Wednesday, 22 January 2020

“Destroy And Rejoice!”

"We are better... different than human beings."
This "easy-build plastic" Dalek model is produced by “Warlord Games” and can be assembled from the plastic sprues found within either the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" "fast-paced tabletop miniatures game" or the “Davros And The New Dalek Empire” Expansion Set. Created by Terry Nation (and Raymond Cusick) in 1963, this particular variant of the Kaled's Mark III travel machine is based upon their Time War shell and first appeared in the April 2005 BBC Television series story "Dalek".

Due to the Kaled mutant not coming with any base, the drone was first super-glued onto a 40mm lipped circular stand, and only then primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, before being treated to a double coat of Brass. The human-sized pepper pot was then washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and given a hearty dry-brush of (more) "Vallejo" Brass.
"Doctor Who: Exterminate!" WIPs - These three drones will be painted as Axis Strike Squad Daleks
With the 'basic' painting phase completed, I decided to slightly convert this particular Dalek by cutting off his control arm, and re-positioning it, courtesy of drilling a small hole in the model. The figure is to be my entry cost (or "Curtgeld") for the Tenth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, so I wanted to make it a little different from the other 'off-the-shelf' Dalek's you can buy.

Once the piece was firmly re-attached, I ‘picked out’ the Kaled mutant's eye stalks, 'sink plunger' and multi-range variable power destructor using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. Finally, I pigmented its audio scanners with a dash of "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey, as well as tidied up the Metaltron's fender with "Citadel" Abaddon Black.
"Doctor Who: Exterminate!" WIPs - These Ogrons are slowly having all their details 'picked out'
Staying with the inhabitants of Skaro's nuclear wasteland, I have assembled, based and primed three more "Warlord Games" Dalek drones to represent an Axis Strike Squad. These Daleks with black domes and sense globes invaded and conquered the "hub that held the structure of damaged or truncated realities" in the "Big Finish" audio series "Gallifrey".

In addition, I have made some more progress on the last of my Ogrons. These "ape-like hominids" have had all their leather straps, belts, wristbands and holsters 'picked out' using a mixture of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and are slowly having their shirt sleeves pigmented in "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

"One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor."

 "It's Black Gates are guarded by more than just Orcs."
This 28mm scale "white metal figure" of Sterling The Wandering Knight is produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range as an adventurer "for use with The Caverns of The Frog King Adventure Module." Sculpted by Steve Saleh, I have painted him as Boromir, the eldest son of Denethor II, so as to be able to field him as a 'Lord Of The Toons' Hero (Single Model Unit) for “Dragon Rampant” by "Osprey Games".

Originally primed with two layers of "Citadel" Abaddon Black,  the older brother of Faramir was treated to two coats of Ironbreaker before being drenched in Nuln Oil and dry-brushed using (more) Ironbreaker. I then 'cleaned up' his shield with some additional "Abaddon Black" and treated his sword hilt and helmet to a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, Gold and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
The Thing and Black Panther make short work of an alien warrior and some stalkers
The High Warden of the White Tower had his face initially 'picked out' with some "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone, and was subsequently washed with "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade before receiving some "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone highlights. Finally, his belt was given a lick of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter", whilst his feathered plume was pigmented "Vallejo" White and later splashed with Pale Grey.

I'm hoping to attend the LVL Up Gaming Store in Bournemouth at least once a month this year, and took advantage of my most recent visit to trial some quickly thought homemade rules for H.R. Giger's aliens. Initially I had panned for the slavering extra-terrestrials to face off against an increasing number of "Marvel Comics" most famous superheroes, but rather embarrassingly forget to bring the Avengers statistics with me.
The Human Torch lights up the alien menace with a series of fireballs
As a result, we had to settle for a series of smaller-sized skirmish games across an industrial furnace complex which arguably far better suited the super-powered long range abilities of the Fantastic Four (and Black Panther) than it did the somewhat faster, but vulnerable at a distance Xenomorphs. Fortunately, such disadvantages didn't stop some 'stand out' moments occurring within our games, such as The Thing charging straight into the nearest alien warrior and relying solely upon his thick brick hide to protect him from the creature's acid blood, or the Black Panther dispatching a gaggle of nightmarish stalkers only to then later succumb to his close combat injuries.

Perhaps the evening's biggest star though was Johnny Storm, whose 'untouchable' flight ability definitely helped Mister Fantastic's super-group keep the aliens at bay whenever they seemed likely to break through the line of heroes through sheer weight of numbers. Able to fly almost within touching distance of the Xenomorphs, the Human Torch repeatedly whittled down the fast-approaching warrior drones with a hail of fire-balls, and certainly gave me food-for-thought as to how I could better balance flying units within my homemade rule-set "M.I.S.S."...

Friday, 17 January 2020

"Theoretically, The Corpse Of Any Living Creature Can Be Turned Into A Zombie."

"But, for whatever reason, most necromancers find humanoid subjects to be far easier to reanimate."
This 63mm tall metal model of a Zombie Snow Troll is manufactured by “North Star Military Figures” and can be bought as code FGV316 from their “Frostgrave" Range. According to Joseph A. McCullough's lore for the Frozen City these undead monsters are “a popular choice for a death mage looking to add a little strength to his forces”, and whilst zombie trolls are “not quite as tough as their living counterparts”, they “are still creatures to be feared.”

Although I’m a big fan of Mark Copplestone’s official paint scheme for the miniature, I actually thought the palette chosen was a little too dark-skinned for my taste, so I primed my model “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey in the hope of becoming reacquainted with my preferred zombie colour scheme from six years ago.  The living corpse was then drenched in “Citadel” Biel-Tan Green and dry-brushed using some (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Bluegrey.
"Nolzur's Marvellous Miniatures" WIPs - The Earth Elemental has been primed, shaded and dry-brushed
I also decided that I wanted the troll's shaggy fur to be brown, so applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to the large clump of hair partially covering its back. For the rotting behemoth's visible intestines, I first applied a layer of "Vallejo" Squid Pink and then washed its guts with "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. Some of this Shade spilt onto the monster's rancid flesh, so I used a piece of sponge to dapple the area around the gash in the creature's side with even more Carroburg Crimson.

This technique seemed to work well to suggest the skin was mottled and bruised, so I extended my sponge-work across the figure where appropriate. I then tackled the beast's huge partially-exposed skull by layering it with "Vallejo" White, shading it using some Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter", and finally dry-brushing it with (more) "Vallejo" White. Once dry, I similarly treated parts of the bone to some "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
"Toon Realms" WIPs - Lord Rascal's Ghostly Wraiths are ready for a series of lighter dry-brushes
Finally, I 'picked out' the troll's eye socket with a dollop of "Vallejo" Heavy Red, and then sponged on plenty of "Citadel" Bloodletter across areas of its decomposing body, head and matted fur. With the gore finished, I glued a double helping of "Citadel" Snow around the plastic 40mm circular base in order for the hulking zombie to fit in alongside the rest of my "Frostgrave" collection.

Working on such a considerably-sized figure has momentarily given me a real taste for pigmenting large models, so with some gusto I have also been working on a plastic Earth Elemental from “Wizkids” increasingly impressive Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures range. In addition, I have taken receipt of eight Lord Rascal's Ghostly Wraiths by "Lucid Eye Publications", and immediately primed, washed and dry-brushed the "Toon Realms" ghosts...

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

"The Guards Of The Gate Were Robed In Black..."

"...And their helms were of strange shape, high-crowned, with long cheek-guards close-fitting to the face..."
These five "cartoon scale" white metal figures of King Victor's Royal Guard are produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range as a pack of four miniatures. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, I have painted the warriors in the colours of the Guards of the Tower of Gondor so as to field a six-figure strong unit of (Elite Foot) Guards of the Citadel for “Dragon Rampant” by "Osprey Games".
"...And above the cheek-guards were set the white wings of sea-birds."
Initially primed with two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, these personal bodyguards to the twenty-sixth ruling Steward of Gondor were dry-brushed using some "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal and subsequently washed in "Citadel" Nuln Oil. They then had their boots and spear shafts layered with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and their belt buckles, spears and helmets delicately dabbed in Gold. All of these areas were later washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to dampen down their pigment's vigour.

The Tower Guards' helmets, armours, chain-mail, shield emblems and spear-tips were treated to a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. These parts were later delicately dry-brushed with (more) Ironbreaker. Finally, each knight’s linen surcoat and feathers were ‘picked out’ in “Vallejo” White and ‘shaded’ with a tiny amount of Pale Grey.
"Toon Realms" WIPs - Sterling has been washed with "Citadel" Nuln Oil and then dry-brushed with Ironbreaker
Despite having now finished enough "Toon Realms" figures with which to field both a 26 point Undead and opposing Gondor/Fangorn army for "Dragon Rampant", I still have a couple more models manufactured by "Lucid Eye Publications" which I am working on, most notably a characterful sculpt of Sterling the Wandering Knight. This marvellous looking miniature will make a good proxy for the eldest son of Denethor II, Boromir, for my 'Lord of the Toons' project, and having already been primed, shaded and dry-brushed, just needs some of his details to be 'picked out'...
"Kings Of War" WIPs - The Ahmunite Pharaoh is slowly having all his armour coated with "Vallejo" Gold
Significantly far less agreeable to pigment has been the leader of my Empire of Dust "Kings Of War" force, an Ahmunite Pharaoh. This metal 'Lord of the Two Lands' by "Mantic Games" is proving particularly difficult to progress on account of the flimsy nature of its two hand-weapons, which persistently seem to want to bend in half with just the slightest contact from my paint brush.

Indeed, I've already lost count how many times the figure's Egyptian khopesh and 'axe' have almost snapped off whilst I've been applying the tiniest amount of verdigris to the undead corpse's bronze hand-weapons. In addition, despite heavily watering-down my "Vallejo" Gold and applying it as multiple thin coats, the sculpt's soft detail is still being lost, and as a result I have already abandoned my plan to 'highlight' some of the ancient warrior's armour with a smidgen of Turquoise...

Monday, 13 January 2020

“At The Beginning Of This War, Megalomania Was The Only Form Of Sanity.”

"Politics is more dangerous than war, for in war you are only killed once."
This 28mm scale model of Winston Churcill is produced by “Warlord Games”, and came free as a special edition figure when I ordered the "Bolt Action" Second Edition Campaign book "Operation Sea Lion" direct from the Nottingham-based manufacturer's web store. Sculpted to represent "the most stalwart of British Prime Ministers" during an inspection of invasion defences near Hartlepool, on July 21st 1940, the single cast figure comes armed with a .45 calibre Thompson Sub Machine Gun. 

Initially, I had contemplated simply painting the miniature predominantly black, and just giving "the roaring lion" a dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal in order to provide some straightforward shading. However, having spotted a colourised version of the politician carrying the Tommy Gun and wearing a distinctly grey pinstriped suit, I decided to prime the model using some Dark Grey instead.
"Doctor Who" WIPs - A Time Wars drone, the Dalek Interrogator Prime, and a Dalek Scientist
The former army officer was then washed in "Citadel" Nuln Oil and dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Dark Grey. I did momentarily consider trying to 'draw on' the formal suit's eye-watering vertical pattern, but quickly chose to leave well enough alone, and instead just 'picked out' Churchill's shoes and hat with a couple of coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black.

Winston's hair, cigar and rifle butt were pigmented using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. Whilst the rest of his firearm was treated to some "Citadel" Ironbreaker and a splash of Nuln Oil. Finally, the member of parliament had his handkerchief, shirt and cuffs marked out with a tiny amount of "Vallejo" White.
"Empire Of Dust" WIPs - The swarms contain scarab beetles, scorpions, snakes and large flies
Sticking with "Warlord Games" figures, I have made some significant progress on three of their plastic Daleks for the "Doctor Who: Exterminate" miniatures game. Two of the Mark III travel machines actually follow those of the Dalek Interrogator Prime and Dalek Scientist as imagined in the audio plays by "Big Finish", whereas the third will simply be a slightly converted Time Wars drone.

Lastly, I've based and primed an Empire of Dust swarm regiment for the BlackJack Legacy Slow Grow "Kings of War" Army Challenge. Originally I had thought these three square stands of scarab beetles would be a reasonably simple way to attain 60pts for the tabletop. But once I'd actually perused the metal sculpts in more detail, it has quickly become clear that each base contains far more than just the stout-bodied insects...

Friday, 10 January 2020

"Gondor! Gondor, Between The Mountains And The Sea!"

"West wind blew there; the light upon the Silver Tree fell like bright rain in gardens of the Kings of old."
These eight "cartoon scale" white metal figures of King Victor's Men-at-Arms are produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range as a pack of four identical miniatures. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, I have painted them all in the colours of Gondor so as to be able to finally field a twelve-model strong unit of (Heavy Foot) Minas Tirith Knights for “Dragon Rampant” by "Osprey Games".

Initially undercoated with two layers of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, the Third Age warriors were dry-brushed using some "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal in order to bring out some of their large cloaks' detail, and subsequently washed in "Citadel" Nuln Oil. The soldiers' boots were then treated to a touch of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, whilst their sword hilts and belt buckles were given a lick of Gold.
"O proud walls! White towers! O winged crown and throne of gold!"
Both of these areas were later washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. Finally I 'picked out' the Men-at-Arms' helmets, neck armour, chain-mail and shield emblems using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, and eventually dry-brushed these parts with (more) Ironbreaker.

Setting aside my 'Lord of the Toons' project, I have managed to 'endure' my first taste of "skirmish combat in the Mortal Realms" using my Iron Golems against the Untamed Beasts. Perhaps unsurprisingly things did not go terribly well for my "Warcry" warband, as there are clearly some formidable synergies to understand in order to utilise each factions' special abilities and Runemarks.
The Iron Golems appeared to be repeatedly outnumbered in their skirmishes, even when helped by a Chaotic Beast
There also seems to be a significant amount of luck to be found before the game has even started, as a result of the random terrain layout, victory conditions, twist deck and battleplans; most of which are drawn prior to any battle-hammer being swung in anger. In my first game, I disappointingly discovered just three of my hapless fighters along one table-edge would be facing the vast majority of my opponent's force, and to make matters worse, they immediately needed to push through this wall of bristling weapons so as to avoid being instantly removed from the game as casualties because they were within 4 inches of an edge...

Needless to say, the trio were quickly butchered before help could arrive; albeit my duardin armator making a stand rather than fleeing for his life, wasn't the smartest of strategies on my behalf. Unfortunately though, I felt the second scenario was similarly stacked against me, as my opponent had to just outnumber me at a single objective marker every turn so they could destroy some of the battle's way-points. Simple stuff when my warband was distributed right across the battlefield, whilst the Untamed Beasts' formation was significantly more concentrated...

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

“Iron Golems Were Constructs Made Entirely Out Of Iron.”

"These iron behemoths were very powerful, thanks to their magic immunity, [and] poisonous breath attack..."
This 54mm tall model of an Iron Golem is produced by “Wizkids” and can be bought from their Nolzur’s Marvellous Miniatures range. “Highly detailed… primed and ready to paint out of the box”, the artificially constructed creature made its first appearance in the original 1975 "Greyhawk" supplement written by Gary Gygax and Robert J. Kuntz, and “could take a hero’s head off with a swipe of their arm.”

Amongst the strongest types of Golem, the figure was originally treated to a couple of coats of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and subsequently dry-brushed quite heavily with “Citadel” Ironbreaker. I then drenched the entire animated object with “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade. This helped blend the brown and metallic paints together so as to create a rusty, time-worn look to the large creature.
"Nolzur's Marvellous Miniatures" WIPs - The Iron Golem was primed, dry-brushed and washed
“Three times as strong as a Flesh Golem”, the model was dry-brushed with (more) “Citadel” Ironbreaker and dabbed with “Mig Productions" Extreme Rust Wash. This product produces a nice rusty orange stain, so specifically targeted the miniature’s joints and gaps between its armour plating. The entire ensemble was then light dry-brushed with (even more) “Citadel” Ironbreaker in order to help blend the Rust Wash in with the metallic areas.

Where I was unhappy with the stain’s final result, I went back in with some “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and then simply (re)dry-brushed these tidied-up areas with “Citadel” Ironbreaker. I also had the chance to try out my new Psycho brush by “The Army Painter”, courtesy of applying an incredibly thin line of “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion into the Iron Golem’s two very narrow eye slits. Finally, because I wanted to try and draw attention to this area, I then applied a line of “Citadel” Ironbreaker to the construct’s eyebrows…
"In times of war, the mages will raise the husks and remains of the creatures that inhabited the dunes..."
In addition to my latest “Dungeons & Dragons” figure, I’ve managed to finish off a significantly smaller model in the guise of a 28mm scale skeleton for my Empire of Dust “Kings of War” army. However, rather than exclusively populate my Spearman unit with well-armed bleach-boned cadavers, I’ve started the ten-figure regiment off with the deceased animal corpse that can be found on the “Mantic Games” plastic Undead Skeleton Troop frame.

Primed with a double coat of “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand, the two-piece creature was shaded with The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade and dry-brushed using (more) “Vallejo” Iraqi Sand. I then gave the critter a much lighter dry-brush of White, before picking out its collar with a combination of Gold and Strong Tone Quickshade. According to an old "Mantic Games" 2009 news post entitled "Pet Wars!", the skeleton is meant to be a dog, but as my Undead force will have a distinctly Egyptian feel, I figured it could be a cat…