“…and My Axe!” Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors

Battle for Skull Pass – AKA the Warhammer Fantasy Battle 7th Edition Starter Box.

In November last year, for some reason I got it into my head to delve into one of my figure boxes and paint up a bunch of Dwarves. Specifically, to go through and paint a bunch of the Battle for Skull pass plastics that I’d picked up from eBay, WargamerAU and my mate, Damo. I think the idea popped into my brain since I’d been painting and finishing a few Slayers around the time and getting stuck into other random dwarves (which I’ve been sharing recently).

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors

Skull Pass Dwarves in Horde Mode.

By mid-November, I’d actually gathered them up, and selected the figures I was going to paint, and then got into them properly over December. Batch painted, they’re no works of art, but since there were 40 of them and work cranks itself up around November into December, I didn’t get them finished before work broke up for Christmas, as was the plan. All because of their overly-complex sculpted shields. After a few days of rest, I got stuck back into them again, but Marouda bought me Watch Dogs 2 which then proceeded to eat all of my time after I installed it and started playing it. I seriously played for near-17 hours the day I properly started it. From 8am until 1am. Sure, that’s with breaks, but still… I’m almost done with the game now, and I don’t even play it every day to get it done. A couple more hours and it should be done.

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors

Skull Pass Dwarves ranked on movement trays. With a few spares for later…

These were a pretty quick and simple job for me, though every element is still highlighted and shaded, I did so with an intent of making a solid tabletop standard, rather than my usual care. At one point, I decided that I wanted them to look more work and war-weary than some of the others. Like they’ve been on campaign rather than having just left the keep in freshly washed uniforms. This was because I’d been looking at my unassembled boxes of Warlord’s Napoleonic French Line Lancers while washing my brushes (which I’d bought to turn into some sort of not-Brettonian army).

Napoleonics with helmets instead of big hats? Colour me slightly interested…

I got to thinking about how Napoleonic uniforms in miniature form always seem so bright, perfect and pristine when the actuality would have been much more filthy and worn. Like in that Napoleon show with Boromir Stark in it. With that percolating in my mind, I decided to hit them all with a brown wash, but then brighten up their axes, helms and paint the shields last – as I felt that Dwarves would always look after their wargear above all else.

Alec Trevelyan and friends, showing off the always-pristine uniforms of the period.

I mentioned the shields earlier. They were a hassle, and basically the reason these figures weren’t finished in December 2016, which would have broken my 2015 record/target and not caused me to fail to submit in the final month of the Tale of Gamers challenge I ran on Dakka. Of course there were other reasons. Watch Dogs 2 and burnout/exhaustion from working every day of the week for a period at the end of the year, but the shields were the final hurdle.

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors, Oldhammer Norse Dwarf

The Old and the New, united by a colour scheme and shield design.

If I were painting these models with no “history”, I’d probably have simply painted the Hammer-and-Anvil motif a nice bronze, much like the Dwarf-Mask bling on the Standard bearers. The thing is, when I started to paint the models, I realised that the same design was much older, and is featured on the (Marauder Miniatures) Dwarf Shields that one of my old, Oldhammer Norse dwarves has (and I have a few of these shields left to break out). Since I wanted the new to fit in with the old, being from the same clan(s), I wanted to make sure that they matched. Which meant going from a simple paint/wash/drybrush scheme to one that needed 10 different colours/applications. While keeping it simple. When doing it to almost 40 models, that takes time. Bleugh.

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors, Oldhammer Norse Dwarf

My freshly painted BFSP Dwarves, led by an Oldhammerer Dwarf.

What’s next for the Dorfs? Well, I appear to (almost) have a complete BFSP set between the various secondhand sets I’ve purchased. I’m just short the Dwarven rifles, so I’m going to see if I can get another unit or two painted before I burn out on Dwarves…

The Battle For Skull Pass Dwarves.

(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

 

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.

Gondor Army Showcase – July 2016

This is essentially a “State of the Army” post, showing off all of the completed elements of my Gondor Army at present, which I’ve been properly working on over the last two or so years, with a bigger focus during the last 6 months and the painting challenge that I keep harping on about. Models that aren’t yet completed are missing from the photos, so things like the Cavalry units that are part-painted will have to wait for an update down the line. While I don’t intend to buy any more Gondor models, with the possible exception of any new heroes that GW might release or the odd figure to “clean up” and finalise a more difficult unit (Men at Arms of Dol Amroth, Warriors of Arnor etc) I’ve got all of the models for this army in my possession. I just need to paint them!

The army is nominally set up as a Kings of War force, but obviously can be used in LotR SBG, or with a few tweaks in War of the Ring (those bloody bases!) We’ve even used a small number of them in SAGA. Most Minas Tirith/Gondor models generally aren’t very exciting at all as individuals, even with a decent amount of work put into them, but they do have a nice effect ranked up en masse.

I’m not up for a lot of typing right now, so I think I’ll go with more of a “show, don’t tell” for the rest of this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Tale of Gamers Jan-June 2016 – Undead Showcase

Well, the first 6-month Tale of Gamers challenge over on Dakka has concluded, and so I’ll be posting a few pictures of the completed stuff. For the challenge, I pledged to complete (at least) one unit each for Undead and Gondor. A Unit being a troop or regiment, or a war machine, monster or even a single hero model. Here’s what I managed to get completed.

6 months worth of Undead Army painting challenge.

Now an important thing to bear in mind is that the challenge is/was to complete units. This means that models like the Black Númenórean units (to be used as Vampiric Infantry) count, as the heroes were completed within these past 6-months, which combine with the other models painted last year, to form completed units. Likewise the Balefire Catapult crew that I recently finished combine with the actual catapult that I painted last year to make another complete unit. Because it’s as much about motivating the participants (and especially me) to finish off those things that just sit there for ages staring back at us, as it is for starting and finishing the newest shiny – and gives the opportunity to do both.

6 Months’ worth of Right Flank

6 Months worth of Left Flank

I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. There’s essentially enough here to run as an army in and of itself. Sure, it’s lacking in bits and pieces – such as ranged and cavalry – but as (the larger half) of a project put together in 6 months, I’m satisfied.

Mantic Games Undead Balefire Catapult

This update is slightly odd for me. Alongside the unit of skeleton infantry I shared with the previous update, I also managed to finally complete the two crew of Mantic’s Balefire Catapult. The odd part is that I painted the actual Catapult last year, and was sure I’d posted it here, but can’t for the life of me find it posted. This has of course been the final month of the first 6-month “Tale of Gamers” painting challenge that I’ve run over on Dakka.

As they were painted separately and at different times, the iconography of the Catapult is more than a little different to the plain freehand skulls and bones I’ve been giving the skellymans. I actually went for a stylised red eye. (hmm….) in order to allow the actual war machine (sans crew) to fit into several armies aside from solely belonging to the undeads.

The crew on the other hand, were started (well, assembled) at the same time as the Balefire, but only painted recently, more or less in concert with the infantry, so their livery is the more current, developed one that the army has taken on. Painting the crew does of course combine with the catapult to create another completed, finished unit – entirely the point of the ToG challenge!

That’s pretty much it. It has made for a good, strong finish to the final month of the painting challenge for the undead. Especially so, considering I had the painting doldrums and didn’t finish anything at all until almost three weeks in.

June’s “Tale of Gamers” Undead painting contingent.

I’ll get some “6-months worth of Undead” and “6 months worth of Gondor” posts up soon, and then follow them with a few “Army Showcase so far.” posts for my various army projects. Should be a bit of fun, or at least keep me interested for a little while…