Beautiful Eivor – Red Box Games

Beautiful Eivor - Red Box Games

Tre’ Manor is a sculptor who is talented beyond belief, yet he is very much stuck in his own strict perfectionist mentality of how he wants to create his models to their own, slight and slender – and rather tiny scale. Sadly, this means that his models do not scale well with other commercial miniatures, most importantly Reaper and Games Workshop/Citadel – which is a key factor in limiting his success. I can’t fault his personal choice to follow his own artistic vision – but sadly for me as an onlooker, Tre’ seems to constantly be launching Kickstarter projects, some of which fund while others fail, endlessly sculpting and resculpting the same range of barbarians that don’t fit in with anyone else’s models. All while much more financial success sits only a few literal millimetres away with a larger scale that fits in with the big dogs’ ranges.

Beautiful Eivor - Red Box Games

They do fit pretty well with GW’s Lord of the Rings ranges, especially the earlier, more “truescale” models, as I’ve discussed before, but there we’re talking about a limited number of Tre’s models working with a limited aspect of the LotR ranges. Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to grouse on Tre’s choices, especially since he’s genuinely a really nice guy in all of my interactions with him. It’s just frustrating when you see a guy who is so nice and so bloody talented being so recalcitrant to doing some stuff that could make him SO much money and allow him to follow his own vision with a bit more financial security.

Beautiful Eivor - Red Box Games

Beautiful Eivor is an elf-maiden model I picked up quite a few years ago when I did a large order of RBG models, and has was selected slightly fewer years ago to be used as a replacement-PC model for a D&D thief from one of the WotC D&D Boardgames. You know, Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, Drizzzztiness of Drizzzzzzzzt and all that lot. Obviously the model would work just as easily (or even more easily) as a ranger, and was probably purchased with that in mind, but the thief role came up, and this figure was available.

Beautiful Eivor - Red Box Games

This particular model appears to be discontinued at this point in time, but with quite a large range for being a one-man, one-woman shop, I can understand how RBG could only keep a limited number of models available at any given moment. You can also see just how thin she is from the “flat” angle. Truth be told, her shortsword is so thin, I’m a bit scared to actually use her in any kind of game where the model might be touched. It feels like it’ll fall off with a sneeze or a solid glance.

Paint-wise, I went with a combination of dark earth tones with a nice dark blue cloak, because those colours say “D&D Thief” to me. I also painted what looked to be designed as sexy bare legs above her sexy thigh-high boots as leggings, because that also says thief to me more than the extra bit of skin, and in turn makes the tunic more sensible adventurers’ “work” clothing than sexy mini-skirt. I went with blonde hair in the end after initially planning on dark hair simply because I wanted her hair to stand out a little, and dark hair just got lost with the dark, mostly muted clothing.

Beautiful Eivor - Red Box Games

Finally, here’s a size comparison. I’m sure that any japesters amongst you would opine that she actually is correctly in-scale with the Space Marine, but the Astartes model does work to show just how slight Eivor is compared to a “normal” GW model. In the end, Eivor is now finished, after quite a few years of being mostly-undercoated white with a messy bit of blue slapped on, sitting on a textured base. Not a neglected model month, but another neglected model finally completed!

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Imperial Sentry Droids (Armoured April ’19)

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Imperial Sentry Droids

The first models I finished in April were actually posted awhile back – the two Ice Elementals from Mantic and the big red K̶h̶o̶r̶n̶e̶ Wrath dude from The Others: 7 Sins – both posted up as part of Monster March, as I finished all three of them just over the line (AU time) – but they’re ultimately April models in my own timeline. That leads us to this set of four models – these were started in February and were part of that initial “hey….” thought that led to the inception of the Gender-Ambiguous March Painting Challenge, along with the Mummies and Beavers and Werewolves.

Looking at the shoulder pads on these models, I figure that they fit in well enough with Armoured April, so they ended up serendipitously rolling into the following month’s challenge…

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Imperial Sentry Droids

This time, when painting the models, I pretty much ignored the “canonical” images, as I preferred to paint them metallic as opposed to in greys. So I did just that. I’m such a rebel.

(See what I did there?)

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Imperial Sentry Droids

As usual for Imperial Assault gameplay purposes, I needed to differentiate the leader/Elite model. I did so this time by painting the usual part-of-an-Imperial Cog on the edge of the base, and also by adding additional markings on the head, chest, back and shoulder beyond the more subtle chest and shoulder markings I’d painted onto the regular droids. Should be enough to make him fit in with the Imperial Forces while also standing out just enough on the tabletop.

Star Wars Imperial Assault: Imperial Sentry Droids

And that’s it for today’s update. I’ll get some more stuff up shortly (I took a few more photos tonight) and hopefully continue to slowly catch up with all of the blogging things over the next weeks.

Squad: March! + Gender-Ambiguous Model Painting Challenge 2019: Personal Round-Up

The entirety of March’s completed models.

Yeap, it’s been awhile. I’ve almost forgotten how this stuff works, but as I find time, I’ll be catching up. Aside from Swordmaster’s “Monster March” paint challenge, my own two community challenges for the month were “Squads” and of course the “Gender-Ambiguous” one.

I say “partial”, because this model is an independent hero, but also works as the leader of the Plague Censer Bearers.

Interestingly, despite it not being entirely planned that way (because of course I wanted to hit the challenge goals a few times) it turns out that with the partial exception of a single model, they all fit into either one or the other – or both. And that’s aside from a bunch of them also working for Monster March. That one model, the Plague Censer Bearer hero is also the one model out of the entire month that is clearly and undoubtedly male.

The Gender-Ambiguous models from the month.

I mean, I’m not kidding myself – and neither should anyone else. We know that pretty much all of these models were sculpted as “male”, with the exception of the Beavers, as they came from Bad Squiddo and would have been sculpted as a “beaver family” of both genders. But we also know that “female” ghosts would have cleavage, as would mummies, werewolves, and so on. I’m sure that even the Dracoliche and Dragon and Centipede were called “he” or “him” by the sculptor and/or designers rather than “she”. So the point of the month’s exercise wasn’t to fool ourselves, but to just stop, think and consider.

The month’s “Squads”.

“Squads” on the other hand, are much more straightforward. The werewolves were originally going to be 2×3 as that’s how I painted them, though it hardly matters. Similarly, the Skaven work with or without the Censer Bearer hero.

I’ll get March (and April’s) Community Round-Ups done as I can, though in the meantime I’ll try to post up some of my own stuff painted last month (in April). After a recent death in the family (not Dad), there’s a whole lot of stuff there to be sorted out, so blogging and compiling will happen at its own pace at a priority appropriate until I catch up. Still, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be painting or that I’m not happy for others to be participating in the challenges during this time…

So time for numbers – Well, at end of February I was on 79. Above, I count 36 more models (37 if I count the sabot base for the Dracoliche) so that gives me 115 at end of March. Or 116.

Next, onto April!(?!)

Karl Kopinski’s The Big Kopinski Vol 1 – Review

Several months ago, I was contacted via this blog by a kind person from Editions Caurette, a small publisher based in France, asking if I would be interested in reviewing an art book showcasing the work of Karl Kopinski. Since I’ve been a fan of Karl’s work for over 20 years now since I first saw his work in a number of Games Workshop publications, I accepted the offer, with the caveat that I would of course only be willing to write up an honest review, which was understood and accepted without hesitation.

I guess the thing to point out here is that since I’m already an existing fan of the artist’s work, the chances that I would dislike the book were not going to be huge, but sometimes an art book can fail not due to the artist or the artwork, but by the physical execution of the book as object failing to be up to par. So the first bit of good news here is that this is far from the case. The book is a quality production on the outside, with a solid hardcover adding additional heft to the almost-300 pages.

On the inside, the book also feels quality, with two types of paper being evident. Now I’m not someone with a great deal (or even much) knowledge about publishing, so I absolutely do not know the correct terms, but the art within basically falls into two types:

Sketches – which are displayed on a slightly off-white kind of paper that gives a look (though not the physically rough feel) of an artists’ sketchbook. This is one of those things that works on an unconscious level, and is quite apt for an authentic feeling display of the sketch-art within.

The second type of paper is a much whiter (and fractionally smoother) kind, and is used to display the painted pieces. That’s pretty much it for the physical characteristics of the book, but I figured that it was worth going into, as I’ve certainly purchased products with “Art books” featuring some beautiful work, where the “book” really doesn’t deserve the term. I’m happy to say that in this case, the physical book is a solid and substantial product.

This leads me to the downsides of the book. While there aren’t a lot of them, the artwork has no captions, no dates, so unless you recognise a piece, you really have no context for it outside of being an attractive piece of art. Not a dealbreaker, but it can be nice to know more about a piece than what is displayed on the page.

The other issue I have with some of the presentation is that of some artwork being presented across both pages of a spread. I find this one of the worst ways to try and view art, as so much of the image is list down the gutter in the middle of the pages, especially when a piece of art is not created with that “dead area” in mind. An example can be seen here, and while it’s not done to egregious lengths, I’d prefer that this was not done at all in artbooks – unless – as mentioned, it’s a piece created with that in mind. Still, it’s not a deal-breaker, as it happens only a relatively few times throughout the book.

Now though, we need to discuss the art within. After all, an art book is nothing without quality content, right?

There are a few general themes of the art found within this book. The book begins with a number of fairly generic “medieval fantasy” sketches, which to me, give a “Dungeons and Dragons/Magic: The Gathering” feel (as opposed to a “Warhammer” feel) – these transition to sketches that more strongly feature what I’d call “fantasy vikings” and “fantasy barbarians”

As one continues through the book, the sketches and finished pieces within continue to be clustered within loose “themes”. There are Pirates, Victorian folk, Napoleonic troops, Wild West, Samurai, Mobsters – many of which have fantasy and/or sci-fi elements mixed in. Comic heroes, characters smoking, armoured characters, and on it goes…

At a certain point, while I feel that I could continue to ramble on pretty easily, it’s probably better to show, not tell – especially in the context of the review of an art book. It’s not like I’ll be showing off all near-300 pages of content, and as anyone who actually buys this sort of thing will agree, the purpose of owning a book like this is more than about having access to the artwork – which is why I discussed the quality (and sometimes lack thereof) publications so much earlier.

Sometimes, a piece feels like it has a strong inspiration from another artist, like Moebius (Jean Giraud), other times it looks exactly like you’d think a Karl Kopinski piece would be. I’m a person who can quite enjoy it when I can see influences of other artists in a person’s work – whatever the medium – and the pieces scattered throughout this book are no exception.

If representation of women is a potential issue, you can rest assured that the book features a nice variety of poses, images and modes of dress, and overall the footing is pretty even with the male characters displayed within. Of course, I’m now going to highlight a pair of my own favourite pieces of the female art within this book, and yes, there’s some skin showing!

From my own familiarity with a few pieces, I can see that some of the artwork featured were commissioned for various games. Here’s a picture of Marouda in her Zombicide guise of Angry Mary, for example. As noted earlier, there are quite a few series of images that also really feel like “character art” for other games that I’m unfamiliar with – though it does makes perfect sense for an artist known for their work in games.

Speaking for myself, I find a number of the pieces rather inspirational for my own work as a hobbyist miniature painter. As an example, looking at the female post-apocalyptic ganger above, I fully intend to paint up a Necromunda Escher figure with the art as a direct touchstone.

While I had hoped to have this review done quite some time ago, I’ve barely posted in the last month due to various family issues that have needed my time and attention. Still, we need to have a conclusion here – and here it is:

 

While The Big Kopinski Vol 1 feels more like a random selection from Karl’s sketchbooks rather than a focused collection of any one aspect of his art, I’ve still enjoyed looking through it a number of times now. The broad brush that the art is chosen with, along with the large page count and number of pieces featured within mean that pretty much every time I’ve browsed the book, I’ve found (or more often rediscovered) something that makes me go “oh, cool”.

While I’m personally a big fan of his work for GW in particular, and finished, coloured artwork in general and was a little disappointed in the lack of any of the former or more of the latter, I do enjoy “sketchbook” art quite a bit as well, though often I find it more rewarding to look at when juxtaposed with the finished piece, and being able to view the small changes and decisions in the transition from pencil sketch to fully finished, painted art.

Would I buy it? I actually do casually buy the odd art book. And while I received this one gratis in exchange for the review, I think I would actually be happy to purchase this one, depending on the price asked. As I said upfront, I’m a fan of Karl’s art, and so I’ve been positively predisposed to the book from the beginning – but then the same applies to all of the artist-focused art books I’ve bought.

If you’re a fan of Karl’s art, this would certainly be one worth checking out. If you’re not all that familiar with him or his work, then the art shown in this review would be a good indicator to see what you think.

For further perspective, a couple of other reviews worth checking out from individuals in the blogging circle that I’m a member of would be Dave/Scent of a Gamer, and Spalanz.

The Big Kopinski Volume 1 can be found and purchased from Editions Caurette.

Mechanismo May ’19: Community Painting Challenge

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for awhile, and the Community Round-Up from March still isn’t up. Well, the best I can offer is that normal service will resume when it resumes, and the monthly round-ups WILL still be done – as will my own backlog. I just don’t have the time nor inclination right now for blogging, nor for diarising the shitshow that is my life at present..

Regardless of that, the world marches on, so without any further ado, I present you with May’s Community Challenge: Mechanismo May. (Named for a book in inherited from my brother, years ago – not the Dredd story).

What is Mechanismo May for? Well, simply put: anything mechanical – vehicles, power armour, droids, bots, walkers, mechanical scenery.

Does this mean that there’s a lot of cross-over with the “Armoured April” challenge? Well, sure. Tanks and Power armour and the like obviously fit into both. On the other hand, this month isn’t for Chaos Warriors with a 2-handed maul, but it is for a Trebuchet, or a cannon, or an artillery piece – or for a… well, you get the idea.

Is the model (or a significant part of the model) mechanical? Is it more than a modern dude who happens to be holding a firearm? Then there’s your answer!

(Yes, it’s time to get that Magos and/or the Crashed Aquila done!)

As always, the biggest distinction between this painting challenge and many others out there are that I only care about you completing these models. It’s not a “start-to-finish” challenge set during a single month, so regardless of whether you just missed out on finishing that knight or tank this month, last month, or six months ago – or you’ve got stuff that you’ve been chipping away at for six months – or, indeed – if you’ve got models that have been shelved for months or even years, feel free to dig them out and join in. Similarly, if you want to go start-to-finish, then feel free to go right ahead. It’s entirely about completing cool things.

Reaper Bones 77007: Ghost (Gender-Ambiguous March ’19)

Reaper Bones 77007: Ghost

After seeing Maenoferren22 over on Bogenwald post up his Reaper Bones Ghost the other day as part of the Gender-Ambiguous challenge, I realised that I had a pair of them myself sitting around on the painting desk, which I’d used as test models for the new(ish) “ghost” paints by GW, Hexwraith Flame and Nighthaunt Gloom – which both turned out to be a bit of a disaster.

Reaper Bones 77007: Ghost

So, the logical thing was to try and smash them both out quickly for the challenge (again, on the 30th of March). This was achieved by going onto YouTube and seeing what Warhammer TV said about painting Nighthaunt models. So I simply followed the simple instructions on the video, and in the process got both of these painted to a passable tabletop level and also learned a bit more about using these paints. Especially Nighthaunt Gloom. Basing was done in the same style as the rest of my Undead Models with gravestones on their bases, alongside the other Reaper Miniature, the Dragon Plant – also featuring a whole lot of flowers…

Shadows of Brimstone: Werewolf Feral Kin (Squad: March! ’19, Gender-Ambiguous Model Painting Challenge ’19)

Shadows of Brimstone: Werewolf Feral Kin

More Shadows of Brimstone models this time. In fact, this set of models that helped to inspire the Gender-Ambiguous Challenge for March, so they’re a nice little set that covers both the Squad Challenge from March as well as the Gender Challenge.

Shadows of Brimstone: Werewolf Feral Kin

These Brimstone models also suffered from the “shitty HIPS model” syndrome that I’ve complained about a few times. The main culprit with these being that they came in only two poses, with no body interchangability between them. Yes folks, despite being made of three parts (hips, torso, head) the torsos only fit their own specific set of legs. Because I wanted slightly fewer clones, I took a hobby knife to the plastic, along with the minimum amount of putty repair that I could manage to swap a few of them around. Rookie mistake! Let’s be perfectly honest, though – the only reason that these sprues got removed from the box was because I saw them as “easy wins” – models that could be painted up relatively quickly and easily. Because they’re just fur, basically!

Shadows of Brimstone: Werewolf Feral Kin

At one point in the month, if I were posting more frequently, these would have been posted as two separate units of three, as the Brown Trio and then the Grey/Black Trio, especially as both subsets were completed nearly a week apart. No matter now, though.

The main reasons I painted them in these two (well, three) overall schemes was to provide differentiation if it was needed. As I (still) haven’t gotten around to playing SoB yet, I’m not sure if it used the “elites” concept for larger numbers of mobs in the same way that, say, Descent or Imperial Assault do. It also lets me do the same if it ever becomes needed in any other game, with an Alpha, two Betas or lieutenants, and then the brown trio being the more general pack (were)wolves.

Shadows of Brimstone: Werewolf Feral Kin

These models were also the first ones that I tried a new can of Spray Varnish from AK Interactive. I don’t have any nice things to say about that experience, but I’ll have a review of the AK cans up hopefully sooner than later, sometime this month when I have a spare post slot. The one spoiler I’ll give is that I had to respray these after trying the AK…

Shadows of Brimstone: Werewolf Feral Kin

That’s basically it for today’s post – another six Brimstone models done and done. That might be it for my March models. I’ll have to check.

Because of all the shit that’s gone down IRL recently, I’ll figure out if I have any more not-yet-posted March models, then I’ll do my round-up, and then I’ll start putting together the Community Round-up that will be done when it’s done. I’ve (hopefully) got to pick Dad up from Hospital on Monday, but before (and after) that, I still need to visit him daily for awhile, and of course there’s other family bullshit that’s just appeared. Then on the distract myself with entertainment so I don’t throw a chair through a fucking window side, there’s NXT Takeover that I need to catch up on, the NJPW/RoH show Sunday morning, and something like 8-10 hours of Wrestlemania on Monday that will probably take 2-3 days to watch because fuck that’s a lot of wrestling in a short amount of time. All of these things will delay the Community Round-Up.

C’est la vie.