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Super New Year

After a long year, it is rewarding to look back on how the year progressed and note achievements.  It also doesn’t hurt to acknowledge failures with a bit of chagrin either.

I started 2015 with a fairly short list of goals to achieve, let’s start off by reviewing those.

1. Finish the half-timber row of houses and build another one.

Well, that was a bit of a bust.  I have the first row nearly finished…just need to shingle two more rooftops.  I have zero progress on a second row of buildings…not even a plan drawn up.  The building does look good, I think.

Half-timbered row house terrain.  Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain. Est. circa 2009.

Scratchbuilt half-timber row-houses.  Reaper Miniature Marius Burrowell.

Scratchbuilt half-timber row-houses. Reaper Miniature Marius Burrowell.

2.  Finish the dwarven ruins and complete some additional scatter pieces.

Yeah, all I managed to do was basecoat that piece.  Complete failure on this one.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.  Figures by Games Workshop.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings. Figures by Games Workshop.

3.  Build 3 scratch-built tanks/APCs.

Yeah, nothing to report here.  To be honest, these have been back-benched as I find I am playing less and less of 40K again.  So much time to set-up and not a game I enjoy playing that much.  Maybe at some point they will get finished.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

4.  HOTT Orc army finished.

Well, I did manage to repaint two of the pike units I botched.  But that is it.  Also a project that has gotten bumped down in priority.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings as HOTT horde.

So now it begs the question…what did I accomplish this year?

In counter point to #1, I have the start of a sci fi urban city, complete with 4 cars (and another 3 in various stages of completion).

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

CarsGroup1

In counter point to #2, I have completed 5 dungeon sections and 4 in progress.  The most complex in progress being the library but still playable at its current state.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures.  Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures. Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

I don’t really have a counter to not finishing the orc army.  This year I have completed painting 62 miniatures.  I am surprised by the large number myself, but it is all there through my past posts.  Wow, that is quite the accomplishment alone.  In fact, there are more that were painted but never posted because they turned out badly.

Reaper Bones monsters...cue the rampaging hordes and ominous music.

Reaper Bones monsters…cue the rampaging hordes and ominous music.

Also accomplished this year was substantial leaps forward in Dungeon Down development.  This might be ready for the eyes of the general public pretty soon.

So what does this year bring?  Well the title is a spoiler.  I have been bitten by the superhero bug lately.  Between the excellent movies coming out and the tv series my wife has gotten wrapped up in, I feel more than a little nostalgia for comic books.  So I took the plunge and ordered my first batch of heroes (and villains) in tights.  This brought my attention back to (some of) the Hasslefree Miniatures modern miniatures I had kicking around.  After looking at them, I realized that I have a dead ringer for Black Widow and Nick Fury (from the comic books anyways).

Ekaterina by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Ekaterina by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures

I know that my Nick Fury is actually supposed to be Kurt Russell from the “Escape From” series of movies but once I am done, I am fairly confident he will look like a good Agent of Shield.

As I bought these models for cool factor without a plan for them, I feel this is a good move to use them.  As a plus, they will also be painted into tactical combat style so will still be used in other games where warranted, well not so much these two as the others below.

Nomad, Deano, and Widow by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad, Deano, and Widow by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Undead Outlaw by Reaper Miniatures

Undead Outlaw by Reaper Miniatures

Also added into the mix is the start of my own version of the Saint of Killers from Preacher.  I decided to go more undead with him, and I will have to tone down his abilities just a little bit…this cowboy could do more damage than the Avengers on a bad day.  Pretty crude so far, but he is a WIP.

Now the only issue I see might come out, is trying to find a game system to use.  Pulp City seems like a great game, and I read through the quick play rules.  Seems to capture comic book style fights and cool hero abilities.  There are a couple downsides to that system.  First, it is card based…so you need to use their miniatures.  So I can’t take Ironman and play him, unless they have an Ironman equivalent (they don’t as near as I can tell, hence my example of him).  The other one is the complexity.  This game is a dense read and complicated.  This is not a quick pick up and play or teach new players.

I have been toying around with a modern setting version of Dungeon Down.  I had a good set of basic principles that used the same basic mechanics but had a team going through a facility/alien ship/sewer/etc.  So those ideas have a basis for doing a superhero game.  But how do you represent the superheroes and the minions/less than super support?  From my experience, the game already does that.  A level 1 monster is not much  of a threat to a party of level 2 heroes.  But, I have witnessed 3 goblins with bows completely kill a party.  I have also seen higher level guys hammer away on each other for several rounds with minimal effect.  The simple balancing of forces using the levels mechanic still works too.

So all that said and done, I will be working on a super hero game setting this year with all the trappings that go with it.  This means more terrain including cars.  It means lots of minis painted and assembled.  It also means it is a slow burn project that will still let me do other projects too.

So I hope to inspire you to have a super year too.  And remember: no capes.

The Incredibles.  Used without permission.

The Incredibles. Used without permission.

 

 

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WIP it Good

Or for those who like words spelt right: Whip it Good.  I have had very little hobby time since my last update, but I feel that time has been fairly productive.  In addition to progress on the stair room featured in the last update, I have a couple more projects on the go.

Vanja Fire Giant Queen by Reaper Miniatures

Vanja Fire Giant Queen by Reaper Miniatures

First we have Vanja at the 99%.  Since taking this pic I have added highlights to her hair and I will obviously finish her base.  Only a tabletop level right now, I still have the option to make her better with corrections to my errors.  For now, this girl can proudly shake off the kiss of death of being featured in an earlier WIP.

I went with metallic paint for the jewelry with very crude light source added to the jewels.  A simple but effective paint scheme.  I notice other people have done her with a bare midriff but I think the layered armour look is better.  At about 18′ maybe she could get away with the chainmail bikini but I would rather she wore proper armour.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

A couple new dungeon sections have been started.  In fact I have finished one (barring paint of course).  The two-level storeroom pictured helped me realize something about my molds.  There are 1″x1″ floor tiles and 1″x1/2″ floor tiles.  Or so I thought.  When I did the previous stair room I noticed that one of my walls didn’t line up properly and my bricks had gaps.  I just chalked it up to my skill fade and sloppy work.  It wasn’t until I did this piece I realized that the half-wide pieces are in fact about 1/32″ longer than an inch.  this means using them as floor tiles will have an uneven length.  So this wall has a few weird gaps in the walls I have had to deal with and it isn’t 100% squared off wall to corner.  Oh well, live and learn.  I think this piece will look good enough.  More importantly, it give me another multi-level piece.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.

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 have been wanting to play around with levels and adding a vertical dimension to my games of Dungeon Down.  It isn’t to say it changes much, just gives some visual variety and cool changes.  The changes in level do give some more options.  I am also thinking of doing some corridor sections with stairs too just to add to the multiple level options.

To further enhance the multiple levels I have also put together these two pieces.  Don’t let the simple shape fool you, I have not completely lost it.  These are not giant dice either.  So what are they for you ask?

These next few pictures demonstrate how they can support multiple levels.  Simply put, these let me turn any piece into a second floor piece.  I will throw a few more together obviously for the larger pieces and to let me have entire lengths of corridor that span distances.

A pretty short update today, but hopefully still inspirational.  This year has been a bit sporadic due to busy periods at work but I still managed to keep it more or less current for the regular readers.  My next update will likely see my year in review, including my shameful lack of achieving hobby goals.  Happy New Year in the interim.

Diversity is the key to success

Or at least I was led to believe from the Economics sections in my sociology courses.  I have had a bit of time to work and I am hammering away on a few different projects.  I realize I have quite a few half-finished projects so I am trying to finish them.  Today is brought to you by WIP-Inc and the letter W.

Thund Bloodwrack by Reaper Miniatures.

Thund Bloodwrack by Reaper Miniatures.

Previously shown as an example of a new tattoo technique I was trying, I figured I would finish him off.  This barbarian’s pose is very striking.  I see in the giant photo of shame that I need to do more washes to make his skin more natural and his muscles to pop more.  What I have done is thrown some highlights onto his sword.  I want a black sword with a hint of green reminiscent of uranium.

I am actually amazed how similar he is to one of my favorite old RPG characters – Barghev.  The only thing he needs are 3 more axes and shaggy hair and beard.  If I decide to get another one for this project, I will go in depth on the character on a later post.

But, he is a character I will never play again.  The campaign world was in a system designed by our GM.  Whenever he came out with a revision, he fast-forwarded a few hundred years so we were forced to make new characters.  As consolation, this character eventually became a god of death…for goblins, but a god none the less.  Something to do with destroying several thousand over the course of game sessions all by his own hand.

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Fly Demon by Reaper Miniatures

Also on the block of newly started figures is this creepy little guy.

I did up the fly very simply with wet-blending and highlights while I was waiting on something else.  The eyes are obviously just blocked out at this time, I am not sure if I want to try painting on a whole bunch of tiny dots to show the faceted eyes.  The wings will go for a green-tinted white, darker green on the veins.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Also new on the workbench is a new dungeon module for Dungeon Down.  Most of my free time has been dedicated to updating the card backs, adding a few new cards and building some foam-core board sections.  Why you ask?  Simple – Christmas gifts.  Two versions of the game have been given out, one for the couple who we regularly play with, and a second to a very close friend who I am certain will enjoy it.  If nothing else he has a new use for his eclectic miniatures collection.

For this latest piece (and a few more I have in mind), I am playing more with multi-level sections.  I will also make up a few bases to raise up sections to the second story when required.  The stairs and bookshelf aren’t attached yet for ease of painting and this section still needs the walls for the second level to be laid down.  Overall, I think it looks very striking and the forced route of movement will make it more challenging for combat.

By the power of half-painted Grey Skull...I HAVE THE POWER.

By the power of half-painted Grey Skull…I HAVE half THE POWER.

This update saw a little bit of everything.  I figure since my hobby time has been in short supply for a while, the variety of projects will be refreshing, and gives me a chance to work on several things at once.  Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else, to seek out those figures that have meaning and paint them up.

Grim dark in the middle of the day

This afternoon I had an opportunity to have a new play-tester play his second game of Dungeon Down.  A few things were learned, but a lot was confirmed.

A veteran of many delves, Marius found himself with several new companions for this particular dungeon.  He set forth with an initiate paladin and two wizards…or rather a witch and wizard.  As they trekked to the abandoned ruins they sought to explore, Marius was sure he could trust the sorceress much more than the snickering elf wizard seemed to imply.  The quiet, stoic paladin was a tough nut to crack as he did nothing but mutter prayers and play with his rosary.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Mummy Warriors, and Mummy Captain by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Mummy Warriors, and Mummy Captain by Reaper Miniatures.

First entering the dungeon, the adventurers saw the dungeon swung to the right with naught but moldering sacks in a dim corner to the left.  The shuffling sounds to the right were the only warning of advancing mummies.  Continuing his previous lesson on tumbler lock technology over the previous 20 years, Marius was distracted and needed to fire two bolts to drop the first mummy.

Before the paladin could even loose his sword, the two mages made quick work of the other two mummies, the dart from Joliee exploding the Pharaoh in an explosive burst of smoldering cloth.

The various piles of treasure scattered about were quite rewarding to the party and soon they had various magic items equipped as they proceeded down the long corridor towards a junction point.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Goblins, and Beetle Swarm by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Goblins, and Beetle Swarm by Reaper Miniatures.

In the ruins of some crates, the unshakeable explorer trailed off on his lecture about the merits of sliding versus rolling latches to be amazed at the swarms of trained beetles the goblins were controlling with their screeching language.

So dumb-struck was he that his first shot sailed wide above the diminutive beasts to clatter harmlessly against the wall.  The second shot struck home and sent a goblin to a loud and messy end.

Again the sorcerous heroes displayed prowess and expertise as first Joliee fired a mystical dart of energy straight through Marius.  Her pleading apologies and the callous laughter of the elf wizard were the last sounds to be heard by Marius before he slipped into the blackness of unconsciousness.

As the paladin lifted his still glowing hands from him, Marius knew he had been close to death.

“I am so sorry, I have never missed with a spell before.  You have to please forgive me…”  her pleading was an incessant stream of begging between choked back tears while the smirk on the face of the wizard told a different story.

In Dungeon Down, as I have mentioned numerous times, shooting obstacles (including other miniatures) has a chance of hitting the obstacle.  Joliee  manages to remind the player of this an incredible number of times through-out the game.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Faceless Horror, and Burning Spheres by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Faceless Horror, and Burning Spheres by Reaper Miniatures.

Regrouped and recovered, the party proceeded cautiously towards the junction.  In the shadows of a storeroom, several ominous shadows lingered.  As he approached closer he saw a sinister grick slink forth to attack the party.  Taking a few steps forward to ensure his clear shot, Marius slew the serpent-like monster with a single bolt.  As he shouted over his shoulder to warn the party, the hulking mass of a Gibbering Horror struck Marius dead with fear.

Not wanting to risk further deaths, the party reorganized in the narrow corridor as Joliee threw-up a wall of fire to protect them.  To their collective horror, Marius again was struck dead by fear before he had even fully stood upright and even the paladin felt his heart quiver for a moment as unholy energy gripped him.  The final insult to the party was as a Bone Horror absorbed the slain Grick and moved towards the prone form of Marius.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

Mystic energy crackled through the air as spell after spell hammered into the Gibbering Horror with only a single errant bolt striking the wall instead.  Once the massive bulk of the beast was felled, the corpse slowly reshaped to be knit into the ever-growing form of the Bone Horror.

I’ll take a moment to explain the Bone Horror.  In the game I have a few abilities that interact with corpses.  Healing is the most obvious (and most often used) ability.  There are monsters who can turn the dead into skeletons or create minions of themselves.  The Bone Horror works a bit different.  It absorbs corpses to gain additional wounds.  In the first game it was used, the Bone Horror was a 6 wound monstrosity before the party was able to deal with it.  In this game it was a mere five wounds but was left as the lone monster facing the party and was quickly killed.

Marius again was revived by Erick and proved his composure by taking the lead into the storeroom.  The rest of the party wasn’t too sure of this thief until the prearranged signal…his gurgling death scream.  Joliee rounded the corner first to see Marius being devoured by a unit of shelves.  The mimic curled behind wooden shelves to try finishing its meal as her first blast of eldritch magic seared away part of the chimerical form.

Anirion followed suit and destroyed the abomination with a searing dart of his own.  The nervous paladin stared at the thief, carefully examining him before he let the gnome stand.

“You’re worried about nothing.  Just some bad luck.”

His loud voice did draw more of that bad luck as a hulking minotaur came into the room followed by a troll.  With two quick twangs Marius brought the bellowing minotaur to his knees, bright red blood pooling on the floor.  The troll leapt over the prone minotaur and swung at the nimble gnome, barely connecting with him, but smashing a stack of crates to kindling.  Joliee ran forward and flashed up a wall of fire near the corridor, engulfing the troll in flames.  Stepping beside her, the elf wizard sent the troll’s head flying back down the corridor with a flash of heat and light.

In all the flurry, none noticed the foul mockery of the paladin that stepped into the room until he began reciting unholy scripture at the paladin.  Gritting his teeth and gripping his holy symbol, Erick fought back the stygian powers of the evil champion.  Bewildered to still be conscious, Marius dove backwards and fired his crossbow at the anti-paladin.  He was gripped with terror as he watched the anti-paladin smile…until blood spilled from his mouth and the villain fell down lifeless.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, and Spikeshell Warriors by Reaper Miniatures.  Zombies and Ghouls by Games Workshop.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, and Spikeshell Warriors by Reaper Miniatures. Zombies and Ghouls by Games Workshop.

The corridor again ended but not before revealing more treasure for the party to divvy up.  By this time, all four were feeling confident about their abilities as numerous magic items and additional equipment made packs heavy.

Doubling back to the corridor fork, a dog sized spider, hunting cat and skeleton sorcerer were quickly dispatched as the heroes twirled around reanimating bones to destroy the skeleton sorcerer.  Marius again was felled, this time by the webs of the spider.

By now, the paladin initiate was questioning his change in vocation.  Marius reminded him of Prior Al.  Old feeble Al had tried to train as a knight.  He had unshakeable faith, but he lacked any sort of coordination.  That was how he cut off his foot.  Well, the right one.  The left foot was apparently from some sort of carpentry accident.  He found himself distractedly trying to remember which eye the old man told him he lost during his first joust.

Woken from his reveries by the twang of a crossbow, Erick was sure he would be reviving the thief again soon.  To his surprise, Joliee stepped forward and rocked the entire dungeon with the force of her magical blast.  As he wiped the dirt and dust from his face, he was surprised to see Anirion point the fully alert gnome to lead on.  How is it a fight happened and the gnome didn’t die?

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Marius and the sorcerous heroes plunged forward to the sound of an ear-splitting roar.  Too far away to hear the shouts of his comrades, Erick was confused by the twang of crossbow, death wail in the distance and roar of flames.  Flames?  In the dungeon?  How could that be possible?

This game marked the first encounter with my Chimera.  I have created this beast as a Level 4 monster.  I wasn’t sure about the stats.  At first I thought it might be a bit tough, then I saw the stats aren’t insurmountable.  In fact, in play it was the dice that made the difference.  If a few rolls had been a bit higher, or at least not 1s, the party would have easily bested this monster and carried on to finish the dungeon.  Not as visible in the picture is the Babau.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this demon will warp in and out of reality to harass the party.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

The biggest danger from the Chimera was his breath.  His first round saw him squeezing into a narrow corridor (reducing his defense) to burn the gnome and two wizards.

Erick did step into the fray and revived Joliee, only to have her fall to a second gout of flame.  Erick himself stood against flurries of attacks by the poisoned tail of the Chimera and the scrabbling claws of the demon until the poisoned sting finally pierced his platemail and sent the deadly poison coursing through his veins.

The fight was very tense with the Chimera and it was brought down to it’s final wound.  With the ability to do flurries of attacks (with a chance to hit itself), the Chimera almost did itself in.  On one turn, it almost hit itself 3 times in a row (defending against its own attack by a single digit in all cases).  I was left trying to tell the poor play-tester that the party doesn’t die every time.  But he was ecstatic.  He was actually the first to admit the party kill was mostly due to his own mistakes.  And bad rolling.  The one and only time the paladin had to save the day and he fails to heal Joliee and then subsequently rolls 1s for his defenses against the Chimera and its poison (when even a 2 would have kept him alive).

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Erick Initiate Paladin, Joliee Female Scribe, Marius Burrowell, Anirion, Chimera and Babau by Reaper Miniatures.

Having a solo play-tester for his second ever trial of the game gave me a few solid observations.  First of all, I did very little coaching on what the sheets meant, which dice to roll, and which ability was used for what.  Since my goal is to design a simple set of rules that was easy to remember, I would say that bodes well.  The only rules issues I noticed were that he had to be reminded to include dice penalties due to wounds and he wasn’t 100% sure what the difference between Miracles and Spells was until I threw out an idea that has guided my design:  Sorcerers are selfish and only affect themselves and others while Miracles help others.  That cemented it for him and he could even identify who used what stat on the bad guys by the skill effect.

The next observation came directly from him: the Cunning heroes may have more opportunity to gain experience than other heroes, but only if they lead from the front.  Marius accounted for more kills and disarmed 7 traps.  He also would have only earned a total of 1 experience from combat as he was dead at the end of every fight but one.  The more solid Mighty heroes are more likely to survive and both Sorcerous and Resolute heroes benefit from flexibility and only really face death if they are foolish.

The final observation was a confirmation of what I had noticed before: the game plays best with more players.  It is both more challenging and rewarding when there are more players.  Ideally each adventurer should be individually controlled and the dungeon to be controlled by a player as well.  This makes mistakes both more and less likely and the risks and rewards from treasure more exciting.

I hope this was inspiring to you today, if nothing else, I feel confident sending out demo rules for those interested now.

From the ashes…

Ok, maybe a bit melodramatic, but I did have a few figs consigned to being stripped redeem themselves with a bit of work.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Before we get into that, I did manage to get some nicer pictures of Elia so now her smooth skin and subtle shadows are at least visible.

Not an amazing paint job, but at least now my brushwork is more clear.

Ironically, in the game of Dungeon Down last night, the party was wishing for a Cunning Hero (read: Thief) and I showed them this girl who would have been a very valuable addition.  More on that below.

Skeleton by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeleton by Reaper Miniatures.

My wife was wanting to learn to paint too, mostly because our daughters are doing it.  So I sat down with her one afternoon and had her first brush on primer her first chosen model…and then I handed her one to learn dry-brushing on (a naked skeleton) and then told her to paint this guy above.  She did very nice blending and subtle highlights with minimal instruction.  Most of the white is actually plaster dust (doing Hirst Arts again has put that all over my workspace).

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

Skeletons by Reaper Miniatures.

While she was painting her skeleton, I figured I would hammer out these skeletons too.  I also had a few side projects where I would show her what a wash did, or multi-colour/layered drybrushing.  I also did wet blending to show her that, but told her to try it after she felt more comfortable with putting on highlights by hand instead of trying to blend up to them.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron the Conjurer by Reaper Miniatures.

Aaron is the Phoenix of the post today.  I had originally wanted to paint a mage with orange robes so put on the first few layers and it came out all chalky.  So I was frustrated with him.  In the end I decided I would test techniques on him before I stripped him or put him in the bottom of a drawer.

With that in mind, I tried wet-blending an Asian flesh.  Which came out fairly well.  From there I tried putting in the hair and saw the Fu Man Chu could be pulled off.  Once that was done, I wondered if a wash and wet blend up to highlights could fix the robes.  In some places it worked better than others obviously, the back turned out the best I think but the front leg looks suitably worn and faded too.

Finally I just started playing around with wet-blending the spell effect from dark blue to white.  I simply blocked out the other colours and threw him aside, still confident I would strip him.  At the game of Dungeon Down though the couple who regularly plays were amazed with him.  So now I guess I need to go back and touch up the details and smooth out the rough spots.  Or not.  For tabletop I think he looks quite good.

Woody, Halfling Ranger by Reaper Miniatures.

Woody, Halfling Ranger by Reaper Miniatures.

Another mini who may (or may not) have pulled himself from the proverbial doghouse is the Halfling here.  While painting him, I though it would be cool to make him match Elia like brother and sister.  Instead of opting for a Rnager-themed paint scheme I felt like going more for Perregrin of Minas Tirith.  I was liking the basic colour blocking…but the skin just kept coming out patching and coarse.  I did go back with a flesh wash that repaired some of the sins…but I am still not happy with him as a whole.  And he certainly doesn’t look like a match for Elia, even as her ugly brother.

A few touch-ups are still needed too, but the question is if I can fix his skin.  I tried using some blonde paint to give him a beard to cover up the sins, but it is just too tough to notice on such a small mini.  Any suggestions would be appreciated…otherwise he will sit in shame or get stripped.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Anti Paladin by Reaper Miniatures.

Cassiatta by Reaper Miniatures.

Cassiatta by Reaper Miniatures.

Also playing Phoenix were these two sinister figures.

The Anti Paladin was given a quick dry brush but I spent a lot of time blending his cape and the shield was separate and I was blending, highlighting and drybrushing it to this state while watching Netflix waaay past my bedtime.

Cassiata was simply a rough and dirty series of wet-blend drybrushes to get a purple girl.  Mostly because I knew both my oldest daughter and wife would find a girl in purple cute.

The Anti Paladin shield is his focal point and the eyes are drawn to it (overlooking the poorly done eyes).  The pair though fulfilled a devious role in Dungeon Down.  As a new breed of tough monsters in an attempt to increase the difficulty of some fights.  These two combine cleric-hunting with defending weaker monsters.  Paired with the very efficient melee and thick armour kept the game on track.

Let me explain that last part.  Due to my being busy and the work schedules of the couple, the regular Dungeon Down games had been side-tracked and we haven’t even had time to grab a coffee with this couple in almost 3 months.  So the two women were gossiping away and talking girl stuff after we were a few minutes into the game with the two men looking bored.  So we just pushed on and when these two appeared both the women were suddenly interested in the game as they saw Alain backing off from a fight.

The nastiest critter of the game was a demon (the first one in fact) who had Ambush.  As mentioned in previous posts, Ambush lets a monster deploy in a non-standard way.  Some monsters can even reuse Ambush.  The demon’s Ambush let him deploy beside a wounded miniature.  It could then reuse Ambush by using Stealth (an ability that uses Cunning against the Cunning of others).  Since the demon has very Cunning, it had free reign to pop into existence, finish off a wounded hero and then disappear again.  Since it could do the Ambush even if it was a wounded monster, it kept popping in and out until finally Brother Roberto was felled in combat.  A healing potion could bring him back, but left him wounded…and the demon came in.

Alain valiantly stepped in front of Brother Roberto (using one of his skills) and shrugged off the demon’s attack.  When it stepped into the shadows to disappear, Alain rolled higher on his cunning and ran the demon through with a single sword thrust.

As this monster was despised by the party and deemed nasty, everybody agreed he needs to stay.  If nothing else he encourages the use of a Cunning hero.  An unpainted mini right now, he has earned a paint job.

The game was great fun and ended up ending on time since we kept visiting and getting side-tracked as good friends enjoying themselves are wont to do.  To give the action shot, here is the final shot of the dungeon where we ended it.  This is a great shot as nobody was repositioned, so I took about 20 shots until I got one I was happy with.  If I had zoomed in a bit more it would have been that much better.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures.  Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Hayden Hasslefree Miniatures. Alain Iconic Cavalier, Brother Roberto and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try experimenting on the minis that are already consigned to stripping…it’s not as if you have anything to lose.

 

 

 

Something borrowed, nothing blue.

Today will see quite the bit of activity on the blog.  Now I won’t say I have been busy (vacation from work, no kids and wife at work means lots of free time) but a few of these are actually finished versions of stuff that has been sitting on my hobby desk.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures.  Embedded LED in full light.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures. Embedded LED in full light.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures.  Embedded LED in half light.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures. Embedded LED in half light.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures.  Embedded LED in the dark.

Bones Ball of Fire by Reaper Miniatures. Embedded LED in the dark.

To start off with, I borrowed (shamefully stole) an idea using the translucent Bones to create a functional fire effect.

I’ll be honest when I say I was giddy with delight and couldn’t stop playing with it.  When the wife came home I broke her brain a bit when I showed it to her.  But, once she figured it out she thought is was cool but I saw her get a bit disappointed.  As for myself, the more I played with it the less cool it became and I had concerns about how to improve it.

What I have done here is drilled a hole in the bottom of the fireball and added an LED.  I drilled holes in the base for the wire and threw together a quick insulator/switch with paper breaking the circuit and pressure down closing the circuit.

The LED I bought wasn’t the best choice.  They were thick and round and I even cut down the size a bit to make it work.  I have several more of these LEDs and I will try trimming them down even more.  If you can buy the smaller lights (or ideally the fibre optic lights) they are easier to work with.  If I were to do something like a bigger fire elemental I would take it further and put multiple thin lights in different spots and then build a simple circuit to do fading/flickering and inconsistent patterns.  It has been maybe 30 years since I built electronics but the schematics are easy to find.  Parts not so easy in a small town like I live in.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon.  Party slain by goblins.

Hirst Arts modular dungeon. Party slain by goblins.

I did also wrangle a couple of the local 40K players into a game of Dungeon Down.  Most of the pictures didn’t turn out, but the total party kill by the goblins in the boss fight turned out great.  I had some great feedback on how to adjust experience as the thief player racked up tons of experience from disarming traps.

The miniatures that got some attention though are quite diverse (but nothing is blue).

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

Elia Shadowfeet and Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.

First we have Elia Shadowfeet by Sandra Garrity.  This is an amazing sculpt with a lot of personality.  This is a newly painted model but I have been slowly working away on her for a while now.  So she isn’t new per se, just newly finished.

Sadly my photographic skills have muted out most of my brushwork.  The expression is very vibrant, and more than a little cheeky.  As shown beside Jolie, she is quite short.  I didn’t cut her integral base all the way flat as her feet are very delicate and each toenail sculpted…so she is a bit taller than she should be.

As an Aside, I notice I have been using Jolie as a size comparison model which is funny since yellow is so tough for me to photograph and she never matches the same shade from picture to picture.

Cave Troll by Reaper Miniatures.

Cave Troll by Reaper Miniatures.

Cave Troll by Reaper Miniatures.

Cave Troll by Reaper Miniatures.

Cave Troll by Reaper Miniatures.

Cave Troll by Reaper Miniatures.

The Cave Troll has caught my eye since I first saw it in Bones.  Sadly, it has been sold out of the Reaper online store for a long time.  My trip to Sentry Box gave me a chance to grab this little guy.  I went with the “traditional” green for a troll and did his various boils and warts in yellow which I blended back to green.  His belly blending turned out much better than the Squog I did a few weeks ago so I am quite happy with that.  Despite not being much taller than a regular miniature, his bulk makes him seem much more threatening.  All in all, I think he will be a great addition to the little goblins.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

Bone Fiend by Reaper Miniatures.

The Bone Fiend is a miniature I am not too sure about.  Some of the details are a bit soft.

I am not sure if this is due to it being Bones, the nature of the sculpt, a bad casting I have, or even my spray paint leaving residue.  It is worth noting this guy is 25-28mm scale, not 28mm heroic scale so it is a bit smaller than the other Reaper Miniatures.  That said, it is in scale with the cowboys they make, my Hasslefree special ops team, and my historic minis.  I may grab more of these when they are released in the store to use in other games like HOTT.

Seeing this reminds me of an old fantasy novel I read (that may have been written by Gygax) that had the undead melding together.  It also described undead in a hideous fashion I had not seen before or since.  The graphic description of twitching nodules of flesh and the grasping fingers and hands of severed limbs as they were hacked apart was quite ghastly.  As they were on a ship they couldn’t burn the morass of undead remains after the fight and instead they were mashed to pulp to be rinsed off the deck with buckets.  Yeah, a bit more graphic than most fantasy out there, and no neatly de-animated corpses after “killed”.

Dragoth by Reaper Miniatures.

Dragoth by Reaper Miniatures.

Dragoth by Reaper Miniatures.

Dragoth by Reaper Miniatures.

Dragoth by Reaper Miniatures.

Dragoth by Reaper Miniatures.

Dragoth was another work in progress that took a long time for me to finish.

First shown in the background of a Dungeon Down game, I have 99% finished him (I still need to add the bricks to his base).  I opted for a verdigris bronze armour and a rusty sword reminiscent of the undead king in the original Conan movie: Conan the Barbarian (1982).

I did try marble on the stone throne and wasn’t too happy with the result.  I will go back and try again after a lot of practice.  I was aiming for black marble with green and white veins.  With time I am sure I can capture this effect.

Desert Thing by Reaper Miniatures.

Desert Thing by Reaper Miniatures.

Desert Thing by Reaper Miniatures.

Desert Thing by Reaper Miniatures.

Desert Thing by Reaper Miniatures.

Desert Thing by Reaper Miniatures.

The last miniature to get showcased is probably the one with the effect I am happiest with.  I did wet blending across the board to make the gums, fingers and tentacles all read as different colours without any harsh transitions.  Although I did a quick and easy paint job, the effect is very good.

I am sure you noticed none of the bases match my dungeon.  Sadly my final highlight shade actually went moldy in the paint pot.  As I mixed the shade myself, I tried mixing it again.  So far, I have my shade too dark.  Then again, I did also rush the final drybrush so it was more of a wet blend than drybrush.  Again, something for the to do list.

Troll comes to bring tribute...with his fists.

Troll comes to bring tribute…with his fists.

Troll comes to bring tribute...with his fists.

Troll comes to bring tribute…with his fists.

Of course an action shot is required to close the post.  Here we see an angry troll storming into the throne room of the eternal king.  A bit out of the ordinary for my action shots I know, but I wanted to do something more in character for the finished minis.

Elia Shadowfeet hiding in the throne room.

Elia Shadowfeet hiding in the throne room.

Elia Shadowfeet hiding in the throne room.

Elia Shadowfeet hiding in the throne room.

If you missed it in the shots above, that more characterful approach includes having the thief hiding and looting the treasure.  The whole implied backstory is the halfling antagonizing the troll until it could do her dirty work.  I really like the sly smirk I managed to capture in the last picture.

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to try some new techniques to give a different effect to your minis.

Manifest Improbability

The latest mini was actually a bit of a longer project than usual for me.  It was really due to the contrasting colours and trying to figure out the best way to blend them in without having too stark of a contrast.  Likewise, if the contrast isn’t there, then it all blends together.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

Chimera by Reaper Miniatures.

I think I have done a fairly good job on keeping contrasts in place for the Bones chimera.  the only downside is everybody who sees it calls it a dragon.  My oldest girl just got confused as I tried to show her it isn’t a dragon. “What is it?” “A dragon!”  Can I paint it?” (yes that is her response to every dragon she sees) “Are you sure?  I don’t think it’s a dragon.  What does that look like?” “A lion.  Oh, it’s a lion with wings.” “And what’s that?  Is that a dragon head?” “What the-” (yes she actually picked that up somewhere) Now that it is painted, I am sure she will be excited to see it when she gets back.  My daughters went away for the summer and there will be a couple changes to daddy daughter time.  First, my youngest keeps wanting to paint, so I will do what I did with the oldest: she will sit at the table and paint pictures with the same paint I use and get her used to cleaning her brush, thinning paint and mixing colours.  I also picked her up a Bones figure that should be easy to paint. The second change will be getting my oldest daughter playing a game.  She has been interested in mini games for as long as she realized that daddy plays games with his toys.  So I did some asking around and the Ganesha Games system is fairly easy for kids to grasp.  So I bought the rules online and had a quick read.  I think it will be fairly easy to teach her and I am thinking of the best way to tie the rules into education type stuff…but I know that will happen anyways.  I recommend you check out Ganesha Games if you haven’t heard of them.  A Song of Blades and Heroes is a quick fantasy skirmish with simple and easy to manage rules.  I think it will be like DBA where the complexity of the play is on the table, not in the books: Ganesha Games. I know she will be very excited, mostly so she can play with her painted figures (which haven’t been shown on this blog yet but may in the future) and with the spider queen – I’ve been told numerous times she is the boss of all of her guys. While grabbing figs for the kids I had to buy a few for myself.  The Vanja Fire Giant Queen had my interest when I saw it since I knew she would tie into the Kickstarter Giants very well.  I can’t say if she will get painted right away or if I will wait until I paint the Bones 3 Giants at the same time.

Vanja Fire Giant Queen, Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures.  Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

Vanja Fire Giant Queen, Jolie Female Scribe by Reaper Miniatures. Hayden by Hassle Free Miniatures.

As an aside I should mention that my wife and I went to a big city for our anniversary (1 year and no casualties) and we went to the Mecca of gamers.  I have to say most couples would not have had the experience we had in the store.  We stopped in with intention to buy a couple figs to teach her painting and to see if they had in a box of Greeks for my Persians to finally have an enemy.  After all was said and done she had spent 4 times as much as me and was still looking for stuff.  I guess I did a good job nerdifying her in the 10 or so years we have been together.

“Just tell me if I can kill it already”

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to stretch your imagination to see how you can tie in your hobbies with your family.