Happy Holidays, You Bastard

So I’ve taken the name of this update from one of Blink-182’s classier little ditties, though it has less to do with the song and more to do with an upcoming project I’ve set myself for my two-week break from work. (Though if you decide to YouTube that song, be advised that it’s very much NSFW!)

The Plan is to paint up a fully functioning army to use in Mantic Games’ Kings of War. I’ve had the makings of a good half-dozen or more fantasy armies for many years now, stashed away inside various boxes and figure cases. All never likely to see the light of day in between not having really properly played Warhammer Fantasy Battle with any regularity since 3rd Edition and my general misanthropy when it comes to going out to clubs or FLGS to look for games.

With the advent of Kings of War, which is apparently fast, elegant and easy to learn, and some online battle reports like this, my interest in Fantasy Battles, with Armies has been reawakened. I have to say, while I’m not usually a fan of Battle Reports (WD has put me off over the years) there was just something about the combination of old-school, DIY, fully painted and a little bit rough around the edges of the pics in this report that really reminded me of WHFB 3rd ed. Not the Mantic rules (which I admit, I still haven’t read), but the feel. Mixed figures, paintjobs other than the stale GW studio armies. Real people’s work (which is one thing I always preferred to see in WD).

So anyway. With the help of my mate, JudgeDoug of DakkaDakka and Mantic Forums fame, I’ve decided to dedicate all of my hobby time during my two and a half weeks off to cleaning off all the random stuff from my painting desk. He’s kindly agreed to write up the army lists based on what I have available, and I’ll take care of the rest.

My Painting Desk. Last week. Also, today.

But it’s not just going to be 2 weeks of solid painting. I’m sure we’ll also go out for meals, play computer, board and console games, have friends over, sleep in, take my mum to the Zoo, watch TV, DVDs and BluRays, fix the back fence, mow the lawn, clean up the garage a little more, and… Maybe I’ll go out until 5am and update my tumblr, too! well, you get the drift! So while I’m hoping to get a lot done, who knows how this will turn out?

With bases, because I’ve always liked them more for aesthetic reasons, I’ll be giving everything 25mm round bases rather than the 20mm squares that are traditional for both Warhammer and Kings of War. This is because:

1)      I’ve always preferred Round bases and have never especially liked square ones.

2)      After more than a decade of not playing WFB, I figure the “just in case I want to use them in Warhammer” excuse to not paint them because I’d rather use rounds has expired.

3)      I do like those games based on books about Rings. You know the ones. They use both round bases and also round-slot movement trays to drop them into.

4)      I’ll use those trays.

5)      If need be, the fantasy figures can do double-duty in those games about Rings. Even if they don’t look exactly like what WETA produced.

Since I’ll most likely be using these figures in friendly games in my own home, everything will be based consistently, and so there’ll be no “advantage” to one side over another based on unit base size. Besides, I be playing for teh funz0rz.

The contestant(s) for this challenge will be a Kings of War “Elf” army, made up of Citadel’s High Elves (and maybe a few Wood and Dark Elves as well).

The Elves. Now.
Well, a lot of them, anyway…

In the unlikely event that the Elves actually get finished, I’ll then be starting phase 2, which will be the second contestant – an Ogre army, made up of my very old-school Citadel models, some Ogre Kingdoms models, and the metric shitload of Mantic’s own Ogres that we have coming as a result of the Kickstarter – which are (hopefully!) due to arrive anytime now, and hopefully before the holidays begin.

The Ogres should have a much smaller (I hope) model count, and with the already finished figures thrown in, as well as how much I enjoy painting the big old brutes, should also be achievable – at least theoretically.

So in short, I’m going to put aside all the random crap on my painting desk, and the painting ADHD that I have in order to focus for a short, specific time, and hopefully have something tangible to show off and even use(!) at the end of it.

While I’m going to wait until next Wednesday night (18th September) before I allow myself to start painting, I figure I’ll allow myself to assemble, base and prime figures before the date.

D&D Monster Manual 2: Iron Golem and Troll – aka 77168: Bones Battleguard Golem / 77004: Bones Cave Troll

A couple more painted Bones this time. One from the Kickstarter, the Battleguard (Iron) Golem, and another pre-KS model – the Troll.

When painting the “Iron” Golem (as he’s commonly known), I wanted to play with warm metallics (copper, bronze) and verdigris, so I happily disregarded the “Iron” portion of the model.

Much of the model was actually fun to work with. I utilised a lot of heavy drybrushing that worked well on the model to bring out all the slight imperfections of the cast, and helped to create a bit of a pitted, cast-metal look, which was perfect for my ends. The rear shot of the left forearm shows it pretty well. While I’m not especially happy with the way the sword blade turned out, being a cheap Bones model, I’m happy to call it good enough. The plastic of the blade was uneven and frankly an unpleasant pain to work with. The face was a bit of a mess. To sort of salvage it, I just painted it gold in the end, and gave it a hit of ink and a small highlight. The gems on the back of the shoulders and sword blade, and also the eyes were done using the usual GW-style gem technique and hit with gloss varnish. For what it’s worth, I think the glowing OSL effect on the Reaper website looks better, and if I’d seen it earlier I probably would have ripped it off, but c’est la vie.

The bags and chain on the back of his butt were a badly-cast mess, and so they got a very quick “good enough” job. The real highlight of the model to me was playing with some new mixes of paint washes along with the layered drybrushing to create the aged verdigris effect, which will no doubt make a reappearance later down the line on some venerable space marines of some description. I also did some dungeon furniture at the same time, which I’ll have to photograph down the line and show here as well. Base is my usual for this kind of thing – Proxie models 40mm round base with the plastic Bones base glued on top and a bit of acrylic putty to flatten it all out before sand and Army Painter tufts.

Anyway, as a low-stress learning experience and relatively fast model to paint, I consider this guy to be a success. Now he can sit on the shelf until Pathfinder calls him to duty!

This guy, like the Purple Worms from the last post, was a Bones figure I picked up before the Kickstarter campaign who spent most of the last year part-painted until I finally finished him properly more recently. The “learning experience” with this guy was to practice blending from unnatural skin tones (ie, the green) to more natural ones (the flesh). I saw some fine work done in this manner on Citadel Dragon Ogres many years ago, and it’s also been used to some extent on the LotR trolls – which is one of the places this guy can do duty, along with Pathfinder and wargames like Warhammer and Kings of War.

The paint was originally a bit nicer, but it got severely messed up (in my opinion) when I hit the finished model with Army Painter’s spray (matt!) varnish. The model got a nasty shine, some sandy “frosting” on his limbs, and it also attracted a bunch of tiny little hairs. I’ve gone over it with paint-on Vallejo, but it’s still not quite right. The base used the same techniques as listed above for the golem, but not as successful, and being a cheap bones model I’d prefer to buy another one and do it again then spend the time to rework the whole base – ie “good enough”. His claws are badly defined, and the facial details are a bit soft and sloppy – picking out the eyes was not easy. Blending the pustulent and infected looking boils into his skin was fun as always, but despite my misgivings about the casting of the figure overall and especially some specific parts of the model (claws, face) – and even the messed up finish thanks to the Spray and my sub-par job on the base, I find it to be another successful practice model. Good enough for Roleplaying and certainly tabletop quality for wargaming.