Wednesday, 27 February 2019

“The Daleks Are Always Armed.”

"Then I shall follow the Primary Order, the Dalek instinct to destroy, to conquer."
These three "easy-build plastic" Dalek models are 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 mutants not coming with any bases, the trio were first super-glued onto 40mm lipped circular stands, and only then primed with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna before being treated to a double coat of Brass. Each human-sized pepper pot was subsequently washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and given a hearty dry-brush of (more) "Vallejo" Brass.
Ogrons WIPs - The "ape-like hominids" have been based and primed
With the 'basic phase' completed, I ‘picked out’ the Daleks' eye stalks, control arms and multi-range variable power destructors using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. Whilst, pigmenting their audio scanners with "Vallejo" White and Pale Grey. All of the Metaltrons' fenders were painted with "Citadel" Abaddon Black.

However, as I wanted two of the drones to actually represent members of the "secret order" of Daleks known as The Cult of Skaro, I also applied a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil to two of the models' fenders. Admittedly, this isn't the most canon-conscious or obvious of colour contrasts with which to mark the unorthodox pair stand out on the tabletop, but it was rather simple.
Cybermen WIPs - These Classic Patrick Troughton foes have been primed, shaded and dry-brushed
In addition to bolstering my now quite-considerably sized "Doctor Who: Into The Time Vortex" Dalek faction, I have started work expanding their Empire's allies in the form of some more Ogrons. Employed by the Daleks, these "ape-like hominids" have been based and primed, so should soon be ready to act as a Police Force for my current Dalek Invasion Of Earth 2164 A.D. campaign

Lastly, I am making further 'inroads' into the six metal Cybermen models which can be found inside the Nottingham-based manufacturer's "The Tomb Of The Cybermen" Expansion Set; albeit the box itself only contains five models. These silver giants have all now been dry-brushed with "Citadel" Ironbreaker, and simply need their piping to be 'picked out'...

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Doctor Who: Exterminate! Report: The Daleks Verses Sea Devils

THE SEA DEVIL OVERLORD BATTLES AGAINST A FORMIDABLE DALEK PATROL
This game was played using the "Doctor Who: Exterminate!" rules by “Warlord Games” and essentially followed the parameters stipulated for the "Guide To The Time Vortex" skirmish scenario "A Meeting Of Metal". However, in order to allow both sides to get to grips with the Sea Devils' Special Traits, a couple of minor 'House Rules' were utilised concerning Battle Cards and Adventure Cards. Lastly, a few 'tweaks' regarding General Deployment and Winning The Game' were necessary so the battle could be accommodated upon a 3' x 2' gaming mat instead of the recommended 3' x 3' table...

"The story so far… It is the year 2164 A.D. and the Daleks have conquered the Earth. However, not all of the planet's inhabitants are entirely defeated, including a contingent of Sea Devils recently roused from their undersea sleeping chambers. Determined to rid their world of this latest threat to their global domination the Sea Devils have started to swim towards the outskirts of the nearest Dalek Metropolis and discover just how much of a threat the alien invaders are..."
THE TABLETOP - A BEACH ON EARTH
As per the scenario's stipulations, the Dalek Faction started with three Recruitment cards: a Patrol Leader, a Dalek Patrol (which generated three Daleks) and a smaller Dalek Patrol (which generated two Daleks and a Fate Token). In addition, the Patrol Leader, a special character, also created two Fate tokens to be added to his faction's Fate Pool. Finally, the Daleks received five Adventure cards "to use during their game." These were "Escape Plan", "Upgrade: Maximum Extermination", "Strategist", "Upgrade: No Mercy!" and "Upgrade: Destroy The Deviant!"

The Sea Devils also started with three Recruitment cards: a Sea Devil Overlord, some Sea Devils (which generated three Sea Devils) and some Sea Devil Ancients (which generated two Sea Devils and a Fate Token). The Sea Devil Overlord also generated two Fate tokens for his faction's Fate Pool. As like the Daleks, the Sea Devils selected five Adventure cards and these consisted of "Sea Devil Reinforcements", "Sonic Summoning", "Terror From The Deep", "Turning The Tables" and "Now We Are The Hunters".
THE DALEKS PREPARE TO FEND OFF AN ASSAULT FROM THE OCEAN
Following the scenario's general deployment rules, six Vortex Node markers were placed on the battlefield within its sandy central area. This 'zone' was designated as difficult terrain for both factions, meaning that the Movement rates for either force would be halved whilst trying to traverse it. The Dalek garrison protecting its outposts were deployed along the western end of the tabletop. Whilst the Sea Devils were placed amongst the sea's waves, which due to their Aquatic Special Trait meant that they, unlike their opponents, were unencumbered by the ocean and would actually "gain cover against Shooting attacks when in the water."

Determined to mount a successful raid upon the Dalek City all of the Sea Devils swam west towards the shore, with their Overlord particularly making his way towards the beach's Central Outcrop. Having brought his forces near land, the reptile-like humanoids' aggressive leader utilised "Sea Devil Reinforcements" to summon another three of his people to rise to the surface within their deployment zone. However, his latest additions would not be able to be utilised until the next turn.

Fortunately, the sudden arrival of even more hostiles momentarily alarmed the Daleks' battle computer, and resultantly the drones simply trundled east towards the outskirts of their futuristic settlement. Only their Patrol Leader paid much attention to his surroundings, by carefully defending his northern flank with Outpost Alpha. The southernmost patrol suddenly reported back that they had successfully reached Objective Five and, for now at least, claimed One Victory Point. In addition the vortex node contained spatial energy, allowing the drone to move further east across the slow, shifting sand. His small patrol's other Dalek did its best to follow him.
MORE SEA DEVILS EMERGE FROM THE OCEAN AS THE DALEKS GLIDE FORWARDS
To the north, the second and slightly larger Dalek patrol captured Objective Two, collected another Victory Point and attempted to shoot at the Sea Devil Overlord with the temporal energy it siphoned off from the vortex node. Disappointingly for the Dalek battle computer though, the energy blast fell significantly short of its target.

With both factions still quite a considerable distance apart, the Shooting phase predominantly consisted of the two warring forces moving further rather than firing at one another, and resulted in the Sea Devil Ancients reaching Objective Six and gaining Four Victory Points. To the north, the Sea Devils struggled to cross the sand and fell short in their endeavour to claim Objective Two. In response the Daleks merely moved further east, the majority of drones noticeably slowing as they attempted to traverse the shifting sand before them.

Considering that their battle computer was already predicting a demoralising 2-4 Victory Point defeat, the Patrol Leader was momentarily delighted to snatch the initiative from the Sea Devils at the start of the Second (of Six) Turn. However, the wily Sea Devil Overlord played "Turning The Tables" which automatically gave the sea-dwelling faction the Initiative. His water-breathing warriors made full use of this advantage by claiming an additional Victory Point for Objective Two and sending its reinforcements south-west in the direction of the highly valuable Objective Six. The rest of the Sea Devils held their ground, knowing that currently the Daleks had to come to them...
THE DALEKS FINALLY ENGAGE THE SEA DEVILS AND START TO PUSH THEM BACK INTO THE SEA
The Dalek Patrol Leader did not disappoint either, and trundled east behind his northern drones who simultaneously headed towards Objective Three. However, this put at least one drone within range of the Sea Devils' Heat Ray and it was momentarily shocked into submission. Encouraged by the pepper-pot's shrill cry of distress, the rest of the Sea Devils in the north moved on, seeking what shelter they could behind the Northern Outcrop.

To the south though the Sea Devil Ancients retreated south before the oncoming Daleks, and slid back into the safety of the ocean. Soon they would be joined by some reinforcements, and then would be the time to assault the aliens loitering far too closely towards Objective Six. The wily Sea Devils' departure could not have occurred at a better time either, as a number of Daleks unsuccessfully fired upon their protected position. Only the two Daleks to the north enjoyed any success, as one of the three Sea Devils beside the Northern Outcrop was gunned down by their fearsome disruptors.

Dum Da Dum, Diddly Dum, Oo-ee-oos…

Friday, 22 February 2019

"Somehow The Killing Of A Giant Spider..."

"...All alone by himself in the dark without the help of a wizard... made a great difference to Mister Baggins."
These seven "cartoon scale white metal figures" of Lord Rascal’s Icky Spiders are produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range. Sculpted by Steve Saleh, these "over-sized and sapient arachnids" will form a Lesser Warbeast unit for my Necromancer's Undead 'Lord Of The Toons' army using the "Dragon Rampant" rule-set by "Osprey Games".

Six of these metal horrors were rather simplistically undercoated using a double application of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, followed by an enthusiastic dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal, and a unifying wash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil. However, as I wanted one of the models to stand-out on the tabletop as their clear leader, I decided to keep one miniature separate from its 30mm plastic lipped base and instead drilled a tiny hole up into its underbelly before attaching a piece of wire to it.
"Age Of Sigmar" WIPs - The Bloodletters have had all their base layers finished
This then let me prime the bloated creature using a combination of "Vallejo" Dead White and Pale Grey without having to worry about how my paint-brush was going to reach some of the figure's harder-to-reach areas without catching on its base work. In addition, it meant I could subsequently dry-brush the albino Icky Spider with impunity, and only once the eight-legged arthropod was completed did I pin it to an already finished stand.

All the crawling critters' eyes were 'picked out' with "Vallejo" Heavy Red, and glazed using a splash of "Citadel" Bloodletter. Lastly, their fangs were layered in "Vallejo" Dead White", shaded with a dab of "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade and I applied some clumps of static grass around their bases.
"Heroclix" WIPs - The Crimson Dynamo, an Ultron Drone and Batman Beyond
Moving over to a far more bloodthirsty Fantasy setting I have made considerable progress on three more multi-part plastic Bloodletters by "Games Workshop". These Hellblade-carrying warriors will go towards doubling the size of my Blades Of Khorne Battleline unit for "Age Of Sigmar", and just need a few washes and pieces tidied up before being ready for varnishing.

Lastly, I have been a bit remiss lately in weaving a few "Heroclix" models into my painting output, so have set aside a little time to get a couple of "Wizkids" sculpts re-based and primed, including the first of potentially several Ultron Drones, and Terry McGinnis' Batman Beyond. With the entry limitations of the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge in mind, I have also 'dug out' a figure of the Crimson Dynamo which I only had previously undercoated many moons ago, so is therefore still an eligible submission for the event...

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

"It Is Fortunate That These Clone Troopers Know No Fear."

"After Geonosis, homing spider droids became common staples of Confederate armies."
This huge 83mm tall plastic model of a Commerce Guild Homing Spider Droid was made by “Wizards Of The Coast” and is model 02 from their Bounty Hunters expansion for the manufacturer’s “Star Wars Miniatures Game”. “Effective against both ground-based and airborne targets”, the OG-9 homing spider droid “was designed to transport a large and devastating weapon throughout the battlefield” and made its first appearance during the Battle of Geonosis in George Lucas’ 2002 American epic space opera film “Attack Of The Clones”.

The anti-vehicular walker was initially ‘hacked’ from its ill-fitting circular base using a modelling knife and permanently repositioned upon a 120mm oval “Games Workshop” stand. It was then treated to a double undercoat of “Vallejo” Gunmetal Grey and heavily washed with “Citadel” Nuln Oil, in order to ‘cover-up’ the Baktoid Armour Workshop-built robot’s pre-paint scheme.
"Following the execution of the Separatist Council... all droid units used by the Confederacy were deactivated."
With the self-propelled artillery piece’s basic paint-job finished, I subsequently dry-brushed it with (the somewhat brighter metallic paint) “Citadel” Ironbreaker, and then enthusiastically applied some Strong Tone Quickshade by “The Army Painter” over all four of the walker’s all-terrain extendable hydraulic legs, precision homing laser (“mounted atop the droid’s round body) and anti-personnel cannon. These areas were later treated to a further light dry-brush of “Citadel” Ironbreaker.

Having completed work on the first of several science fiction-based vehicles which Phil Curran has very generously gifted me with, I have momentarily turned my attention towards some more partially-painted "North Star Military Figures" which have been sculpted to use with either "Frostgrave" or "Ghost Archipelago". My increasing interest in these two "Osprey Games" has been significantly increased recently by the arrival of some more expansions for the "Conan - Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of" role-playing game by "Modiphius Entertainment", and perhaps unsurprisingly I have 'dug out' Mark Copplestone's Hunter to represent the Cimmerian on my tabletop.
"North Star Military Figures" WIPs - A Minor Demon, a Hunter and a Zombie Snow Troll
Considering that the "Kickstarter" for this series of hard-backed volumes "based on the incredible character of Conan and of the Hyborian age" was actually due to deliver way back in July 2016, I admittedly didn't hold out much hope that I was ever going to receive my full pledge's worth of merchandise. But "Nameless Cults", "Horrors Of The Hyborian Age", Conan The Pirate" and "Conan The Brigand" certainly goes a long way to achieving two thirds of it, with the promise of my remaining books being sent in a third wave...

Alongside my version of Robert E. Howard's barbarian hero, I have also started to try and block out all the decaying innards, hair and bone on a Zombie Snow Troll, whilst simultaneously progressing a Minor Demon I received as a Secret Santa present a couple of years ago. I've rather embarrassingly actually uncovered quite the untouched horde of "Frostgrave" goodies, so intend to 'churn out' quite a few miniatures from the range over the next few weeks in a concerted effort to clear some drawer space.

Monday, 18 February 2019

"Beachhead" Loot 2019

"Wargames Terrain Workshop" WIPs - A Zodiac Warrior Rooster and Zodiac Warrior Goat
This past Saturday I decided to make my first trip to the Bournemouth International Centre, Dorset, in order to attend the "exciting tabletop games event" known as “Beachhead”. To be honest my expectations weren't particularly high for this show, as despite being in its fourth year, there was no Bring & Buy sale and its single hall only boasted approximately thirty industry trade stands; which is less than half the number present at "Warfare" 2018.

Fortunately however, one of the first vendors I stumbled upon was Dave Stone of "Wargames Terrain Workshop" fame and he was soon showing off his stunning "selection of warrior animals based on the Chinese Zodiac" to me. The range currently consists of ten different sculpts, with the largest model, the Zodiac Ox, quickly catching both my attention and imagination due to its formidable size and pugilistic pose.
"Batman Miniature Game" WIPs - Black Adam, Black Mask and Black Manta
Indeed, I quickly ensured Dave had one put by behind his till for me to collect later, and then spent a brief while picking up a few of his smaller pieces to tackle the giant bovine boxer in hand-to-hand combat. Ultimately, I went with a Rooster, Goat, Monkey and rabbit, and have subsequently set to work priming the plucky bird and billy goat gruff. These miniatures really are quite incredible to behold in the flesh and seem especially sturdy due to them miraculously containing a wire skeleton deep inside the resin...

"Great Escape Games" also soon caught my eye with their increasingly tempting "Dead Man's Hand" range of Wild West figures, and I have little doubt that the next time I see this characterful range I will be picking up a few of its "Down Under" and "The Curse Of Dead Man's Hand" miniatures. On this occasion though I was able to resist due to succumbing to a quite reasonable sale of old "Knight Models" at a nearby stall.
Pre-painted "Heroclix" - This second-hand box contains Spiders Man, Dark Deadpool and Montana
I actually own a fair few sculpts for The "Batman Miniature Game", yet quite quickly fell 'out of love' with the range due the difficulty I experienced trying to assemble its fiddly metal miniatures. In addition, as I already own a vast array of "Wizkids" plastic models, it has always seemed a bit silly to invest heavily in a second set of super-hero related figures. Having said that, it was arguably impossible to resist the likes for Black Manta, Doctor Fate, Black Mask and his Crew, Hawkman, and Black Adam for just a fiver each.

Interestingly, by far my favourite 'pick' from Bournemouth actually came in the form of a birthday gift from my eldest rather than anything I bought from "Beachhead". A whopping box of "Heroclix" miniatures, including a few members of the Enforcers, usually means an evening being spent chopping figures off from their clicky-bases and readying them for a re-paint. But this time round I'm tempted to keep some of these models intact, and try to get my head around the collectible miniatures game's rule-set once again...

Saturday, 16 February 2019

"There He Took Up Again His Great Ring In Barad-dur..."

"...And dwelt there, dark and silent, until he wrought himself a new guise, an image of malice and hatred..."
This "cartoon scale white metal figure" of Lord Rascal The Necromancer is produced by “Lucid Eye Publications” and can be bought from the company's "Toon Realms" range. "Provided with one 30mm display base" and sculpted by Steve Saleh, this nefarious magic-user is set to be the lead villain of my 'Lord Of The Toons' project using the "Dragon Rampant" rule-set.

Capable of firing lightning bolts from his very fingertips, the figure was initially primed with "Citadel" Abaddon Black and later heavily dry-brushed using some "Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal. I then applied some “Citadel” Ironbreaker to the Summoner's staff, and washed both his robes and metal pole with Nuln Oil in order to darken them down.
"Frostgrave" WIP - The Zombie Snow Troll has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Due to wanting this wizard to appear close to death himself, I painted his flesh using a combination of “Citadel” Rakarth Flesh and Reikland Fleshshade, and subsequently 'highlighted' his fingers, toes and facial features with a bit more Rakarth Flesh. Originally, I had been considering painting Lord Rascal's eyes red, but then felt that "Vallejo" Dead White would probably provide him with something akin to the look of a Nosferatu instead.

Lastly, I thought it would be quite nice to paint his unholy staff's skull in exactly the same way as I've previously painted his Skeleton Swordsmen and spear-carrying Warriors; almost as if to suggest what happens to those Undead soldiers who anger him greatly. As a result the unfortunate head was pigmented using "Vallejo" Dark Sand, heavily washed in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and finally dry-brushed using both (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand, as well as Dead White.
"Star Wars: Legion" WIPs - The three Scout Troopers have been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Sticking with Fantasy wargaming, whilst continuing my recent "Frostgrave" renaissance, I have re-started work on a formidably-sized Zombie Snow Troll by "North Star Military Figures". Rather than paint the Undead "predatory species of giant-kin" a rather plain grey though, I've decided to add a ghastly greenish hue to its decaying complexion with some "Citadel" Biel-Tan Green shade and subsequent dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Bluegrey.

In addition I have also been busy assembling, priming and washing the rest of my "Fantasy Flight Games" Scout Troopers. This seven-figure "Star Wars: Legion" expansion set contains some of my favourite sculpts of the range yet, including two "heavy weapons specialists"; a saboteur armed with sonic charges or a sniper carrying picking an DLT-19X targeting blaster.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

"Though They Are Savage Creatures At Heart..."

"...Daemons of the Blood God adhere to a strict supremacist hierarchy..."
These four 28mm plastic multi-part models of the Blood God’s Slaughter-kin come from the “Games Workshop” Daemons of Khorne Bloodletters boxed set for “Age Of Sigmar”, and consist of a Icon Bearer, Hornblower and two of their Hellblade-wielding brethren. The figures have all been assembled using the instructions found within the miniatures’ box, and having previously assembled a Gore-drenched Icon carrier for my Bloodletters unit, I decided this time round to build a daemon waving a Bloodsoaked Banner instead.

All of the scaly Chaos creatures were treated to a double-dose of “Vallejo” Heavy Red, generously washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and dry-brushed with (more) “Vallejo” Heavy Red. Having learnt some valuable lessons previously painting these daemons, I then turned my attention to their “jagged” hand-weapons, musical instrument and icon, and primed them with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna before pigmenting them in a double-layer of Gold.
"...In which the most powerful and ferocious beings dominate all others."
In the past I’ve experienced the “Vallejo” Acrylic Model Colour frustratingly spattering my figures with tiny flecks of bright metallic paint, so I was keen to both wash these areas with "The Army painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and subsequently dry-brush them with (more) "Vallejo" Gold before moving on to the more detailed brushwork. This would allow me to ‘tidy up’ any irritating splashes of “Vallejo” Gold on their horns, “slavering jaws”, hands, hooves, back spines and sword hilts with “Citadel” Abaddon Black before gently blending these blackened areas in with the Bloodletter’s red limbs.

To finish the daemons off, I carefully picked out their numerous teeth using a combination of “Vallejo” White and “Citadel” Agrax Earthshade, and ‘dotted’ their eyes with a few spots of “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre. In addition, I gave their long snake-like tongues a base-coat of “Vallejo” Heavy Ochre and then drenched them in “Citadel” Reikland Fleshshade.
"Toon Realms" WIPs - One of King Victor's Royal Guard, Rookie the Dragonlord and a Men-At-Arms
The Bloodletter’s Bloodsoaked Banner was predominantly painted using a couple of layers of “Vallejo” Heavy Red, which was then heavily saturated in “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone so as to give it a gory hue. The standard’s wooden parts were simply given a lick of “Heavy Sienna” and (more) Strong Tone, whilst it’s icon had some “Vallejo” Dark Vermillion sponged over it, before it was glazed with “Citadel” Bloodletter. Finally I applied an old Khorne “Games Workshop” decal to the front of the banner to help better tie the standard in with a daemonic follower of the Blood God.

Staying with Fantasy wargaming, albeit with a more humorous twinkle in the eye, I have also made some significant progress on three of the pilot pieces I'm painting up for my "Toon Realms" 'Forces of Light' army using the "Dragon Rampant" rule-set by "Osprey Games". Produced by "Lucid Eye Publications", I have almost finished layering both the first of King's Victor's Men-At-Arms and his Royal Guard, as well as the hero Rookie The Dragonlord...

Monday, 11 February 2019

“These Spectral White Dogs Wear The Face Of Man..."

"...With blazing red mouths and ears."
These four 28mm scale metal Gabriel Hounds are manufactured by “Crooked Dice Game Design” and are part of the company’s Villains and Monsters product line. Believed to be “the souls of unbaptised children wandering through the air until the day of judgement” the “howling of these beasts [apparently] foretold death to anyone who heard them.”

The creatures were all primed “Vallejo” White, washed with Pale Grey, and then dry-brushed using (more) White. Their eyes and ears were subsequently pigmented with Heavy Red, whilst their savage-looking teeth were ‘picked out’ using a combination of White and “Citadel” Carroburg Crimson.
"Their growling is loudest when they are at a distance, and as they draw nearer, it grows softer."
Due to their diminutive size, each model also needed to be significantly tidied up before I was finally able to gloss varnish them. This meant applying some additional “Vallejo” White and Pale Grey to their fiddly faces so as to cover over any errant "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson or "Vallejo" Heavy Red, before trying to delicately blend the ensemble back together using a smidgen more White.
Bloodletters WIPs - The Blood God's warriors are slowly having their blackened limbs 'picked out'
Stepping away from Welsh folklore I have also made some quite considerable progress with my month's main project, a unit of ten plastic Bloodletters by "Games Workshop" for "Age Of Sigmar". All the multi-piece daemons, including their Standard Bearer and Hornblower, have had their large Hellblades and fiery-red flesh finished, and now just need their black hands, hooves, and horns 'picking out' before being ready for varnishing.

Lastly, and somewhat surprisingly, I have additionally dug out a number of "Frostgrave" models by "North Star Military Figures", in order to better populate my frozen city of Felstad. I stumbled upon a series of Battle Reports over on the "Guerrilla Miniature Games" "YouTube channel, and found Ash Barker's enthusiastic commentary concerning the rule-set extremely infectious whilst I was busy painting my Blood God's minions.
"Frostgrave" WIPs - A Giant Rat, a White Gorilla and a Snow Troll
As a result I have dry-brushed both a partially-painted Snow Troll and White Gorilla with "Vallejo" White, and set upon a trio of previously-primed Giant Rats with a dabble of Heavy Charcoal. I rather embarrassingly own quite a few pieces for "Osprey Games" "fantasy skirmish wargame" so hopefully I can make some significant dent into my lead pile over the next few weeks by picking away at the occasional figure from time to time...

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Top Ten Miniatures Of 2018 - An "Undercoat" Personal Choice

Happy New Year to all "Fantorical" readers! Well after stepping into the breach last year to do a Top Ten for this blog last year, I have been asked to repeat it for 2018 despite Roger being back. So apologies to Roger for duplicating his efforts, but hopefully I have chosen some different models to him...

This blog is a great source of inspiration to me, helps spur me on to paint my own models and has seen me having to invest in quite a bit of storage in order to house my own growing collection. However, as well as looking at the wonderful minis on "Fantorical", I have also found the website to be a great signpost to dip into the efforts of other bloggers, like the wonderful “Tail Feathers” World of Mice and Mystics miniatures on the "Da Gobbos Grotto".

I will be honest with Simon's prolific output this year it was actually hard to pick just ten models, so it became a bit of family effort. This then is the Undercoat Top Ten of 2018...

This may be a surprise choice as these are little models representing daemons of Nurgle, the plague god. However, despite their small size, they are amazing sculpts and the paint job is also just amazing, resulting in a miniature that I want. I want these Nurglings so much!!!

A chaos champion playing fantasy football that has bags of detail. The paint job picks out the detail superbly while staying true to the evil theme of the forces of chaos. The skin is well done and the metallics look great. I really like this a lot.

This blog has a knack of introducing comic book characters I have never heard of and this chap is no exception. This has a great paint job. The face is well done, but the star is the water effects which I think are stunning. Another model I wouldn’t mind owning!

We stumbled across the incredible "Burrows & Badgers" range of miniatures at Salute. I love nearly all these fantastic sculpts and there were plenty to choose from as the warband was painted over several months. As a result, I cheated and chose two to represent one choice. The little shrew looks so characterful he had to be selected, but so too did the adder, whose armour and scales are just amazing. A great "range of anthropomorphic animal miniatures" really brought to life.


A comic book character who I did know about! But only because he was in the movie "Thor"! Simon has a great technique for painting metal, and is far more patient about it than me. His dry-brushing, highlighting and “polishing” (as he calls it!) is really top notch and this sculpt captures that perfectly. There were plenty of other examples but this one was the best for me.

This Reaver of Khorne, from Games Workshop’s "Age of Sigmar" setting, is essentially a blood thirsty barbarian charging into battle, whose excellent skin tones really stood out for me. I also liked the way Simon didn't copy the traditional red of the followers of the Blood God, but used a more original colour scheme that still captured the character perfectly. Very nice indeed.

A blood soaked giant rabbit. Need I say more! Great paint job that is so full of character!!

Well it wouldn’t be "Fantorical" without "Doctor Who". This classic Patrick Troughton baddie looks great. The fur is so well done and it just begs to be in a unit and on the tabletop. Simon’s techniques for picking out fur and hair are really, really good and this is a great example.

I had never heard of this "Marvel Worldwide" comic book character before, but had to pay attention when I saw him. The sculpt is very dynamic and he really stands out because he is pure white. White is such a difficult colour to paint, well in my opinion at least, and the shading on this model is very subtle, very clean and precise, so this super-villain was always going to be high up the list.

This is a great sculpt and what makes it stand out is the realistic painting of it. It looks great in the photograph, but even better in real life. Simple, but so effective. This model really stood out for me.

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

Thursday, 7 February 2019

"Out Of Millions Of Soldiers, They Are Unsurpassed."

"Those were Imperial Guards, Lando. The Emperor's personal protectors. Handpicked from the very best..."
These four 40mm tall hard plastic protectors of Darth Sidious are produced by “Fantasy Flight Games” and can be found inside the company's Imperial Royal Guards Unit Expansion for "Star Wars: Legion". "An elite unit whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Galactic Emperor", the Red Guard made their first 'Silver Screen' appearance in Richard Marquand's 1983 American epic space opera film "Return Of The Jedi".

Despite initially priming this quartet with a double coat of "Vallejo" Heavy Red, and subsequently shading them using a healthy dose of “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, I actually found myself having to repeatedly return to these multi-part miniatures to 'plug up' some frustrating gaps which I kept discovering during the painting process. Admittedly, I had somewhat quickly assembled and super-glued "the most skilled warriors in the forces of the Galactic Empire" in my eagerness to get them on the tabletop, but even so I was rather surprised by just how ill-fitting some of their limbs were, especially when they were presumably supposed to blend in with the swirl of their famous flowing robes.
Bloodletters WIPs - Having had their Hellblades dry-brushed the daemons' black flesh is being 'picked out'
Fortunately, once the odd application of 'Grey Stuff' had both cured and been pigmented, an enthusiastic dry-brushing with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Red seemed to work wonders on the figures' overall appearance, and momentarily I was actually tempted to leave the soldiers' uniforms as was. Certainly I wasn't planning on following the "Fantasy Flight Games" official paint-job palette, which portrayed the Imperial Royal Guards with purple-hued undergarments and blackish gloves.

In the end I therefore decided to simply 'pick out' each bodyguard's armoured helmet with a combination of "Vallejo" Dark Vermillion and a generous splash of "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. This seemed to break up the monotonous nature of the miniatures' colour scheme reasonably well, especially when mixed with the "Vallejo" Black, "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil used upon their hand-weapons.
Bloodletters WIPs - The daemons have all had their hand-weapons shaded and dry-brushed
Staying with my use of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and “The Army Painter” Strong Tone Quickshade, I have also begun slowly undercoating enough plastic Bloodletters by "Games Workshop" in order to double the size of my daemons unit for "Age Of Sigmar". However, rather than leave the blood-hungry warriors' "brazen Hellblades" until last, as I have done in the past, I've actually dry-brushed the weapons with "Vallejo" Gold before 'picking out' any of the Khorne creatures' other details in "Citadel" Abaddon Black, "Vallejo" Dead White and Heavy Ochre.

This should hopefully mean that I won't have to spend too long later tidying up each figure because all my previously finished paint-work has suddenly become infested with minute flecks of "Vallejo" Gold; something which has caused me a lot of frustration in the past. In addition, having spied in "The General's Handbook 2018" that a thirty-strong legion of Bloodletters only costs 320 points as opposed to 360 points, I have taken the step to assemble another ten of the multi-part furious fiends to help my "Blades Of Khorne" step ever closer to a future stand-a-lone force of 1000 points...

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

"For This War Will Last Through Years Uncounted..."

"...And you shall be summoned once again ere end."
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 and destined to form part of the Necromancer's ever-expanding army of Skeletons, I thought these Undead soldiers would probably form part of a second Light Foot unit I'm currently planning for my 'Lord Of The Toons' project using the "Dragon Rampant" rule-set.

Originally primed with two coats of "Vallejo" Dark Sand, the quartet were heavily washed in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and subsequently enthusiastically dry-brushed using (more) "Vallejo" Dark Sand. I then dry-brushed them rather more lightly with Dead White, before 'picking out' their spear-tips and shield emblems using a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.
"This curse I lay upon thee and thy folk; to rest never until your oath is fulfilled."
In order to give the pole weapons something of an edge, and to 'highlight' the details on each skeleton's ornamental armoured boss, both of these areas were later delicately dry-brushed with a little bit of "Citadel" Ironbreaker. I also painted each of their shields in either "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, Heavy Blue, Heavy Violet or Black, and eventually dirtied them all up with a splash of "Citadel" Nuln Oil.

Finally I used "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna to pigment both their leather boots and spear-shafts, and also applied some Heavy Brown to their spear-straps. All of these areas were subsequently shaded in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
Bloodletter WIPs - The demonic Standard-Bearer is slowly having all his detail 'picked out'
Having now completed half of the skeletons I plan to field as part of Lord Rascal's evil army, I have momentarily turned my attention towards the ten-strong unit of "Games Workshop" Bloodletters I want to add to my Blades Of Khorne force for "Age Of Sigmar". I usually like to start off any such similarly-sized group of models by painting their leader, however, as I hope to simply add these additional daemons to my already existing horde of Hellblade-carrying horrors I haven't included a Bloodreaper in their number.

Instead I have built a Standard Bearer, who will ultimately accompany the regiment's Icon Bearer, and simultaneously bestow upon his brethren a +1 to "Charge Rolls... for each enemy Hero that has been slain by attacks" made by the unit. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have no intention of trying to replicate the amazing hand-drawn illustration which adorns the "official" model's banner on the "Games Workshop" website. But I do hope to obtain some old Khorne decals which will hopefully break up the merciless warrior's tattered plain flag...

Sunday, 3 February 2019

"Loping Into Battle, The Bloodmaster Carves Through The Enemy Ranks."

"Each whistling swing of its blade of blood opens throats and splits torsos..."
This 52mm tall "Finecast" Herald of Khorne is produced by “Games Workshop” for their “Age Of Sigmar” range and comes in seven "finely detailed resin" components, which are the devil's own work to assemble as the model doesn't come with any instructions whatsoever. This lack of guidance was admittedly eventually resolved, but not before I had spent some considerable time pouring over the Nottingham-based company's website so as to ascertain how all the Bloodmaster's numerous and somewhat fragile skulls came together.

“The strongest of the Bloodletters”, the figure was treated to two layers of “Vallejo” Heavy Red before being generously washed with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. The "rampaging combat master" was then dry-brushed with more “Vallejo” Heavy Red and, as I wanted the Chaos daemon to tie-in with the palette of his previously-painted brethren, had his horns, hands, hooves, spines and sword hilt undercoated with “Citadel” Abaddon Black. Afterwards, most of these ‘blackened’ areas were blended into the surrounding spotted skin courtesy of some careful dry-brushing.
Skulltaker WIPs - U'zhul has been assembled, primed and had all his gold areas washed
With the majority of the Khorne Hero's flesh completed, I subsequently turned my attention to his truly formidable Blade Of Blood, as well as the great warrior's thigh armour, horn ring and wrist-guards, by priming them all with "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna. These parts were later treated to a double layer of "Vallejo" Gold, a hearty wash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade and a robust yet somewhat careful dry-brush using more “Vallejo” Gold.

Finally, I painted all of the Bloodmaster’s teeth with "Vallejo" Dead White and his forked tongue with Heavy Ochre, before washing them both with "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. In addition, I 'picked out' all of the Bloodletter's numerous skulls using a combination of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, "Vallejo" Dead White" and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.
"Toon Realms" WIPs - One of King Victor's Men-At-Arms, Pootle The Wizard and a Royal Guard
Having completed the Blood God's Herald, I am already making some considerable progress on my "Finecast" model of U'zhul the Skulltaker. However, unlike before where I've always primed my Bloodletter's using "Vallejo" Heavy Red, I felt the heavily robed immortal champion would probably be far easier to paint if I finished all his gold adornments first, so have gone with a "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna undercoat instead. This is predominantly due to "Vallejo" Gold having a nasty habit of sending tiny flecks of paint flying onto the rest of the model even when the brush-tip itself is kept well under control.

Sticking with Fantasy wargaming, I have finally turned my attention towards some 'Forces of Light' miniatures for my "Dragon Rampant" project using the "Toon Realms" range by "Lucid Eye Publications". Joining my wizard, Pootle, will be a couple of units of good King's Victor's Men-At-Arms and his Royal Guard; both of whose colour schemes will be inspired by those of Gondor as seen in Peter Jackson's 2003 motion picture "The Return of The King".

Friday, 1 February 2019

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Blades Of Khorne" February 2019

Bloodletter WIPs - The Hellblade-carrying daemons have all been assembled, primed, shaded and dry-brushed
This month's themed attempt to diminish my ever-increasing "landform" of metal, plastic and resin models will see me painting up a number of "Games Workshop" plastic figures from their "Age Of Sigmar" range. I'm hoping to settle down and fight plenty of "fantasy, tabletop miniature" wargames using this rule-set's second edition over the next several months so as to help better familiarise myself with all the changes it made last year to its gaming mechanics, and felt building a small 500 point strong Blades Of Khorne force to face my already painted 1000+ points Nurgle Host would be a good way to start the ball rolling. 

Admittedly, I own a few finished Khorne units already for my large(ish) Chaos army, so I won't even be starting from "Square One" for this project. Yet I will still need to assemble, based, prime, paint and flock a good dozen or so models to achieve my required goal. Indeed, for now, I don't even plan on using all of my previously pigmented models, such as the unique leader Karanak, as I really want to keep my battletomes nice and simple.
"Toons Realms" WIPs - Lord Rascal, Rookie The Drangonlord and Tully The Toll Troll
As a result, I'll only currently be counting both my unit of Bloodletters (120 points) and Garrek's Reavers (60 points) from my existing forces, having taken their unit size, costs, battlefield role and any notes from the "General's Handbook 2018". This means I need to find both a Leader and at least one more Battleline unit, so I've recently bought the Blood God's immortal "Finecast" champion, Skulltaker (100 points) and assembled another ten Bloodletters (120 points) which have long sat upon the sprue in one of my drawers.

In addition, I have dusted off my almost complete Bloodmaster, Herald of Khorne (80 points), which will not only take me close to my force's target cost tally for this month, but should also be pretty quick to get on the tabletop too. Of course, the Blades Of Khorne aren't simply all about daemons, and as I bought the original "Age Of Sigmar" Boxed Set when it was first released in 2015 I have plenty of plans for the Blades Of Khul's mortal minions in the future...
"Star Wars" WIP - A large Commerce Guild Homing Spider Droid ready for shading and dry-brushing
Momentarily stepping away from the Mortal Realms, I also aim to continue progressing my collection of "Toon Realms" inhabitants by "Lucid Eye Publications". The company have just announced their imminent "Caverns Of The Frog King" expansion, so I really need to finish painting all of Lord Rascal's Icky Spiders, Skeleton Swordsmen and Skeleton Warriors as soon as I can, along with the likes of Tully the Toll Troll, and then get them all submitted into the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

Similarly, I still have a fair few "Star Wars: Legion" figures by "Fantasy Flight Games" to complete, along with the many, many marvellous miniatures Phil Curran recently generously gifted me with when he arrived at my doorstep one night with a big box in his hands. In the past I've only taken a brush to a couple of my old "Wizards Of The Coast" "Star Wars" figures. However, I simply couldn't help immediately re-basing and undercoating a Commerce Guild Homing Spider Droid I spied, and hope to have it battling some Wookie Warriors on ‎Kashyyyk very soon.