26 September 2022

Plain of Theives - Sellswords & Spellslingers Campaign 2

Plain of Thieves

A Sellswords & Spellslingers Campaign
It was unlikely that anyone outside the tribe knew of the Old Days & Nights. Before the coming of men and their change from Tribe to Empire, when the men hunted goblins and killed them in their homes and secret caves. Even before the bitter rivalry of the rat-men and the swamp daemons that broke the land and cut the goblins off from the last of their hunts and harvests. Further still, before the epic battles of elves and dwarves had driven the goblins from the thick forests, to seek hidden mountain vales for survival. Once, many, many lifetimes past, Udag's people had hunted beasts in dark forests, and gathered mushrooms and berries from beneath the shady trees along the riverbank.
For most in the tribe, those were just stories told by the evening fires by the old shaman.
Tork-An taught the histories that had been handed down through countless generations of wise-goblins. Legends, the typical goblin called them, but not real to any of them. Udag-stuuk, on the other hand, was mesmerized by the history of his people. When he was young, he thought he wanted to be a shaman too. But that was not his path. Udag was driven to action. Not a story teller, a story maker. And when he became the Tribal Champion, he proposed a plan to start reclaiming his ancestors' lost heritage. Maybe not reclaiming & rebuilding their land. But at least starting by recovering ancient treasures taken from them by so-called human, elven, and dwarven "adventurers"  who were little more than thugs and thieves.

So it was that Udag, along with the current shaman's apprentice, Tork-Al, and the chieftain's mischievous young daughter, Noxea, were selected for an ambitious mission to recover the Fire Stones, ancient treasures stolen from one of of the most important shrines of the old Six Tribes of the Riverland.
Tagging along, whether they like it or not, is Nox's life-long (as brief as that has been so far) companion, the half-wolf Sasha. Hopefully her keen senses and loyalty to Nox will serve the group well.

This will be my second Sellswords and Spellslingers campaign. I had intended to kick it off not long after the last one wrapped up. But life gets busy, and two years pass in the blink of an eye. I had the general concept of "flipping the perspective" before, but only recently started thinking about the backstory.

18 September 2022

Raptors in Space

I painted some Reaper dinosaur figures that I picked up on eBay to fill the role of Carnivore Chasers & Razor Lizards in Five Parsecs. These were speed-painted, using Citadel contrast paints for the color. Dinosaurs in space? "Life, uh, finds a way." ;)

06 August 2022

Warhammer -1313

I've had this idea lingering for years, and it has bubbled back to the surface. Oldhammer. No, not like that. This is Warhammer set in the in-universe past. Sort of like the War of the Beard campaign & lists published in WD long ago. 
Based on my interests and collection, my setting would be sometime after the War of the Beard, but before Sigmar, and set in my favorite place in the Old World: The Wasteland/Westerland.

I like the idea of setting it in the time just before and after the cataclysm brought about by the strife between the Fimir and Skaven. Arbitrarily I'll set this around the year of the Imperial Calendar...


Two major factions would be the afore mentioned Skaven & Fimir. Two secondary, or maybe more like something between primary and secondary (prime-and-a-half-ary?) factions of humans and dwarfs. Dwarfs would be at a bit of a low point in their history, suffering not only from the toll of the War of the Beard, but supposedly the natural (or Slann and then Skaven/Fimir induced un-natural) disasters that came after, and the goblin incursions the followed that. Humans would be from the early migrations into this region, which (according to what I could tell from Warhammer lore) lagged behind the earlier human settlements in the future neighboring lands of Bretonnia and Tilea to the west and south respectively.

Tertiary forces or supporting characters could include goblins, undead, giants.

I've got a lot of this thought out already. The big, undecided portion for me is the humans. I fluctuate between envisioning them as early Celtic or Germanic tribes, and somewhat later Migration Period Germans (Goths, Vandals, or early Saxons). The depictions in Warhammer art & books seems to favor the former, but I feel that's a bit out of place. Maybe just "modern" in-world source biases of "everyone a few hundred years ago was a primitive barbarian" bias?

For the dwarfs, I definitely want a look that's different from my puff & slash mercenaries. There's quite a few options for dwarfs with an early medieval "dark ages" aesthetic, and that's what I'd probably aim for.  These would all be fairly small army projects.


These are some board game figures I bought from eBay and painted with color-shifting paints and ink. They will serve as Distorts for Five Parsecs

07 July 2022

Alien Fungi

Ages ago I took a course in small scale resin casting with a local artist We each made a quick, small sculpt then created a mold, and made several castings. 

After recently messing around with resin and jewelry molds with my daughter, I pulled out the old silicone mold and... it has way more life in it than expected! So I've been messing around with clear resin and inks, casting gems with/for my daughter and making more of these little things that I see as the first of several potential "alien fungi" for gaming terrain. I painted one of the original castings up just before I started my casting experiments. Here's where I am at today, the blue/sapphire was my latest color. Regardless of the inks & colors, my plan is to paint them. The inks/colors are for me to experiment with before trying to produce something with that sort of translucent quality in a more refined finial format.

19 June 2022

Eyes in the Sky

These little fellas will serve as Void Rippers for Five Parsecs from Home. Possible also giant bats in The Liche's undead army and other roles as well.

Figures from Ral Partha Europe's Das Schwarze Auge range.

22 May 2022

Expanded Adventures?

 Not satisfied with just those last two figures, I'm working on ways to expand  on the theme. Reaper Bones Black "Penguin Attack Pack" and "Carnivorous Pudding" mean that Gunther & co. and an evolved Slime Princess (I added her tiara) now join middle aged Finn & Jake.

14 May 2022

Time for Adventure!

C'mon grab your friends & go to very distant lands.

I love this pair from Old School Miniatures, originally from Thunder Child Miniatures.

18 April 2022

April Fools to Easter Sunday

Happy Easter from the original Oldhammer villain, the eternal malice...

"Heinrich? Heinrich who? Oh that young kid with the magic sword? Terrorizing family farms and avenging himself upon half-ruined monasteries. Such low ambitions. Tsk."

Also, couldn't pass up a holiday themed photo of the crew of LAGWAFIS.

More seriously, I painted the remaining figures for a squad of guards, troopers security forces, etc. for Five Parsecs. Figures from Khurasan's 28mm range. 


(((Addendum))) Artwork that I assume inspired the Drachenfels figures above, from the WFRP Castle Drachenfels.


03 April 2022

Crew Complete and Eternal Death

A little bit of progress on the sci-fi project. I completed the final figure I needed for my Five Parsecs crew: G-Roy, the fame seeking special agent. Figure by Satyr Art Studio/Drew Williams.
Now I need to get enough terrain on the table for a game, and to finish painting a bigger variety of opponents. Working on both, you can see some of the more recent small terrain pieces in the bacground of these latest photos.

I've also decided to follow up on my previously painted pair of "avatars" of Life & Death I decided they are eternal and needed a second set of figures to match the sci-fi basing. Death is finished, Life is partially painted and should be done soon. I photographed death with the Astro Zombies in the background. Seems like a logical pairing. I'll have to figure out what sort of minions/associates Life would have in a sci-fi setting. I was thinking of dryads for fantasy, but that won't necessarily translate well to the sci-fi setting.

10 March 2022

Budget Bots

I don't remember what blog or social media group led me to these, but I picked up some super cheap plastic toy robots and speed painted them with GW contrast paint & washes. They will serve as security/war bots for Five Parsecs for now. Maybe I will replace them, maybe they will grow on me and stick around. But for now they are a quick and cheap way to get another squad into the pool of figures available for gaming.

20 February 2022

Five Parsecs February

The first half of the month I was mostly working on my OWAC5 figures plus "extras." Those are essentially finishes and that update will be coming soon.
So now that I have some breathing room, I've turned back to the sci-fi/Five Parsecs/Alt Trader project.

I forgot to show these previously! Last month I painted two more Wraithguard, so I now have one each of those and the Ghost Warriors.

I'm working in finishing figures for my crew, and completed two more. Plus a psi-weasel.

Not much is known of the elusive psi-weasel. Their planet of origin is a mystery, and so far no one has even been able to narrow it down to any particular part of the galaxy. They seem to appear and vanish with equal abruptness. Each specimen that has been observed has exhibited unique psychic abilities, and it has been theorized that some sort of psionic teleportation may be responsible for their surprise comings and goings. But that is speculation, almost nothing is known for certain about these creatures among Imperial out Outland researchers. There are rumors, however, that the notorious Spaven naturalist/mutologist David Rattenborough has captured one and utilized it in developing a "rodent psy-bombs" that have recently been spotted in several incidents in the fringe of the galactic north.

Here's the crew in-progress. Almost done! I've updated the Crew Page too.

I decided that Kev is one of at least three Immortals that will appear in both fantasy games (he previously appeared leading WFB goblin armies in 6th/7th ed.) as well as sci-fi games. The fantasy Kev was painted +/-20 years ago. It's sad how much my painting has declined in the intervening years, at least on this figure. Space Kev looks like a cartoon version of the original. My eyesight isn't what it used to be.

On a personal, non gaming note, we've had a crazy winter, even for typical Cleveland weather. It's not that it's been particularly cold or snowy. In fact, we had a couple of "polar vortex" years where it was far far colder.  It's the fact that within a single week, we will go from 7 degrees (F) to 53 degrees (F) with everything from torrential rainstorms, to the world turning to a solid block of ice, then getting buried in 12" of snow, and then all melting two days later... and the cycle starts again the following week.

But today's break in the weather, warm (compared to 7 degrees) & sunny ON A WEEKEND... Hell yeah, grilling season has started! ;)

31 January 2022

The K'Erin (Five Parsecs)

I've struggled to find figures to use for K'Erin in Five Parsecs, both for crew and adversaries. I wanted something that wouldn't be obviously attached to major IP like 40k, Klingons, Predators, etc. Somehow I arrived at the Hadross faction from Wrath of Kings. It's a fantasy-ish game, but I can make the figures work.
Here's my test figure.

I think this will work!

The concept is this... the K'Erin are a warlike race from an aquatic world. They evolved to very particular conditions found only on their homeworld, but through strength of will and a desire to expand their influence, they quickly adapted technology to allow them to move freely in a large variety of environments. 

In their natural environment, K'Erin take a variety of forms usually comprised of a slew of tentacles and various fluid filled organ chambers. Their environmental suits not only help them stay hydrated and chemically balanced, they can also help them assume a form similar to many of the other uplifted races they engage with. Most K'Erin don't have an identifiable face like most of the other uplifted races either, so some have taken to wearing the faces of honorably defeated enemies as a way to seem more familiar to those others & put them at ease. Or terrify them. No one's quite sure except the K'Erin themselves.

There are some other interesting figures in the Hadross range, and the Wrath of Kings game as a whole. I was a little disappointed with the shallow detail and mold lines on this figure, but it painted up pretty well. This will be among my K'Erin adversaries. I have one on the crew, but will use a unique character figure from Wrath of Kings to differentiate. They won't wear anyone else's face. Most likely, one of these two figures (with possible modifications).


24 January 2022

A Good Start to a New Year pt. 2

I was trying to do seven things at one while posting the last update. I forgot a few pics.
I painted a big bird for a friend. It only took me a couple of years. 😕 But it turned out pretty well after a having to repaint a bunch of the wing feathers when they turned out more tropical that frosty. I magnetized the rider and the alternate neck feathers that take his place.

After discovering some more forgotten Spaven tucked away in a box (pic added to the Five Parsecs page now) I took a quick glamour shot before packing various subjects away for various destinations.

Dr. Squidclops vs. The Spaven

Also, our Christmas decorations got into the spirit of my OWAC5 project. Well, and my fondness for the undead in general.

That's part 2 of my January update. Probably a part 3 following in a week, with the OWAC5 update and maybe a bit more.

23 January 2022

A Good Start to the Year

I've had a pretty decent start to the year. No games (yet) but I did clear off my 3x3 table (for the first time in almost a year) and brought in the new sci-fi themed table top in from the garage.

I've spent a respectable amount of time painting & modeling. I'm trying to make sure to get my fair share of personal time, for stress and mental health reasons. 2021 sucked. I've already completed my entry for the Old World Army Challenge, but I will wait to share that until it's up on the OWAC site

I did some prep. work on some other figures, and painted the alien on the left. It reminded me of Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, so that was the inspiration for painting. The figure on the right was painted 25+ years ago but never based... until now. The former can be a unique character, the latter a random beast of some sort.

I got a compressor for Christmas, to go with the airbrush I got for our wedding anniversary. I just need a spray booth (and a place to set it up!) and I'm ready to experiment with some new techniques. I've never used an airbrush before, but excited about trying it out.

I'm hoping to play some games soon. I'd really like to give 5 Parsecs a try. I normally don't like using unpainted figures, but I think I may prime & base some of the remaining factions so I can use them unpainted if needed, and keep painting as I go. With that in mind, the last thing holding me back is terrain. I've been collecting various scraps & bits from the hardware store, including the floor drain below. I think I'll turn it into a raised landing platform - I got some screen for the top and will build either a ramp or a lift for getting down to grade. I'm seriously considering the possibility of buying some pre-made terrain in order to get some games in sooner. I've got one very "specialized" set I've been looking at for a long time. But not sure where to go beyond that.

01 January 2022

Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

Happy New Year! It' got to be better than the last one.
I managed to paint two more figures before the ball dropped. Finished early in the day, actually. Two more old Grenadier "Future Wars" figures, that should wrap up the figures I need for the moment for the gangs/punks/starport scum/etc. factions in Five Parsecs. Full pic of the group on the Five Parsecs page (see below/above) On to another faction!

Blog Update
  • I enabled comments again. I'll see how that goes. If I start getting inundated with spam again I may shut that option down again. One of my concerns is getting flagged as a phishing or malware site because of the spam posts. I've seen that happen on other blogs, and there are few that are sadly completely blocked by my anti-virus software.
  • Since I'm hoping to start playing some solo sci-fi games (Five Parsecs from Home is the current game plan) I've added a couple of static pages to the blog to track my painting progress & my crew. Links are near the top of the page.

2021 Review

As usual, I posted a list of goals for 2021. They weren't necessarily planned as a strict checklist, but just things I was looking forward to doing. As it turns out, 2021 was a bit of a garbage year, even compared to 2020. Some of the smaller painting challenges I look forward to each year, like Orctober and my own habit of painting a giant or two in April passed me by like a speeding car. I never had much time to give them more than a sad passing thought.
Painting:  The focus for the first half of the year was completing my Old World Army Challenge 4 project. This was my third year participating and unlike past years, I barely made it through several months. Unfortunately it was sometimes difficult to find any painting time at all, which created a gloomy feel of obligation sometimes. But at the core, it was something I had really been looking forward to and the real problem was the rest of my schedule not allowing for much personal time. Looking back, I'm happy with the Eldar and really enjoyed experimenting with color, writing the entries, and in particular the Gothmower.

After the OWAC was finished, there was a bit of a lull in painting until the end of the year. I was completely off target in terms of my predicted "goals" but the trade off  is that I made significant progress towards having enough painted figures to start a Five Parsecs campaign! A few more 'bots, some "supporting characters," space worms, Spiders From Mars, Astro-Zombies, and a variety of ne'er-do-wells. I even built a new photo board, a tiny bit of terrain, and a basic 3'x3' board for games.

Otherwise, I think all I painted was a handful of undead, including a "Life & Death" pair that I plan on following up with in the future. Literally & figuratively.

Gaming: Unfortunately, this was an utter bust. I had wanted to do either another solo Sellswords & Spellslingers campaign, or try my hand at Rangers of Shadow Deep. Neither happened. I thought maybe I could at least take a set of solo sci-fi rules for a test drive, but didn't get a single game (though I did roll up a random Five Parsecs crew!) We didn't do much in the way of family board/card games all year. At the end of 2020 I was really hoping the pandemic would improve -- and it did briefly -- enough for some actual face to face games with old or new friends. Back a few years ago I had planned on making 2021 a "year of gaming" to get back some of the old joy as a 50th birthday gift to myself. (I turned 50 in December.) But the world had different plans.

Shopping: OK, this isn't a category or a goal. Just an observation. I bought more new figures in 2021 than in any other year in recent history. Maybe subconsciously trying to compensate for lack of gaming, blogging, friends, etc. and the struggles with painting? I got several Midlam Miniatures kickstarter rewards (more hobgoblins, townsfolk, hobbits), sci-fi figures from Skull & Crown (space dwarfs), Satry Art Studio (sister marines), Khurusan (space raptors and human sci-fi guard/soldiers), misc. bits for a small skirmish project in the Althammer "New World" (Messoamerican fantasy), some LotR warg riders for conversion to Hobhound cavalry, and a couple of orders of misc. figures from Badger Games and RPE (mostly sci-fi stuff.) Now that I've cataloged it, maybe it's not THAT much. But I've kept pretty tight reins on new acquisitions for a long time, trying to match my pace of purchases with my painting. This year was out of balance, I guess. Time to ramp up the painting!

Looking Forward to 2022

  • Old World Army Challenge 5. I'm painting undead the first six months of 2022. You can read about it in my intro post. I'm looking forward to this, although after last year's project the bar is set somewhat (intentionally) low. But as long as I meet the basic requirements, I've got "add ons" planned so I can scale it up if I want.
  • More sci-fi/Five Parsecs. I want to play some games, and I've still got quit a bit of enthusiasm for this, so I will continue to paint more as time allows. Specific plans include those listed below, some pics of the unpainted on the Five Parsecs page.
    • Planetary nomads/scavengers (Copplestone & Grenadier)
    • Soldiers/mercenaries (Khurusan)
    • Salvage Team (Skull & Crown)
    • Soldiers/mercenaries (Satyr Art Studio)
    • Robots (various)
    • Pirates/Raiders/Vigilantes (Stargrave, if I can get motivated to build plastic figures)
  • A dragon. I have several cleaned & primed but for some reason I've been intimidated by the idea of not living up to the task of painting one. More specifically painting a non-undead one, since I have painted skeletal and zombie dragons in recent years. I don't know why I've got such a mental block on doing this but 2021 is the year to overcome this!
  • A Tale of Two Hobs
    • Hobgoblins/hob-orcs aka half orcs. I still have the figures from the last Midlam KS to paint, and a handful of GW LotR wardg riders that I plan on converting to hobhound cavalry.
    • Hobbits. I've been saying I'll get back to the halflings & rest of the Jackrabbit Trading Company for years, but never quite get around to them. Maybe this year...?
  • Terrain. I need sci-fi terrain to play games! I have also been wanting to make more large trees like the one I did for my Wood Elf Old World Army Challenge project. (Though storage of the trees is a bit of a problem.) I also have a resin inn I bought a couple years ago that I'd love to paint up & use in some home-brew Sellswords scenarios.


  • Anything will be a step up from 2021.
  • Five Parsecs. I have a crew rolled up, a solid start on a pool of adversaries, and started on terrain. Hoping to start up in the first half of the year.
  • Sellswords. I should return to this. I enjoyed my first campaign in 2020. Provided I can get my table cleared off (need to figure out a way to store all the sci-fi figures I painted last year!) all that I need is time.
    • Alternately I still wouldn't mind trying Rangers of Shadow Deep.
  • Games vs. other humans? I have no idea whatthe pandemic and my schedule will allow. But I can dream.
    • I wouldn't mind trying to get my family to try some of the above games as co-op instead of solo.