Monday 28 July 2014

Krom Dragongaze

Krom Dragongaze, from the Sanctus Reach Stormclaw boxset, available now on ebay.

I decided I would try my luck with a painted figure, sometimes they sell well, sometimes they crash and burn. I originally bought the boxset thinking that I would paint up both characters for an ebay head to head bidding war, but I like the ork too much and have added him to Mount Unpainted. And the other orks too - not quite sure why as I have not played 40k since 5th edition, but I might be able to persuade my mate to give it another try.

The quality of the plastic sculpts is quite mind blowing when you look at this shot. They have come a long, long way since the single poses of the 1990's. Well of course they have, you might be saying, they would do wouldn't they as technologies improve and sculptors learn more? But having spent a couple of years browsing and sometimes buying historical figures, I can see a massive difference in sculpt and casting quality. Some of the manufacturers have stood still in time, yet they seem to have a big fanbase and just keep chugging along. Even looking through some old White Dwarfs I was shocked at just how poor some of the old stuff was. It was pure enjoyment to assemble and paint this beauty I can tell you!

The whole Stormclaw boxset is similarly top quality stuff. When GW put out a product like this, I love them again. All the sprues are straight from the main range, they are not simple snap together figures like in other starter sets. So effectively they are selling main range figures at about half price. Add in two characters, a mini rulebook and a high quality scenario booklet and it really is excellent value for money. Credit when credit is due, I can't think of many other sets that come anywhere near in terms of quality. If only they did a similar thing for vikings and saxons!

Saturday 26 July 2014

Vikings WIP and Stormclaw

Progress on the vikings is very slow, I was hoping to be much further on with them by now. The heat is my main excuse, it really makes painting difficult (and everything else for that matter). With a return to more normal temperatures forecast I am hoping to get moving again next week.

The bulk of my time has been spent on commission work, as building plastic figures is a reasonable thing to do whatever the weather. I have also been distracted by this extremely well armed, well armoured viking. Yep, I caved and bought the Stormclaw boxset. The models are brilliant, the two characters are absolutely oozing with character, while the standard figures are full, on sprue figures at about half the usual price. Flicking through the scenario booklet I was reminded at just how accomplished it all was, it really is a fine production. When GW put out packages like Stormclaw, nobody in the industry comes anywhere close in terms of quality and value for money. I will be keeping the orks and selling on the space wolves and rule booklet - if anyone is interested drop me a message!

Sunday 20 July 2014

Return of the Vikings

The vikings are back! I have spent the past few weeks flitting from project to project, often painting with no real goal in mind, other than to ramble in the foothills of Mount Unpainted. But now I have a deadline - to paint these dozen vikings in the next couple of weeks. These are Drabant Miniatures figures and I rate them very highly, probably the nicest historical figures I own. With a start made on the clothing you can begin to realise why I like them, I reckon they will truly shine when the faces and shields are completed.

The reason for the deadline is two fold. I will be playing a few games with them on a specially arranged Saga day round at Matt's dungeon. We have also had a trial run of Dux Brittaniarum and will be playing a campaign at some stage. While the game is designed with Romana Brits versus Saxons, we didn't really see any problem in leaping forward a few centuries and playing Saxons versus Vikings. More painting and gaming viking action to come.......

Thursday 17 July 2014

Ork Tankbustas

Da Tankbustas mob

Fixed! The solution was simple, I changed all the rokkits to yellow and black, while keeping the grenades the original red. I am happier with the unit now, it's far less confusing. A few models also got some stripes or wavey lines on their kit, the boss especially likes to grab da best rokkits.

Da Boss n squigs

It's strange picking up models after a long gap. I know that some painters stick with tried and tested methods forever and would just carry on where they left off. I continually try new techniques, new paints, new mediums, so I was a bit surprised at the finish of these figures. It seems a bit clumsy in parts. I guess that means I have made progress along the way, even if it's gradual and miniscule. In the old days I would base coat, wash, then re-highlight. These days I am far more likely to start with a light tone and use glazes and washes to add shades. It's quicker and gives a better result - in my eyes at least.

Da plastik konvershuns 

Truth be told, I have always been baffled by the adoration heaped on the game. The aesthetic has never quite grabbed me in the way it does others, but I do think that the orks were first in the greenskin line when the GW designers handed out charisma. My fantasy orcs pale by comparison - although I reckon a few goblins could give them a run for their money. You probably either love them or hate them, but there's no denying they have a certain something, a slightly ridiculous over the top comic ferocity in a slightly ridiculous over the top universe. Carrying rockets in mouths, bomb squigs, rocket hammers, it's all very silly and jars a little with the usual grimdark solemnity, which is probably why they are my only 40k army.

Da fishul metal uns 

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Pesky Orks

I am having problems with these orks. Firstly, I should not be painting them at all - I have not played 40k since 5th edition, it's a game that is just not on my radar. Seeing the recent releases made me dig out my old collection and I couldn't resist putting the finishing touches to a mob of tankbustas.

The main problem is the colour scheme. Green skin plus yellow armour is a potent combination, adding red rockets into the mix was probably one vibrant colour too many. I need to change something, probably make the red a more de-saturated colour, or just black, maybe a few touches of red here and there.

The final problem is what to do with them. The logical thing would be to sell them and put the money earned to my current gaming needs. But, I'm not sure I can let them go. They have such character in the sculpts. Silly? Yes. Over the top? Yes. But how could you not like these chaps? Even if they do have a jarring palette?

Monday 14 July 2014

White Dwarf Pirate

The White Dwarf subscriber only figure from a couple of years back, painted as a birthday gift for my brother.

I know it's ancient history these days, but I still cannot get my head around finecast. I have never had a flawless model, this one was better than previous examples but still had plenty of problems, a big chunk missing from the sword scabard being the most obvious. There were lots of bubbles too and a few bits missing here and there - part of a finger and a hole in the skull. The telescope was droopy too, though that's the easiest to fix with a quick dunk in hot water. By far the worst material I have ever worked with, no more detail than metal holds and about twice the price! I continue to paint occasional samples for commission, but there are zero in my own collection.

Friday 11 July 2014

Rohan Archers

The second batch of eight figures for the Rohan force is a unit of archers. Without the shields to hide behind and suffering from a bad case of single poses, this is a less impressive unit than the first set of warriors. On the plus side they were very quick to paint up, just three sessions and they were pretty much done.

When it comes to gaming with the new figures I have a few ideas in mind. The obvious choice would be to use Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. It's a reasonable game and plays well at the smaller end, around 20 to 30 figures per side, so probably will be the first action seen by the forces of Rohan.

For slightly larger battles I will be tinkering around to produce Saga battle boards for both Rohan and Isengard. This is my goal, to provide enough troops to play six or eight point games, which means at least another 16 infantry and probably 16 cavalry, depending on how they are defined in the game. With the first two points painted, and another one or two points constructed, I am well on the way to gaming on the plains of Rohan.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Rohan Warriors

This small contingent of eight Rohan warriors was painted as a little experiment, to test a colour scheme. I think it works well so will continue with the rest of the force in this kind of palette.

I have had these figures (plus many more) lying around for some time, I picked them up in a Two Towers boxset along with some uruk hai. I thought it was about time I spent some time painting good guys.

I chose eight for a number of reasons. It's a good size unit to work on efficiently without it being too daunting. One or two figures is too few, you spend more time opening and closing paint pots than actually painting. Twenty or more is too many unless you are prepared to spend several sessions. Eight or ten is just about right for me, to get results in a few one hour or so sessions. Eight also just happens to be the number of figures required for a company in War of the Ring, and for a point of standard warriors in Saga.

As with dark ages figures, the most prominent feature is the shields, so I spent a little more time on them. I decided on a mix of reds, browns and greens as the basic colour, which ties in nicely with the rustic palette of the clothing. The bases are a bit lighter than I usually paint, I wanted to emulate the green pastures of Rohan, so a light earth and a mix of green and brown/straw static grass. Onward to the next eight!

Tuesday 1 July 2014

The Office

There's not much to report at the moment. I blame the weather, it's unusually sunny and warm, which is great for tourists, but bad for painting. As a temporary measure, I have set up my paints in a shady spot in the garden. So here is my studio - a folding table and chair, which I have to move around chasing the shade. It's very pleasant sitting there painting with just the drone of the bees and the occasional squawk of a jackdaw as an ambient soundtrack. It's a bit less relaxing now that the contents of the local school have poured on to the nearby playing field for their mid morning break, so I have escaped into the usual office. As nice as it looks, the light is not that good, it's not flat or even, too much contrast. On grey, overcast days I reckon I am the only one cheering in England! Ah well, there's the bell for end of break, back to the toil.
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