Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Top Ten Miniatures Of 2019 - An "Undercoat" Personal Choice

Well 2019 has come and gone and there were lots of highlights to remember. We had the end of the Star Wars trilogy trilogies, Avengers Endgame saw the stunning sacrifices of Black Widow, Iron Man and Cap and I think there was an election! In terms of the miniature painting hobby some highlights included the Clone Wars coming to "Star Wars Legion", the superb "Warcry" from "Games Workshop" and the great new "Marvel Crisis Protocol" game from "Atomic Mass Games".

It also means I get the chance to review the miniatures painted on the "Fantorical" blog for the year. And what a year it was too, with a huge output making my choices very hard indeed. My choices are a personal opinion based on a variety of factors, such as the painting, the imagination used and of course the rule of cool! So, without further ado onto the list, in reverse order of course!

These Borg are part of a much larger force painted over the course of the year and these ones just stood out to me. I think the paint scheme has done a great job of capturing the menace of these iconic "Star Trek" villains and the collective as a whole has been a great project for the year.

This miniature is from a "Kickstarter" project and uses several superhero/super villain tropes to come up with a great looking figure that has been painted very well in my opinion. I like the paint scheme of this one enormously making it an easy choice for the Top Ten.

These stunning miniatures are from the original "Star Wars trilogy" and are the personal bodyguards of the Emperor himself. I chose these because, a) they are from Star Wars! And b) they are a great exercise in painting red. I find red quite a tricky colour at times and these miniatures are an example of how to paint the colour effectively!

These miniatures are great sculpts and I just adore the painting. The colours used are very natural (if we can say natural for a species that is extinct and we don’t know what the colour of their skin was!!). I just think these look really great overall and would look awesome on any dinosaur themed game!

The whole "Toon Realms" range has featured quite heavily on this blog but I just adored the skeletons. A simple enough colour scheme but done so well they just stand out as the pick of the bunch for me. The bone colour has been painted superbly in my opinion and looks fantastic. Just a cracking group to look at!

Another "Star Trek" entry in my Top Ten. I just like everything about these: the sculpts look great, the paint scheme really captures the look of these enigmatic villains and overall they look great! The skin and faces have been painted really well on these miniatures and the colour scheme really reflects how they look in the television series.

I just really like this miniature. It is from the "Doctor Who" television show and has a look about it that I just adore. The paint scheme looks deceptively simple but the metallics have been painted superbly in my opinion and make the whole thing so memorable. I think Simon has really mastered painting metallic and I am jealous of the way he paints them as they look so realistic. A great looking mini!!

The whole "Warcry" series of miniatures has really caught my imagination this year as they are well sculpted and really capture the different facets of chaos in the Warhammer universe. There are eight Iron Golems in the warband who are heavily armoured in a really distinctive style and this duardin (dwarf in old money!) is my pick of the bunch. The metallics and the red armour are just great on this mini. I know that the painting process on these particular miniatures has been a bit of a trial but in the end they have turned out great.

Another "Star Wars" entry in the Top Ten. The wookies are one of my favourite alien races in George Lucas' universe and these miniatures look awesome and capture the “walking carpets” brilliantly. The paint job on these minis is really good. The fur has been painted brilliantly and the accessories and weapons have been picked out so they don’t get lost in the vast amount of hair!! Great looking unit.

These models are from "Age of Sigmar" and are prayers summoned onto the battlefield by the followers of the Blood God, Khorne. They look awesome in my opinion. All of the elements have been painted brilliantly: the bone looks tremendous, I really like the shading and the way it gives the appearance of aged bone, the blood flowing from them looks really effective and overall they look stunning. They are a real centre piece model that will be a stand out in this army. A great bit of painting that has resulted in a fantastic model that has stuck in my memory since I first saw it.

Well that concludes my Top Ten and the reasons behind them. Happy New Year to all the readers of “Fantorical”.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

"Not So Eager With A Shattered Leg, Are We?"

"...The Iron Golems wield weapons that can pierce and crumple even the toughest metal."
This 50mm tall model of a Signifer is one of the eight multi-part plastic miniatures which can be found inside the Iron Golem "Warcry" warband boxed set by “Games Workshop". “Hailing from the Realm of Metal”, the standard-bearer came in six separate pieces and can be alternatively assembled to represent a giant hammer-wielding Prefector, complete with Untamed Beasts trophy helmet, rather than simply just carry its huge icon.

Initially undercoated using two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, the figure had all of his numerous pieces of armour, as well as its standard and accompanying circular-plate adornments, pigmented using a combination of Brass and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. I then applied some diluted “Citadel” Flesh Tearer Red to the warrior’s highly detailed helmet, shoulder-pads, chest armour, shin-plates, gut-protector and emblem, so as to give the Iron Golem the distinctive metallic red hue his warband has become synonymous with.
"Dominate the Eightpoints with brute strength and unwavering discipline."
The Signifer’s chain-mail skirts, face-plate, chain-link belt, straps, and battle-hammer were painted in "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and shaded with Nuln Oil. The miniature’s flesh was treated to a mixture of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. Lastly, I 'picked out' the shaft of the impressive round icon with a little "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, and later shaded it using some out of production "Citadel" Badab Black.

I have also paid another visit to the LVL Up Gaming Store in Bournemouth so as to spend a few hours testing out some freshly-penned new super-powers for my homemade rule-set "M.I.S.S." This particular wargaming session saw me setting up a small industrial furnace complex using the pre-painted terrain of “Tablescape”, over which a handful of Marvel Worldwide’s finest repeatedly spanked a motley assortment of DC Comics’ most murderous criminals.
The Thing and Captain America lead the charge against a host of "DC Comics" villains and goons
To be fair, this series of defeats could partially be blamed upon the total lack of water features which ordinarily would have allowed the likes of Black Manta and his harpoon-gun-carrying scuba-minions to have realised their full potential. But little could probably have prepared me for the overwhelming dominance of Ben Grimm, who repeatedly managed to smack the likes of Clayface and the gigantic Chemo into tomorrow without working up too much of a sweat.

Even the welcome addition of the Joker and Riddler to my forces in our later games was quickly negated by the stunning speed of Spider-Man and the Black Panther. Whilst the star-spangled super-hero known as Captain America seemed to quite merrily work his way through an increasingly large horde of well-muscled goons and crowbar-bludgeoning hoodlums…

Friday, 27 December 2019

“I Dunno What The Hell’s In There, But It’s Weird…”

"You see, what we're talking about here is an organism that imitates other life forms..."
These three 28mm scale resin miniatures of Protoplasmic Terrors are manufactured by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and are part of the company’s Villains and Monsters product line. "Bubbling, amorphous masses of viscous matter, these surging, formless horrors are the product of vile experiments or the consequence of terrible, unholy rites” and rather reminded me of the lethal Black Pudding from “Dungeons & Dragons”.

As the trio of huge oozes come as multi-piece kits, they were initially assembled by having their separate tentacles super-glued in place on to their writhing bodies, and subsequently primed using a couple of coats of “Citadel” Abaddon Black. I was actually in two minds at this point as to what colour to predominantly pigment my mutable creatures, as I didn’t think painting them pure black (or even “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal) did the detailed sculpts much justice.
"One other thing, I think it rips through your clothes when it takes you over."
However, I did rather like the idea of a hapless adventurer seeing little else but some teeth and an occasional eye suddenly peering out at them before being horribly consumed, so ultimately decided to heavily dry-brush each “bubbling, heaping pile of thick black goo” with “Vallejo” Charred Brown, and then washed the monstrosities using plenty of “Citadel” Nuln Oil. Each Protoplasmic Terror’s maw was ‘picked out’ using “Vallejo” White and later stained with some splashes of “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade.

In the past I’ve usually simply ‘spotted’ such dungeon dwellers’ eyes using a dollop of “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre and a dash of “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade. But on this occasion, I wanted the majority of the voraciously hungry monsters’ eyes to have some intelligence behind them, so resultantly turned to my new Psycho Wargamer Brush by “The Army Painter” to dot a few pupils with a little “Citadel” Abaddon Black instead.
"Toon Realms" WIPs - One of King Victor's Men-at-Arms, Sterling and King Victor's Royal Guard
With the month soon coming to a close, I’m still hoping to get the vast majority of my Gondor/Fangorn Forest army finished for “Dragon Rampant” using the “Toon Realms” range of figures by “Lucid Eye Publications”. The main bulk of this force will predominantly consist of some Heavy Foot, and despite having already painted a blister of King Victor's Men-at-Arms, I still have need of another eight miniatures to bulk out the unit to its maximum strength.

In addition, I also need to pigment a further five models from King Victor’s Royal Guard to act as the Guards of the Tower of Gondor. I finished a test piece based upon the Minis Tirith warriors’ palette earlier in the year, and am keen to get the rest of the force finished as I now have my eye on painting a second unit of Elite Foot utilising the bright blue and white colour scheme of the Knights of Dol Amroth…

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

"Let The Dark Gods Bear Witness To Our Glory..."

"...And let our foes tremble at our passing!"
This 43mm tall model of a Dominar is one of the eight multi-part plastic miniatures which can be found inside the Iron Golem "Warcry" warband boxed set by “Games Workshop". A skilled blacksmith, this formidable-looking figure came in five separate pieces and proved a somewhat straightforward, if not still time-consuming, gaming piece to pigment.

Having permanently attached the warband's leader upon his 32mm circular base, the figure was primed with two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and had all of his numerous pieces of armour, as well as numerous tiny symbolic hammers dangling from his chest-plate and hand-weapon, painted using a combination of Brass and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. With the exception of the warrior’s ornate semi-circular plated loincloth and right gauntlet, all these areas were then given a coat of diluted "Citadel" Flesh Tearer Red.
"Send in the clowns."
This colour, mixed with some Contrast Medium, gave the model's shoulder-pads, helmet, shin-plates, back-plate, and gut-protector the distinctive metallic red hue of the Iron Golem faction, and additionally allowed some of the "Vallejo" Brass underneath to shine through; especially once the model had been gloss varnished. The Dominar's chain-mail skirt, face-plate, chain-link belt, straps, and monstrous battle-hammer were painted in "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and subsequently shaded with Nuln Oil.

In utter difference to the “Warcry” warband's 'official' "Games Workshop" pale grey skin palette, I applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to all the miniature's flesh. Lastly, I 'picked out' the shaft of the great hammer with a little "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, and later shaded it using some out of production "Citadel" Badab Black.
"Lucid Eye Publications" WIPs - This "Toon Realms" freebie is fast becoming an old statue/objective marker
This Christmas Day I received several notable additions to my miniature collection, but none brought a larger smile to my face than a model which had been both sculpted and painted by Roger Webb of "Rantings From Under The Wargames Table" fame. I actually picked this particular figure as one of my favourite pieces Roger produced in 2015, as following all of the green stuff work on it, it is hard to believe that this Undead Clown for "Zomtober" began life as an old Blob "Heroclix" model by "Wizkids".

In addition to simply staring at the phenomenal painting of Roger's brain-chomping comic performer, I've managed to spend a little time applying some layers and washes to a fun little freebie figure "Lucid Eye Productions" have sent me with a recent order. I've managed to 'snag' a couple of castings of this wily wizard, and resultantly hope to use them as different statue/objective markers for my 'Lord Of The Toons' campaign using the "Dragon Rampant" rule-set.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

"That Punch Would've Killed Anything..."

"Nul is one of the powerful Worthy warriors serving under the Serpent."
This 63mm tall plastic “Wizkids” figure of Nul is miniature number 106 from the Marvel “Heroclix” Fear Itself expansion and depicts the Breaker of Worlds following his escape from the magical hammer his father, Cul Borson, had transformed him into. "A problem for the latest incarnation of the Defenders", the 'living avatar of evil' first appeared in the July 2011 issue of “Fear Itself” and was created by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen.

Bestowed with super strength, the god was super-glued upon a 40mm circular base and primed with three layers of “Citadel" Abaddon Black so as to make the sculpt's surface as smooth as possible. The immortal then had his eyes and sharp teeth 'picked out' with "Vallejo" White and his mouth subsequently stained with "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade.
"The Hammer of Nul fell to Earth after the Serpent called a series of hammers to awaken the Worthy."
With such a simple paint-job completed, I thought I'd spend some additional time pigmenting the infamous Hammer of Nul, which originally "fell to Earth after the Serpent called a series of hammers to awaken the Worthy." This disconcertingly bendy plastic model was super-glued to one of the 40mm thin-lipped circular bases I use for all my objective markers and undercoated with "Vallejo" Dark Sand.

The entire weapon was later washed with a fair amount of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and dry-brushed using some (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand. Finally, I applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter" to its straps, and used a couple of coats of some watered-down "Citadel" Abaddon Black to part of its head and long handle.
"Toon Realms" WIPs - Eight of Grove's Shrubs are currently being progressed
Due to the generosity of Curt Campbell's administration this straightforward pair of miniatures has won me my first 10 points for the "Tenth Analogue Hobbies Analogue Painting Challenge". In addition, I have met the event's early stipulation of having "an entry submitted within the first month" and therefore avoided being dropped from the significantly large Challenge roster until its end in March 2020.

As a result I am now looking at making some significant progress on my first 'proper' submission to the AHPC in the guise of eight Grove's Shrubs by "Lucid Eye Publications". These "Toon Realms" sculpts will help 'fill out' my collection of Entlings to the point where I'll be able to field two units of Lesser Warbeasts as part of my Gondor/Fangorn army for "Dragon Rampant"...

Friday, 20 December 2019

"The Drillmaster Is A Very Versatile Fighter..."

"We Make War."
This 28mm scale model of a Drillmaster is one of the eight multi-part plastic miniatures which can be found inside the Iron Golem "Warcry" warband boxed set by “Games Workshop". “Clad in metal armour and marching in line behind big shields”, this female figure came in five separate pieces and arguably proved a somewhat frail-looking ensemble until I took the decision to glue the end of its spiked bola to its left hand.

Having permanently attached the Chaos cultist upon its 32mm circular base, the dynamically-posed fighter was primed with two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, and had all of her numerous pieces of armour, as well as some tiny symbolic hammers dangling from her chest-plate, painted using a combination of Brass and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade. With the exception of the warrior’s circular-plated loincloth and left gauntlet, these areas were then given a coat of "Citadel" Flesh Tearer Red, which had been previously 'watered down' using some Contrast Medium.
"Games Workshop" WIPs - The final two Iron Golem figures needed to complete my "Warcry" warband
This colour gave the model's shoulder-pads, helmet, shin-plates, back-plate, and gut-protector the Iron Golem’s distinctive metallic red hue, which additionally allowed some of the "Vallejo" Brass underneath to shine through; especially once the model had been gloss varnished. The Drillmaster's knee-spur, face-plate, chain-link belt, straps, terrifying spiked club and “Whirlwind of Death” bola were painted in "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and subsequently shaded with Nuln Oil.

In complete contrast to the “Warcry” warband's 'official' "Games Workshop" pale grey skin palette, I applied a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to all the miniature's flesh. Lastly, I 'picked out' the shaft of the model’s hand-weapon with a little "Vallejo" Heavy Blue, and later shaded it using some out of production "Citadel" Badab Black.
"Crooked Dice Game Design" WIPs - These three Protoplasmic Terrors just need a final few washes
As long-time sufferers following this blog will be aware, I always like to ‘partner up’ painting a complicated miniature with a far simpler project, and the resin Protoplasmic Terrors produced by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" fit this bill perfectly. Indeed, the biggest difficultly the three “bubbling, amorphous masses of viscous matter” have so far caused me is in my trying to decide just where upon their writhing, multi-eyed bodies to pin the variety of tentacles which come with the kit.

Admittedly, I did also spend a little time pondering over the monsters' colour scheme, before going with the decidedly dark 'official in-store' palette. As I was somewhat tempted to give the trio of ghastly grotesques a 'human' skin tone similar to that seen on the parasitic extraterrestrial life-form in John Carpenter's 1982 American science fiction horror film "The Thing"...

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

“The Dead? Summoned? I Knew That.”

"Fight, and I will release you from this living death!"
These four "cartoon scale white metal" figures of Lord Rascal's Skeleton Warriors (many more shown) are produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, the quartet are the final models needed for a full-strength Undead Spearman (Heavy Foot) unit I plan to field as part of my Necromancer's ever-expanding “Dragon Rampant” army.

Initially primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, the miniatures were thoroughly washed in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and heavily dry-brushed using (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand. I then applied a much lighter dry-brush of “Vallejo” White over each decaying soldier so as to suggest how the passage of time had bleached their fleshless bones.
"We fight!"
I pigmented the skeletons’ boots and spear-shafts using a combination of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, before ‘picking out’ their spear-tips and shield emblems using a little "Citadel" Ironbreaker and splash of Nuln Oil. These metallic areas were later given an additional ‘lick’ of Ironbreaker simply to provide the weapons with a noticeably sharp edge and ‘highlight’ a little of the bosses’ raised detail.

I also painted each of the warriors’ shields in either "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, Heavy Blue, Heavy Violet or Black, and later tried to dirty these all up with a few drops of "Citadel" Nuln Oil. Finally I used a small amount of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown to differentiate their spear-straps from the rest of the hand-weapon, and shaded them with a layer of Strong Tone Quickshade by “The Army Painter”.
"Warcry" WIPs - The Dominar is slowly getting all his chainmail and armour 'picked out' with metallics
With my twenty six point evil “Dragon Rampant” army completed, I am now spending an increasing amount of hobby-time focusing upon the final few figures required to ‘fill out’ my Iron Golem warband for “Warcry”. In particular I have been working on my group’s Dominar, whose progress has significantly benefited from my somewhat recent decision to paint the Chaos warrior’s brass armour first, rather than leave the numerous metallic areas until much later on.

As a result, I have been able to quite rapidly work my way up the formidably-detailed model, starting with his heavily armoured legs, groin and gut. Of course, much of this ornately-detailed plating and chain-mail still needs to be tidied up prior to the “well-rounded fighter” receiving a wash of “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade (and perhaps a lick of Flesh Tearers Red Contrast paint). But this process, in my mind at least, appears a far faster way of getting the figure finished than having my brush carefully navigating its tip around his previously-painted areas of “Vallejo” Heavy Sienna and “Citadel” Ironbreaker…

Sunday, 15 December 2019

“You Bred Raptors?”

"The point is, you are alive when they start to eat you."
These two 28mm scale white metal dinosaurs from the late Cretaceous Period used to be produced by "Copplestone Castings" under Code K12 , but currently only seem to be available via the "Honourable Lead Boiler Suit Company" as Code DI54 - Deinonychus x2. Coming in two different poses the Terrible Claws "measure approximately 63mm long" and form part of the Birmingham-based manufacturer's rather extensive range of dinosaurs, prehistoric animals and monsters.

Rather shockingly, I've actually owned this pair of models for a significant number of years, and initially super-glued each of them upon a couple of adjoining two pence pieces. Fortunately, my somewhat ad hoc basing methodology of yesteryear is well behind me, and as a result they were more recently re-based upon a couple of "Games Workshop" plastic 40mm circular bases.
"Clever girl..."
The two Deinonychuses were also re-undercoated using a double layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Grey, which quickly masked the original (and horribly translucent) "Citadel" Dark Angels Green paint I had applied so many moons ago. The sharp-toothed meat-eaters were then drenched in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and dry-brushed using some (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Grey.

It was at this point, approximately eighteen months ago, that a desperate attempt to finish these carnivores first failed, as I unsuccessfully attempted to paint some lines down one of the dinosaur's backs. This time round though, I simply decided to leave them well enough alone, and instead focused on 'picking out' the crest using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. These colours were also used on the monster's tongue.
"Warcry" WIPs - The Drillmaster now just needs to have his red armour pigmented
I pigmented both prehistoric animals' "unusually large, sickle-shaped" talons with "Vallejo" White, as well as all their tiny teeth and formidable-looking claws, and subsequently washed them with some "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade. Lastly, I spotted the duo's eyes with a dab of "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre, and shaded them with a little "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade.

With two reasonably straightforward painting subjects completed, I have managed to subsequently make some very visible progress on my Drillmaster for "Warcry". This Iron Golem by "Games Workshop" has caused me some significant frustration on account of all his brass-coloured chain-mail and uber-dynamic fighting pose. However, I have finally reached the stage where I am ready to apply some "Citadel" Flesh Tearers Red Contrast paint to the figure's armour...

Friday, 13 December 2019

"Dark Indeed Is The Hour."

"And at such times you are wont to come, Mithrandir."
These three "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 hopefully 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, Denethor's 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.
"Copplestone Castings" WIPs - These two Deinonychus just need some washes and a tidy up
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.

What with the vast majority of my partially-painted "Toon Realms" figures now being finished, I have been rummaging around for some thematically different miniatures, and subsequently stumbled upon a pair of Deinonychuses by "Copplestone Castings" which have sat upon my 'To Do' pile arguably for as long as I can remember. I actually tried to finish the duo of dinosaurs about eighteen months ago, but was something put off by some failed attempts to provide them with some stripes...
"Heroclix" WIPs - Titanium Man, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Abomination and a Doombot
Stepping over towards the imminent Tenth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, I have also been busily re-basing a veritable host of "Heroclix" models for the competition, and giving them a bit of a prime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've been selecting some of the "Wizkids" range's more straightforward sculpts to re-paint, yet am equally as keen as to ensure that they'll get a place on my tabletop once they've been varnished and had their base's flocked.

Having recently perused my gaming collection, I'm definitely in need of a few more "Marvel Comics" foes, so have selected some of the more memorable super-villains of my childhood with which to challenge the Avengers, the Hulk and the Fantastic Four. As a result, I'm hoping to add to my stash of Russian armoured patriots with Titanium Man, pigment an army of Doombots for the monarch of Latveria, menace Susan Storm with the unsolicited advances of Prince Namor, and finally batter Bruce Banner's alter-ego with the (original) Abomination...

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

"But Even The Wild Wargs..."

"...(for so the evil wolves of the Edge of the Wild were named) cannot climb trees."
This 28mm scale white metal figure of Grimm The Wolf is produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range as part of the company’s “Where’s Runcorn?” Adventure Module 2 series. Sculpted by Trish Carden, I intend to use half a dozen of the furry miniatures to represent a pack of the "giant, intelligent, and malevolent wolves" depicted in J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit" as a unit of Lesser Warbeasts for “Dragon Rampant” by "Osprey Games".

Originally primed using two coats of "Vallejo" Dark Grey, the goblin steed was drenched in "Citadel" Nuln Oil before being heavily dry-brushed with (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Charcoal. As I felt this still made the 'warg of Gundabad' somewhat too dark in colour for my liking, I decided to give the animal a lighter dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey.
"Toon Realms" WIPs - These King Victor Men-At-Arms just need some shading and dry-brushing
However, before applying the paint, I waited until it was almost completely dry on my palette in order for it to actually cover the model in a fine dust of pigment, rather than a straightforward 'highlight'. I then dotted the beast's angry eyes with a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. Finally, I 'picked out' all of the wolf's sharp teeth with "Vallejo" White and shaded them using a little "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade.

Whilst working on Grimm, I have also dug out three partially-painted figures taken from King Victor's Men-at-Arms pack. I actually completed a test piece from this blister back in the early summer, but then seemingly lost the “Lucid Eye Publications” bug shortly afterwards. I hope to use these Steve Saleh sculpts to represent a unit of (Heavy Foot) Minas Tirith Knights for “Dragon Rampant”, so was rather pleased to discover that alongside this trio I also own another two unopened plastic bags containing even more of the armoured soldiers.
"Lucid Eye Publications" WIPs - These primed figures (and more like them) will be finished during the AHPC
Indeed, having cleaned, based and primed these welcome reinforcements, I will now have enough Men-at-Arms to field a full-strength, twelve-model warriors of Gondor warband for my reinvigorated "Lord Of The Toons" project. Happily, I have additionally also uncovered a handful of members taken from King Victor's Royal Guard; one of which I have previously pigmented in the colours of the Guards of the Tower of Gondor...

Lastly, I have decided to make use of a free miniature “Lucid Eye Publications” kindly sent me in my most recent order, by turning it into a bronze statue of a fabled "Toon Realms" wizard. For now, I've simply super-glued the metal figure onto a plastic 25mm base (to represent a stone plinth) and then subsequently stuck it to one of the 40mm thin-lipped circular bases I use for objective markers. But once the Tenth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (AHPC) has started I intend to submit it as a reasonably straightforward example of a verdigris-crusted casting.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

"Oathbreakers, Why Have You Come?"

"To fulfil our Oath and have peace."
This quartet of "cartoon scale white metal" Skeleton Swordsmen are produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and are available from the company's "Toon Realms" range. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, these Undead warriors are a potential threat to any adventurers foolish enough to enter the Bone Hall whilst exploring the manufacturer's first "A.Y.E." module, "Caverns Of The Frog King".

Originally primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, the four miniatures were somewhat soaked in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and subsequently dry-brushed using (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand. I then dry-brushed them rather more lightly with White, before 'picking out' their swords and shield emblems using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.
"Toon Realms"WIPs - Grimm the Lone Wolf has been repeatedly dry-brushed and had his details 'picked out' 
In order to give the hand-weapons something of an edge, and to 'highlight' the details on the skeletons' ornamental armoured bosses, both of these areas were delicately dry-brushed with a smidgen of "Citadel" Ironbreaker. Lastly, I applied a little "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, Heavy Blue, Heavy Violet or "Citadel" Abaddon Black to their shields, and later dirtied them all up with a splash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil.

Due to the Tenth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge now being less than a fortnight away, most of my spare hobby time has been spent basing and priming a plethora of the pieces I plan to enter into the event during its opening month. Curt Campbell has proved as generous an Administrator as always this year, by squeezing in a few more participants than he originally announced.
"Heroclix" WIPs - The huge Nul, one of the U-Men, and Nul's hammer
As a result though, all contestants "must have an entry submitted within the first month" or be dropped from the Challenge roster. Fortunately, I quite recently received the rather formidably-sized "Wizkids" miniature of Nul from their Marvel "Heroclix" Fear Itself expansion. Based upon "one of Cul Borson's eight children that he transformed into magical hammers", the monster is pure black apart from a pair of piercing white eyes and a demonic-looking set of razor-sharp fangs.

In addition, I was lucky enough to pick up Nul's hammer too, and intend turning the ultra-powerful hand-weapon into an objective marker. Finally, I have discovered and subsequently re-based some more U-Men as well. Antagonists of the X-Men I've previously submitted ten members of this human supremacist group in the AHPC before, but this time round may well look to convert some of their weapons using spare parts from my bitz-box...

Friday, 6 December 2019

“The Dead Are Following, Said Legolas."

"Yes, the Dead ride behind. They have been summoned, said Elladan."
These four "cartoon scale white metal" figures of Lord Rascal's Skeleton Warriors are produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, these Undead spearmen will form part of a much larger (second) Light Foot unit I have planned for my Necromancer's ever-expanding “Dragon Rampant” army.

Originally primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, the quartet were heavily washed in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and enthusiastically dry-brushed using (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand. I then dry-brushed them somewhat more lightly with Dead White in order to try and replicate the colour scheme I’d established for the figures’ bleached bones some ten months ago.
"Lucid Eye Publications" WIPs - These four Skeleton Swordsmen need their metallic areas shaded
This step actually took a couple of attempts to get reasonably right, as I soon found my sole pot of “Vallejo” Dead White to have completely run dry and my imaginatively named alternative, “Vallejo” White, to be a significantly brighter tone. In addition, due to my heavy-handiness whilst dry-brushing the models, I had to provide a couple of figures with a second shading of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade so as to correct their overly-light appearance.

With the bulk of work completed on my Skeletons, I 'picked out' their spear-tips and shield emblems using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, and subsequently 'highlighted' their details with a delicate dry-brush of "Citadel" Ironbreaker. I also painted each of their shields in either "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, Heavy Blue, Heavy Violet or Black, and later dirtied these all up with a splash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
"Warcry" WIPs - These two Iron Golem warriors are gradually having all their chainmail 'picked out'
Finally I used "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna to pigment both the Undead warriors’ leather boots and their spear-shafts, and applied a little Heavy Brown to their spear-straps. All of these areas were then shaded in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and left to dry whilst I began work on four of the "Toon Realms" ranges Skeleton Swordsmen.

Moving across to the much more detailed models of "Games Workshop", I have slowly made some more progress on my Iron Golem warband for "Warcry". These extraordinarily dynamic figures have proved disconcertingly time-consuming as painting subjects, but I hope to have the warriors' Drillmaster completed soon, and then it'll be on to the group's Dominar...

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

"Trapped. Help Me. Trapped."

"Increase power. Emergency. Increase power."
This 28mm scale model of a Dalek is produced by “Warlord Games”, and can be assembled from one of the plastic sprues found within the Davros & The New Dalek Empire boxed set for their "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" tabletop miniatures game. Conceived by Terry Nation and designed by Raymond Cusick in 1963, these particular sculpts are based upon Henry van Statten's so-called "Metaltron" shell, which first appeared in the April 2005 BBC Television series story "Dalek".

Unfortunately for this particular figure however, I wanted to use the "easy-fit plastic" piece to represent a Kaled mutant which had died desperately trying to escape its Mark III travel machine following the casing's partial destruction. As a result, I cut off the Dalek's dome so as to re-position it and snipped away the deadly extra-terrestrial's sucker cup, before super-gluing it to one of the 40mm thin-lipped circular bases I use for objective markers.
"Doctor Who: Exterminate!" WIPs - These three Ogrons have had their trousers layered and shaded.
I also took the opportunity to model parts of the decimated Kaled itself, leaking out of some of the holes in its outer shell. These gory entrails were made of grey-stuff and simply rolled into sausages. I then stuck them into position and added some lumpy bumps courtesy of a modelling knife. Once I was reasonably happy with the entire ensemble, it was primed in "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna.

As the destroyed Dalek needed to tie-in with my other Time War mechanical casings, I next gave the model a double coat of Brass, washed it with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and applied a rough dry-brush of more "Vallejo" Brass all over it. Later I 'picked out' the extra-terrestrial's eye stalk and blast gun with some "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, and painted the alien's one remaining light bulb safety valve with a combination of "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey.
Dalek WIPs - An Interrogator Prime, a Scientist and a 'converted' Time War drone
Finally, I used some "Citadel" Abaddon Black to coat the pepper pot's fender and laid down a coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Grey over the gooey corpse of its occupant. This bubbly mess was subsequently washed with "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green...

Enthused with finishing this long-forgotten mini-project, I have now started work pigmenting three Ogrons I discovered gathering dust alongside my decimated Dalek, and have already completed their trousers. In addition, I have based up six more of the Mark III travel machines to add even more support to my Skaro-based forces for "Doctor Who: Exterminate!"; albeit their colour schemes will follow those of an Interrogator Prime, Scientist and Axis Strike Squad, as depicted in the audio shows by "Big Finish".

Monday, 2 December 2019

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Toon Realms" December 2019

"Lucid Eye Publications" WIPs - Twelve of their skeletons are currently being dry-brushed and pigmented
Along with sixty-seven other participants I currently plan to use the first three weeks of this month prepping and priming all manner of miniatures so as to have them 'match ready' for the Tenth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (AHPC). However, as per last year I am also determined to vastly reduce my mountain of models over the next four months by specifically targeting all the figures I currently own which have previously received the odd lick of paint or two in an entirely separate personal challenge too.

As a result, I have plucked my incomplete horde of Skeleton Swordsmen and Lord Rascal's Skeleton Warriors by "Lucid Eye Publications" from their somewhat cobwebbed hobby drawer, with the intention of completing the half-finished Undead army for my Partially-Painted Pledge. In addition, these bony fighters will also make a nice entry as part of Phil Curran's "Deadcember" over on his excellent "Dizbusters Gaming Ephemera" blog.
"Modiphius Entertainment" WIPs - These Romulan Centurions are now ready for their details to be 'picked out'
I've actually found returning to these dozen "cartoon scale white metal" figures a little daunting at first, as, after several months of inactivity, it took me a couple of attempts to properly replicate their 'bleached bone' palette of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and "Vallejo" White. Fortunately, I think I have it down to 'a fine art' once again, and am now quickly progressing through their ranks with a twenty-four strong table-top ready army of Lord Rascal's Undead finest in my sights... 

Also earmarked for completion before the AHPC begins on the 21st December 2019, are the four remaining Romulan Centurions by "Modiphius Entertainment" I have left over from the company's "Star Trek Adventures" Strike Team boxed set. I'm hoping my (secondary and perhaps overly optimistic) plan to not actually purchase any more miniatures until "Salute" 2020, should mean I can crack on through my significant collection of these 32mm scale resin models, and actually enter those currently still 'sat in their box' untouched for the AHPC itself.
November 2019 - "Black Tree Design" continues to prove very popular despite its significant postal delays
Productivity wise, the past four weeks have proved to be my busiest November by far, and resultantly I have my sights firmly locked on beating my best annual painting tally ever of 1,136 points (approximately 227 x 28mm figures). Much of the month's success was down to an overwhelming compulsion to pigment many more superhero related models, whether they simply be "Wizkids" re-paints taken from their "Heroclix" range, or the larger scale resin figures produced by "Knight Models" for their Teen Titans Bat-box.

Indeed, this comic book bug will at least carry on until the end of the year, courtesy of both the AHPC and my Partially-Painted Pledge, as I have so many "Marvel Worldwide" and "DC Comics" characters already lined up as potential entries for both events. However, looking back at November's achievement, I must also give a nod to “Modiphius Entertainment” and their Borg Collective boxed set, whose excellent sculpts inspired me to finally finish the last five drones I had originally planned to submit for “Zomtober” 2019.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

"Come On, Look Lively."

"Up the pace, go on. We haven't got all day now."
This 28mm scale metal miniature of a female X Commando is manufactured by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and are part of the company’s Heroes and Allies product line. "Lead by the flamboyant Doctor Hugo Strange," the pistol carrying member of Department X is one of many military specialists "tasked with protecting Britain from inter-dimensional, otherworldly and plain strange threats."

Having assembled the soldier by attaching her head to the torso courtesy of a little pinning and super-glue, she was primed "Citadel" Abaddon Black and enthusiastically dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal. I then 'picked out her hand-weapon using some "Citadel" Ironbreaker, her shoulder and beret badge with a couple of dollops of "Vallejo" Dead White, and her hip-holster in Heavy Charcoal. All of these areas were later shaded using "Citadel" Nuln Oil.
"It's not a person, damn it, it's a Borg!"
As I wanted my figure to proxy the U.N.I.T. troopers depicted during the April 2008 Doctor Who television story "The Sontaran Stratagem", I shied away from leaving the Commando's headware all-black and instead pigmented it using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. I also left her badges predominantly white, rather than 'draw in' the red cross upon blue background which the Department of Extraordinary Affairs use as their top secret organisation's emblem.

I painted the miniature's flesh using my standard technique of a "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone base layer, a splash of "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade, and finally a highlight on the fingers and cheekbones of (more) "Vallejo Heavy Skintone. Lastly, I applied some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade to the soldier's hair, as well as a little "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson to the lady's lips.
"Wizkids" WIPs - An Abominable Snowman, Black Canary and Proteus
Besides finishing the first of my Department X combatants, I have also completed the last two Borg drones I own by “Modiphius Entertainment”. These well-detailed resin figures had the same palette applied to them as the rest of my Borg Collective, and takes my cybernetic extra-terrestrial tally up to twenty two, including a Borg Queen and Locutus of Borg...

Long-time suffering readers of this blog will know that around about this time of year I usually apply to enter the Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, and having successfully done so, I am once again beginning to prime a plethora of models for the event. Unlike my previous attempts though, I thought I'd try to use the opportunity to focus upon a particular backlog of figures I'm struggling with, so resultantly have started undercoating a number of "Heroclix" miniatures by "Wizkids".