Sunday, April 11, 2021

Arch-Kavalos Zandtos - Ossiarch Bonereapers

 Every army needs a leader and for the Ossiarch Bonereapers I painted up one of the named characters: Arch-Kavalos Zandtos!

I got this for my birthday last year from my wife. The box allows you to build either the named character or the generic leader. I liked the look of the one above despite it being the less stable of the two builds. There's not much supporting this model and I can see that transporting it would be a challenge, but the looks cool factor once again won out.

The model was a actually a bit of a challenge to paint. The design theme for the army includes these spirit sculls that make up the "guts" of the models. These are then surrounded by pieces of bone to make a construct. The model really maximizes this by having the bone pieces attach over top of the skulls. The only way to paint the skulls was to paint all the pieces separately and then assemble it when the painting was far enough along. This then made assembly a real pain.

I'm not sure this inner skull design feature is really worth it in the end. most of the skulls get covered up by the rest of the model and it seem like a lot of work for little pay off. A similar effect could have probably been accomplished if the model was designed with fewer components. This just seemed to be needlessly complicated. Someone just starting out in the hobby would have been lost on this model and making the mistake of assembling first, then painting would have probably seen this model hurled across the room! 

I'm trying to churn this army out quickly, so I'm using contrast paints for the bone. This has been faster compared to how I would normally paint them and the bonereapers lend themselves well to contrast paints.

The bone piece here is a separate component that fits over top the skulls. It would have been more forgiving and easier to paint as a single piece.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Goblins in Moria

With this project I was again back to a collection of secondhand plastic figures purchased off of eBay, along with some new metal character figures, as well as some metal goblin warriors and archers that are long out of production. In total I had 12 goblins with sword and shield, 12 goblins with bow, 12 goblins with spear, 3 goblin captains, a goblin shaman, a goblin drum with two drummers, and Durbûrz, Goblin King of Moria. 
All the plastic minis were in good shape, so no repairs needed to be done. After cleaning up any mold lines, the metal minis were glued to their bases using epoxy. Then a few 'boulders' (actually small pebbles) were glued  to some of the bases using epoxy again, followed by a layer of fine sand that was glued to the bases with PVA. Once everything was dry, all the figures were primed matte black using a rattle can.
All the 'rank and file' goblins were painted in an assembly line fashion starting with the skin colour, and working outward from there. The character figures got a similar treatment, but I also painted on yellow eyes with a black slit pupil, as well as any special colours such as the skulls on the shaman, or the bone 'drumsticks' on the goblin drummers. Water based acrylics were used throughout, mostly Vallejo paints. Once completed, everything got a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quick Shade, which has become my 'go to' medium for mass armies. When the Quick Shade was thoroughly dry, I painted the bases starting with dark brown, followed by dry brushing on a lighter shade of brown. The 'rocks' were then painted with a medium grey. Finally some small patches of flocking were added in a random pattern to all bases to match the ground work on some goblins that I had done in the past. Here is the final result.

Beneath the peaks of The Misty Mountains lie many Goblin kingdoms. The greatest of these is undoubtedly that of the former Dwarf stronghold of Moria, ruled over by the tyrannical Durbûrz. The largest and most brutal Goblin in Moria, Durbûrz has risen up the ranks before becoming king, and any who have dared to challenge his rule have been swiftly and callously dispatched. Durbûrz rules Moria with an iron fist and instills great fear in those who follow him. [below left]
Quite where the Moria Goblin Shamans received their knowledge of dark magics is unknown, although it is likely they learned it in the dark corners of the mountains away from prying eyes. Possessing a crude and brutish form of magic, these shamans are capable of whipping their followers into a bloodthirsty frenzy, enabling them to suffer grievous wounds yet still carry on the fight. [below right]

The sound of Goblin Drums heralds only doom and death to those unfortunate to hear it. To the monotonous beat of the crudely fashioned drums the Moria Goblins scurry into battle, driven forth by the constant rhythm. Whilst the sound of bone upon taut skin spurs the vile Goblins forward, the deathly sound strikes fear into the hearts of all of those that know the peril that they now face.

Whether it was through a vicious cunning or just out of brutality, Goblin Captains are those that have risen through the ranks to lead Goblin warbands. Although they lack the martial prowess of other races, these Goblin Captains ae not to be taken lightly, and they are certainly fierce enough to give even skilled warriors pause for thought - if only for a moment. (The figure on the right with the spear is actually one of the metal Moria Armoured Goblin Warriors that are now out of production. I had an extra goblin spearman, and I needed another goblin captain, so he got a promotion.)

Here are the rest of the four metal Moria Armoured Goblin Warriors that went out of production when Games Workshop introduced their box of plastic Moria Goblins.

I also had four metal Moria Armoured Goblin Bowmen that are also out of production. Along with the metal Goblin Warriors, they add some nice variety to the swarm of small, mean-spirited creatures that live a troglodyte existence in the numerous delvings beneath the Misty Mountains.

That completes all my Moria Goblins that were in my 'In' Basket, although I still have two cave trolls to paint, one metal and one plastic. With the re-conquest of Moria campaign that I am working on, I may also have to get myself a Balrog.
Thanks for reading. Stay safe and healthy.

Rangers of Middle Earth

Unlike the majority of my recent Lord of the Rings projects that were secondhand minis bought off of eBay and refurbished, this one involved all new figures. The 'Damrod' figure was purchased new, but I had already based and primed years ago. The rest were from an unopened box of Games Workshop plastic Rangers of Middle Earth, and three blisters of now out of production metal figures that were marketed as 'Faramir's Rangers'.
The plastic figures were fairly clean with only a few having flash or mold lines that needed to be filed off. The box comes with a total of 24 rangers divided into 8 firing bows, 8 wielding swords, and 8 carrying spears, although those not firing bows have a bow slung across their backs. The nine metal figures were fairly equally divided into the four sculpts that were done back in the day, two standing and two kneeling, with each of those either wearing a hood and mask, or not. The plastic figures required minimal assembly. One pose comes with a spear and hand as a separated piece, but the rest have no separate parts. All were glued to their bases using either plastic model glue or epoxy as appropriate. Then a layer of fine sand was glued to the bases with PVA. Once everything was dry, all the figures were primed matte black using a rattle can. 

Looking at stills from the movies for inspiration, I found the colours worn by the Ithilien Rangers had considerable variety, but consisted mostly of dark greys, greens, and browns. Rather than trying to make things completely random, I decided on four different colour schemes, but mixed up the poses so that no two figures that had the same pose were painted exactly the same. The only unique figure was Damrod, which I painted using the images from the Games Workshop website as a guide.
All were painted using water-based acrylics, mostly Vallejo, followed by a coat of Army Painter Strong Tone Quick Shade. Once the Quick Shade was dry, I painted the sand on the base dark brown, dry brushed with a lighter shade of brown, and then added the flocking, shrubs, and tufts of grass. The last step was to spray them with Rust-Oleum flat clear to take off the shine left by the coat of Quick Shade. Here is the final result.

Here is a close-up of the four different sculpts done of  the metal "Faramir's Rangers" to show the four different paint schemes used to paint all the rangers.

Having spent many years fighting Sauron's minions alongside Faramir with the wilds of Ithilien, Damrod is an experienced Ranger in his own right. As Sauron's armies advance, Damrod takes up his sword and bow in defence of Gondor as the forces of Mordor invade the ruined city of Osgiliath, in a futile attempt to drive them back.

I am currently on the hunt of minis of Madril, and Faramir as a ranger, to added some more Ranger heroes/captains to the force. Most of the online webstores don't seem to have them in stock anymore, despite them still being listed on the GW website.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and healthy.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Ossiarch Bonereapers

Age of Sigmar has not caught on with the Conscripts. The psychological trauma inflicted on the other members by the destruction of the Old World is incredibly raw and it may take decades of psycho-therapy to overcome. Rumors of a return of the Old World have not helped and may have postponed true healing indefinitely. In fairness, I was fairly late to Warhammer Fantasy Battles and only got into it during 7th edition. I also had the misfortune of playing Bretonnians, which meant I only knew failure on the battlefield. The army was also never again given an update in future editions and contributed to what was a truly lackluster gaming experience. Don't get me wrong, the destruction of the old world was shocking and I found the first edition of AoS less than inspiring. However, things have progressed a bit and the model line has some of the best minis I've ever seen (and some truly bizarre ones like flying sharks!). They also gave up on the 4 page rules skirmish game idea and are going for large scale battles (although still less complex than Fantasy). I've thought about collecting an AoS army for a while, but wasn't sure which one to start. When GW released the Ossiarch Bonereapers, I knew I wanted to collect them. I love the idea of undead constructs imbued with souls of long dead warriors and the notion of them forgoing the destruction of a mortal settlement in order to extort the populace out of their very bones, is entertaining.

For my birthday and Christmas last year, my wife and daughter got me an assortment of models from the bonereaper line. I wasn't able to assemble them in time for the challenge, but with that over I've finally been able to get a few units assembled and painted. First up are a unit of Mortek Guard. These are the front line troops and make up the bulk of the army. This group of 20 is armed with swords, but they also have the option to be armed with spears. I painted the bone using GW's contrast paints and I'm pretty happy with the results. For their armour, I went with a bronze age colour scheme to make them appear ancient and from another era. The spirits imbued within are a collection of warriors from across time, blended together to make the ultimate soldier.

The army relies on it's named characters for powerful magic, but they do have a few basic mage units to help buff the army. The first of these I painted is the Soulmason. He rides around in a giant walking chair! In the fluff, all the constructs have souls, including the chair! Failure in battle is rewarded with being transferred into the body of a lesser construct, such as a mount, walking chair or maybe even a bidet! Anything you can build out of bone I guess.

Progress to going well with these guys and I'm hoping to complete a few more units this month. Perhaps some day in 2022 I can put on a game of AoS with these guys for the group. GW even makes AoS rules for Bretonnia, allowing them to get demolished in another fantasy game setting!

Painting Challenge XI Final Submissions

 The painting challenge ended a few weeks ago, but I wanted to post the final submissions on our Fawcett blog. I completed some more Alpha Legion and Minotaurs.

I managed to complete 732 points worth of stuff for a 46th placing (out of 84)! This is by far the largest amount of stuff I've painted in one of the Analogue Challenges. Considering that, I'm amazed at just how much stuff some of the participants were able to paint.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer Lord on Mighty Lammasu!

Wow, now here's a blast from the past... a Games Workshop Chaos Dwarf Sorcerer mounted on a mighty Lammasu! My first big "army" project - nearly 25 years ago - was a Chaos Dwarf army for Warhammer Fantasy Battle.  

Affectionately known to the Conscripts as the "Big Hats", the Chaos Dwarfs were kin to the Dwarfs of the Old World, albeit twisted and mutated by the Chaos Gods. Having migrated thousands of years ago from the southern lands to the Mountains of Mourn, their empire spans a vast plain known as Zorn Uzkul, or the Great Skull Land. The Chaos Dwarfs have turned the skull plain into an industrial hellscape, crowded with vast factories, open pit mines, and mammoth red-hot forges echoing with the cacophony of pounding hammers and the screams of tortured slaves. 

The change wrought by Chaos upon the Dwarfs opened them to the influence of magic, and the leaders of the Chaos Dwarfs are great and powerful sorcerers. The race worships the Chaos bull-god Hashut, Father of Darkness, and consider their magical affinities to be their dark gift from Hashut.

However, the influence of magic on Dwarf physiology invokes a dark curse. As Chaos Dwarf sorcerers grow older and more powerful, their bodies gradually become more stone-like and immobile - gradually turning the sorcerer into a living stone statue. The main avenue of their capital city, the obsidian ziggurat of Zharr-Naggrund, is flanked by ranks of stone statues - all that remains of great and powerful Chaos Dwarf sorcerers.

Sorcerers sometimes ride into battle astride a mighty Lammasu, believed to be a mutation of a Great Taurus, itself a massive winged fire-breathing red bull. The Lammasu is possessed of a keen intelligence and breathes not air, but the Winds of Magic itself! 

Mutated Chaos Dwarf? You can see the resemblance...

Sorcerer getting ready to do his thing.

So this model has a long history of sitting primed in a drawer! I think I got my Chaos Dwarf army in a huge mail trade back in 1997 or so (I traded a load of Mutant Chronicles models for it and got more Chaos Dwarf models than I'd ever need). The Sorcerer Lord on Mighty Lammasu came in its box and while I assembled and primed it, it had never been painted... until now. Hopefully it won't take 20 more years to get it onto the table, but the way things are going, you never know.

Final Painting Challenge Submission - The Guns of August

12mm early WW1 Germans - figures from Great Escape Games.

My final post to the 11th edition of Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge shared a new project - after all, don't we all need a new wargraming project? Yes, of course we do! Thus I present my first brush-bending efforts toward gaming "The Guns Of August", the early days of WW1. All of these figures are 12mm castings from Great Escape Games, released as part of their "1914" rules. 

Example of some of the infantry castings.

This base includes a commander (pointing, you know, as all good miniature toy soldier officers do).

A view showing the kit being hauled by the infantry.

For many years I was indifferent to gaming WW1...the need for bespoke trench terrain was a particular deterrent, and even if that might be sourced, well, the lads go over the top, and get drilled by machineguns and artillery...not much of a "game". But the Fawcett Avenue group in Winnipeg are resourceful folks - Dallas obtained a set of fantastically amazing WW1 trench-board terrain, and hosted many excellent games playing the adapted Warhammer rules for the period available from Warhammer Historicals. And Byron dove in as well - you can find his painting efforts here on the blog, and he hosted many excellent games of "Through The Mud And The Blood." And of course Curt has his very complex and unique WW1 greyscale project that we have been able to enjoy on the table on several occasions - and he even has a Lovecraftian twist to it!

Close up of some Uhlans. Very stately poses...

Another view of the Uhlans.

You can dismount the cavalry, of course! Here is a base of dismounted Uhlans. Was there ever a more awkward uniform for skirmishing on foot?

So in the end I have been able play a fair number of WW1 games, and enjoyed them immensely, without ever stepping into the period myself. But, at Curt's suggestion, I did read Barbara Tuchman's remarkable book "The Guns Of August" about the opening weeks of WW1. What fantastic book, and a rip-roaring read!! While I had been dimly aware that between the declaration of war and the stalemate that developed in the Western Front trenches there had been...well...something...I was stunned to see just how much happened, and just how incredible it all was!! The Battle of the Frontiers, the hectic holding actions, the desperate race to save Paris, the absolutely f*cking bonkers Schlieffen Plan, the tragedy of "cran"...on and on. Wow! From the moment I tore into that book, about three years ago now, the idea of doing something myself set in WW1's early days started to bubble in my head...

An MG08 base. I wish they had included some crew for these weapons, but the "1914" rules call for a 25mm square base, and I suppose there would have been no room...

Fast forward, and the fine people at Great Escape Games released "1914". It is a rules system with many similarities to their excellent "Iron Cross" (WW2) and "Seven Days To The River Rhine" (Cold War goes Hot) systems.  I resisted for a while, but finally caved in an ordered some figures. They are 12mm castings...thus a slight departure from my recent 10mm mania...but I have enjoyed painting them very much so far, and the range is pretty complete for the purposes of their rules, if a bit short otherwise (for example, I wish there were more crew on the MGs and field guns, but anyway...)

The 77mm gun visible at the corner...

The figures in these photos represent about half of one of the "brigade" boxes for their "1914" range.  The level of abstraction in this game shares many similarities to "Great War Spearhead", in that each base represents a company of infantry, a squadron of cavalry or 1/2 battery of guns. Thus an infantry battalion would be between three and four bases (or maybe just two, depending on where things are at!). The box comes with enough infantry for four different four-base "battalions" and a four-base "regiment" of cavalry - mounted AND dismounted - along with MGs to accompany all of those units. There are also two 77mm guns (all together, one battery) and figures for a command base.  You get the figures and bases all's a great way for a geek like me to dip my toe into the water!

77mm gun. Again, I wish they had included more crew...I've still a lot to learn about WW1 guns, but I'm pretty sure there were more than two chaps slinging shells to keep these things in action.

Another view of 77mm gun and team.

This is my first attempt at painting WW1 stuff, but I am really enjoying it so far. As with all Painting Challenge stuff, I was so sure I would get more of this done before the deadline for the end of AHPC XI, but as things worked out I only managed to get started on these two weeks ago.  All the same, I was able to make a decent start and post this as my final entry to AHPC XI.

Regiment of Uhlans - note the one fellow on the very right of the photo - his lance broke off in the bag, so I had to drill out the hand and replace it with a steel spear.

Good animation on the commander. "Get moving! Have you seen the stupid schedule we need to keep?"

The final submission for AHPC XI. Cheers everyone.

Thanks for reading everyone - I hope to share more photos of this project as it progresses over the spring and summer. And I do hope to put on a game of "1914" for the guys when I visit Winnipeg - after all of the great WW1 games they provided for me, I would like to return the favour. Stay safe, and stay sane!