Melbourne Museum Rocks! Objective Markers and Summoning Portals

So today Marouda and I took my Mum to the Melbourne Museum. We all still refer to it as the “new” Museum, even though the new facility was opened back in 2000. The old Museum, located in what is now entirely the State Library of Victoria was a lot better, as they had much more of their collection on permanent exhibition, while the “new” Museum only has things like Arms and Armour on display when there’s a “thematic reason” to include them in some other form of exhibit. So, basically, never. (Yes, seriously).

Anyway, it was still a decent day – seeing dinosaur bones again, even cast ones is always good. But since this isn’t Facebook or Twitter to be filled with meaningless babble, there’s a point to all of this. After the visit, we took a look through the gift shop, not really planning to purchase anything. We’ve gotten some fossils from there before, but this time, I spotted various Orthoceras for sale, including these little polished ones with the same footprint as a coin. I decided that they would make just about the coolest objective markers ever – after all, they’re actual bloody fossils!

So I bought some.

Orthoceras for Objective Markers. Elf for scale.

Undead and Elves pretend to contest the fossilised Orthoceras objective in simulated game photograph.

I’m sure I’ll also sometimes use specific modelled objective markers for thematic reasons, but regardless, these are incredibly cool, and work well on a number of levels.

Speaking of cool, I also spotted these:

Agate Slices – available in a variety of colours – $15 each, sure. But that’s still probably cheaper than whatever crappy plastic summoning portals or vortex templates that GW or PP et al are selling. My first thought was actually Dark Eldar, but they’ll work for anything as far as I can see.

The Mouth of Sauron summons bad things from the Pink Agate portal. And provides scale.

Now summoning from the Blue Agate portal!

And finally, from the Purple Agate portal!

These Agates played havoc with the auto-white balance on the cheap digital camera that I use, as you can plainly see (check the desert sand mat!). Regardless, and despite the slight tonal shift and the fact that you’re not getting the 100% true colour of these Agates, the point is that they look bloody amazing, and despite the fact that I’ll likely use them rarely, they’ll also double as a nice little bit of deco for the War Room – and when I need a magical or psychic portal for a wargame or RPG, I’ll have the most kick-arse ones you’ve ever seen. They’re beautiful, have depth and layers, and incredibly deep colours. Oh, and as you can see – they look the part amazingly! It might be worth giving them a coat of clear acrylic to protect them, which I’ll look into later on.

Achtung! Minen! Citadel Resin Minefield

I started (and finished) these a few weeks ago, though the weather was bad and my mood was poor, so I didn’t take any “finished” pictures of them at the time, and the WIP ones just sat on my camera. As part of an eBay purchase, I noticed that the seller was selling a little container of resin Citadel land mines for a few bucks, so I grabbed them. Since they looked nice and simple, they only sat around for a few weeks or a month before I decided to have a go turning them into “fast scenery”.

The signs are something I came up with after finishing the actual mines. Just made from the same kinds of Proxie bases with putty over the top. I made the actual signage out of some plastrust I-beam and some tile-textured plasticard (so I could get them the same size!) Found some WW2-era German “Minen!” signs, chose an appropriate one, multiplied it and printed them out. I figure that if you’re going to have signposted mine fields, the verbiage really should be written in German. Also added some odds and bods from the bits box to add “interest” and make them fit in better with the 40k-flavoured ones. I’ll use these in anything from WW2 gaming such as Bolt Action, etc – right up to 40k and cohorts

Here’s the montage of how they went together. Cue “Rocky” theme. Or perhaps “Montage” from that episode of South Park. You know the one. Fun fact: I didn’t take any pictures of the signs being made, even though the process is probably marginally more interesting.

Confrontation Starter Set Scenery: Hill Ruins. (Desert Scheme)

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. Amongst that stuff has been some Rackham Confrontation starter sets from the prepaint plastics days. Griffins vs. Wolfen. While I’ve not done much with the Wolfen to date, the Griffins have recently been multibased on cardboard for Kings of War, and I’ve done a bit of work on the terrain. Since I’ve got more than one of these Hill Ruins, I decided to paint them in different ways. The temperate climate hill is still being worked on, but I finished the desert scheme hill, and so here it is!

Rackham Confrontation Hill Ruins – Desert

Rackham Confrontation Hill Ruins – Desert

Rackham Confrontation Hill Ruins – Unpainted and Desert

I’ve been using weathering powders a lot more on things recently, and I found them to be a bit of a double-edged sword on this piece of terrain. I thought it looked great without the powders, and it lost a fair bit of the distinct looks of the stone slabs when I added them, but I felt that the realism of the sand gathered between the stones made it worthwhile. Added some grass tufts around, just enough to make it look a bit more “real” but not so many as to hinder gaming on the piece, which after all is the whole point of the thing. As I keep saying, I do quite like terrain that can work well across a variety of games, and this one is characterful enough that it works for pretty much anything – though the dragon might be a little out of place in the Libyan desert of WW2, it might still pass if we squint a little.

From the Painting Desk #7 – Warlord Games T-34/85 Soviet Tanks

A bit of a WIP update on the T-34s that I started assembling just the other day. I included them in the update a few days ago – partly to keep me motivated. At the time, my plans to finish them were “I still need to hit the whole thing with PSC weathering spray and have a play with weathering powders and the like. Add some decals and then finish them.” As it tuened out, it was a bit more complicated. I decided to forego the PSC weathering spray on these (I’ll still use it when I get around to my 15mm stuff) and instead pretty much spent the entire day today working on these. AP washes, multiple weathering powder washes, oil washes, pin washes, foam weathering, more weathering powders, Tamiya Weathering Master kits,  Decals, Micro Sol, some freehand and some touching up. And in all kinds of order.

Hopefully I’ll get the final bits finished tonight or tomorrow, and take some better quality photos with a nice background and such – but in the meantime, here’s some WIP shots showing the progression. Enough words – have some pictures!




Citadel Spirit Hosts – Completed! + LotR Barrow-Wights.

So, the following day from starting these nice little surprises in the post, I managed to finish them. As stated last time, it’s a quick and simple job, but it’s effective enough and they look good on the table.

Citadel Spirit Hosts – Based as a unit of Wraiths for Kings of War.

It seems that these figures are properly called “Spirit Hosts”, and appear to date from 2000 when GW split the undead army into “Wet” (Vampire Counts) and “Dry” (Tomb Kings), as that’s the first reference I can find to them over at Stuff of Legends. They usually mount three to a 40mm base, but I’m using them for Kings of War, so individual 25mm round bases does it for me to turn them into a regiment of Wraiths.

From the last post where I talked about the paint process, I simply painted the bases (base, drybrush, wash, weathering powders) and added a thinned down Citadel Sybarite Green paint wash to the eyes, nostrils, mouths, and around the belts and necks/hair of the individual ghosts to emphasis those parts slightly. And of course, a nice matt varnish to finish them off. – And yes, that is a spot of weathering powder on that front guy in the photo. Sorted now!

Some might be critical that I’m using what now seems to be the “official GW palette” for ethereal models, but I liked the effect when they were used on the Army of the Dead figures more than a decade ago, and to me the look really is suitable for undead, and looks better than the “dirty sheet” look that was used before.

Citadel Spirit hosts bases as Individuals for skirmish games.

While I do like the look of the new ones, these ones were free, painted in a day, won’t snap off their bases if you look at them funny, and are a lot more versatile – at least when based individually.

I could see designing a Pulp Alley/7TV scenario game of Scooby-Doo using the Hasslefree figures that starts off like a typical Scooby-Doo adventure using the Hasslefree “gang and dog” set, and once “the gang“‘s players makes it to the safehouse, taking their figures away and replacing them with the second version of that set, and turning it into a L4D apocalypse scenario…

While I was photographing these guys, I thought I’d also take a pic of my Citadel Lord of the Rings Barrow-Wights. These two (and their third – a former Army of the Dead figure) are used both as actual Barrow-Wights in LotR SBG, and also as a troop of Wights (surprise!) in Marouda’s Kings of War Undead army. Well, she hasn’t used them yet, but soon.

Citadel LotR Barrow-Wights

I’ve shown these on the blog before, but that was some time ago, and the pictures there aren’t exactly the best, so why not show them again in a slightly better light? Why not indeed.

From the Painting Desk #6 – Bolt Action T-34/85, Citadel Spirit Hosts (Ghosts)

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a bunch of Bolt Action kits from Warlord. After checking out the T-34s, I noticed that the kit wasn’t especially complex, and so perfectly suitable to start and actually finish as well, since I’ve got a habit of ..not finishing everything I start. When my DeadZone stuff arrived this week and I found that they missed the additional rulebooks and a few other things, I had a bit of a rage for a bit, and then decided to start assembling the tanks to get my mind off it. I thought I took some photos, but this is where I’m up to at this point:

A trio of Warlord Games T-34/85

Basically, all assembled excepting the final assembly of the two halves of the hull, and the turret will just pop on. I’d have magnetised it, but I didn’t think of that until after I’d assembled the two turret halves, so…

The tanks have been sprayed with PSC Russian Armour, airbrushes with a 50:50 mix of VMA Russian Green and Camo Light Green, followed by a 70:30 mix. My airbrush skills are awful still, or maybe its the cheap POS airbrush I have. Either way, the results are far from impressive. Once that was done, a 50:50 mix of VMC Russian Uniform and Army Painter Camo Green for a final-ish highlight. Next will be some sandy/buff colours for weathering. Tracks got a coat of Vallejo Panzer Aces Track Primer with a drybrush of VMA steel over the top.

I still need to hit the whole thing with PSC weathering spray and have a play with weathering powders and the like. Add some decals and then finish them. Hopefully next update!

The other thing I’ve been doing today was opened up a care package from a mate. Quite a lot of loot in there, along with something I totally was not expecting – ghosts!

Citadel Spirit Host Ghosts on Back to Base-ix bases.

The ghosts were mounted three each to several goblin green-painted 40mm square bases. I pried them off immediately, and after a bit of faffing about, decided to mount them on some Back to Base-ix resin “ruins” bases I bought years ago. I felt they raised the Marine figures up too high from the “ground” and so never used them for the original intent, but they work perfectly with these undead. The weight of the resin also stops some of the more lop-sided members of the gang from toppling over.

Ghosts – Sprayed and freshly washed

After mounting them, I took them outside the hit them with some Rustoleum Heirloom White. You can’t really see it here, but it’s a slightly off-white with a slight touch of coffee brown to it. Better for projects like this than pure white. I mixed up a suitably-ethereal coloured paint wash using a mix of Citadel’s Lahmian Medium and Gauss Blaster Green. Stupid names, yes, but the paint being fit for purpose is all I care about.

ooOOooo ooOOo O OOo

They’re outside now. I was going to start on the bases right after I did this, but decided to seal them with gloss varnish, since it was a bright warm sunny day – so wanted to take full advantage of that. That stuff dries much much faster in the sun. This way I can work on them tonight, and maybe even finish them off. It’ll just be the bases and some touch-up work – then a coat of matt. Also hoping to have those T-34s finished tomorrow, or perhaps the following day…

…then I can get back to the grind of my other half-finished projects. Gondor, ahoy!

From the Painting Desk #5.1 – Completed Citadel Craters!

So between not needing to work today, a small sleep-in until 7:30am, and the morning being a beautiful blue sky morning, I decided that instead of going back to bed, I’d go out to the shed and try and see what I could get done on those craters that I started yesterday. Luck was with me, and I managed to get them finished. Good thing, too. The weather is turning back to it’s normal foulness tonight, and will stay that way all week…

Completed GW Craters.

Turned out alright, I reckon. Just enough contrast between the light and dark, and a bit of weathering powder to represent the dirt underneath being thrown up. I kept the palette to grey and brown, so that they can work reasonably well on a variety of table surfaces.

Works for them!

I really enjoy finishing up pieces like these – they work well across a variety of genres, as our Dark Angels, Heer, WarZone Imperial and other friends here demonstrate. I also very much enjoy being able to quickly turnaround pieces. Being able to go from basically unpainted (ok, it was sprayed and had some texture on the edges) to finished in 24 hours or so (under in this case) is always incredibly rewarding and appealing.