RPE/Ral Partha Europe Launches Dwarf Kickstarter

I rarely pimp Kickstarters. I’ve done it for three counting this one – Impact Miniatures’ not-Blood Bowl campaign (delivered, but a year late). Shieldwolf’s Shieldmaiden campaign (cancelled, and currently relaunched with 5 days to go. And now this one. Simply because I like what they’re doing:

It’s the kind of small-scale, low-risk KS I’m still happy to back. RPE do their own casting, they’re a solvent business who I’ve bought from before and the first five models are already done. Most importantly, I like the models, as I’ve always had a soft sport for Dwarfs, and these are in the overall Citadel style that I like. I need to grab some of the Kev Adams Dwarves from their webstore sometime, too…

RPE’s Kickstarter Dwarfs

Our aim is to produce a warband of 10 dwarves in 28mm scale. They will be sculpted in epoxy putty, moulded in black rubber and cast in metal – miniatures the old school way!

Picture the proud dwarf king in exile, forced from his mountain stronghold. Leading a band of grizzled veterans, they hire their services out, biding their time and amassing gold and followers until the day they can reclaim their homeland. You know the story, it’s the classic excuse to get a dwarf warband together, though this one needs no hobbit or human help and comes complete with its’ own dwarf wizard. Perfect for dungeon bashing and skirmish games, or with the possibility of adding duplicates to your pledge you could even build a small army.

The first 5 sculpts pictured above have been mastered already, the next five will be based on these and will provide another spearman, swordsman, axeman and a pair of crossbowmen. The next sculpts are already in progress and pictures will be added as soon as we have them.
They measure approx 20mm tall and scale well with other miniatures.
Designed and sculpted for us by the talented hands of Mark Evans.

These are the different pledge levels, only the Flagon of Ale level and above qualify for the free assassin dwarf.

1 dwarf of your choice £4 posted add £2 outside UK Wee Dram
1 dwarf king £5 posted add £2 outside UK Half Pint
5 dwarves £14 posted add £2 outside UK Pint
10 dwarves £22 posted add £3 outside UK Early Bird Flagon of Ale
10 dwarves £25 posted add £3 outside UK Flagon of Ale

Army deal- king, wizard, 5 spears, 5 axes, 5 swords, 5 crossbows total 22 +freebies £45 posted add £3 outside UK  Early Bird Pewter Tankard 

Army deal- king, wizard, 5 spears, 5 axes, 5 swords, 5 crossbows total 22 +freebies £50 posted add £3 outside UK  Pewter Tankard

All pledges can add extra miniatures from the list below, each mini has a letter for ease of selection, simply increase your pledged amount by £2.50 for each additional dwarf you want. When we contact you after the kickstarter you can use these letter codes to easily confirm additions.
Any miniatures or extras unlocked – will be added to this list.

Warriors of Minas Tirith – Archers (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

A pretty unspectacular update this time. More of a post to document the completion of more figures than anything else. I’ve just finished the last of these eight archers to form either a bunch of archers in LotR SBG, or a troop of Kingdoms of Men archers in my Gondor/Minas Tirith army for Kings of War.

Archers of Minas Tirith in SBG/Skirmish formation.

No need for commentary or musings of paint descriptions. I’ve painted a pile of these guys and I’ve got another pile still to paint. Job’s a good-enough-‘un, so these few are now done and dusted!

Archers of Minas Tirith – Kings of War “Troop” formation.

Another month’s tally done (just). Now onto March’s units!

 

 

A Question of Vikings and Stripey Trousers.

Last year, purely by accident (my carrying some part-painted Axemen of Lossarnach past him at the end of my lunch break) a co-worker spotted my “little men” and actually recognised what they were – specifically LotR models. It turned out that after (sort of) working together for a year or so (we work in different areas of the workplace), unbeknownst to each other there was another hobbyist in the place. Skipping over why we still haven’t managed to schedule a game yet, we’ve traded some odds and bods each way, and late last year he cornered me and rather generously insisted very strongly that I accept some of his unused Viking models – wanting me to take an entire SAGA warband’s worth of them. I was hesitant to accept, since I’ve got a ton of stuff already, but eventually he wore me down and I accepted. Since he asks me every so often if I’ve started painting them, I’ve now decided to paint them up a dozen or so at a time and hopefully help to motivate him to do some painting as well, as he’s been planning to knock out a big block of 50 Vikings in one hit over a fortnight off for at least 6 months now. I’ve told him about the monthly challenge on Dakka, and he’s warmed to the idea of completing a dozen models a month as a more realistic goal.

My WIP Vikings. Just add colour!

So last week I started these. Doing about half an hour of “monkey work” each night after work. Filing metal bases, gluing them down to plastic rounds, adding acrylic putty to the bases, spray undercoating, sanding the bases, then painting the sand. Blacking out the metal parts, drybrush, highlight drybrush, wash…

Stripey and colourful Foundry Vikings. Image stolen from Alternative Norse Miniatures article on Frothers. Check it out!

But now I’m a bit stuck. I want them to look reasonably realistic. They’ll still retain my overall “clean” style, but I want the colours to be appropriate. Browsing various galleries of Viking miniatures tends to show them painted in the same way that many Celt models are painted. Very bright colours, stripey trousers… I dunno. It just seems like they might be barking down the wrong tree.

The same sort of palette (though more muted) can also be found on Gripping Beast’s website.

I know I wasn’t worried about being historically accurate with the Spartans recently and was happy to go for a “Hollywood Style” combination of Lambdas and Corinthian Helmets, though I was wanting to be reasonable with the colours. I did the same with my T-34s for Bolt Action simply because I wanted to get some Red iconography on them despite most Red army tanks of the period and type not having red stars, etc. For whatever reason, I want to get the Vikings more accurate than that same “Hollywood Style”. Television teaches us that “The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants”, after all… 😉

The Vikings, from THP gallery/Elizabeth Sneed

My googling found me quite a good article on Viking clothing on The Hollywood Reporter’s website of all places (yes, really), including an attached gallery. No stripes to be had, but a smallish variety of muted colours.

I’ve got access to Osprey Elite 3 (Vikings) where Angus McBride’s wonderful colour plates only show striped trousers on a Rus/Eastern Viking (pictured on the cover), and Osprey Men at Arms 85 (Saxons/Vikings/Normans) where once more, the plates (G.A.Embleton) again show a variety of muted colours, but no stripes.

Of course, the models I have here are the nicest ones from the batch given to me, and many of them have capes or look like leaders in some form or another, so a unit destined to provide my Hearthguard in SAGA – and as elites in other wargames. So they’ll be painted a little fancier than others. Still, I’m wanting to know if I should stay with mono-colours on their clothing, with perhaps a differently coloured hemline or some patterning on cloaks at the most – and is striped clothing the historical no-go that it seems to be, despite being painted so often on seemingly everyone’s Viking models?

I know there are at least a few people who read this who are far more well-versed in this than I am. Any ideas?

Minotaurs Space Marines – Proof of Concept

Something unrelated to painting challenges today – some Proof of concept models for the Minotaurs Chapter that I’ve been wanting to get around to painting sometime for the last several years. One of quite a few Space Marine projects that I’ve had percolating in my head in various ways for the last decade or so: Legion of the Damned, Mentor Legion, Iron Warriors, 30k Iron Warriors, Rogue Trader-style Crimson Fists, Space Wolves, Flesh Tearers, Dark Angels, Blood Angels, Grey Knights, Deathwatch. A couple of those have been started in some form or another (LotD, Mentors, Iron Warriors, Space Wolves, Flesh Tearers) while others have had a lot of parts gathered (the started ones, the rest, plus more).

So anyway – Minotaurs!

Minotaurs Space Marines – 2nd Edition and 5th Edition starter Marines.

I wanted to try a reasonably quick “wash based” scheme inspired by Sasa0mg’s Minotaurs over on Dakka. I’ve been going with a spray black, spray silver, zenithal spray of a brighter silver, 2 coats of Seraphim Sepia wash, and then a highlight of Vallejo Model Air Brassy brass. Later on, I’ve given them a subtle wash of watered down Coelia Greenshade for a subtle verdigris wash based on the Forge World Badab War books’ artwork. I went with Silver/Iron for the chest eagles and such, along with red for eye lenses and gems. I wanted to minimise colours other than brass/bronze, red, black and “steel”, so leather straps and bags are done in a red-brown, and only rarely green appear on lenses or on specific things like wreaths in green, or (some) skulls in bone.

Minotaurs Space Marines - 2nd Edition and 5th Edition starter Marines.

Minotaurs Space Marines showing off their decals.

I used a pair of Marines from the 5th Edition starter “Assault on Black Reach”, though they seem near-identical to the 4th Edition starter models from “Battle for Macraggae”. Clearly I wasn’t paying a lot of attention when various Space Marines got dumped into figure boxes. The other two are from the 2nd Edition 40k starter. I’m actually not especially fond of them as models, but as cannon fodder/squad filler they’ll be fine. This is why I decided that these guys would be V squad (also, fitting the transfer onto the embossed tactical arrows). Mino transfers are from Forge World and the squad number markings are from some very old (90’s era) Ultras transfer sheets. Obviously everything has been rebased on 32mm round bases.

Anywho, I’m pretty happy with them and will continue with the same scheme. I’ve selected the rest of a squad worth and have started on a pair of them – using one of the many, many 2nd ed metal captains as the squad sergeant, and a metal 2nd edition flamer marine. The others will probably be additional plastic starter marines.

RPE Skeleton Ballista and Mage Knight Skeleton (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

It’s unusual that I actually manage to start and finish something this quickly, though it helps that both of the kits I reviewed last week are pretty simple, and fall into two of my natural “speedpaint” categories – that of skeletons and simple fantasy war machines. Even though I was out of town for most of the week, I still managed to finish them off today – the ballista and crew in the early hours, and the Mage Knight model that I’m using for a commander just after lunch. Add a few hours for varnish, flock and tufts, and they’re done! My second unit of Undead for the month’s challenge. Now I better get some Gondorians painted in the next fortnight!

RPE Mage Knight Metal Skeleton 541

RPE “Mage Knight” Skeleton.

The Mage Knight model has a very “Oldhammer” feel to him in terms of his sculpt, pose and details, such as the integral shield. He really feels like one of the undead from late 2e WHFB to me, and is a lovely sculpt that I have no hesitation recommending that interested parties pick up. Especially given the cheap price of only £2.50. I really do like this guy. As his shield is smaller than the usual plastic add-on, I wanted to do something a little different with his shield, so went for a red field and a simpler, “scratchy” skull painted on using Dorn Yellow with VGC Off White over the top.

RPE Mage Knight Metal Skeleton 541

…and the rear view.

I gave his cloak a per chevron field, (with a little red trim at the top edge) without a device to maintain a strong link to the colours of the Undead army (Black, Red, Brass, Iron and a bit of Aqua via the verdigris) especially since the other models in this batch don’t really have much gear with which to maintain that link. The per chevron is also a little more interesting for a cloak than the usual halved or quartered that I’ve done in the past.

RPE Skeleton Ballista 02.190

RPE Skeleton Ballista with crew.

The Ballista had a little secret that I only discovered while working on the metal bracings and studs on the wheels – there’s actually different detail on both sides, with a slightly more ornate side and obversely less so. I guess you can make the machine itself a tiny little bit more or less ornate, or simply have the less florid details on the inside of the wheels. Naturally, I only noticed this when it was way too late, so mine are mixed – not that anyone will ever notice, so it’s cool. I’m not tearing the bloody thing apart! I’ve gone for woody colours here, keeping in the overall colour scheme of the army. If the model itself was more explicitly “undead” then I might have painted the “bow” as bone (like the Skull Chukkas) but this way it’s a little more generic, so with a simple crew swap it can be used in almost any army on the table as needed.

RPE Skeleton Ballista 02.190

And a reverse shot of the Ballista and crew.

As I said before, the “firing rope” skeleton and the ballista needed some height adjustment (via bending and a 60mm GW base) to ensure that his rope could slip onto the firing peg of the Ballista. The two crew are quite finely detailed, though simple. The Ballista crew are very “flat” or 2-D castings, if you know what I mean – with very little that can be bent to make them more 3-d (as I have pretty much always done when it’s been an option).

RPE Mage Knight Metal Skeleton 541

Facial close-up. This guy could fit with “Oldhammer.”

RPE Skeleton Ballista crew 02.190

And the other ones. Less exaggerated than the “Oldhammer”.

The faces don’t have the “evil eyes” of the “oldhammer”-era GW skeletons, though I’d hesitate to call them especially realistic either. I’d say that they were someone’s best attempt at doing “realistic” at the time, though – and that’s the better description of the style. Hopefully you can judge for yourselves via the photographs. Still, it’s a great little kit for £6.95, especially when you’re used to GW prices.

RPE Skeleton Ballista 02.190, RPE Mage Knight Metal Skeleton 541

Ready for Battle!

I should point out that I have no affiliation with RPE, etc and paid retail for these models. I’ll eventually buy some more of their lines regardless, as their models have a nice, old-school vibe, they’re nice blokes and their stuff is priced very fairly. Apparently they have a small-scale 28mm dwarfs Kickstarter coming up that looks like it’ll be worth my time to back, as I’m quite liking the look of their preview models.

RPE Skeleton Ballista 02.190, RPE Mage Knight Metal Skeleton 541

And as a tight unit. You can also see just how “flat” the crew are.

 

And I finally found those Brigade Skeletons this morning, too! I’ve now got 2 units of spearmen to clean, base and prime for March’s challenge. Well, I only need to finish one of them, but we’ll see if I can do better…

 

Citadel LotR: Castellans of Dol Guldur (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Citadel Lord of the Rings - Castellans of Dol Guldur

The original pair painted in late 2015. Not shown here before.

The story behind these models joining the painting challenge is simple. I had 2 of these models from ages ago, and always planned to have them lead the Black Númenóreans. I only had two of them, though – and I wanted the third sculpt because a) collector, and b) aesthetics. With all of the changes that GW has been making in the last couple of years, I thought they might be discontinued, especially given the ridiculous prices people are asking for them on eBay. But no – they’re still for sale, and indeed – the model I’m after (Sword and Dagger) is specifically still available. It’s right there on the picture. A shame, going by the webpage, it seemed that the third one may have been discontinued as it’s not pictured with the “models will be supplied at random” disclaimer that the GW pages used to have.

So I ordered it and received a blister with 2 duplicate sculpts. As in, not only a sculpt that I already had, but two of the same one in the blister. I tried to contact GWAU’s mail order number a couple of times a week (when I remembered, after work when I got home early enough) for over a month and could not get an answer or even a callback. I eventually got onto someone, after well over a month and the guy had a bit of attitude, telling me that he’d been moving. Which.. doesn’t really explain why nobody answered their customer service line, or made callbacks. Anyway, I explained my issue, and as it was close to 5pm on a Friday, he said that it’d be hard for him to get down to the warehouse to check, because they were finishing up for the week. So call back next week.

The new guys that Sam managed to get to me.

So back to the same, and a couple of weeks later I managed to have the phone answer there again, and it was a different guy who was much more helpful. I explained my issue again and he suggested that I could look on a swap group on facebook, or similar. When I pressed him and also let him know that the blister was still unopened (we’re a couple of months after receiving it at this stage) and told him that I really wasn’t keen on paying more postage to get the figures that are pictured on the website, he gave me the details to return them and said that he’d have a look with the warehouse guys.

Though by now we’re into the start of December, and the craziness that happens at that time of year, so I actually mailed them back in the quiet time between Christmas and New Year’s. A couple of weeks later (completely understandable given the time of year and what it does to the post) I received a little box in the post with a blister containing the correct model. So thank you to Sam at GWAU for sorting it out in the end. I do wonder what’s happening there though – as on the rare occasions I’ve had issues I needed to contact mail order for in the past they answered the phone pretty quickly, and things were sorted with lightning speed (and maybe a photo emailed to show the exact issue). Hopefully they can get it back together.

All four Castellans of Dol Guldur

So now we roll around to February, and the 6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge over on Dakka that I’ve been coordinating. My “pledges” are to complete a unit/hero/warmachine/monster/etc each month for both Undead and Gondor. Now complete means just that – and it means I can motivate myself to finish off figures that have been part-painted for ages, or the last couple of models from a unit and so forth. While painting their robes on my lunch break at work the other day I realised that these guys finish off the two units of Castellans/Black Númenóreans that I started months ago, and so they count – since they’ll be used in Marouda’s Undead army with the Soul Reaver Infantry statline – essentially Vampiric infantry. I think they work well as Medieval-Fantasy Vampiric types who will drain your soul rather than just your blood. Not all vampires have to be 19th century aristocrats, after all….

Citadel Lord of the Rings, Castellans of Dol Guldur, Black Númenórean Warriors

Castellans of Dol Guldur & Black Númenórean Warriors in loose “SBG” Skirmish formation.

I painted the Númenóreans some time ago last year over a period of time. I shared the first few on the blog, as well as the standard bearer conversions (not much of a conversion, but hey). Later on I finished even more of the warriors but didn’t feel a need to write another post showing off identical models to the ones I’d already shown.

Citadel Lord of the Rings, Castellans of Dol Guldur, Black Númenórean Warriors

A KoW regiment of rather evil infantry.

Citadel Lord of the Rings, Castellans of Dol Guldur, Black Númenórean Warriors

And the second unit. Fitting these into a game will be a challenge, points-wise!

The eagle-eyed amongst you will note that there’s one guy missing from the back rank in the second regiment. I appear to have misplaced one of my Black Númenórean Warriors. Not a worry here, but on forums whenever I point out some minor thing like that, there’s always some socially-inept person that feels a need to post “I saw that”. Well, between the Reaper forums and the LotR ones, anyway. Yeah, thanks. Well done you. 😉  So I’ll have to either find the little bastard, or failing that – locate another Black Númenórean and paint him to finish the unit. Again.

Citadel Lord of the Rings, Castellans of Dol Guldur, Black Númenórean Warriors

The new recruits, ready for the table!

Let’s face it though, even I think that painting 2 non-character models in a month for half of a painting challenge is a bit pissweak, so I’ll be trying to paint that RPE Skeleton Ballista I showed the other day as well for the Undead component.

Review: RPE Skeleton Ballista and Mage Knight Skeleton

Well, I’m solidly back at work at this stage, so painting time has taken a pretty hefty hit. I was looking for the Brigade Skeletons that I purchased last year to select an undead unit for the painting challenge over on Dakka this afternoon – I was thinking perhaps some Skeleton Archers, and instead found the little tub of models that I purchased from RPE at the same time. Inside were a couple of nice little undead models that combine well into an artillery piece and commander for KoW/Warhammer/etc, so I took them instead.

RPE Skeleton Ballista 02.190, Mage Knight Metal Skeleton 541

RPE Fantasy models in their Mail Order packaging.

This is how the RPE models come in the post. Individually packaged in thick zip-locks with a backing full-colour slip that folds out for a little advert. I’m not sure if this is their B&M retail packaging or if they instead go out in blisters, but I have to say that I like this kind of packaging for mail order. Instead of anonymous zip-lock baggies with something scrawled on them in pen (or nothing!) you get to see what’s what and breakage is much less likely as the models all have a little bit more packaging to keep them safe. And of course, the zip-lock baggies can be reused.

RPE Skeleton Ballista 02.190, Mage Knight Metal Skeleton 541

Unbagged!

The models themselves are pretty nice casts. There’s a little bit of flash and some minor mould lines, but it took literally a few minutes to clean them all off. It looks like at some stage in the past the Ballista must have come with a metal base, as both crew have pegs and the “slotta” looks like it’s actually supposed to be clipped off. The result is that they stand a little high when glued into the slottabases, even if you cut the tab down a little. (I prefer to use the tab, as the more contact point the better)

RPE Skeleton Ballista 02.190

RPE Skeleton Ballista, mostly assembled.

The “firing rope” skeleton had to be manually adjusted to lower his rope low enough to slip onto the end of the Ballista. I also had to use a GW 60mm base in order to raise the Ballista for the same reason. The wheels needed green stuff to fit and stay on the frame. I’ll trim the excess down later on. I’ll also add the defensive spikes later, once everything else is cleaned up and entirely dry.

Hopefully I can finish assembly tonight. These won’t travel well to be models to work on at work, but they should otherwise paint up pretty quickly at least.

And then I can have another look for those Brigade Skeletons…

….and FINISHED! (13th Feb)