Thursday, May 24, 2018

Happy Birthday to Me

I turned 31 last week, and as befitting the age, only my better half Gina and I got me presents.  All wargaming-related this year, and some lovely new toys among them.

Here's what I purchased for myself:

Two rollers from Green Stuff World (plain and "Dark Runes") as well as a pack of "Blue Stuff" thermoplastic which can be used to make molds and cast copies of pieces.  Then the latest issue of Miniature Wargames magazine; I would normally get this sort of thing digitally but I wanted the sprue of "Gun Dogs," steampunk artillery contraptions, from Wild West Exodus that came with the physical mag. 

Since I've decided to start up with Kings of War again, Gina gave me $100 and told me to buy myself the beginnings of an army; having been in love with Games Workshop's Chaos Dwarves since my first start in wargaming back in 2003 or so (naturally, after GW stopped producing them even semi-affordably), I decided to start on a force of Mantic's "Abyssal Dwarves," which share much the same tone and aesthetic.  $100 was neatly taken care of with the purchase of two regiments of "Abyssal Halfbreeds," Mantic's answer to the classic Bull-Centaurs of Games Workshop, and a package of movement trays to fit them.  When she saw what I'd bought, Gina told me that if she'd known I was going to buy movement trays, she would have given me an extra $20 to make sure I got some more fun stuff.

Moral of this story is always discuss purchases with your spouse. 

I've also dug my Age of Sigmar stuff out of the closet where it's languished for the better part of a year; I packed it up because I wasn't enjoying playing at the local Warhammer store, but a new guy wants to get Age of Sigmar started up at Just Games so I figured out an easy 1000 point list; all I have to paint is the Chariot I've had sitting primed and in sub-assemblies since last summer.  Unfortunately, it looks like the methods I used to try and clean up frosted varnish on my "Gaunt Summoner" have damaged his paint job, so I'll need to strip and repaint him at some point.  I'm not totally certain I want to get back into Age of Sigmar; I definitely don't want to be spending the kind of money Games Workshop thinks I should be, but a game or two couldn't hurt. 

I decided to get out some Green Stuff and give the Dark Runes roller a try on the chariot's base; I ended up creating two "eruptions" of runestones out of the ground that then sprouted tentacles, in keeping with the style of Chaos. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Dragon Rampant Update - Giant and Billmen

Over the past week I've managed to finish off (mostly) two more units for my "Men of Albion" Dragon Rampant army - a Hill Giant, by Reaper Miniatures, and a dozen Perry plastic War of the Roses billmen.  These will be a single model unit of Bellicose Foot with the "Fear" special rule attached, and a unit of Offensive Heavy Foot, respectively.

In my thinking as to the story of this army, the giant was either press-ganged or sufficiently bribed (a daily ration of whole cow, maybe?) into joining the army; the mismatched gear he had accumulated - the shoulder pad, the shields strapped to his midsection - were painted with the colors of the army to show he was "theirs."

I chickened out on painting half his body as heavily tattooed; once the skin was finished I liked the way it looked too much to risk mucking it up.  And while I've seen a number of people paint his fur kilt as having been stitched from different color pelts, the uniform fur texture throughout made me think it's pieces of hide from multiple examples of the same critter; in this case, I opted to paint it as grizzly bear fur, with a dark brown basecoat and building up alternating drybrushed layers of a slightly lighter brown and a pale, silvery gray, probably three drybrushings of each color.

I still need to make a flag for the unit standard bearer and get these guys varnished; I had left my priming box in the hallway outside my apartment door overnight to air out and it got picked up and thrown in the trash while I was at work.  So I need to get another box; I've got a big Reaper order coming in on Tuesday that will hopefully work, if not I'll be grabbing one of the envelope boxes from work.

the whole army so far

After this, just a unit of archers left to paint; once they're done, I'm actually going to be going back to Kings of War and doing rank-and-flank fantasy and hopefully finishing a 2000-point army in time to play with it at a tournament in November.  I had always wanted to collect a Chaos Dwarfs army in Warhammer Fantasy; alas, Games Workshop had nuked the army shortly before I discovered miniature painting.  So I'll be building an army of "Abyssal Dwarfs" for Kings of War in search of much the same aesthetic.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Dragon Rampant Update - Elite Foot Finished

The first unit for my Dragon Rampant "Men of Albion" warband is complete - Lord Edward and his bodyguards, comprising a unit of Elite Foot.  Lord Edward himself shares a base with his standard bearer, and counts as two Strength Points in DR; his four men-at-arms are each a single Strength Point for the unit total of 6 SP. 

The figures are from Front Rank's War of the Roses line, and I recommend them highly; the figures arrived very neatly and securely packed, and had only the most minimal of flash to trim away.  The sculpts are good (though I admit I did basically buy two copies of two sculpts - the knights with similar weapons are the same figure with a different helmet) and the standard bearer came with the choice of a standard pole or a poleaxe.  I liked the idea of a command base with the army leader and a standard bearer on it, so that's what I went with here. 

Since the men-at-arms weren't wearing much cloth to carry the warband's color scheme of red and blue on to, I opted to paint their helmets as having been painted or lacquered before going into combat.  The men in the open-faced barbute helmets have their helmets split in half color-wise, with blue on the right side and red on the left.  The two knights wearing closed visors had their helmets painted blue with red visors. 

This was my first time making a paper flag from scratch, and I think I did alright; I drew it out on a piece of graph paper to get it nicely square and then painted over it in the army colors of Reaper Deep Red/Blood Red and Ultramarine Shadow/Ultramarine.  Once it was dry I cut it out, painted some white glue on to it and wrapped it carefully around the flag pole, bending it a little to give it a sense of fluttering.

Color choices, so I don't forget them when I go to paint the next couple units, are as follows:


  • basecoat black
  • drybrush Reaper "Tarnished Steel"
  • wash Citadel "Nuln Oil"
  • very lightly drybrush Reaper "True Silver"
  • basecoat either Reaper "Deep Red" or "Ultramarine Shadow"
  • highlight either Reaper "Blood Red" or "Ultramarine," respectively.
  • picked out in Reaper "Dark Flesh." 
  • basecoat Reaper "Tanned Shadow"
  • highlight Reaper "Tanned Flesh"
Bases are painted Reaper "Earth Brown" and flocked first with Army Painter brand brown basing grit, followed by GF9 "Meadow Flock." I didn't finish them early enough to get them varnished today but I'll have them out in the primer/varnish box tomorrow.  Next I'll be splitting my time between the giant and the unit of billmen and then finally take care of the archers.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


I got a very nice package in the mail today; Bob Murch of Pulp Figures had a contest on his Facebook page and I was fortunate enough to win a free pack with my next order.  Naturally, it was time to make an order! Not having any particular project in mind, I grabbed a few packs I'd had my eye on for a while and shot Bob an email letting him know what my choice was for free pack. 

I opted for:

  • Upper-Crust Swells, from the Gangland Justice range
  • Sinister Spies, from the Personalities range (which includes likenesses of Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre!)
  • Rugged Sons of Empire, more Personalities (fabulously British ones, in this case)
  • Count Casimir's Trans-Siberian Renegades, another set of Personalities, this time a bulky Russian count, his family and entourage.
Still no real plans for these, except possibly as palate-cleansers between other projects (or units of other projects).  I've been a huge fan of Bob's sculpting style for years now, with my first introduction to his work being RAFM's line of Cthulhu miniatures.  I really like the clean lines of his sculpts, the expression and animation in each one and the little details - monocles, cigars, the row of medals across Count Casimir's chest.  Beautiful work.