I have been slowly plugging away at my library and I have a few updates that are worth showing I think.
First I now have 3 completed bookcases:
The books of different sizes and the scrolls add a bit of variety I think. Again, simple wood wrapped in card for the books. The scrolls are paper strips tightly rolled with a tiny dab of superglue to bond them. The crystal ball is a Hirst Arts bit.
Combined with a few other pieces, the library now looks a bit more library-ish.
The tables and benches are again Hirst Arts bits. The map is actually a fantasy map I found online and shrunk down and printed off. It is Alithan by the artist Luned.
The frame got a bit more distressed than I intended but a bit of drybrushing should hopefully help. It obviously will be mounted on the wall once the library floors and walls are painted.
Of course the action shot ties it all together.
A second update for today, but hopefully no less inspirational. I know I have been inspired watching this project come together piece by piece and I am excited to see this piece finished.
Or this luddite can’t figure things out. A specific question for all the WordPress users out there: have you had your followed blogs get creatively edited? I mean specifically have you had it delete or remove blogs you follow? If I had random blogs added I would have no doubt my account had been hacked or taken over by Malware…deleting blogs I follow just seems odd.
Anyways, I have a bit of a hodge-podge today, just a few pics to show.
First up, Alain is finished. Or rather, I’m tired of painting him so I say he’s done. In the end I was getting fed up with the blending so his skin still looks a bit patchy. His banner has some plaster or thick paint splattered on from some accident or other, and I did a really fast and dirty bit of battle-damage to his shield. Either way, it is table-top quality and the eyes do finish the look even if they are a bit cartoony. The sword was my biggest frustration: I shaped it before painting and it just decided to bend and go weird when I was nearly done painting. Either he is super strong and can bend a broad sword by leaning on it, or he’s hoping the badguys won’t notice he is using an SCA foam sword.
I think I will need to break down and get another 20/0 brush, the frayed 10/0 just isn’t cutting it for detail work right now.
I originally wanted to show a picture of my latest project, Alahazra Oracle. She is another Bones figure and the fingers just wouldn’t cooperate with trimming, the finger would bend so I was worried about breaking them off. Instead I think I will paint it as a mystical spell, maybe try object light source again, with her hands glowing. Her skin is almost done, I may add a few more highlights on her face and breasts to better capture shadows. I did rush the white, mostly because I had the mid-tone for her robes mixed while doing the skin and went ahead and did wet-blending on the robes. Unfortunately I was rushing it and distracted by the show I was watching…so the paint came out a bit too thick. Anyway, this will be the first caramel skin tone I have done so I am pleased with the results.
When taking her picture I realized that the natural light in my workroom today might let me get a better picture of Jolie. So, here is the best pic I could take of her so far, showing the blending of the yellows a bit better.
The colours are still a bit washed out but I think this is the camera camo colour tone.
Anyhow, a short one today but hopefully no less inspirational. If nothing else, I hope I have given you the nudge to finish off that project nearly done…even if it means you just mail it in.
After the game of Dungeon Down I decided it was worth staging a picture of all my dungeon tiles together.
I think the pictures are better suited to being eloquent in this case so here they are:
Quite a bit larger than last time, I am thinking there might be a need for a few more diverse rooms as well as some more corners. The dungeon could benefit from a few more intersections and I think rooms with directions and of course the corridor sections will address that.
In fact, a couple new dungeon modules will help address that.
The newest two sections to get assembled are a Gauntlet Mk II and a T-Junction Stairwell.
The Gauntlet I feel will add some unique aspects without overpowering the party.
The T-Junction Stairwell will give me a couple of options. First it gives a stand-alone entry piece. The party can be deployed on this without forcing movement into a new area. As an added perk it will allow easier connection to other raised sections (like the balcony in the Web Room) or give a sight-blocking path in the middle of the corridor.
As a demonstration of the scale, the Gauntlet does mess better with the smaller archers but even the big guys can make use of the cover.
Finally, I managed to get the base coats on the two other sections that were WIPs before. The test of base-coating the floor prior to attaching walls was a bust: the glue takes longer to dry so it really just draws out the whole process.
Hopefully something was inspirational today. I know the whole scope of the dungeon project seems immense right now, but the small stage by stage building approach made this massive project easy to tackle with bite-sized portions. If you have a big project in mind (or underway) try breaking it into smaller pieces and finish those completely to help give that push towards completing it.
A bit of mood music for those interested…or not. I know Iron Maiden can be an acquired taste for some, so click at your own risk:
If you haven’t guessed it yet, last night saw the opportunity for another descent into the deep dark dungeons and a game of Dungeon Down. After the last delve, Hayden and Brother Roberto decided to part ways with the rest of the party – mostly since the alleged trap-master got lost in the closet of the inn.
Instead, Brother Roberto and Hayden were joined by two new faces in the dungeon. I will apologize now for the terrible pictures. We decided to mess around with the settings on the good camera and had some difficulty in getting the focus to work properly.
Leading the way into the dungeon, Marius spotted a pit trap and calmly kicked a loose stone at the disarm switch while twirling his moustache and discussing the finer points of triple tumbler lock systems. Hayden’s suspicions about the new thief seemed justified – he seemed to be competent. Unsure if he could be trusted, Hayden and Brother Roberto exchanged meaningful glances and the priest took the lead to light the way with his lantern.
In the inky blackness, the lantern banished the shadows to reveal the oddest trio to travel together.
Brother Roberto was stunned to see the other-worldly Grick under the sway of a Dark Spawn Cultist. Oddest of all was the swarm of spiders that seemed enthralled by the sinister being.
Brother Roberto shifted his stance and started reciting holy scripture describing the infernal fate of unholy creations as he advanced. So eloquent were his words that the Grick was struck dead with fear.
Thinking himself safe from harm, Brother Roberto stalwartly prepared to face the vile sorcery of the cultist as Marius failed to fell the abomination with his first crossbow shot. To his horror, the swarm of spiders instead skittered across the floor and brought the holy warrior to his knees with the countless bites.
As a piece of irony, Brother Roberto, Marius and the spiders each scored critical hits. While Marius was able to seriously injure the 3 wound Darkspawn Cultist, the other two critical hits proved fatal.
Stepping to the fore, Jolee steeled herself and began uttering incantations as she strode towards the melee. Her sorcerous will brightly illuminated the dungeon as she conjured mystical fire on the spiders and fallen form of Brother Roberto. No stranger to searing pain, Hayden leapt into the inferno to stare down the spiders. Although the fire singed the barbarian, consumed the spiders were utterly consumed by the mystical flames. Marius’ aim faltered and struck Hayden in the back with his first crossbow shot, causing the berserker to ready her screams of rage as the second struck home and felled the Darkspawn Cultist.
Jolee used her healing potion to revive Brother Roberto who subsequently struggled to heal Hayden in her frothing madness.
Heal is an opposed skill, much like an attack. By sheer luck, Brother Roberto was rolling abnormally low and Hayden rolled abnormally high to resist the healing. In the end the party was fully healed and set out to explore the dungeon.
Staging themselves to deal with any surprises, the gnome calmly opened the door while continuing his incessant nattering about locks and fine mechanisms. Hayden was second guessing this choice of thief when his unending monologue was interrupted.
“You don’t see that every day. Oh, watch-out there is an Ant-Lion hereabouts too.”
Unfazed by the unearthly horrors in the next room, Marius stepped into the room and dropped the gibbering horror with a single crossbow bolt.
“The trick is to shoot them in the mouth.” He responded over his shoulder before switching back to his inane babble on locking mechanisms.
A critical hit inflicts multiple wounds based on the multiple of the defense roll achieved. In this case Marius managed to get over 3 times the defense rolled by the Gibbering Horror, killing the 3 wound creature outright.
Brother Roberto repositioned himself to support the entire party knowing that the Ant-Lion could burst from the ground anywhere. Jolee had a different idea and conjured flame across the floor limiting where the beast could come from without risking mystical flames.
As usual, Hayden roared with fury as she sprinted towards the unsavory Mind Eater. She did stumble as she triggered an arrow trap, but the trap simply sent her into her berserker fury.
It was at that moment that the Ant-Lion burst forth from beneath the corpse of the Gibbering Horror and lashed out at Hayden with chitin talons. Her dwarvish heritage served her well as Hayden finished her charge with a roll that put her below the Ant-Lion’s talons.
The Ant-Lion uses an ability called Ambush, which is a special deployment ability. On any turn it can use an action to deploy anywhere. It can subsequently use two actions to leave the board for a subsequent Ambush movement. The Mimic also has Ambush, but his version is discussed below.
Again, the gnome’s deadly accuracy left the party speechless as he fired two bolts into the massive Ant-Lion, felling the giant predator.
“Whot? You were expecting me to be too busy discussing the tumbler configuration on the deadman’s bolt to kill that?”
Being naught but grey matter, the Thought Eater lasted mere moments against the axe of Hayden. After a quick break of looting the store-room, Brother Roberto again raised his lantern to illuminate what was past the empty junction.
Revealing an undead Pharaoh laughing at the party with the chilling voice of the undead as his servant scarabs and mercenary spikeshell warrior advanced on the party.
Again Jolee trusted to her magical flames and blocked the clear path with flames after Marius wounded the scarabs in the distance. As Brother Roberto moved closer to face down the mummy, his lantern illuminated skeletons down the side passage.
In the midst of the closing monsters, Hayden gripped her axe, ready to hew flesh when a mystical blast felled the spikeshell warrior and skeleton in an instant.
Things looked quite well for the party when the remaining skeleton plunged his rusty sword deep into Hayden’s chest. Instead of the barking laugh of the warrior in a frenzy, a gurgling gasp instead passed Hayden’s lips. The undying hero had…died.
Undying Hero is a resisted roll of Might versus Defense. Wearing no armour, Hayden is perfectly balanced to stay going…unless she rolls a 1. When fatally wounded, and following each subsequent wound, the Undying Hero must resist Might/Defense. This roll is subject to the Rule of One, which means a 1 always fails…in fact with her attributes it is the only time she can fail. Of course my wife accused me of jinxing her rolls when the mighty Hayden fumbled this crucial roll.
As the party quickly dispatched the remaining skeleton and Pharaoh, the treasure around the corner was revealed to actually be a Mimic. With minimal fuss, the monsters were dispatched and Brother Roberto healed the fallen dwarf heroine.
“You know Bobby, I think that thief might just work out ok after all.”
At this point the game was called due to time, but the gnome had managed to show himself to be invaluable. In fact, I may rework some of the skills available to Cunning heroes as Marius is almost too good.
Hopefully something inspired you today, another post will be coming shortly to show-off a bit of work done this week.
OK, I know I have had some pretty lame titles, but that one takes the cake.
I have a bit of vacation time at work so I have managed to sneak in a week off before FY end and work getting busy. That means more updates for you dear reader…and then me falling off the face of the earth for the next few months.
Anyhow, up first we have one of the Spikeshell Warrior minis from Bones. I figured these would make a nice contrast to hordes of squishy monsters – something that can stand up to the melee folks and instead will almost require magical intervention to fell.
I went with a fairly simple scheme with this guy and will try a darker shell coloration for his paired brother. This is a very light version of an alligator snapping turtle, although they go more to yellow than white on the skin.
A fun miniature to paint all told.
I have managed to get some more work done on my dungeon. I had a surplus of floor tiles but shortage of walls so I had done a few base layers weeks ago. I wanted to try out some buttresses on this piece, I think it looks pretty cool. It also has a wooden floor in the main corridor section, just to break things up a bit. This particular section was an attempt at painting the floor first then attaching the walls. I will see how it works compared to the next piece.
On the idea of breaking things up, I added a low rail wall to this section with a chest hidden behind it. As shown by the goblin, it won’t provide much cover for any but the shortest of minis. As an interesting trial, I used wooden sections in the wall here too. A bit narrower than the bricks, it does highlight that it is wood a bit more.
Short and sweet today, but of course I leave you with the obligatory action shot. Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try piecing together old pieces in new ways.
So while painting last night I wondered what seemed to be missing, a quick search on Google revealed it for me: Alain has a flail. or at least the metal model does. As I was painting the flail handle I saw chain hanging down and wondered what it was…maybe a lady’s favour?
A bit of green-stuff and a flanged flail head was added.
Good thing I took this picture before the green stuff cured as I seemed to have bumped the flail head while doing the stones, so I still had a chance to correct the flat flange and make it suck less.
For those who didn’t notice, I have added the skin and hair to Alain, but I will need to touch up a bit, looks like the nose needs a fix and the eyebrow and moustache could use a bit more defining.
Quick update this time, hope you are inspired to try fixing those minor errors/miscasts.
For those not familiar with the above acronym, it is one I find I use very seldom, outside of a joke here or there. DYCO – Dashing Young Cavalry Officer. For those who know me personally, you will know I am neither young nor dashing.
This fellow on the other hand is all of the above.
I had originally intended to paint his armour the requisite steel colour, the look at me I’m a tin can look. In the back of my mind though, I remember one of the first full plate minis I ever painted (a long gone Ral Partha evil paladin of some sort). When I painted him I wasn’t sure how to paint metal to look different. His sword was going to be metallic but I figured he wouldn’t look evil if I painted him metallic (plus he would look like he did unpainted). So I painted him black with white edging on his armour.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and Dagger and Brush (great blog at this link if you want to be wowed by some amazing work: http://daggerandbrush.wordpress.com/) commented on the dark armour. In the back of my mind I figured I would have to send the note clarifying it was just lower on the WIP line, then I started visualizing what he saw: a dark armour model with the striking heraldry. Sold. So rather than fool around with trying Non-Metal-Metal (NMM) for the second time* I opted for basic shadow and highlight play and I will mark some areas where the paint has chipped to show the steel beneath. As an example of real world armour painted black I present this example, but there are many others most of which are less embellished.
Anyhow, enough of my rambling, the brushes and paint had a chance to fly last night so Alain, Iconic Cavalier has some progress. First, stage one – the armour.
As the highlighting has gone a bit bright, I may go back and tone it down a bit. It is tough to tell as there is still a lot of black on the model that will be brighter colours – like the inside of the shield, the broad sword, the lance, and the various leather straps, pouches, and demi-sheath for his sword.
With a bit more colour:
The white really makes the shield pop and it toned down the armour a bit. Overall I think this is some good progress on this model.
Looking through my painted minis I did notice there was one mini who escaped getting photographed.
This Bones guy lived up to the rule I set for myself about the fiddly nature of trimming these guys: the gribblies/minions get superficial cleaning of the obvious stuff and that is it. So yes, there is an obvious mold-line down the body when zoomed in, but on the table it isn’t noticeable. I have found an easier way to trim the mold lines on Bones, so it is a bit easier than I thought, just a different technique. In the end I will be rushing through most of the monsters so I won’t give them as much attention. In contrast, I am a bit miffed by a mold like on Alain I can’t reach with a knife and files don’t work as well.
Anyhow, hopefully something was inspirational for you today, if nothing else to check out your local museum. The picture above is not mine nor from my local museum.
* My first attempt at NMM was a sword, a rather large sword so I thought it would be easier to do. It turned out so terrible after the first few layers I quickly painted over it before anyone else could see it. So I really don’t think I have done it yet. My first exposure to NMM was on the Rackham forum years ago where things like mirrored polished armour plates with distorted reflections were the norm…something far beyond my meager painting skills.
A bit of hustle and bustle at home has kept me from doing hobby time, but I did find a bit of time to finish off a module that has been a long time in coming, the Web Room.
I have to be honest that I learned a lot on this piece. That’s code word for I made a lot of mistakes. First, I used a new glue. It is a lot more fluid than the others versions I used. Good news is it actually bonds better. Bad news is it takes a lot longer to cure and pieces kept getting jostled out of place. Second, I wasn’t as careful in my sanding like I normally am. This left many pieces just slightly lower than the others so the walls weren’t a good fit. Finally, I wasn’t using my form very well so the walls aren’t actually straight.
But enough complaining, at a quick glance I think this looks great.
The webs were made from cotton balls teased out into webs. I anchored them to the walls with white glue in a few points and stretching the cotton to reach the glue joins.
The webs on the outside wall hide some gaps where the blocks didn’t properly align. I think it helps to sell the over-run by spider look.
At the base of the balcony I have my spider egg sac. I stretched out some cotton to start winding it about itself. I think it looks pretty natural, but I’m not sold on if it sells itself as a miniature.
I recommend checking out Game Changers https://gamechangersgames.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/hot-glue-egg-sacs/ for a different style of egg sac. I’m not sure which one I prefer. Mine I tried to replicate a spider egg sac but it doesn’t really read that way…well at least to 2/3 of my focus group (my wife knew what it was but the other two folks who saw it didn’t…one even suggested I stretch out the ball of cotton).
Anyhow, like most of my posts I have the action and inspiration (hopefully). Oh, and the orange cup.
A bit more drawn out to finish, the second Bones 2 mini to get painted was the large ankheg.
I did a bit of wet blending for the reds and yellows to get that look I was after just right. A bit of dry brushing of the red and a brown wash of the yellow and viola…a complete model.
Actually the longest part of this guy was the base. I spread the base sculpting over 3 stages (and as many days) while the painting was done in an afternoon.
As the last picture shows, the stones I sculpted don’t match the dungeon tiles exactly, but do give the impression of belonging. Actually when I looked a the size of the stones on the small bases it would really just mean sculpting one or two stones and the stone floor effect would be lost. So a bit of scale creep is fine I think.
A bit of useless trivia for those die-hard DnD fans…there is actually a real-world bug out there like this: the Ant Lion. Although not even close in appearance, the larva stage of this insect buries itself in sand to ambush unsuspecting bugs. Think Sarlac Pit meets Ankheg and you have the general idea. If you want to watch one in action check out this link: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/05/Antlion.ogv
Although obscure, it looks like Jolie was able to find a reference in her book.
As the side by side comparison shows this beastie is giant. I based on one of the new Reaper Bases. This is the 2″ base…although some complainers have pointed out it is 50mm not 2″. Good enough for government work, or basing figures.
I have been blocking out the colours on another Bones 2 mini while finishing the large web room dungeon module. I have decided to go with some simple geometric heraldry and to copy it across the model. The pose and face looks so arrogant I expect this is a knight who talks about himself in the third person. The outer tabard I intend to paint white (maybe with a bit of trim or detailing) and the under tunic is being done in the same blocked out colours (yellow and blue). I will be adding scratches to the paint on the shield and a bit of dirt/grime under the bolts on the shield and codpiece. The base will be completed, I just had a bit of putty left over from the ankheg so threw it on his base.
Hopefully something was inspirational today. If nothing else you learned about nature.
I did mess around with some settings to make the blog (hopefully) more reader-friendly. Let me know if you have any comments.
A few things have happened since my last update and have kept me away from my regularly scheduled hobby-time.
First, the wife went in for surgery. She’s fine now, just recovering. It has meant more time caring for her.
Second, I received my Bones II miniatures. There are enough pictures of the boxes online so I skipped doing the box opening show many other backers have done.
Anyhow, the first mini painted from Bones II was the Mind Eater. It started as a test of how well the colours would adhere to the bare “bonesium” without primer. This is how the manufacturer recommends painting them, but old habits die hard. Overall, the paint did adhere well and blend well. When I started doing base colours on the next model I realized it wouldn’t work on those…too many folds and textures that I prefer having base coat to leave shadows.
Without further ado, here is the disgusting mind eater.
I went for a fairly realistic brain colouring and added a few veins and discoloured patches with blue and purple. I wanted to strongly contrast the browns of the brain so went with green (as the colour wheel compliment – GASP colour theory) in a style similar to insects. All in all, a quick and dirty paint but fairly effective.
And naturally the action shot:
Something tells me these goblins might be in for more than they can handle…
Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try strange combos on the strange minis in your collection.