched to Age of Sigmar, and at any rate I'm fairly certain most of them hang out at one of the other game stores in the area.

All in all, I think I need to adopt a bit of a "wait and see" attitude while trying my best to get all this off the ground.  And, of course, doing lots and lots of painting wherever I can.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hobby Shop Recommendations in London/Leeds/York?

Over lunch this afternoon, my mother reminded me that she and my father are going to England on vacation at the end of the month, and mentioned wanting to buy wargaming materials for me while she's there, since she'd noticed so many wargaming companies are based in the UK.  Since I've found some good friends in the UK who are wargamers, she asked me for recommendations for hobby shops in London (especially around Piccadilly), Leeds and York.

So I ask you, fellow wargamers and miniatures-painters - where do you shop in London, Leeds and York?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dance of the Vampires

Well, not so much dancing as stalking, lunging, hunting! I finished my Vargheists today, completing the unit of them to serve as Werewolves for Kings of War.  I'm really glad I decided to elevate the center figure on the altar; otherwise there was going to be no way I was going to get these bad boys lined up on their bases.

Bodies are basecoated Reaper's Ghoul Skin, highlighted with Moldy Skin followed by a final highlight of Bloodless Skin.  The wing membranes got a base coat of Reaper's Dark Flesh, followed by a highlight of Dark Highlight, and a final highlight with Tanned Shadow.  The altar was basecoated in Stormy Gray, highlighted with Cloudy Gray and a final highlight of Misty Gray.

All in all, I'm really very happy with how they came out, and they provide a nice standard for me to try and maintain through the rest of the army.

Bela has a posse.