31 December 2018

Dead Not Dead

Not done yet. Stayed up to stupid o'clock Saturday night drunkenly painting these last two. At least now I have the satisfaction of having the full set of minis from the Skeleton War Machines box painted now that I've completed Morbius (on the right.)

Happy, healthy, and safe New Year to all!

29 December 2018

Goodbye Deadcember, Hello OWAC2

Goodbye Deadcember, Hello OWAC.... maybe.


I've painted more for Deadcember than I had planned or expected to. I think that's partially owing to the simplicity of the figures and the rapid speed at which I can paint all of that bone.

The tally:

  • Citadel Skeleton War Machines boxed set (mostly):
    • 1 Chariotw/ 2 crew
    • 3 Skeletal champions
    • Screaming Skull catapult w/3 crew
  • Additional Screaming Skull catapult w/3 crew
  • 3 Grenadier skeleton ballistae, each w/2 crew
  • 1 Skeletal Champion (old Citadel mini) for the artillery
  • 1 Skeletal hero (Reaper mini)
  • 8 plastic Citadel skeletons (for Mo' Death)
  • 7 non-human skeletons of mixed manufacture (Citadel, Diehard, and whoever made the 40mm skeletons)

With just a few days left, and plans to continue prepping for the OWAC starting in January, I'm not sure there will be anymore undead forthcoming. But for an additional challenge, I've cleaned up a few more and will prime them as soon as I publish this blog post.

3 skeletons, 1 wight, and Morbius the liche (the last unpainted mini from the Skeleton War Machines box, above.)

Morbius has been a beast to strip the old paint from. This is him after vigorous scubbing and two baths in Simple Green, and two baths in Dawn Power Dissolver, which should be more than enough for most paint! I'm done, nothing came off after the last bath so he's going to get painted and I'll just hope that no detail is obscured.


I've already prepped the first month's worth of miniatures for the Old World Army Challenge, but have wanted to get started on the rest so all I have to do is paint when each round comes up. For the second month I plan on painting some war machines -- a bolter and chariot.

The chariot is one of the primary reasons I chose to paint the Sea Elves for the challenge (wood elves was another contender, but I don't think the chariot fits them as well even if it is in the Armies list.) I inherited the chariot from a friend back when we played 3rd ed. It was assembled but never painted. I'm not sure it was used much. I recall most chariots being a bit crappy in 3rd, and I think he had better options for his wood elf army. So there was a lot of cleaning of old glue, flash, and mould lines to be done. Oh the cleaning...

Is it heretical to use old minis as a writing instrument? Ah, lead... the tastiest of all miniatures casting materials. Between this chariot and the second Screaming Skull catapult painted this month I've been reminded, once again, of how crappy the casting quality could be in the "good ol' days." Some of the horses and chariot parts were horrible, massive mould lines and protruding chunks of lead in inconvenient spots (like the strange growth on a horse muzzle.) I'm not crazy about the mountain of lead filings in the house, either. (Don't worry, I take great care to contain and dispose of it.)

So after a tedious amount of work, the sea elf bolter is ready, and the chariot & horses are cleaned but not assembled/primed yet. I haven't even started on the chariot crew.

22 December 2018

Old World Army Challenge 2

I am taking part in the 2018 Old World Army Challenge.

The OWAC involves participants painting 200 points of "Oldhammer" miniatures (3rd/4th ed. WFB) each month for six months, one of which is a mulligan, so we each end up with a 1000 point army at the end.

I've posted my first entry there. I'm not going to repeat it here -- follow the link to check it out. I'll be doing Sea Elves to go with my Marienburgers.

Expanding Deadcember '18

After hitting Deadcember '18 pretty strong in the first week and a half, painting slowed down a bit for various reasons. But I did just wrap up a few more minis...

A second screaming skull catapult (the last artillery piece in the foreseeable future) and two non-human skeletons. I'm not going to get to particular about their heritage. Maybe they're ogres, maybe... who knows. 40mm minis from the (former?) "Heroes of Myth and Legend" range.

Spent half of this week in San Antonio for work. Texas is becoming my second home...

Welcomed by a Curtiss Jenny in the airport when I arrived around midnight.

Had a couple hours before flying out, got to visit the Alamo!

Flying over Chicago at night was pretty cool. Have only seen if by day before.

11 December 2018

Non-Human Skeletons

Non-human skeletons are not as common, but I've been collecting a few. I've got a small regiment and have just painted these five for Deadcember '18.

The skeledwarf with the round shield is from Citadel's Cursed Company, the remaining four are from Diehard Miniatures.

Here's everything from Deadcember so far.

09 December 2018

Undead Hero, Etc.

Next up for Deadcember is an undead hero...

I really love this mini from Reaper. Sculpted by Tim Prow, according to the web site. Didn't know that until I just looked up the link. He's got some great sculpts across many ranges!

04 December 2018

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

When I hear the song*, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," I think of painting the undead in Deadcember.

Old Grenadier and Citadel miniatures make up my artillery battery.

*My Christmas jams are really more along the lines of...

(Phil the Spectre approves)


03 December 2018

Bones & Ballistae

Aside from Maurice Delamorte and his skeletons (which is more about him -- the raised skeletons are just his weapon of choice) I think I still prefer keeping the undead largely anonymous. However, I couldn't help building a history in my head for these skeleton crewed ballistae. The old skeleton impaled by a spear -- or BOLT -- sealed it. Still working on writing it out well, but the gist is that Ernst Wagner was a brilliant Imperial captain of artillery in the age before gunpowder. He took his artillery freelance, and then chose the wrong side in a rebellion or inter-provincial feud. His strength was partially in selecting the best position for his artillery, but in his final battle, he was equaled, if not bested. He was shot down by a lucky counter-battery shot, and their position was overrun by outriders sent to hunt them down while they were distracted by the return fire.

As useful as he and his battery were in life, it wasn't long before someone came up with the idea of summoning them back from the grave...

Painted two more of the Grenadier ballistae. These two only had one of the original crew, so I converted a couple of plastic Citadel skeletons to act as crew. Ernst, their captain, is an old Citadel mini (metal) as well.

01 December 2018

Getting Ahead and Catching Up

Deadcember 2019

I'm cheating and started a couple days early. I found eight more old Citadel skeleton bodies, and still had some extra skulls from Secret Weapon. I painted them up to bulk up Mo' Death's Commandos.

Here's the rest of what I've got prepped for the month, if I can manage.

Thanksgiving Spelunking

Thanksgiving night I introduced my wife and daughter to Dungeon! I think the last time I played I was probably somewhere around 10 years old. We had fun & hope to have another family game night at some point.

27 November 2018

Old Gobbos

Someone in the OWAC group mentioned not seeing a lot of old metal goblin together in one place, when someone posted a big unit of them. Got me thinking about my old gobbo army. These were some of my favorite minis from it. I don't own them anymore, but I believe most of these units ended up in a friend's collection.

The idea behind the outriders on the old goblin chariots was that the rules allowed for either 2 or 3 wolves. I could represent either option this way. The one with the later plastic wolves was a somewhat roughly scratch build chariot.

25 November 2018


This week I lost a good friend.

Rich was the foundation and hub of my old gaming group (TWA). I met him and another friend about 25 years ago at some local conventions, and was invited to their club's annual game day & regular game nights. Game nights were Wednesdays at Rich's house. There was a bi-monthly schedule, with club members taking turns running games. Rich was always the good host, making sure everyone felt welcome, had snacks & drinks. The usual game nights waned and then disappeared in recent years as some of the regulars moved away, or became busy with other aspects of their life. There's still been gaming going on, in a less formal way maybe. Rich still invited his old friends over.

It wasn't all gaming. We had a mutual knack for getting lost in conversation and especially a fondness for history. I would frequently be the last one to leave after a game after we rambled on for hours. I painted miniatures on commission, to pay the bills when I was in college (and beyond.) So I sometimes painted figures for Rich and the simple act of dropping off some painted minis was a task that could take the better part of the afternoon.

For many years, we had a sort-of revolving account for painting minis rather than any cash trading hands. I was usually broke when I was in school, and would have never been able to travel to the HMGS conventions & other events. So Rich would frequently offer to cover my share of the bills and I would pay him back by painting. On rare occasions I would even get ahead of the expenses!

I would never have had all of those good times with him and our other friends if he hadn't done that for me. We always drove from Ohio to Lancaster, Gettysburg, or wherever. So we had some long drives for even more talk. Rich hosted quite a few games at the conventions. He was also a master of the flea market -- somehow always finding the best, almost unbelievable, deals. He was an equally shrewd negotiator/salesman when manning our shared/club table at the flea market.

Rich was challenging opponent, but always (OK, mostly...) a good sport. His love of WWI history and gaming was contagious and was the spark that lit my own interest in that period. As I said, he was always a thoughtful host, but beyond that he was a thoughtful friend. I can't say the same for me, and so Rich was the one who always checked in with me to see if was OK when I got swept up in school, work, or whatever. I know he's kept up with other friends in the same way, since he's been the link that's kept me in touch with, or at least informed about, some of our other friends.

This isn't a very eloquent eulogy. I've re-written it several times in the past few days. I'm not sure how to put in to words what a great friend and wonderful person Rich was. But I wanted to put down something. I'm devastated by his death, and disappointed by my own failings as a friend. We had been emailing back and forth about getting together, but for months I just couldn't tear myself away from everything else to make time for someone who always had time and concern for his friends. After his memorial service this afternoon, I had a family dinner to travel to. The road took me near his house, so I stopped by and parked out front for a while. I've spent a lot of time at that house. The memories that hit me were almost like hallucinations, I swear I could see us loading up his car for a trip one minute, then standing on the front stoop talking til the sun went down, as it was at that moment, the next minute. I could see through the walls, look in to the living room, the game room in the basement.

I know I've got more photos somewhere... old ones, probably on old CDs buried in the basement. But this is sadly the best I can do at the moment. Rich is on the end, overseeing a WWI aerial game (Blue Max/Canvas Eagles?) at a Game Day a few years ago. I'm guessing I was already knocked out -- as much as love the game, I've never been very good at it.

This was the last thing I painted for Rich. I previously posted it on this blog, back when I painted it. I think it was in exchange for some minis he gave me. It's Lothar von Richthofen's DR.1.

21 November 2018

Half-Orc Banner

Forgot to post this. Finished this standard for the half-orcs a little while ago. This was an old mini -- one of the first I owned & painted more than 30 years ago -- and recently stripped. An old Grenadier orc. Photo shown with some of the other half-orcs for comparison.

He's a little larger (and uglier) but that's OK -- the big mean guy gets the honor of carrying the standard. Who's going to argue?

His helmet reminds me of the headgear of a certain Lichemaster...

15 November 2018

Stuff! In the Mail!

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I treated myself to a few minis -- namely the pack of Alternative Armies hobgoblins. There were two "treats" and the second one just arrived today...

Two trolls from Artizan/Mike Owen (via Northstar.) I thought they looked like they would go well with the Satyr Art Studio/Drew Williams trolls. While I'm happy that the sculpting and casting are just as good, I'm a little disappointed that the're a bit smaller. But I'm hoping that after they're painted and based, they'll fit in a bit better.

I'm expecting the third set of 3 Satyr/Drew trolls to arrive any time now. So I'll have a nice small batch of trolls to paint up soon. I should try to find one more to fit in with these, and make it 6 to paint.

In the mean time, I took a break from the half-orcs and jumped ahead to some minis I had prepped for the next theme-month: Deadcember.

I was too excited to see how they would look, and it was a super quick painting project. I like the idea of light skeletal artillery better than individual skeleton archers. This is an old Grenadier set. More undead fun coming in a couple weeks...

11 November 2018

Alternative Hob-Orcs

Finished all five half-orcs, from an Alternative Armies hobgoblins pack. Oldschool sculpts, and the casting was a little rough, but the minis are expressive and dynamic. I'm a big fan of three of the five, still like one of the remaining two, and the guy with the club...I guess he can tag along just because he's in good company.

I'm very curious about the vintage and history of these sculpts. I'd love more minis like these, but the AA orcs seem to be from a variety of sources, even just within the few hobgoblin packs.

Also, a pic of my basing material just so can share the image elsewhere...

10 November 2018


More half-orcs. I painted the mounted hero (Grenadier barbarian) and two of the Alternative Armies hobgoblins. I sense a little tension in this photo!

I admit that I'm not fond of the paint color on kitty and may try touching it up.

Also painted a bit of scenery for a friend's high elf army, that I've worked on over the years. Not sure who made it, but it's a pretty cool obelisk.

07 November 2018

Also on the Desk

Prepped a few more minis I may want to paint soon. There's another KoW tournament in January. I've only done two, but I'm sort of burned out on the tournament thing already. But as my options are limited, I might do it again. Contemplating a Kingdom of Rhordia list. A bit premature, since I was planning on trying to fit a JTC army into that list. But I don't have nearly the minis painted for it that I'd like to.

But at the very least, a couple of mounted hobbit spellcasters would be nice. One, a bit more "feral", has temporarily dismounted.

Honestly, if I'm going to do a Rhordia list anytime soon, I really need to paint up a boatload more hobbits. I may go back to undead again for this event. As long as I prepped the minis, though, I'd like to paint these two soon.

05 November 2018

Skin Variety

As requested...

I don't know if I can provide a proper tutorial. But this is a general idea of how I've been doing the mixed flesh on half orcs. Sort of similar to the giants and trolls... but not.

There's no easy formula or step-by-step process. That's increasingly the case for my process.

I have a pool of washes. Some are stock GW, some are OOP and some are my own concoction. I just sort of pick which first-wash to give a mini as I go. I've usually been doing two washes. Frequently two different colors, but sometimes the same one twice. Some of them get thinned out with a bit of water. Sometimes I will go back and give some additional shading or color only in particular spots with the wash -- maybe for darker, sunken in look to the eyes, or a bit or red around the nose or cheeks, etc. After the washes are done, I'll do some minimal highlighting and that's it!

I tried taking some photos of a few test subjects, but they didn't turn out so great. The proximity of the light an the black background screwed the contrast & color a bit. I'll try a pic in my more neutral-ish photo spot later.

31 October 2018

Half-Orc Arrival

I've put in a couple of really long weeks this month, which is part of the reason I didn't paint as many half-orcs as I would have liked this month. So I thought I deserved a few minis. Picked up a pack of minis to test for half-orciness.

They're Alternative Armies hobgoblin raiders. Shown here, from left to right... Mirliton hal-orc, Alt. Armies, Citadel RR15 hobgoblin, Alt. Armies, Black Tree Orc, Alt. Armies

Last night I was up to stupid o'clock working on one small detail for our office decorating contest...

27 October 2018

Hob-Orcs Complete

The RR15 Hob-Orcs are complete. I went with a simple "black star" shield design, based on the ancient Macedonian royal sun shield design. I painted a few different ideas on paper, but didn't care for the others. I thought this went well with the standard/totem too.

Mantic Giant

My Mantic giant arrived today. It's the only thing I got from the KS. I showed great restraint.

A quick dry fit to check the size compared to some of my other giants. I happen to have the Otherworld giant on my desk, still awaiting assembly. I think they will be pretty close in size when assembled, though proportioned somewhat differently (as just about every giant seems to be.)

And another quick check against a couple of the finished giants. I think the Mantic, Otherworld, Warploque, and Ultraforge giants will be of similar size when they're all complete.

I will need to get a new group photo when those two and the Heresy giant are done. But for reference, below are a couple of previous group shots.