Making a Cemetary – Part 1: Renedra and Grendel Graves.

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

Today we have the first proper post on a little scenery project I’ve been planning and slowly working on for some time – a trope-laden fantasy cemetery. Or graveyard for those who prefer that term.

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

“Viking” Themed Graves.

Over a year ago, I wrote up a small scenery post around some Uruk-hai ladders and an old metal grave that I’d finally done something with and actually finished. Sometime following that, I also found a literal bundle of additional Uruk-Hai ladders, Anyhow, in the comments, I mused about making some more, since it felt like creating more would be incredibly easy, and so inspired by Alex, IRO and especially D&B, I put together a pair of additional “grave bases”, using some Renedra Gravestones as the base.

That original metal-cast grave that inspired the creation and form of these graves, flanked by Neferata and Bastet.

Of course, the wider graveyard project that these will be part of only exists because of the inspiration provided by Cheetor’s St Cranium’s Cemetary. If not for that post and it’s followup batreps, I’d simply have had the various Grendel resin bits that I’d picked up in the 1990’s and they’d provide some scatter terrain, or be clustered together and that would be that.

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

A slightly more fancy grave.

This little experiment worked well. I used PVA initially to glue down the sand, and then a sample of a liquid adhesive created by Kibo called “Area 52” in order to firmly set the sand. I’ve been using it on a lot of my scenic bases lately, and I find it works really nicely when you want to build up impressions using sand while still giving a lot of control. The initial plan was just to create two, but since it was simple and easy enough I decided to put together an additional ten, with a mix of single and double graves, as well as one double-wide.

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

“Crusader” Themed Graves.

I’ve kept on with the “dark brown earth” theme that I’ve been using for most of my models since the late 80’s. I originally started with the dark brown because I wanted to figure out a type of base that worked both for normal games of 40k as well as Space Hulk, as the green-based terminators I used back then looked too conspicuous on the SH tiles. I figured that dark brown was kind of non-specific and generic enough to work for scorched earth or muddy ground while being unobtrusive and dark enough to work for Space Hulk.

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

“Generic” Graves.

I made a conscious effort with the painted colours on the first two bases to allow them to work reasonably well as generic scenery and also fit in specifically with the Undead Army. I also chose to decorate these bases with both rich green grass and red flowers for the same reasons as well as a wry wink to the soil being rich for growth. The flowers were placed again to be able to be read as placed or wild growth.

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

“Fantasy” themed Graves.

I tried to come up with (sort-of) broad themes for them as well. Several of the headstones that feature Christian crosses were decorated with shields painted with Templar symbols (except for the Maltese cross – that bit’s a transfer!) Others are Viking themed, Norman themes and a couple are more explicitly fantasy themed. I figure while I’m sure they’re very much wrong in terms of actual historically accurate viking or templar graves, they would hopefully still look reasonable enough to use in games of Saga/Crescent and Cross/etc if need be. And of course, in fantasy games – anything goes!

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

Norman, is that you?

Gravestones by Grendel. Painted many moons ago.

These small graves have also been shown previously. I’ve since glued some sand down over the dodgily-sculpted “dirt” they originally had, and also added some flowers and grass

Reaper Bones Bat Swarms (with their gravestones).

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

The Cemetery, as laid out for a not-so-recent game.

Renedra Gravestones, Graveyard Scenery, Cemetary

I’ve still got plenty more tombstones to work with, and have a Hirst Arts set or two on “the list” of things to buy. The two Garden of Morr sets I’ve got might finally get built this summer, depending on what else I still need to finish and get out of the way, along with the two Bones III Graveyard Expansion sets I got from Reaper. The graveyard is a fun little project, but definitely a slow burn.

The Black Rider – Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar

Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl

The Black Rider flung back his hood, and behold! he had a kingly crown; and yet upon no head visible was it set. The red fires shone between it and the mantled shoulders vast and dark. From a mouth unseen there came a deadly laughter.
Old fool!” he said. “Old fool! This is my hour. Do you not know Death when you see it? Die now and curse in vain!” And with that he lifted high his sword and flames ran down the blade.
– Gandalf’s encounter with The Witch-King of Angmar in The Return of the King, The Siege of Gondor
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
This model of The Witch King was one of the many that sat around half-painted for a measure of years before finally seeing completion at the end of one of my occasional bouts of focused “Just finish that effing thing!” a couple of months ago. With the chaos that has been happening lately, it took sometime to be photographed, and time again before being cropped, and now, finally posted. These were actually the photos I was working on when I noticed the hard drive beginning to fail a couple of weeks ago, as they weren’t saving first time and easily.
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
 As with the others that I’ve painted previously, I’ve taken some liberties – the Witch-King’s steed here is dark brown rather than black, and I’ve also added the beaten copper to the horse’s icon, both in an attempt to add some visual interest to what could have been a more accurate, but far more boring paint job. Similarly, I’ve used weathering powders mixed with matte varnish to add a dirty effect to the bottom hem of his robes.
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
This leaves me with 5 more “basic” mounted Nazgûl to paint in order to represent The Nine in games of SBG and whatnot, though naturally, I have a couple of mounted extras – because that happens when you buy large collections on eBay, plus the foot versions, and a fell beast or two, and also most (all?) of the “Named Character” versions of the Nazgûl that Games Workshop came out with late in the SBG’s pre-Hobbit life, because BUY THESE MODELS. To be fair, though, they’re overall a nice batch of models and as any regular reader of this blog knows by now, owning unnecessary models is kinda my thing.
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl
 Obviously, this rather proud king has uses in any official LotR games, particularly the Strategy Battle Game, but he’ll also serve in the Undead Army for Kings of War (as a Vampire Lord) until such a time as my Mordor Army has sufficient figures painted to be up and running independently of the rather generic Undead force. (His not-quite-finished self can be seen in those pics, too!)
Citadel Miniatures Mounted Witch King of Angmar, Nazgul, Nazgûl

(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

Reaper Bones II Skeletons

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

I’ve finished some more of my many Reaper Bones figures that fit under the rather broad undead umbrella that I use. No stretch this time, though, as they’re a bunch of skeletons. Originally sculpted by Bob Ridolfi, the Bones versions – somewhat predictably – suffer from mould lines, wobbly weapons and soft details. Still, they’re not the most terrible models and they’re good enough for RPGs or even standard troops on the table.

Reaper Bones 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman

Reaper Bones 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman

As usual, these guys were painted piecemeal over a period of time, mostly at work. They were a bit of an experiment – primed with the spray can and done in the normal manner, they were as sticky as all hell for awhile, but the acrylic paint over the top and the polyurethane spray seems to have settled it down. I skipped the decals on these guys because I didn’t want to “waste” 20-year-old decals on Bones models and instead did the shield designs freehand… and of course they came out far better than decals would have.

Reaper Bones 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman

Reaper Bones 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman

They’re a pretty odd number to make a unit out of, with nine models. Bones II backers got one of each, while they’re now being sold in sets of three of each sculpts. I usually make a regiment from a dozen models, since they work out about right when based on 25mm rounds for the correct footprint of a KoW regiment.

Reaper Bones 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

With nine models here, I’ll just shove the archers out of the front rank, and add a couple of random skeletons to make up the numbers. Turned out I could only find two, but good enough. I’m calling it a done regiment, but if (when) I end up with more random skeletons down the line, I can split or remake these guys into 2-hander, sword and board or archer regiments. For the time being, it gives me a second Undead unit for September’s monthly Tale of Gamers challenge that I’m running on Dakka.

 

The unit is filled out with a couple of spare skeletons. One (the archer) is from Bones 1, and the other is from Dark World, which I’ve mentioned previously. It only gives me 11 so I’ll have to sort out a 12th, but I’m still calling the unit functional for now.

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

And finally, as is the norm – the completed unit shots.

I wrote the following thoughts along with one of the first batches of Bones Skeletons I posted, and they’re just as relevant now, so hey.

As models go, like many Bones, these do what they say on the tin, in a very basic manner. I’d really only recommend them for roleplayers. If you’re playing D&D and want some cheap and cheerful skellys for your adventures, then these are a perfectly serviceable way to go. They even work okay if you’re the kind of roleplayer who never paints their models, or just gives them a wash to bring out the detail. For wargamers, there are many better options out there, especially for $2 each/$6 for three. Still, I already owned these, they pass the three-foot test, and they’ve now gone from Unpainted to Painted, and we know that every time a miniature gets painted, a Kitten gets their Wings, so it’s all good.

 

 

 

Undead Army Showcase – July 2016

Undead Army

This is my second “State of the Army” post, this time showing off all of the completed elements of my (Marouda’s) Undead Army at present. Like the Gondor army, I’ve been working on it on and off over the last two or so years, with a recent push during the last 6 months and the painting challenge. I’ve kept Undead on as one of my main options for the second half of 2016, though I’ve opened up my options quite a bit as painting mostly Gondor and Undead got very old by the end. The Undead aren’t so bad though, as there’s actually quite a lot of variety in there, especially when you combine “Vampire Counts”, “Tomb Kings” and even the spectral elements of Lord of the Rings in general and Mordor specifically.

Undead Army

These photographs were taken during the same session as the Gondor Army and 6-month showcase photos, so there has been a little more movement on these undead since then, specifically the unit base I put together for the trio of Nazgûl. I held off publishing (and writing) this post until now as I could see three sets of army showcase posts in a row getting a little tedious. Besides, I wanted to share my Spehss Mahreens.

Undead Army

The Barrow-Wights in the front row need to have a new unit base built for them as Mantic first Squatted them in KoWII before a protest from players (and with myself as one of the first, if not the first in the departed Beta forums) caused them to be reinstated, though now they’re “Large Infantry” with 40mm bases. I’m not going to rebase my LotR SBG figures, so I’ll be making a – hopefully slightly interesting and imposing – multibase for them. My first failed attempt already sits abandoned on my painting desk. 😛

Undead Army

There are a few variables in here. The various Mordor and Army of the Dead/Oathbreaker models will (theoretically) be split off one day to one or two LotR-themed armies of their own, the two units of skeletons with Greek shields and the odd bit of linothorax armour will go into the Mythical Greek army, along with the pair of Brass/Bronze Bulls, units of SpartansTalos, and more besides. Tomb Kings stuff, of which there is little to none right now will become it’s own force; and I’ve got a tub filled with Confrontation prepaint Wolfen, a miniscule 12 of whom are pictured here. Though there’s enough of those to happily stay in the Undead while also making up a Lycan-themed “The Herd” army of their own. Until those things begin to happen, though – they’re all combined to form a mighty undead army, led by Neferata (version 1).

Undead Army

There’s another couple of dozen troops (skeletons and zombies) on the paint desk right now, as well as a couple of more centrepiece-type models on the go. I’ll likely keep knocking out a few more undead units as I paint a variety of other things in the time between now and the New Year.

Neferata and Bastet

Marouda took a few photographs as well, managing to take a much better photograph of Neferata than I did when I posted her here – certainly in terms of her facial details not being nearly as washed out as in my own photos. I’m still learning my way around the new camera, but hopefully getting better!

Undead Army

There are a few not-quite-finished models in this photo. 6 Nazgûl (including a few named) and The Witch King. The Confrontation Wolfen also don’t have any paint on them aside from the retail pre-paint. You can also see some more candidates for scenic multibases besides the Wights. Hopefully between some of that and the centrepiece models I need to complete, I’ll be able to show this force off again at the end of the year in a more impressive light.

Three of Nine – Citadel Miniatures Mounted Nazgûl

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

These three models were painted some time ago, around 2005 – give or take a few years, and long before blogging was a thing to me. They’ve recently been drafted into Marouda’s Kings of War Undead force as Soul Reaver Cavalry – that is to say Vampiric Cavalry, which seems about as reasonable an approximation of Nazgûl as you can get within the Army list. These three represent a “troop” of Vampire Knights, which would ordinarily be made of 5 models. Works well enough for me!

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

So while the models are old, and their paint is old, what’s new is that I’ve gotten some custom-cut MDF and been able to make a unit base for them, in much the same way as I did with the Swarms that I painted recently. I think it makes them look quite nice, and certainly looks better than having them blu-taced down to a bare piece of MDF. I don’t believe I’ve shown these models before, so it’s all good.

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

For now, the Nazgûl will reside in the Undead Army, but at some stage they’ll be split off into their own Mordor force – When I have enough Mordor models painted to field them as a smallish army in their own right.

Tale of Gamers Jan-June 2016 – Final Showcase: Gondor and Undead

At risk of being slightly repetitive, here’s a final picture of all of the units that I managed to complete for the Undead and Gondor armies in the past 6 months. This obviously doesn’t include all of the other random figures or scenic bits that I finished in the same timeframe. (Though that grave I painted up is in the background.)

6 months worth of focused army painting. Completed additions to my Undead and Gondor forces.

I’d planned to also photograph all of the Gondor models I painted separately, but it seems that I forgot. D’oh! These “section” shots will have to suffice.

Gondor Army

Gondor Reinforcements on the right, led by Denethor and Forlong, while a dirtied-up Faramir leads his veterans.

 

Denethor Steward of Gondor, Forlong the Fat

Denethor and Forlong survey the ground that lay in front of their small force.

 

Undead Army

On the other side of the table, Neferata and Bastet lead their own, larger reinforcements to the rest of the Undead army, who will bow to their new Queen.

 

Queen Neferata, Bastet

Queen Neferata and Bastet stride forth before their shambling horde of followers.