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Sunday, January 13, 2019

Yo Ho, Yo Ho the Pirates Life for me

In early December of last year we returned from Disney for vacation. We have been going there quite regularly since 2011. But what does that have to do with the focus of this blog I hear you say. well as you know I'm a fairly keen terrain builder. So when I was at Disney with the family this last time I spent a bit more time looking around and taking in the architecture. As one would imagine I'm a big fan of the prototype model of EPCOT (Walt's original idea). I also look over Frontierland a lot too as I like westerns as I've outlined on the blog here various times.

But to the point of this post: while riding Pirates of the Caribbean several times I paid more attention to something I have only given a scant thought previous: the skull rock at the very beginning of the ride. The skull is pretty cool and is fully detailed here. I wont go into too much detail as that site does a very good going into detail but I'll cover the basics.



The rock when viewed face on looks like a skull which is pretty cool. As the site listed above notes when you're on the ride, you glance at it and then your attention is drawn to the beach scene just beyond. But the thing is the skull is not a solid piece, its a 3D sculpture.

So when we went through I really took notice of it and when we got back I searched out the site above and from my own recollection. I decided to recreate the skull as as a terrain piece for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. 

I don't normally show Work In Progress (WIP) pieces, but this has come out very cool thus far. Like the sculpture it is based on, from the side the skull disappears and becomes just a pile of rocks.But when viewed head on it appears as a skull.





As you can see as it turns the skull "disappears". Basically the structure is  five rows of foam carved with the x-acto knife to create the effect of the skull.

The materials and tools list is as follows and is not that extensive:
  • White glue
  • R4 residential foam-siding
  • X-acto knife.
  • Sand paper
  • Masking tape and cardboard for the base. Although one section is press-board before I realized I had to make the base larger.
  • Some white plaster Spackle to fill in gaps in the foam pieces and sanded.
  • Black, dark gray, light gray and white acrylic paint (don't use spray paint as it melts foam).
The plan for this piece is to create a small section of water to go around it so the skull will represent a small lake on the Warhammer board. In a way this is similar in the moat I'm working on for my Nippon castle (albeit on an on-again off-again fashion)...

Special thanks to Parkeology for the photos and the break down of the construction. While its not exactly as I remember it and I had to modify to create what I remembered its about the only photo I could find.







Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Dragonerune Minatures- Marauding Ogres

For some reason I seem to have an affinity for ogres in Warhammer. I'm not sure why this is mind you as I haven't set out to collect a lot of them, it kind of just happened. A few months back I was able to procure these ogres off of eBay for about $20 less than the going price after having my eye them since around 2001. What are they? Dragonrune Miniatures Ogre Marauders.

Dragonrune Miniatures was in operations from 2001 to 2003 and closed down in 2003 (source). The minis in question were sculpted by Felix Paniagua and obviously look very much in the vein/style of the Warhammer miniatures at the time; his orcs also are very much same style-wise. While Dragonerune went "belly up" they were acquired by Armorcast and you can still get the miniatures. This makes sense as Felix also worked for GW.

As you can see I have all seven of the minis from the ogre line. I have mixed feelings about these guys, not the minis mind you. They are packed with details and a proliferation of skulls, heads, chests, pouches etc. In fact in a way they echo the Citadel miniatures of the mid to late 80s which I cut my teeth on as it were (In fact the left hand most ogre has orange and white haircut akin to the the ogre on the cover of the 1st Edition Warhammer Fantasy Role-play book). And yes I know the troll slayer on the cover had the orange hair...

Sorry about the digress, I was saying mixed feelings? This was one of those units and/or minis that gave me a lot of grief when painting. What do I mean by that? Glad you asked. By grief I mean they just did not come together in terms of of the colors as I expected. The skin tones were better than I expected, but overall as noted the whole experience left me somewhat perplexed. I'm not sure about you, but this happens to me every once and a while when painting a unit or miniature, it either is a case where it doesn't come out quite like I intended or wasn't as enjoyable to paint.

I did get to work on my black lining of technique to give them a more oldhammer feel and the washes went well. I also gave the weapons a rusty bloodstained look which on the ogre with the orange/white hair and the ogre with the hammer looks good.

Regardless of the outcome I now have yet another unit of ogres for Warhammer and here is what is in my collection at the moment:
  • A unit of three ogres for my 6th/7th Edition Chaos Dwarf army.
  • A unit of three ogres for my 6th/7th Edition Chaos (Undivided) army.
  • A unit of eight ogres for my 3rd Edition Armies which are detailed here.
While all of these guys are assigned to an army and in some cases painted to match the armies or their bases/movement trays they could also be used for Warhammer Fantasy role-play or for other Warhammer armies in Warhammer Fantasy Battle proper.  In the case of the Dragonrune ones I just finished above they are painted with the more neutral brown scheme I use for mercenary forces in my collection. Another use could very easily be in my ever so slowly evolving Dogs of War army.

In the end, I recommend these guys, they are excellent miniatures with a very good amount of fine detail to them. In fact if you didn't know you might be forgiven for assuming they were unreleased GW miniatures.

As a final note I think these are the last ogres I will be procuring for quite some time, although there are still some giant ogres from the Marauder line which I quite like along with some more of the classic lines from Citadel. Perhaps I need to switch to the classic giants! So many choices, limited $, but we'll see. Maybe The Warhammer Giant, but only 1,000 were produced...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Dark Future, Mad Max Meets Games Workshop



Lets get this out right away, Dark Future was inspired by the Mad Max movies (Mad, Max, Road Warrior and Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome). Note: this is hardly a controversial statement and  not one that I ever heard anyone denying mind you, but bears repeating. Back in the day my only interactions regarding Dark Future was seeing the advertisements in Dragon Magazine or the occasional White Dwarf (I didn't start reading WD till around #137). And by the time I could somewhat afford it, it was gone from the lineup and forgotten. One thought also before I go further, why is it that GW once again placed their ultra-violent settings for a game in the USA? I think they were trying to tell us something with Dark Future and Bloodbowl...

This game came back to me a few months back when I purchased a copy of Car Wars made by Steve Jackson Games at the local game store. I got the copy for only $20 so not too bad I thought, but reading through it, holy crap is that game complex. Far too rule heavy for my tastes and very math intense. Now I'm not adverse to crunch heavy games or math heavy, but Car Wars struck me in the same vein as Twilight 2000 in terms of complexity for the vehicle rules. Perhaps a feature of early 90s game design concepts as it relates to cars and the like?

But it was then that I remembered that Car Wars wasn't the game I was shooting for, it was Dark Future! Ahhh well so off to eBay to see what sets are going for? Yeah... looks like I'm going to need to save my gold Guilders for a while, or perhaps go for the "successor game" Gorka Morka? (I'll cover that in a future post). In any event this is one of those ones that's on my radar now, but who knows when I'll get to it. There is something that keeps drawing me to it and I'm not quite sure why, I don't believe its nostalgia either. I suppose its possible to"procure" the rules and use Match-Box or Hot Wheel Cars to simulate it.

Oh and look at that: isn't the internet great? There is a wiki for everything, including Dark Future at Route 666, the Dark Future Wiki. As you can see for a game that had a fairly limited shelf life, it did receive a fair amount of support from what I can gather. Games Workshop did have support for expansions for the game such as the PBS4 Battlecars, but like many of the secondary (late they would get called specialist) games Dark Future fell by the wayside to a large degree by the early 1990s. This coincided with the revamp to 4th Edition Warhammer.

Bell of Lost Souls has more information here on a rumored re-release of Dark Future, but as of late 2018 I still don't see anything on it. EDIT: it appears that the focus was more on a video game release.

I assume if you've read this far you know about Dark Future and probably a lot more that me as I noted I've never played it. Please lend me your thoughts on the matter after some selected photos that graced White Dwarf from the time frame in question, culled from Pintrest and the Lost and Damned site:









Monday, December 17, 2018

Part VIII of the Repainting my 3rd Edition Wood Elf Force

I've actually been busy in real life as well as with Warhammer stuff. Over the last few months I've done lots of work on my Dark Elf force along with my wood Elves I've been chronicling here on the blog. Interestingly I've been working on the Wood Elves in the autumn and the Dark Elves in the echoing their basing choices.

Quick aside: the progress on the Dark elves can be found here. I'll have some new photos up soon of their progress.

As we all know, Wood Elf forces in 3rd Edition Warhammer are heavy with bow armed troops. This also carried over to later editions. In 3rd the compulsory choices are archers of which the minimum to field is 30. Aside from my Skarloc Wood Elf Archers all the bow armed units in the army are the result of the PBS3 -Plastic Warhammer Regiment Boxed Set. I know I've said it before, but while not the best miniatures that GW ever produced they are some of the best value around, even now as everyone and their brother has some spare ones to sell on E-Bay or trade. Additionally, to me at least these "looks like Warhammer to me" in much the same way 3rd Edition Talisman "As I know it."

So with all this here are the units I've completed, not one but two units, 20 strong of Wood Elf archers. As you can see green predominates but I continued with the black and white accenting to tie them into the other units of the army, along with the autumnal basing or red, orange and yellow. This now brings the fire power up to 82; three units with 20 and the Skarloc Archers having 22 in the regimental box set.

The 2nd unit (2nd as in I pictures the first unit here and Skarloc's counts as unit #1 for my army) followed by the 3rd.
















































To close out, I'll also need to get pictures up of my Elven Attack chariot that I painted up for the Wood Elf force, it came out well and I realized I finished it several months back. I now have a sizable force of Wood Elves repainted and have come a long way when they were simply an Ally force for my mega-battle with Dave and Jeff.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Creatures of Chaos- Part II

As fall starts giving way to winter you know what that means for my Warhammer and hobby activity: it begins to increase, or at least my blogging about it does. I have a lot of stuff that I have been completing in terms of Warhammer and a lot already photographed. In particular I have been hard at work on the repaint of my Wood Elf army which is now quite respectable in size. But enough of the heads up on where I'm at, onto the point of this blog entry: Creatures of Chaos.

As outlined in my previous entry on the matter here I purchased all three of the Creatures of Chaos from Langley Miniatures by Andrew Taylor. To recap, these are great sculpts and I was happy to support them; they also have a fair amount of other minis I'm keeping my eyes on for down the road. The minis are created very much in the vein of the miniatures that Citadel/Games Workshop/Marauder created back in the heyday of 3rd Edition Warhammer.

The minis themselves were a pleasure to paint with very few awkward areas. You know the kind I mean: some minis have areas, usually the undersides that are a pain to try and contort the hand and brush to reach to apply adequate paint coverage.

I decided to mount these minis on 50mm by 50mm bases as that would also allow me a fair amount of space to create some decorative bases in the style of 3rd edition Warhammer. By this I mean the look and feel of the 3rd Edition rule book and White Dwarfs at the time with their crazy painted mushrooms, simulated rushes/weeds and the like.

The only real "issues" I had revolved around the paint job of the cockatrice and the chimaera's lion head. In the case of the cockatrice the issue was trying to get the color right so it didn't look muddy or like a dark mustard. As with most photos its kinda hard to see as it shows a shade darker than it actually is. A cockatrice in terms of overall colors isn't quite as simple as it seems to begin with. To help with painting guidance, I did look at the Bestiary in the rule book, the 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monstrous Manual and the painted examples from the Langley Miniatures site,

With the chimera, the issue was trying to find the right balance of the lighter colors.

In the end rather than go with a tawny color as one might expect from a lion, I went with one that was more cream/ivory in terms of the shade making it more of a "white lion" (no, not the hair band from the 80s). At first it was a bit of a pain and was not coming out well. Part of this is because I undercoat in black rather than white. But in the end, like plenty of minis that I have done in the past that I thought would not turn out well I kept at it. And sure enough I got it to a point where it came together. This happens time and again and the best advice is to press on and keep painting!

In terms of use they have two primary uses for  armies in Warhammer. The ones that can make use of these minis in their army list are ones that have, imagine that! Thus they make appearances in my 3rd Edition Dark Elf and Chaos forces as a matter of course.

A few bonus pictures of the project.
For my next post I'll be turning back to my Wood Elf host for the first time in quite a while. Right now the army has expanded quite a bit including the fact that I now have over 80 painted Wood Elf Archers. In fact looking at the plans for the army, I have probably only four more units to go: Elven Lords (Calvary), another Treeman, 3 more wardancers for the second unit of 10 and a few packs of Animal Handlers aka Beastmasters. For these guys my plan is to use animals from the excellent Wargames Foundy Bears and Big Cats.

As to timing of these purchases? Yet to be determined...


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Oh Yeah, that other area of Wargaming- Terrain

(Grrrrrr.... Once again my love/hate relationship with Blogger continues as this hosting platform ate a large portions of my changes to this post and for whatever reason auto-save did not work....)

As summer turns to early Fall here in North America I take a pause from my intensive construction of my Warhammer Nippon Castle and the start of Castle Von Wittgenstein. (as well as numerous Warhammer Fantasy Battle units for various armies) I got to thinking about the overall amount of time that I and I suspect others engage in when it comes to terrain. It is my contention that there probably isn't as much compared to actual painting and assembly of miniatures which is to be expected.This in a way is a sad thing because one of the most rewarding areas of the game in my mind and in way one of the cheapest is terrain. Certainly when one considers the cost of Oldhammer; i.e that almost any miniatures have to be purchased off of eBay and not so nice prices, terrain is cheap in comparison.

When I say lack of terrain, I'm not saying there was none in our games, but rather a decided lack of attention to it  to a large degree. By this I mean buildings, forests/woods, rivers etc,were present, but not large scale projects I mentioned above. Even back in the day when 3rd Edition was the current edition of the game, I don't recall creating as much terrain compared to the gold standard of what we saw in White White Dwarf. Sure, in my gaming group we had the main board (cut into 12x12 sections for ease of transport), some trees, hedges and fences but not much else. Buildings were taken care of by the Warhammer Townscape book, but none of us attempted to create more elaborate pieces.
As an aside: over time I purchased another Warhammer Townscapes Book years ago and since I inherited our old terrain as a gaming group I reckon I have about 1.5 sets of buildings from the two books. I say 1.5 because despite this I don't have all of the buildings due to various moves and some being destroyed over said time-frame.For those not in the know, Warhammer Townscape was a book of card-stock buildings that one folded and glued, looking like this =>

For me the lack of terrain is odd when you consider the totality of the hobby. Even though I saw some of the excellent buildings created by Dave Andrews in various White Dwarf articles, it wasn't until after the heyday of 3rd that I really started constructing my own buildings. But a funny thing happened when I did I start creating them, I did so in a style very akin to 3rd Edition. This is probably not as "funny" when I think about it, for example (Willmark's Homemade Warhammer terrain)

Now, I posted these years ago on Chaos Dwarfs Online and are a slection of some of my terrain and the the style is distinctive, atat the same time familiar. But even with these I still wasn't doing anything too new, as a lot of the pieces were right from White Dwarf (not that its a bad thing).

I guess when you put it all together, terrain is one of the most under represented parts of the hobby (to a degree) but one of the most universally praised? Or put another way, gamers love terrain, but usually the last thing created. This in and of itself is surprising for another reason when one considers terrain is actually one of the cheaper areas of the hobby.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Nippon Warband Mercenary Scum!

That's right as outlined in my thread over at Dogs of War Online I've been working on again/off again on my Nippon mercenary force. I've got a lot of stuff on the bench right now but as we are in the waning month of summer here in North America mt thoughts turn back to painting. So with that I finally finished up a unit for the Warband of Nippon: a unit of 25 samurai.

As with all of the units of this army I'm making them flexible enough to be used in varying editions of Warhammer:
  • When used in 2nd Edition they will be fielded as ashigaru with hand weapons. 
  • In 3rd Edition they fall under Empire as a "Count As" force. From that list they use the stat line for Eratzsolder with light armor and hand weapons. 
  • For a true 5th/6th Edition Dogs of War force? Well... they don't really fit at all unless I used them as Norse Marauders but the base sizes don't really work. With that said I don't really think I can use them as is in any form really as the Core choices for  Dogs of War are pikemen and crosswbowmen. The only thing that comes close for the 20mm bases in the Special Choices are... dwarfs, not really helpful there GW.
So without further delay here are the ashigaru/ronin/lower class samurai as promised. They are not the best unit I've ever painted but considering the stop start nature of them at least they are complete. I tried to keep teh colors somewhat muted for most of the warriors as some later units will really stand out, these guys I wanted less, flash but still painted a few brighter colors.






More details are over at the thread at Dogs of War Online, including what is up next for the army and the Nippon Castle.