Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Goblins WIP

Things have been moving slowly on the hobby front, and will not speed up much for at least another week, so I have just a WIP to show for the time being. I have around twenty of these old goblin spear figures which I was hoping to get finished for the end of the month, but two things have been slowing me down.

I cannot quite settle on a palette. I do not want to copy the old style, it's not really me and I don't see the point in trying to replicate what others have done before. I am aiming for a cool skin, warm clothing look, but I cannot decide if the result is interesting and varied tones, or just a mess of too many colours. I probably should put the ground and shields on to make the decision easier.

The other thing that is bothering me is the duplication of poses. There are five different night goblins holding a spear, I have four of them, but multiple copies of each. It's a bit clone wars, probably looks better in a disciplined army like elves or dwarves, but not so much in a rabble/horde like goblins.


The big news is that I managed to find a giant on ebay that would not need a remortgage to buy. Prices on old metals has gone through the roof recently and have reached a point far beyond my budget. So I was pretty happy to stumble across this when browsing during a coffee break. A lucky break, in this case. The paint work is too bright for my taste, but it's nicely done and the face is particularly striking. The oily goblin from the previous post makes a good contrast. On that front, I have suspended experiments in oils on the goblins, I need bigger models to practise on. I will come back to oils at some point. I feel a need for a change, to reinvigorate my hobby.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Oily little git

I don't usually post work in progress shots on my blog, they are usually dumped on to my facebook page. This place is where I tend to post fully finished work. However, this is a completely new technique for me, so I thought it would be worth recording. This is an oily little goblin. And I mean that in the literal sense, as it's been painted in acrylic, then washed in oils. It's a technique I was vaguely familiar with, I know that it's used on vehicles and some folks use it to paint horses.

I was inspired after seeing this amazing video by Marco Frisoni. I am all for achieving effects quickly, and like grimey paint work, so I thought I would give it a try. And for a first attempt, I am reasonably happy. I can see how it could help me to speed things along with my goblins, which has to be a good thing.

I learned a few things on this first experiment. The oil paint has to be much thinner than I used. And I would not use a pure black next time, probably try a range of browns. Below you can see the goblin before he got to this stage. I primed it brown, then painted on basic tones, then smothered it in the oily mix which was too thick. Even with this blunder, it produced an interesting result - the desaturation from the original colours is quite marked. I will try again with more colours/oils for sure, there are dozens of little goblins waiting to be painted.

First stage - basic colours (acrylic)

Second stage - oil "wash" which was more a tarring!

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Rocky Scatter Terrain

Over the past few weeks I have been tinkering with some scatter terrain, just a short session here and there. I want to build some hills, but I thought I would get some practise making simpler scatter terrain to begin with. The main component of these pieces is tree bark, which I collected from a nearby forest. When trees are felled there are quite often chunks of bark nearby. Note that I do not rip bark from living trees, that would be a nasty trick even a horrid goblin would think twice about.

The bases for the terrain varies. The standing stones are based on foamboard, while the random rock piles are based on thick card. I tried to chamfer the edges a little, just using a standard craft knife. The bark was cut with a craft (jeweller) saw and I glued them on with pva glue. Then I left them for a few days to ensure the joins were (ahem) rock solid.


The bark pieces were primed white and then painted to look like rocks. I used an emulsion tester pot as the base grey, then browns, ochres and a black wash. Then I added shadows and highlights using green grey and beige glazes. Finally, I added some green tinges to represent mossy growth.

The ground was made from a mix of fine sand, tile grout and pva glue. Brown tile grout, mixed with sand makes a fairly natural looking sandy earth colour. Mixed up to a paste consistency, it's possible to apply it with little undulations, for a more natural look. When it dries, the tile grout makes it a very solid base. It's possible to use it like this, unpainted, though I did add a few washes around the stones and rocks for a little variation in ground tones.


The final step was to add vegetation. I spread thinned pva on to the ground and sprinkled on some scatter, adding darker and lighter colours to provide a little texture. I also used some scrub/tree foliage, which you can buy from rail model suppliers or online. Again, I just scattered it at random. All the vegetation was sealed with wet water (a half and half mix of screen wash and water) and very dilute pva - about 3:1 water:pva. When it's fully dried, it gives a very durable finish, with little or no shedding of scatter materials. The final step was to add a few patches of static grass and tufts.

Scattered on to my playing mat, the terrain does look pretty convincing. But don't take my word for it! We asked a local mountain dweller and rock expert for his opinion.

"Aye, it's definitely a rock"

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Saruman and uruk hai

Saruman the White, an old metal figure I have had lying around for years, I thought it was time he was painted. I really enjoyed painting the face and hair, it's a very good likeness for the actor. I was tempted to add some variation to the robes, but in the end I stuck with the film look. I am going to try my luck selling him in the etsy shop.

And bringing him a powerful weapon, these two uruk hai carrying Merry and Pippin were the first figures I primed this year. So it's taken seven months to finish them off. That's enough time to run to Isengard and back a few times. I just get distracted by so many other things in my collection, but I do get back to them eventually. There are items in my stash that have been part painted for years, so these two were technically quite hasty. Next time we play Lord of the Rings, it could well be a rescue the halfling style scenario. The three hunters tracking them down, you can see here.



Tuesday, 6 August 2019

V&V Miniature Vikings Gallery

In my last post, I mentioned that V&V Miniatures were my favourite manufacturer of viking miniatures. I have posted photos of them on the blog in the past, but as I had the camera set up for some comparison shots, I decided to get them all out for another photo session. Not that there are that many as yet, just these twelve. I hope this photo conveys why I like them so much.

Each and every figure is a character in their own right. There are no clones. You can see that the sculptor absolutely loves his subject. There are so many little details, from the laces on their shoes to the inscribed belt buckles. They really are superb figures. I have tried my best to bring every one of them to life, as they deserve.


One of the things I like is that they are not all the usual bearded, long haired archetype that most manufacturers seem to churn out. The warrior on the far left, for example, is quite young and has his hair shaved up the back of his head. The figure second from right in the rear rank, has a distinctly Gaelic or Irish look to him. Vikings raided and settled all over Europe, so there's no reason why they should always be depicted as bearded Scandinavian types.


I use these figures as my beserker unit. Anyone who goes into battle topless or wearing an animal skin has to be a bit mad! The figure second left, with no shirt and two axes, is one of my favourite figures of all time. 

Just twelve of these wonderful figures are painted at the moment, though I do have more underway, mostly armoured figures. And since I bought them a couple of years ago, the range has expanded and there are more to choose from. V&V have also started a range of Rus figures, which are very, very tempting. The allure of the vikings has not faded.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Victrix vs V&V vs Drabant vikings

Viking miniatures comparison pictures!

There are a lot of viking miniatures available out there, in metal, plastic or resin, with many different styles to choose from. These three ranges are my personal favourites.

On the left is Drabant Miniatures, metal figures sculpted in Russia. There are about twenty figures available in the range. There are also a range of Rus (Eastern or Varangian vikings). In the UK, they are sold by Old Glory. A good choice if you prefer metal figures.

In the middle is Victrix vikings, plastic miniatures made in the UK. A vast range of armoured and unarmoured figures, twelve different bodies and enough parts and weapons for almost limitless poses. This is the range that most wargamers will go for, cheap, plastic and good quality. One packet includes 60 figures, enough for a warband.

On the right is V&V Miniatures, resin figures from Ukraine. There are about 60 sculpts available from the vikings range, including a few less common types such as shield maidens and ulfhednars. These are top quality miniatures, a little bit larger than the other two ranges. These are my favourites of the three, though the most expensive. In the UK, they are sold by Mezzers Minis.

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