Wednesday, 29 August 2018

More dwarfs emerge

Dwarfs are on my mind at the moment. I have recently painted some for my Lord of the Rings collection and am also painting some on commission. It made me think back to my Dwarfs of Oakenhammer project, a loose collection of Warhammer dwarfs that I have acquired down the years. One thing sorely lacking from that force is a unit of basic warriors, something I have spent a lot of time pondering. I did make a start on some conversions, but I have my doubts about them. So I had a sort through my metals and decided that this would make a good start to a unit. It's a mixed bunch, but that's fine I think.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

More Mordor Orcs

I have recently been feeling a little frustrated at a lack of progress in my painting. I just don't seem to get much finished. There's plenty of half-painted figures around, but I wanted something quick and easy to do. I decided that Mordor orcs are about the fastest thing I can paint to completion so dug a handful of those out of the cupboard. I had almost sold these at one point, convinced I would never come back to them because I already have enough orcs for the type of games I play. But with the recent announcement on a Lord of the Rings starter box, they were in my mind, so I thought what the heck, you can never have too many maggots to throw at the enemy.

A while back* I wrote a tutorial on speed painting Mordor orcs, which proved useful to me here. I made a few tweaks this time around, priming a brown to hopefully speed the process, which did seem to work.

If you look closely you will see that there are a few variations in the unit. These are basic head and weapons swaps, but also the addition of a few extra bits from the Oathmark goblins set. Anything to try to avoid the cloned look of single pose figures.


After three or four painting sessions, the orcs were complete. They are not prize winning paint jobs by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they are little more than base coat and wash. But they are fifteen figures that were unpainted, now painted to add to my tally. And that's a good feeling after recent hobby apathy.

Lumping all the Mordor orcs together there's around fifty of the maggots now. With all my other orcs, there's at least a hundred of them painted and ready to battle. There's a certain quality to be had in a large quantity of troops.

*May 2013 in fact, more than five years ago - where do those years go?

Monday, 20 August 2018

Vikings Wear Eye Liner

And other fascinating tidbits on the famous dark ages raiders...

A small band of vikings have invaded Rheged and set up camp. Rather than looting and pillaging, they seem content to charm the locals with displays of their combat prowess, weaving skills and culinary talents.

I visited a viking re-enactment over the weekend. There was a small number of vikings and Saxons engaged in mock combat, a camp of about a dozen tents with various occupants. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours. Chatting with the participants is always informative, they seem very knowledgeable, though they do bust a few myths! I took a selection of snaps for inspiration for our toy soldiers.


I was unable to get close shots of all the combatants, probably just as well because they looked far from fierce! Notice that the garments are quite drab and that most colours are not particularly vibrant.


Samples of dyed wools on the left, while on the right woven ribbons used to decorate tunics. Those yellows look quite bright, while the reds seem more brown or tangerine. Rich red was probably hard to achieve. If you want your toys to look authentic, better paint them in pink pastels!


Some of the dye materials, which were various dried and ground plants, tree bark and minerals. Colour would also be picked up from the pot used to dye the wool.


A richly decorated scabbard, probably the property of the lord or one of his close circle.


Swords and helmets were the property of the richest members of society. We were told that a sword would cost about £80,000 in today's prices - not sure how they arrived at the figure, it seems very high to me, but I think we generally agree that swords were for the few, not the many. If your little toy bondi are wielding such blades, they probably shouldn't be - unless they pinched it from a dead lord! I'm not sure the shield device is accurate, lifted from the Vikings TV series.


The star of the show for me was this fine looking fellow. A viking berserker you cry! Actually, he was the camp cook and spent most of his time stirring a huge cauldron of bubbling pork stew. He made his own silver jewellery, which was based on various treasure hoard finds. Note also his well groomed facial hair and clean appearance. Vikings were probably very popular with the local ladies - they bathed every Saturday and took pride in their appearance. There's even some grave evidence that they wore eye liner to improve their looks. Little wonder then that there's plenty of viking DNA mingled in with our own.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Lord of the Old Forest

Hobbying has taken a back seat recently to summer activities. Apart from an hour last weekend, it's been almost a whole month with nothing painted. However, as I had the camera out to photograph a commission piece, I thought I would dig something out of the glass cabinet.

This is an old metal Beastmen figure, I think it was a unit champion back in the day. I added the plastic antlers and the (probably very impracticable) flail to the weapon handle. It was painted purely for fun, there's no army for him to lead (yet....).

At the time I think I was experimenting with monotone palettes. It certainly is that! If I was painting it today I would make the skin paler and the armour darker.  I have always liked this simple conversion, maybe I should repaint it at some time, make it a bit less mono, a bit more toned.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Red Death

A blood red moon hangs in the night sky as the Lord of Bleak Fell continues his journey into the ancient catacombs deep inside the Helsridge mountains. More spirits have been awakened. These creatures were once executioners, the swish of their scythes the last thing heard by many a victim, their robes stained red over a lifetime of bloody decapitations. The Red Death has been unleashed.

Four more spirits added to my Undead army. These wraiths are lovely models - they have so much movement and animation, a great improvement on the clunky old metal figures. When it came to painting them I was torn between two possible schemes. I did think that they were little bit like Harry Potter dark wizards, black robes and mist floating through the sky. But I thought that might be a bit dull and not really fit in with the rest of the army, which is quite colourful considering it's dead! So I went instead with an old school vibe of red robes, coupled with the ochre brown tones from the Warden's robes.

In truth I am unsure if the scheme works that well. I can never quite decide if high contrast is a good thing - the dark red and the light blue mist are poles apart.There's also a slight gloss sheen on the robes that I cannot get rid off which is distracting my eye. I am going to put them to one side, call them done for now, maybe tinker with them again at some future point.

They took a while to get painted, what with the recent heatwave and the usual summer time distractions. There's a handful of figures still to do from the Soul Wars set, including the pick of the bunch for me, the mounted spectral knight. Hopefully I can get them painted before another distraction comes along. I am already starting to think about another two factions to add my fantasy collection!


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