Tuesday 2 April 2024

Token Effort

With a scenario for the Salute demo game of The Silver Bayonet: Egypt planned, we were missing just a few things - namely, objective tokens and clue markers! With a couple of weeks to go, I knuckled down and produced a few using random bits and pieces from my collection.

The skeletal pieces came from the Oathmark skeleton kit, with a bit of clipping here and there to remove bows and arrows from hands, and the tools from the Oathmark Dwarf Light Infantry. I've had the chests knocking around for a while - I think they're from the Massive Darkness board game. The relic is from a Plague Monks sprue - this is the second time I've used it as a marker (the first being my original Frostgrave treasure tokens - seen here).

As the game is set in Egypt, I thought it'd be fun to model a few things once claimed by the desert sands and wanted to give the impression that some of these are half-buried. One of the chests was clipped at an angle to appear somewhat sunken and a couple of spare sections of sprue were added to provide the framework for various drifts and pits.

The sprue frameworks were, in hindsight, a great addition - Polyfilla (my basing material of choice) is great, but giving it something to hang on made life a lot easier than just trying to sculpt with it!

Painting was fairly quick, and mostly completed over the long Easter weekend. In an effort to make the pieces pop a little more, I went back after the usual all-over brown wash and touched up the sandy areas with a bit more khaki and the bones with a flick of white.

I wouldn't say they're my best work, but I hope they're fun and easy enough to spot on the tabletop! One thing I have absolutely learned - I need a painting handle or something. Trying to keep hold of these was more faff than I really wanted!

Disclaimer: All links to third-party sites are solely for the purposes of sourcing the products I have discussed, if anyone is so inclined. I have simply linked to the original manufacturer or the source I used (but feel free to shop around!) and make no money from people clicking through.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Mini Sorta-Vikings

My friends are very patient. They've been playing Blood Bowl 7s (a.k.a. the best version of Blood Bowl) for a while and allowing me to take their teams to the field while deciding what team I want to build myself. That's taken... several months.

Part of the problem was that, while I have really been enjoying the game, little of the current range of official miniatures really appeals to me. Fortunately, there's a huge range of third-party companies offering Fantasy Football miniatures so it became a case of figuring out the kind of team I wanted and hunting down some appropriate minis. Realistically, the first part of that equation was simple - running, dodging, and passing are for teams with more skill than guts - so I pretty quickly settled on the Norse for a straightforward smashmouth style. That done, I found the "Fenrir Sons" range from Hungry Troll Miniatures which were exactly what I wanted - simple, clean sculpts that would paint up really quickly.

Or so I thought. The models were brilliant and I can't speak highly enough of Hungry Troll's service - but, once basecoated, my momentum just evaporated and they sat on my desk for months. It's only this last week or so that I turned back to them and got them finished. Truth be told, they painted up really well, so I'm not sure what the obstacle was!

First out the gate were four basic Linemen to make up the numbers. Most of the time, I'll probably only be fielding three, but I figured a fourth would be useful to have just in case. The slightly crouched one in the helmet had some horns clipped off just to blend better with the other helmet-wearing model but, outside of cleaning up maybe three stray supports from the printing, that was the only prep I had to do on the whole selection.

With the basic players out the way, I then got onto the specialists. First up, inevitably, were two Ulfwereners - even more berserk berserkers. While actual Berserkers are an option, I MUCH preferred these models, so that made the team selection for me! 

Painting all of these was a doddle - flesh and dark steel for the most part, with dark grey for the trousers, dark brown for straps and belts, bone for the bone codpieces, and light grey for loincloths and fur. I wanted a very dark theme as I was, right up until the last minute, toying with the idea of finishing off the models with corpse paint to theme them along the lines of a Scandinavian metal band! I changed my plans there, but the dark scheme really works well with the green pitch and white lines, I think.

Having said that actual ball skills are for cowards, I did figure that I needed at least one model capable of scoring, so drafted a Valkyrie. I think the Hungry Troll range was originally designed for a previous version of the Norse team, so this model is 'officially' a Thrower (a role since merged into the more jack-of-all-trades Valkyrie). 'Official' Valkyrie models did come with the rest of the team (presumably, Hungry Troll updated the range in line with the new edition), but I just preferred this model - even though it is carrying a ball. In a game where an actual ball is moved about the board, it has always irked me that so many models are permanently carrying one! Tucked under the arm, though, is relatively unobtrusive compared to many, so I'll live with it.

Of course my final player is a Yeti. Given the choice, it was ALWAYS going to be a Yeti. This was the only model I thought had a bit of a flaw, however - the mane of hair on its right shoulder is very flat, with practically no texture. Looking at the stock photos on Hungry Troll's website, I think it's the sculpt itself, rather than any issue with the printing. A minor negative, but a noticeable one given the proximity to the focal point of the model and the pronounced texturing on the rest of the fur.

For basing, I actually applied my usual Polyfilla/mud effect and painted it all up. I even 'sculpted' some gouges in the earth that I left mostly free of the static grass applied thereafter. The idea here was to give the effect of a churned-up pitch. I didn't love it until I added the white lines, breaking them where the pitch was also broken. A few drops of a couple of brown washes on the lines and everything tied together nicely!

I'm really pleased with how everything came out - it was definitely worth the wait! Not sure when they'll be taking the field for their first game - hopefully soon.

I do, however, need a name for them. Current front-runner is the Djúrabý Draugar.

Disclaimer: All links to third-party sites are solely for the purposes of sourcing the products I have discussed, if anyone is so inclined. I have simply linked to the original manufacturer or the source I used (but feel free to shop around!) and make no money from people clicking through.

Monday 29 January 2024

You Dirty Rats...

Not exactly 'hot on the heels', but my recent Skaven painting gave me the urge to paint a few more of the verminous lads. As I said in that post, it was the old Rat Ogres that first brought Skaven to my attention, and so, in a fit of nostalgia, I went looking for something that hit my impression of what a Rat Ogre should be.

First to be rejected were the official GW ones. Enough said. I did consider tracking down the classic Jes Goodwin ones, but they're a little on the small side these days and there's only two of them - I wanted three to better suit monstrous units in Dragon Rampant and Oathmark.

I eventually found some 3D prints on Etsy of Rat Ogres from a studio called ResinWarfare. They've got a fairly substantial range of Fantasy Rat-Men, including multiple Rat Brute designs. I opted for the most vanilla ones - no weird steampunk weapons or bladed limbs, just hulks of muscle and ferocity. The sculpts themselves are lovely and the prints were very tidy. One pose looks a little like its cocking its leg to relieve itself, but otherwise they're splendid!

Unfortunately, the tails broke in shipping and I just couldn't get them to reattach securely. In the end, I clipped off the stumps and green-stuffed some more fur over the remnants. Honestly, I thought it would bother me more than it does. In any case, the classic Rat Ogres didn't have tails, so this is continuing that fine tradition!

Painting was a doddle too - the size of the models and the well-defined detail on the sculpts meant that it was easy to pick out teeth, eyes, and the like. Even so, most of the work was done with dry-brushing - a bone/khaki for the flesh and, originally, light grey for the fur. I had initial plans of going with an albino-style look, but this didn't really work in practice - the skin and fur weren't distinct enough - so I went back and darkened the fur with a darker wash.

All told, I'm really happy with them, and I suspect they'll be auto-includes in my Dragon Rampant force.

Disclaimer: All links to third-party sites are solely for the purposes of sourcing the products I have discussed, if anyone is so inclined. I have simply linked to the original manufacturer or the source I used (but feel free to shop around!) and make no money from people clicking through.

Monday 27 November 2023

Big Chungus

I'm a big fan of including a large model or two to break up the silhouette of a warband or army (previous waffle on the subject here) and, looking at the Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile, I realized that I didn't really have anything that fit that description. Dirty Frank is a big boy, but he's really only about twice the height of the average human model... that's not big, right?

Well, let me introduce you to Big Chungus.

Big Chungus is a 'Bloat Giant' from Rocket Pig Games. Covered in sores and wounds, and with a shaggy pelt of back hair, he's a great fit for the Cult. He's also immense.

The model itself was picked up from a retailer on Etsy - I think it's the first 3D-printed model I've ever painted! That process was... a bit of a mixed bag. First off, the model was pretty cleanly printed, with sharp detail and most of the supports cleaned neatly off. It was entirely hollow and, given the size, I thought it needed some more heft - so I mixed up some plaster of Paris and filled the whole thing via the holes in its base (you can't tell from the aftermath of my basing, but it's standing on some sculpted rocky ground). After everything had dried, I had the heft I wanted... but discovered that certain seams on the model (the armpits and an earhole) had allowed the plaster to leak out. I don't know if those sections were perforated or were just thin enough to give way or what, nor if it's a design issue or a printer issue - but I do know that it meant that I had to scrape away a fair bit of plaster from the surface of the model.

And then to basing. I stuck it on a large MDF disc and thought nothing of it. Except, for the first time I can remember, the MDF warped and, when dry, had a distinct 'wobble' to it. I sanded down the base to flatten it off again - no massive job, but by this point I was getting distinctly fed up by the whole thing.

Am I ever glad I persevered, though. After getting the flesh basecoat down (which took three coats for decent coverage!), everything just flew by. Once all the basecoats were on, I gave everything a khaki drybrush - which is the first time I've tried that, but it did give some nice highlights once the classic brown wash went over everything. Before that, however, I threw a variety of washes (red, purple, and green) onto the flesh to create some odd, unhealthy-looking complexions, mixing and blending them on the model itself. Once the all-over brown wash went on it helped bring those more disparate colours together. Really happy with the gruesome effect.

Aside from the inside of the loincloth, the only tricky part of painting was the wraps on the arms - they wind over and through the hair on the forearms and the detail on my model was a little soft. In fact, the only criticism of the design I have is that the back hair stops very abruptly on the back of the neck - I would have preferred a less harsh line and, were I doing it over, I'd probably green-stuff a little more pelt. Still, it's a small criticism - the model is phenomenal, and I'm already looking at Rocket Pig for other centrepiece models that could inspire a collection.

And Big Chungus really is a centrepiece - as I said, he's immense. Dirty Frank may be almost twice the height of a human, but Chungus is almost twice the height of Dirty Frank!

Disclaimer: All links to third-party sites are solely for the purposes of sourcing the products I have discussed, if anyone is so inclined. I have simply linked to the original manufacturer or the source I used (but feel free to shop around!) and make no money from people clicking through.

Friday 24 November 2023

A Fresh Outbreak: Poxwalkers

I'm still no great photographer, but I'm much better than I used to be! I figured it was about time to revisit some of my older pieces from the Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile and update them with some new pics.

First up, the Poxwalkers: original post.