77256: Brass Bull (Reaper Bones)

The moment I saw this model in the Bones II list, I knew I wanted to buy it. Marouda likes Bulls, as she’s a Taurus (not into astrology, but likes the animal and imagery). As I’ve written before, the Brass/Bronze Bull is a thing with a strong Ancient Greek heritage. As much as I like the Foundry Model, this one is a good bit bigger, and as such, more impressive. Incidentally, this model is a Bob Olley sculpt, and a nice one at that. I started this a little over a month ago, after starting a brief survey on how to base it.

Reaper Bones 77256: Brass Bull

Reaper’s Brass Bull. You can sort of see the glowing eyes I gave this one.

Reaper Bones 77256: Brass Bull

Now, I know that most Reaper Miniatures are essentially “counts-as” models for various Dungeons and Dragons beasties. What was interesting to me was when one of my friends was over for Friday Night Zombicide, and saw the part-painted model on my paint desk, and remarked that he recognised it as a “Gorgon” and talked about it turning enemies to stone (ok) via a breath attack (huh?) Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge D&D guy, and to me “Gorgon” always meant a snake-woman of Medusa’s Ilk. Medusa being the name of a specific Gorgon, rather than the name of the snake-haired woman’s race. Because, you know, that’s what they are.

Reaper Bones 77256: Brass Bull

This shot shows off the freehand Hoplon shield. I’m quite proud of it.

So I did a bit of Googling the next day. I found that, yes indeedy, a Brass (or Bronze) Bull is a proper D&D Monster that petrifies its foes via a breath attack. Huh. Still, it required a bit more reading to figure out. Eventually, I found this blog post by F.Wesley Schneider (of D&D and Pathfinder fame) who explains it all in a way that makes it all make sense. It’ll still never make it a Gorgon to me, but I can absolutely understand and respect the reasoning behind it, as well as the many years of legacy to those who play and are familiar with D&D. It’s much the same kind of acceptance as my own to bright green Orcs, which was not something I’d ever considered or pictured before my introduction to and immersion into Warhammer in my early teens.

Reaper Bones 77256: Brass Bull

Reaper Bones 77256: Brass Bull

Showing the discarded Kopis sword.

A couple of flank shots. When I saw the photographs of these I noticed a small amount of wear (already!) on some of the scales. I’ve gone back to retouch those bits and will be giving them a bloody decent shot of varnish tonight and tomorrow.

Wargames Foundry Bronze Bull, Reaper Bones 77256: Brass Bull

Sizing comparison.

Finally, a size comparison shot. We have Stabby McStab, the Chronopia model, the Reaper Bull and finally, the Wargames Foundry Bronze Bull. While the basing does make a difference, the Wargames Foundry bull is significantly smaller. I’ll still manage to work out a use for both in the eventual Mythical Greek Army. I’ve got some ideas, and both bulls would remain very nasty opponents. I might add some flower tufts to the base of the Reaper model, though. I like the contrasting effect that flowers have with such a terrifying monster of Brass and Steel!

D&D Monster Manual 1: Purple Worms – aka Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

There’s a bit of discussion about at the moment, regarding how Bones is not a great material for certain figures, and can be a bit of an unpleasant material to work with for some people. While I’d agree that it’s far from perfect, it works out really well for certain figures. I bought this pair of Pre-KS Bones over a year ago, but they got put to one side for most of that time when I had to pack up to move, then move, and unpack and so forth. Recently I finished them, and finally we had some decent light, so today they got photographed. There’s a bit of mould line that I missed on one of them. Noticed it when it was too late, and I didn’t want to butcher my paint in order to fix it. You barely notice in person, anyway. Mostly pictures in this update, so without further ado… The Pair:

Purple Worms, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Purple Worms, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Purple Worms, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Drippy: I used some Woodland Scenics Water Effects to create the beginning of the “drool”, some WC Realistic Water over the top to smooth it out, and some Vallejo Model Colour Clear Yellow to add a touch of colour to the discharge.

Purple Worm, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Purple Worm, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Purple Worm, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Purple Worm, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Bitey: One with mucus/drool/mouthy discharge was enough.

Purple Worm, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Purple Worm, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Purple Worm, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

Finally a scale shot. A couple of fantasy figures, and a ubiquitous Space Marine for scale. These are some decent sized models!

Purple Worms, Reaper Bones 77006: Great Worm

These suckers took awhile to get going, but once I actually sat down to make myself paint them they were quite an enjoyable experience. Originally they were all-purple, then I looked up the D&D colouration, which said they had yellow bellies/undersides, which I thought would look far too cartoony, but it kept bothering me. A day or two later I came back to them and used some sand and ochre shared for the “yellow” to make them look much more like natural colouration, and it worked for me. I used some pinky-purple for the transition ridge between the ochre and the main dark bluish-purple for the main body. One of the things I enjoyed most was the fact that since these are cheap Bones models, I allowed myself to play with them a lot more. I used drybrushing, blending, a purple oil paint wash at one stage, the aforementioned realistic water products, and a few weathering powders in the end. Basically a lot of experimentation and “play”, and I think they turned out pretty successful in the end!

From the Painting Desk #2 – Random Warhammer Fantasy stuff.

The last few posts have mostly been a series of reviews of Kromlech and Maxmini’s resin conversion components, which has been fun (I’ve still got a few more of those posts to make, not to mention some reviews of Scibor, Puppetswar and Bitspudlo to put together, but those reviews take a bit more energy than I have at the moment. I’ve been under the weather for almost three weeks now as Winter has hit Melbourne, and have been keeping up with my work commitments, so blogging has taken a back seat for the past few. I’ve been painting a bit when I feel up to it and just enjoying the process. I put together one of these WIP posts some time ago – Back in March 2010, so this is the (somewhat) sequel. Though there’s also been a few other half-arsed WIP posts made as well. Unfortunately, not much has been done on those LotR figures in the last one of these posts since the post was made. Having moved twice since then, the figures are safely boxed away until I find them and decide to get back and finish them.

The main things I’ve been completing are boardgame figures from the D&D series of Ravenloft and Ashardalon. I’ve got Drizzt but won’t be opening it until:

a) All the figures from the previous 2 are completed

or

b) We finish the campaign in Ashadalon (as we’ve finished Ravenloft)

I just finished a triad of ghouls from Ravenloft that I must have started a full year ago. Since I don’t like the models, I found it to be quite a hard slog. I’ve also been working on some semi-random figures, which we can/do use as PCs in the boardgame, and just generally looking through my old models to try and “finish” some of those half-painted figures that have been sitting around for a long time – in some cases quite a few years or even more than a decade. While in theory I’m a miniatures wargamer, I haven’t played with any regular consistency for close to ten years, so whenever I try to start working on or completing an army, it’s been easier than ever to get distracted. Now that we’re in our own place, it’s going to be easier to get back into it, though even with a FLGS nearby that runs events regularly, I find myself pretty deep in a rut that prefers to come home to a warm, heated/airconditioned house with drinks, TV, snacks and all the other amenities than to go and hang out in a crowded games store for the evening. So once again, army building has been pushed to the side, and I’m now going for painting for pleasure with only a side order of “duty to get specific things finished” – in this case, the D&D figures – and it’s been enjoyable to actually finish some models.

I’ve also been trying to play around with some new techniques. Specifically: weathering powders, oil paint washes, verdigris effects, and things like MIG washes for various rust effects. I still haven’t tried NMM. I can appreciate how good it can look, but there’s still just something about it that doesn’t sit well with me, and I prefer to use actual metallic paints. I’ll get around to learning it at some stage, as after all, it’s just another technique for the painter’s toolkit.

So, some photos. I’ve been keeping the D&D figures out of photos since I started them – until I complete the set for each game I won’t be showing them off. This is because the figures are nice, but not quite “wargamer” standard being made of that bendy plastic, and so my paint has been more concerned with getting a tabletop quality that I’m happy with for boardgaming – which is below what I’ll generally do for a nice metal model from Citadel or Reaper, etc.

Oldhammer model Farendil, Elf Ranger and Lucrezzia Belladonna, both WIP but nearing completion.

The foot figure is an old Citadel ranger, which I picked up around the time of WHFB3, twenty-odd years ago. I started painting him only last year, in a scheme that is somewhat a homage to the paint he had in a very old issue of White Dwarf. The red bow is a nod to GW’s “red period”, though I may yet decide to go over it with a more neutral brown before I complete it. He’s probably only got an hour or so worth of work left on him now, but I feel that I need to be over this cold in order to put in the last bit of work at a standard I’ll be satisfied with. The Brettonian lady must be at least 5 years old? Certainly the majority of the paint on her was done in that time period. When I found her, I again noted that she probably only has an hour or less of work to be completed. I considered doing some freehand on the horse’s caparison, but my wife (who the figure is for) likes the figure as it is, and for my part, I’m not entirely sure which green I used on it…  again though – I need to get over this damned colds before I can do so.

(2017 Update – It’s Lucrezzia Belladonna from WHFB 5th Edition’s Dogs of War alongside Fandendil, Elf Ranger – both finally completed in 2014 .)

Citadel Dwarf Rune Priest and Reaper Miniatures 03278: Rogan, Half-Orc Thief

These two figures were started essentially as proxies for the bendy plastic D&D hero figures that didn’t inspire me at all to get painted. The D&D Dwarf was okay, but not great, and the Half-orc was arse. Both of these were started last year before I moved, and have just come out of the case to be finished. The Dwarf is either a GW Runesmith or Standard bearer, but I figure that he’ll work nicely as a cleric – armed with a (rather large) Warhammer and an (even larger) Dwarven Holy Symbol. The half-orc thief is from Reaper, and didn’t fit onto a 25mm round base, and his stance was wide enough that he’d end up overlapping one too much if I cut the broccoli base off, so he ended up on a Proxie Models 40mm round base. Apparently D&D Half-orcs are supposed to have grey or greenish-grey skin these days, but I’m going a ruddy human tone with a touch of orange instead. Like the old Blanche hobgoblin face icon. I’ve been painting my D&D orcs with a dark brown, Weta-version Uruk-Hai skin tone anyway rather than the GW green I paint my Citadel orcs. The dwarf is pretty close to that “final hour” stage, while the Half-Orc needs a bit more work to get there.

(2017 Update – This pair is Citadel Colin Dixon’s Dwarf Rune Priest alongside Reaper Rogan, Half-Orc Thief – finally finished in 2017 and 2015 respectively.)

Jes Goodwin’s Oldhammer Elf Wardancers

After rebasing a couple of my old, old WHFB3 dwarves about a year ago (ones that survived my Dwarf Army cull, back in the days of my youth) to boardgame with, I’ve decided this week to go through many more of my old models from decades past and update them. I don’t mean strip them entirely (I made that mistake with some very well painted for the day Rogue Trader marines last year, and regret it badly). I mean rebase them on 25mm rounds since I’m pretty much at the point that I recognise and admit to myself that I’ll never play WHFB again. I’ve always strongly preferred the aesthetic of round bases, they’re still just fine for skirmish games like Mordheim, Song of Blades and Heroes, LotR, Fanticide, Realm of Chaos’s warbands and if I decide to use them in another Fantasy mass battle game like Kings of War (somewhat likely) then I’ll simply mount them in/on regiment bases, WotR -style. I’ll also take the opportunity to touch up paint chips, brighten sword blades, perhaps reblend some cloth highlights and pretty up gems, but the essence of my original paintjobs will remain the same. The linked dwarves for example, had bright yellow shield rims changed to metallic bronze, their warhammer heads brightened up and bright yellow belts changed to a yellowish tan. The rest is original 1980’s/early 90’s paint. Like the Dwarves, the Original Wardancer models from the Wood Elves’ range are some of the few of these old models that survived successive culls through the years. I always had a soft spot for the Wardancers that GW painted up like Eldar Harlequins (though they predate the Harlies!) Maybe I’ll mix these fantasy figures in with my 40k Harlequins when I get around to playing them?

(2017 Update – it seems I finished updating these five, but never photographed them once I had. Something to add to my list for a new post, then!)

Assorted Oldhammer Fantasy Models

A few more figures getting the rebasing/updating treatment. The wardancer will pretty much be left alone. The dwarf will get a bit of a touch up (even though there’s something about him I don’t really like). I’ll probably brighten up the knights’ armour, add another layer of highlights to the plume, repaint the horns, and I also need to figure out what to do with their shields – since I’m unhappy with both. Either repainting the devices (Bat, Snake) or something more drastic. Basically, I’ve never truly been happy with either of these figures, so I need to do something to fix them this time. The skeleton.. well, yeah. Clearly he needs a complete clothing overhaul.

The bases for the models in both of these pics are obviously WIP as well. The sand is still drying as I type this.

(2017 Update – I think most of these figures ended up in the reject pile, to be repainted from scratch at worst and touched up at best. I think only the Wardancer survived.)

Squigs!

A shot of some squigs I found earlier today. These guys will be getting round-base updates for 40k Orks. The scaled squig looks good in person, but due to his downward pose photographs badly. I’ll have to see what I can do for him when I rebase him – so his face can be more visible. I’m still very happy with the paint on my Scarlet Squigs, and the yellow one is a paint-over of a figure I bought from a friend in the late 1990’s, that also turned out nicely. With the exception of the greenie, these ones just need rebasing.

More Squigs!

More squigs. Obviously I bought a blister of the newer models sometime around 2004-5. Nothing had been done on these models since my Ork army got shelved in late 2005. The Yellow one was simply painted a pale yellow, but when I found these about three days ago, I was just staring at the models on my painting table, basically wishing I could finish the ranger from the first photo and so I started playing with yellows and oranges. I’m thinking I might try some orange-yellow oil washes on him as well, to experiment a little more with the technique.

(2017 Update – I finally finished most (all?) of these squigs and based them on brown-dirt 25mm rounds – but apparently never photographed them. Now that I’m resurrecting my 40k armies, I need to decide whether to rebase them again onto desert bases like my 40k Orks, and potentially even 32mm bases. Of course my WHFB (KoW) Squig Herders have brown-dirt bases. I might need to come up with some kind of creative solution there…)

 

The Painting Desk.

My temporary painting desk, a folding table in the lounge/dining room. Until I get the garage sorted out properly, I won’t be able to get the “studio” sorted out properly, so this is my temporary location. It’s not too bad actually. It’s a bit of a pain to pack up, but it’s doable. I’ve got heat and television and Marouda doesn’t have a problem with it, so it’s all good for now. There’s a pegasus and unicorn of hers there who are also getting their bases upgraded (though theirs will be bright green static flock rather than brown sandy dirt). A techmarine, Reaper Vampire, lizardman and bones troll and a bunch of my WIP D&D figures. You can also see my philosophy when it comes to paint brands is simply to use whatever works best for me at the time for the project.

I hope to have some nice shots of finished models sometime soon. I usually like to use natural light for those, but the days have been short and dark for some time now, and I’m at work for a good amount of the daytimes as well. Hopefully you enjoyed reading this and poking around my paint desk!

(2017 Update – God damn that desk looks clean and uncluttered. It’s a right mess these days in comparison to back then…)

Review: Dungeon! The Board Game

Something a little different this time. A mini-review of the re-released Dungeon! board game, by Wizards of the Coast. I’d played the original (Jedko Australian Edition) many times as a young’un, back in the 70’s(?), 80’s and 90’s as my older brothers were into D&D briefly back in the day. I’d also picked up the 1989 (giant board!) edition from TSR when it came out, though I may be missing some pieces from that one now.

So when I saw this one for the low price of AU$24 from Games Empire,* I grabbed it within a few days.

This edition carries the full Dungeons and Dragons branding on the box, something that neither of the other versions I played have, despite the historical links that both games have. The components and cards have some nice artwork on them. Certainly far better presentation than the 1989 edition, though the tiny line art of the original holds a special appeal to me. The cards are a little cluttered though, but still easy enough to work out what’s what. The cards are tiny though, and to keep costs down, you no longer get a “full compliment” of monsters for each room and chamber. I’ll explain in a moment.

They’ve changed the classes again. In the original you have an Elf, Hero, Superhero and Wizard. In the 1989 edition you had named characters such as “Floid the Warrior” and “Madeline the Paladin” – the characters in the ’89 edition are Elf, Warrior, Thief, Dwarf, Paladin, Wizard, so there’s some expansion in there . With the new edition, they’ve been updated to more modern D&D tropes.

We have the (Halfling) Rogue, (Dwarf) Cleric, (Human) Fighter and (Elf) Wizard – pretty much analagous to the original four in that order.

I honestly don’t know what the playing pieces for the orignal were – we always played with miniatures from Minifigs’ fantasy range. The ’89 edition has 6 plastic versions of Ral Partha metals of the day. The 2012 edition has card standees. We just used some appropriate GW Fantasy figures instead of the standees.

The rules are quite simple and well laid out, in a full-colour folded pamphlet. They’re also available as a free download on the WOTC website.

A smaller board this time around.

In order to cut the costs of production down, they’ve changed a few things. The board for this edition is much smaller then the ’89 edition. About 75% of the size, with about 70% of the play area. The cards are the same tiny size that they ever were, but due to the shrinking of the board, you no longer lay out the dungeon before playing with treasure, then monsters, then play. Now you put the monster and treasure cards into stacks, and as you enter new rooms and clear them, you add “coffin” chits to represent cleared rooms. When you get your butt kicked, you put a numbered chit next in the room instead and put the mob at the end of the board at that number point, along with the treasure they looted off you. It actually works well in order to speed up setup by about 90%, but there’s a bit of danger of forgetting to lay in the coffin chits. Along with this, they’ve cut down on the number of included monster cards – no longer including enough for each room and three for each chamber. Now you just use them till you run out, then reshuffle the discard pile.

Much nicer artwork – very reminiscent of the original, but some of the spaces aren’t always clear.

The board artwork for this edition is miles better than the ’89, which featured some pretty ugly-but functional room layout. I was honestly shocked when I opened the ’89 version back then and saw they’d changed it. The new one looks good – like a reworking of the original, but can be a bit hard to work out what’s going on – mostly because of the shrinkage. If I could get hold of a 1st edition set, I could compare, but I don’t think I’ll see my brother’s set again after all these years…

Playing it for the first time in many years, I’ve got the following thoughts. It’s a really, really simple game. Something like the Castle Ravenloft boardgame plays like Descent 1st edition by comparison. It’s really more of a D&D-themed kids/family game. It’s also pretty heavily based on the luck of your dice rolls. Having said that, it’s still fun as a light-hearted and (as of this edition) pretty quick game that you can pick up and play with people who aren’t really into more complex miniatures, war and board games. The premise and gameplay are simple and easy to get into. There’s a little bit of optional rivalry – such as when I ran towards the monster that stole my wife’s magic sword and secret door card so I could kill it and steal her loot – which proved to be the edge that just won me the game later on.

I won! Hurrah for me! Also, lucky dice rolling.

Overall, I enjoyed the newest edition of Dungeon! Some of that is clearly a childhood affection that remains, but given it’s low price and accessibility to non-grognards, I’d still give it a recommendation. It’s a good game to play before diving into something deeper on a games night, or a light game for an afternoon or evening.

I also asked my wife, aka Marouda for her opinions on it, since she hasn’t played it for years either.

The game was pretty straightforward and fun with just 2 players. There weren’t too many rules so would be good for very young players, families and when you just want an easy game. I played a cleric during my first game as a cleric only needs 10,000 gold to win the game and not 20K or 30K as for the other classes. However I found my cleric found the level 3 monsters tough. Depending on your class the various monsters for each level will be tougher or easier to defeat. It did not help when I lost my magic sword and secret door treasures. I will probably play a character that requires 20,000 gold to win as I will be able to gather more loot in the lower level dungeons, anyway that’s my strategy.

*Note* I have no affiliation with Games Empire, I just find them to be a great local AU place for boxed boardgames, card games, FFG, heavy stuff, etc. FoW stuff is about the same price as going to the UK. Mostly stuff is 20-25% off usual retail with no need to jump through hoops or a complicated discount scheme. Some things are a couple dollars more than going to the UK, or sometimes a little less. $10-15 postage depending on how much you buy. When all else is equal (or close enough to equal) I’m fine with paying a little bit more to support a local retailer.

On that note – they’re much friendlier than similar places located in Bentleigh and handily, not surly/rude bastards on the phone like places located in Bentleigh. Oddly, since they’re interstate, I also get stuff much, much faster than places located in Bentleigh. So local isn’t quite as local as I’d like, but service trumps distance. c’est la vie.