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.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

40mm Samurai

Over the past few months, I've commissioned three more figures through Steve Barber Models. I look forward to adding them to my 40mm Japanese collection.
I have plenty of samurai, so the last few (and next couple) commissions have been of civilians. The first of these recent three is a woodsman resting with his ax to the ground, bound with a protective, woven blade cover. All those other samurai have plenty of grimacing and other war faces expressed in their sculpting, so I chose to have my woodsman smiling.

I've also commissioned a peasant women carrying a pack. I always look for opportunities for conversions with these commissions, so the woman will have a separate, empty-handed arm, so that a tool or bucket can be placed in it. Steve and I also talked and mentioned she could be holding the hand of a young child. Always plenty of ideas.

Steve also sculpted two separate different pack options for her: A basket full of persimmons to be sold at market, or a bundle of firewood (with which she could make a good companion piece with the woodsman.) The woodsman also has a separate pack that can probably be used with the peasant woman. So between the pack options and the open hand, you could get three or four of these figures, and convert each one into a completely different personage.

Next up will be a figure commonly seen in most Japanese/samurai miniature collections: The Komuso Monk. Now here's the thing. It seems there are quite a few 28mm komuso (and Komuso in gaming/pulp art) who carry a sword -- one of the monks in the upcoming Rising Tides game, for example. As the legend/myth goes, the costume was a great way for samurai/ninja/operatives to sneak up or observe the enemy unnoticed.

No, I want my komuso to actually be a monk, simply zenning out on his shakuhachi. All my other monks are already armed to the teeth, so I'm letting this fellow walk in peace. No sword will be included.

(Maybe I'm way off course here; Any historians out there? Did some Komuso carry a sword? It also seems, if you're using the costume as a disguise, the sword might give you away. Really, I'm only going on what I've seen -- I admittedly haven't read to much on the subject. But I know enough that the sculpt without a sword will be just fine.)

And here are some more photos of my current collection for you to enjoy :)

Friday, October 6, 2017

The early steps

Except for the 40mm samurai I get from Steve Barber Models, I've only been painting plastic figures these days, and mostly those from board games; it's nice to actually get to use your creations sometimes rather than letting them get dusty on display (my 40mm metal samurai are in a closed case; no dust for them!) 
A lot of these boardgames I've been painting or painted (Conan, Zombicide, Mice and Mystics, Space Cadets Away Missions) have a nice group of heroes and usually a ton of enemy minions to paint. It's the minions that are usually the daunting part to paint.

The enemy minions in Conan have colored bases to differentiate the units.
I'm taking this color and applying it to the clothing to emphasize the units on
the board. This is what my first step looks like when drybrushing the first
couple of layers onto my figures. Later, I will use black to clean up the areas
where there should be no drybrushed color and paint the figures as usual.
The pirate to the left will be blue, and the one to the right will be orange.
Zombicide was easy -- It was just a lot of drybrushing a few layers of gray; 300 figures finished in about 4 hours (over a couple sittings.) With Space Cadets, I went a little more hybrid, painting a monochromatic hue, but painting heads and hands green to add a splash of color to the aliens. Mice and Mystics had fewer minions, so I actually took a little extra time with them (and that collection looks great for the patience.) 

With Conan, I'm using the same drybrushing technique as with Zombicide, but that is simply to lay down the basic/dominant colors. Next, I will use black paint to clean up the edges, and then I'll paint the skin in three or four layers (as per my usual basic technique), and details such as belts, bags, weapons, and such. It will take a little longer than usual, but that first two or three layers of drybrushing the dominant color certainly jumpstarts the process.

And what I'm finding out about myself is that I'm more willing to paint a figure that already has color on it than one that is sitting, covered with nothing but primer.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dice towers

One of the perks of moving into a new (for me) house, is having a little extra space. I have a little space to do some woodworking. So, of course, the first thing I made were these dice towers and tray. The tower to the left is solid (non-foldable) but has some character; the staining didn't go as planned, but it looks old and distressed -- at least in person.

The larger tower has a lot of baffles inside, and gives the dice a lot of action, taking almost one full second for the dice to reach the bottom (that doesn't sound like a long time, but it is. Is it?)

As a perk, in using standard wood sizes (I wanted to cut as little as possible), the tower and two dice trays really did fit together like that. I shit you not :)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Zombicide Black Plague: STILL not done

A game such as Zombicide is great because the zombies paint up fast (at least for me when I paint them monochromatically), and you only need a few characters painted to play -- Ok, ok, you don't NEED to paint anything to play -- but really, you do ;)

I've had quite a few survivors painted -- more than enough to play -- but after introducing Elizabeth to the game, she warmed up to quickly to the gameplay. This inspired me to paint a few more survivors. So here they are along with a few notes and random information.

I still have a score or more of survivors left to paint, but these represent the last of my "favorite" survivors. Elizabeth and I even like to make our own custom characters to take to war against the zombies (that's while you see the random Conan and Bossonian archer figure among the photos below.)

The Critchlow box didn't interest me at first, and then I finished painting it, and now it's one of my top two
(along with the Adrian Smith box)

Elizabeth and I love to take "themed" teams of survivors into the fray, including all-female, armored knights,
and this group of dwarves only. In fact, we've decided this is a whole family -- I forget right now who was related
to whom, but I know that's Uncle Thundergut on the far right.
The Gipi box was my early favorite. Not much anymore, but still great figures. Celia, though, is a great
character to have in a game (she comes with heal, I think.)

Most of our "armored" survivors themed team. Mostly figures from Jovem Nerd, plus Mizar from the Bonner box.

Bossonian archer and Conan -- extra figures I got from eBay specifically to play in Zombicide as custom survivors.
And then there's Gaak who I didn't know how to classify yet. Maybe the dwarves will let him play with them.
I don't own Heroquest, but I own Zombicide. These are various pieces from Conan and Reaper. We actually don't
use the chests anymore as objectives, instead using the furniture as themed objectives. We have house rules on how
to use these (including when there are hidden colored objectives,) but it's too long to explain here; I just wanted to show
off all our fun scenery -- and Blackheart the wizard.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


The basic heroes. Don't tell the Cimmerian I called him basic.
I finally got around to painting my vast collection of Conan figures (by Monolith). Previous large projects (Zombicide, Space Cadets: Away Missions) were approached based on which figures I felt like painting first. With Conan, I decided to prioritize figures based on what I needed to play the base scenarios. The first scenario required Picts, so I counted how many and started painting! I also painted the basic heroes (except for Belit for whom I chose a different figure, at least, than is suggested for the scenario.) I painted more Picts than I needed, but now I can play almost all the pict-related scenarios.  I also painted up Baltus and Slasher -- no game can involve Picts that doesn't have the option of adding that duo (my favorite supporting characters in all the Conan stories.)

A princess alongside Baltus and his companion, Slasher.
Next up will be pirates and Bossonian archers, then some city guard (as well as the random character here and there.) That will complete the base game figures. Then there are kickstarter figures and expansion box figures. Still quite a bit of material, but I hope to get the base game done before my next large kickstarter arrives: Rise of Moloch. Lots to paint there, too.
And here are some Picts!

Pict hunters. I paint the bases instead of using the "clip-ons" to reduce wear and tear.
I don't remember if I need these for the first scenario or not, but I painted them nonetheless.
Hyenas, though, I can't remember where they were in the Conan stories.
Of course, you'll need Zogar Sag to unite the clans.
A mainstay of Conan's world: The giant snake.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Where I've been (Plus: Tokaido!)

The short version
Met a woman. Moved in with her. We paint, we game, we love.

Long version
My prolific blogging on the past stemmed from the fact that I had a dedicated space for photographing completed minis. My girlfriend (her name is Elizabeth) will let me have that space in our home, but with all the new distractions (we love to play board games together!) I just hadn't gotten around to setting it up. I did have the day off and took some photos of a few projects completed in the past few months (not a lot of figures from what I'm used to, but the painting slowly but surely continues.) So I'll be putting together a few posts over the next week catching you all up to at least my more recent projects.

By the way, I do get email notifications if anyone comments on my blog, so I still reply to questions and queries here, so feel free to comment on anything on the blog, no matter how old the post; I'll see it :)


One of the wonderful things about Elizabeth is her willingness to take on new creative hobbies. I introduced her to minis painting, and the first thing she painted were most of these figures for Tokaido. I had intended to paint most of them, letting her choose two or three favorites to paint, but she ended up painting a lot of these while I was at work. It was a pleasant surprise to see her progress through these.

I prepared the figures the same as I do for all plastic figures: Prime with Army Painter (I prefer black), brush on a layer of black craft paint (Delta Cermacoat) to add some tooth and to provide an easy-to-see matte surface, paint as usual. We used the character cards from the game for reference and painted the figures using those colors. The figures turned out great and really take on a quality that fits the look of the game. Elizabeth did great.

We're both looking forward to the soon-to-be-released Matsuri figures for Tokaido -- another set of 16 figures. I expect Elizabeth will paint most of those, too. I have no problem with that :)

By the way, here's the new set-up. Still much the same, and nice and cozy: