Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Adventurers Don't Get a Day Off

"Let's go spend our rewards" said the Mantrapper, "a much deserved chance to have some down time and enjoy the spoils of our last adventure". "I hope the people of Little Head-on-Ism are welcoming" added Chadda Blackmane dourly, "I want to rest up for a while".

Unsurprisingly, the town guard were already outside the fortifications of Little Head-on-Ism, awaiting the arrival of any outsiders. "Lo, who approaches?" shouted the Captain, broadsword resting over his shoulder. The insignia of the town's flag snapping in the breeze behind him.

"A weary band of adventurers, looking for refuge and an opportunity to spend some coin - we mean no ill" retorted Nicodemus. The captain looked the approaching band up and down, measuring them up, noticing their weapons and staffs with apprehension and looking for reassurance from his lieutenant. None came. The Chervah chirped up; "Look sir, you may want to examine the beast of burden's sacks they ha...." before Yaztromo quickly interrupted; "It will be to your benefit, my captain, to let us through without incident". The captain could not determine whether this was a threat or a bargaining opportunity and for a moment was caught between two emotions. In the silence his greedy nature surfaced and he held out his hand in anticipation. Expecting it to be crossed with gold as his comrades gasped and he felt the cold weight pressing in his palm, he looked down only to see his hand frozen in ice, unable to move it and now watching in horror as the ice slowly started to ascend and encase his shield arm. The magician's obvious power, deterred any aggressive response from the town's guard who looked from the kindly old wizard's smile to his piercing stare, they parted and stepped back, as did the captain who pleaded with the band to have his hand returned and for the creeping cold to persist. 

The adventurers entered Little Head-on-Ism with wry smiles as the captain tried to warm his hand down his pantaloons.

Clive the aged Barbarian had blunted his axe in the battle of the Privy Ledge and made haste to the blacksmith of Little Head-on-Ism for some sharpening. 

He also noticed a merchant selling his wares in the square and, like a magpie, could not resist the glint of a new handaxe. Coinage spent.

Meeting up with the others who had been scouting out the town for suitable places to eat and drink, the band of adventurers approached the Spotted Dog tavern:

The tavern was dark and dingy and sparsely populated at this early hour, as the patron warily eyes his new customers. Our adventurers ordered a feast of food and a deluge of ale finding an area to sit in the corner of the tavern.

Ale was drunk, a spit roast eaten and old stories re-told with embellishment as time passed. It was Chadda Blackmane that first noticed through his groggy haze, that Gareth Yoztromo has taken quite some time to go for a piss. A fruitless search instigated a few questions aimed at the barman who vaguely remembered the old wizard exiting outside a few minutes ago. The group stumbled outside looking for their companion.

Out in the daylight they were assailed by a sobering wailing noise combined with screams by some of the locals. The interpretations of the hysteria seemed to indicate that a monster was running riot in the old temple... A quick sprint to the site and the adventurers were confronted by a contrite Yaztromo, slightly sweating as his hand wavered in the direction of a lesser demon, held still in mid leap. 

"I came out for a piss and stumbled across this old temple; as I was leaning against the altar I must have awoken this foul beast. Could someone, um, help me please? Nicodemus noticed the damp patch on his colleague's robe with a knowing smile just as Clive unleashed his new throwing axe, spinning through the air and thunking into the demon's forehead. The wailing stopped and was exchanged by the hearty guffaws of Nicodemus' mirth, quickly joined by the other adventurers as they noticed the yellow stain on the front of the magician's robes. He shot them all a withering look. "No need to get pissy" laughed the Mantrapper oh "Piss off" smirked Yaztromo in return. "Some bloody day off" mumbled the morose Chadda Blackmane.

Well done if you stayed with me through my improvised story. I photographed a few set pieces on my new table, with no real story ideas in mind and then arranged them in this order and made up the above story in one sitting. Fun and self-indulgent? For sure.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Housing my scenery collection

I’ve found a quiet, unused part of the house where I can let my geek run wild and I can set up my little soldiers and their houses - the corner of the attic.

It actually works pretty well because it’s a nice long space and I’m out of the way up here. I’ve installed some decent lighting and then set about creating a very low table. The only problem is it’s too easy to smack my head on the beams, so I may need to invest in some foam to put on these.  It didn’t take very long to make and now I can set up my scenery on the table rather than having to store it in boxes under the bed (vying for space with my wife's paraphernalia).

It’s not a perfect space for gaming (but I rarely do this anyway) because of the cramped space, but it’s easy enough to bring it all downstairs if needs be. So for now this will really just be a place for me to collect and set up my scenery and take some photos of my completed models as I go. 

Some MDf was laid out and given some support using the beams that were already along the floor and some extra legs at each end. I was then able to lay down my green cloth and stretch it out. 

The intent is to have my modular gaming boards on one side, have a wall/gate around them so that they can link up the surrounding green fields and hide the obvious step between cobble and green grass. At least another four of those modular boards to go...

From left to right in the photos you can see the modular boards and a couple of White Dwarf town houses as well as the Modelling Workshop ruined temple in the background:

Some of my trees mounted onto Cd's,the White Dwarf Barn, a converted Superplay castle, a church and in the foreground my recent Coaching Inn and Stables:

And finally, in the top right corner; my entrance to the Warlock of Firetop Mountain, a masoleum (with space between that and the church for a graveyard to be made at a later date), a river, a cottage and a tower.

Happy New Year to you all!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Irongate Scenery - the bar

I’ve often thought that i’ve been a bit stuck in the past with my hobby, the vast majority of my collection is lead, although there is a growing resin and plastic contingrnt. So this is me embracing, what is very likely to be, the future - some 3D printed sculpts. They are from Irongate Scenery and are to be used for a bar interior that I have planned. 

Having painted these it is fair to say that I really dislike them. It is just simply the horrible texture of concentric lines that i’ve tried to hide with my paint job, that made painting them an incredible chore (even though these are very quick paint jobs). I came to the painting table with an open mind (and fully expected a different texture from what i’m used to) but I just could not muster up any love for them; sometimes when i’m painting I can imagine the decision making or see the style of the sculptor  as i’m working and this acts as a massive motivator to “do the sculpt justice”, because i’m not the keenest painter st the best of times.

Funnily enough, the warped top right table is greenstuffed from an instamold I made as there was a missing tabletop, and the familiarity of painting on that surface was much more enduring, even if there was a horrible warp to it! So maybe my bias is about familiarity or maybe I prefer painting things that have been made by hand. Whatever the reason, i’m staying away from 3D printed stuff and not grasping the future right now.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Modelling Workshop 5: The Coaching Inn and Forge (WD 143)

This is the final instalment of my revisiting of the Modelling Workshop articles from the White Dwarf's of the early 90's and the only one that I had not previously made as a teenager - the Coaching Inn and the Forge.

It was quite an extensive build and the instructions, at times, were particularly hard to follow, so some problem solving was required (which my teenage self would have struggled with). The roof to the inn was especially problematic; joining two sloping edges...

I've also made a few changes, namely the size of the footprint has increased, it always felt a bit cramped from the photos in White Dwarf and you couldn't really appreciate the two buildings. I've also improved the stable design and made a removable wall from the back of the courtyard so that the two buildings can be separated without creating an open courtyard. 

The doors, as per the article, are hinged on some paperclips.

Here you can see the forge and stable without the coaching inn and the long removable wall in place.

A better view into the forge and with it's roof removed you can see the forge itself (made from foam)

And the coaching inn by itself (pre-weathering):

And some Wip's so that you can see the construction and some of the materials/processes:

This image inspired me for the creation of the forge:

And the original article in case you're interested in re-creating this yourself:

And finally, my terrain building skills came in useful for my daughter's History homework, we worked on this together and she now has to learn the secrets of painting and in particular some quick dry-brushing and weathering techniques....

Thursday, 7 December 2017

A Plague Cart for Deadcember

I converted this Plague Cart up quite a while ago and as we have entered the month of Deadcember, I thought it a perfect opportunity to paint it up. It will eventually feature in my Lost and the Damned Army as the Nurgle list offers an opportunity to have one for free (!) and it will accompany my unit of zombies and help their instability tests.

The old Citadel sculpt it great, however you'll notice a few changes and additions to my version. The sculpt of the original rider was a bit too squat and comic like for my tastes, so instead I plumped for a a more sinister Nurgle champion. He himself was given a plastic gong and bells from a Skaven kit (with all the iconography scraped off) to add [silent] sound to his impending arrival and I bent his feet a bit so that they looked as if they were gripping the shaft of the wagon.

You'll also note the addition of a Plague Doctor who had a greenstuffed mask applied over his face. This is also a contemporary Citadel from the Fighter range I believe (a thief if I recollect).

You'll also note a few additions to the skeleton pile - the original piece looked a bit scant so I added a few skulls and an additional skeleton almost falling off the back for a bit of dynamism and movement to the overall effect. His slightly pained pose looked perfect for this.

In terms of the painting I challenged myself to go for a monochromatic palette. I wanted to avoid the obvious inclusion of a spot colour of, for example, glowing eyes in exchange for a more ghostly approach to the ethereal colour scheme. I wanted this to contrast with the dark, solid plague doctor and the colour coming from the basing. This was achieved by priming white, washing with a dilute Nuln Oil, then highlighting with small amount of Nuln Oil and white in increasing quantities and then re-washing with a very dilute Nuln Oil.

The cotton wool mist effect was something I have wanted to experiment with for a while and after long consideration decided to apply it very finely here. I think it adds rather than detracts from the model; although of course, as always, I'm intrigued to hear your opinions. Overall I'm pretty happy with this model though!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Black Scorpion Miniatures NPCs

I've been building a fair bit of fantasy scenery recently and I always feel that the buildings are missing something until they have miniatures added to them. The buildings provide a context for a narrative, but the models will create it and of course the most common way for a story to unfold is when a battle or skirmish unfolds amongst the scenery; the fighters going for it against the backdrop of a battlefield. But I also like to include a few npc's in there too, either mixed up with the fighting, or setting a scene before a skirmish or adventure starts.

So I did a bit of shopping and found these lovely npc characters from Black Scorpion Miniatures Tombsone civilian range. I was most keen on the barkeep, patron and blacksmith to populate my (nearly complete) coaching inn and forge, but the doctor character may also provide some ideas for a future project..

They are gorgeous resin sculpts and a real pleasure to paint. I painted the blacksmith and the barkeep first, both with deliberately drab colours and then switched up my paint palette to some more vibrant colours for the patron and the doctor:

I'm now plotting an-depth photo shoot. Be patient...

Monday, 13 November 2017


I want to add some detail to my fantasy settings; I've been working hard on the large scenery (boards and houses) but want to add that extra layer of interest with some additional detail, either as a backdrop for narrative games or indeed for interaction between player and scenery.

So over the past few years(!) I've collected and made a sample of such scenery and last night I finished painting some:

These two bookcases (perfect for Frostgrave or for furnishing a dungeon or interior) are from the Reaper Bones line. I primed them grey (forgetting, out of habit) that you don't have to and then used lots of drybrushes and washes.

Anyone recognise the green spines of the collection on the left?

These two below are metal pieces from Midlam Miniatures. I needed an anvil for my in progress forge and the door will be useful in dungeon games and for a tavern interior I have planned

And finally a scratchbuilt fountain:

Made from (bottom to top) a mayonnaise lid, a fruit shoot lid, a felt tip lid and a couple of plastic horses heads. It was all primed, given a coat of the GW texture paint; Astrogranite and then highlighted up and washed down with dilute greens and browns  The water is an experiment with using Woodlands Scenic water for the still water and Vallejo water effects for the moving water. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, even though it was a fiddly affair.