Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Alternative Armies Very Nasty Things VNT09 War Troll

All this good weather has meant that I have been spending most of my time watering plants and hardly any time painting. I did get round to this chappie though. Now, I like Alternative Army sculpts - I see them as the spiritual heirs to Citadel, as I think they get the mix of oddball humour and unpleasantness just right. This sculpt is a great example - I mean, it is genuinely unpleasant, but it brings a smirk to my face at the thought of unleashing it on unsuspected adventurers. As with all AA sculpts, it was a pleasure to paint - a dark gray base coat, then a blue wash, then dry brushing and picking out the detail. The red really worked well, I thought. Simples! I can see this one getting a LOT of table top time.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Unknown carnivorous giant frog

When you look at a normal frog, one that's only a few inches long, it's easy to forget that the docile green amphibian resting lazily at the edge of the stream is an ambush predator who is secretly a cross between a ninja with a grappling hook and a black hole. When the rare example grows to the size of a horse, however, they remind unwary adventurers that anything can be dangerous. 

This is definitely a late 70s-early 80's sculpt, but it has no base (it rests on its legs and feet) and has no markings to indicate the manufacturer - any ideas? I've scoured Lost Minis and Google and I can't find any reference to it anywhere. As with all early sculpts, the trick is to keep it simple - a base green paint job, with a dark red for the tongue, and then washes and dry brushing to bring out a surprising amount of detail, following by flock and stone for the base. I like everything about this sculpt - it's very dynamic, with the lashing tongue and the raised claw giving it a real air of menace - and just look at the size of it next to a worried looking Shadowforge Dark Temple warrior! To be honest I've always though of this entry in the Monster Manual as a bit of a joke, but this sculpt has changed my mind considerably, and I can see it getting a lot of table top time in the next set of marsh/swamp encounters. Now, if someone can just identify who made it, I'll be a happy man...

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Citadel Runequest box 7 Flying Creatures Manticore

Citadel did some excellent sculpts before they morphed into Games Workshop, including some tie-ins with gaming systems such as Runequest (RQ). Now, I have to be honest and state that RQ was one of those systems that totally passed me by - D&D was and remains my RPG of choice - but I know a lot of people who rave about RQ, and it was mightily popular in the day, so much so that CItadel did several box sets of characters and creatures based on the game. This one of them. It's a lovely little sculpt I
think - in proportion, and somehow managing to convey the monstrousness of the thing - I mean, who dreamt up the idea of a lion's body, with bat wings, and a scorpion tail, and a flesh eating human face? The figure it was a pleasure to paint - as with most early sculpts, it was a matter of keeping it simple, which is why I didn't make the wings a different colour than the body - and dry brushing really brought out the detail, especially around the mane and tail. It really looks the part next to the Shadowforge Dark temple archer, and I can see this getting a lot of table top time.  

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st series 171 Treeman

And next out of the Lead Mountain was this. Now, the Grenadier Fantasy Lords 1st series was very much a mixed bag - some dodgy figures from the old Wizzards and Warriors (W&W) range, plus some new sculpts to tie in with Dungeons and Dragons. This one looks and feels like something what was designed for the W&W range, but has been re-branded - does that face in the treeman remind you of the generic faces on so many early Grenadier minis? As with all early Grenadier figures, the trick is to keep it simple - a coat of brown wash, dark brown inks for detail, and then dry brushing, with just the eyes picked out in a vain attempt to give an air of malevolence to it. The base is just flock. To be honest, I'm not impressed with the figure - it's very static (but then, I suppose trees are... mostly), and there is no indication of whether it could walk or move like an Ent. And there is very little detail, other than the toadstools at the base - no leaves, or vines - just bark and branches and a face sculpted in. Oddly enough, its not even a particularly imposing treeman - look at it in scale compared to the latest Shadowforge Amazon archer, it's almost a large shrub. It's very much a sculpt of its time, and I can't see it getting a huge amount of table top time.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Grenadier Monster Manuscripts: MM73 Rhinshasa and MM38 Iron Bull

I haven't posted in a while - changes in job situation put paid to that - but here are a couple of related mini's I've recently been working on. These are both from the Grenadier Monster Manuscript series, which mostly featured sculpts from John Dennett, although Andrew Chernak, William Watt and Nick Lund also contributed. First up is an Andrew Chernak sculpt, the Rhinshasa from 1509 Monster Manuscript Vol.IX.  I think this is Grenadier's attempt to extend the idea of the Rakshasa (an ugly, fierce-looking and enormous creature, with two fangs protruding from the top of the mouth and having sharp, claw-like fingernails) to animals other than the usual tiger that is used, and to be honest I am not enthused. The actual idea is pretty ridiculous in the first place - a rhino clumping on two legs - and what's with the scimitar/sword it is carrying? Surely the preferred attack mode would be with the horn and then trample a wounded opponent? And the figure itself is a bit coarse, especially when placed next to the latest recruit in my Shadowforge Amazon army. Ah well... out with the brushes. It was actually a very simple figure to paint - base gray, then a wash, then dry brushing in light shades of gray and eventually white, and then picking out the horn and the red eyes. I can't see this getting much table top time at all, and this may get passed on very quickly. Moving on to its companion - NOW we're talking. This is John Dennett on top form - a really good sculpt, great detail, great pose - what's not to like? Again, simple to paint - a dull gray base coat, then a black wash to bring out the detail, then dry brushing in gunmetal and then silver. Simples! I'm very pleased with the way this turned out, and I think it looks great next to the Shadowforge figure. I am setting up a Greek based RPG, and this figure will see a lot of use in it.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Ral Partha/TSR AD&D 2nd Edition Monsters 11-414 Chimera

Before they went bust, Ral Partha produced a set of minis for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition that were amongst the best minis ever produced for the game - they really are that good. This is one of them. Now, I've always been a bit dubious about the concept of a Chimera in the first place - I mean, c'mon, a lion and a serpent and a goat mixed together? Why a GOAT? - but this sculpt handles the concept sympathetically and is really well done. Also, I am not a fan of winged minis - they fall over, take up loads of room, and gather dust like a dragon gathers gold - but I was prepared to make an exception for this one. The mini came in 5 parts - the lion body, the serpent head, the goat head, and the two wings - and it all slotted together really well, with just a minimum of Milliput needed around the joins. After that, out with the brushes, and the various subject matters that make up the figure dictated the colour scheme. The only choice I had to make was the colour of the serpent head and the wings, and as I'd previously had good results with red and yellow, that is what I went with. The figure was a pleasure to paint, and washes plus dry brushing really brought out the detail of the sculpt. The base is just sand painted gray, and some flock. I think this is a terrific figure - really menacing, with a great pose - imagine your tired and wounded band of adventurers finding THAT as the boss encounter. Very pleased with this one!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Grenadier Grand Pack Line (Fantasy Warriors) 9207 Tree Spirit

This mini was purchased with a definite purpose in mind - it is going to be the Behemoth of a Hordes of the Things (HOTT) Wood Elf army, using Grenadier Mark Copplestone figures. To be honest, I wasn't enthused about the figure - it seemed a bit too cartoonish, and didn't have a suitable air of menace. As with many of the larger late Grenadier figures, it came in several pieces, and whilst it glued together well, there were obvious gaps that needed lots of filling with Milliput. On the plus side, it was designed so that it didn't fall over once constructed, so that was a bonus :) So, out with the brushes. The figure had a light gray primer, followed by an Army Painter Dark Tone wash, followed by drybrushing with light gray, then a very light gray, and then a white just for the upper branches. That brought out a lot of the detail, and I started to get a bit more enthused about the sculpt. After that it was a matter of picking out the roots and leaves with dark green and then light green for highlights, and picking out indvidual rocks on the base. I still wasn't satisfied with some of the filling work I'd done, so I disguised it with some PVA glue and some flock, which I hoped would look like moss or lichen, and I was pleasantly surprised by the result. Finally the figure was glued to a 60x60mm MDF base to fit in with the rest of the HOTT army, and the base given a fine coat of sand which was then primed a dull brown, high lighted with green, and then dusted with flock and grass highlights. A lot simpler than it sounds. At the end of it - I was happy with the paint job, but I'm still not sure about the sculpt which - if you'll forgive the pun - is a bit wooden. Still, it looks impressive - take a look at it next to the latest recruit for my Amazon/Shadowforge Dark Temple HOTT Spear Unit - and I am pretty sure it will do some damage on the tabletop, as well as doubling up as an Ent in any woodland adventures for my D&D party.