Monday 31 October 2022

A quiet week with only a little brain eating

With all the prep I've been doing for the European Infinity Challenge tournament in Mallorca last weekend, I've not had much time to paint, and haven't got anything new finished just yet.

To tide you over, here's a D&D Frameworks Mind Flayer and Intellect Devourer I got assembled before I went to EIC. They've been added to the "to paint" tray, and I'll be doing a review of the kit once I've finished painting them up.

Friday 28 October 2022

Infinity: A Little White Company

I'm off to the EIC tournament in Mallorca this weekend, and as I was list building, I realised I needed a couple more models painted up. That Mr Shy very kindly accepted a small commission with a deadline to sort me out.

I was still unsure of what my lists would be when the painting started, so I had to guess a little bit. I went with the Fusilier Support box, the Danavas Hacker, a Peacemaker remote and a third HVT for the "Unmasking" mission.

We've had a couple of excitements along the way. The Fusilier box was mis-packed and missing a couple of heads. I've got them now, but not in time to be painted. Fortunately, we got the heads for the HMG and the Sniper, the models that have actually made it into my lists. My clumsy fingers also knocked a part off the Peacemaker remote while I was unpacking it, and its sitting on my repairs bench. Fortunately, it didn't make my lists!

The Danavas Hacker also comes with a small ALEPH remote that White Company can't take, and I forgot to tell Stu not to paint it. It is, however, utterly adorable, so I'm not mad. I think it'll end up being a spare HVT for missions like Rescue.

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Fat Dragon Games Turtles by Iron Gate Scenery

At last year's Salute, I picked up a couple of 3D printed turtle people from Iron Gate Scenery. They are designed by Fat Dragon Games, who sell them as 3D print files, while Iron Gate Scenery supply them as printed models.

I wanted to keep these pretty simple, so painted some light base colours before adding contrast paint or washes. The one difference I did was the skin tone as a bit of an experiment. I based both sets of skin with Orruk Flesh. The one on the left I then used Militarum Green contrast on, while the one on the right I used Mortarion Grime shade on. It's resulted in two very different turtle skin tones, and I like both in their own way.

I really quite like these models. They're very simple sculpts with a few basic details on that take washes and contrast really well. If you're looking to round out a D&D collection or grab a few skirmish troops for Frostgrave or similar, they're a cheap and easy to paint way to do so. I'm also looking thoughtfully at getting some more of these turtles to use as animal cultists in Forbidden Psalm...

Monday 24 October 2022

Battletech: Lyran Guards Griffin

Painting this week, I've finished the second model from the Battletech Beginner's box, a Griffin. This one I've painted up in the paint scheme for the Lyran Guards, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I undercoated the model in Mechanicus Standard Grey, then drybrushed up the white with a light grey and white, then the blue with two different blues. The cockpit glass was then re-undercoated, and I added some gradient from white to grey top to bottom, before dotting in a red contrast paint. Finally, I hand painted in the bars around the glass, and did the base.

As a tabletop quality paint job, there's a couple of small flaws. There's a couple of places I really couldn't get the white drybrush so it's a little more grey underneath. Also, the white road lines on the base aren't quite lined up, but you only spot that from some angles and not others.

All in all, I'm happy with the technique and feel like it works just fine for getting some tabletop quality mechs lined up for the table. I've got the "Game of Armored Combat" boxed set, along with a couple of Urbanmechs, and the plan now is to get them prepped for paint so I can have a playable force.

Friday 21 October 2022

Future Friday - What's Caught My Eye

I've been looking thoughtfully at a few different game systems of late, so I thought I'd have a little ramble about them. First up is Battletech, where I've already painted up a local militia Wolverine, and am planning to paint a bunch more as Lyran Guards. Once I've got enough painted up, I'll find some folk to get a game with. They don't take up much space and it will be a nice thing to dip into now and again.

The new Games Workshop release of Horus Heresy has been mega tempting. Rather than buy a billion miniatures, I've assembled and undercoated these two characters a friend gifted to me. I'm going to paint those up first, and if I enjoy doing that, I'll paint the various bits and bobs of Heresy suitable stuff I already own before I get anything new.

I've had some realisation about how much stuff I have lying around that I'm not using and I want to really start cutting back on buying stuff up in advance. I'll spend a lot less money if I buy stuff just as I'm wanting to use it, and the overhead of managing a pile of boxes is quite significant!

I did play a game of Warhammer Underworlds a while ago, and quite enjoyed it. I then decided not to get into it because the idea of keeping up with that many card decks really didn't appeal. With the new Rivals format where you can just have a warband and a set deck of cards is much better for being able to dip in and out. I have some warbands commission painted from my Stormcast and other warbands are a nice "dip in" painting project size.

So I'll probably find a couple of pick up games of Underworlds to give it a go, I don't need to buy anything new to make that happen.

Not an Elder Scrolls mini

I've been seeing a couple of YouTube videos of people playing Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms, and it's been tempting me to get into it. I've got the core box without any miniatures, which will be enough to play a test game with my own miniatures. To do that, I'm going to need to finish finally tidying the hobby room, which I should get done by the end of the year.

So, Elder Scrolls can be a nice "reward" game for me. I want to give it a go, and have been trying to move towards "no models without a storage solution" for a while now. So I won't be getting this until I've cleared the hobby room sufficiently that I can make that work - and right now I've still got a bunch of models I already own with nowhere to store, so that will need sorting first!

Not a LotR mini!

Finally, I've been looking really quite thoughtfully at GW's Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. I'm hearing quite a few positive noises about it being reasonably well balanced and fun. They've also recently released some nice starter boxes, and the new models look really pretty too.

That said, I currently have enough on and I don't really know anyone who plays. So for now, it can stay as something I daydream about and look at wistfully from time to time. It's clearly the game that got a bunch of people into the hobby, so I think a lot of this is "someone else's nostalgia" feelings. I'll be keeping an eye on it for the future, though.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Work in Progress Wednesday - Hungries

I've managed to use some of my evenings and lunch breaks when working from home to finish the prep work on the Hungries models for the Combined Army I was originally going to do before Red Star Blues. The Combined Army are going on hold for now, but its good to finish up the half prepped models so they're ready to paint when I get back to them.

I think I made the mistake with the prep work of trying to do too many at once. I'm going to try doing a handful at a time and see how that goes instead...

Monday 17 October 2022

Shasvastii - Nox Troopers and a Cadmus

I was super pleased this weekend to finish the Shasvastii that have been on my desk for months. They've been about 60% done for ages, and over one weekend I got them to about 80% done, finishing them up on Monday evening.

First up is the Cadmus. He's suffered a bit from the changes to Decoy and Combat Jump in N4, meaning it's hard to justify his place in a list when there's so many other good options. Without Parachutist, he doesn't have a low risk means of deploying, Morpho-Scan is a gimmicky edge case and none of the weapon profiles really jump out as exciting.

Meanwhile, with the recent changes to Fireteam rules Nox Troopers become a lot more tempting. Having the HMG and Sniper options painted mean that I now have some good long ranged options to test with the team, while a separate model for the Forward Observer means its easier for me to delineate a specialist in the squad if I need to.

The Shasvastii are going back on the shelf for now while I run White Company for a while, but finishing up the part completed projects has left me feeling really positive about my painting. Project wise, I'm likely to get my Battletech Griffin painted up next. I'll then see how I feel between doing my Horus Heresy test models or plugging through the Defiance scenery as a relatively dull "quick win". The instinct right now is Heresy, but they will require some concentration and I might be in a mood to plug out some tabletop quality stuff...

Thursday 13 October 2022

Review: Bad Squiddo Scenic Bases

I recently picked up some new Scenic Bases from Bad Squiddo Scenics, and thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on them. They're available as either a set of three or you can buy the Skull Den, The Well or The Dock individually.

The casting quality is absolutely excellent - it's crisp and looks like it will take paint really well. They seem to be intended to be used as display bases for painted miniatures, but I'm planning on using them on top of a gaming base for larger models for D&D.

I personally prefer the Skull Den and Dock on that basis - they should be much easier to blend onto a gaming base. I'm also not a fan of the raised rough edge of the base on the Well. You can definitely see the hand sculpting, although that will have a charm and appeal of its own to those who like such things.

Here you can see the bases alongside a couple of miniatures. Aenur, on the right, is an older Games Workshop elf miniature from Mordheim, and should give a good idea of how models from that era would fit. The orc monk by Titan Wargames is representing the more modern, slightly larger sculpts you'll often see today. I think both will fit just fine without any obvious scale issues.

That covers the fancy 'display' base approach. I'm intending to use them for gaming. There's enough detail here that I'd be worried about fitting a large monster such as a griffin or manticore on - the two would just get in the way of each other. I'm thinking of looking for the right kind of Ogre or Troll for these - a model who's bulky and large in D&D terms, but not necessarily taking up all of the base they're standing on.

Looking at larger gaming bases you might want to put these on - at the bottom is a 40mm Games Workshop base, which is a little smaller than the scenic bases. I've placed the Dock base onto an Infinity 55mm base - and that's a little too big. There's clearly more than 5mm around the edges, leading me to think that these will fit very nicely onto 50mm round bases (which, inconveniently, I don't have any of right now).

To be clear, you don't need to add a gaming base to any of these - they're very sturdy single cast resin that will work as a base on their own just fine. I'm just wanting a plastic base underneath for a mix of aesthetic and gaming concerns.

I'm definitely a big fan of these bases. I'm not going to be using them entirely "as intended" but they'll work well for my gaming purposes as well as a decorative base for a human sized 28mm display piece. They won't break the bank and will really add to a model you want to give a little more emphasis to.

Monday 10 October 2022

A handful of D&D figures

To get back into painting post LARP season, I decided to knock out some quick tabletop paint jobs on some of my fantasy figures for D&D and skirmish games, some of which may have been hanging around for quite a while...

First up we have this Liche from Heresy Miniatures. He's a nice simple sculpt, with a couple of alternative heads to let you make a warlock or an apprentice mage. For the main robe, I used the new "Stormfiend" Contrast paint. Without watering it down, it turned out to be quite blotchy, so I used a couple of GW Air paints to add some highlights. I found that they didn't blend well, leaving tide marks as I tried to feather the paint into a blend. I eventually got a paint job I was happy with, but it took a bit more faffing than I'd have liked.

Next up was Enrieth, Harefolk Rogue, a Reaper Bones USA model. I'd based her with Zandri Dust, then gave her an Agrax Earthshade wash followed by a white drybrush. I then "coloured her in" with contrast paints. This worked very well and I had very few problems at all. She was an absolute joy to paint without too much detail to have to pick out.

Finally I painted the human cleric from Oathsworn Miniatures "Heroines in Sensible Shoes" line. The hair has come out a little glossy, but I think that will be fine once she gets some varnish on. This was another contrast paint job, with a little bit of highlighting on the face. I've not quite got the hang of non white skin tones just yet, but I'll definitely be keeping on practicing.

The contrast orange wasn't quite light enough for the torch, so I drybrushed it with Kindleflame then used yellow contrast, which turned out really nicely. I also added a few dings and scratches to the shield with a metallic paint, though I think I needed a brush with a better point to make it work.

I reckon with another half hour you could really step her up to a really nice paint job, but I'm happy enough with what I've got here to leave it as is.

This was a good weekend's work, and I'm cheerful about my progress. I've got a few more models painted and ready to use. If I can keep this pace up over the winter, I'll have a whole bunch of models finished.

Friday 7 October 2022

Planning the last quarter

As it's three months since my "half year check point" in July, I thought it would be useful to pause and take stock. There's still a bit too much untidy around the place. I've done some tidying, but there's still a bunch to be done.

The Combined Army I got back in July from assembly are still not undercoated and prepped, for paint. I'm focussing on my White Company for the first part of ITS 14, but I'd like to get them ready for paint before I put them away.

You can also spot the three Nox and a Cadmus that are still not done. I'm taking a break from them before picking them back up to finish.

Some have even only had basing paste added. They've become a bit of a mental block, so I've got a new plan of getting four or five a weekend along another step in the process until they're all done.

Thinking forward with Infinity, I'm quite happy with the idea of playing my White Company for a good while, and as they're commission painted, there's no real painting obligation for my gaming now. That feels like a little bit of a weight off, so I'm going to spend a bit of time focussing on my other projects. I've dropped them all into an "on hold" column in my Kanban board for now so they don't stress me out.

Putting all the undercoated Infinity models that were out away has left me with just one tray of "ready to paint" models. There's another tray of part assembled metal models I'm going to need to look at at some point, but that's also in a little box of not thinking about it for now.

In my rolling "twelve months of projects" tracker, the Corvus Belli painting competition is more than twelve months ago, and as I've not managed to hit that pace of painting, the 'forecast' of what I'm likely to get done in twelve months has dropped down again.

The current "ready to paint" project column are two Horus Heresy characters, a Battletech Griffin, the Defiance crates and corpses, my Malifaux crew and three 54mm figures - and that's already more than I "should" get finished before the end of September next year.

Lined up to get "ready to paint" by September next year are the Dungeons and Lasers figures, the rest of the Defiance scenery pieces, the Battletech Armored Combat box, a Siocast Sargosh for Infinity, the Fenris Games Rubble City and my Halfling Blood Bowl Team project.

I'm hoping to get more done than that, but I need to accept that history currently tells me that's a realistic goal.

So, I've cleared my hobby tray to help clear my mind, and settled down to get some painting done. Sometimes it's best just to put all the half finished stuff aside and pick up something new that you're going to get done and finished in one go.

Rather than finish off the ever-stalled Nox Troopers, I decided to start off by painting some of the little things from the paint queue. Here's a work in progress shot of this Heresy Miniatures Liche. You can pick one up yourself if you want, and the original model comes with some alternative heads to make him a warlock or apprentice mage depending on your preference.

He should be finished in time for next week's blog. And some time soon, I'll get back to those last handful of Shasvastii...

Wednesday 5 October 2022

A little group of D&D miniatures

As part of my ongoing quest to keep my backlog under control, I sent a handful of D&D miniatures off to Brushchewer Inc to get them some tabletop quality jobs. These were literally models I found while going through a box deciding what to keep or sell, and in this case, I was keen to have the models but wasn't 100% set on painting them myself, so I got a professional in...

First up are a Hobgoblin Iron Shadow and a Hobgoblin Devastator from the Wizkids line. I thought they would be useful as either models for PCs, or for baddies. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the Wizkids D&D line - the poses are awesome and there's huge variety, but the quality is really variable.

Next up are an Arcanaloth and an Ultraloth. Again, these are Wizkids models, and very much taking advantage of the license and the variety of the line. I really love the idea of the Yugoloth - neutral evil fiendish mercenaries who will work for anyone - and think they're under-used.

I think it's one of the flaws of how D&D books have been written of late. They have this wonderful concept of "mercenary fiends", then precisely none of their settings have any examples of them being actively used. There's minimal links between the really rather good ideas in the monster books and the setting and adventure books. It feels like wasted potential.

Finally, I have some Reaper Bones Hordelings that I picked up at Salute from a bargain bin who have been sitting around forever. They don't represent a particular D&D monster but as small gribbly creatures will do fine as magical imps, vat grown monsters, and so forth.

All in all, a nice eclectic selection of villains and monsters to round out my D&D suitable collection who can now be filed away in KR cases until they're needed in a game.

Monday 3 October 2022


I lost track of what I hadn't blogged yet in the run up to Empire, and it turns out I hadn't shown off these two. They're made by Northumbrian Tin Soldier, and when I saw them I felt I had to pick them up. They're sold under the wonderful names of "Sergeant Honks and Norbert Billington".

I have no doubt that they are going to cause problems on purpose.