Saturday, April 21, 2018

Talisman Timescape: Archeologist and Scientist

Today I have the first two Timescape figures I've painted. I have a few more in the backlog but not all, and I think I might have ebayed the Astropath I had long ago. I know I have the Cyborg and Space Pirate and one that would do well as an alt-astronaut. Might have the Space Marine and the actual Astronaut.

One thing I learned while writing this post is that these were sculpted by Trish Carden (formerly Morrison). There's an attribution on a color catalog spread. Seeing this, I went back to find attributions for the rest of the range, and I found what I think shows the first 29 figures in the range attributed to Aly Morrison. I couldn't find attribution for later figures such as the Talisman Dungeon group, but I am interested in learning. Anyone know?
Talisman Archeologist

Talisman Archeologist

Talisman Archeologist

Very pleased with how the archeologist turned out and think I drew a good bead on the colors from the illustration. I like having good reference to work from and for someone to have already thought through the colors. Sometimes I'm held up on starting a figure as I decide on colors. It also makes a game of it. How close I can hit the mark with the paints I have. I painted the hat last and with a coat of GW Charadon Granite, it struck a chord with the other three main colors and I knew I had it. Citadel Spearstaff Brown, which is a dull yellow, not brown, is another favorite color that worked great here. As a base for yellows it can't be beat and I'll be seeking this out from Coat'd'Arms when I run out, but still have some left and going strong more than 25 years after purchase!
Talisman Scientist

Talisman Scientist

Talisman Scientist

I made two small modifications to the Scientist. First, I bulked out the back of his head as it lacked bulk along that axis. Next, I made temples for the glasses made from very thin wire (very, very thin wire). Not too much else to say. I followed all the colors of the illustration per usual.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Grenadier AD&D Gold Line WIP

A thread on the Lead Adventure Forum prompted me to gather all the Grenadier "Solid Gold" line stuff I had on the workbench, and this is what I came up with.

Fighting Men and Thieves

Fighting Men, Thieves and Hireling
Some of these are weapon-swaps and/or fixes, for example I fixed the mask the guy on the top second from the left which was skewed pretty badly in the molding process. The female thief was pretty delicate at the ankles and I have steel wires reinforcing her legs, so now she is rock solid. I resculpted the dagger over a wire so it can point out from the body in a natural way. The axe, mace, sword and shield are all from Eccentric Miniatures plastic weapon sprues. I love these and they are perfect for 25mm!

I try to collect one and only one encounter group of each D&D "monster" type, but how would that be possible for dwarves? I don't have that kind of will power. Love these Chernak dwarves despite the ape arms, and they size well with others from Citadel and Old Glory's Ghost imprint (the Ghost one here is actually shortened by me having removed a bit of his legs and repinned him, but I did that before I mixed him in with these and you can see now he's shortest among them).
Somehow, over the years I've amassed this many gnomes, almost all from random assortment ebay lots. I thought about converting some, but decided life was too short, in this case. The king is the one-piece version. There's a Citadel gnome among them, too, a Perry sculpt I'm really fond of.
Some Wizzards and Warriors line "kobolds" are mixed in. The main difference is the kobolds had tiny feet, so you can see I enlarged them (after I primed them). I love that I have mounted and foot versions of the leader-type. Most of the others are stock, except for the one axe converted to polearm, and the helmet of another axeman modified. Also, did you spot the converted Gold Line dwarf? It was a fun exercise matching the goblin faces with a sculpt of my own.
Collecting this many aspis was also something of an endeavor that took a number of years of watching ebay. I think I even have one more somewhere. Also like with the gnomes, I wanted to do a conversion or two, but it would have been a real challenge. I did separate the antennas from the proboscis, though, and add back some details with green stuff. I left one stock, as one with this pose seems fine, but more than one seems odd.
Still to come, I've got one more group I have yet to photograph—gnolls.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

1st Mordheim Building - Laser-cut "Terror Tower" by Flying Tricycle

A table's worth of Mordheim terrain has long been one of my "some-day" projects tucked in the back of my mind. Then recently there were two unconnected events—finishing painting a long-WIP undead Mordheim gang, and wanting to have a go at a laser-cut building—that let lead me to make one of my signature project detours. I actually finished this detour, though, which is less characteristic. And in less than a month, start to finish (mid-Dec to mid-Jan), which is even less-so.

I picked the OOP "Terror Tower" kit from Flying Tricycle (which was released when Mordheim was in print, I believe) and started right in. And after quite a journey, I finished it:

It's a nice kit, even though there are aspects that are hard to explain, for example too many windows without room for shutters, and what are those balconies for. The railings, if  I was to make a railing from square dowel to go around, would also be too low, (plan to come back and do something about them if/when I think of a good solution—or can you think of one?).

There is more detail, or laser-time invested, than the average kit today, most notably the whole of the outside walls beside the visible timbers has been engraved to make the timbers raised. It's also cut from plywood, which is more expensive than the more common MDF. This is a mixed bag as it's great where the grain of the wood aligns with the grain of the engraved wood planks of pieces that represent wood, but less helpful when the grain cuts across the planks the other way, or is mean to represent daub, brick or stone.

WIP shots:

Seems like a unqualified success, right? The thing is, though, it took me 23 hours 40 minutes. 5 or 6 is closer to what I would have liked. Recording all the time you spend on your hobby has its perils, I warn you.

Part of it can be chalked up to learning something new and experimenting. I went to lengths few would think necessary, such as designing, cutting out and installing a sheet of window frames for the inside walls (no engraving on that side, I'm afraid), texturing the walls with acrylic paste (the kind made from powered marble), and texturing and rescribing all the stone and brickwork.

Love the result (do take a look at the high-res version) and I answered my question, can I make laser-cut brick look the way I think it should, but also confirmed that if there's a next time it will need to use a different method. A big part of the reason I went ahead with this is that I take a very long-term view and I want to get a sense of how much time a full-size Mordheim table would take. This experiment proves I need to go back to drawing board and come up with a faster means. I have a few other less-complex resin ruins in the works too, which so far are less demanding.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Medieval Village Workbench WIP

Here's a medieval village I'm working on at the moment. Have had these for some years but they got to the top of the list as I need them for the D&D campaign. All are Vatican / Hudson & Allen light but sturdy foam except for an Armorcast well and unidentified resin 2-story house. Really fine sculpting and, for the most part, casting. The fortified farm does have air bubble cavities in a few places. The Hudson & Allen line are made by Vatican Enterprises. I have a large (multi-set) Hudson & Allen castle to get to some day as well. I've been tempted by the keep and the watch tower on occasion as well, though I keep telling myself not until I finish the H&A stuff I already have.

Some spray paints/primers will eat holes in the foam and partly because of this I put down a uniform black undercoat of Dupli-Color, which I know to be safe. Next a full coat of Rustoleum flat camo dark brown and then a dusting of the Rustoleum flat camo tan. At this point I can use them in a game in a pinch, and can finish them out at my leisure.

Also on the workbench is a Zvezda wooden palisade fort. The party is at such a fort at the moment, and remains to be seen if I can have it ready (enough) for the next session.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Talisman Druid, Pilgrim and Scout

How about the Druid, Pilgrim and Scout for today's Talisman post.

Talisman Pilgrim
Talisman Pilgrim
Talisman Pilgrim
Talisman Pilgrim

In western Europe in the middle ages it was common for people of all stripes to make pilgrimages at certain points in the their lives or others, and we can imagine it to be similar in the Talisman setting. The Talisman Pilgrim, though, seems to have made it his calling, and there's a more specific term for these individuals: palmer.

I'm reading Edmund Spencer's The Fairie Queene and the palmer character therein is the perfect inspiration for roleplaying this particular figure.He follows a knight called Sir Guyon, and takes it upon himself to guide him on the path of temperance and away from such perils as a group of flirtatious nymphs seeking bathing companions.

In short, wonderful, clear inspiration to bring this miniature to life in games (as a follower, rather than PC)! I can see the GM of my Talisman-inspired games providing the same sort of incessant moral guidance, perhaps in the service of some Monty-Python-esque burlesque.

In terms of painting the painting, we are looking at a limited palette of off-white, brown, gray and flesh. The main base color is P3 Trollblood Highlight, a favorite light neutral of mine. I washed it with faint wine-brown made with P3 Sanquine Base before highlighting up to white.

I don't like how his sign turned out. It's supposed to be a piece of cloth or paper stuck to his staff and depicting a black heard. But the size of the nail leaves a cramped space for the heart beneath, which is made worse by a little notch on the bottom of the sign. In hindsight I should have sliced away the nail and puttied over the notch at the bottom, and maybe even enlarged the sign a bit, then added the nail back much smaller at the top. As it is, it looks almost as much like a fuzzily-rendered spade symbol. Maybe I'll fix it.

Talisman Druid
Talisman Druid
Talisman Druid
Talisman Druid

On to the Druid. Here's a character I've always felt a kinship with. The key to the scheme is the periwinkle  robes, and this is set off by the blue sleeves, red belt, and green mistletoe. Thankfully I have the perfect periwinkle, Vallejo Shadow Grey. This is equivalent to the old Citadel Shadow Gray now made by Coat'd'arms and called Shadow Grey there too. The highlights are warm. I can't remember exactly, but they may be flesh tones.

When it came to painting a white beard, I looked at reference pics as a I usually do and noted in photographs a white beard shows almost no definition or shadows. A white beard is generally brilliantly white. Journeyman painters will often apply the same degree of shadow, mid-tones and highlights to each thing on a figure, and in my view this is a trap that painters will have to grow out of to achieve the next rungs of our craft. Understanding the reflective properties of the different materials one is trying to depict is one of the cornerstones of mastery. To get the beard right here didn't take careful shading, it just took conviction and five extra coats of pure white.

Talisman Scout
Talisman Scout
Talisman Scout
Talisman Scout

The scout was a quick one. I think an old GW Dark Angels Green and P3 Ordic Olive were two main greens I used, among several others. Photo reference is a must for me when I paint feathers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

On the Workbench: Scratch-built Violet Fungi / Shriekers

There are a number of nice violet fungi/shrieker minis old and new, but I was set on having a large collection of many different sizes as described in the Monster Manual, and the available figures are all of a single, large size. So, some years back I started sculpting these.

I thought about trying to sell the sculpts to a company, but even though they are sculpted with a mix of Super Sculpy and Super Sculpy Firm (except for one done with Terracotta Sculpy), I still think they may be a bit fragile to cast given the deep undercuts, or at least the the molds would tear easily. I thought about filling in all the undercuts with greenstuff, but am pretty sure at this point they will be one-offs.

I stalled out because the next step is to make these stubs along the bottom, but sculpting them in greenstuff or Milliput seemed like a pain and I didn't see an easy way to sculpt them out of Super Sculpy, since they are already baked as shown here, and glued to bases that can't go back in the oven. I think I have it figured out, though. I will sculpt them in Super Sculpy right on these figures, then put them in the freezer and pop them off onto a bit of foil that will go in the oven. I will number the shrooms and put the nubs in piles starting with one, two, three, etc from the top left. Once baked I'll glue them in place and putty any joins that need it.

I like the process I made for the tops, which was to do them in two halves on a ceramic tile an then glue them together. To have them match up I need to sculpt one half and bake it, then sculpt the other half on the first half, put it in the freezer and pop it off, etc.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

On the Workbench: Myconids

Another WIP D&D encounter group from the workbench. Part of the impetus for sharing is to start holding myself more accountable for the projects I start, keep the projects "in sight," as out-of-sight, out-of-mind, etc., and find encouragement to finish them.


The Monster Manual II tells us Myconids range in size from S to L and from 1-6 hit dice, with only the king having the full 6.

My 1HD small myconids are Ral Partha purchased from Ral Partha Europe. The castings are squashed along the mold axis to the point I had to greenstuff all the caps to make them round again, rather than oval. Really nice sculpts, though, and true to the D&D illustrations and description

I plan to scratch-sculpt the Myconid king, and perhaps a few other tall ones. If I ever put in an order with a company like Hasslefree or CP that makes good Myconids I will probably get a few of those to add.

As you can see, I'm converting some Reaper Bones mushroom men as well. The sculpts leave something to be desired and aren't a very good match with the MM description, and I'm modding them as you see here. I carved away a surprising amount of what I thought was excess mass. One advantage to Bones, though, is you can carve them up with a box cutter without a second thought. I just kept carving off chunks of them from the stomachs, legs, back until I could get them as slim as I could. They are still a chunky type of Myconid, but I figure that will be balanced out by some more slender ones to follow.

I was inspired by this fungoid print by Skinner that I own.

That's all on Myconids for now!