Monday, 4 September 2017

The Procrastinators Painting Challenge! - Dwarven Troll Slayers

Procrastination is a funny thing isn't it?

A few months back I decided to finally get round to painting the sizable unit of WFB4 era Dwarf Troll Slayers I acquired as one of my first major purchases when getting involved in the Oldhammer community a few years back. They were models that I remembered fondly from my teenage years reading White Dwarf, and I had always thought that if I ever embarked on a Dwarf army I would love to have a big unit of slayers with ALL THE CHAMPIONS!!

I finished one both as a test piece and to play Lothar Axefiend, a Dwarven fanatic, in my D&D campaign (learning that I needed to go WAY brighter with the orange hair in the process), and the way Lothar's involvement played out in game gave me new impetus to have a large body of suicidal Dwarven nut jobs at my disposal in the near future...

Lothar Axefiend is a Bad Ass Mother Fucker in D&D 3E. Trust me, I'm a DM ;)
The thing is once I started painting the rest I fell out of love with them pretty quickly and they then languished part painted on my table for a couple of months.

To give some variation between duplicates of the same sculpt, and maybe signify followers of different Slayer Champions, I opted for blue and purple in addition to the traditional Troll Slayer Orange hair

Part of the problem was that I had lost my painting mojo while ill, but I had plenty of time sat at my desk when I could have been painting them, but instead I read hobby blogs, watched Critical Role, or occupied myself with on line groups and forums. Every time I looked at the Slayers half finished on the table I felt a pang of guilt, like my teenage self knowing I had homework to do but deciding to watch another episode of Star Trek: TNG instead.

The other part of the problem was that I was finding them very fiddly as they were already based up and undercoated well when I bought them and I had decided to leave them as they were. That made it a bit tricky getting underneath their ample Dwarven bellies, not to mention hair and beards so voluminous they would clog the workings of the cameras at a shoot for a Pantenne Pro V commercial.

But then came Russ T Painting's Middlehammer Procrastinators Painting Challenge! The idea was to dig out the mini that you had been putting off painting for the longest and get it finished (or as far as long as you could get) within a week. It was just what we all needed to fill the seemingly endless void of a whole week before the start of the VERY EXCITING Snotling themed painting challenge for September (Da Great Snot Off) which had got the community fired up, and it was great to see so many people get involved. Some people unearthed minis that they had been meaning to paint for ooh... a good 20-30 years now! Not uncommon in the hobby by any means, but really nice to see so many of them finally get some paint 😀

"And!" I thought to myself "it's the perfect motivation for me to get these bloody Slayers finished!" So I signed up with the promise of at least one Slayer, and the intention of having the whole lot finished by the end of August!

There was about a month between this shot and the last one, and all that had been added was the highlights to the hair...
Yeah.... Well... I did get one done, a purple haired champion no less, but even then I had to cajole myself along, spending more time planning for my Snotling project (i.e. playing with Snotlings and tiny mushrooms) than I should have done on painting. Was this a challenge as to how much you could procrastinate? If so, I was probably winning!

So now September is here and Da Great Snot Off has begun! Much excite! What have I been up to you ask? Stripping snotlings of their old paint?* Prepping all those scenic bases with milliput and flock? Undercoating the green tide? No. I have been procrastinating by painting Dwarf Slayers.

Still experimenting with my new light box :)

The thing is, I have fallen back in love with them. It happened when I applied the main flesh highlight to a whole batch of them and I could see the character come out of a range of the different sculpts all at once. Now rather than treating them much as I would a unit of plastic infantry (as I had told myself I should in order to get the unit finished) I started to treat them more as individuals again, and that has definitely paid dividends. Sadly three days behind where I should be with my Snotlings, but I'm sure I'll catch up once I get down to it.

*Note: I have now at least stripped the few that needed stripping, but only because I ran out of Dwarf slayers...

So, my question to you is this: Have you ever acquired a miniature you really wanted, only to fall out of love with it when you started to paint it? What happened? Was it a messy divorce or did you fall back in love with it in the end? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Now, I really need to crack on with these Snotli... Ooh! Look! Squirrel!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Summer of Shadows: Snakebite Mob for SWA

Well, my Summer of Shadows has not gone as planned. Continued ill health has scuppered many plans this year, but most of all it has meant I have played no further games of Shadow War (and I'm a few games behind the others now!) Sad times indeed.

However, I have managed to assemble a dedicated crew of Orks (RT, 2nd Ed, and Gorka Morka in the mix) and paint them up to represent an oldschool Snake Bite mob - I was previously using an assorted mob of orks from my existing old school force as can be seen in my earlier post.

First up is my Boss, Kaptin Fang who is armed with a Kustom Shoota (w/ reload), Big Choppa, wears 'Eavy Armour and has a Clip Harness. He has survived a few scraps and has picked up the valuable Dodge skill (one of the reasons I like Snakebites is that they are one of the only Ork Clans (along with Evil Sunz) who can access Agility skills.

"Wot choo lookin at, scum?"
I had a spare 2nd Edition Ghazkhull Mag Uruk Thrakka lying around who seemed the perfect fit. I have owned the model before, and since lost it, and bought it again twice over (once with Makari the standard bearer in tow, they are being saved to lead my Goff force) - but I've never actually painted him before. The model was a little daunting to the younger me and I was surprised to find a little of that apprehension return when I finally came to paint him. That passed very quickly once I started in with a brightly coloured Snakebite scheme and I found myself having great fun painting up this icon of 2nd Edition. Yes, there is extra detail on virtually every single surface of the model, but once you get stuck in it pretty much paints itself.

I love the detail of the Stikk Bombz at the back of the model. That screams 2nd Ed to me :)

The only problem was the very obvious Goff symbol on his back. At first I thought about just making it flat with putty and then painting on the Snaklebite glyph later, but I got a bit drunk and decided to 'sculpt' one instead. My GS skills are infantile, but luckily that sort of works when it comes to Ork glyphs. All in all I was pretty chuffed with my first attempt on Ghazkhull and he is exactly what I had in mind for Kaptin Fang when I was creating my SWA crew.

Kaptin Fang and his Boyz
Here we find Kaptin Fang hanging out with his Boyz: Blak-Mamba, Lard, Tusks, and Pyfon... who may not reappear if I don't get round to rescuing him from the Eldar!

Da Yoofs - appropriately (for round here at least) hanging out near some scenery made out of a discarded NO2 Canister
I plumped for a handful of Gorka Morka orks as being suitably feral to count as Snakebites, but also armed simply with shanks and sluggas, as are my Yoofs: Pig-Spit, Pork Rind, Adder-Boy, Grass-Snake, Swill Pot, and Vypa... except that Pig Spit has been promoted to a Boy after surviving a head wound and rolling 'What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger' on his second mission, so I might do some temporary swapping around with him and Pyfon, depending on what happens on the rescue mission.

Too Inch scours the sulphur stained sands for scrap to make shooty gubbinz with

Too Inch da Spanna Boy is armed with a Big Shoota with a Red Dot Sight, and a Massive Spanner. This Spanner boy from Gorka Morka with his bionic shoota arm was the perfect fit. I have left off giving him a backpack for now (there is a peg on his back that originally held a shotgun) to see how the campaign progresses and how I might want ot customise him.

Too Inch and Da Yoofs make a charge across the sands
I will eventually add each of the available Ork specialists, but in keeping with both the Snakebite background and the numbers based approach that I went for with this crew, the first on my list was a Runtherd with six Grots.

Snotragg da Runtherd and his horde of six miserable, snivelling, little grots
The Grots are obviously the classic monopose plastic Gretchin from the 2nd Ed starter box. The Runtherd is an Ork Slaver from Gorka Morka. The colour scheme is also echoing the Snakebite colours, but far less obvious as might befit a Specialist for hire.

Kaptin Fang's Snakebite Crew swarm from their huts to charge across the sands
Next up for the crew are a new Spanna Boy, Rattla with his Old-Skool Rokkit Launcher, and Doc Gristle the Pain Boy, who has dispensed with the middle man as it were and replaced his own right hand with a massive knife. These two jumped out at me from my leadpile as the most Snakebite-esque of the candidates and they are already assembled and undercoated, working their way up the painting queue.

Something really satisfying about workign with these old sculpts. So evocative of the period that first got me hooked on the hobby :)

Now, if only I could get a few more games in!

Thanks for reading. Do pop back again. I'll make tea.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Fantasy Villagers and Townsfolk

Howdy folks! This post is a bit of a random one, but I had great fun playing toy soldiers whilst putting the shots together and I hope that comes through in the pictures at least!

It came about in response to two things. Firstly I have been working on a whole bunch of beautifully Oldhammer-esque Fantasy Villagers and Townsfolk from the Bruegelberg range from Ratnik/Lead Adventure, which I picked up from the lovely people at Magister Militum while I was at UK Games Expo 2017. Incidentally, there is a new Breugelberg KS campaign still a couple of days to go at time of writing, if you fancy it?

Secondly, fellow hobbyist Rusty Painting has been teasing us in the Middlehammer group with work in progress shots of his uber-townscape and it made me think about getting all my fantasy villagers, townspeople, and tavern folk together for some group shots to see how they all looked alongside each other. Sorry that the photos don't all show the minis mentioned as clearly as they might, but many of those have been seen on this blog before.

First up is the "Rat Catcher" from Bruegelberg, who has been painted up in the Dark Blue and Red colour scheme I often use for my fantasy NPCs, partly with a nod to them eventually being part of an Altdorf themed Empire WFB3 baggage train or similar, but also with a nod towards the colours of the Gloucesters medieval reinactment company that part of my family belong to...

I love this model. My paintjob and these photos simply are not doing justice to the sheer number of rats on this sculpt, they are curling around his feet, squeezing out of the sack, and nibbling at his cap. I also like his grotesque-face cod piece, and all the details on his equipment including the massive trap hanging from his belt. Completing this model also coincided with a friend getting in touch to say she wanted to run a game of WFRP (1st edition), did I want to roll a character? Hell yes I did, as long as I could be a Rat Catcher! And so (Jozef) Sykes came into being and should probably get his own blog post at some point in the future...

Next up is "Angry Woman" another sculpt I love, but a name which doesn't quite do the job imho. Partially armoured, armed with a sword yet wielding a ladle and carrying a swaddled infant under her arm tells such a richer story than just "Angry Woman." Not sure "Irate Mother" is much better either, but that is how I currently think of her.

Sticking with the Altdorf/Gloucesters colours, if not the patterns, and with the idea of WFB3 baggage trains, here are a couple of Pay Masters (or Veneticum Mercatori in Bruegelberg parlance). The second one is in the secondary colour scheme of Tan Leather and Olive Drab I have gone for to reflect either rival houses, or maybe a poorer rural possession of the more affluent Blue and Reds? It is a theme that has sort of evolved naturally as I've been painting some of my other fantasy NPCs and villagers, but really came to make sense when I started work on the Bruegelberg set.

The "Old Hag" is a sculpt that just screams RPG potential. So many uses from simple crazy cat lady, to full blown gingerbread house dwelling witch. I'm already practicing my character voice deary! Won't you come inside for a cup of nettle tea? Don't mind the smell. The cat's been ill...

The "Plague Doctor". I have to admit I'm not happy with the paintjob on this one. I put a bit more effort than some of the others (which to be honest are just base coat, one highlight and ink jobs, relying on the quality of the sculpts themselves to do the work) but I didn' quite get the grizzly butcher look I was going for with the patchwork leather apron. It's a sculpt with fantastically dark potential for better painters than I though. Don't let the fact I now think of him as the 'Death Womble' put you off.

A couple of peasant "Thugs" now, picking up on some recurring colour schemes again of tan and drab, and a simple blue and grey I use for low lifes. These are among the most striaght forward of the Breugelberg sculpts, and it was a shame that they also showed some of the more pronounced pitting among what was otherwise an OK batch of casts. I think that put me off a bit and I didn't really spend much time on them, but when you see them next to some other likely trouble makers they still look the part.

Another beautiful sculpt and one with som nay talking points, the "Peasant Woman" is well provsioned with fish, sausages, a whole wheel of cheese, and a goodly sized tankard. No wonder she is being pursued by a rat! But she has also lost an eye at some point, but also picked up a pilgrims token on her travels, which she wears on a rather nice floppy hat. Again, bags of character and really good to see such interesting female sculpts.

"The Musician" instantly won himself a place in my D&D campaign, where a disfiguring pox is an important part of the recent history of the area, and his bandaged face and apparently missing nose immediately play into that. I've gone for the tan and olive drab colour scheme again, as this fellow definitely seems more down on his luck than the Altdorfers/Gloucesters.

These next two are the "Durer Peasants" based on the illustration by Albert Durer and a brilliant example of the level of historical referencing that goes into these sculpts. Some tan and olive on the first one, but I got carried away with trying out the different greens I had accumulated over the years, so the second one looks like a badly outfitted robin hood with a basket of eggs...

I was keen to see how the Bruegelbergers looked alongside my existing cast of multi purpose fantasy villagers (which includes minis from Hasslefree, Heresy, CP Models, Black Tree Design, Prince August, and some unknown pre-slottas as well as some modern plastics from the excellent Frostgrave Soldiers sprues), so threw together a little scene around a farmstead...

Here we see a small rural scene in the Farmstead at Little Rumping. It looks like the tables are just being set out to feed the workers lunch.
We can see the local official has come to collect the taxes, a rat catcher plies his trade near the tithe barn, and a muscician is just winding up his hurdy gurdy
Peasant famers laden with produce come to lay out the tables for lunch, while the old hag and the Plague Doctor watch on
Work is coming to a hlat in the fields nearby, the local children are causing trouble and fighting again, but who is that gathering on the hill in the background?
They've done it now! They've woken the baby! The "Angry Woman" sets about the Hasslefree Medieval Kids
Some Thugs have teamed up with some (Frostgrave soldiers) peasants from a rival village...
...looking to get some easy loot from Little Rumping!

Of course the problem now is I really want to see what happens next... Ah well, the beginnings of a WFB3 scenario maybe?

Anyway, next up are some two Breugelbergers "In the Tavern", who can be seen here in front of their rputable establishnment, The Green Griffon (which is an old resin set from Grendel which I remember playing with in the early 90's, and which the wonderfully generous AVP Shaun gave me last year after he found it in his mum's attic!) You can see more of teh Grendel set along with some tables from Dwarf Wall(???), and a couple of tavern maids from Hasslefree (actually, I think one of them might be a "Strumpet" but I didn't like to pry)



No Breugelbergers in this next scene, but it does include a whole mish mash of manufactures, including some OOP Citadel Flaggelants. Among my favourites are the One Man Band from CP Models and the female Plague Doctor (also from CP Models, under the Night Horrors range). Also worth a mention are the VL3 Juggler and VL4 Blacksmith from Prince August who are not great sculpts by any means, but at time of writing are available so ridiculously cheaply I almost bought them again!

Finally we come to the "Arnolfini Family" - another example of the level of historical referencing in the range, these two figures are directly sculpted from the famous portrait - which also happens to be the picture my Dad and Step-Mum used to base their outfits on for their Medieval wedding. As you do...

For that reason I have gone for a pretty faithful recreation of the colours from teh painting. Which is exactly what they did for the website too. Sorry that is not very inspiring, but it works for me as it also picks up on the Dark Blue and Red theme. One other thing to note here. Sadly the face of the lady was badly squashed and what little nose she had was either obliterated in the blister pack or was miscast. I toyed with the idea of putting some greenstuff down, but my GS skills are truly woeful and it would have been a disaster, so in the end I have tied it back in to the disfiguring pox in the D&D campaign, proving that the disease is no respecter of class.

These seem like castle or town types to me, so they have been based up appropriately and can be seen below with a cast of more frost grave soldiers (seriously, I love that sprue - not only did I make a bunch of 8 farmers/peasants as seen above, but I got 4 town guards, 4 rogues and 4 Night Watchmen all form the one box), some more Hasslefree fantasy humans, and some scribes from Prince August and CP Models (one of three Dark Age Monks, the others of which can be seen lurking behind the flaggelants in the pics above). The boxes urns and chests are from Black Tree Designs, picked up during one of their regular sales to make them good value for money as either treasure tokens, objectiives or scatter terrain

Night time on the town streets...
The Village Idiot from Hasslefree is wondering who stole the treasure from the urn, and is about to get clocked by a rogue
The alarm has been raised and the Town Guard are making sure no more treasure goes missing!

The Night Watch are on the scene, but these rogues no the narrow alleys well and should be able to make their escape
Meanwhile, oblivious to the trouble outside, the Lord and Lady unveil their new shrine to an audience of scribes and flunkies, including the Minstrel and Dwarf Tavern Patron (who can be painted up to look like Lemmy from Motorhead!) both from Hasslefree
Like I said at the top, I had great fun playing with my toy soldiers for this post. The only down side is that I realised I still have too many more fantasy NPCs on my wants list, and that new Breugelberg KS to consider... damn!

Thanks for stopping by :)