Saturday, 13 April 2019

Black Goblins

The Greater Goblins of the Black Vale, or Black Goblins as they are more commonly known, are the biggest of their kind. While most goblins are small, wretched, scrawny creatures, Black Goblins are much larger, some as tall as a dwarf. Consequently, they tend to be leaders, bodyguard or even warlords. They are the best armed of their kind, as they have the pick of  the loot from the battlefields, and steal arms and armour from their compatriots at will. Few goblin warbands go to battle without these bruisers leading the way.

These are the Black Goblins from Knightmare Games. When I first ordered the figures, I had no idea that they were such a large scale. I dreamt up the concept of them being the larger, elite troops of the race - not an original thought I admit, given the role of Black Orcs in Warhammer and black uruks in Lord of the Rings. You can see my first impressions of the models in this post.

I googled images of black orcs to get a few ideas for darker skinned goblins. However, I found it hard to break the mould and started with green skin tones, intending to shade them down quite darkly, but made a bit of a mess of it. I added too many different shades and it just did not turn out as I would have hoped. In future, I will stick to my tried and tested base coat and glazes routine. In the end, I decided to leave the skin and move on to other areas, see how it looked with all the other bits painted. It's often better to get an idea of the overall picture before obsessing on one little bit. With the rest of the colours on, the figures came together and they don't look too bad. I probably spent longer on touching up the skin than I would usually, lesson learned for next time.

The figures are not sold with shields or bases. I used my default system of two pence coins for the bases - they add a bit of weight and stability and are also magnetic. The shields are more of a problem, should I add some, and if yes, what should I use? In the meantime, they will just have to rely on their armour.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Battle Mat day 2

After yesterday's adventure with spray cans, today is the day to play with pva glue and flocks. I used watered down pva glue with a little screen wash (I read that this helps to break surface tension and makes adhesion easier). A little thing I discovered is to paint this on to the mat in circular motions rather than straight lines, for a more natural clumping look. I used a one inch decorating paint brush for this stage, I could have saved time with a larger brush.

Flocking time

I used a selection of flocks that I had in my terrain box. A medium green for the majority of the covering, with a yellow green for a few sparse highlights. I also had some very dark (soil) flock which I mixed with the medium green for a dark green shade. I tried to make distinct clumps of green with a few darker areas in between.


After the flock was added I sprinkled on some clump foliage, to represent scrub, weed bushes, etc. It's tempting to go to town here and really start blending it all in, but this is just a quick game board so it was on to the next step. Some very diluted pva and screen wash was sprayed over the whole mat, I tried to give it a really good soaking. Then I lifted the whole thing and dragged it down in to a sunny corner in the garden to dry off. The fact that most of the flock and foliage did not tip off at this stage I took to be a good sign.

Sunny corner

I guess I spent about two hours in total, spraying paint, applying pva and flocks, then soaking the whole thing. Hopefully, when it's fully dry it will stick to the mat and not shed flock in the house. Time will tell!

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Battle Mat on the cheap

The other day I was in the supermarket (Aldi) and spotted these grass mats, priced at £7 each. With a size of 2m x 1m (roughly 6ft x 3ft), I thought it would be ideal for my dining table, which is sized 5ft x 3ft. The original mat is rather a lurid green shade, but I had a plan.

Vivid green mats

Armed with a trio of rattle cans and a window of fine dry weather, I sprayed some random patches to dull down the green.

Field Grey, Dunkelgelb, British Uniform spray cans

After a few minutes, the first pass looked like this. The next stage is to add some flock and grass.

Already looking less uniform green

Less than ten minutes to get to this stage. I want the paint to be fully dried before I move on, and have a browse through my collection of flocks.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Royal Armoury of Malta

On a recent spring break in the city of Valetta, Malta, I visited the Royal Armoury, dedicated to the arms and armour of the Knights of St. John. It was a huge collection, based in two rooms stuffed with cabinets. It's not really a period of history I know much about, but for sheer spectacle it was a memorable visit. Photos below with captions, hopefully they are mostly correct from memory. The official website can be found here.

Armour Room
Armour of the Grand Master
Shield (ceremonial) of the Grand Master
More ornate armour
Cases of helmets

Ottoman Turk arms and armour

Arms room

Cannons large and small

Powder cannisters

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Viking Longhouse WIP

Returning from a spring break holiday, I was looking for something quick and easy to do to get me back into the hobby groove. I know, I thought to myself, I will get the roof on the viking super hut, that should be simple enough. What a mistaken idea that was!

I bought the tiling sheets from the ever dependable warbases. They come in A4 size and are strips of a thick card, laser cut. You have to cut each strip to size and glue it on to your roof. It's probably quite easy with a standard roof, but with all the slopes and angles it proved quite time consuming. Two afternoons of pretty tedious hobbying later, and it looks like this. Almost there I think, I am pondering whether to put a beam across the apex.

It looks good, but it's definitely a job for the dedicated enthusiast. All future roofs will probably be turfed!

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Flippin' eck....

.....these goblins are big guys. Yes, I did manage to fit in a pancake day pun.

These are black goblins from Knightmare Games, part of their Greenskin Wars range. I ordered them not realising they are bigger than your average goblin, but that's fine, I like size variation. As you can see, they are single piece metal sculpts, oozing with character and good levels of detail. The eyes have an iris and a pupil!

How big are they? Here's a comparison with a couple of plastic figures, a goblin and an orc. They tower over the little goblin, almost reaching the height and bulk of the orc. These are going to be the bruisers in my goblin force, either the bodyguard of the general or maybe an elite unit.

Just like their cousins the Black Orcs of the Warhammer world, or the black uruks of Tolkien's world, they are the biggest and toughest in the army. Conveniently, that suggests a palette to me - black skin with dark robes and armour. So here's a few examples of dark skinned orcs to act as inspiration.

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