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.