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 am 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.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Citadel FF64-2 George the Giant

Next out of this Lead Mountain was this fine fellow from Citadel. Now, I am a bit unsure about Citadel miniatures - whilst they are good quality, and are mostly good sculpts, I also feel that there is something "cartoonish" about them, as if the sculptors were trying to produce something that would amuse and raise a smile rather than actually look intimidating. That's a bit of a generalisation, I know, but I think this figure illustrates what I mean. 

It's big - nearly 4 inches high - and its a great sculpt, good pose, well detailed, and yet - I look at it and it makes me smile, its as if they were presenting a parody of a bad tempered drunken bloke in the street - long unwashed hair, beer gut, and just look at that nose! Reminds of a home game at Stoke to be honest. Still, out with the brushes. As with all Citadel figures, lovely to paint, crisp detail, standard base coat and wash, then drybrushing, job done. I deliberately left the skin areas slightly  grubby, because - well - I think that's what a giant would look like, hygine wouldn't be high on their agenda. The base didn't really need attention - for once we have a large figure with a pose and a base that doesn't fall over every 2 minutes. It's a good figure, but I feel that perhaps the paint job hasn't done it justice, and I suppose that's because ultimately I wasn't enthused about the figure.
Poor George.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Another interlude: Reaper Bones, Greek Mythology - Medusa and Harpy

Earlier this year I picked up a handful of Reaper Bones fantasy miniatures, and I have finally got round to painting them. Reaper Bones minis are made of plastic, the kind of bendy stuff that Airfix soldiers used to be made of, and come with all of the associated problems of detail and getting paint to adhere that go with it. Still, you can't argue with the price - £1 a figure - and as I need to get on with stocking the dungeon, it was out with the paintbrushes.

The Medusa was first up, and my main complaint with the figure is the lack of detail - some features such as fingers, eyes, and places where the quiver rests against the serpent tail were very crude - real echos of early Asgard sculpting. You need to wash the figure thoroughly to get the paint to stick, and I had to use paint a bit thicker than I'm used to. Still, the base figure painted up quite well, and a wash of Army Painter Soft tone really brought up the detail, followed by dry brushing and highlighting. The base is just Milliput and then painted to suggest a rough dungeon floor surface. Quite pleased with the end result - the paint job came out quite well, and the actual pose is terrific, a really sinister and unpleasant thing to encounter in a dungeon. Should see a decent amount of table top time.

After that, the Harpy. Oddly enough this had much better detail, with the exception of the face, and as a consequence I found it real pleasure to paint. Same approach as the Medusa - base coats laid on fairly thickly, then Army Painter and GW  washes, then highlighting. Simples! Again, really pleased with how this turned - a really dynamic pose, and it looks like it could actually give a group of adventurers a run for their money. If I had a quibble it is that the sculptor hasn't really given thought to how the claws would join on to the arms, and so has fudged it by giving the figure wrist guards - where on earth did she get those from? Still, I can see her getting lots of tabletop time.

I can see the appeal of Reaper Bones - ideal for filling the ranks in wargames, and you simply cannot argue with the value for money - but still not convinced that they have the quality of the classic Ral Partha and late Grenadier minis.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Kickstarter: The Fantastic Worlds of Grenadier

Regulars to this blog will be aware of my appreciation of Grenadier miniatures, especially the Fantasy Lords series. With that in mind, I would like to draw your attention to a Kickstarter here which is a chronological product history of Grenadier Models. I've already backed it, and I would strongly recommend any other readers of the blog to do the same - possibly the best $35/£27 you'll ever spend.

Interlude: Reaper Bones - Sylph, Mab Grindylow and Dryad

A combination of having a garden to attend to plus some pretty vile weather has prevented me from varnishing various figures - hence no recent posts. However, the sun is, the rain is temporarily at bay, and the spray cans have come out. At a recent wargames fair I spotted several packs of Reaper Bones miniatures, at ridiculous prices - something like £1 a figure - and I thought for that price they'd be worth a gamble. They are plastic - hence the low price - and seem to be made of the same soft plastic that Airfix soldiers used to be made of, e.g. bendy plastic instead of rigid. In addition, plastic usually means that detail on the figure is compromised... only one way to find out... Reaper say that you don't need a primer, and you can paint directly on to the figure as long as you've washed it in detergent to remove and residual oil from the casting process. One quick dip into a mug of washing up liquid, and we're good to go. You can apply paint to the figure without primer, but it was to be fairly thick paint - I usually have my paint very thin, and that just wouldn't stick at all.

The first figure was the Sylph, and I deliberately kept her paint job very simple, purely to see how she turned out. Once the base coats were applied, on with the washes, which usually pick out any details and issues with the figure. These turned out OK, although you just don't get the fine detail of a metal figure. After that, the usual dry brushing, and I was really surprised how well the figure came out. I have a need for a woodland nymph/goddess character in my D&D campaign, and she fits the bill nicely.

Next up was Mab Grindylow, a vile spirit of marshes and rivers. Again, I needed a dark river spirit character in my campaign, so she was an ideal match. This is a slightly odd sculpt though - she is obviously rising out of a marsh or river bed, so I understand the trident but - what's with the utility belt? Holy odd bit of sculpting, Batman! With this character the issue with fine detail really came to the forefront, and I think the wash emphasised this. It's still a super figure though, and I can see her getting lots of tabletop time anytime the party venture into marshes.

Lastly we have the dryad. I am a big fan of Hordes Of The Things (HOTT) and I had a need for a Lurker unit, and this sculpt was perfect - a dryad emerging from a tree with a long bone knife. Again, I deliberately kept the paint job simple, and then let Army Painter soft tone do most of the leg work, followed by dry brushing and then picking out the detail (such as it was) with green paint. Again, I liked the figure, and was happy with the way it turned out - definitely good enough for table top use.  

In summary, Reaper Bones are definitely an option for cheap, table top gaming - though they are no substitute for metal. I've got a couple more Reaper Bones figures to do, and I'll post them when I'm finished.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Ral Partha AD&D Monsters 11-417 Greater Stone Golem

And staying with the idea of creatures made from stone... this was one of the last figures made by Ral Partha under the TSR banner before they in turn went under. It's got all the usual indicators of Ral Partha - good clean lines, great sculpting and no flash. He was a lovely figure to paint as well - a base coat of gray, and then a very VERY light wash of Army Painter Dark tone, followed by dry brushing. The light wash picked out the detail and gave some areas a marblling effect, which I think looks great on the figure. As with the Metal Magic Stone Giant, I picked out the eyes with white, and it definitely gives the figure an rather otherworldly gaze. Very pleased with the way this turned out, and I can see him getting quite a bit of table time as a generic guardian of temples.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Metal Magic C1034b Stone Giant with Club

Hobby Products GmbH was a German company that produced games and miniatures, and Metal Magic was the  imprint used for their miniature lines. They produced a wide variety of ranges over the years, many of which had little visibility outside of Europe. Most of their ranges had been phased out of production by the mid-1990's. As a consequence - this chappie is a bit of a rarity. He is a wonderful sculpt, and looks like he was deliberately modelled on the black and white line drawings from the Monster Manual 1e - check out the line drawing below. He was also a pleasure to paint - base coat of gray, light sand for  the loincloth and brown for the leather, then Army Painter Dark Tone, followed by dry brushing with gray and then white on the club. The white eyes were picked out simply to give focus to the face. It is a terrific figure, elegant, brooding, and I find it amazing that a company capable of such great sculpts could go under. This figure is definitely going to see a lot of table time!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM72 Female Troll

Q. Where do trolls come from?
A. Reproduction between male and females of the species, of course.

This is another Asgard sculpt, and it is one of the better ones. It is also comparatively rare, both in term of availability and in subject matter - but then, I suppose the demand for female troll figures is limited. The usual rules of painting any Asgard figure apply - keep it simple. I have an on-going theme in my D&D campaign of trolls and ogres having gray skin, so it was a matter of picking our out a contrasting colour for the hair, which is why she ended up as a red head. After that, Army Painter washes, and dry brushing. Simples! I think this is a terrific figure - obviously female, unpleasant to look at, and malevolent. Just look at that expression! I particularly like the hairy chest as well - it's like something found at 2am on a Sunday morning in a side street in Stoke. In my D&D campaign I have a need for a cave dwelling witch, and I think I've just found the figure to represent her...

Friday, 10 June 2016

Asgard Fantasy Monsters FM24v2 The Silent Shambler take 2

A bit of gap in  posts due to me being away, and also heavy rainfall preventing me from varnishing - so expect a number of posts in the near future as I catch-up with completed figures. Next out of the Lead Mountain was this fine fellow - now, I've already painted another one of them here, and whilst I was happy with the paint job I always thought it would have been good to use the figure as a Lurker in my Woodland beings HOTT army - so that dictated the paint job. This time I used a very light brown, then Army Painter soft tone, and then a very light almost yellow-green for the dry brushing before picking out the eyes and teeth. The base is simple flock, to match the rest of the troops.

I really like this figure - it is one of Asgard's best - and I still think it holds up now, nearly 40 years after it was sculpted!  I just like the strangeness of the pose, and the slightly dim but malevolent expression. Very please with the way it turned out!

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Grenadier SM13 Storm Giant (conversion)

Next out of the Lead Mountain was this unfortunately incomplete chappie. I had acquired him as part of a job lot, and he came without either of his hands - Grenadier went through a period of casting their figures in multiple pieces, and the smaller components nearly always got lost. He should be holding a hammer in his right hand, and casting a lightning bolt in the other - see the picture to left for how he should look. Originally I was going to sell him on, but then I realised I had a need for a Storm Giant character my current D&D campaign, and decided to try my hand (no pun intended) at a conversion.

The main issue was scale, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lopped off hand from a GW Chaos knight, holding a spear, worked really well for his right hand - a bit of superglue and a bit of Milliput worked wonders. I was a bit stuck for a left hand - he definitely looked like his arm was raised to do something - and then I thought, "what if he is generating lightning from his left hand to charge the tip of the spear in his right hand"? A bit of digging produced the left hand of a spare Chaos sorcerer from HeroQuest, and again superglue and Milliput came to the rescue - however, the scale of that left hand was a bit smaller than the other hand from the Chaos knight, but I hoped that it would be disguised with what I had in mind. I wanted to present two electrical bolts coming from his left hand to the tip of the spear, and for that I used two paperclips, bent into the relevant shapes, and then fixed them with superglue between the left hand and the spear tip.

After that... the paint job. The white primer covered a multitude of sins, and then it was just a matter of keeping it simple - base colours where possible, then a wash of Army Painter soft tone to bring out the detail, and then dry brushing to bring out the highlights. The most difficult bit were the electrical bolts, which were originally light blue, and I overdid the dry brushing so that they almost appeared white. I also did the eyes of the figure in the same colour to give some continuity, and also to emphasise the strange, other worldly appearance.

I am very happy with this figure, especially when you consider it is conversion and nearly got passed to someone else. Definitely a major player in my D&D Campaign!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Ral Partha Personalities and Things... 01-62 Trill

Next up from the Lead Mountain: a Trill. What the heck is a Trill? It's an interesting figure - as with all Ral Partha figures, it is well sculptured, but it's about twice the size of "normal" Ral Partha human - so I mistakenly assumed that Trills were a humanoid (Neanderthal?) variant, larger than normal humans, coarser, and far more muscular, based in an environment where early Greek/Spartan armour is preferred - so, hot and dry and filled with olive trees. As it is, a check of the Chaos Wars rulebook puts the Trills firmly amongst the powers of Darkness - I am guessing that it is simply a play on the word "troll"? Anyhow, the pose and the armour swung it for me - this Trill was going to painted up in the style of a Spartan. THIS IS TRILLLLLLL... It was a lovely figure to paint - simple base colours, then a wash of soft tone Army Painter, and then a simple matter of picking out the white on the loin cloth. I like the figure a lot, and can see it getting some table top time as either a champion for one of my Greek/Spartan skirmish games, or else as a minion for a Titan or a Storm giant in D&D. It really serves as a reminder of how good Ral Partha were before they went under.

Speaking of which... the good folks at Iron Wind Metals are busy trying to resurrect some of the Ral Partha sculpts in conjunction with their Chaos Wars game:

The new Chaos Wars KickStarter is now live!
Here is the link:
Together, we got the Chaos Wars successfully launched, which was no small task.

Well worth a look!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Hordes Of The Things (HOTT) - Woodland/Wildling Army - Citadel, Foundry, Shadowforge, and Unknowns

This will be my 100th posting, so I thought I would make an effort and show you my favourite army for Hordes Of The Things (HOTT). For those of you not familiar with HOTT, it is a fantasy miniature wargame, published by Wargames Research Group, able to represent armies from a wide variety of settings. There are a number of reasons I like playing HOTT - once you get over the odd writing style (Phil Barker, you need to speak to the people at the Plain English Campaign), it is actually a simple, fast moving set of rules that allow a game to played within an hour - and more importantly, you can use any miniatures from any manufacturer, and you do not need loads of minis to build an army. In short, you can use that handful of lovely old-school minis lying around to make a unit in HOTT, instead of having to buy hundreds of minis. And of course... the fewer minis you have to paint, the more time you can have gaming :)

In HOTT an army consists of Units - there are are several Unit types, such as Shooters (Archers), Riders, Warbands, and Hordes. Each Unit type costs a number of Army Points (AP) to use in a battle. Each player has up to 24AP to spend on their Army. Each Unit is on base and is represented by 1-4 figures.

I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Wood Elves, woodland folk and their kin in other fantasy games, and over the years had collected enough of them to use in HOTT. My current Woodland/Wilding Army is currently based on the current Units:

1 x Behemoth @ 4AP each = 4AP
6 x Hordes @ 1AP each = 6AP
2 x Riders @ 2AP each = 4AP
2 x Shooters @ 2AP each = 4AP
2 x Spears @ 2AP each = 4AP
1 x Warband General @ 2AP each = 4AP

And so on to the Units. First up we have the Behemoth - big, hulking heavy hitters to lead the attack. This is represented by a Citadel Ent on a 60x60mm base. A lovely figure to paint - dark gray undercoat, then dry brushing in light gray and white to pick out the detail, then a matter of picking out the green and shading accordingly. The claws were simply a cream colour with a hint of yellow, and then a soft brown wash to give the effect of wood, and I think it turned out very well. Very pleased with this beastie, and he is very much the star of the team :)

Next up, the Hordes - basically an ill disciplined, bad tempered rabble. This is where I used several figures from several manufacturers - the Dryads are from Foundry, the Scarekin (Scarecrows and Pumpkin heads) I think are Ral Partha, and the Treemen are Games Workshop. The great thing about HOTT is that you can mix and match the figures you want under one generic grouping, in this case Hordes - in fact, I have additional Hordes being painted up, so the composition of the army may end up changing to include more Hordes in the future. As it is, I just took one look at the Scarecrows and Pumpkin Heads and thought YES - they are going to be in this Army, regardless of who else makes room for them! I think they are fabulous sculpts, both amusing and sinister at the same time. The Games Workshop Treemen are also favourites - a bit static perhaps, but they painted up well, using the same techniques as their big brother the Ent. The Dryads came from Foundry with several of their sisters, and painted up quite well, and I think going forward the Riders may well get replaced by more Hordes/Dryads from Foundry.

Next, Riders - light cavalry. These are represented by Dark Temple female centaurs from Shadowforge. I like the figures, but perhaps the plumed helmets are not entirely in keeping with the rest of the army. These may get replaced by "standard" centaurs in the future - some of the old Ral Partha centaurs are very well sculptured, and so they may get a look in, or alternatively I will replace them with more Foundry Dryads to bulk up the Hordes units. 

After that - Shooters, or Archers. These are simply wood elf figures that I acquired, and I have no idea who they are by. Any ideas?

Next, Spears. These are represented by Wildmen or naked Picts - again, I don't know the manufacturer, so any help is great appreciated! These were a very quick job - base colours, and then a coat of Army Painter soft tone followed by matt varnish, and I think they came out really well.

And finally - the Warband General, represented by figures from Foundry - a Dryad Standard bearer, a May Maiden/Wiccan maiden as the leader, and a wolf as bodyguard. A great use of spare figures!

The army does OK in outings - the main tactic is to lead with the Behemoth, followed up closely by the Hordes - if the Behemoth recoils, the Hordes re-generate pretty quickly (usually). The Shooters and Riders providing support and protection from the flanks. The Spears are there to hold any strategically important areas once the Behemoth has taken them. It doesn't always work, but I enjoy playing with the figures - and, if I want to change the Army composition, it is simply a matter of painting 3-4 figures to create a new Unit, rather than having to spend money and paint 20 or so. 

I have several other HOTT armies created using old lead minis, and if there is any interest I'll post pics of those too.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Stocking the dungeon: Citadel and Asgard Undead

As part of the ongoing dungeon stocking exercise, I turned my attention to the subject of Undead, particularly wights, wraiths, spectres and vampires. These are key components of most Undead based adventures, so they'll see plenty of tabletop time. I rummaged through the mountain and junk box, and found various figures that fitted the bill - mostly from Citadel, though the figure on the far left is an Asgard vampire - and repaired where necessary. For example, the figure second from the left was missing a lantern, and now brandishes a plastic sword. After that, a very simple, very basic paint job - base coat of white, then a wash of either GW Draaken Nightshade or GW Beltain Green, followed by dry brushing of the relevant colour. Really, really simple, and it brought up the detail beautifully, whilst the red eyes were added to make the figures look more sinister. The final touch was to do my usual trick of adding cotton wool wisps to suggest mist, and I think it works really well here. I think it goes to show just how good the early Citadel and some of the Asgard sculpts were - they still hold up after 30 years. Very pleased with the way these turned out!

Minifigs Valley Of The Four Winds VFW24 Tree with arms and face

And from Grenadier, to Minifigs, who were one of the earliest manufacturers of fantasy figures in the UK. As a consequence a lot of their sculpts are very basic, and whilst they sold well at first, they soon lost ground to Ral Partha, Citadel and Grenadier. The VFW range of figures was produced to supplement the Games Workshop game of the same name, and whilst a lot of the smaller figures are very basic, the larger ones - like this tree - look well detailed. To be honest, when this figure was extracted from the Lead Mountain, my immediate thought was that it would be ideal as an Ent or Treeman for a Fae/Sylvian Horde Of The Things army I am building, so it was painted with that in mind. The actual paint job was really simple - base coat of dark gray, then a dark Army Painter wash, then dry brushing with light gray and silver to bring out the details. Simples! The final touches were to use PVA glue on the base and on some of the upper branches to suggest moss and/or leaves, and I think that really worked well. Very pleased with the result from this one!

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 500 series Cloud Giant

And staying with Grenadier... this was next out of the Mountain. I obtained it as part of a job lot, and it was broken - the long scarf flying over the shoulder was snapped off and missing - so it was out with the Milliput to try and sculpt a replacement, which didn't come out too badly I think. However, it did flag why the scarf broke off in the first place, because with the scarf the figure had an annoying tendency to fall over, so it was glued on to a base for stability. Even with the missing scarf restored, it is still a very odd figure - what on earth is it holding/stroking? A dragon? A lion? A demonic cat? I worked on the theory that whatever it is, it was supposed to be some kind of familiar or pet for the Cloud Giant, and would therefore be made of the same elements as its owner. Again, we're dealing with large Grenadier sculpts, so keep it simple - a base coat of white primer, then a very thin wash of GW Draaken Nightshade, then lots of dry brushing with white. Much to my surprise this worked really well - it really brought out the detail, and gave the figure a definite ethereal look. I still thought the figure lacked something, so I did my usual trick of adding wisps of cotton wool to both the base and to the end of the scarf to suggest cloud and mist, and whilst I think it works on the base, I'm not too sure about it on the scarf - that may get removed later on. I actually like this figure a lot more than I was expecting to - it has a slightly sinister presence, a bit like a fantasy Blofeld stroking a cloud white cat. Now there is a hook line for a set of adventures...