Archive | August 2014

Ack-a-what-nid?

As most of my regular readers have probably forgotten, I do have an Early Achaemenid Persian army in progress (or sitting getting dusty if honesty is your thing).

Anyways, I do have a bit of progress.  In fact I have completed 50% of the remaining units this weekend.  For those keeping score, that means I painted 1 unit.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

This cavalry unit in DBA will be my General.  I wanted the fact that he was a combat leader shine through so I painted him similarly to the Immortals.  Slightly different since no horseman would ever wear white (Austrian Napoleonic horseman stay quiet).

I made my own banner by added a bit of paper to a lance.  I cut out my shape, liberally covered it in white glue.  Curl while drying and presto – instant banner.  I was stuck on what to do.  I wanted a pretty and bright banner but that would be historically inaccurate.  In fact, as near as I can grasp from my research, during this period a Persian “banner” was more of a plank on a staff.

sign

So I compromised and did a plain cloth banner.  I figured purple was simple enough.  If I get bored with it, I may go back and either paint on the two-headed eagle or some piping.

I have also made some progress on dungeon modules:

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

I have created a set of stairs.  Normally these will mark the entrance to the dungeon.  A fairly simple affair, the stairs line up with a level above exactly…the extra step on the stairs is to make the last step flush with the floor tiles of the next level.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Yet another corridor section.  The broken pottery and stacks of sacks give a cluttered feel.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

And a shot of the stairs with the corridor.  I wanted a minimalist approach so they could easily match any piece while an ornate set of stairs might not fit as well.

Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Now when we last left Marius, the intrepid explorer he was pondering what treasure to open first.  He chose the chest…

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

In Soviet Russia, chest choose YOU!

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

I painted this up quickly and am quite happy with the effects it evokes.  I may go back and rust wash the “metal” parts.  I am also considering a bit more high-lighting of the “wood” and a few washes to blend the red into the wood.  It is a bit over-exposed in the picture, in reality the transition from wood to gums is a lot more subtle.  Of course it still needs to be based.

I also got lazy with the mold lines and made them the gum line where I found I missed them.

Hopefully something here inspired you today.  Maybe you too can make a dent in that forgotten army.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

For those worried about an ALS ice bucket challenge, breathe a sigh of relief.  Instead, it is just a bad turn of pun on my first room for the modular dungeon: The Gauntlet.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hmm, seems like more of a T-junction than a room.  At least it looks nicely decorated.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Oh, a very narrow archway and a doorway to a…wait a minute.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

GASP.  Arrow slits!  It’s a trap.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

I wanted to create a simple room with some complexities for combat.  A side room with arrow slits seemed the best way.  Now it won’t be a surprise as…well, the extra section is obvious.  But the nuisance of having to run down a hallway while being peppered with arrows or spears makes for an interesting encounter.  The columns serve two purposes here.  (1) They obscure the arrow slits.  But that is a just a happy coincidence because (2) they are structural components.  Due to the nature of the arrow slit pieces they aren’t well anchored into the surrounding walls (another reason the walls are so high).  The columns provide some reinforcement to the wall at a weak-point.  Once they were added to that wall, the other columns are added for window dressing.

I am considering doing a tapestry across the hallway to the archway and the doorway to the shooting gallery.  I will put a door in the arch to the shooting gallery but I misplaced some blocks so the archway to the next section is too small for a door.

The plans I have for the game don’t involve special rules for any room.  It just creates an interesting location to place monsters with the cover rules protecting the archers who are peppering the party.

And of course the action shot.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Shaerileth, Spider Demoness by Reaper Miniatures.  Rohan Royal Guard by Games Workshop.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Shaerileth, Spider Demoness by Reaper Miniatures. Rohan Royal Guard by Games Workshop.

Ostwald starts to regret mocking his wife’s fear of spiders.

Hopefully something here inspired you today.

My Precioussss

 

Not a Ring of Power.

Not a Ring of Power.

Ok, so not quite Gollum-esque but bear with me.

I had a bit of time to work on some miniatures last night so I finished the modules that were half done and also got my treasure markers finished.  Now anybody who has played any sort of role-playing games will realize that treasure is far more precious to adventurers than even the One Ring was to Sméagol.

I won’t bore you with pictures of the finished modules except to show one detail: a rusty lever.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Switch

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Switch

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Switch

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Switch

Nothing too exciting here, except for the depth to the rust wash.  I actually like how my cheap old craft paints can do a quasi-mixed pigment to have each streak slightly different in colour…of course if properly mixed they stay uniform colour.

Anyhow, the toothpick lever at real scale looks like pitted and rusty steel.  At this zoomed in level, well it still looks like a piece of wood.  I think I will try with wood one more time (the portcullis) and if it still looks like painted wood, onto plastic rod I go.  Although I did receive a suggestion of using wire and that may be worth considering too.

But enough about esoteric discussions on scale modeling, I’m sure most of you came for the money shot.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Ok, bad pun I know.  The sword is by Wargames Factory the coin pile was dry-brushed with metallic paint and washed.  I may opt for glitter for future coin piles but these do look acceptable I think.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Probably my favorite of the tokens, again weapon supplied by Wargames Factory the remainder are Hirst Arts bits.  I am not sure if I want to corrode the bronze as well with a green oxidization wash.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Two of the three treasure chests.  A bit washed out by the light, but I also over did it a bit on the dry-brushing.  The broken bits of metal bands got a heavy rust wash.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Again, a bit heavy on the dry-brushing.  I am not sure if I want to put any contents in the broken barrel.  I am thinking some green flock in the bottom and rising up the sides like some spreading mold.  As I am doing these pieces I can’t help but think of the nastiest monsters from my early days of D&D.  Things like rot grubs, toxic molds, and ravenous fungus.  I kept thinking then that nobody would ever handle these disgusting things for risk of monsters.  Now, I realize they would be quite nasty.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

The Shield Treasures.  Again Wargames Factory Celts have surrendered some bits to build these.  I really like how the shields pop and stand out.

Now as my regular readers are used to, the action shots.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token.  Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token. Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token.  Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token. Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Spoiled for choice Marius Burrowell, gentleman explorer ponders which treasure to loot first.  The chest is the most obvious as it will screen him from any hidden arrows.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token.  Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token. Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures

The mage looks around perplexed.  He could have sworn the gnome was here a moment ago, and the treasure is untouched…

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token.  Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures.  Games Workshop Dunedain from the Lord of the Rings.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token. Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures. Games Workshop Dunedain from the Lord of the Rings.

The ranger makes effective use of the stack of crates to shield himself as he snipes at monsters while the mage bravely (foolishly?) stands in the open while muttering eldritch incantations.

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try making some easy but pretty treasure, objective, or other tokens.

 

Dungeon Work in Progress (2)

I realized it has been a while since I did any updates so I figured I would post what I have managed to do recently.  I’ve had a bit less free time than I’d like so the modular pieces from last post aren’t done.

But, as the pics below show, even half painted they blend in very well with the others.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

A bit over-exposed with light, I am having trouble trying to get the light contrast right for these pics of the terrain.  Might need to look into a cloth to put them on the get colour balancing and light ratios.  Trust me, that only sounds knowledgeable and technical, I barely understand it.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Barrow Warden Mystic,  Astrid Female Bard,  Brother Roberto, and Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures.  Games Workshop Dunedain, Goblins and Skeletons.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Barrow Warden Mystic, Astrid Female Bard, Brother Roberto, and Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures. Games Workshop Dunedain, Goblins and Skeletons.

The brave adventurers are attacked on all fronts.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Barrow Warden Mystic and   Brother Roberto by Reaper Miniatures.  Games Workshop Dunedain and Skeletons.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Barrow Warden Mystic and Brother Roberto by Reaper Miniatures. Games Workshop Dunedain and Skeletons.

Facing the onslaught of undead, the brave ranger and cleric prepare to sell their lives dearly.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Astrid Female Bard and Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures.  Games Workshop Goblins.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Astrid Female Bard and Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures. Games Workshop Goblins.

The bard and mage confidently stare down the goblins…

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Astrid Female Bard and Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures.  Games Workshop Goblins.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Astrid Female Bard and Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures. Games Workshop Goblins.

Until a portcullis separates the two adventurers!

I also managed to get a modular door piece finished, but as I was grabbing it to photograph the top row came undone.  The key point here is build a top row to keep them assembled.  I should have it ready for the next update.

Overall, the dungeon is progressing slowly but surely.  I am busy casting bricks to finish a room I have given the ominous name of “The Gauntlet”.

Hopefully something here inspired you today, if nothing else to play out little dramas to photograph and post.

 

Dungeon Work in Progress

After a long and busy weekend helping a friend re-shingle his house.  See skills in building models are just as valid in building a house.

I don’t have too much new to update on other than a few new pieces assembled but not painted.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

First up is another 90 degree corner piece.  I opted to add some wooden panels and stairs to make it seem unique.  It is the out of place things like this that used to drive me nuts in role-playing games or video games.  I remember the party being held up for a couple of hours and endless plans being debated over a piece of wire sticking out of the ground.  Turns out the DM was just trying out a random table for dungeon dressing.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

A four-way intersection.  Instead of single pillars that would very likely break I opted to make the piece rectangular so a full wall can be placed instead.  I originally planned to put arches all through here but the lack of support and millimeter variances in size drove me nuts.  Word to the wise: if you are building arches make sure they are solidly supported as they don’t do well as stand alone parts.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Ah, the yawning chasm that blocks the path.  To build this I carefully cut out sections leaving a lip and gradually lowered it tiny slice by tiny slice.  And after 20 minutes got bored so clawed out big chunks instead and used my heat gun to smooth it out a bit and drop the depth.  So the end result is the lip is gone but I will make a removable wooden plank bridge to cross.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Nothing too fancy, just a dead end.  If I plan to keep the dungeon completely modular I will need a few of these to cap off passages.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

A simple lay-out demonstrating the 4-way intersection.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon is over-run by Mummies and scarabs

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon is over-run by Mummies and scarabs

And the mandatory action shot.  Since the modules are unpainted I felt some unpainted monsters would suffice.  Visible here are mummies and scarabs Bones miniatures by Reaper.

Hopefully something here inspired you today, if nothing else to show you modeling skills are just as practical in construction.

Note: modeling skills are in no way practical in construction.  If you try to patch and build with Hirst blocks, foam core and popsicle sticks please send me pictures but keep me out of any phrases like “liability” or “lawsuit”.

Dungeon Down Redux

Ok, maybe not a redux, but it is an update.  Dramatic titles aside, I do have the dungeon tiles painted.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

For the crystal ball I intentionally used a thick white paint and swirled it onto the ball.  The brush strokes and patchy coverage give a mystical look.  In this picture you see an over-exposed white patch.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

The bars look exactly as I predicted: like wooden sticks with paint on them.  Fortunately on the table the natural shadow hides most imperfections.  I did consider giving them a rust wash but I am concerned it would draw attention to the bars and of course make them obviously wood.  At some point some did shift a bit so there are a few gaps at the top.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

 

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

The wood really stands out on these pieces.  I did a dark brown (nearly black) base followed by successive chestnut brown and chalky grey dry brushing.  For future pieces I am undecided if I want to keep pieces separate to paint.  The barrel fortunately came unglued during painting so it was easy to paint and reattach.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Nothing particularly fancy about this one.  I opted for a black base coat then heavy dry brush of grey followed by spot colouring of random stones followed by a very light grey highlight.  The random stones colour I based on the gravel mixture used around here.  Mostly grey crush ballast but with light and dark brown stones and these odd blue ones.  There are also pink ones in the gravel but those would look out of place here I think.  After I was on my second piece I realized it was similar to the Dwarven Forge colour scheme.  I guess their artists are used to the same gravel mixture too.

I also did throw together a few treasure counters.

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens

Not pictured are two more chests.  I am not sure how many the game I am designing would need, probably not many more than the 8 I have done so far.  Four of these markers also doubled as 40K objective markers in a game this weekend.

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens.  Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens. Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens.  Harley Brimstone by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts accessories as treasure tokens. Harley Brimstone by Reaper Miniatures

What I see as an important role for these treasure counters in the game is as cover.  As Marius demonstrates the lower tokens provide him ample cover while he can completely hide from sight behind the higher ones.  Harley would opt for the crates of course.  Of course cover will be a two-way street with the monsters cowering as much as the heroes.  So I see these piles of crates and even treasure chests as an obstacle as much as a goal during fights.

And of course the gratuitous action shot:

Hirst Arts modular dungeon is explored by cautious adventurers

Hirst Arts modular dungeon is explored by cautious adventurers

Hopefully something inspired you today.  If nothing else, I can tell you the Hirst Arts is easy to assemble and takes paint fairly well if you expect your first coat to be soaked in like dried wood.

Dungeon Down

So the past few days have been filled with playing with plaster and cement to get the perfect mixture. As a result, I also have my first few Hirst Arts pieces assembled for my modular dungeon.

Before I show the pictures, I will ramble about plaster for a bit as apparently using cement is a bit contentious. If you don’t care about plaster, please scroll down to the first picture.

I had read recommendations of 3 parts plaster to 2 parts cement. Away I went carefully measuring and…ok, my first mixture actually hardened as a brick in the mixing cup since I wanted to photo document as I went. You saw the results of the salvaged pictures.

When I actually poured my first plaster/2 cement mix it had a few surprises: first it starts setting sooner so scraping must be done sooner. Second, the curing time is longer so I had a few just crumble into a muddy mess.

With time I got the timings down and I realized that it was brittle in crevices and fine details but otherwise solid. It meant I could do some solid wall pieces but got none of the cool pieces. And the odd brick that was slightly more detailed or offset would break into the mold.

Through trial and error I have settled on 4 parts plaster to 1 part cement for most pieces and 5 parts plaster to 1 part cement for some of the detailed pieces. The only thing I am struggling with is the fragile nature of the pieces at the crucial stage where they are still flexible enough to remove. Strangely the pieces are all hard as a rock and assemble fairly well. Once painted, I will show off the nice effect the cracks and lines produce with wooden structures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  My first completed piece.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. My first completed piece.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  My first completed piece.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. My first completed piece.

My first piece is here.  The rubble was a little addition to use some pieces I broke taking out of the mold.  I added a wooden buttress to show the failed attempt at reinforcing the walls by a dungeon denizen.  The missing bricks and air bubbles add to the look of disrepair and I am very happy with the ramshackle look of this piece.

As the astute reader will notice, there is a whole spectrum of different greys in this brick works.  I am happy with the grey colour and am not sure if I will opt to wash and highlight or if I will basecoat black and build up.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

A corner piece.  As walls don’t interfere with lines of sight one picture shows all the details.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

A stack of crates provide cover and potentially treasure.  I intend to have some fixed pieces but most of the treasure pieces will be placed on a mobile base and placed into the dungeon.  I am currently pondering how to base them right now.  Using a floor piece seems obvious but I am open to other suggestions.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Sewer grates mark this section.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Sewer grates mark this section.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Sewer grates mark this section.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Sewer grates mark this section.

A bit of fiddly work was done on this to put in bamboo skewer bars.  I glued them in place prior to cutting.  I am skeptical on how they will look without a thick layer of paint: the wood texture and splintering will still be obvious I think.

So that is the dungeon thus far.  I have some ideas percolating and I may copy some of the suggested rooms from the Hirst Arts site, but I am opting for a 2 square wide corridor vice the one square he uses.  I did this for two reasons.  First, the two square width gives more flexibility and freedom of movement.  I realized this after my first game of Descent (2nd Edition).  Second, the stereotypical D&D dungeon is 10′ wide by 10′ tall.  The 1″ square is pretty close to 5′.

And of course the action shot I try to include in every post:

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Adventurers nervously traverse the dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Adventurers nervously traverse the dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Adventurers nervously traverse the dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Adventurers nervously traverse the dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Adventurers nervously traverse the dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Adventurers nervously traverse the dungeon.

As these pictures show, the crates provide good cover for the miniatures, and the squares are fairly obvious for movement.  The dust on the wizard from handling both plaster and him is also evident.

I hope something here inspired you today.