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 - not 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.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Heresy Heroes024 Rowan Centaur Archer, Ral Partha Personalities and Things Winged Gremlin and Shadowforge Dark Temple Spear Warrior

Not strictly old lead... a bit of a mixed bag posting, but with a vague ancient Greece theme. The next nuggets to be extracted from the Lead Mountain were the Heresy Centaur and the Ral Partha Gremlin, and as they are small figures I thought I'd post them here at the same time. First up, the Heresy sculpt - a bit stylised, with what looks to be a truncated torso and elongated legs - but its well detailed, and I think it would serve well for a NPC that shows up on a regular basis. A nice and simple paint job, mostly browns and leather, and then the Army Painter soft tone wash did the hard work. Simples! Pleased with the way this turned out. At the same time I extracted the Ral Partha Winged Gremlin. Now, I am not sure that it is complete - I can't find this sculpt on Lost Minis - and I suspect that it is missing a weapon from its right hand. Still, it's still a great sculpt - for something that is nearly 40 years old I think it holds up really well - and it will definitely serve as a generic dungeon demon. This was a lovely mini to paint - a base coat of red, then a wash of GW crimson, then just dry brushing, which really brought out the detail. Again, pleased with the result. The Shadow Forge Dark Temple Spear Warrior is part of an Amazon HOTT army I am painting up, and when I was photographing the minis I wanted something to show the scale of the Ral Partha mini, and that was the first figure to hand. I like the look of Shadow Forge minis, especially their centaurs, although I think that sometimes their sculpting of arms leaves a lot to be desired. I'll post pics of the HOTT army as it progresses.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Citadel Fiend Factory FF12-2 Mountain Giant with Battle Axe Feb 1982

At first, I wasn't even aware that there was such a thing as a Mountain Giant in D&D, but a quick check on Google shows that they first appeared in the Fiend Folio - whilst the D&D Wiki provides a useful summary:

Mountain giants are violent as a result of their history. Banished by their hill giant ancestors, they were forced to drive out the stone giants from their northern ranges. They regularly mock-fight amongst each other. However, they prefer not to start a real fight without a genuine reason (although they will jump into a fight that's already started without hesitation). As such, they may not act anymore violent than an average human on a good day.

So basically, we're looking at a hill giant variant, similar to George - in fact the Fiend Folio illustration looks startlingly like George - but IMHO it looks much more like a Frost Giant, complete with furs, battle axe and Nordic helmet, and that dictated the paint scheme. The paint job was fairly challenging - just a simple base coat of white, then a wash of GW Draaken Nightshade, then lots and lots of drybrushing with various shades of light blue and then white. I wanted to give the impression of the leather jerkin and helmet being cold, so I mixed in some light blue into the usual leather colour, and I think that gave the right effect. The shaft of the axe was problematical - I originally painted it a light yellow brown to suggest pine, but it looked almost too bright, so again I mixed in light blue to a light brown and then added white to try and get a frosted effect.

I don't think its a great sculpt - its a bit static, and there is a definite coarseness about the figure, though nothing as bad as early Asgard figures. Still, I'm fairly pleased with this outcome - it will definitely work as a default Frost Giant figure for encounters. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Grenadier Giants Club 3506 Chaos Giant

Next from the Lead Mountain was this absolute monster of a figure. It is huge - just look at it against a Citadel wizard! As with a lot of the bigger Grenadier models, it suffers from a few problems - some of the detail isn't that great, especially around the hands/claws and the armour, and the base isn't big enough to support the figure without the slightest bump sending it over, hence the large base it now sits on. Worst of all  is the sword hand, which was supplied as a separate piece - the socket to fix it to the arm was very poorly moulded, and it took several goes with superglue and much cursing to get it to fix in place. It was actually quite a difficult figure to paint - the skin is sculptured to indicate scales, but they are not raised, so it was a matter of using a dark green wash and then several sessions of very light dry brushing to pick out the detail without painting over the scaling. The scales also dictated the colour scheme - I ummed and ah'd about whether to go with green or red, and in the end decided that the demon scale loin cloth it is wearing should be red, thus leaving the actual demon green. I went with gold for the armour and weapon, purely because I liked the contrast with the green, and also because I knew it would brush up well as bronze armour once I applied Army Painter soft tone to it. The obelisk came with the figure, and was glued to the base with small stones from the garden, and then dry brushed to blend in with the original figure base. I think is a fantastic pose - just look at the expression, and that foot about to come crashing down! And if the foot doesn't get you, that bloody big sword will. This big guy will definitely see table stop time as the demonic "boss" for any high level dungeon delving expedition.