Thursday 29 September 2011

And yet more old pics

Zombies are a staple unit in Vampire Counts armies, in my old army I had about 60 of them. The sculpts are starting to look a bit dated, the huge hand syndrome that we all seemed to overlook ten years ago is mentioned all the time now. I guess as gamers and collectors we have become more discerning (or demanding). Big limbs aside, these don't look too bad to me, the muted tones help to hide their deficiencies.

This unit contains an ogre zombie I made from one of the heroquest ogres, which are a bit smaller than the current plastic ogres and fit into the unit a little better. I think I still have one or two of these round somewhere, I might see if I can sneak one into my new army.

I can remember quite clearly that I did take one photo of all the zombies in one huge regiment. Sadly I have no copy of it. There is something very impressive about a mass horde of figures on the tabletop, so one of the first tasks in building the new army is just that - a zombie horde.

And that concludes our meander down memory lane. There were other units in the army, but the photos have melted away to a virtual graveyard somewhere out there. Maybe they will turn up again, in another ten years.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

More pics from the past

Here's a picture of one of my favourite regiments. It's from an Undead army I painted about ten years ago, I can't remember exactly when it was done. It's part of an army that I eventually sold to a gamer in America. The pictures I found on the Vampire Counts forum, I had long ago thought they were lost forever.

The idea for the regiment came from the GW regiments of renown. They released the Cursed Company, which included a few non-human skeletons: a dwarf, a skaven, a lizard, and orc I think. I added some old metal armoured skeletons and built a few other plastic dwarf skeletons. There's even a couple of non-GW figures in there somehwere. The regiment is long gone, but I did keep hold of a few minis as a souvenir of the army. I might even be able to include them in my new army, though it's doubtful as stylistically they are very different to the current build.

The army included three regiment of skeletons, including this unit with nifty wooden shields. I had used the army in tournaments and it had been "spotted" by some GW bods. Consequently, I was invited to the HQ in Nottingham and had the army photographed. However, some of the components, these shields included, were not GW made and so ultimately they did not print the photos. I seem to recall sitting in the studio reading the new Tomb Kings book before it was released, while the photographer got all the shots that were never to be published.

The third and final regiment of skeletons I had built from the old single pose plastic high elf spearmen and spare skeleton bits. I don't have a photo of the full regiment, just a single rank, but it gives a rough idea of how the unit must have looked. I think in total there were about 60 or 70 skeletons in the army, spread across the three regiments. Certainly more than those in my first army, which was a single regiment of 30 skeletons, reflecting the growing size of armies as newer editions of the game were released. None more so than the current version of the game, which really encourages large blocks of infantry. I will probably aim for two skeleton regiments in my new army, of about 25 - 35 models each. It's never easy giving exact sizes when planning a Vampire Counts army, magic tends to inflate regiments almost as quickly as enemy units decimate them!

Sunday 25 September 2011

A Long Time Ago.... a gaming world far, far away.

It's hard to believe that I have been gaming and collecting for nearly twenty years. So many things have changed in that time. Most of my collection from that time has disappeared, I probably sold it on to other gamers (this was the pre-ebay era). But I do have a few models that I have kept for sentimental reasons. Here's the cream of my early 1990's painting.

The army book at the time was simply the Undead and included what would later be split into the both Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings ranges. The figure on the left is a liche, the one in the centre is a necromancer on a converted dark elf pegasus, and finally on the right is Krell. I also had a vampire, but he has vanished into the night. All the units are long gone, but from memory there was plastic skeleton warriors and horsemen and chariot made from the Undead Army boxset, a large metal regiment of zombies (large being 28, 7 ranks of 4 wide), 3 carrion riders, 2 screaming skull catapults and I think that was it. You didn't need many models to build a 2000 point army in the 1990s.

The liche was my general. I can remember being really pleased with the painting on this model. Though it looks very garish through modern eyes, it was in fact quite muted and understated for the period! For a while it was my best painted model. The robes  were a massive breakthrough for me. Notice the rather bright red scarf. Every model has red accesories in the 1990's. 

Then I decided to take a chance at Golden Daemon and painted up Krell. Brightly coloured single figures with hand painted banners were all the rage and believe it or not, this figure made the final cut. Some of the highlights are drybrushed on, the only guide we had back in those days was White Dwarf, which continually recommended drybrushing and ink washing. Check out the goblin green knee pads. 

While I have a fondness for these old models, I do think that many of the changes that have taken place over the two decades have been for the better. I have never really understood the viewpoint that "old metals are automatically great sculpts and have bags more character than the modern day rubbish". Though I am not particularly a fan of the current Vampire character sculpts, I would not to go back to these.

Friday 23 September 2011

Project XX

According to my calendar, today is the first day of autumn. The season of death and decay, when colour and vibrance seeps away all around us, first in golden and red hues, then pale and sickly yellows, finally leaving bare skeletons where once there was life.

For me, autumn is not the end of something, not the transition from summer warmth to winter cold. It's the start of a new year. The days get shorter and there's less incentive to be outside. It's an ideal time to start something new in the hobby, start a big project to tide you over the long, cold winter months.

This year (or rather next year)  is extra special for me. In autumn 2012 I will have been playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle for 20 years. I'm not sure of the exact date, but it was in September or October 1992 that I bought the fourth edition box set. To celebrate I intend to recreate my first fully painted army. Welcome to Project XX.

A lot has changed in the game over twenty years. Back then it was the introduction of the fourth edition that got me started. Single pose plastics (elves and goblins) and cardboard cutout characters, which we battled with over a bare dining table. Fast forward to eighth edition, the elves are back, but in some of the best plastics I have seen. Even the characters are present, for me the high elf lord on griffon is the best introductory (snap-together) model ever produced. High elves were probably my first army, if you count number of models as being the primary consideration in owning an army. But they were not my first painted army. They were far too difficult for a beginner to tackle, so I went for a much easier option. What could be easier than painting a skeleton in bleached bone, applying a chestnut wash and basing in green flock (the official 1992 recipe from White Dwarf)? That was my reasoning as I put together a 2000 point Undead army for a tournament back in the mid 1990's.

Today then, the first day of autumn, seems a fitting Day One. I have, of course, been cheating, in that I have been assembling plastics in spare moments over the summer. And I already have a few models from a previous project to get me started. But before I get to those, I will be taking a trip down memory lane.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Dwarf Berserkers painted

The Avatars of War dwarf berserkers have been finished for some time, but I am not sure they are painted to their full potential. At first I thought that my lazy technique of base coat and wash was to blame, but looking at them as a regiment there's no real problem.

I think the main issue for me is that they are very different to all the dwarfs in my army. They have no armour (well duh, who would have thought it) and so are much lighter in appearance. I have also painted their beards in very warm colours, which is quite a contrast to the dour look of most of the other dwarfs in the army. I think at some stage I will add blue or green tattooes to draw attention away from all that pink flesh - it's almost elfish, which just won't do. But that's a project for another time, to be precise, when the new army book arrives.

My final thoughts on the Avatars of War kits? It's a superb addition to a dwarf army. The sculpts are top notch,  stylistically a little different to GW dwarfs in that the AOW figures are very broad across the shoulder and slightly narrower in the face. I actually prefer them to the GW sculpts. If  AOW were ever to release armoured dwarfs, I would have a lot of redundant GW models.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Here's a photo of the two recently completed regiments in a side by side comparison shot. Obviously you have to look past the fact that some are heavily armoured while the others are practically naked. Even if you don't like the style of the AOW models, the scale is compatible and the price is reasonable. It's like travelling back in time, when you could buy a boxed regiment from GW and it would contain enough models to make a proper regiment and include a movement tray too. Ah, happy days, makes me feel a little bit like reminiscing.......cue wavy picture and jingle jangle this space!

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Dwarf Rangers Painted

The dwarf rangers are just about finished. A few of the models will be given shields at some stage, but I am putting that on hold for a while as I re-consider the shields and banners across the whole army.

These were speed painted, most of the colours are a base coat and a wash or couple of glazes. It gives a reasonable finish that is quick to achieve. I have kept the colours fairly muted as I wanted them to look a little travel worn. I have included a few fifth edition arms to add a little variety to the poses. There's also a couple of conversions in the unit, weapons slung over shoulder, or a sneaky pull on a pint, that kind of thing.

I am happy to put the dwarfs aside for the time being. At the start of the summer I didn't really have a project in mind, when the release of the Avatars of War berserkers spurred me into some beardy action (I will be posting pictures of those models tomorrow). Now that I have added two units to my dwarf army and brought it up to about 2500 points painted, I feel like I am in a strong position for when the next dwarf army book is released. If some of the rumour mongers are to be believed, it won't be long before we get to some new beardy action.

Sunday 18 September 2011

Ogres for sale

I have some ogres up for sale on ebay. I bought them a couple of years back, thinking I could use them in my chaos army and maybe also develop them as a standalone army. I played them a couple of times, but never really got excited about them. When the new version of the book was released I decided they were not for me.

If you are interested, please click here to visit my ebay page.

Friday 2 September 2011

Dwarf Rangers painting progress

I am painting the dwarf rangers slowly, a snatched hour here and there. They are still some way off completion, but I thought I would show what I had done so far.

The first step is nearly always armour and metals. These are painted on as chainmail paint, followed by a wash of a mix of black and chestnut ink. Pure black ink is very stark, the chestnut makes it slightly greyer.

The next step is to paint the flesh. I have mixed up a pot of a blend of Tallarn Flesh plus white, for a pale tone. Once this is dry, it gets a wash with a mid brown, the rough equivalent of Ogryn Flesh. I apply this to the whole unit, by the time the last is done, the first is just about dry so I can apply a second coat where heavier shading is needed, basically around the eyes and mouth, in between fingers, etc.

The next stage is to paint in the clothing and leather. For these I have used a variety of fairly muted colours from the coat d'arms range, sticking to chestnut, grey blue, mid grey and dullish greens. The leather bits are just a selection of mid browns, while the boots are a darker brown.

That's all I have managed in the past week or so. The next stage will be a wash on the clothing and leather, to add a little shading and texture. Then it will be time for the beards, after which there will be very little left to do.

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