Vikings!

Something a little different to the norm. A bloke at work, who I’ll call “Cannon” and I accidently found out that we both collect and paint toy soldiers last year, when I happened to be carrying a few LotR models past him at work and he was “hey, what are those?” and then to my shock recognised them as LotR models. Sometime earlier this year, he gave me a pile of spare Vikings, in what I think was at least partly an attempt to get me to paint something non-fantasy. There were some nice figures in there, and they’re a mixture of Eureka, Foundry, Crusader, Gripping Beast and possibly others. I’m really not sure of all of their origins, so I’ll have to ask him to let me know which are which so I can properly tag them.

So without any further ado, here’s the start of my SAGA Viking force (and also my KoW Historical Viking force)

Eureka Viking,

A lot of the more subtle highlighting on these guys just hasn’t come out in the photographs, particularly on the shields here. The guy on our left is a Eureka Miniatures model, but I’m not sure about his blurry-faced friendo. Shields are both freehand, and in retrospect I probably should have done something fancier on the red-and-white since he’s got a real leader feel to him, but he was the figure I painted first, so I wasn’t yet confident in freehanding Viking shield designs.

Eureka Miniatures Viking

 

While there’s plenty out there regarding Viking shield designs, you’d think that figuring out realistic Viking clothing colours would be a reasonably easy task, but it was much, much harder than I expected. I noticed initially that Foundry et al have their models painted in much the same way as their Celts – all stripey trousers and colourful patterns. I wasn’t so sure, so in doing some research online, I found quite a bit of contradictory stuff. The TV show “Vikings” had at least one full-time researcher, but then, it’s a TV show. Of course, some random guy on the internet decided to “big man” himself when I dared in a forum to suggest the show as one potential source of painting inspiration and bothered to lecture me on how everything in it was wrong. I guess he must have been there in the 10th century.

In the end, I decided to avoid the whole “stripey trousers” look entirely. I’ve got Celts to paint down the line and so they can have the plaid and stripes. I’ve kept the Vikings to solid colour for the most part, with a mixture of bright colours (especially on shields) and more muted, earthy tones.

I’ve got a pile of plastics to paint later, so I’ve decided to go richer overall in tone with the metal models. These models are where I’ll draw my Warlords, heartguard and other elites from, and so these guys are much more the professional Viking “soldier” and more likely to have visited Albion on “shopping sprees” as well as travelled the Mediterranean or even served as Varangian Guard. Based on these loose ideas, the metal models are much more likely to be wealthy and so afford more colourful clothing, as well as richer shades of colour. The two blokes below really fit that ethos to a tee.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

The Foundry models are in the typical chunky style, but have a lot of character to them. There’s a bit of Brian Blessed (in a ginger wig) to the right guy, and they’re both the sort of figures that Space Wolves seem to want to channel. I’ve got a couple of half-painted Wolves squads I should finish one day as well… and some more actual Wolves half-assembled.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

I enjoyed the freehand designs on these guys. I’m especially proud of the raven. The cross designs look a little wonky, but the photos are of course blown up to quite a few times their actual size, so look much straighter in person. I decided that I might well use transfers on a lot of the Viking models, but all of the metal models would get freehand shields.

Wargames Foundry Vikings

Even when doing “red” cloaks, I’m trying to avoid the bright reds of my fantasy models in favour of darker, slightly earthier reds – while maintaining the richness of colour.

Eureka Vikings, Wagames Foundry Vikings

The group shot. These guys could comprise of half a KoW regiment, but more importantly, Warlord, hearthguard and a spare model) in SAGA. These initial six were finished back in October. I’ve got another batch of five just waiting on their last man before I show them, and a few more now on the paint desk.

(Yet another unit of) Mantic Zombies! (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

This is what I’d planned for my Spooky Halloween post! Zombies! Yes, I finished these that long ago. Instead, it’s my Christmas Eve post, because… Zombies?

In any case, best wishes for Christmas to all the regular readers of this blog, and people who stumble across this post later on down the line will simply have to accept them as a snapshot in time.

Now that I have some time off work, I’ll be able to take photos more frequently, and so once the small backlog of painted stuff is gotten rid of, I’ll be much more up to date. I’ve got a couple of mat reviews I’m keen to get onto as well, but it won’t be until next week that I get a chance to go out to the War Room and start cleaning it up (which it needs, bigtime!)

So anyway, these guys were started right on the heels of the second dozen zombies I painted for KoW, back around May. While the plan originally called for a fourth set to follow these – making either 4 regiments or 2 hordes in KoW terms, my Zombienthusiasm is pretty much completely sapped now, as opposed to fired up after finishing the first dozen Zombies. The Mantic figures are nice ones, but there are so few interesting combinations, even with Mantic’s Ghoul parts thrown into the mix.

Mantic Games Zombies, WGF Warlord Zombie Vixens

As you can see, I went even further afield for kitbash parts on these guys. The additional parts beyond the Mantic Ghouls this time came from Mantic’s Sci-Fi zombie sprue, the new(ish) Citadel Ghouls, and two crawlers drawn from Wargames Factory’s Zombie Vixen set who can be seen at either extreme of the crawlers above. I wanted a little bit of gender representation, and the closest I could really find were the WGF set, which is, well, a little average. The figures are a little bit too sexualised overall, but more importantly are verrry spindly compared to even the Mantic models, so the only ones that really were able to fit in were a couple of crawlers.

Mantic Games Zombies, WGF Warlord Zombie Vixens

As you can see above, I finally found that errant model that went missing from the very first dozen, and so he got finished as well alongside these guys – next to his twin. I guess the next batch will only need to be 11 zombies, then. My favourite amongst these 5 has to be the one reaching for the sky. I rotated the “base” and added a bloodied femur out front this time to give a different “sitting down” look rather than just going with the usual crawler setup as I did with the wonder twins next to him.

Mantic Games Zombies

The second rank has what are probably two of my favourite zombies of all the ones I’ve painted. The gruesome fellow dragging along half of a well-chewed corpse, and one I call “go home zombie, you’re drunk!”. The stein comes from a plastic GW dwarf kit while the arm-with-meal comes from the current GW zombie kit, as does the ruined face which fits zombies much more than ghouls for me at least.

Mantic Games Zombies

The legs on the two leftmost models both come from Mantic’s sci-fi zombies kit, but they’re generic enough to fit in here. I’ve continued to simply use dark grey/black rags for my zombies rather than a more realistic option of mixed clothing for equal parts “night horror” and “army colours” reasons.

Mantic Games Zombies

Finally, we have the rear rank. An overly-hunched over female sci-fi zombie torso and head, another dismembered pair of legs (because I am nothing if not economical with my model parts!), another sci-fi zombie torso mounted on fantasy legs and super-dynamic zombie. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the camera low enough to really capture the details of all their heads and faces. The sci-fi model chewing on …something is an odd duck, with poorly-defined details, so you’re not quite sure if he has a gigantic mutant mouth or has a normal one and is simply pulling the sinewy muscle up from his hands. I just covered the whole mess in blood in the end and stopped worrying about it.

Mantic Games Zombies

He looks pretty decent from the back, though. Nice bit of spinal detail that once properly gored up makes him a good choice for the rear rank.

Mantic Games Zombies

And now we finish up in the usual manner. Group shot and unit shots. Once I get at least another dozen zombies done, I’ll take another big group shot of the two hordes. After doing a fourth dozen Mantic zombies, I’ll probably do some Citadel zombies and see how a couple dozen of that very different style of model turns out.

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

 

A pair of Kev Adams’ Citadel Orcs (and a little rant!)

Today I have a couple more orcs to share. These were started god-only-knows how long ago (seriously, I have NO idea) and finished during the long period recently where I was too busy and burnt out by work to post much – but still doing what I could to get some painting in.

Citadel Kev Adams Orc with Sword, Big'Un with Mace

The smaller one is from 1993, so the early days of WHFB 4th edition. He’s definitely a variant sculpt to the commander to the 1992 Rock Lobber. I’ll have to find, build and paint it. I may have even painted the other crew in the past few years, so that should theoretically be an easy unit to reunite and complete. Anyway, he’s listed in the Black Catalogue 4 (1994 filled with 1993 models) as “Orc with Sword 4”.

Citadel Kev Adams Orc with Sword, Big'Un with Mace

The larger orc is found in the same catalogue. Called “Orc Big’Un with Mace”, this pair is clearly from the period where the interesting names of 3rd edition and before had been dropped to be replaced with upfront descriptions. I actually rebased him recently onto the 32mm, as there was quite a lot of overhang on the 25mm round I had him on. I plan to continue to drop large orc models onto the 32mm bases.

Both will eventually find use in various games including Kings of War, though I’m not sure what as exactly for the big guy. Their orc list is lacking pretty severely in decent analogues. When I recently read that KoW plans to add more units to the Orc and Goblin armies, I suggested to some members of the RC that they add something to represent the archetypes of “bigger meaner orcs” and “barbarian/berserker orcs” I was brushed off since they were clearly analogues to Big’Uns/Black Orcs and Savage Orcs, while they want to go in a more original direction. This from the people who started out by bringing us a range of alternative WHFB models for Orcs, Dwarfs, Elves, Chaos Dwarfs and followed up with the highly original Space Orx, Space Skaven, Forge Fathers (Space Dwarfs/Squats), and the Uncharted Empires book filled with rules to use your formerly-WHFB armies. I mean, I appreciate the rules, but don’t even pretend that there’s a precedent of being particularly original.

No, instead, they’re going with this:

The RC wants to do a new unit for each of the core races (main rulebook + Trident Realms + Nightstalkers), but also bring them all up to the same number of units. This means some armies, such as Orcs and surprisingly Goblins, will get multiple new units. This hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Ronnie did agree to flying gore riders for Orcs.

and later:

Also, I should clarify that flying pigs = flying gore riders. Background wise something along the lines of an Abyssal Dwarf interbreeding experiment (like ADwarf halfbreeds) that was uncontrollable by the ADwarfs and a flock escaped, but they’re now bred extensively by Orcs.

Yep. No orc berserkers or bigger, meaner orcs. Those are too derivative! Instead – flying pigs!

Oh, Mantic…

Kev Adams’ Heartbreaker Orc Leader (RPE 2001)

Here’s a model I apparently completed last year. I figured this out because I just found the photos dated 4th July, 2015 in my “Orcs” folder.

Kev Adams' Heartbreaker Orc Leader (RPE 2001)

I purchased this model back in the 1990’s, left it to sit in a box for a decade or so, and then started it – only to leave it in that part-painted limbo for a few further years. Given that it was completed last year in May-June, it would have been one of the initial models that led me to my “finish things off” push of the second half of 2015. Back int he day it was a Heartbreaker model, from the people who brought you WarZone 1st and 2nd edition. These days the model is owned or licenced by Ral Partha Europe, who prefer to be called RPE since they now have little to nothing to do with the original Ral Partha. Thankfully, we can safely ignore the convoluted backstory and still simply and easily just buy the model if we’re interested, along with its brethren. And no, I’m not affiliated or reimbursed by RPE – or anyone else for that matter!

Kev Adams' Heartbreaker Orc Leader (RPE 2001)

The yellow and black dag pattern is something that dates the model as well. I probably wouldn’t do the same these days, I’d keep the copper/bronze scales, but the patterned trim would probably just be done in a quick and simple cadmium red-brown. Similarly, the skulls would probably be done in a metal – either copper or steel – rather than as carved bone. I’ve moved away from painting every skull or bone I see on armour as bone. Regardless, it’s a great armoured orc figure, and I feel that it still stands up well today. The default sculpt looks quite 2D, but simply bend-rotating the axe head forward helps that aspect out a lot.

I’ve been doing some rebasing of “leader”-type and larger figures onto 32mm bases of late. I’ll have to have a proper look and decide if this guy is an appropriate candidate…

 

 

 

Ow! My Eyeball! ME-61 Throne of Sauron (without Sauron!)

Yeah, so I haven’t been blogging for awhile now. It happens around this time of year – from September to the start of December work really heats up. This year, I’ve pretty much been working every day at work, after work, on days off and on the weekends for the past few weeks – so I’m tired as <pick your profanity> right now.

What I did manage to do for the first month or so was keep on painting, if not blogging or taking many photos, or being active online. This is one of the things I managed to finish. The Reaper Bones pillars I worked on in October were in many ways a lead-in to this model, which I’ve painted for Tarmor, from the Dragons of Lancasm blog. At this point it’s actually been painted for… well, over a month. 6 weeks perhaps? I dunno. We don’t manage to catch up often due to work and conflicting schedules, and so hobby things tend to go between via some mutual friends, and with work the way it’s been I’ve seen less of them lately, and kept forgetting to pass it on when I have…

Almost every time I see this model, the above Simpsons quote pops into my head.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

Dating from about 1985, This model is something of a rare breed these days – something I’ve painted for someone else, which is pretty much something I never do anymore. I just don’t have the time these days, and I have way too many models of my own – and I certainly don’t need the money that I used to get for commissions back in the 90’s anymore.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

When I first saw the model, my initial thoughts were to do it in what I guess is a pretty “traditional” manner – painting the spine in bone, and firey red-orange bodies and tentacles crawling around the red eye. After a bit of quick reflection, I visualised pretty much the exact scheme I’ve actually painted it in. The spine and ribs sculpted out of a dark green marble, while ethereal spirits writhe around the eye of Sauron, which sucks the light from the creatures around it – providing a nice contrast, and an ersatz eye socket effect.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

 

As the ethereals and the throne itself create a rather cold feel, the warm colours of the eye – the redness of the iris and the yellowed eyeball – create a nice contrast that makes The Eye of Sauron really stand out.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

While basing is an important thing to consider, there was a kind of dichotomy at play here. I used a rolled-edge base as I wanted the throne to be raised up a little to represent its importance and also to protect the model – old lead chips easily. At the same time, I wanted the floor to be rather understated and generic – both so the model can be used in different settings and also so the actual throne remains the complete focus to the eye. To this end, I went with a simple texture on a rather dull grey. It will fit into dungeons and the like, or also outside if needed, with only a slight greenish tinge/glow to where the floor meets the edges of the ethereals.

Now I just need to get the thing across town to him…