You'll find a little of everything here. Genres covered in this blog include (so far) prehistorics, fantasy, old west, swashbucklers, pulp, Blood Bowl, Ghostbusters, gladiators, nautical, science fiction and samurai in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, 40mm, 42mm and 54mm sizes. You'll also find terrain, scenery, basing, gaming, modeling, tutorials, repaints, conversions, art and thoughts in general about the hobby.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New 42mm Aztecs available; and other large-scale thoughts

Steve Barber has released his new 42mm Aztec range. I am impressed! I like'em. I won't be purchasing any soon since I've already launched into samurai (and now Gladiators), but if you're looking to get into large-scale figures, I would recommend these. The large scale is easier and more relaxing to paint, and the subject matter will let you pull out some of those unused colors in your palette. And, honestly, you don't need a lot of these for a good skirmish game.

Some of you are thinking, "I can't get into a large scale range. I just don't have the space, or I don't want to get into a new range."
Most large-scale ranges have subject matter that can be played in skirmish games. If you're not interested in getting into a new game, I would still suggest you purchase one or two large scale figures just to paint up. I really do believe painting something larger will help you loosen your brush technique and relax your eyes. And I've found it easier than expected to switch between 54mm, 42mm, 40,, and 28 to 35mm sizes. (Hmm, maybe THAT could be a competition prize on my blog ((see earlier post)); a large scale figure ((or selection of different large scale figures.))

So I'll leave the Aztecs alone for a while, but I will probably partake, later, in a couple of the new figures in Steve's samurai range. But first thing's first; I need to finish the gladiators on my table. Just a few to go (and the next one is also getting the woad tattoo treatment- it's actually easy to do, give it a try!)

Want some Aztecs? Go here! They're in Steve's 42mm ranges. Steve tales Paypal, just e-mail him; he's a nice fellow and is easy to communicate with. He's in the UK but he ships internationally. Don't forget to check out his 42mm samurai and musketeers.

Want to try something a little larger (45 to 54mm), but not sure what you'd like to try? Send an e-mail to Harold over at Blackcat Miniatures. He has plenty of ranges to whet the appetite, and his prices are great for what you get. Harold is in the U.S., but I believe he also ships internationally. This is where I get my gladiators.

(And nope, I'm not getting anything from these guys for recommending them; they've always given me great service and excellent figures, so I'm just returning the karma.)

(Note: I copied the photos from Steve's website; these are not mine.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Drac Mac Syro, version 2

Here's my second copy of Drac Mac Syro (from Rackham's Confrontation.) I felt like painting him before going on to the next gladiator, and threw him together in a couple hours (though, I should probably have spent more time on him considering how much I paid for him ((it wasn't extravagant, but it wasn't cheap.)) But he came out as good as I think I could have painted him.

The theme I wanted to go for was that of an old warrior, his face wrinkled and battered by exposure, his armor and blade all rusted and his hair white; this is a warrior who is left only with experience and will. Gone are the days of charging headlong into battle; this barbarian walks into his fights. He's in no rush-- his poor quality equipment is proof that he is a warrior beyond his weapons, a fighter who's true weapons are wisdom and will -- at this point in his life, he knows he can beat every opponent he faces. Even when he confronts Death, this proud warrior will walk into the fight with confidence in victory.

I have a lot of barbarian figures, and I think this is one of my favorites, mostly because I enjoyed creating a figure around a theme.


It took 3 years to get to 30,000 hits, and that was just a couple/few months ago, and now the blog is up to 50,000 already! And these are actual hits, not pageloads and Google image searches etc.

Thanks to all my followers and readers for making my blog worth something. I'm thinking about holding a contest of some sort for when I hit 100,000. Any ideas for a competition? Prize? Maybe I could paint up a mini as a prize?

Well, I'll have a few months to think about it.

Project update: Next gladiator is sitting on the table, another noxii. I also started painting my Drac Mac Syro (out of turn, but I've been eager to get him painted up- I have a theme/idea for him.)
Everything else that was shown in my "overstretched" post has been primed and now sit waiting on the table. I want to get it all done before May when Reaper releases its little mousling figures which I may have a go at.

Friday, April 23, 2010

54mm Gladiators: Retiarius 2

Here's my second (heavily converted) retiarius. He's got enough tattoos, so we'll call him Woadicus.

Woadicus's trident took two tries to get right; but the net came out on the first try. As I mentioned earlier, this figure uses the same base model as the dimachaerus. I've kept the original head for the retirarius version of this model, which was slightly awkward to paint because prominent eyebrows have been sculpted on the figure.

All-in-all, I'm happy with Woadicus, the painting, the sculpting of the armor on his left arm, and especially the pose with that flying net.

Wings of War minis

I actually painted these a few weeks ago, but since I had these out and my camera set up, I figured I'd take some pics. In choosing color schemes, I wanted to paint up my own little mercenary squadron, something where I could grab one or two of my planes and bring them to a game. These schemes also make it easy to quickly recognize which plane is mine during the battle.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A little overstretched

So what usually happens with me is I finish a group of minis and suddenly have nothing new to paint, so I go about the internet ordering more. Then, suddenly, I have too much to do, as you can see.

The gladiators get first priority. The Doom figures will be pushed off to the side for now (not pictured are the 24 Wargames Factory zombies I'm also assembling for Doom.) There are a couple 54mm ACW figures I need to finish. My second copy of the Confrontation figure "Drac Mac Syro" just arrived. After I've finished the ACW figures (after the gladiators hopefully), I'll try to get to Drac Mac as well as a couple Reaper minis. Then perhaps back to all those figures for Doom.

Yeah. Too many projects. I won't need to purchase any more minis for the next month or two. I hope. But, when you have this many projects all at once, the best thing to do is to just take them on one at a time.

Gladiators: Assembly is finished! I just want to get a couple other things assembled so I can prime the whole lot in one go. The retiarius is coming along well; his galerus turned out a bit rough, but I think folks will be focusing on the flying net too much to even notice the galerus. The quilted arm armor turned out perfect (for me.)

I also added the big beard and hair to one of my noxii figures. He's going to be a fun figure to paint.

Friday, April 16, 2010

54mm gladiators: Progress report

It has taken a lot of work, and a lot of work remains, but the new gladiators are at least assembled. There is a lot of greenstuff work that needs to be done.
My secutor/murmillo didn't turn out as good as I had hoped though, I'm not totally displeased; the thraex turned out about as good as I had hoped (and the arm swap was succesful); and the retiarius turned out much better than I anticipated!

Yes, that net is suspended in mid-air. I don't know how long it will hold itself suspended like that, but that's how I'm going to model it. And should it ever sag to the ground, no problem; that was my original plan. I'm thinking (if I have any), a piece of thin brass rod could be snaked through the net to provided more permanent support, though I'd have to prime and paint the net, and I'm not sure what the primer and paint will do (weight the net down? soak it into a different shape? Dissolve it?) I guess it's more of, "I have this net where I want it, and I don't want to mess around with I any more than I have to."

By the way, the retiarius uses the same base gladiator model as my dimachaerus.

I have a few other non-gladiator figures I need to assemble before I prime the whole lot. Then it's off to painting gladiators! (And a Civil War figure or two.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

54mm gladiators: New recruits for the ludis

I got my latest batch of gladiators, and here's what I have planned for them:

1: This is the figure (originally a murmillo) that I plan on converting into that murmillo-secutor hybrid I talked about a few posts ago. You can't see it in this pic, but I've already began converting the helmet by filing away much of the "face" area, leaving the centerline alone, thus extending the crest all the way down the front.
I'll also be sawing off his right arm (highlighted in green) and swapping it with the arm of the hoplomachus (No. 2) mostly to benefit the hoplomachus who I think has a bit of a static pose. Luckily, the hoplomachus's arm is already separate, so I only need to saw off one piece total.

2: This hoplomachus will be trading in his spear for a gladius so that he can be a thraex. I have at least one of every gladiator type (even retiarius which I'll be getting to) except the thraex (my favorite class), until, that is, this hoplon gets his new armament.
I will also file away as much of his old, small round shield away and replace it with a new shield- something more thraex-friendly. The new shield should technically be square, but I may keep the one shown in the pic- not square, not small, but it's not a full scutum either. Nothing wrong with a little artistic license.

3: This figure I purchased because I wanted to have some fun (that is, even MORE fun than I'm already having with this gladiator project): Remember the big beardy bondi from Foundry's viking range? I'm doing that to this guy. (In the Foundry link, you'll see the big beardy bondi in the lower right corner.) I won't go hog-wild with the greenstuff, but I'll certainly add more beard and hair that is currently on the figure, I'm not sure how much, let's just see what happens.
He'll also keep the axe, but will get the slightly larger axe head shown (as well as a new brass rod handle.)

4: This one I purchased just so I could have another noxii to throw into the arena. I also got him so I could practice a bunch of woad, Celt tattoos which I also plan to paint on the last figure in the image (No. 5).

5: This figure, like No. 1, will also have some extensive conversion work. His thrusting sword will be cut off and the hand drilled out and filed before being given a new net! I'll have the net behind his body instead of being cast forward, simply to reduce the figure's footprint.
Thank you, Josiah, for the medical gauze idea- It worked! You'll notice the new net sitting next to the figure.
The retiarius's other hand (shown separate) will have the sword removed and replaced with another custom-made trident. He will be holding the trident across his body, aimed at the enemy, so that I can use the belly as a second gluing point. (and it makes sense that he'd have it pointed in the direction of the net attack anyway.)
After all that is done, I need to make his some quilted armor and a galerus (shoulder plate) for his net arm. I haven't made a galerus before, so the one that turns out will probably be quite simplified.
As for paint, this figure will be compadres with No. 4, so he'll also be getting the celtic woad tattoo treatment.

So, yes, a lot of work needs to be done before I can even prime these guys. I'll get started tonight and get some work in on them Friday night, but I'm not sure how long it will be until I've finished the conversion and assembly. Dang, I can't wait to put a big-ass beard on the one fella.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What the hell is that?

It's a demon from the Doom boardgame. I finally got around to testing my primer on a couple of the figures including this one. The good news is that the primer sticks well enough; the bad news is that the paint rubs off fairly easily. I'll see what varnish I can use that won't make the figure forever-tacky as is the problem with some soft plastic figures. (The Doom figures aren't soft plastic, but they aren't completely "hard" either.)

This figure took about 15 minutes to paint. It's just three quick drybrushed layers of Storm green (Foundry); a couple drybrushed layers of silver; a couple layers of red to touch up the mouth and add a few details amongst the machinery; a little bit of off-white for the teeth, horns and "eyes"(?); and then a quick dark brown wash within the machinery. Done.

The tackiness won't be too much of a problem; I'm replacing most of the original figures anyway. Instead of the marine figures, I'm using my Bio-suit guys. Instead of many of the monsters, I'm using some of those D&D figures I repainted. Instead of the zombies in the game, I think I'll use some Wargames Factory zombies.

Still, I like these "dog" demon figures, and will try to paint them all up, hoping that the varnish sticks without being too sticky.

Note: If I get a few more of these painted up, I'll try to get some better, well-lighted pics.

Blood Bowl orks in progress

They're coming along slowly, mostly because I'm doing all of them at once, but the Blood Bowl ork team (the plastics that come in the box set) have been fun to paint.

Since they're plastic, and will end up being a "house team," I'm painting these up very loosely. There are no in-between mixes of paints, just straight jumps to the next color up. I'm not paying close attention to where the paint needs to go; Sure, I'm being careful to keep the colors in their respective areas - I'm just not being picky, for example, about getting every muscle perfectly highlighted.
Since I flocked one (the finished lineman illustrated to the left of the main pic), I guess I'll flock the rest.

I won't finish before the new gladiators arrive, and I'll probably not get back to these orks for a little while, but at least they've helped keep my brush moving. I also have some other metal figs on the table that need assembling/converting, but I'm waiting for the gladiators; this week/weekend will be dedicated to assembling and priming the numerous new figures.

New old figure on its way!
I also have a new Drac Mac Syro on the way! I'll paint up the new one without a shield. I'm still not sure how I'll paint him. I certainly want to do something different from the first one. I'm also thinking about adding a cape, but I'm not sure I want to hide those awesome back muscles; I may just keep this figure vanilla.

Perhaps his accessories will be all-metal and his hair gray, the same warrior as I've originally painted, but much further along in his years, and a little wealthier from conquest.

I had also been thinking about adding tattoos, but I'll save that fun for a couple of my new gladiators (I plan on going Celt-wild with them. Should be fun!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some older figures and another "first"

Josiah made a good point, my last few post were picture-free. So here are a few pics of older figures of mine. Included are the rest of my Reaper highlanders (I have previously posted a pic of a few of them, but not all); a few figures from my Confrontation barbarian warband which marks the first (and only) time I tried nonmetallic metal painting. (Those French certainly showed us some new stuff back then, in painting AND sculpting.)

The First: And I've also included a photo of the general of my Warhammer Empire army. Now this isn't the first figure I've ever painted, but it is the first figure I've ever painted with acrylic paints. My first figures were painted with enamels. Ugh- I'm glad I discovered acrylics. This IS the original paint job I put on him, too -- 20-years-old this year, actually. He was in line to be repainted with the rest of the army, but I've decided to keep the original paint on him for nostalgia. He sits in his own little display area away from the other figures.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Unknown gladiator class

So new gladiators are on the way. One should be a murmillo who I want to convert into this terracotta figure (at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, UK).

I first saw it in my Caesars and Gladiators book which says this class of gladiator is unknown. It has the armor of a murmillo, but the helmet is a new type; it's all-enclosing and crested like a secutor's helmet, but has a perforated face mask like that of a murmillo.

The conversion will only be needed on the helmet. It should be easy: I plan on simply drilling more eyes holes then adding a tiny bit of greenstuff around the base to give the helmet a little more of a conical shape.

I'm not sure if I'll keep the old crest, or file it down and add a new crest like that on the terracotta figure, which is a little more dramatic in that it's larger and bisects the helmet from back to front.

In any case, it'll be nice to have a new gladiator class to add to the ranks.

Another figure I will turn into another retiarius. I'm excited about that one because I plan on painting him up like a celt, so it's gonna be woad city with those tattoos!

I also received a couple new Reaper minis today. I'll paint them up during or after this next batch of gladiators. I have one of the newer black orc sculpts and a bathalian pirate fellow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sorry, nothing new yet

...but I do have some gladiators and a couple Reaper minis ordered. I've also purchased some Reaper Highlanders at my FLGS and have begun work on the other 54mm ACW Confederate on my table.

As for that confederate: I tried painting his pants with a flannel/plaid pattern, and I failed miserably, so I've painted over them. I think I will paint this figure with a simple all-gray scheme. I've already put a gray base over the flannel; I should have at least taken a pic of the failed pattern for posterity- oh well, maybe next time.

Among other things, I dug out my plastic ork Blood Bowl team and had a long, good look at them. They're mostly painted; it would just take a weekend (maybe even one good evening) to finish them up. I've had a long week at work (well, a short week but LONG days), so I haven't had the energy to paint. All I have to do is force myself to pick up the brush for just five minutes, and I'll easily be on another painting binge.

"The spirit is willing, but the body is soft and spongy."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Memory lane ramblings

I just had a look through old posts (into October '09). It was nice looking at stuff and thinking to my self, "Hey, I remember painting that one. I wonder why I stopped doing those?"

The samurai were painted just two months ago and not a thought has entered my head to go back, order up and paint some more (though I still may get some more when Steve sculpts some new ones.)

Then there were the Games Workshop sculpts (and then there still are some primed/unpainted Games Workshop sculpts.)

A few Reaper and Heresy fantasy figures here and there between larger projects.

Some folks specialize and paint one genre, one time period, one army. Sometimes I wish I had that kind of focus and patience, but I like a little variety as time goes on. I have a bunch of figures I'll never do anything with, and a general unwillingness to part with them, but I keep buying and painting more even as I look at the older ones and think, "Why on earth did I buy those??"

On some days, I'll look at my collections and wonder, if I could only keep one collection (genre/time period), which would it be? Of course, it's always whatever current project I'm working on (If I could only keep one collection, it would be my gladiators.) But I think about it and then modify my question: If I could only keep THREE collections? or four?

I HAVE given up collections before: In high school, I gave (sold) a friend my Warhammer 40K army to help pay for my new Warhammer fantasy army. And when I got into 40mm old west figures (for playing Gutshot), I sold off my 28mm old west figures.

Perhaps I should change my question: Which of my collections am I willing to give up? Ah, that's a more liberating question.

Perhaps my gladiators: My 28mm Foundry gladiators.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reaper female barbarian shaman

Just cleaning out the lead mountain one figure at a time. Here's Reaper's Rowena, barbarian shaman (2805). I actually started on her before I got my first gladiators; I used her as a test for my new flesh recipe.
I kept the rest of her colors basic and natural, the only bright color other than her skin being the small red eye in the small skull on her stick.