Monday 30 November 2015

Marauders.....Almost Done

I was hoping to have the whole unit finished by month end, but there's still a few details to be finished off. Well, when I say few, the models are absolutely bristling with extras - belts, bags, straps, ornamentation, shackles and a liberal sprinkling of the good old warhammer skull. I am calling this first half dozen finished, though there are areas I could continue to work on. The rest should (hopefully) be along next weekend.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Dwarf Woes: A Gentle Stroll

Dwarfs trundle up on to a low hill
It's been a whole month since my last game, but last night I was finally able to roll some more dice. Once again I met up with my old adversary in his wargaming dungeon. Having got to grips with the rules in the first game of Fantastic Saga, we decided to borrow steal a scenario from Lion Rampant and plumped for Gentle Stroll. The dwarfs start in one corner and have to traverse with at least half of their force to the diagonally opposite corner. The enemy forces start in the remaining two corners and have to stop them, by slaying half of their opponent's force. A simple enough scenario, though possibly not ideal for the slow moving dwarfs.

Tinned dwarf for lunch?
From their vantage point on a low hill, the dwarf gunners were able to shoot at both incoming chaos forces. Each of these contained a giant beast of some kind, which from the past game I knew were very potent in combat. They also contained Chaos chosen troops, which are possibly even better at killing dwarfs. With the dwarf warsmith supporting the gunners, they could fire further and with more accuracy, but even so they made little impact on the incoming enemy. A couple of chosen warriors were downed, but most of the shots thudded into the giant beasts. Roaring with pain and anger, they closed in on their tormentors.

On my left flank, chosen warriors charged into slayers, who had moved forward to protect the main dwarf line. Luckily I had saved a Saga dice to enhance their combat and they fought to a Glorious Death. Six of the eight were slaughtered, but they did take down the chosen warriors. One of this surviving pair was then squashed under a rock thrown by a troll, leaving a lone slayer facing a Chaos Lord and Troll in combat! Needless to say, the slayer fulfilled his sacred oath and fell in battle.

Trail of Destruction
On my right flank, the giant moved forward and stomped on a whole unit of dwarfs. Barely pausing for breath, he charged headlong into the gunners who had annoyed him earlier in the game. Maybe he tripped on a dwarf corpse, but somehow he was brought down, just two unfortunate gunners crushed under his fallen bulk. There was no cheer from the dwarfs though, as their elite ironbreakers were charged by chosen warriors and completely butchered. The Chaos Lord too was slowly making his way up the hill, a trail of bloodied and crushed gunners in his wake. With over half of the dwarf forces dead, the game was over. Another tale of woe to add to the Book Of Grudges.

Yet again I felt as though the chaos forces had won the game with just half of their troops. The chaos chosen and giants are killing machines. The marauders, hounds and ogres simply stood back and cheered them on. The giant in particular caused me all sorts of problems again. I probably should have used my Lord and his bodyguard to take on these elite units. After just two games we are still at the foothills of the learning curve. For the next game, we will be trying out the two remaining boards, Elves and Undead.

Monday 23 November 2015

Black Chapel Miniatures Dwarfs

Here's a little snippet of news that may be of interest to dwarf collectors. Black Chapel Miniatures have announced a Black Friday sale this coming weekend. There are no price details as yet, but well worth keeping an eye on the website if you like this style of sculpt. It's a company I have only recently discovered, the miniatures are metal and scale well with GW figures, probably a little slimmer but around the same height. As a frugal gamer I will be checking out the sale, these prices are at the premium end of the market, so any little saving will be most welcome. I am tempted to get the complete set shown here (maybe if I write to Santa that could happen), but I would settle for a couple of my favourites, shown below. These would make excellent characters in my Fantastic Saga/ Dragon Rampant collection.


Friday 13 November 2015

Painting Pale Flesh

I am currently painting some marauders and thought that some might find it interesting or useful to get a little insight into how I have painted the skin. For most of  my personal work, I am always on the lookout to improve my speed as much as anything, but without reducing the quality of the paintwork. I realised long ago that base coat, shade, layer, layer and more layers was not for me - it takes too much time, is technically difficult and gives (to my eye) a very false finish. Consequently, I have spent many hours experimenting with washes, glazes and other methods. That's exactly what I have done here.

A white primer was washed with a grey - this is the finish on the non-skin areas in this first photo. I then painted the skin with a pale flesh colour, mixed with water and a little matte varnish - this is generally how I make up a glaze. In effect, I am basing the skin with a glaze. When that was dry, I mixed in some grey/blue, and applied a second glaze, this time concentrating on the recesses, especially around the abdomen, chest and arms.

After painting in a few leather bits, I revisited the skin. I used a favourite wash of mine from coat d'arms, the super wash brown. Diluted (again) with a little matte varnish, I use it to pick out face details like the mouth and eyes - it also went on to some leather areas. The final step was to mix up a green grey glaze and apply the final "deep" shading and any lining I think is required. You can see this down the centre of the chest, on the join of the stomach and trousers, and in the mouths. It's quite subtle (view the photos full size) but it does make a difference. It's possibly above what is required for gaming figures, which after all are viewed from arm's length, but it's a short step that makes a noticeable impact. And that's it! One base coat of a semi glaze, one glaze over all, and two more controlled shading glazes. No highlighting at all. I might break this rule later and add a little light here or there, especially to the front rank, but it's practically done. I hope some of you find this useful.

EDIT : You can see the final result of the fully painted unit in this post.

Monday 9 November 2015

Dwarf Rangers

The dwarf rangers are the first completed unit of my newest fantasy project. For the palette I wanted something earthy and rustic, as befits a unit that patrols the mountain passes and forests. There are touches of colour here and there, but it's mostly browns and leathers. Hopefully the characterful models overcome this "dull" scheme.

The models are a mix of metals and plastics. A couple of them are really old metals, one of them a heartbreaker model. The more stout (and sadly slightly mono-pose) figures are 1990's Bugman's Rangers - the command group is also from this era. The plastics are from the 1990's plastic range, with a few bits from my collection, I think most of these came from the more recent set of plastic miners.

Command group - the leader is waiting to be re-based

The figures are based on 2p pieces, to allow use in skirmish games like Saga or Dragon Rampant. To give me flexibility, I have also tried out some round-to-square movement trays, from the ever dependable warbases of course. Their aptly named 2p movement trays are available with a pre-drilled  hole to take a magnet. I don't happen to have the correct size magnets at the moment, another thing on my to do list, but it will be a simple job to glue one in the base and have my round based figures securely fixed into square regiment bases, if ever I need this configuration. I went for squares, though you can buy them in any size you like. These are 60mm square, slightly on the large size for games such as Kings of War I suspect, but these days I lean more towards flexible systems/players that don't mind such details. Two or three of these squares shunted together gives me a unit for War of the Ring, or Hail Caesar, or even good old WHFB against like-minded players who don't obsess over base sizes. If this does bother you, 1p trays are also available, I am unsure of the dimension of these but if you emailed warbases I am sure they would be happy to oblige.

Painting the unit has been tough going for me. I seem to have less patience as I get older, or maybe it's the knowledge that no matter how much I get finished, there's always something else that needs doing. I do love painting dwarfs, but I must admit to a sense of relief that these are now complete and I can move on to something new. What that is, I have yet to decide - maybe some more dwarfs or maybe go back to the chaos warriors for a while.

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