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.

D&D Monster Manual 1: Purple Worms – aka Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

There’s a bit of discussion about at the moment, regarding how Bones is not a great material for certain figures, and can be a bit of an unpleasant material to work with for some people. While I’d agree that it’s far from perfect, it works out really well for certain figures. I bought this pair of Pre-KS Bones over a year ago, but they got put to one side for most of that time when I had to pack up to move, then move, and unpack and so forth. Recently I finished them, and finally we had some decent light, so today they got photographed. There’s a bit of mould line that I missed on one of them. Noticed it when it was too late, and I didn’t want to butcher my paint in order to fix it. You barely notice in person, anyway. Mostly pictures in this update, so without further ado… The Pair:

Drippy: I used some Woodland Scenics Water Effects to create the beginning of the “drool”, some WC Realistic Water over the top to smooth it out, and some Vallejo Model Colour Clear Yellow to add a touch of colour to the discharge. Bitey: One with mucus/drool/mouthy discharge was enough. Finally a scale shot. A couple of fantasy figures, and a ubiquitous Space Marine for scale. These are some decent sized models!

These suckers took awhile to get going, but once I actually sat down to make myself paint them they were quite an enjoyable experience. Originally they were all-purple, then I looked up the D&D colouration, which said they had yellow bellies/undersides, which I thought would look far too cartoony, but it kept bothering me. A day or two later I came back to them and used some sand and ochre shared for the “yellow” to make them look much more like natural colouration, and it worked for me. I used some pinky-purple for the transition ridge between the ochre and the main dark bluish-purple for the main body. One of the things I enjoyed most was the fact that since these are cheap Bones models, I allowed myself to play with them a lot more. I used drybrushing, blending, a purple oil paint wash at one stage, the aforementioned realistic water products, and a few weathering powders in the end. Basically a lot of experimentation and “play”, and I think they turned out pretty successful in the end!

From the Painting Desk #3 – Wardancing the night away!

Unusually for my posts, as it happens – is an actual followup on some of the WIP stuff I’ve shown. Well, first time for everything and all that. Here’s what I’ve made progress on in the last few weeks. I’m still battling a nasty winter cold bug, so I haven’t felt like I’ve had the level of concentration to work on the Brettonian Noblewoman or the old Citadel ranger, so I’ve mostly been concentrating on Project: Update.

Which is to say going through my old cases of figures and doing some rebasing and touchups on them. So none of these figures are newly painted, strictly speaking. They’ve been rebased, and had some of the weakest elements of the original work touched up as well as chipped paint, etc, but the vast majority of the work is original.

The first few Wardancers, rebased and touched up!

I’ve finished several of the Wardancers. You probably can’t see a lot of difference between these pics and the original paint shown in the previous post. That’s because I’ve really just wanted to touch them up, but keep the integrity or essence of the original paint, since they were painted in my youth a good 20+ years ago. (now I feel old!) Mostly simple stuff like brightening the metals, a little bit of shading or highlighting here and there, but not going all out.

A couple of angles. Early freehand tattoos from 20-odd years ago!

For anyone wondering why these Wood Elf Wardancers are painted in an almost Clownish style, rather than like traditional Wood Elves or like Celts – it’s because shortly after these old models were originally released, the paint scheme in White Dwarf/’eavy Metal showed them in a distinctly Harlequin-esque manner. Since at this stage I was still a teenager, I did what teenagers are supposed to do, and used the WD pictures as a guide on how to paint my models. Except for the chequerboard guy – He was a direct copy (to the best of my ability at the time) of a particularly striking model in the issue. On reflection, I wonder if those gaily-painted Wardancers might have been a specific inspiration for the eventual look and feel of the 40k Harlequins?

Wood Elf Beastmaster. Now he just needs his pet!

This figure has been bundled in with my Wardancers since the beginning, though he’s not actually one of them. He’s a Wood Elf Beastmaster, and originally came partnered with a large model of a Bear. I somehow ended up with two of said bear, and converted one (with my skills of the day) into a Bear-Centaur using the torso of a Chaos Warrior. The other, I’ve seen floating around in my bits boxes, but probably not for a couple of years, and certainly not since moving at the end of last year. Should I be lucky enough to have it turn up again, I’ll be giving him a trip to the front of the painting queue, mounting him on a 40mm round base, and reuniting him with his master. Should that happen, I’m sure I’ll update the blog with a pic or two.

Dark Metal or Light Metal? That’s the question!

This guy, I’m not sure how to finish. Originally, I darkened the metal in preparation for the usual highlighting of plate and chain, and found the “blackened iron” look to be a nice surprise – so I left it as is. Now that I’m touching the figures up, I’m not sure whether I should leave it dark, or brighten it up to match his brethren. Thoughts?

Original Wardancers – Due for an update and repaint!

Since managing to finish the first wave of these models, I’ve pulled out the  remaining 4 wardancers that I have really not been as happy with in years, so for these four I’m in two minds on whether to overpaint certain sections or strip and repaint. At this stage I’m thinking overpaint on the Native American-themed model, partial repaint on the guy with green boots (new pants or new boots? Suggestions?) A significant re/overpaint for the  musician, and I’m really not sure at all what to do with the guy in camo. Obviously, it was kind of a humorous paint scheme, but I’m not sure if the joke really holds up these days. Anyone have any opinions on it?

Newer Wardancers. Queuejumpers?

I also came across a few of the more modern Wardancer figures in bare metal that I’d picked up randomly, which I was happy to leave aside for an indeterminate amount of time but now kind of feel like I should paint up, since I’m almost done with their OldHammer brethren. On the one hand, I don’t really want to have these figures queue jump the stuff I’m actually trying to finish – but on the other, obviously the best time to paint these Wardancers is at the same time I’m repainting the other Wardancers.

The Gang’s (not yet all) here!

Next time: Squigs!

From the Painting Desk #2

The last few posts have mostly been a series of reviews of Kromlech and Maxmini’s resin conversion components, which has been fun (I’ve still got a few more of those posts to make, not to mention some reviews of Scibor, Puppetswar and Bitspudlo to put together, but those reviews take a bit more energy than I have at the moment. I’ve been under the weather for almost three weeks now as Winter has hit Melbourne, and have been keeping up with my work commitments, so blogging has taken a back seat for the past few. I’ve been painting a bit when I feel up to it and just enjoying the process. I put together one of these WIP posts some time ago – Back in March 2010, so this is the (somewhat) sequel. Though there’s also been a few other half-arsed WIP posts made as well. Unfortunately, not much has been done on those LotR figures in the last one of these posts since the post was made. Having moved twice since then, the figures are safely boxed away until I find them and decide to get back and finish them.

The main things I’ve been completing are boardgame figures from the D&D series of Ravenloft and Ashardalon. I’ve got Drizzt but won’t be opening it until:

a) All the figures from the previous 2 are completed

or

b) We finish the campaign in Ashadalon (as we’ve finished Ravenloft)

I just finished a triad of ghouls from Ravenloft that I must have started a full year ago. Since I don’t like the models, I found it to be quite a hard slog. I’ve also been working on some semi-random figures, which we can/do use as PCs in the boardgame, and just generally looking through my old models to try and “finish” some of those half-painted figures that have been sitting around for a long time – in some cases quite a few years or even more than a decade. While in theory I’m a miniatures wargamer, I haven’t played with any regular consistency for close to ten years, so whenever I try to start working on or completing an army, it’s been easier than ever to get distracted. Now that we’re in our own place, it’s going to be easier to get back into it, though even with a FLGS nearby that runs events regularly, I find myself pretty deep in a rut that prefers to come home to a warm, heated/airconditioned house with drinks, TV, snacks and all the other amenities than to go and hang out in a crowded games store for the evening. So once again, army building has been pushed to the side, and I’m now going for painting for pleasure with only a side order of “duty to get specific things finished” – in this case, the D&D figures – and it’s been enjoyable to actually finish some models.

I’ve also been trying to play around with some new techniques. Specifically: weathering powders, oil paint washes, verdigris effects, and things like MIG washes for various rust effects. I still haven’t tried NMM. I can appreciate how good it can look, but there’s still just something about it that doesn’t sit well with me, and I prefer to use actual metallic paints. I’ll get around to learning it at some stage, as after all, it’s just another technique for the painter’s toolkit.

So, some photos. I’ve been keeping the D&D figures out of photos since I started them – until I complete the set for each game I won’t be showing them off. This is because the figures are nice, but not quite “wargamer” standard being made of that bendy plastic, and so my paint has been more concerned with getting a tabletop quality that I’m happy with for boardgaming – which is below what I’ll generally do for a nice metal model from Citadel or Reaper, etc.

Old, old Citadel Ranger, and a Brettonian Lady of some sort.

The foot figure is an old Citadel ranger, which I picked up around the time of WHFB3, twenty-odd years ago. I started painting him only last year, in a scheme that is somewhat a homage to the paint he had in a very old issue of White Dwarf. The red bow is a nod to GW’s “red period”, though I may yet decide to go over it with a more neutral brown before I complete it. He’s probably only got an hour or so worth of work left on him now, but I feel that I need to be over this cold in order to put in the last bit of work at a standard I’ll be satisfied with. The Brettonian lady must be at least 5 years old? Certainly the majority of the paint on her was done in that time period. When I found her, I again noted that she probably only has an hour or less of work to be completed. I considered doing some freehand on the horse’s caparison, but my wife (who the figure is for) likes the figure as it is, and for my part, I’m not entirely sure which green I used on it…  again though – I need to get over this damned colds before I can do so.

Dwarven Standard (cleric!) and Half-Orc thief.

These two figures were started essentially as proxies for the bendy plastic D&D hero figures that didn’t inspire me at all to get painted. The D&D Dwarf was okay, but not great, and the Half-orc was arse. Both of these were started last year before I moved, and have just come out of the case to be finished. The Dwarf is either a GW Runesmith or Standard bearer, but I figure that he’ll work nicely as a cleric – armed with a (rather large) Warhammer and an (even larger) Dwarven Holy Symbol. The half-orc thief is from Reaper, and didn’t fit onto a 25mm round base, and his stance was wide enough that he’d end up overlapping one too much if I cut the broccoli base off, so he ended up on a Proxie Models 40mm round base. Apparently D&D Half-orcs are supposed to have grey or greenish-grey skin these days, but I’m going a ruddy human tone with a touch of orange instead. Like the old Blanche hobgoblin face icon. I’ve been painting my D&D orcs with a dark brown, Weta-version Uruk-Hai skin tone anyway rather than the GW green I paint my Citadel orcs. The dwarf is pretty close to that “final hour” stage, while the Half-Orc needs a bit more work to get there.

WHFB3 Wardancers

After rebasing a couple of my old, old WHFB3 dwarves about a year ago (ones that survived my Dwarf Army cull, back in the days of my youth) to boardgame with, I’ve decided this week to go through many more of my old models from decades past and update them. I don’t mean strip them entirely (I made that mistake with some very well painted for the day Rogue Trader marines last year, and regret it badly). I mean rebase them on 25mm rounds since I’m pretty much at the point that I recognise and admit to myself that I’ll never play WHFB again. I’ve always strongly preferred the aesthetic of round bases, they’re still just fine for skirmish games like Mordheim, Song of Blades and Heroes, LotR, Fanticide, Realm of Chaos’s warbands and if I decide to use them in another Fantasy mass battle game like Kings of War (somewhat likely) then I’ll simply mount them in/on regiment bases, WotR -style. I’ll also take the opportunity to touch up paint chips, brighten sword blades, perhaps reblend some cloth highlights and pretty up gems, but the essence of my original paintjobs will remain the same. The linked dwarves for example, had bright yellow shield rims changed to metallic bronze, their warhammer heads brightened up and bright yellow belts changed to a yellowish tan. The rest is original 1980’s/early 90’s paint. Like the Dwarves, the Original Wardancer models from the Wood Elves’ range are some of the few of these old models that survived successive culls through the years. I always had a soft spot for the Wardancers that GW painted up like Eldar Harlequins (though they predate the Harlies!) Maybe I’ll mix these fantasy figures in with my 40k Harlequins when I get around to playing them?

Wardancer, Dwarf, Knights, Undead

A few more figures getting the rebasing/updating treatment. The wardancer will pretty much be left alone. The dwarf will get a bit of a touch up (even though there’s something about him I don’t really like). I’ll probably brighten up the knights’ armour, add another layer of highlights to the plume, repaint the horns, and I also need to figure out what to do with their shields – since I’m unhappy with both. Either repainting the devices (Bat, Snake) or something more drastic. Basically, I’ve never truly been happy with either of these figures, so I need to do something to fix them this time. The skeleton.. well, yeah. Clearly he needs a complete clothing overhaul.

The bases for the models in both of these pics are obviously WIP as well. The sand is still drying as I type this.

Squigs!

A shot of some squigs I found earlier today. These guys will be getting round-base updates for 40k Orks. The scaled squig looks good in person, but due to his downward pose photographs badly. I’ll have to see what I can do for him when I rebase him – so his face can be more visible. I’m still very happy with the paint on my Scarlet Squigs, and the yellow one is a paint-over of a figure I bought from a friend in the late 1990’s, that also turned out nicely. With the exception of the greenie, these ones just need rebasing.

More Squigs!

More squigs. Obviously I bought a blister of the newer models sometime around 2004-5. Nothing had been done on these models since my Ork army got shelved in late 2005. The Yellow one was simply painted a pale yellow, but when I found these about three days ago, I was just staring at the models on my painting table, basically wishing I could finish the ranger from the first photo and so I started playing with yellows and oranges. I’m thinking I might try some orange-yellow oil washes on him as well, to experiment a little more with the technique.

The Painting Desk.

My temporary painting desk, a folding table in the lounge/dining room. Until I get the garage sorted out properly, I won’t be able to get the “studio” sorted out properly, so this is my temporary location. It’s not too bad actually. It’s a bit of a pain to pack up, but it’s doable. I’ve got heat and television and Marouda doesn’t have a problem with it, so it’s all good for now. There’s a pegasus and unicorn of hers there who are also getting their bases upgraded (though theirs will be bright green static flock rather than brown sandy dirt). A techmarine, Reaper Vampire, lizardman and bones troll and a bunch of my WIP D&D figures. You can also see my philosophy when it comes to paint brands is simply to use whatever works best for me at the time for the project.

I hope to have some nice shots of finished models sometime soon. I usually like to use natural light for those, but the days have been short and dark for some time now, and I’m at work for a good amount of the daytimes as well. Hopefully you enjoyed reading this and poking around my paint desk!

MaxMini Head sizes – Polish Resin Extra!

After some requests for size comparisons on the MaxMini from Dakka and in the comments, I’ve taken some quick photos to help people judge which heads are right and wrong for their own purposes. I’ve also got an older review – of the Steam Knight helmets. Though I only used Marine bodies on that one, as you can see in that post, they’re on the smaller side, and so I think they’d work on smaller like the below Mantic/McVey models as well.

MaxMini heads and various figures.

From left-right, we have a Sedition Wars female, a “marine” made of a Maxmini head, GW torso and Anvil Industries legs.  A sci-fi Bombshell Babe. She’s about the height of a marine, but less bulky – A good representative for many of Reaper’s sci-fi figures. Next is A Mantic Enforcer, Mantic Corporation with actual head, Sedition Wars male, and another Mantic Corporation fig with Maxmini “Biohazard” diving bell. Last up, we have a completed GW Space Marine.

MaxMini heads

So. Opinion time. The gladiator helmets are a little small for marines, but workable. They’re also suitable for the McVay and Mantic figures, as actual gladiator helmets are pretty damned big.

The Black Lotus helmets are perfect for marines, but a bit big for the truescale figures – unless you want big ancients helmets for them.

The “Immortals” Egyptian helmets would work on the McVey/Mantic bodies. They might seem a touch big, but then there’s a lot of bling on them, so if you disregard all of the spikes and so forth which make them look bigger, they work. Similarly, they work on marines, but may look a touch smallish.

MaxMini heads.

The Mecha-Egyptian helmets (V.1) look perfect for marines, but a bit big to go with the truescale figures. Similarly, the Biohazard heads are perfect for marines but too big for the truescales. A possible exception for the “diving bell” helmet, since diving bells IRL are huge, so with a trim to the neck they could work with truescale figure – depending on what you’re trying to do.

The Hybrid heads are a good fit for truescale figures – bear in mind that they are deliberately bulbous, though. They seem a little small for marines.

Once again, I hope this is helpful. I realise it might be a touch mroe useful if I clipped off a bunch of the heads and blu-tacked them to a Mantic and GW torso, but I don’t want to cut up the sprues at this stage, since it makes the heads easier to lose. (yeah, after moving house, I need to find those Steam Knight helmets I linked earlier..!)

MaxMini Gladiator, Alien Hybrid, Biohazard, Black Lotus Heads – Polish Resin #6

So it’s the next set of pictures and commentary of the recent order I received from Maxmini. In my last post I looked at the two types of Mecha Egyptian heads that they offer. This time it’s a bit more varied. Once again, all images are clickable for bigger versions.

First up are the Gladiator helmets. I bought these without any incredibly firm use for them, simply because they looked so nice. I’ve been considering using them as heads for Pre-Heresy-styled World Eater Gladiators. Maybe Khornate ones that still have their old Relic-aged helmets – or I’ve just realised as I’ve been typing this that they would be perfect for my Iron Warriors berserkers that I’ve been intending to build for the last 5 years – I’ve just been needing a way to make them unique, but distinctly both berserkers and Iron Warriors without using the “bunny ears”. Now I’ll have to buy a few more… hmm…

MaxMini Gladiator Helmets.

Next up are the Alien Hybrid heads. Again, I bought these without any immediate purpose. I’ve got a bunch of old-school Genestealers and Hybrids that I need to get around to sometime, but they’re not a priority in my paint queue for the time being. As you can see, they’re finely detailed, though they’re quite small – more truescale than heroic. Having said that, I’m sure they’d work well on top of a guardsman’s body. Something I’m happy to have in my bits box for the moment when I’m building something and decide I’ll need them.

MaxMini Alien Hybrid Heads

MaxMini Biohazard helmets. Unlike the others, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with these from the moment I saw them. These will be going onto the heads of Plague Marines and Death Guard. When I got these, I opted out of the one sculpt that didn’t appeal to me (in execution, not concept) by asking the MaxMini guys for a custom mix. Since they’re able to do that without a hassle from a lot of the items in their range, it was no problem, and I picked up an extra pair of the “diving bell” sculpt, which I really like. I’ll probably pick up some more of these down the line as well, as the Diving Bell also has a lot of potential outside of the specific CSM use I plan for most of them.

MaxMini Biohazard Heads

Finally, for this post at least is the Tribe of Black Lotus Helmets. A bit of a long, unwieldy name, yes, but some great sculpts. In the past I’d considered these but passed, as I didn’t have a specific use for them, but now I’ve pretty much got two solid options for them, and will probably go with both.

MaxMini Tribe of Black Lotus Helmets

These will be used in a mixture of a Greek-themed Space Marine force (no, not Minotaurs, though I’ll certainly use some of their Forge World parts) and also steal a few of them to use on Various Slaanesh Champion and Emperor’s Children figures.

Maxmini Tribe of Black Lotus Helmets

As you can see, these parts are pretty much flash-free, with just a small bit of cleanup required on an occasional piece. Clean bubble-free casts, and quality (non-itchy!) resin.

There’s a few other nice-looking head/helmet styles on offer from MaxMini as well that I’ll be purchasing in the future to check out. The Space Police, Steam Knight Noble and Zombie heads are all ones that look good and I’ll likely be purchasing and reviewing in the future, so look out for those (in a couple of months.)

The next post will be MaxMini stuff, as I’ve got some jump packs and other odds and ends to review. After that, I’ve got a bunch of stuff I’ve bought from Kromlech, Scibor and Puppetswar to photograph and review, so the Polish Resin series will have a fair few more installments to come!

As always, I hope people find these shots useful!

MaxMini Mecha Egyptian Heads – Polish Resin #5

I’ve picked up some more new stuff from the talented artisans in Poland. This time, a selection of items from Maxmini. I have bought stuff from them a few times before, and never had a problem with their service or quality – this order once again lived up to my previous experiences. Three week turnaround from ordering to arriving in my happy paws in Australia, which is a little longer than most orders from the UK or US, but 3 weeks from Poland including processing time seems pretty fair. It certainly doesn’t take months for stuff to come from Poland, as others have suggested.

I should point out that I’m not affiliated with Maxmini in any way and paid full normal retail for this order (and the previous ones) – I simply like to support businesses that offer quality product, are friendly, efficient and don’t screw me around.

So anyway, I placed a decent-sized order with them, now I’m sharing them with the world. Next up I need to actually do something with them. (hopefully!) Too much stuff to paint, and too many distractions.

When I saw these two types of heads, I knew they would work really well with a Thousand Sons force. I’ve got quite a few of the GW TS heads, but I think these will mix in really nicely to reinforce the Pseudo-Egyptian theme.

Maxmini Mecha Egyptian Helmets

Yeah, I should have photographed the Mecha Egyptian helmets in descending rows like I did the Immortals.

Maxmini Immortals Helmets – Mecha Egyptian MK2

Now for the Close-up shots! (all images clickable) You can see both the detail and how clean the casts are.

Maxmini Mecha Egyptian Helmets – Close Up.

Maxmini Immortals Helmets – Close Up

I also bought a bunch of other heads and Jump Packs in the same order, but I’ll put those up in the next updates over the next few days. They’re just as good as I’ve come to expect from Maxmini, though.