Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Grenadier Grand Pack Line (Fantasy Warriors) 9207 Tree Spirit

This mini was purchased with a definite purpose in mind - it is going to be the Behemoth of a Hordes of the Things (HOTT) Wood Elf army, using Grenadier Mark Copplestone figures. To be honest, I wasn't enthused about the figure - it seemed a bit too cartoonish, and didn't have a suitable air of menace. As with many of the larger late Grenadier figures, it came in several pieces, and whilst it glued together well, there were obvious gaps that needed lots of filling with Milliput. On the plus side, it was designed so that it didn't fall over once constructed, so that was a bonus :) So, out with the brushes. The figure had a light gray primer, followed by an Army Painter Dark Tone wash, followed by drybrushing with light gray, then a very light gray, and then a white just for the upper branches. That brought out a lot of the detail, and I started to get a bit more enthused about the sculpt. After that it was a matter of picking out the roots and leaves with dark green and then light green for highlights, and picking out indvidual rocks on the base. I still wasn't satisfied with some of the filling work I'd done, so I disguised it with some PVA glue and some flock, which I hoped would look like moss or lichen, and I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Finally the figure was glued to a 60x60mm MDF base to fit in with the rest of the HOTT army, and the base given a fine coat of sand which was then primed a dull brown, high lighted with green, and then dusted with flock and grass highlights. A lot simpler than it sounds. At the end of it - I was happy with the paint job, but I'm still not sure about the sculpt which - if you'll forgive the pun - is a bit wooden. Still, it looks impressive - take a look at it next to the latest recruit for my Amazon/Shadowforge Dark Temple HOTT Spear Unit - and I pretty sure it will do some damage on the tabletop, as well as doubling up as an Ent in any woodland adventures for my D&D party.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Heresy Heroes024 Rowan Centaur Archer, Ral Partha Personalities and Things Winged Gremlin and Shadowforge Dark Temple Spear Warrior

Not strictly old lead... a bit of a mixed bag posting, but with a vague ancient Greece theme. The next nuggets to be extracted from the Lead Mountain were the Heresy Centaur and the Ral Partha Gremlin, and as they are small figures I thought I'd post them here at the same time. First up, the Heresy sculpt - a bit stylised, with what looks to be a truncated torso and elongated legs - but its well detailed, and I think it would serve well for a NPC that shows up on a regular basis. A nice and simple paint job, mostly browns and leather, and then the Army Painter soft tone wash did the hard work. Simples! Pleased with the way this turned out. At the same time I extracted the Ral Partha Winged Gremlin. Now, I am not sure that it is complete - I can't find this sculpt on Lost Minis - and I suspect that it is missing a weapon from its right hand. Still, it's still a great sculpt - for something that is nearly 40 years old I think it holds up really well - and it will definitely serve as a generic dungeon demon. This was a lovely mini to paint - a base coat of red, then a wash of GW crimson, then just dry brushing, which really brought out the detail. Again, pleased with the result. The Shadow Forge Dark Temple Spear Warrior is part of an Amazon HOTT army I am painting up, and when I was photographing the minis I wanted something to show the scale of the Ral Partha mini, and that was the first figure to hand. I like the look of Shadow Forge minis, especially their centaurs, although I think that sometimes their sculpting of arms leaves a lot to be desired. I'll post pics of the HOTT army as it progresses.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Citadel Fiend Factory FF12-2 Mountain Giant with Battle Axe Feb 1982

At first, I wasn't even aware that there was such a thing as a Mountain Giant in D&D, but a quick check on Google shows that they first appeared in the Fiend Folio - whilst the D&D Wiki provides a useful summary:

Mountain giants are violent as a result of their history. Banished by their hill giant ancestors, they were forced to drive out the stone giants from their northern ranges. They regularly mock-fight amongst each other. However, they prefer not to start a real fight without a genuine reason (although they will jump into a fight that's already started without hesitation). As such, they may not act anymore violent than an average human on a good day.

So basically, we're looking at a hill giant variant, similar to George - in fact the Fiend Folio illustration looks startlingly like George - but IMHO it looks much more like a Frost Giant, complete with furs, battle axe and Nordic helmet, and that dictated the paint scheme. The paint job was fairly challenging - just a simple base coat of white, then a wash of GW Draaken Nightshade, then lots and lots of drybrushing with various shades of light blue and then white. I wanted to give the impression of the leather jerkin and helmet being cold, so I mixed in some light blue into the usual leather colour, and I think that gave the right effect. The shaft of the axe was problematical - I originally painted it a light yellow brown to suggest pine, but it looked almost too bright, so again I mixed in light blue to a light brown and then added white to try and get a frosted effect.

I don't think its a great sculpt - its a bit static, and there is a definite coarseness about the figure, though nothing as bad as early Asgard figures. Still, I'm fairly pleased with this outcome - it will definitely work as a default Frost Giant figure for encounters. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Grenadier Giants Club 3506 Chaos Giant

Next from the Lead Mountain was this absolute monster of a figure. It is huge - just look at it against a Citadel wizard! As with a lot of the bigger Grenadier models, it suffers from a few problems - some of the detail isn't that great, especially around the hands/claws and the armour, and the base isn't big enough to support the figure without the slightest bump sending it over, hence the large base it now sits on. Worst of all  is the sword hand, which was supplied as a separate piece - the socket to fix it to the arm was very poorly moulded, and it took several goes with superglue and much cursing to get it to fix in place. It was actually quite a difficult figure to paint - the skin is sculptured to indicate scales, but they are not raised, so it was a matter of using a dark green wash and then several sessions of very light dry brushing to pick out the detail without painting over the scaling. The scales also dictated the colour scheme - I ummed and ah'd about whether to go with green or red, and in the end decided that the demon scale loin cloth it is wearing should be red, thus leaving the actual demon green. I went with gold for the armour and weapon, purely because I liked the contrast with the green, and also because I knew it would brush up well as bronze armour once I applied Army Painter soft tone to it. The obelisk came with the figure, and was glued to the base with small stones from the garden, and then dry brushed to blend in with the original figure base. I think is a fantastic pose - just look at the expression, and that foot about to come crashing down! And if the foot doesn't get you, that bloody big sword will. This big guy will definitely see table stop time as the demonic "boss" for any high level dungeon delving expedition.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM35 Hill Troll v1

And now for a bit of detective work. I am a collector of Asgard miniatures, and one of the difficulties is that for some figures in the Fantasy Monster (FM) range, there are no photographs or line drawings to show what the figures are supposed to look like - for example, FM18a Secrom, FM97 Sea Dragon, FM101 Dragonnewt (the latter may well be a re-listed FM76 Dragon-newt), and FM35 Hill Troll. I thought I'd found the FM35 Hill Troll last year - Viking Forge have the rights to a lot of the old Asgard mini's, and they have a Hill Troll on their site which I thought was the original Asgard FM35 Hill Troll, and which I posted here. However, I started to have my doubts - it looked too crisp for an Asgard figure, which were notoriously crudely sculpted, and Viking Forge are well known for replacing some of the Asgard line with new figures. In the absence of a photo or line drawing of the original FM35 Hill Troll - could the one I posted be a new variant? The answer came when I bought this chappie in a joblot, which included a lot of Asgard figures. There are no marking on the base, and no-one was able to identify it, not even the good folks at Lost Minis. Eventually the figure was extracted from the Lead Mountain, and it was only when I started prepping and priming it for painting that I started to think, "this has got to be an Asgard mini". It has all of the trademarks of an Asgard - a base that wasn't big enough to keep the figure stable, and really crude sculpting, especially on the muscle definition and the fingers - and in fact, the figure it most reminded me of was the Asgard FM19 Storm Giant, and when I checked I think it was pretty obvious that they were by the same sculptor. With that in mind - I think I can safely present Asgard FM35 Hill Troll v1. When I got the figure, it had been broken off at the ankles - superglue and Milliput to the rescue - and was missing a weapon, as something had been snapped off from its right hand, so I replaced it with a cocktail stick, which was painted up to resemble a spear. As with all early minis, the trick is to keep it simple - so a basic paint job, Army Painter soft tone on that, and then lots and lots of dry brushing to bring out the detail, which is actually pretty good around the face and the animal skin - not so great on the arms and hands. As with a lot of the bigger Asgard figures, it needed a base to keep it stable, and the base is just sand and flock. I'm pleased with the way this turned out, though I am not sure it will see too much table top time - I have better Hill Troll figures, though he may make an occasional appearance to fill up the numbers.

What does everyone else think? Is he the missing FM35 Hill Troll or not?

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Ral Partha Children of The Night 13-017 Giant In Mail Armour

Next out of the Lead Mountain was this fine fellow from Ral Partha. Now, I have a lot of time for Ral Partha sculpts, especially the larger ones - whilst I like the smaller figures, they always looked too slight and out of place against "heroic" scale figures from Citadel, Games Workshop and Grenader, but this one holds up really well. As with all Ral Partha figures, beautifully sculpted, lots of detail, and I love the pose - how many other manufacturers would even consider producing a figure in that pose? The figure itself was a pleasue to paint - base colours, then let Army Painter washes do their magic, followed by dry brushing and high lighting. Even the base is good - solid enough and big enough to keep the figure upright, and it actually paints up well as a one big stone slab. I think this is a terrific figure - I especially love the pose, as you can imagine the big guy bending over to smack some unfortunate adventurer with that iron headed club! How many other giant sculpts have you seen where the figure is just standing around, or just brandishing a weapon? I can see this figure getting a LOT of table top time.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Reaper Miniatures/Heritage Dungeon Dwellers 1262 Demon

Despite this being a Reaper miniature, it was originally produced and sculpted by Heritage, so the figure actually dates to the late 1970s-early 1980s (Heritage went bust in 1982). Originally it was from the Heritage Dungeon Dwellers 1200 ranges line, but Reaper re-released resculpts (new bases) of some Heritage Dungeon Dwellers figures as their inaugural first fantasy line, as listed in their 1993 Catalog. This figure is actually marked as Reaper on its base. As a consequence... it's not a great sculpt. Heritage figures were on a par with early Grenadier, the occasional gem and definitely not as good as Ral Partha, Citadel or late Grenadier - but they do have a certain naive charm. The actual metal base of the figure was meant to represent a stone slab, but as with so many early figures it wasn't big enough to support the figure for any extended period of time - so, on to a plastic base, and then Milliput to create additional slabs. As for the paint job, I took the same approach as I do with all early figures - keep it simple. That meant a base coat of red, followed by washes, then dry brushing to bring up highlights - orange on the torso and the hair on the back of the figure, plus gray for the base. To my surprise the figure actually looked quite good, and I decided I would pick out the "ridges" on the wings to look like bone, the same as the horns on the head. The colour scheme actually came out far better than I expected, although I was underwhelmed by the decision by the sculptor to add spiked knee protectors to the figure - what is that all about? I'm fairly pleased with the paint job, but I'm not too sure about the figure itself - it's fun, but it looks out of proportion, tiny legs and the weird knee pads - and there are better sculpts from Grenadier that meet the needs of my campaign, so this one might get moved on.