Thursday, 13 July 2017

Necromancer

Kulgin Bachensteiner has sought answers all his long life. From the deep, dank forests of RukenWood he journeyed across the Hard Hills to StoneGrave Moor. Here it was that he discovered the long lost cairns and barrows of an ancient civilisation. Within these cold tombs he sought not the tarnished treasure and ancient gems, but dark knowledge........

It's cheesy I know, but somehow it's fitting for a model like this. It's probably some kind of unholy sacrilege to criticise these much-loved classic figures, but I have always found the undead range to have that clunky, 1980's vibe. I did toy with the idea of removing the ridiculously large skull head and sword blade, but in the end decided to go full on nostalgia and just paint it up as it stands.

Painting the necromancer was a reward to myself for completing the zombies. However, as I have no real love for the model, it was a rush job completed in a couple of sessions. It's not my best work, but it's good enough and keeps the momentum going on the Undead project.


Here's a shot of Kulgin surrounded by his mindless minions. As I had my camera set up I took the opportunity to reshoot the zombies, the butcher and the ghouls.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Barrow Guardians WIP

A little progress on the Undead force. These are the Barrow Guardians of StoneGrave Moor. They are the elite troops, the one unit that might actually cause some damage on the battlefield. Originally I had intended just eight models for two Saga points, but decided that three points gave me more options and makes sense from a Dragon Rampant viewpoint - units of elites are six strong in that system.

They are built from plastic Army of the Dead figures from the Lord of the Rings range. A few have weapons from the plastic GW skeletons, plastic shields from Gripping Beast Saxons, plus a few other bits here and there. Nothing amazing or ground-breaking, but they do fit the bill nicely.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Zombies

Two dozen zombies speed painted. These are predominantly plastic figures, mostly mantic with some GW bits. There's also some Wargames Factory historical bits from their Saxon range. The two main characters in the centre of the front row are metal figures from the now defunct Rackham Confrontation series. It's tempting to spend a little more time on these two "leaders" but I am trying to whizz through these figures so will call them done for now.

My aim is to use these figures in several systems. In Fantastic Saga they are Undead levy troops, so two units of twelve - theoretically they could be split into smaller units but I would probably field them big as they are very poor and need the numbers. They would also be similarly used in Dragon Rampant. They could also be ranked up on magnetic movement trays to play mass battle games.

After just over a month I am pretty pleased to have painted up four points of my Undead Saga force - these two points of levy and the previously painted butcher and ghouls. I am continuing with the fleshy elements - some fliers and a necromancer are in my sights. Then I will move on to the bony bits - I have already started the rather tedious task of building a legion of skeletons. Onwards we shuffle!

Friday, 23 June 2017

The Butcher

The Butcher of StoneGrave Moor. You probably recognise this as an ogre kingdoms butcher, at least that was it's title when I bought it years ago. I swapped the head for a plastic one, think it came from the leadbelchers set. I also added a little greenstuff here and there to hide joins. Then it sat in the cabinet for years - I originally had intended using three as Nurgle ogres but never got round to the other two. Now that I am painting an Undead force, I thought it was the ideal model to lead a pack of ghouls. Yes, I may well have played Castlevania at some time in the past.

I am currently working on twenty-four zombies for the force, a task that is testing my resolve to the limit. Any excuse (like writing a blog post) to not pick up the brushes I am jumping at. I can happily paint commission regiments of twice this size, but am very impatient with my own figures at the moment.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

North Star Goblins previewed

I spotted this picture on the Lead Adventure Forum - a preview of upcoming plastic orcs/goblins. These are three ups, master models which are reduced in size - the final versions will have slimmer bases, slightly less defined details. I like the look of these, they are different to the usual orcs available to gamers. I posted some artwork on various interpretations of orcs in the past (here, here and here).

These orcs follow on from the recently released plastic dwarfs and will in turn (according to rumour) be followed by plastic elves. I didn't like the dwarfs much, they strayed a bit too close to the Disney/garden gnome aesthetic for my taste, but it will be interesting to see the elves when they finally surface. I posted a review of the Osprey book on dwarfs (here), though never picked up the orcs or elves books.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

V&V Miniatures Vikings Review

I have been keeping an eye on V&V Miniatures for the past year or so, as they released more and more vikings. Finally, with my birthday around the corner, I gave in to temptation and put in an order. I had read on facebook that they take a while to ship - it was about five weeks in my case, so bear this in mind if you are making an order.

The figures arrive in stout card boxes with the contents pictured on the cover. Each mini is contained in a sealed plastic bag. If you order any loose minis these are placed into one of the other boxes for protection. They did arrive in a soggy jiffy bag (rain is very common around here) - probably a fault of the postman as much as anything - but luckily there was no damage to the contents.

I am amazed at the quality of the castings. They are made from a nice hard resin, with very little mould lines to remove and virtually no flaws - I think I found two inconspicuous air bubbles on the whole lot of twenty figures. That's better than most resin figures I have worked on. You will have to remove the "tabs" from the feet and drill through the hand to receive the weapon on some models. This example also has a head to fit, though most of my models had an integrated head. Note also the lightly textured resin base. I am using two pence coins (UK) for my bases as they give a nice little extra weight for stability on the tabletop and are also handily magnetic. Coincidentally, the resin bases are exactly the same diameter as two pence coins.

The sculpts are wonderful - nice natural body poses, good proportions and an amazing level of detail - how many of your minis have designs on the belt buckles? Or sculpted teeth? It really is incredible how finely detailed they are, certainly the equal of the best fantasy sculpts I have seen and far, far more intricate than any of my metal historicals. Suffice to say, they are now the best in my historical collection, in terms of sculpt and cast.

All this quality comes at a cost of course. These figures are three euros apiece. For many players, this will be expensive, when metals can be had for about half this rate, and plastics can be had for much less. For me, they are worth every penny. If you want quality rather than quantity, these are definitely the minis for you.

Finally, some comparison shots so you can judge the proportions and scale against some other manufacturers. This is the extent of my historical collection, I do not own figures from other manufacturers, so apologies if your favourite brand is missing!

With Drabant Miniatures (metal)

With Foundy figures (metal)

With Gripping Beast (plastic on left, metal on right)

With Gripping Beast Saxon (plastic, left) and Saxon Miniatures (metal, right)
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