27 December 2015

End of 2015

I'm a goal setter and list maker. I used to make goal lists for my gaming hobby. When I started trying to get back into it a year ago, I didn't do anything formal.

On the positive side of 2015, I've traded, bartered, and spent a very limited budget on putting together a decent undead army to pair up against my existing Marienburg army. And although I have made some sacrifices in quality & detail, I have managed to get a considerable portion of it painted up. I have also put together a simple gaming table and some new terrain. I've also painted a few things for other people, as commissions or in trade for figures. I've also drawn up some outlines for a campaign (forces, scenarios, rules, etc.) I'm also happy to have finally married my URL (and Google+ !) to this blog, as well as coming up with the goofy Althammer and LAWG ideas.

On the negative side, the only way I got my own stuff painted was by sacrificing quality and detail, and frequently doing it in brief bits whenever I could steal away some time. I didn't do any of the sculpting I wanted to do, and I haven't played a single game. Although I am trying to be enthusiastic about the possibilities of solo gaming, I really miss playing games against actual people. (Really, I miss having any sort of a social life at all.) I've also ended the year on a bitter note, getting almost no time at the painting table in the final two months of the year. To be honest, looking at what little free time/money I have had, I'm feeling a little guilty about spending it on something that really seems like a lost cause that I am clinging to in desperation.

So my plans for 2016? I'm going to try to keep that fluid & without expectations. I'd still like to play a game. I'd still like to paint a bit more of the undead, as I had hoped to do the last few months. I'd like to paint some non-undead stuff. That's about as far as I'm going to consider it.

To end on a more positive and visually appealing note, I thought I'd look through what I've painted, and re-post a few of my favorite things from 2015:

I was glad to finally paint and return Lothar's DRI to a friend, and was really happy with the way it turned out. A very nice looking plane.

After looking all over for a perfect match for my idea of a unit of elite, heavy, skeletal troops, I settled on minor conversions on some Bane Thralls. After finishing them I am VERY happy with how they turned out, and although they still don't match the image originally in my head, I am really fond of these so that's OK. In fact, I would love to get my hands on another box for a second unit.

Westfalia Fantasy Battles started a "halfmen" range and Kickstarter, and I really love the figures. I enjoyed painting the sample figures above quite a bit. So, out of the blue and at the very least, I'd like to add a halfling division/contingent to the good guys/Marienburg forces.

I stripped and two old '80s jabberwocks and repainted them in my "undeadish" pallette, with just a bit of color added in. They turned out surprisingly nice, and after unexpectedly managing to get my hands on the metal version of Reaper's jabberwock, I'm looking forward to painting that much larger one in 2016.

25 December 2015

25 November 2015

Pleasant Surprises VIII

For about seven years now, I've been participating in the "Pleasant Surprises" miniatures exchange at Warhammer-Empire.com. We secretly exchange (usually, but not always) painted figures with other members. I just received my surprise in the mail, courtesy of King (on that forum,) from the Island Fortress of Malta (or the catacombs thereof)...

A new (anti-)hero!

I couldn't resist getting a shot of him leading some troops against Marienburg...

He's a great addition to the army. I hadn't thought of painting gold/bronze armour and I really like the way works with the color palette of the rank & file troops, but still makes him stand out as a leader.

21 November 2015

Planning a Game

I'm itching for some gaming. Any gaming. I was browsing through the Google Play store & looking at phone games. But I'd rather push some figures around. I think that it's finally time I start trying to put together my first solo game in the Marienburg vs. The Undeadish campaign.

I rambled on about rules from a few angles before, and I think I've decided to start with Hail Caesar rules. I will be using the HC rules plus the "Shadow Storm" fantasy modifications available at...

I have started cutting, pasting, and tweaking his army lists into two modified lists for my own factions. I'm considering these as just a starting point. The Marienburg list is big, and represents a lot of both painted and possible units that may appear at some time. The Undeadish list is smaller and simpler, but could see more additions. I imagine that I will change things up quite a bit after both lists see some action. I still need to add the commanders.

Since this is my first solo game, first game of Shadow Storm, and first game in years of Hail Caesar (and one of only a few I've ever played) I'm going to keep things simple. Maybe an undeadish "breakthrough" scenario. I can deploy the Marienburgers at the edge of a village. Undeadish will then be deployed randomly. Their goals will be to head off the other side along any of several exit zones, killing everything that tries to stop them. The Marienbugers will, obviously, be trying to stop them from entering the village.

That's about it. This will give me my first chance at playing solo, as well as getting reacquainted with the Hail Caesar rules. I can add on programmed actions for the Undeadish, event cards, and some of my other planned experiments later.

12 November 2015

Vinyl Toy Interlude

A good deal of my time in the attic this month is going to be taken up by vinyl toys rather than miniatures. (Sorry dwarf swivel guns, you'll have to wait.) I've had a number of projects falling behind because I couldn't get enough big stretches of completely free time to do some time consuming -- and pretty messy -- sculpting. With the weather getting colder, deadlines for art shows looming, and commission projects long overdue, I decided it was time to take a little time away from my day job so I could work on this, and do all of the sanding involved in the process outdoors while the weather was still cooperative. So now I am doing the painting and detail sculpting/modeling when I would normally be painting miniatures. (Or, rather, I have been painting miniature a lot because I haven't had the long stretches of time required to prep the vinyl until now.)

At any rate, I'm part of Team North America for the "Space Crab Wars" going on at the Martian Toys booth at this year's Designer Con in Pasadena later this month. That's the project I'm currently scrambling to finish...

After that, I've also got some (long) overdue work on a private commission project to finish, and then a few other commissions that have been backed up behind that.

If you happen to be interested in custom vinyl & resin toys & sculpts, I have moved my alter ego's web site to blogger now, as well as a gallery there (which is really just a link to my photos on Google+)

We will return to your regularly scheduled miniatures shortly. Shortly-ish. Still thinking about Deadcember.

11 November 2015


I saw quite a bit about "Orctober," and have started seeing a few themed November fantasy projects. So I'm going to jump the gun and plan on...


I started 2015 trying to reenter the hobby in some way. I've got grand plans for solo gaming, developing a narrative campaign, and have even accomplished quite a bit on terms of a battlefield (table & terrain.) But the theme of 2015 has really been the building of an Undead army.

It looks like November will be busy with other things, but I'm thinking that maybe I should make one last year-end push to get as much of the remaining undead done as possible. Who are the potential (unpainted) beneficiaries?

6 (of 13) more units of skeletons.
1 (of 2) more units of skeleton elite.
1 skeleton colossus.
2 (of 5) Undeadish infantry.
1 (of 2) Undeadish cavalry.

Plus a few more individual characters and critters.

I'm going to need a bigger table...

04 November 2015

Stirland Standard Bearer Exchange

For the past seven (?) years I've participated in the Warhammer Empire "Pleasant Surprises" secret figure exchange. My recipient received and has recently opened his figure. I converted an old halberdier into a standard bearer for his Stirland army. I left the base plain so he could match the rest of his army himself.

In past years it has become customary to also include some treats from your home country or region, since a lot of these Pleasant Surprises are traveling around the world. (This figure went from Cleveland, Ohio to Finland, for example.) I've always been stuck in that regard, but this year I sent a small bottle of Ohio maple syrup, some Cleveland Stadium Mustard, and -- just because they are weirdly good -- a bag of the limited release Lay's Biscuits & Gravy chips. I think I covered the geographic regions, national, state, city. :)

01 November 2015

Figures on the Table and Halloween

Some lousy photos of one of the next things on my table. A pair of old Marauder dwarf swivel guns. I bought them eBay ages ago, but the package arrived damaged and a few parts were missing. It's taken me years to finally get around to creating a few replacement parts (one and a half of the two frames) for the guns. My plan is to mount these on 40mm bases and use them to bolster my insufficient numbers (10) of Marauder dwarfs with handguns.

They're cast in a very soft, presumably lead-heavy alloy. You can print pretty clearly with them on paper.

My time the past few days, however, has been taken up with building a mask for my daughter. She has been changing her mind every few days as to what she wanted to be for Haloween. With just a couple days to go, she really wanted to be a dinosaur. I ran out of time for some of the details (and rest of the teeth). As it turns out, the poor kid is really sick and didn't wear the mask anyway -- though she did go trick-or-treating for just a bit, dressed as Super Girl.

At the end of the day, T-rex (shown here after my daughter had painted it earlier in the day) got into some of the left-over candy. It is a well accepted fact that T-rex was not just a predator, but was an opportunist not above scavenging.

30 October 2015


One last figure I was painting along with the last few, the old Citadel "Death Elemental." Turned out a bit dull with the usual color palette. But then, I'm not sure he should be any more colorful or exciting. Not a very good photo, either. He's on a 40mm base, to give an idea of scale.

27 October 2015

Jabberwock the Second

I finished the second Jabberwock. This is a 1980s Ral Partha figure. A pretty good match for the Citadel Jabberwock!

26 October 2015

Phil & Geier

Painted two individual figures. First up is Phil. Phil the Spectre. He's a plastic "wight lord" kit from GW, and as with the black knights, I'm really impressed at the quality. Phil will probably end up leading a skeletal infantry division. I think it's only appropriate to give him aggressive & violent stats, and the ability to cast some sort of "wall of sound" spell.

Next is a figure I sculpted long ago. I have a handful of castings from when it was available from Black Orc Games (they seem to have disappeared?) I've only painted one of them before & thought I would paint one to fit with the palette of the current project.

23 October 2015

It's Official Now

It's official, now. It only took me a bit over seven years, but this is now officially registered as zerotwentythree.com instead of that domain simply forwarding to the Blogger URL.

I realize this probably seems like a strange vanity, but I don't have much of a life. So I indulge in these small pleasures.

22 October 2015

Diehard Miniatures

There are two new/upcoming miniatures ranges that have caught my interest. I've mentioned -- and posted photos of -- the Westfalia Fantasy Battles halflings several times on my blog.

The other is Diehard Miniatures. Their Kickstarter is online as of this blog entry.

EDIT: Apparently this has now been cancelled, and a new, reorganized Kickstarter will go up in early November.


I hope they don't mind me swiping one of their images (click to enlarge.) Strangely enough, the Eru-Kin are what have caught my interest the most. I really like these figures, and the retro-Warhammer idea of the Slann is more interesting to me than what it evolved into in later editions.

I'm already starting to formulate ideas on how to work retro space frogs into my Marienburg project...

21 October 2015

Black Knights (and Surprise Squires)

I finally finished the Black Knights, and have the somewhat too-contrasty out photo to prove it.

Do we get names anymore? Do we know who sculpted/designed these at GW? Whoever it is did a great job. My painting is just OK, but the figures are so nice they elevate a mediocre paintjob and look great on the table.

I recently (and unexpectedly) won a lowball bid on some of the really old plastic skeletons. They were already assembled, though they required some minor repairs & repositioning. Painting was quick & simple, and I worked on them as I finished the knights. So now I have some lighter cavalry as well as the heavies.

I have also re-based a giant hawk/eagle that was on loan to a friend while I repaired his (newer & bigger) eagle. I believe this is an old Grenadier model, and was painted ages ago.

Now that the Black Knight monkey is off my back, I can think about what to do next. I may paint a few of the individual figures I've prepped recently. Maybe I can think about the next unit (or large critter!) to paint while I do that.

12 October 2015

Road.... er, Bog Warrior?

I've left the simple cork roads sitting on the table for a bit now, and I think I'm getting used to them. I think I will just leave them as they are for now, make a few more, and keep going with other things. I can always add more detail to them later.

So, in terms of moving on to other things, the road looked like it needed more bogs around it. At some point I hope to work out a way to tie all of the little bogs together a bit.

I continue to procrastinate in regard to those Black Knights. I've made a rule for myself that I will not paint any more figures until they are done. That is why I now have a few road sections and more bogs (not painting figures!), and a few more miniatures prepped (not painted!) Joining the Life & Death Elementals is the Plague Elemental. It's the weak link in the otherwise outstanding Citadel Elemental series, in my opinion, but I'll see if I can do a better job painting it this time around. I just finished stripping the really old paint off of him. I finally managed to strip all the old paint off the Ral Partha Jabberwock as well.

08 October 2015

Road Warrior - Pt. 3

I quickly painted up a few more (the remainder of the first tile) road sections to see how it would look in place. I figure I can make changes later. These photos are larger than normal, so click-click if you want to see them full sized. The pics are just phone pics with my limited lighting set up, so detail is not exactly the best. In fact, I have included a last minute photo from the vantage point of my computer table, to show what I'm working with. A little peek behind the scenes.

I'm still thinking it will look better if I add some banked earth, building up along the side of the roads. This is OK for something really quick to throw down on the table, though.

In the future of tabletop terrain, I've got some more little (and one larger) bog/fen/marsh bits underway. I have three more cork tiles. At least one will be straight sections like this, so I can place the road laterally along the table. Then a few angled sections, one or two crumbling/ruined sections of road, at some point I would like to make a bridge... that, of course, means I need to work on a river.... It seems I will have a table "ready" and maybe even play some games sometime around 2023. By that point I suppose we will all be living on Yuggoth Pluto in robotic bodies anyway (if Skynet hasn't wiped us all out by that point,) so this all seems futile at times.

Still procrastinating on those damned Black Knights. It's like a slow motion race between the Knights, Yuggoth, and Skynet.

Road Warrior - Pt. 2

I tried a base coat, wash, and then some dry-ish brushing, and this is about the best I've come up with for a very light color on my paved/cobbled road.

I'm not entirely sold. But it doesn't exactly look bad, either.

The cork is so tightly compressed, it's hard to get the joints to show up on the top surface when painting. The nice thing about this stuff was that the chunks of cork were large, so I was hoping it would read as large stone.

I'm also wondering if it would look better put onto a thin base, with the earth banked up at least half way (probably more) the sides of the road.

To be honest, I'm not certain the addition of the cobblestone matt on top of this would improve it for me. I suppose there's no way to know without just doing it, but I'm really thinking about returning it as an unnecessary added expense at this time.

As a little background, The Wasteland is the hinterland of city of Marienburg. My campaign is planned to center on the western half of this area, including the Bitter Moors, The Little Country, and the marshes closer to the city itself. Possible plans for action in Bretonnia -- in the Pale Sisters, Gap of Gisoreaux, and even into Forest of Arden.

A sloppy composite of several WFRP maps is below. I will be using this as a reference for an eventual hand drawn & colored map of my own.

A brief background, as gathered from various sources and perhaps elaborated a bit, is that the area was once pleasant and green. In the time before men moved into the area, there were High Elf colonies here. The Old Coast Road is a remnant from that time -- and old raised road of close-fitting white stone. The Elves got into some sort of tiff with the Dwarfs over shaving or some such foolishness, and eventually left. In their absence, Fimir and Skaven eventually moved in, battled it out a bit, and broke & poisoned the land so badly that it became a no-man/elf/rat/demonswampgoon's-land. But men did eventually settle where they could. The city of Marienburg is most populous, but smaller settlements can be found, especially in The Little Country, to the south.

So there you have it. Creepy moors & marshes between the mountains, the sea and the River Reik. Ruins of several diverse ancient civilizations -- Elf, Fimir, and Skaven. I like the idea of the old (*cough*cough* "Roman") roads, and have decided there are more than just the Old Coast Road in the area. Currently there are a number of active players in the area -- Marienburg, the Empire, Bretonnia, and in the mountains are Goblins, Dwarfs, and Skaven. There is an Elf enclave in the city of Marienburg, as well as mercenaries attracted from abroad. Perhaps more ancient & twisted things lurking about the foul fens and moors...

Well... I went a long way to explain a piece of terrain. But that's where I'm coming from with all of this, and where the raised, white stone road(s) fit into it.

02 October 2015

Road Warrior

I've been thinking, and have previously written elsewhere, about building some raised, paved roads.

My initial thoughts have been to do something vaguely Roman-like. I've considered a few ways to do it, but the thing I'm hung up on is the base. I know I want to use MDF/hardboard because it's sturdy and is very resistant to warping in all of my other terrain projects. But it also requires power tools and makes an awful mess, both of which create a problem, as I do all of my hobby work in the carpeted attic above the bedrooms (very) late at night.

After reading a recent blog entry at Oldhammer on a Budget, I went looking for the roads in question. I found them at Michael's Craft store, though they come in a pack of one brick and one cobblestone and I only wanted one or the other. So I opted for a large (18" x 36"!) sheet of the cobblestone stuff instead. It was on sale, and cost just over the price of just three smaller pre-cut road sections.

While I was there, I also spied some chunky cork tiles that I thought I could find a use for. They are 12" x 12" x 5/8". My first thought is to just paint the cork and see if it has a suitably stone-paving look to it. Alternately, I may be able to use it as an alternative to the MDF/hardboard if it resists warping. I will just need to be more careful about chips & dents. So with that in mind, if painting it directly doesn't look good, then I can try mounting the cobblestone stuff on it.

I'll follow up with some paint tests if/when I can get some time. Everything seems to be conspiring against me getting any painting done lately.

25 September 2015

Halflings and Daemons

I went with purple & grey for something different and striking on these Westfalia halfling samples. I still need to decide on a symbol/blazon/device/badge/whatever-you-call-it for the standard and possibly on other figures in the future. So they're still just 98% finished.

My fondness for this range of figures just keeps growing. They look nice in photos online, but they are even better in person. The proportions, the crispness & detail, the poses, the concepts -- all awesome.

On the one hand, I'm looking forward to the Kickstarter, but on the other I've got to come up with some money to pledge towards it. I think I'm going be digging through my existing collection to sell off some stuff to fund a shedload of halflings.

While waiting for putty to cure on another project, I cleaned up some recently stripped Oldhammer figures, and took the plunge and assembled the Lord of the Feast. I ended up covering the awful arm joint with a band of putty.  That should help reinforce it too, since I didn't pin it.

My thought is that the Lord of the Feast will join the Life & Death elementals in their old rolls in Warhammer, as "daemons," or lesser avatars of various gods.

18 September 2015

Another Great Orc

I added a fourth Foundry/Warmonger Great Orc to the three I previously painted. I have two more awaiting paint, but four will get me the minimum I need to put on the table under my current plan.

15 September 2015


I decided on the Althammer name for my project and, at least for now, as the header/title for my blog. It's never really had a real title until now.

I liked this as Alt (rather than the initial "Old" prefix) can be construed as short for "Alternative" or as "Old" in German, as that's the obvious inspiration for much of the Empire. My project is inspired by a lot of the Oldhammer concepts, it will use alternative rules, and it will be in a setting that is both in the past and an alternative history/timeline of the Old World.

So there you have it.

Also a change of background, just for some mew color.


14 September 2015

Skeletal Knight Test

I've been procrastinating on these, but really think that the Undead need at least one unit. I've painted up two figures to see how they look & get a feel for the process of painting them. I really like these figures, aside from some of the skulls sculpted into the armour, and the bat-winged shields. I did end up replacing some of shields and cutting off a few bat wings from helms. I'm already tempted to get a second unit of these. (Still tempted to do a second unit of the converted heavy skeletal infantry, too.)

09 September 2015

Overdue War Wagon Crewman

I have finally finished this war wagon crewman after... years.

And a little peek at another figure I've been slowly working on. Not sure how soon I will be inspired to finish the standard.

Skeletons and Much Bigger Skeletons

Another unit of old Citadel skeletons, and three giant skeletons. The latter are (from Left to Right) a skeletal troll from RAFM, skeletal giant from Reaper, and a skeletal cyclops from Grenadier/Mirliton. All three are very nice figures, and are about the same size & scale (if the troll was upright.)

I am still on the hunt for more skeletal ogres that will fit with the two from Ral Partha Europe. I keep thinking about trying to sculpt my own -- and have two ogre skulls started -- but that takes more time than I usually have available. The only reason I can paint most of these skeletons & undeadish at a fast rate is the simplicity of the colors & painting style.

26 August 2015

Photo of the current unit of Marauder Miniatures dwarf pike/spear troops. I will eventually work on a second one.

I think I forgot to post these old Citadel fighters/townsfolk/militia a while ago. I really love that figure on the right!

Finished the Westfalia Fantasy Battles halfling. I'm really looking forward to the rest of this range!

I started experimenting with some more terrain. These were made with some pulled apart steel wool that was glued to some wood bases, sprayed with brown primer, and then had some clumped foliage glued on.