Friday 23 June 2017

The Butcher

The Butcher of StoneGrave Moor. You probably recognise this as an ogre kingdoms butcher, at least that was it's title when I bought it years ago. I swapped the head for a plastic one, think it came from the leadbelchers set. I also added a little greenstuff here and there to hide joins. Then it sat in the cabinet for years - I originally had intended using three as Nurgle ogres but never got round to the other two. Now that I am painting an Undead force, I thought it was the ideal model to lead a pack of ghouls. Yes, I may well have played Castlevania at some time in the past.

I am currently working on twenty-four zombies for the force, a task that is testing my resolve to the limit. Any excuse (like writing a blog post) to not pick up the brushes I am jumping at. I can happily paint commission regiments of twice this size, but am very impatient with my own figures at the moment.

Tuesday 20 June 2017

North Star Goblins previewed

I spotted this picture on the Lead Adventure Forum - a preview of upcoming plastic orcs/goblins. These are three ups, master models which are reduced in size - the final versions will have slimmer bases, slightly less defined details. I like the look of these, they are different to the usual orcs available to gamers. I posted some artwork on various interpretations of orcs in the past (here, here and here).

These orcs follow on from the recently released plastic dwarfs and will in turn (according to rumour) be followed by plastic elves. I didn't like the dwarfs much, they strayed a bit too close to the Disney/garden gnome aesthetic for my taste, but it will be interesting to see the elves when they finally surface. I posted a review of the Osprey book on dwarfs (here), though never picked up the orcs or elves books.

Wednesday 14 June 2017

V&V Miniatures Vikings Review

I have been keeping an eye on V&V Miniatures for the past year or so, as they released more and more vikings. Finally, with my birthday around the corner, I gave in to temptation and put in an order. I had read on facebook that they take a while to ship - it was about five weeks in my case, so bear this in mind if you are making an order.

The figures arrive in stout card boxes with the contents pictured on the cover. Each mini is contained in a sealed plastic bag. If you order any loose minis these are placed into one of the other boxes for protection. They did arrive in a soggy jiffy bag (rain is very common around here) - probably a fault of the postman as much as anything - but luckily there was no damage to the contents.

I am amazed at the quality of the castings. They are made from a nice hard resin, with very little mould lines to remove and virtually no flaws - I think I found two inconspicuous air bubbles on the whole lot of twenty figures. That's better than most resin figures I have worked on. You will have to remove the "tabs" from the feet and drill through the hand to receive the weapon on some models. This example also has a head to fit, though most of my models had an integrated head. Note also the lightly textured resin base. I am using two pence coins (UK) for my bases as they give a nice little extra weight for stability on the tabletop and are also handily magnetic. Coincidentally, the resin bases are exactly the same diameter as two pence coins.

The sculpts are wonderful - nice natural body poses, good proportions and an amazing level of detail - how many of your minis have designs on the belt buckles? Or sculpted teeth? It really is incredible how finely detailed they are, certainly the equal of the best fantasy sculpts I have seen and far, far more intricate than any of my metal historicals. Suffice to say, they are now the best in my historical collection, in terms of sculpt and cast.

All this quality comes at a cost of course. These figures are three euros apiece. For many players, this will be expensive, when metals can be had for about half this rate, and plastics can be had for much less. For me, they are worth every penny. If you want quality rather than quantity, these are definitely the minis for you.

Finally, some comparison shots so you can judge the proportions and scale against some other manufacturers. This is the extent of my historical collection, I do not own figures from other manufacturers, so apologies if your favourite brand is missing!

With Drabant Miniatures (metal)

With Foundy figures (metal)

With Gripping Beast (plastic on left, metal on right)

With Gripping Beast Saxon (plastic, left) and Saxon Miniatures (metal, right)

Sunday 4 June 2017


It's my birthday next week! I usually book a holiday, but unfortunately I was unable to get that particular time slot and had to settle for a week earlier than usual. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For one, it's actually sunny - not always a given in June in England. Secondly, I discovered this little festival purely by chance. A very fortunate early birthday gift from the gods....

Eboracum was the Roman settlement established in the north of England - later resettled by the Vikings and known as Yorvik - now the beautiful city of York.  

There were two main elements to the festival - a military drill and a Roman camp. The drill was very informative and highly entertaining, though a few of the little kiddies were in tears when charged by the fully armoured troops. The camp was a chance to see some of the equipment at close hand, chat with the re-enactors who are always very knowledgeable, and partake of  free samples of  Roman food - though no larks' tongues.  

On to the Roman camp. One of the exhibitors had some model soldiers to explain tactics, which I thought was suitably nerdy for the blog.

Thursday 1 June 2017


A unit of hastily painted ghouls. As I said in my last post, I am keen to get something painted more rapidly than the usual months (years!) long slog, so these are a bit rough around some edges. Still, I am happy with them for the amount of time spent on them.

These are the plastic goblins from the Hobbit game, perfect ghouls/troglodytes/demons in my eyes. They are based on two pence coins, handily magnetic, cheap and they give a little weight to the model. Onward to the next figure, some kind of super ghoul coming up.....
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