Thursday 31 December 2020

Seventh day of Beardmas


On the seventh day of Beardmas....

Dwarf miners of Oakenheim, lovely old Marauder Miniatures from the early 90s. Quite possibly the dwarfiest dwarfs ever made. The most recent unit added to the Oakenheim force, painted entirely in the month of Beardmas. An old unit, newly painted. Probably the finest selection of beards gathered together in one place, a bit like a World’s Strongest Man competition.

🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄 🎄

What’s the difference between a hippo and a zippo?

One’s very heavy and one’s a little lighter

Wednesday 30 December 2020

Sixth day of Beardmas


On the sixth day of Beardmas....

The Oakenguard of Oakenheim. These are the elite warriors of the hold, those who have proven themselves time and again on the field of battle. Kitted out with finely wrought armour and huge axes, they are a formidable force to be reckoned with. Built from plastic long beards kit in the main, the pointing captain was made by Russian Alternative Miniatures.


Why do Xmas elves dislike Russian dolls?

Because they are so full of themselves

Tuesday 29 December 2020

Fifth day of Beardmas


On the fifth day of Beardmas....

Five dwarf gunners. I originally had some modern plastics (iron drakes) in use as gunners, but I am slowly replacing them with these golden oldies. There are five painted, with another three to come at some point. Longer term it would be nice to have all twelve of the old sculpts, though I am not sure my wallet can stretch to the price of metals nowadays.


Why are advent calendars on the endangered list?

Because their days are numbered.

Monday 28 December 2020

Fourth day of Beardmas


On the fourth day of Beardmas....

Warriors of Oakenheim. Quite a diverse bunch, reflecting my frustration in finding models I like to represent the basic warriors of the hold. There’s about twenty five years between the oldest and newest model in this unit. Building units of decent looking dwarf warriors has been the biggest challenge of this project, I still struggle to find models that look good. Ideally I would have at least two more units filling this role. The struggle continues.


What do you call a really old snowman?

A puddle

Sunday 27 December 2020

Third day of Beardmas

On the third day of Beardmas....

After the slayer slog, I needed to chill with something a bit more relaxing. I switched to gunners and used the relatively recent plastic set, I forget their name. After building and painting ten of them, I decided they did not really fit in with the aesthetic and they were canned. On the plus side, the master gunner is a lovely metal thane model, and one of the nicest painted figures in the throng.

The other model is, of course, the gyrocopter, another of those iconic dwarf models. This is my favourite of the various incarnations, c 1993, the pilot sculpted by Michael Perry. Most of my all time favourite dwarf sculpts were made by the Perry twins. 


Why did the gingerbread man go to the gym?

He wanted to work on his crumby body.

Saturday 26 December 2020

Second day of Beardmas


On the second day of Beardmas....

A unit of dwarf berserkears. These are an odd choice for me because for years I never really liked the concept of the slayer cult. But then I always liked the sculpts, especially the daemon slayers. I am still struggling to fit them into the Oakenheim narrative, other than copying the GW story.

This unit took such a long time, I spent far too long  sweating over the beards and skin. The first seven models took me about five months off and on. After that, I must have been worn out because I dropped the project for about two years! The three in the centre of the front rank are my favourites in this unit.


How much does Santa pay to park his sleigh?

Nothing, it’s on the house.

Friday 25 December 2020

First day of Beardmas

On the first day of Beardmas...

Dwarf rangers of Oakenheim. These were the models that started it all, a slow burn project using the best dwarf models I could find, started back in 2015. The captain with eye patch and wooden leg is a favourite of mine. There’s a good mix of all sorts in this unit, metal Bugman’s rangers, plastic conversions and a couple of Heartbreaker (I think) vintage models.

Let’s pull our first Christmas cracker, put on a paper hat and read the hilarious joke. 


Why does Santa have three gardens?  

Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Dwarf Miners of Oakenheim

The wealth of Oakenheim was not in gold and gemstones, nor in iron or coal, but in salt. It has been used by dwarfs for thousands of years, for seasoning of course, but most importantly for food preservation. The dwarfs could not survive the bleak midwinter months if they relied on hunted game and foraged berries. It is the vast larder of salted (preserved) foodstuffs that gets them through the lean winter months. That, and copious barrels of beer. It was the discovery of salt deposits under the mountains that first led to the founding of the hold of Oakenheim, and transportation of the valuable commodity that enabled the kingdom to spread. Dwarf Miners are the bedrock of dwarf society.

This has been my main focus in the month of Decembeard, a unit of dwarf miners from around 1992. They are possibly the dwarfiest  dwarfs of this era. I think most people associate miners with coal or metals, I know I certainly did. But after a holiday in Krakow and a visit to the Mines of Moria, I discovered the significance of humble salt to human civilisation, and translated this into my Oakenheim history. Travel is a wonderful thing !

When I started to paint the minis I had very few choices to make. The mail shirts would be metal colours and the leather gloves would be browns and tans. The only thing to decide on was the beards. I thought white or grey would give the most contrast, and these three are probably my favourites of the unit. The dwarf in the centre of this trio is hands down the best sculpt in the unit in my eyes.

With the command group I wanted to add some variety of beard tones. I figured that the banner, horn, etc would draw the eye and thus the beard could take a slightly more background role. At some stage I might add a flag to the banner pole.

For completeness, the final pair of dwarfs from the unit. Nothing particularly spectacular, but sometimes the sum is greater than the parts.

With the gunners from the previous post, that’s my sum total of achievement for Decembeard, as far as the Dwarfs of Oakenheim are concerned. I am very happy with this result, painting has not come easy to me in the past few months and these were certainly completed much quicker than earlier units. The miners took around ten hours in total including prep, and I reckon that’s a very good result at just over an hour a figure. 

Stay tuned for the Twelve Days of Beardmas 🎅🏻

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Dwarf Gunners of Oakenheim

A brace of dwarf gunners, hastily finished as part of Decembeard. These two are fairly muted in colour, I figure that they would spend much of their time hunting for game and would want to blend into a forest background. They are, of course, from the marauder miniatures range from around 1992, the year I started  in Warhammer. I have to say I am not that keen on the strange grin of the sniper dwarf.

And with those two added to the unit I now have five gunners ready for battle. That’s enough to make a unit for games of Erehwon, which has become my favourite way to play fantasy battles, on the very rare occasion I roll dice. Hopefully they will see some action over the midwinter break.

Sunday 13 December 2020

Dwarf Miners Painting Part 2

The second half of the painting guide is where all the good stuff happens. The focal point of the models is the face and beards, and those two areas are covered first. I did write an in depth guide to painting flesh which might be useful (I certainly referred to it)! Beards I might cover in a video tutorial at some stage in the future. For the time being, these photos will have to suffice. As before, each photo is taken at the end of a one hour session of painting.

Faces and stones on bases

Base coating beards and candles and trim

More work on beards, candles and gloves

Finishing the beards and candles, matt varnished

After eight sessions of roughly an hour each, the miners are nearly complete. I have to finish the base edges and addd a little metal highlighting. In total, around ten hours including preparation and basing. When they are photographed under decent lighting you can see if that was time well spent.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Dwarf Miners Painting Part 1

 This is a brief description of the way I painted the dwarf miners. It’s not a detailed step by step, more a summary of how I tackled the unit. Each photo shows the state of the figures at the end of an hour long session. I tend to paint one hour at a time and, these days, seldom have more than one session in a day. So the time taken stretches over several days.

Primed white, then metals base coated

Metals shaded

Leathers base coated, using artists acrylic paint in this case

Shading leather, base colours and flesh started

That’s four hours work on this unit and now they are finally coming together. They are moving from the ugly duckling stage and starting to look a bit dwarfish. When the beards and faces are painted the  unit will really come to life, that will happen in the next part.

Friday 4 December 2020

Dwarf Miners preparation stage

The first step in getting the miners painted is to get them cleaned and primed. Some of these were previously painted and have been cleaned in a bath of biostrip. I have blogged on stripping paint from minis before (post here). They were then glued to the bases, which for me are coins. If the mini has no tab, I usually glue them on to coffee stirrers and then glue the stirrer on to the coin. I then add sand and basing material. For a fuller explanation on this process, I have a handy video guide. Once the base texture is dry, I prime the figures in white. Not the most exciting of stages, but certainly one of the most important.

Old timers will recognise these minis, but if you did not start the hobby in the previous century, you might be wondering what they are. These are dwarf miners from Marauder Miniatures, a small independent company that ran alongside Citadel for a few years in the 1990s I think - I am no expert on the exact details. These figures were released in 1992/3, I am pretty confident about that date as that was when I started in the hobby. Here’s a catalogue page from that time. I have one of each of the miners and the full command group, though my leader is pointing a finger rather than shaking his fist. I think this was released at a later date as part of the Grudge of Drong campaign release, though as I say I do not claim to be a reliable source.

Tuesday 1 December 2020

It’s Decembeard

It’s that time of year, when thoughts turn to partridges in pear trees, mince pies, and rotund bearded visitors. The perfect time to dig out some old dwarfs and get them painted up. Though in this case, they may well have dug themselves out from a deep, dark hole where minis lie for years, yearning to be discovered. It’s time to get some dwarf miners painted!

It’s the first day of the month that I am calling Decembeard. It’s a thing, like Orctober, but for dwarfs (and maybe wizards and gnomes). My aim is to paint as many bearded figures as I can in the next month. It’s been a lean few months for me in hobby terms, and with Cyberpunk 2077 looming on the horizon, I could be heading for an embarrassing failure here, but let’s be positive and hope for the best. I have a lovely little group sitting in a bath of bio strip - dwarfs are always happy to strip in a communal tub. But that window will be opened another day.

Friday 27 November 2020



The full title of this post is Zorn Silverhair, an elf from the Golden Realms. Maybe that works for an old school RPG character, but there is a slightly more esoteric reason for such a mouthful. Let me break it down for you.

The elf part is simple enough, this is an elf figure! It’s by the company known as Statuesque Miniatures and now available through Crooked Dice. It was originally sold in a set of four adventurers though they are now available as individuals. You can see the elf’s painted companions below, a dwarf and a wizard, with just one more to paint to complete the band - free cookie if you can guess the unpainted figure. 

On the palette choice, I was originally thinking of classic green wood elf, inspired much by the old Talisman artwork. But recently I have been replaying God of War and was really struck by the beauty of the light elves, which I have tried to replicate here. White robes, pale skin and even white hair, punctuated by grey and brown leathers.

The name Zorn is not particularly elvish and was chosen for his palette rather than his race. The Zorn palette is named  after Swedish painter Anders Zorn and comprises four colours - black, white, red and yellow. From this apparently limited set it is possible to mix up many colours, not surprising if you know colour theory. Add in a blue and you have all three primaries and an almost infinite palette available to you. The figure was painted using just these four colours, though I did also also use a little silver and a brown ink.

And that brings us to an explanation of the Golden Realms. I have been painting acrylic on canvas recently and have come to appreciate the much higher quality and pigmentation of artist paints. I spotted this set on sale and so have bought a set of acrylic artists paints manufactured by Golden. These are a high fluid set rather than the thicker stuff usually used painting on canvas. I thought they would be suitable for painting minis and from my limited test to date (one elf) they are showing great promise. The four colours I used were black and white, yellow ochre and burnt sienna in place of red. I will blog more about them in the future when I have experimented more.

Thursday 5 November 2020

The Wurmspat

Another Beastgrave warband I painted recently was the Wurmspat, a trio of Nurgle warriors in old money. These were really nice to paint up, a lot of detail as is the norm these days with Games Workshop, but not too much to drive you crazy. 

I have been painting on canvas quite a lot recently and some of the techniques I used on these models. So the armour plates I painted wet into wet, letting the paint run and blend into each other. I am also gaining a greater understanding of colour. It's good to learn new techniques, though I spend more time painting canvas than minis so it's not all good.

These figures (and others) are currently on sale on ebay as I try to raise funds to replace my knackered laptop. It would be nice if you could share with anyone you think might be interested.

Sunday 1 November 2020

The Grymwatch

Wanting something small in number to paint up for ebay, I bought myself a few boxes from the Warhammer Underworlds series. Don't ask me what the game is like, there are cards in each box which are used pokemon/magic style, other than that I know nothing. The models look nice to paint which is why I bought them. The first set completed, which I should have posted yesterday for Halloween, is the Grymwatch.

These are effectively a handful of ghouls and some bats, and they would slot nicely into Undead collections. I went with a pale sickly pallor for the skin, dank and greasy long hair and a few splashes of gore here and there. The bases are illuminated by an eerie glow, which is just a wash of a blue/turquoise shade. Nice and quick to paint.

I find myself drawn to smaller groups of models, my patience to paint regiments has pretty much evaporated over the summer. So my personal work has been reduced to small bursts of activity on small numbers of models. Over the past three months I have painted three vikings, three dwarfs and one orc. That's the lowest level of productivity I can remember since starting the blog over ten years ago. The times they are a changing?

Saturday 31 October 2020


Waaaaargh it's Orctober. That time of year when we all rush off and paint some greenskins. Or in my case, manage just one greenskin. Oh well, maybe next year I will get through that horde I always have in mind. The orc is an old Citadel figure, while the goblin is more recent, from Avatars of War. The orc I painted this month, the goblin was already painted I just rebased it and added a little bit more tone to the skin. Both these models will no doubt be having intense discussions over which will lead da boyz, that's sure to end amicably.

The orc boss is from around 1992/3, from my collection of Middlehammer greenskins. What a classic from the era this figure is. I tried to paint it in a similar style to that of the old days, but without straying too far from my own. I started with orange* armour, green skin of course, and worked outward from there. I was lucky enough to find a stash of old plastic shields with some greenskin iconography and used it to reinforce the orange thing. Most of the palette came naturally, just the knee pads and belt buckle caused me a little headache - they started base steel, then were yellow, finally red - definitely not go fasta red then.

*the most Warhammer colour in the world 

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Three dwarf gunners

And here's what they look like when you paint the rest of them (following on from my previous post on how to paint flesh). Just three to start with, I do tend to fuss and faff around and add too much detail, so they end up taking far longer than I had intended. 

The figure in the middle is the star from the tutorial. He's probably my favourite from the unit, though the pipe smoker on the right has a lot of character. 

I need two more to make a complete unit for Erewhon, which is probably my favourite game at the moment. If I played Saga I would need eight figures, and if I played Rampant I would need 12 (or 6 if they counted as 2 wounds each). I have nine in total, and a couple of duplicates. I will plod on to five, then eight, then see how it goes. My enthusiasm and patience has, much like my hairline, grown thin recently.

Friday 25 September 2020

Easy(ish) Way to paint Flesh

Here's a little step by step tutorial, an easy way to paint flesh tones. These are northern, ruddy tones, ideal for humans like vikings or any northern Europeans. It's also suitable for non-humans, including the ruddiest dudes out there, the dwarfs. 

Step 1: Base coat in a pale colour. I am using Citadel base wraithbone, but any pale colour with a warm tint will do. White is too stark, and a cool tone like a light blue or grey will make the figure look cold. If you were painting a dark elf that could be a good idea, but not here for a cheery little fella like this. This is, by the way, a Marauder dwarf thunderer, from around 1992. Allow this step to fully dry.

Step 2: Make a glaze of a ruddy flesh colour. I am (very aptly) using Citadel base Bugman's Glow. To mix up the glaze I take a brush full of paint, add a drop of flow enhancer and a smudge of matt medium. It's impossible to give exact quantities, it needs to be fluid enough to settle into the creases. Load up your brush and apply this once, starting in the deeper areas like the eyes and mouth. As it dries you will have to decide if one coat is enough, or if a second coat is required. If it goes on too thick, remove it by using a clean damp brush to suck up the excess. I do this anyway to remove areas that I want to keep light, like knuckles, bridge of nose, any area that is a light tone. These two steps give a very good base that would be fine for gaming figures - you could add a brown wash for the eyes and leave it at that.

Step 3: The dreaded step - paint the eyes. The easiest way is to wash the eye socket with a dark brown, for gaming it will look fine on the tabletop. For magnified photos on a blog, it looks like a brown line, so if you want to take it further, here's my procedure. You need steady hands, good lighting, a very fine brush and paints of the correct consistency. If you can get all those, and with plenty of practise, you might be able to get it right first time. 

Paint the eyeball with an off white, light grey even. Then dot in the pupil, make the dot bigger at the top of the eye, so in effect draw a semi circle rather than a dot. Now thin the black a little and draw a line across the top of the eyeball, to separate the white from the flesh colour (and avoid staring eye syndrome). Finally, mix a little black into your ruddy flesh colour and paint the lower eye - the bag under the eye. You would also use this colour in the mouth and on the lip if the figure had these. And that's it if you are painting humans/historicals, but the dwarfs get an extra rosy step.

Step 4: This optional step adds more ruddy features to the figure. I have used a Coat D'Arms paint for this stage, any warm/dusky pink/red will be good. Thin it down to a glaze and add to the tip of the nose, under eyes, on the knuckles and backs of hands, around joints like knees or elbows if visible. This step amps up the ruddy effect and can be a bit cartoonish if over done, so keep a light touch with thinned paint and build it up. If you overdo it, use a clean damp brush to remove the glaze and start again.

And that's all there is to it! It seems like a lot of steps and layers, but it's mostly glazing, apart from the eyes. Note there is no layering or highlighting involved, which is why I class it as an easy(ish) method. Have a go. And let me know how you get on.

Sunday 16 August 2020

Vikings renovation

 I think I mentioned recently that I was overhauling my viking collection. Out with the old and in with the new. I sold my old figures some time ago and have been slowly painting up their replacements. The figures available now are far nicer than in the past and life is just too short for crummy figures, that's my reasoning at any rate. 

Here's the first batch of "new"recruits. Only the front rank are truly new. The two on the left are by V&V Miniatures, while the ale quaffing figure is by Mierce Miniatures. These are my two favourite makes of Norse/viking minis, top quality all round. The rear rank are by Drabant Miniatures. At one time these were the best vikings available on the market, but they have been superseded. Still, it was worth spending a little time touching up a few highlights and rebasing them to match the new guys.

It's good to finally get some minis painted for myself. I think my mojo must have melted in the heat of the summer, but finally it seems to be returning. Partly this was due to being able to game face to face again after a trip round to Matt's dungeon (which is now more a palatial barn, I'm sure he will blog this at some point). I fielded a confederation of bearded warriors (vikings and dwarf allies) against his marauding beastmen. Unfortunately the photos I snapped on my phone were pretty poor so hopefully Matt's blog will come to the rescue. 

One of the units I fielded was this block of berserkers. We were playing Dragon Rampant so I fielded them as bellicose foot. This contains a good representative sample of my collection as it stands today. There are resin V&V, metal Mierce and plastic Victrix all mixed together here. And for the most part I reckon they work well together. Hopefully my enthusiasm for painting them continues, I would love to pit them against a small force of these brutes.

Small is perhaps the wrong word to use in this context. Vikings fending off trolls, coming soon. Some time this decade at any rate. 

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