Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Lost and the Damned: Starting my Chaos Rampant Project

My big project for this summer/year is going to be building myself a fresh warband for Osprey's Dragon Rampant, and I've set myself some limitations to keep things extra interesting:
  • All figures must be metal, and either be pre-2000 Games Workshop or by new manufacturers working in the "Oldhammer" aesthetic.  
  • No two copies of the same sculpt can be used unless I do significant conversion work on one of them.  
  • All shields must have freehand designs painted on them, with an emphasis on John Blanche-inspired monstrous faces.  Realm of Chaos 80s' shield tutorial is my guide here.  
  • Every unit must have a standard bearer, which will be outfitted with a banner I've hand-painted.  Every unit can optionally have a Champion attached, which counts for two Strength Points instead of the usual one.  Champions will be mounted on a 40mm base instead of a 25mm one to show their status.  
  • I have to be able to field a viable 30-point warband before I can call the project complete.  

The army will be one of traditional WHFB Chaos; big angry guys in heavy plate armor, vicious thugs, raiders and marauders in a motley of lighter armor and miscellaneous weaponry, mutant beastmen and horrifying demons.  Because I'm selecting figures based on the "Oldhammer" vibe, color schemes will be likewise based on the examples Games Workshop's 'Eavy Metal team painted for the pages of White Dwarf back in the 1980s and early 1990s.  

Last night I got a start on two classic figures I managed to score of the Oldhammer Trading Group on Facebook, who will be part of a unit of various Thugs and Marauders; these guys are technically both.  Originally released in 1985 as part of the F5 Chaos Marauders line (or at least, intended for it), these two later showed up again in 1988 rebranded as Chaos Thugs, though their slotta tabs both still say "Marauder" on them.  

The axe-wielding Marauder with the big exposed beard was base-coated in Reaper's "Viper Green," and given a wash of GW "Biel-Tan Greenshade." Highlighting was done back up to Viper Green, and then the armor plates given an edge highlight of Vallejo "Escorpena Green." The raised portion of his left pauldron and his poleyns were then picked out in Reaper "Marigold Yellow," washed with GW "Casandora Yellow" and highlighted with Reaper "Sun Yellow." His beard was basecoated in "Ultramarine Shadow," and highlighted with drybrushings of "Ultramarine Blue" and "Ultramarine Highlight."

His shield used mostly the same greens as his armor, though I took the highlighting a step further with a little bit of Vallejo "Livery Green" over the "Escorpena Green." The face was also glazed with GW "Wayfarer Green" before the eyes and teeth were detailed.  

His buddy with the odd chain weapon had his armor basecoated with Vallejo "Squid Pink," and given a light wash of GW "Druchii Violet" before being built back up to Squid Pink.  The final highlight was Squid Pink with a few drops of Pure White mixed in.  Helmet, poleyns and elbow pieces were painted using the same Ultramarine triad I used on the first guy's beard.  Weapons were basecoated with Reaper "Tarnished Steel" and highlighted with "Pure Silver."

Bases were given a coating of Vallejo Sandy Paste prior to priming, and painted with Vallejo "Goblin Green." I'll probably go back and give them tops of them a drybrush of "Escorpena Green" to pick out the texture a little bit.  

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Troll Repairs

A couple months back I scored a trio of 6th edition Warhammer Stone Trolls on eBay.  These figures were some of the ones that first got me interested in wargaming and fantasy miniatures back around 2001-2002.  They came already affixed to 40mm square MDF bases with a couple pebbles glued down and magnets inserted into the bases.  I set them aside for the time being as I have a project in mind for them.

Today, I decided I might as well get them primed and ready while the weather's nice, and I noticed one of them had a gouge taken out of their chest.  Fortunately, I had just the tools to take care of that.  Using some "Blue Stuff" thermoplastic, I made a mold of another troll's chest who was in an almost identical pose.  I then packed the mold with Green Stuff epoxy putty, producing a replacement troll chest once the putty cured.  I trimmed it down and affixed it to the gouged-out troll, and while a little bit of the detail got warped (I pulled the putty from the mold too early), I think once it's painted you're barely going to be able to tell anything's been done.  Overall, I'm very pleased.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

More Frostgrave Terrain

I finally got around to digging out and painting a couple pieces of inexpensive 3D printed terrain that Gina bought me a while back for Frostgrave.  They aren't the best prints, with prominent printing lines across most surfaces (is this something that could have been sanded down?) but at arm's length or on a table surrounded by other terrain pieces they look just fine. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

"I am here. What dost thou wishest?"

One of the bigger non-scenery pieces I got in Reaper's Bones 4 Kickstarter was "Agramon, Pit Fiend." Unlike the previous sculpt of this character, whose size is somewhat disguised by his crouching pose, this version is striding forward purposefully, and we got our choice of right hands (open, holding a fireball, holding a cleaver-like sword, holding a crude stone sword) and heads (closed mouth or open).  After trying them all out, I went with the open right hand and the snarling face. 

Fully assembled he stands about 4" tall and has a wingspan just shy of 8".  He's a big boy, that's for sure, his sculpted base juuuuust overhanging the 50mm round base I glued it to. 

I expect most examples of this figure you'll see painted will be in darker shades of red, the bubbling pools on the sculpted base painted as lava, in keeping with depictions of Pit Fiends in more recent editions of Dungeons and Dragons.  I opted for a brilliant blue devil (basecoat Reaper "Sapphire Blue," followed by a wash of Drakenhof Nightshade, highlight with Sapphire Blue, then True Blue, and a final light highlight, mostly on the face and chest, of Sky Blue) and made those bubbling pools filled with fluorescent green slime (basecoat Vallejo Escorpena Green, washed with thinned Reaper Viper Green, highlighted Vallejo Livery Green, finally glazed with GW Wayfarer Green).

The wing membranes were basecoated with Vallejo Leather Brown, and washed with GW Seraphim Sepia.  They were highlighted with Reaper Golden Shadow, and then progressively lighter highlights built up towards the edges of the wings with Golden Skin and Golden Highlights.  Claws and horns were basecoated with Stained Ivory, highlighted with Yellowed Bone and Creamy Ivory. 

I normally don't mess around too much with lighting effects on figures, but once I saw how bright the green slime pools came out, I knew I wanted to give a glow effect to where the light from it would hit Agramon.  I think it came out pretty well this time. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

They Call Him...MISTER PIG!

Not much to report right now, but I did finish a "Dire Boar" out of the Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter, which will serve admirably as a wild boar in my Frostgrave bestiary.  He's been glued to a 25x50 cavalry base and will be getting flocked probably tomorrow.

Body was basecoated in Brown Sand and the mane in Dark Skin, both washed with GW Seraphim Sepia and highlighted with Sandy Brown and Dark Highlights, respectively.  Not exactly a wild paint scheme, to be sure. I kind of think I maybe should have mixed some gray into the brown of the body, but overall I'm happy with this as a table-top ready piece.

I also started work on the new sculpt for "Agramon, Pit Fiend," a more dynamic sculpt with the demon lord striding forward purposefully, versus the crouched form of the previous sculpt.  I've basecoated the model in Reaper's "Sapphire Blue," because ultimately, I've never seen a blue Pit Fiend before and I think it'll look cool and different.  The kit came with four possible right hands and two different heads - I went with the open-mouthed, snarling head and an open right hand. He'll be fantastic as a Major Demon in my Frostgrave games.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Expanding My Frozen City

I'm not gonna lie, readers: I'm having some serious cravings to get some Frostgrave going again, and hopefully get a real campaign going.  Mordheim has been fun, but I'm finding I definitely prefer Frostgrave's simplicity and ease of play over the more number-crunchiness of Mordheim.  Both games, though, definitely call for a surplus of terrain on the table; I've described Frostgrave to non-gamers as "Magic Stalingrad," as warbands fight their way block by block through a ruined city.  To that end, I picked up a couple of scenery kits - the "Azyrite Township" and "Blasted Harrowheart" from my local Games Workshop store. 

Both kits came with multiple sprues of goldish-colored plastic to assemble ruined buildings for Age of Sigmar, providing cover to figures standing within 1" of them on the table, with a few sprues being in common between the two sets.  A few of the pieces were a little tricky to clip off the sprues but ultimately I had everything assembled - ten ruined building corners, two of which were two-story, along with a pair of grated trap-doors that I glued down to some spare 50mm square bases - in no time flat. 

The Blasted Harrowheart also gave me some heavy folded cardboard game boards to set the terrain up on, but we'll see if we actually use those; I kind of want to get a neoprene table mat with printed snow and cobblestones for Frostgrave games, but that might be down the road. 

Once everything was assembled, I undercoated the ruins in black and got to work.  I haven't started on any of the big pieces yet, but I've finished off seven of the smaller corner pieces.  Over a black basecoat, I drybrushed craft paint (as these were too big for me to want to use regular hobby paint) - a layer of "Espresso," followed by "Dark Grey" and a final drybrush of ordinary "Grey." Details were picked out in Reaper "Ancient Bronze" and "Blackened Steel," and the bricked-up archways were done with "Misty Gray" for the mortar and "Rust Brown" for the bricks.  I'm only posting pictures of two of these corner pieces, since they all look pretty much the same.

And just for fun, as long as I had these two pieces out, I grabbed a pair of handy figures and shot a quick vignette:

Monday, April 22, 2019

Ape Attack!

My shipment from Reaper Miniatures' Bones 4 Kickstarter arrived on Saturday, and digging through my new goodies I quickly felt the rising urge to get some painting in.  I decided on the "Ape Attack!" set - two ferocious-looking gorillas and one dressed in armor and carrying a sword. 

Not having yet painted any "White Gorillas" for my Frostgrave bestiary, I decided they would serve admirably.  I originally thought I'd do all three in different shades of "white" but ultimately ended up with the two feral gorillas having blue-white fur and a warmer, brown-shaded fur on the gladiator-ape.  Seeing as the Frostgrave apes are magical snow gorillas, the blue-shaded fur struck me as perfectly appropriate. 

Bare skin was picked out in Reaper's "Golden Skin Triad," the gums and inner mouths based in "Old West Rose" followed by a wash of Reikland Flesh Shade, and the teeth picked out in "Stained Ivory." Eyes were painted "Viper Green" just to do something different. 

Just bases left to be painted and I can get some varnish on them.  I'm definitely feeling a serious hankering for some Frostgrave action again some time soon. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Pantheon of Chaos Kickstarter Shout-Out

Just wanted to do a quick post shouting out a Kickstarter I'm backing, Knightmare Games' "Pantheon of Chaos 3: Rise of the Beastmen" to produce more Oldhammer-appropriate beastmen and Chaos Thug-types for their on-going "Pantheon of Chaos" line.  It's a week out from completion and the next stretch-goal is a free bonus Chaos Warrior for everyone backing at the 50-euro mark or higher. 

I recently ordered a handful of Knightmare's Chaos figures to get a sense of them in terms of size and casting, and I love them.  Very crisp casts, unique and imaginative sculpts.  The figures I received have a mix of tabbed and untabbed feet, and because consumers have a variety of needs regarding bases, so Diego at Knightmare does not include bases with his figures.  I've got some on order, the four-armed Chaos Raider Champion is actually too big for any of the slotta-bases I had handy. 

I'm so taken with these, and with the new sculpts from the Kickstarter, that I've made the decision to replace all the Age of Sigmar-era plastic figures in my Dragon Rampant Chaos warband with metal figures, primarily from Knightmare, with the goal of having every figure in the warband be a unique sculpt.  With the breadth of Knightmare's expanding "Pantheon of Chaos" line, I think it's going to be easily done. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Arnulf's Black Fire Dogs

I promised better photos of the Averlanders I'd painted up for Mordheim, and here they are, the first seven at any rate.  I've got some swordsmen, handgunners and halberdiers to paint up in the near future:

Captain Arnulf von Grenzstadt.  The shield is actually from Wargames Foundry.

Sergeant Martin rallies the troops. The flag is simply painted paper glued around the flagpole.

Franz and Sturm, a pair of rangers pressganged into the Averland Army as "Bergjaegers."

Big Top, Chicken Wing, and Fat Jimmy - the Halfling Brigade.  Fat Jimmy has actually died
and will not be appearing in future games.  A Rat Ogre stepped on him.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Adventuring in the City of the Damned

My local Warhammer store (not to be confused with Just Games, my usual gaming haunt) has begun hosting, surprisingly, Mordheim, even though Games Workshop no longer supports the game. 

Mordheim, for those unfamiliar, was and is a skirmish game set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe.  The City of Mordheim was destroyed by a comet-strike, which scattered the landscape of the ruined city with a valuable magical mineral called Wyrdstone.  Various gangs and factions descended on the ruins, fighting among themselves for possession of the Wyrdstone.  In a lot of ways, Frostgrave is a spiritual successor to Mordheim. 

The store's rule is that we can use their space for Mordheim as long as we use primarily GW figures.  So, wanting in, I sourced a bunch of older metal Empire figures off eBay and started assembling a warband for the province of Averland - in large part because I'm bored with painting red and blue armies, and Averland's colors are black and yellow. 

I've played two games so far, and while I was forced to go to my first game with bare metal (owing to the weather not cooperating for priming and my fiance being sick), I did get them painted up for my second game, this past weekend, though the bases still need flocking and I need to make a flag for my sergeant.  My hobbits have developed a nasty habit of dying, though, and I've got some more melee-oriented figures on my project bench. 

Here's a group shot of what I've painted so far, individual pictures to come:

Front Row, Left to Right: the Halflings "Chickenwing," "Fat Timmy" and "Big Top."
Back Row, Left to Right: Captain Arnulf von Grenzstadt, Sergeant Martin, and the Bergjaeger, Sturm and Franz

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Cultists of the Vampire, and Getting a Game In

The second unit of my Vampire Countess warband for Dragon Rampant is complete.  A band of fanatical cultists, dressed in blood-red robes and hoods and armed with an assortment of rusty blades, serving the Countess Winterthorn in the hopes of being gifted with eternal life.  In game terms, they're a unit of Bellicose Foot, quick on the charge but a little fragile in sustained fights.  They're made from North Star's excellent "Frostgrave Cultists" plastic set. 

In other news, I actually got my first game of Dragon Rampant in last week.  I threw together a 30-point list using my old Age of Sigmar Chaos figures and some Reaper demons I'd painted up:

Rhakosk the Arcane (Light Foot, Spellcaster, Single Model Unit) - 7
Khairic Acolytes (Light Foot, Wizardling) - 5
Chaos Warriors (Elite Foot) - 6
Chaos Warriors (Elite Foot) - 6
Bakarathi Demons (Bellicose Foot, Cause Fear, Reduced Model Unit) - 6

And brought them to Just Games' new location, which had just opened that day - two doors down from the old location and twice the space for gaming.  Neil brought his Moonclan Grots (Age of Sigmar's renaming of Night Goblins). 

We had a great game, our two armies converging on a plain dotted with ruined buildings.  Since we were both playing the game for the first time, we skipped on playing a scenario and just did a straight-up death match.  Though his Squig Knights and Fanatics polished off my Khairic Acolytes and I lost a few Chaos Warriors and Bakarathi along the way, ultimately the goblins were reduced to a single unit of archers fleeing for safety. 

The towering Bakarathi, armed with an assortment of cruel weapons,
bound into a unit of Night Goblins ready to slaughter the little green goons.

I'm definitely looking forward to playing a scenario next time.  This list is going to need some tweaking - I'm going to put the "Undead - No Feelings" special rule on the Bakarathi to keep them from failing courage checks, for example. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

What I've been up to

I haven't meant to ignore this blog, honest! I just haven't been painting much lately.  I got commissioned to write a 25,000 word Call of Cthulhu scenario set in Victorian London, and trying to get that finished up before deadline has been taking up most of my free time.  I'm still something like 11,000 words away from my goal...

I do have an upcoming game of Dragon Rampant this week, pitting my old ("old") Age of Sigmar Chaos forces against my friend Neil's Night Goblins.  Work is continuing on my "Vampire Countess" Dragon Rampant warband, as detailed in my last post, but I really just wanted to get a game in and realized I could do so with repurposed AoS figures for the time being. 

There's also plans on the horizon for an Oldhammer-inspired goblin force.  I've used eBay this week to pick up a few figures I always wanted when I was just starting out as a wargamer/miniatures painter back in 2000-2001, and from reading various blogs I've really kind of fallen in love with the Oldhammer aesthetic and more than anything, Kev Adams' orc and goblin sculpts, so expect to see me make a big purchase from Warmonger Miniatures in the near future.  I have some coming shortly from a Kickstarter that Black Tree Design ran recently as well.  I'm especially planning on converting a snazzy new chariot for the vintage Grom the Paunch, Goblin Warlord figure I grabbed.

That's about it for what's going on for me right now.  I'm hoping to get more gaming and painting in once I finish writing this big Victorian scenario.  Speaking of which, I better get on that. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Lady Winterthorn's Retinue

First thing's first, I am now a proud Union man - specifically, the Brush Wielder's Union, a collection of likeminded wargamers and miniature painters dedicated to getting their stuff painted and on the table and encouraging others in the hobby. 

One of my local wargaming friends expressed an interest in his Age of Sigmar goblins pulling double-duty as a Dragon Rampant warband.  All he needs is someone to play against.  This got me digging my Liche and Skeleton Legions army out of storage, and finding it sorely lacking for what I wanted.  It was too inflexible, had too many easily exploitable weaknesses.  The answer? Build a fresh army. 

After some brainstorming, and going through my project pile of shame, I settled on a warband led by a vampire, and composed of deluded and fanatical mortals who'd been duped by the vampire's promise of eternal life.  I put together a list with a little speed, some shooting, some melee capacity and a solid spellcaster at its heart, which I felt was pretty well-balanced. 

The army core is Countess Adrasteia Winterthorn (Reaper #07010) and her Sanguine Guard (six copies of Reaper's #77408, "Athak, Undead Knight" in Bones), comprising a Reduced Model Unit of Heavy Foot with the Spellcaster fantastical rule applied.  The robes are basecoated in Reaper's "Deep Red" and highlighted with "Fresh Blood," while the armor is done in "Gunmetal Blue" with some accent work in "Ancient Bronze" highlighted with "Antique Gold." Countess Winterthorn's cloak was basecoated in "Midnight Blue" and highlighted with "Twilight Blue."

Last night I assembled the next unit in the army - a band of fanatical cultists that will be rated as Bellicose Foot.  These vicious maniacs compete among themselves for Countess Winterthorn's attention, hoping to spill enough blood to win her favor.  They're a dozen figures assembled straight off the sprues from Northstar's "Frostgrave Cultists" plastic boxed set. 

From here on out, everything else is going to be a conversion or kitbash.  I've got a box of Gripping Beast Arab Light Cavalry that are going to be converted into mounted cultists through the addition of heads and missile-weapon arms from the Frostgrave Cultists, and some Fireforge Medieval Russians are going to get turned into formal soldiery employed by the Countess. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Challenge Catch-Up

I'm so bad at cross-posting my uploads to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge to my own blog, so here's a photo dump version.

First up, a unit of Bidowers/Scouts for Lion/Dragon Rampant.  Figures by Crusader Miniatures, I'm not in love with the autumn flock as is.  I should have put down a layer of my usual basing grit and then layered the autumn flock over it. 

Next, a set of undead hounds, painted for the "Reconnaissance" bonus round, with the idea that these would be a unit of Lesser Warbeasts in my undead Dragon Rampant army, sniffing out the living wherever they might try to hide.  Figures by Reaper Miniatures. 

And finally, Reaper's "Abraxus the Dire-Dead," who when I saw him I just had to paint up as Skeletor from "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe."