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.

Friday, December 11, 2020

40mm Jousting Knight

When you buy one of these, you get all of this!

Such a great figure from Steve Barber Models, this one kit can be used to build several variations of a jousting knight (at the 40mm scale). I commissioned this piece a year or two ago and was not disappointed with what Steve sculpted for me. (By the way, need a mini sculpted? Steve Barber has a commission service that has very reasonable prices, and he is willing to sculpt anything from 10mm to 54mm. Check it out!)

Now, this figure does take some expert modelling skills to assemble, and there will be some seams to smooth out and a gap or two to fill, but the result is rewarding -- it's also one heavy miniature; that horse is almost solid metal!

My first knight -- a little too vanilla, but I'll
try something a little more intricate with No. 2

I also asked Steve not to add too many folds/wrinkles to the mantle over the horse so that painters could have a nice large swath to paint whatever heraldry they dared tackle. 

"What on earth can I use a 40mm jousting knight for?"

Well, I commissioned this piece so I could play some jousting game(s). Sure, there are plenty of 28mm knight minis already on the market, but since a jousting game takes up such a small footprint, I wanted to make it almost a display piece in its own right, so I bumped the knight up to 40mm. Now, he's small enough to store away easily, but large enough he can sit on a shelf, look great, and gather dust. Some day, I want to add some more customization elements (helms, shields, crests, new lance, lance decorations, new horse pose etc), as well as foot knights, servants, squires, heralds -- basically, everyone else who worked at tournament. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Playing new old games: Qwik


My wife and I have quite the board game collection, as well as a few tabletop miniatures games. She always says, rightly, that we shouldn't buy new games until we've played the old ones. So I've been looking through the old collection and finding all kinds of fun games that I have played (and that have graced this blog before), but that we BOTH have yet to play together: Space Hulk, Blood Bowl, Dreadball, my own Machinas, and this little gem: Qwik.

Qwik is a post-apocalyptic sports game (by Two Hour Wargames) based on the game, called Juggers, that is central to the Rutger Hauer (and Delroy Lindo and Hugh Keays-Byrne AND Vincent D'Onafio!) movie: "Blood of Heroes." The best way I can describe Qwik is Quidditch without the brooms and the snitch, or rugby with weapons, or maybe field hockey with gladiators? Check out the wiki for it; there are actual leagues of this game around the world.

Incidentally, Qwik is not the name of the sport, but the name of the most important player: the qwik, who is the only player on your team who is allowed to handle the "ball," which happens to be a dog skull. There are the "drivers" who batter and attack the opposing team's qwik, as well as the "chain" who does the same but with a little more reach. That's it: Five players, one skull and one dirt-hard field to litter with bodies.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Playing new old games: Dreadball (and vs Blood Bowl)


I've owned Dreadball since the beginning, having backed the first Kickstarter campaign in 2011-12. I even posted some blog entries here as I painted the teams.

I played it for the first time a couple weeks ago. When I met my wife, I learned that she loves co-op games, and enjoyed competitive games, but not necessarily "take-that" or fighting games. So I figured she wouldn't like Blood Bowl or Dreadball, both of which I owned but were in mothballs.

As the years went by, we started playing more and more of those competitive, take-that, and fighting games, culminating with Adrian Smith's "Hate." Then the Harry Potter: Catch the Snitch Kickstarter campaign popped onto the scene and I thought that would be a fun game to play (and my wife loves the Harry Potter franchise.) But I remembered I already had a couple "sports" games, so that was the catalyst to dig those games out from hiding.

We tried out Blood Bowl; the rules took a a little bit to get back into, but after a few turns, we had things in hand. Verdict: Wife liked it -- it was nothing special, but she enjoyed playing it. Next we tried Dreadball. Verdict: She loved it! She already (after one week) has her sights set onto creating a Mechanites team, though she's also enjoying playing her human corporation tea.
I've since forgot all about the Harry Potter game.

If you haven't played Dreadball (and/or have played Blood Bowl,) here are a few comparison points between the two games:

Dreadball Hobgoblins on the same team try to one-up each other
and will punish each other for failure. I love it. (art by me!)


-- Both games have a "tackle zone," (Called a threat zone in Dreadball.) In Blood Bowl the zone is all the squares adjacent to the player; in DB, it's only the three hexes in front of a player. Both games require some sort of test to be made to be able to evade out of one of those zones.

-- Blood Bowl and Dreadball, a player's turn ends mostly when you drop or lose the ball (or after a score,) though, in Dreadball, if you fail an evade test, you can keep on going. So it's a little more high-stakes in Blood Bowl.

-- If you drop the ball in both games, it will scatter, and a player who is able must try to pick it up.

-- There are a large number of teams and stars/MVPs to choose from in both games. Blood Bowl has 21 official teams and 23 Star players. Dreadball has 29 teams and 67 MVPs and team captains. Both have the requisite humans, dwarves, elves and orcs. Blood Bowl expands on the fantasy races with Chaos and Undead, for example; Dreadball has more aliens, such as the the Judwan, Mechanites, and Sphyr, for example. Both games have large player options.

-- Both games have team-building, and league rules, along with coaches, cheerleaders, and player development and injuries.

My beloved Iotacorp Rockets -- my first Dreadball team.

-- Blood Bowl: After a score, you re-set a players to start a new drive.
-- Dreadball: After a score, players do not re-set as a new ball is launched (and woe to those who forget to move out of the way of the ball launching area!)

-- Blood Bowl: Game play is a little slower, more methodical. Sometimes, it might take multiple turns (dirves) to score
-- Dreadball: Game play is more freeform and faster, with scores possible almost every turn (rush.)

-- Blood Bowl: You can pass once per turn.
-- Dreadball: You can pass as long as you have activations or free turns remaining to do so.

My first Blood Bowl team: Wood Elves

-- Blood Bowl: Every player gets an activation.
-- Dreadball: You get five "activations" per rush -- and each player can be activated up to two times (or three if you have a nearby team captain.) If you roll particularly well on some "tests" (passing, catching, evading etc.) you are rewarded with a free run, throw, slam (tackle) etc.

-- In Blood Bowl, the fans will try to hurt you if given the chance.
-- in Dreadball, the fans will cheer great plays; and you can "collect" those cheers to inspire you to do better in the game.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head; I'm sure there are more similarities, but if I had to choose one sports game, I'd go with Dreadball. Though, Blood Bowl still has a place in my heart even if it's only for the nostalgia.

Monday, November 30, 2020

How to paint 5 o'clock shadow


Painting 5 o'clock shadow is easy: Paint the affected area gray. If you wish to highlight the shadow area, add a little bit of your base flesh color. Boom, Bob's your uncle... Hey, I actually do have an uncle "Bob."

This technique can be used for 5 o'clock shadow as well as shaved heads (such as the pate on a samurai or the short growth on a monk.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Other painting: Mouse Guard fan art!


My wife wanted a painting to hang in her office, something grand, something big to fill a large space on one of the walls, something with a lot going on, or at least some details to be discovered. 

So I settled on a Mouse Guard theme, a series we both very much love. For our honeymoon, we went to Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, and fell in love with the scenery, so I chose a vista from the park as my reference for the background of this painting. You can see the tiny patrol mice in the lower portion of the painting crossing at the rocks. 

The painting is 36" square and only took 8-10 hours using acrylic paint. I wish the paint dried faster, then I think I could do it in 6 hours :)

Friday, November 20, 2020

40mm Samurai terrain objectives


This is old stuff, but I wanted to re-post it since I took a new photo of all of my terrain objective pieces together. I won't get into how I made all of these, but I believe the base sizes are 120mm, if you were thinking of having a go.

I haven't added much to the collection in the past couple years, except for a couple new travellers, a samurai and a couple ashigaru, all of whom need to be assembled and painted. The collection isn't complete, however; I have two or three unfinished commissions yet with Steve Barber; once those are done, I will probably make one more big purchase -- a few more Ashigaru to complete some warbands for Test of Honour, and a few more civilians, enough to fill up the streets of a post town. I think it's about time to bring the Samurai collection to a close.

This peasant, complete with custom-hammered
yari, was the first figure I completed for my
collection of samurai by Steve Barber Models

The commissions I have left are an unarmored samurai commander/lord on his horse, a boy leading a supply horse, and an ashigaru in campaign dress (extra sandals hanging from his belt, rice rations wrapped around, a furoshiki slung over his back, and a weapon (your choice) resting over his shoulder.-- I plan to get a half dozen of them to form a small column with the commander and a supply horse or two.

The very last thing I want to add to the Samurai is a (scratch-built) tea house/inn with a fully furnished interior. I'm still busy with many other projects (miniature and real life,) so even though I say this collection is coming to a close, it is still far into the future :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Zombicide Dragons

 I had finished the necromantic dragon (on the right) a few months ago, but only recently finished the feral dragon (on the left.) 

Both dragons were heavily drybrushed in layers (going from dark to light). To add some vareity to the skin tones, I drybrushed some purple, trying to blend the edges as best I could into the base skin color below. I blocked in the boney plates (drybrushing the highlights) on the necro dragon and the metal armor on the feral dragon. Then the details (teeth, eyes etc) were added carefully later. 

We like to create themed teams for Zombicide,
such as Santa and his Elves.
They make quite the display on the Zombicide (Black Plague) board, and add an element of gameplay that isn't too overwhelming. My wife and I looove the Zombicide series; despite its shortcomings -- lack of variety in missions, simple gameplay, repetitive nature -- we still love it for its co-op nature, and as a vehicle to allow us to field epic characters, moving, slaying, and laying waste to the hordes of walkers, runners and fatties. 

We've even made several custom characters -- including cards -- to add to our collection, which is still not yet finished being painted (but it's close!!!) Her favorite survivors/teams are the dwarves, while my favorites are the barbarians and bug guys. We're also partial to elves and good old-fashioned, run-of-the-mill, medieval fighters. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Status update

(The Tyrant from the game Chronicles of Hate -- 
just to show everyone I'm indeed still painting :)
Hello to all my patient, patient followers. Just a quick update: Yes, I'm still painting minis, in fact, I've painted more in the past 6 weeks than I have in the past full year! Part of that is because I lost my job after 17 years at the newspaper. And while it was a little bittersweet, I've moved on to my next endeavor as a freelance illustrator! 

I've already done work for Hydra Miniatures (doing the back covers of the War Rocket and Retro Raygun rulebooks), and I'm doing ongoing work for Test of Honour (2nd edition) by Grey for Now Games. I also have a few pieces in the scenario book for Space Cadets Away Missions (many of which you can find in this blog long before the art was published.)

As part of going freelance, I've created a website where you can view example pieces of art and request illustrations. Check it out, pass the word and share the link! And yes, I will still try to update this blog, too, at least more so than I have in the past few years (I still need to set up a mini photo studio).

Here's that link:
I hope you enjoy the art!

One more -- the Um'Gra tribe from Hate:

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Zombicide Invader teams

Here are a few of the core and expansion box teams from Zombicide Invader (as well as the companions and a few extras we've finished in between.)
The great thing about most of these minis is that they were painted by my wife; she has picked up much of my slack!

Sorry for the over-exposure on some of these; while my wife seems to improve her painting every day, I have yet to figure out the settings on my iphone camera :) 

Test of Honour 2nd edition

WOW! Has it really been a year and a half since I last posted?! Well, now that I think about it, the subject of this post does seem to coincide with the beginning of that time period (well, then there was also a year of wedding planning and then those couple months taking care of the wife after she broke her arm).
Back in November 2018, I received a message from Graham Davey asking if I would like to illustrate the 2nd edition of the tabletop samurai skirmish game, "Test of Honour." Draw samurai? Hells to the yes! I completed the first 20 or so images for the core box in a month. And then have been receiving requests for several different samurai and factions since then -- maybe 75 different illustrations plus a score or so of promo art I did for free because I wanted to have some more fun.
This marks my first fully-paid freelance job, and how sweet it is that I get to draw samurai as if I was still in the back of the classroom of my high school art class doodling samurai.
Since then, I've also been asked by Hydra Miniatures to provide a few illustrations for their upcoming miniatures game, "Atomic Tank." In the past I've also done some fan art for Space Cadets Away Missions that were published in the rules and kickstarter scenario/art book, but I wasn't paid for those. Still, I think I can consider myself an official board game illustrator :)
Anyway, I HAVE actually finally got back to painting some miniatures -- for Conan (by Monolith), Rise of Moloch and Zombicide Invader (both by CMON.) And I hope to be able to do more soon.
In the meantime, here are a few illustrations I did for Test of Honour. (I can't post anything from Atomic Tank yet since that game has yet to be published.)
Maybe, if I get just enough energy, I'll post a photo of some more minis painted these past few months....

Note: This is based on an American Civil War painting. I did this one as a tribute to that original composition.