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 At one time these were the best vikings available on the market, but they have been superseded.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. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Tree and scatter terrain

I mentioned in my last post that I was working on some new terrain. Now that it is finished I thought I would show it off with some minis. First though, a straight shot of the terrain I put together. The trees I covered in my last post, the dwarf head statues are made by Scibor Miniatures and the bases trays are made by warbases.

Here's a picture of rangers of Oakenhammer patrolling the borders of the forest, ensuring there are no incursions by pesky goblins or foul undead.

And finally a photo of a few of my vikings emerging from the forest. 

I just have to get them on to the battlefield now, though who knows how long it will be before that is possible. At least the new stuff will not die horribly in their first game.

Monday, 27 July 2020

Treemendus terrain

Trees, a vital part of most fantasy battlefields. I have tried several times to make my own, but never really been satisfied with the finished result or the amount of time spent. And yet pre-made trees can be very expensive. So I was quite happy to spot a relative bargain on ebay, some busch pine trees at just over £10 for 15 reasonable sized specimens. I just had to work out how to "plant" them.

The tree "trunk" is nothing more than a twisted wire, on railroad layouts they are designed to be pressed into polystyrene terrain. But for us wargamers we usually have our trees on a flat base for ease of gaming, preferably removable to make way for troops. 

My bases are mdf trays (I got them from warbases, they are actually advertised as pond bases but I thought they were a good size for small copses/scatter terrain). How to get the tree to stand up on them? I toyed with the idea of bulking the trunk up with masking tape and using it to somehow stick to the bases, but it never really seemed a good idea and would also require additional painting. I wanted something a bit quicker and easier. 

The idea to use wooden beads came from my wife. They already have a hole so no need for drilling. Just glue them to the base, pop in a tree, job done. There are probably better ones available, more cylindrical rather than round, but these were in the house so they got used.

I applied some ground texture using a mix of diluted pva glue, sand and small stones, and tile grout. This is essentially what I use on my figure bases. I made it quite fluid and poured it onto the bases rather than apply with a brush or stick, then added extra sand to firm it up. When it was partly dry I pushed it up around the beads to hide them better. 

With the trees in place the beads are practically invisible, and when they are painted I reckon they will just disappear. I am hoping that I literally will not be able to see the wood(en beads) for the trees! I will report back when they are finished.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Project ESR

I have dipped in and out of 40K a few times. I love the art, don't know that much about the lore, like some of the figures and never really enjoyed the game system that much. I much prefer a fantasy setting. So I was a bit surprised with myself that I got swept up by the Indomitus hype train. The models in this set are truly incredible.

The necrons are of most interest. Years ago I picked up a few plastics with the intention of putting together a quick force - they are the undead of the 40K universe - thus pretty easy to paint up quickly. I never really liked the dayglo weapon tubes so chopped them out and built a slightly different version of the gun. And that was as far as I got. One of those ideas that seemed good at the time but came to nothing.

But now I am keen to resurrect the ESR (Evil Space Robots) as I jokingly call them. I dragged the warriors from out of the box on the top shelf of the cupboard, the equivalent of the burner located some distance beyond the back burner. I played around with a few colour schemes and settled on this one. It's not particularly original or inspiring, but it's quick to do. With more detailed models I think it will really come to (un)life.

Roll on the delivery date. I had to order from a company I have never used before after the box sold out within 10 minutes of the launch on the GW website, hopefully they will prove to be reliable. I cannot wait to get started on the lovely new models.

Monday, 6 July 2020

How to make easy realistic bases

One question I have been asked time and time again is how I make my natural looking bases? So I thought it would be a good idea to put together a short video on the process. It's not ground breaking in any way, but you might find it useful. And there is a secret ingredient to discover......

Saturday, 4 July 2020


These viking berserkers are happy to be out and about, enjoying a bit of fresh air and socialising with the locals. Hopefully things won't get too out of hand. And I am happy to have finally painted something, it's been a struggle recently. I might even get to game with them at some point, that would be a real treat.

These are mostly victrix miniatures, though the extra furry guy on the left is V&V miniatures. They scale together well. They are all based on two pence coins.

They paint up nicely, I used my usual method of thin coats and glazes and it worked just fine. In fact, I have a couple of videos in preparation to show how paint chain armour and how to make and paint realistic bases. More on those soon.

Friday, 26 June 2020

It's a viking thing

Hat's off to you if you got the "joke" title. If you didn't, not to worry, it wasn't very funny - thing is an old Norse word for assembly or meeting. Told you it wasn't very funny. Anyway, here's my vikings assembled together. This is my collection as it stands today, though the archers are missing from this shot, they are not really free men and hence barred from the meeting.

It's been quite a long journey to get to this point. When I first started collecting vikings the figures available in the market were quite mediocre. In recent years that has changed quite markedly and there are now several options if you prefer good quality figures. I have previously blogged about my preferred options in this post.

I am slowly getting my vikings organised. Some are painted fully, some need a little more work, some need shield and base replacements. Some are still in the box. There's a fair bit of work to do, but it helps me to get them all out and arrange them like this so I can see what I am working towards.

There are five different manufacturers in this photo, though one is a proxy. The bulk are the excellent V&V miniatures, my absolute favourites though expensive resin pieces. Next most numerous are victrix, highly affordable plastics, and finally there is a smattering of Drabant metal figures. At the back you can see a Mierce Miniatures character glugging on some ale, encouraging the troops. And finally the leader is Thor! Yeah, he's the red herring, from CMON Blood Rage box game, until I get my V&V command group together. More on the vikings soon.....

Friday, 19 June 2020


The recent announcement on a new boxset for 40k had me pondering if I should take a new direction. I have hit a bit of a wall in motivation recently and I figured that a complete change might fire up the muse again. So I dug out a set of primaris marines and set to work on painting them in a desert scheme.

After a couple of changes, the scheme ended looking like this. My idea is to find/design a gryphon transfer for the shoulder pad, preferably in red to match the markings. The right knee pad would vary from marine to marine, a kind of personal heraldry, while the left kneepad would have some kind of campaign marking maybe. Anyway, after finding that even a simple marine like this takes a bit of time, I am not really encouraged to go further. It just seems so bland. I quite like the bolter though, that's really easy and could be re-used in the future.

Saturday, 13 June 2020


It's high time we had a dwarf on the blog. And what a fine specimen, another one of the sculpts formerly Statuesque Miniatures, now offered by Crooked Dice. I would say this is probably my favourite of the bunch, no surprises there. The wizard can be found here.

I was on much more familiar territory painting this figure and enjoyed it immensely. I am trying out some GW paints at the moment and was pretty happy with the leather and flesh tones I achieved here. I am a bit unsure on the greens, it seems a bit lurid perhaps?

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Last couple of days

It is the last couple of days before the birthday prize draw. I know I have probably spammed this a bit too much over social media in the last week, but here we go one last time....

Go visit this video, it contains many of my painting methods, so might actually be worth watching. Even if you get bored just leave a comment in the comments section (surprisingly enough). I will draw a name from the comments left, some time at the end of the week. The winner will receive this figure as a birthday present.

Of course, I am hoping that you will be so amazed that you will immediately subscribe and tell all your hobby friends about this wonderful new painting channel. Or not. You decide.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Goblin Boss

This is a very old figure I painted for my brother as a birthday gift, so many years ago I cannot remember when it was. It was one of a small range of metal hero figures, which have become quite collectible in recent times. They just don't make them like this now, which is a shame.

I painted it for display and so mounted it on a scenic base. I think if I was painting it today I would put some more colour on the base, those mushrooms would look good in spotty red or glowing green. Other than that, I think the paint job stands up well (metals aside).

Happy birthday little brother, sorry I didn't paint a new one for this year.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Birthday Giveaway

It's my birthday soon and I am giving away a present. This (un)lovely dude is the prize.

All you have to do to enter the draw is visit my YouTube channel, specifically this video about painting Nurgle stuff. Leave a comment in the video, maybe even like and/or subscribe. I will draw a random name from the comments and that person will win.

My birthday is about two weeks away and I will make the draw around that time.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in my channel, then please share.

Thursday, 21 May 2020


A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, well actually in this galaxy, I bought some figures. There were four of them, a set of adventurers, made by Statuesque Miniatures. And I put them to one side. And you can guess the rest. But now, several years later, I have painted one of them.

When I first saw this figure,it screamed Gandalf to me, for obvious reasons. So I started painting it with grey robes, white beard and blue hat. But then I thought it looked a bit dull, a bit cliche perhaps, so I added a purple cloak. And deeper shading round the eyes. Now he looks a bit more sinister.

Hopefully I will get to the remaining band of adventurers some time, they really are lovely figures. If you like the look of them, they are now available from Crooked Dice.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

How to Paint Nurgle

The latest video has been posted to my Youtube account (link over on the right). It's a brief overview into how I painted the Nurgle character from the previous post, mostly the flesh and the armour. I go into some detail on how to use matt medium and flow improver to get different effects with your paints. I did have problems with my microphone (again) and ended up having to use the one built into the camera, which is not ideal, there's an occasional muffle noise to contend with. But all in all, it's worth a watch. Here's a direct link to the video.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Nurgle Lord

This is a modern classic. So many awesome versions of this figure around on the web. Here's my effort, painted it in about two hours, pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I shot some footage while I was painting. Hopefully it will be good to compile into a painting video, not had a look at it yet. It actually takes longer to put together a video than to paint the figure. Perhaps by the weekend I will have got it done.

In the meantime, here's Nigel from a few more angles. Yeah, he is called Nigel.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Empire Warrior Priests

I have just finished painting a unit of flagellants on commission (picture below), and it reminded me of these two Empire warrior priests from my collection. I did have all three at one time, but the third has gone missing (probably sold to another collector). I think I originally bought them to auction on ebay, but then liked them so much that I ended up keeping them for myself, even though I had no real ambition to collect an Empire force.

I don't really paint in this style any more, back in the day I followed the basecoat, shade, layer, layer, layer technique. The results are nice enough, but they take a long time to achieve good results and it's very easy to mess up the layers. These days I paint more like a watercolour, glazing thin washes over a thin base coat. It gives a more organic look that I like. The red tunic on the second priest is particularly smooth looking, which looks really false in my eye. I left it as the original colour, though I did repaint the very orange flesh tones to my modern preference, and changed the base edge too.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

The abandoned realm of Yvresse

Some time ago, I came back from a holiday on the coast, full of ideas about a High Elf army. It was originally to be themed around the realm of Yvresse, but then I expanded my thinking and decided on a coastal army in general. I got as far as painting one unit and assembling another, then put it to one side for a couple of months while I worked on another project. Six years later......

It's time to resurrect the project. Instead of Yvresse I have moved my thinking northward a little, to Cothique, to really hammer home the nautical theme. What to do with the remnants of the original project? One unit of metal archers, on square bases, which I have photographed again for posterity before I transport them to their new homeland. Ranked up they are a bit cramped, and the metal figures seem to clank together a little, never a good thing. In keeping with my current ethos, I will rebase them on to two pence coins, perfect for storing and playing the skirmish games I like. If they are ever needed for mass battles, it's a simple task to put them on a magnetic sheet to group them together, for relaxed gamers like myself.

When I examined them close up, I discovered I had not painted a few details. Eyes, jewels and various other bits that are not really seen on the battlefield, only in photos that magnify the figure to screen size. I will definitely add some colour to the clothing and maybe dot in these details too.  It should be a quick job to get this first unit ready for battle.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020


Cothique. Pour femme. Pour homme. Pour elfe.

It does sound like a perfume brand. But it's actually a province in the old Elf realm of Ulthuan, from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle world before it was destroyed. It's a coastal region on the north east of the continent, and it's probably one of the least known areas of the Elf kingdoms. Caledor has Dragon Princes, Tiranoc has chariots, Nagarythe has shadow warriors, while Cothique has, er, fish. It's probably most known for being next door to Chrace, home of the famed White Lions.

It is described as an unlovely place, with bleak windswept coastal landscapes. The inhabitants are more likely to travel the world than any other elf, sailing the oceans in their sleek white craft. They are famed mariners, as the seas around their homeland are filled with dangerous reefs and giant sea monsters. Elves from Cothique often wear dragon sea cloaks and their shields and heraldry bear aquatic symbols. They are the nearest the old world ever came to fish elves. Adventurers, corsairs, pirates, they have an unusual background that I want to use in my new elf force.

I bashed together this unit from two sets of elves. The legs and back/cloaks are dark elf corsairs, the front torso, arms and heads are mostly from the high elf shadow warrior box. This gives them a nice Cothique feel, if you ask me. Armed with sword and bow they could be used as shadow warriors in old games of WHFB, or rangers in newer games like Erehwon. I have enough bits for two units, though I might just forge on and paint these first.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Easter Elf

No Easter bunny or xmas elves here, it's an Easter Elf. I used my very limited watercolour skills on the recent sketch. I did manage to mess up the skin colour, but the pale gold leg and arm guards and the slightly more glittery hauberk with the dark red trim works well. It was useful to test out a potential colour scheme, I think this would suit a Chracian elf force, which I might get round to one day in the far distant future.

Meanwhile, in the present day, elves are taking over. I am working on my own elves and some on commission too, and playing the elf factions in Total War: Warhammer. I'm not sure what has happened to my inner dwarf, it's gone underground for the time being. It must be all this greenery and spring foliage sprouting. 

Friday, 10 April 2020

How to paint a Tomb Banshee

I have completed and uploaded a third video tutorial to my YouTube channel, this time on how to paint a tomb banshee, though the palette would be equally useful for Slaanesh daemons, maybe chaos and dark elf troops. I hope you find it useful.

If you want to support me in this time consuming endeavour, the easiest way is to click the thumbs up, subscribe to my channel and share with fellow hobbyists. The more support I get, the more time I can spend on producing tutorials like this.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Elf project airborne once more

I have been thinking about elves recently, for a number of reasons. I have worked on a few items on a commission project. I got some good responses when I posted a few elf pictures from my archive on instagram. And I even sketched an elf I came across while flicking through a White Dwarf. I tried to push them out of my mind, because they are not one of my "current" projects - for the record I think of myself as currently working on dwarfs, goblins, undead and vikings. Adding elves to this list would be completely absurd. So obviously that's what I am doing.

High elves were one of the first armies I ever collected (I posted about this quite recently). Down the years they have remained a favourite of mine, and I did actually make a false start on a new elf army, incredibly that's almost six years ago. They are challenging to paint, I would probably rank them as the most difficult of all armies to paint well, but also immensely rewarding when they are ranked up on the tabletop.

I usually start a project by working on some basic troops, to get a feel for the colours and any techniques. But in this case, I have been working on commission elves for a couple of years, so don't really feel the need to do that. I already have one regiment complete as a reference point. So I am going to just jump straight in with a model I have wanted to paint for such a long time. This beauty, probably one of my all time top favourites. It's the elf prince on griffon model from the now out of print Island of Blood boxset - for me this was the pinnacle of plastic sets produced for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, maybe for any game. So the elf project is airborne once more. Or should that be seaborne? . . . more on that next time.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Remote Wargaming

Now you really can become an armchair general. If you are confined to barracks but would love to wargame, try this. You need two (or more) gamers. The main player sets up a battlefield in their location, with a camera/phone/ipad to view the action. They use the zoom app to create a conference call, inviting other gamer(s). The main player takes all the moves, rolls dice for themselves, removes casualties, etc. The secondary player(s) talk to them, directing them - move the second unit forward eight inches, shoot at those cavalry, etc. The secondary players can roll their own dice if they choose.

I tried it last night with gaming buddy Matt. He set up the battlefield in his gaming dungeon. I simply had to get some dice, I had them on a tray in my chair. I also had the rulebook to hand, and an ipad to view the game. We stuck to the simple to play Dragon Rampant, about half a dozen units each on a 4x4 tabletop. It worked well, after I learned how to hold the ipad without covering the microphone - I blame the wine.

Here's my view in game. After some input from a technical expert, I propped the ipad up on a cushion, leaving me hands free to expertly shout out my orders, point at the screen (not that Matt could see where I was pointing), and roll some dice, usually badly. A good way to spend an evening if you crave a wargame. Not as good as the real thing obviously, but it works, it's free (if there's just two of you), and it's easy if you are the secondary player.

I won't attempt to describe the ingame action, I'm sure Matt will produce a battle report at some stage (edit - he sure did). Suffice to say that the uruk hai are well fed now, Samwise will be taking part in the trilogy no more, and we'll get you next time Frodo, you slippery little hobbit.
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