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.