25 February 2016

Warriors, Beastmen, Audio Books, and Kings of War

I've been working on a few figures for other people recently.

More beastmen. I hadn't paid too much attention to the Citadel beastmen since the old RoC days, but these and the other two I painted recently are pretty nice figures.

I still have a few minor touch-ups on these medieval/fantasy warriors, and then on to six more to go with them.

Audio Books

I've discovered LibriVox. Public domain audio books. About once a week I commute to & from an aviation museum I do some work for. It's a little over an hour drive and I have listened to a few audio books before (The Silmarillion, and a lengthy interview with Robert Anton Wilson) but mostly listen to music. But now that I've downloaded an audio library, classical history it is!

I'm currently listening to Xenophon's Anabasis, which I am enjoying quite a bit. I've read/studied a lot of Roman history, but have only touched on Greek history before. So this is new to me. I have Thucydides' Peloponnesian War and Herodotus' Histories lined up next.

With this in mind, the obvious question is: when do I start painting Greeks & Persians, right?

Kings of War

I read over the first edition of Kings of War when it came out and was unimpressed. I glanced at the second edition when it came out but didn't give it much attention. But with the suicidal implosion of WFB, a lot of people have been moving on to other games, and KoW seems to be a popular one. One of my old gaming groups is among the converts, and I've been invited to play a few times (again, recently.) I've now given the free rules a read-through, and looked at a few of the free army lists. I've still got some mixed opinions

Pros & Cons: It's nice that the rules seem streamlined & simplified, but I do wonder if that was taken too far. It seems to lose a bit of depth. On the other hand, that also does make the rules pretty clear from what I can tell. Maybe not so much arguing over the rulebook as with WFB? One of the complaints I've read about from people who seem to primarily play WFB is that they don't like the fact that you don't pull off individual figures, but I think that's missing the point that the game is dealing with units as a whole, rather than individuals. That's something that a lot of other games do, as well, and I think it frees a set of rules from a lot of the oddities that stuck with WFB over the years. (So that's counts as a "pro" from me.)

At any rate, I'm willing to give it a shot, provided I can actually make it out for a few games.

20 February 2016

Frog Demon (WIP)

One other item I recently picked up, along with the goblins in the previous update, and the soon-to-be-former-orcs, was the Reaper Bones "Frog Demon." I thought it would make a good summoned or bound critter for the Fomorians.

For a very, very long time I have stuck with painting techniques that I'm comfortable with, and that have usually worked well with me. Generally speaking, I work from dark to light, and build up a lot of layers, use some feathering, wet blending, and some vague mix of all three at once. When I was (much) younger I experimented more with translucent techniques, washes and what I know understand as glazing. But for the most part, it never caught on with me, other than some limited use of washes. (And some experimenting with dip/wash a few years back, that never really went anywhere.)

Since I've started painting again recently, and since I've been painting a lot of undead and trying to paint them quickly, I've started using washes quite a bit more and it's worked out well. SO I've been doing a little bit of reading (and watching a few YouTube videos) on washes and particularly glazes the past couple of weeks.

I thought the Frog Demon (or Bog Demon, as I think I prefer) would be a good test subject for an all translucent painting experiment. Right from my initial wash it didn't go as planned. Then the first glaze on the body was just as bad... until I decided it was good. So I went with it. I did some more, and more... It's more like a sloppy wash, and looks more like I've painted a three dimensional watercolor. As I was painting, I just let that sort of drive my technique -- very fast, free and fluid brushwork with thin & translucent color. And that's completely OK with me. In fact, I'm really fond of the way it looks, especially on this figure. So I think I might try this "watercolor on miniatures" thing again.

18 February 2016

Goblins (and an Upcoming Skirmish?)

I placed a small order with Noble Knight Games for a few more of the Reaper Bones orcs, so I can convert some more Fomorians. After browsing the catalog I splurged on a few small items. Some more goblins for Zogmar's small but growing warband.

The little guys in the top photo are "Chaos Goblins" from RAFM. Quirky figures, but I like them & wish there were more than this single pack. I like the idea of goblins being a heterogeneous species, so I see no problems mixing styles.

I'm not 100% certain of the pedigree of the armoured guy with a helm to rival his massive sword (how he swings that without snapping his own neck, I don't know...) He's available from Ral Partha Europe, but I got a casting from ZN Games via Noble Knight. Unfortunately this one is resin. I'm trying to Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Resin, but this wasn't the best example. He has a few bubbles, and it took three vigorous scrubs to get primer to adhere to the entire figure -- and even then I'm still hoping that it doesn't rub off. (I'm going to encase him in layers of varnish...)

Quick & dirty paint jobs. Literally. I used multiple black washes, hoping to get a dark & sinister look, and a somewhat oily appearance to the steel.

I also wanted to get them done quickly because I'm going to try putting together a simple solo skirmish, and wanted to have them available as possible villains/raiders. The heroes, travelling mercenaries defending a small village, will be all of the various figures I've received from other people via the Warhammer-Empire.com "Pleasant Surprises" figure exchange. (Except one, King, who will be on the opposing side for obvious reasons.) I have named them after their source/painters. 

10 February 2016

Fomorian Heads - Round 2

Thanks, I can use the positive vibe right now. Over the weekend I made a block mold for those four heads. The next evening I tried a bit of casting and... that didn't go so well. I hit a lot of trouble getting figures out of molds, and the older block mold of four heads tore pretty badly in several places trying to retrieve some of them. I also couldn't seem to keep the syringes clean, and had to use a new one for each set of castings. But I did manage to get three decent sets of the new heads.

I'm learning quite a bit of the subtleties of molding & casting so far -- from both successes and failures. I think that I am ready to move forward, in several ways. I am interested in trying out some of the other varieties of silicone for molds, and I also think that I'm ready to try a two-piece mold!

So here are the new heads....

Again, I like some, but not others. Some small differences in the way I sculpted these. Going to keep G & H, but will cast fewer of I & J. Just small details. Out of the 10 I sculpted, I think 5 or 6 turned out decent.

Haven't had time to work on tails any more. Nor have I purchased any of the orc figures -- which I need in-hand if I plan on sculpting separate feet that will match the existing figures. And I am now out of silicone. I might have to put the Fomorian Plan aside for a bit, until finances allow for those supplies. So I may go back to working on some other stuff for a while.

04 February 2016

Ma Khorne & Little Oswald

The village matron affectionately known as “Ma Khorne” started the village orphanage after her husband, “Pop Khorne,” recently met his unfortunate and explosive demise on the wrong end of an Imperial fire mage and a halfling hotpot full of butter . In anger and sorrow (but mostly anger) she turned to the convent of the Sisters of Perpetual Bloodshed, where she has assumed the role of caretaker and disciplinarian (strict disciplinarian) of the village children whose parents have died or mutated to such a degree that they can no longer care for their own young. Here is Ma Khorne with Oswald, one of the adorable young tykes under her care.

This is my submission for the Oldhammer forum's 2016 Legacy project. This is the first time I'm participating. I love the concept (sort of like a figure lottery) and this year's theme: "C49 Chaos Villagers." 

My old chaos figures are/were mostly generic chaos figures, or Nurgle & Slaanesh once the RoC books came out. Khorne always seemed a bit dull to me, both in terms of painting and background. But I'm amused at the idea of devout Khorne followers trying to take part in village life. Unaligned mutants and followers of the other three major chaos powers, sure. But Khorne? So here they are. 

01 February 2016

Fomorian Heads - Round 1

I was impatient to see what how the cast heads look, so I quickly cleaned up and painted one of each head, separately mounted on a bit of wire.

On closer examination, they aren't as cleanly cast as they initially looked. I am doing all of this without a vacuum chamber or pressure pot (for now) so there seem to be some very minor bubbles in both the molds and a few of the castings. Given that this is my first time, and that they are so few and so small, I'm not at all disappointed. I only needed to do a quick bit of cleanup.

Painting them up also revealed some weak spots in the sculpting, which is helpful as I plan on doing more and this will help me recognize where to improve. I doubt I will cast more than a few of heads A & B. Head E looks a bit off -- I think the nasal holes were a bit mismolded or miscast, so I'm going to take a look at whether that needs a small repair before more casting. I'm pretty happy with C, D & F.

Should I share these heads?

When I first started, ac couple of people asked if castings would be available. I've been thinking about that. This is really just a personal project, and the quality of both sculpting and casting is still just an amateur/hobby level, at best -- and I'm still working out the bugs of casting for the first time, too! Besides, it's a niche interest within one corner of a niche hobby. But I'm considering doing a one time evening cast-a-thon, set aside what I need, and then making the remainder available for a small price (to help cover materials, postage, and maybe put a bit towards the phase...) or for trades.

I do plan on sculpting and casting a few more heads. And I'm working on some tails, and eventually I may try some cast feet as replacements for the specific figures I'm using in my project.

What do you think? Any interest? I'd like to get a feel for this before casting a bunch of extra heads. Should I wait until I get some tails cast too? (And feet?)