Saturday, 29 December 2012

Reaper Bones Minotaur

I came clean some time ago about my terrible addiction to the Reaper Bones range.  They are incredible value, great quality and don't need to be primed they are fantastic to paint and easy to convert, i'm a huge fan as you can no doubt tell.

Which is lucky when you consider i'll be getting around 250 new ones in March thanks to Reaper's Kickstarter offer!  I think i'm going to need a bigger brush.
I've had this particular model for a couple of months and its the last Bones miniature I've currently got left to paint.  With that in mind I thought i'd do a more in depth work in progress post with lots of photos. 

The first step was to base the model and I used a 40mm lipped base, I really like these lipped bases and tend to use them all the time now.  The model was super glued to the base and some fine grit was glued on, its important to make sure some of the grit covers the built in base or it'll stick out like a sore thumb.

I used Games Workshop's Kislev Flesh (slightly watered down) for the skin with Bestial Brown for the fur.  I decided quite early on that I was going to use this model to try out Non Metallic Metal (NMM) gold so thought it would make sense to paint the weapons in NMM Steel too.  

I wanted the fur to look like the coats of Scottish Highland Cattle so washed the brown with Agrax Earthshade, Reikland Fleshshade and dry brushed snakebite leather for the highlight.   

The NMM Gold ranged from Ushabti Bone with a Yello ink wash to Skull White with lots of brown washes and pale yellow.  It was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be and i'm satisfied but not thrilled with the results.  As only my second attempt at NMM i'm happy and will continue to practice the technique.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Games Workshop Blood Angel Terminators

Click to zoom
As I mentioned in an earlier post some of the painting i've done recently has been as presents so I couldn't share them.

Click to zoom
Well those presents have been given and now i'm free to post pictures without spoiling my nephew's surprise.  Here for your enjoyment are the Terminator squad I painted for him.

I attempted my first go at OSL (Object Source Lighting) on these miniatures, if you look at the green eyes you'll see the lights in the eyes also appear to light up the raised surfaces around them.  The same goes for the light given off by the Lightning Claws.  

Click to zoom
Unfortunately the photos didn't come out that well and they look a bit washed out.  The claws are quite a bit brighter in real life.  

OSL is quite hard to get right, the idea is to only have the light show on the surfaces it would hit if it was coming from the source.  I'm pleased that these came out well but I think I need some more practice to get the effect I want.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Reaper Miniature's Dr. Ervin Friedman, Mad Scientist

I’ve had this miniature lurking on my desk for several months but I’ve always had a more urgent need to get something else painted so I was pleased to have a bit of spare time last night to get this one done.

In a sharp contrast to the Mason Thornwarden miniature this one gave me very little trouble. 

I spent a little time deciding on the colour scheme, I knew I wanted the test tube & flask to be colourful and I wanted him to be wearing a white lab coat and felt that this kind of dictated the other colours.   I toyed with the idea of giving him beige trousers, a pale blue shirt and crazy red hair but it just didn’t feel right.  The idea of giving him a white shirt seemed to be a problem considering the white lab coat and I didn’t want it to all blend in together. 

Then I had my eureka moment for this figure.  Why not paint all the clothes and hair in greys and whites so all the colour was concentrated in the flask, test tube and skin, I was hoping that this would draw the eye to what was in his hands and his expression. 

I was very sparing with washes on this model, modern fabrics are generally very uniform in their colouring and people are generally much cleaner so used successive light layers of colour to build up the shading.  The flask, test tube and sunglasses got a light layer of gloss varnish but the rest of the model was left matt.  The model is destined to be used as a tabletop figure so the base is simple, just a tuft of dried desert grass on a sandy coloured base.

I’m happy with how he turned out and can see him being used in several different types of games, he’d be useful in any Pulp setting from the 40s to modern day and would also work in a Superhero game.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Reaper Miniature's Mason Thornwarden

I'm sure that if your like me you've painted a miniature and half way through its just a disaster.  None of the colours are coming out the way you wanted, the model isn't looking anything like you imagined it would and the details you thought were going to be great just...aren't.

Well have faith, or trust in the Force whichever floats your boat.  I can tell you that its never too late and no paint job is too far gone to save.  I had to repaint this miniature almost from the base up.  The brown I chose for the legs just looked like he'd waded through a swamp and the bow was so dark it practically disappeared with the dark tunic behind it.

I took a bit of time, counted to 100 and took a good long look at what i'd done and what the model needed to save it.  In the back of my mind I was thinking of a character from a Raymond E Feist book, Magician (read it if you haven't its fanstastic) and wanted a woodsy looking ranger with a red undertunic, it just wasn't working.  The model needed contrast badly.  

The first and most obvious change needed was the bow colour needed to be lighter, so I went for an Elf Bow look and painted it with a bone/off white colour, the arrows got the same treatment.  Second the red undertunic was changed to blue and the leggings/boots became a dark buckskin.  I think it worked pretty well in the end despite the problems it gave me.

If all else fails, and the paint job you have worked on is just not working, pop it in a tub of Fairy Power Spray for an hour and start again.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Spotlight on....Black Scorpion Miniatures

Sorry there haven’t been many posts recently but this is a busy season for work and the painting projects I’ve been working on are destined to be Christmas presents so I can’t share them until after the holidays.

But what I can do is introduce you to some new miniatures suppliers.  I think its pretty apparent that I’m a big fan of Reaper, especially what they are doing for the hobby with their Bones line but I’ve spoken about them on many occasions (and will no doubt speak about them in the future a lot too). So this post will be all about…..BlackScorpion Miniatures.

'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'

I want to have a look at four of their lines, Pirates, Old West Tombstone, and their modern day US Marines and Iraqi Militia.  Please be aware that none of these miniatures were painted by me.


'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'
Now I really like the direction Black Scorpion has taken with these miniatures.  Its fairly easy to find Pirate leaders from the better miniature suppliers out there but the rank and file models are quite a bit harder to get your hands on in my experience, especially in the quality you get from Black Scorpion.  Each model has real character, both in the face and in the overall look but still looks realistic.    

'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'
There is a tendancy for sculpters to make models on a ‘heroic’ scale,  28mm miniatures that look great but are about as realistic as a cartoon character.  They have their place and I’ve painted a lot of them but for some games a realistic look is more appropriate. 

They do make models with a full complement of parrots, wooden legs and eye patches but they still look like real people and not like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a tricorn hat. Their weapons are realistically sized and the proportions are very accurate. 


'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'

Now these are a treat, especially the bearded model on the left which I am just going to have to paint at some point.  Overall they look great and the models available would contribute well to a Deadlands or generic Old West game.  

'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'
The only obstacle to me is I couldn’t reuse any of my existing models for this kind of game and there isn’t an easy (read cheap!) way to bulk out your collection of Old West models.  I’d have to buy something like 50 models to run my first Old West game (Cavalry, Indians, Cowboys & Townsfolk) and get all the scenery made.  

Despite all that, I suspect that an Old West campaign may be on the horizon in the future, these are just too good to pass up.

US Marines

'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'

My regular DM has run some really successful modern games, mainly D20 Modern and Stargate games and if I’d known about these models I would have snapped them up.  My only criticism of these models is they lack character.  

'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'
Although the proportions are great and the attention to detail is impressive they lack the individualism that would make them great player character models.  

Now I’m pretty sure these were designed with Skirmish games in mind so its not really fair for me to be too critical about them but I’d just have loved them to have the same individuality that is such a highlight of the Pirates or Old West models.  Black Scorpion does however do an army deal of 32 US Marines for £50 which is real value for money!

Iraqi Militia

'Copyright Black Scorpion Miniatures'

These are my least favourite of Black Scorpion’s models.  As generic Iraqi bad guys they are good enough but not quite what I was looking for. 

The proportions are as consistently accurate as the other lines with the minor exception of the white shirted insurgent with the blue headband who seems to have a pistol that’s almost as long as his whole arm.  That's not really a big deal though and I do understand that pistols tend to look too small if they're scaled accurately.

The faces are obscured by masks or beards which limits their expression and for some obscure reason they’re all barefoot and or wearing ripped off shorts.    

I’m not sure if this is a deliberate choice to represent the Iraqi Militia as  faceless and desperate but it just makes them look less threatening than they should be.  I’d have liked to have seen some sinister looking     paramilitaries wearing body armour, they could have then been used as terrorists as well as desert dwelling madmen.


Overall I’m hugely impressed with the Black Skorpion miniatures and can’t wait to get my hands on some.  The quality of sculpting is excellent and the character that they show will make them a favourite around our games table.  

At just £3.50 for a single resin figure and £8 for four they represent incredible value.  Resin miniatures from Hasslefree , which I think are pretty good value, are generally between £10 and £20 each.

Bear in mind you can get a single plastic "Finecast" figure from Games Workshop for the same price.  But talking about "Finecast" is a whole different post, one hopefully you'll see soon. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Weird War Adventure Game Report

The Evil Mastermind Stahl-Mask with Hitler and his aides in Paris 1940

Hi everyone, as promised here are some more pictures from the first Weird Wars Episode which we finally played two weeks ago.

Pvt Skoneiczny lies in wait for the Zombies
The game session was six hours long with a break for pizza half way through.  Overall it went really well but I was concerned that it felt a bit rushed despite the players telling me it was fine.  In hindsight I think I should have split the game up into two sessions and let the players figure out more for themselves and find their own solutions.

As it was I ran the game like a car chase, the action carried on from one scene to the next without much time to draw breath, it was exciting and kept the tension high (as did the the background music and sound effects).  

If your think you might play this game please stop reading now! 

Deep in occupied France Professor Ulrich Von Samstagg is trying, under the supervision of SS-Sturmbannf├╝hrer (Major) Stahl-mask  to create immortal Nazi Super soldiers.  Stahl-Mask intends to use the twisted genius to gain immortality and invulnerability for himself and invulnerability for his trusted minions and to then overthrow Hitler.

Von Samstagg had in fact accidentally created a Zombie Serum and one of his Test Subjects (a 14yr old French boy, Pierre) escaped and started infecting a horde of Zombies.  They are classic Rage Zombies with rudimentary intelligence and a pack mentality and Pierre wants revenge on the Germans.

The heroes were an odd bunch.  
A small selection of Lars Lukas'
(fictional) movie posters

The leader, half Scottish half Norwegian Captain Lars Lukas was a big name in Norway's film industry and although practically unknown outside his homeland is convinced he is as heroic as his film roles despite comprehensively failing to have the necessary skills.  

His second in command, Lt. St. John Smythe followed the more traditional route to command, he went to Eton, Sandhurst and was commissioned an officer.  He has the all the skills for leading men in combat except for the charisma to actually make them want to follow.

The Heroes and their Resistance
allies prepare to hold off the Zombies
Next was Corporal Ken Cambell, a Tank driver without a tank.  Most of the British Army's tanks were abandoned at Dunkirk and Ken was rather resentful of having to join a 'normal' unit.

The Zombie horde gets closer
Private Garath Evans is somewhat predictably a Welshman.  As the Units sniper he was equipped with the superb De Lisle silenced carbine, and a terrible welsh accent.

Captaion Lukas leaps onto the
wall to inspire his men
Private James 'Jimmy' Dobbs, a tough man from the East End of London, despite being a good soldier he has secrets that he takes care to keep quiet.

The Heroes fall back just before being overrun.
Leaving Pvt Skonieczny cut off and surrounded!
And finally, Private Aleksander Skonieczny, a rather vicious Polish soldier who had seen Steel Mask order his family's murder, he had tracked the evil mastermind across Europe and joined the French Resistance for the chance of revenge.

A German patrol is ambushed by the Horde
During the chaos Pvt Evans leaps aboard
the Halftrack and opens fire on the
Horde and the Germans with the MG34
The adventure started with the group getting a dressing down from their CO for getting involved in a punch up with some Canadians in the pub.  Another officer rescues them and they're sent to RAF Tempsford for special training and a mission.  After their briefing at the Airfield they are parachuted into occupied France and join up with the resistance (cue the obligatory pretty french Resistance leader) and they head cross county through a forest to Chateau Montbrun.  

On the way one of the Resistance members goes missing and shadowy forms are seen from the corners of the heroes eyes.  Once they reach the edge of the forest they realise they are being stalked by 30 or so Zombies and they engage in a fighting retreat to a nearby farmhouse where they hold out till morning.

With the dawn comes a German Patrol who get jumped by the Zombies and the heroes take the chance to grad the patrol's half-track and race the the Chateau.  They infiltrate the castle (my group dressed up in the patrol's uniforms) and neutralize the guards.

Doktor Von Samstagg before and
after he injects his super-serum
On the first floor they encounter Von Samstagg and who injects himself with his latest Super-serum which doesn't work as well as he hopes, the heroes fight and kill Von Samstagg only to find that Stahl-Mask has escaped in his rocket powered escape ship.

The full adventure is available on request.