Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Breacher

I'm still on a bit of a roll with painting, which is nice, as I'm clearing my desk of models faster than I can kitbash new ones!

This chap has been half-finished for some time now, but I didn't really have the motivation to go back and finish him off until recently.


He's a very simple kitbash - Bretonnian Man-at-Arms body, head, and shield (what would I do without that kit? Glad I stockpiled a few boxes before GW discontinued the line) with an Empire warhammer arm and a gorget. As with some of my recent conversions, the only real work was carving away the arm that was originally in place while leaving a flat surface for the new one to sit on, and ensuring that the hood lay plausibly on top of the new shoulder.

I saw this guy as the 'breacher', responsible for kicking in doors, so wanted to give him a bit of bulk. I used the fat Bretonnian body, but decided early on to paint it as a breastplate rather than a belly, and opted for a leaner face to emphasize 'size' rather than 'fat'. He also got placed him on a piece of slate for a bit of a height boost. This also tied him in nicely to my knight, around whom a small gang is slowly forming. This also inspired the painting, using the same mix of blues, greys and browns that I liked for the previous figures in this group (the knight and the infantryman/cleric).

Now I've got a few characters for this little gang, they're starting to take on some personality, and I have a few more models destined to join them (hopefully) before long.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Oh Captain, My Captain 2.0

I've loved the Frostgrave Wraith Knights since I saw Dmitry's initial roughs for the artwork, but I never got around to painting them up.

Rummaging in my Drawers of Mystery (a couple of old file drawers I keep on the windowsill behind me at Osprey Towers) the other day, I found a sculpt of the one drawing his sword, and immediately knew what I wanted to do with it (which makes a nice change).

Step 1: clip off the helmeted head.
Step 2: carve out a hollow to accommodate a new head.
Step 3: glue on one of the Frostgrave Barbarian heads.

For once, everything went as planned.

Off came the head, the hollow was carved, and the new head fit perfectly at the first time of asking. At this point, I panicked and left the miniature alone for a few days lest I glue it to my face or something.

When I did get back to it, I went for a simple paintjob, roughly keeping the Lord of the Rings Rohirrim in mind, though I did go back and repaint the scale mail as metal rather than leather as I initially started out.

All told, this might be my favourite figure in a long time. He really looks like a grizzled veteran, and I'm looking forward to adding him to a warband as a Captain.


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Headsman

Got back into painting after a bit of a lull, and started polishing off some half-finished pieces, including this chap:
Executioner, torturer, and generally unpleasant chap.

There's something eerily iconic about executioners, and this guy was mostly inspired by the hangman from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - classic hood, studded leather, evil leer.

Inevitably, that meant a dip into my box of Bretonnian Men-at-Arms. While I did consider going full studded leather, as offered by one of those Bretonnian bodies, it seemed a little much, so I erred towards something a little less ostentatious. The hardest job was carving out the existing arms so that there was a flat surface onto which I could attach Frostgrave Barbarian arms while still leaving the studded leather collar sitting plausibly on the new shoulders. The rest was a doddle - Frostgrave Cultist head with minimal work to get it to sit flush and for the cowl to blend into the collar. Stuff on the back of the belt is my usual mish-mash of junk, including a skull (Frostgrave Gnolls, I think) as a souvenir of his work, a bottle (Cultists again) and a crossbow quarrel quiver (Perry Miniatures, I think), because it works perfectly as a generic belt pouch on slightly larger figures.

Despite using a GW body as a base, he's surprisingly squat, with the powerful arms and slightly too-small head giving him a really thuggish look that I'd love to claim was intentional!

A minor mishap with an over-heavy satin varnish means it's just a little too shiny (a matt layer took the edge off). After the disaster with the Greyjoys, I've moved from GW's evil Purity Seal to brush-on stuff, which is a) much cheaper, and b) gives me more control... or will once I get used to using it.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Dioramarama

We (Frostgrave author Joseph McCullough and myself) were up in Nottingham recently, and decided to call in at Warhammer World and take a look around the exhibition hall/museum. When in Rome, and all that. This was actually our second visit in the last couple of months, but we were on a schedule for the first, and only managed to make it to the store (conveniently enough to pick up some Genestealer Cultists for me and some Lord of the Rings models for Joe) before having to head off.

This time, we did it right, and made sure we had time to see everything before rolling out. First off, a tour of the Warhammer World exhibition is well worth the price of admission (£7.50, as it happens). I'd been a few years back (well, perhaps more than a few...), courtesy of a friend then working there, but the scale of the current gallery of models and dioramas past, present and future is a far cry from what I remember.

The 'tour' takes you through several rooms, starting with the 'nostalgia hall', showing off classic models from the early days of Citadel/GW. I seem to recall this being more extensive; as it is, it's a little brief for my liking - I would have loved to see more of the old toys. Still, it did include these two beauties, which are just as good as I remember:

Warhammer Quest. A lovely, characterful diorama, with some great touches, such as the Wizard's hat getting transfixed by an arrow and a Trollslayer about to fall through a trapdoor.
Lustria. A simple scene, lacking the complexity of some, but telling a superb story of a rescue mission and an interrupted sacrifice. I can't remember if this accompanied a specific release or not, but it's stuck with me!

From Nostalgia, the exhibition leads into Warhammer/Age of Sigmar, showing off Studio paint-jobs for what I believe is every model in the current range. Impressive, to be sure, but it was still the dioramas that caught the eye. The standouts for me were these three:

The first of two paired dioramas for Age of Sigmar, this one shows Wood Elves (or whatever they're called these days) sweeping from the forest to overrun an Orc warband.
The second of the paired dioramas, showing the devastation wrought by a victorious orc horde. Both are simple scenes, but do a great job of conveying their source material. I actually started to appreciate the Age of Sigmar 'realm' set-up with this visual depiction.
From the relatively subtle, the dioramas swing upwards to the colossal, such as this Nurgle army marching out from their fortress.

There were some that just didn't photograph well, unfortunately, such as a 360-degree Skaven vs Dwarves scene with the combat taking place through a honeycomb of caves and tunnels.

Feeling philosophical, I did comment that the dioramas seem to be a perfect metaphor for the evolution of the GW Hobby - from small and quirky to big, brash and just plain more. The huge dioramas include lots of lovely little touches, but you do have to hunt for them a bit, or just stumble onto them by looking at it just right...

From the Warhammer hall, it's through into the Imperium of Man, a hall given over to Space Marines, Imperial Guard and all those chaps. Perhaps I'm just not a fan of the Marines as much as I used to be, but this hall I went round pretty quickly. The highlight was the awe-inspiring Pilgrym terrain and gangs by such folk as Jeff Vader and the Iron Sleet guys. Having worked with Johan (Jeff Vader) on a couple of projects for Osprey, this was one of the main reasons for my visit, and I'm pleased to say that it's even better in real life than it looks in the photos I've seen online and in White Dwarf (and that's saying something!).

After the Imperium comes the 'Enemies of Mankind' hall, given over to everything that isn't a Marine or a Guardsman. I absolutely believe the anecdotes about GW selling one Marine for every other model if the balance shown in the exhibition is anything to go by!


A classic Crimson Fists vs. Orks scene? Yes, please.

The conclusion of the tour is really phenomenal. A colossal scene that fills a stairwell, with Khornate forces assaulting a Marine-held fortification. You enter it at the top, looking down from spires and towers on a battlescene that comes into focus as you circle down around it. It's a mammoth work, and needs to be seen to be believed.

Then, in the grand tradition of all good tours, it's out via the gift shop!

All told, I really enjoyed the trip, and with dozens of games tables and Bugman's Bar on the premises as well, it kinda made me wish I had a Warhammer army to play with. Then again, having seen the new Age of Sigmar Orcs up close, I am tempted...