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.

Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade

After a week of not being able to find my camera, and therefore given the option of using my newish phone for photos (sorry, Samsung, you’re not quite there yet) instead, and also not quite sure what I had taken in the last batch, I’ve found it last night!

This fine fellow is Citadel’s Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade, originally released a few years ago as part of the Vampire Counts line, he survived the transition to Age of Sigmar pretty much intact, now being a part of the Deathrattle sub-faction faction of the Death Grand Alliance. Or to those of us who don’t much care about all of that, he’s a cool looking Wight model. Like, I’m not a guy who hates AoS. The system is fine, and the models are as great as ever (generally!) but the background doesn’t do much for me, so I mostly ignore it.

This lord has an impressive cloak. I don’t usually highlight strong colours to white or near-white, especially when using colours as opposed to shades of grey, but this cloak seemed to warrant it as a rare example.

He’s based on a 40mm resin base from Back-to-Base-ix. In retrospect, I think he’d “fit” much better on a 32mm, but he’s been mounted and part-painted since before 32mm based were a thing, and I wanted the resin base to elevate him to more of a hero status. I’ve also used round bases on my fantasy models for aesthetic reasons since long before AoS was a thing, and since heroes in KoW don’t have a facing, I saw no reason to consider changing. The crimson flowers and grass tie him in with the other heroes in the Undead army.

The only strong colour on this model is really the red, with the sword having a blueish tint that marks it as a magical blade, rather than simply an old, corroded one. Perhaps it glows blue when Orc-kind are nearby?

(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

 

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000) – (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

My final entry for May in the painting challenge. Not to be confused with the “update” – the 2015 End Times/Age of Sigmar model: Neferata, Mortarch of Blood. This is the original model, circa 1999-2000. Sculpted by either Colin Grayson or perhaps Trish Carden (Morrison) or Aly Morrison, it was released to compliment the first edition of Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts, for 5th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Leonard the Cat

I bought this figure sometime around then to paint as a gift for Marouda. The fact that she came with a cat familiar was a significant factor in doing so. As readers of the blog would know – I like cats. Anyway, fast forward more than a decade, and the figure still had nothing but a base coat of a green dress, and so recently I got off my fat arse and decided to paint and actually finish the pair of them.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Neferata’s side view. Leonard is ready to defend his liege.

I didn’t really worry at all about painting Neferata “correctly”. My only concern was painting her as a good looking vampire model. Due to her size, she got transferred to a 32mm base. I went for a deep red dress. I considered adding some fancy swirls or the like with silver as embroidery, but I preferred to concentrate on the transition from deep shadow at her feet to a highlight at the hips and breasts. My challenge was highlighting red into “light red” without going into either orange, yellow or pink. I think it actually worked pretty well, actually. Her pale almost-white skin was shaded very slightly with red and purple, though I’m having some contrast issues with these photos as I get to grips with my new camera.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Neferata and Leonard’s rear view.

The cat, Bastet, originally had a tiny skull on his forehead which got carved off, to make it a little more cat-like and leave space for Leonard’s forehead “star”. Bastet has now been taken over and renamed Leonard. The slight satin sheen of the varnish has had a nice (intended) effect on the fur where I’d only highlighted very subtly. Because it’s black fur, not grey or white.

Neferata, Queen of Mysteries and Bastet (2000)

Have one more photo.

Clearly, Neferata will make a perfectly good Vampire Lord for Kings of War, perhaps even using Lady Ilona’s profile.

Don’t mess with Leonard!

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

Following on from the initial regiment/dozen Zombies that I painted last month, I started a follow-up regiment at the end of last month. The idea being that they could be used as two regiments – or more likely – combined into one horde (by keeping the regiment trays together). They would have been finished on the first weekend of this month, but instead I got them finished last night after work.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

More Zombies!

This mob has been painted in much the same manner as the first dozen. Some coloured base coats, Army Painter washes (mostly purples this time), a bit of highlighting, then the clothing in a dark grey, washed with black/brown and then picking out the eyes, teeth, bone and wounds. Then varnish, flock, and Blood for the Blood God to finish.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Something, something Zombies.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Putty for intestines, and snapped off limbs leave a bone-like protusion.

The first dozen were essentially painted with what I can lazily refer to as “green”, “pink” and “grey” skin. This second batch can be summed up as “yellow” and “purple”. After being photographed on their own to show off, these guys have been mixed with the first batch to give a bit more variety. Once I start the third batch, whenever that turns out to be, they’ll primarily be another two skin tones. At that point I’ll do “brown” and “red” (or something) and then in turn mix those in with these guys. That was as I continue to paint more zombies, the overall variety will increase over time. I’ll probably take a bit of a longer break before I do the next two dozen, though…

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

A bit of bloody paint splatter makes a nice final touch.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Another dismembered zombie, and one that’s just a pile of viscera.

These models are probably the nicest of Mantic’s undead range – I’ve been finding that their skeletons are far less fun to paint than I’d expected – but the limited number of parts is less than ideal, so I’ve mixed in a fair few of their Ghoul parts.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Temporary unit shots, showing just these twelve.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

And the reverse shot…

The unit shots of these guys were just taken for this blog post, as right afterwards, I mixed the models from the two zombie units so far, in order to mix the skin tones up a little more.

The completed Horde of Zombies!

 

And here they are!

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

In much the same way as I’ve grown sick of painting plastic Gondor dudes over the past few months, I’ve grown equally sick of painting Skeletons. As the time counted down for April, I happened to spot a pair of Zombies sitting randomly amongst the painted undead out in the War room. I’d painted the pair one weekend last year after seeing them randomly sitting on my painting desk, partly-done. So with absolutely no randomness this time, I grabbed out a couple of Mantic’s Zombie (and one Ghoul) sprues, clipped a few off, cleaned up the bits, and then assembled them, attempting to build as many unique figures as possible while bringing the total to 12. Not all that easy, as the Mantic Zombie sprue is pretty limited. The parts from the ghouls aren’t a terribly hard kitbash, but I did find that the kits weren’t designed with inter-compatibility in mind when they were originally tooled and sculpted. Mantic weren’t all that forward-thinking at the time, I guess.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Zombies!

Now, we all know that a mere dozen Zombies isn’t all that many, even when reprsenting “20” on a regmient base. I reckon I’ll slowly build up a tarpit unit of Zombies, a dozen at a time over the course of whenever I feel like painting more zombies. I know I could churn out a ton of decent looking ones very quickly via “the dip”, but somehow I managed to really quite enjoy painting that first pair last year, so I decided to paint them via brush instead.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Zombies hunger for the flesh of the living.

Having said all of that, the Army Painter Washes did most of the heavy lifting. After basecoating the flesh in various mixtures of Vallejo Model Air: Sand, Aged White, Duck Egg Green and AP Camo Green and VGC Off White for flavour. Then AP Purple Wash, Green Wash and some Lahmian Medium. For the rags I continued with the “army palette” of dirty dark grey to stand in for black, rather than a more realistic various shades of brown. Once again, I mixed up some greys, this time adding Sand for the hightlight mix colour, so as to avoid a monochomatic grey. Dark Tone AP wash to finish off.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

These three Zombies have already acquired their lunch for today.

Next up was painting in the exposed bone and various bits of exposed muscle and offal, then lightening or blackening the edges of some of the torn flesh as I felt appropriate. Did the “lunch” portions of those who have been dismembered by the zombies in slightly “fresher” skin tones, and then did a little work picking out teeth and eyes and hair. I added a bit of bruised skin via additional brown-purple washes on many of the models, though it’s a bit hard to see in these particular images.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Mantic’s zombies are limited, but being HIPS, offer versatility.

Finally, I matt varnished them, and once dry, went in for a bit of fun with the Blood Effect paint. In this case, Citadel’s Blood for the Blood God.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

A dismembered pair…

I think the most surprising thing about these guys was just how easy and more importantly – fun they were to do. So much that I’m tempted to start another unit of 12, which I’ll them be able to combine with these guys into a horde.

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Zombie regiment on the warpath!

Here’s the traditional regiment shots. Another use for these models is to use them for Zombicide Black Plague. I’m tempted, but the fingers on them are pretty fine and fragile. When I was clipping and assembling them I’ve already managed to break a few off – so I just painted the stumps bloody – fits zombies, anyway – but with the amount of rough handling the Zombicide models get, it might not be such a good idea to use these guys in the game…

Mantic Zombies, Vampire Counts, Zombicide Black Plague, Deadwalkers

Yep, this unit was very much an enjoyable time.

 

 

Painting Skeletons – A Warm Bone Tutorial.

Like great men everywhere*, I’m always happy to share my methods and techniques when asked. In this case, Imperialrebelork asked me if I could share how I paint the bone on my skeletons and other undead, and as I had these guys coming up in the queue, they provided me with a perfect set of models to use as an example. It’s a pretty simple system. Pretty much base coat, two down and three up.

*Note – I’m not calling myself a great man, just saying that like great men, I’m happy to share. 😉 – OR AM I?

Cleaned model & Primed model.

The first thing was the usual. Cleaning the models. In this case, a mob of 22 metal “fir bolg” skeletons from Brigade Models. I’d have taken a photo, but I forgot and it doesn’t really matter. Unpainted bare metal models glued down to plastic slottabases. Not a huge stretch of the imagination, amirite?

Now usually, I prime skeletons white. I know a lot of people prefer to start dark, but I’m the opposite with skellys. In this case, I did something a little different to my normal way. I recently asked Marouda to grab me some spray paints when she went past a local hardware place. I’ve been using Several Shades of Grey on some scenery projects that I haven’t yet shown, and also asked her to pick this one up for me, as a trial for undead.

White Knights Squirts – Gloss Cream – AU$7.45 from Bunnings.

We all know that GW cycles through a bunch of different coloured sprays for basecoats every few years before losing interest and discontinuing them, and Army Painter cans are popular. Both cost around AU$30 on average last time I cared enough to look. This can was less than ten bucks. I’ve had mixed results with Army Painter and Rustoleum on models, but nice cheap White Knight seems to come through every time. It’s good stuff. I’d have been happier with matt, but it’s a base coat and I’m going to seal them when it’s all said and done anyway, so whatever.

After their spray with White Knight

Now usually, I spray prime white, then I paint all of the bone elements of the model with Old-GW “Bleached Bone” or the equivalent. (Ushabti Bone, Vallejo Bonewhite, etc). – for something different, I gave this paint a test, and it looked just fine. No problems with coverage, etc – so I did the whole lot in it. Except for one model who fell down on my desk that I missed – Little bastard! Since it’s a spray it didn’t manage to hit every little bit, so the choice is to tidy up with Bonewhite (as I use the Vallejo) or respray depending on how much is missed.

A choice of bone basecoats

Assuming that you don’t have a local source of cream/bone coloured spray paint, or just prefer not to, these are a few paints that would work just as well. I’ve never used Flayed One Flesh and am unlikely to since I’m quite happy using the last of my old-school bleached bone and the Vallejo Bonewhite – the same paint I use for touchup after the spray.

With and without the first shade layer.

The first shade layer is applied with a very-thinned “Snakebite Leather” or equivalent. Lately I’m using XV-88, which – despite it’s ridiculous name – has a colour and consistency that I like very much. Often when painting over traditional paint I use saliva to thin the paint. I drop a little drop of clean saliva (no bubbles) into the palette and a drop of paint next to it and then draw them together. Saliva has a slightly more “elastic” quality to it than mediums be they water, Lahmian Medium, Windex or commercial acrylic medium. This allows better control with the brush when moving it around on the model. Blame John Blanche and a very old White Dwarf’s “Blanche Itsu” article.

All of these paints are effectively "Snakebite Leather" for the first shade layer.

With these models, I used windex and water. The nature of having used a gloss enamel spray can for the base coat meant a much smoother finish to the models than if I’d painted them with white primer followed by acrylic miniature paint. As you can see above, the flow was smooth, and white there are a few tide marks left in spots like the shoulder blades and near the arm joints, that’s fine – they get fixed later. You can also see that as well as going into the recesses between bones and joints, the wash also stains the bone slightly.

Second layer of shading – almost a lining exercise. After (left), Before (right)

The next step is the second layer of shading. I use a very dark brown paint – and again that can change from batch of skeletons to batch. Once again I thin the paint right down via either saliva or various mediums. This second layer of shading is something I’ve only started doing in the last couple of years. Might have even been last year, but I think it adds nicely to the final result – though I guess it’s optional if you’re wanting to get them done a bit faster. This time, I shade only between specific bones. Between and underneath the ribs, and then I do major joints. So elbows, knees, hips, the jaw, sometimes between the fibula and tibia (lower leg), sometimes between the radius and ulna (forearms). I also line between the fingers and toes but not the metacarpals and metatarsals (the bits of our hands and feet usually covered in skin). Sure, it’s not especially realistic to have the fingers defined but not the metacarpals in a skeleton but it’s a visual look that works since we’re used to looking at fingers and toes.

This Model Air paint: 71.041 Tank Brown – is my current go-to. I had to write the number on the label after it wore off the main part.

The important thing here is to keep the second layer of shading to joints and holes, etc only. We don’t want to be staining the top layer if at all possible. I do go over the mouth and teeth area, as well as the nose, eye sockets and a very subtle-thin bit in the sphenoid – where your temple is behind the eye sockets/orbitals.

Any of these will work. The AP is a bit lighter though, so would be my last choice.

Now our two layers of shading are done – the “two down”. We do our three layers of highlighting – or the “three up”. The first layer is the same bone that we used for our basecoat, as seen up the page. Thin it down nicely (saliva recommended) and then carefully overpaint the bones in spots where they’re raised – leaving the lower and most recessed bones untouched. This is where we start to neaten up the tide marks and other messy bit left by our two layers of shading. The first layer of highlighting is essentially restoring the base coat colour to the model where it’s needed while neatening and leaving the shading that we want to keep.

L-R: No highlight, Layer 1, Layer 2

The second layer is pretty simple as well. With a lighter shade of the same colour (or add white) we highlight more of the edges of the bones, top and sides of the skull, the parts of the ribs at the forefront of the model, the spinal column, the raised portions.

L-R: Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 3

Finally, the last layer is done with an almost-white paint, and here we only paint the top of the skull and facial details, the very tips of fingers, and upper and outer edges of bones and joints. The tips of the spine. I use a very fine brush here to pick out individual teeth. You can see it most easily in the pic above on the ribcage and the skull.

A selection of highlight colour options. The Vallejo are 72.101 Off White and 72.098 Elfic Flesh

The two colours I use here are both Vallejo Game Colours: 72.101 Off White and 72.098 Elfic Flesh. At this point it’s a matter of painting (or finishing) any cloth, armour, weapons or other junk being carried around by your Skellies, sorting your bases, and you’re pretty much done.

I are finish! (this image is unfortunately a bit overexposed/washed out)

Now this method isn’t going to win any Golden Demons or Crystal Brushes, but it’s a relatively quick, easy and simple way to get a “warm bone” look, uses a limited palette of 5 colours and I’m happy with the results. It’s even simple enough that I can manage to chip away at it in my lunch breaks at work.

Another batch painted using the same techniques, photographed with different (better!) lighting.