Saturday, June 16, 2018

Mordheim Undead Gang

To all you with projects languishing for years on your workbench, I offer hope, for if I can finish my projects, so can you! I'm one of the worst offenders when it comes to open projects, and here's more proof of both my failings and how I'm overcoming them. I started my Mordheim undead gang so long ago I can't remember exactly, but it was some time between 2005 and 2007, well over a decade ago!

Mordheim Undead Gang

I played my first game with these at Kublacon 2018 and Sean over at Sean's Wargames Corner made a great after action report.

As I was making up the gang I was mildly surprised that while the vampire has four special rules (not counting the standard "leader" rules)  but his real supernatural abilities were expressed more in his raw stat numbers. In the game I played he was, in truth, a terror, and people around me with more Mordheim experience than I have confirmed a fearsome reputation precedes him. His minions were taken out in the course of the game but I found myself unconcerned, and as they dropped I had the Vampire charge straight into the fray and assault the opposing leader, shrugging off an assault to his rear and executing his agenda, winning in the end. Not alone, though, but with some strong flanking help from the neighbor possessed gang in this multi-player game.

Reaper Matthias the Twisted, Vampire
I shared the vampire in an earlier post. I realize I probably should have painted his base edge brown for consistency, but for the figure on his own black is more appropriate, and that's the call I made. All I would add is that I have several other vampires yet-to-be-painted that that would also work well in Mordheim, including a standard Mordheim one, a Mordheim courtesan one, and a Warhammer Lamia. Given all the undead figures I have yet to paint, it's not unlikely I'll have enough to make a second gang, should friends and I want to play them against each other.
Mordheim Necromancer

This is a stock Mordheim necromancer. All of these figures were painted over white primer, which is one reason I know they were started in 2007 or before, because in 2007 I joined the cult of black Dupli-Color. While the white probably hindered more than it helped, especially with a gritty undead gang, it did let me experiment with building the leather clothing of the necromancer and gravedigger mostly with washes, glazes and weathering. On the necromancer, the wear on the edges of the leather are actual wear, and rubbed the washes off a little to expose the white. I did an iridescent effect on the skulls, like mother of pearl.

Reaper Gravedigger
Reaper humans are too tall, IMO, to mix in generally with Mordheim figures, but the vampire and gravedigger are conscious exceptions as they fit right in towering over their fellows. The gravedigger in particular is better off for being very tall and slender. Did some OSL here per the demands of the figure, but was restrained about it to suit my own preference for how I want him to look on the tabletop.
Mordheim Dregs: L-R Reaper Monkey, Metal Magic Hunchback, Mordheim Dreg, Reaper Gravedigger
The stock Mordheim dregs are great. Here's one of them, second from the right, and the other is still to go. Can you confirm these are Perry figures? All these years I thought they were, and with older figures, I can spot the Perry style anywhere but the Mordheim figures are their most naturalistic, and show fewer of the signature Perry idiosyncrasies. The Mordheim figures such as the mercenary gangs were the best they ever did for the Warhammer side of things, sort of their swan song. Why I can't recall or tell for sure, though, was there were other great sculptors working at the time such as Juan Diaz.

Along with those I found several other figures from other manufacturers I had to say yes to, and wound up with more than rules allow in a single gang. The monkey is from a Reaper familiars pack, and putting him in this gang fulfills its purpose of existence. It and Mordheim were inexorably brought together. A friend pointed out my Mordheim building needed more fish. I hope I've delivered the fish here! The second from the left is by Metal Magic, purchased from Mega Miniatures when they held the license. He has a minor conversion so he's holding a scratch-made cleaver. Later I got a second copy of this figure to use in D&D, and I thought I had shared him on this blog many years ago, but a quick search hasn't turned him up. Took new pictures of him in a recent photo shoot, though, and have a lot of D&D to share coming up.

Mordheim Zombies: L-R Dwarf, Sister of Sigmar, Marienburg Mercenary
These Mordheim zombies are great, aren't they? These were a later mail-order addition to the range, and I might have got them around the time Games Workshop were making a round of their signature bad decisions, and closing the doors on Mordheim. I recall at the time I was thinking these are Juan Diaz figures, but can't find immediate confirmation here on the web and can't recall if I read that or was guessing. As with the dregs I'd be grateful if you know and could confirm. In addition to these two I have the witchhunter and the dog still to go, and for whatever reasons I passed over the elf and the guy with the wide-brimmed hat. I found a blog post by a fellow painter if you're interested in seeing them all.

Self-consciously, I added a wink to my boyhood self with these zombies.  In a post showing some of my early figures I talked of the pressure I felt as a young painter to use all three primaries plus green. Well... here you are, all three primaries plus green! :D This was funny to me because the scheme overall is so heavy with browns and neutrals, and I wasn't trying to add contrast as seeing what I could get away with in weathering the strong colors down to where they would blend and not break the overall scheme. The figures themselves all but demanded I do this, though, because Sisters of Sigmar and Marienburgers have defined colors, in this case red, yellow blue (and I'm follow cannon except where there is a good reason to break with it). Once I'd committed there it wasn't a stretch for me to decide to go all out and give the dwarf a strong green.


The dwarf has a great hanging eyeball effect I liked so much I later duplicated it with greenstuff on a D&D zombie. For the sister, I used some Walking Dead stills as reference, and that made all the difference in me getting the Sister just right. An awesome sculpt like this demanded some extra investment, and the colors I found using the Photoshop eyedropper were more mauve/murray base than what one might typically think of as zombie flesh colors, and then blue touches to add a death-like cold cast. The eyes have an orange cast.

Reaper Ghouls and Ghast
At the time I suppose I was choosing between these, the Morley 1990s ghouls, the later Paul Muller ones and the official Mordheim ones. I think these may have been new or newish at the time, they were released in '05, and they're by Ben Siens. I don't remember if I had feelings about the official Mordheim ones but for whatever reason, I passed over them. I found a good picture of some painted ones here, if you're interested: http://warhammerfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/File:Crypt_Ghouls_Vampire_Counts_Mordheim_Miniatures.jpg. I'm pretty happy with mine, though. The hair, hunched poses and gruesome visages full of teeth helped clinch the win for these. Ghouls can't earn experience points, so no chance of one of the standard ghouls having "talent" and becoming a hero, which would have been a cool possible entry path to use the larger ghast model. Maybe I'll make a special character for him, and of course I'll use him as a ghoul if I need a third one. Using Tamiya Gloss Red for blood on the snacking one was the final step I did before taking the pictures, and it was satisfying in a cherry-on-top way. Also, did you notice the one minor modification I made to the stock models?
Reaper Hellhounds
Last up are these Reaper hellhounds, or dire wolves, in Mordheim game terms. I was and am thinking of them as black dogs of yore like the barghest rather than wolves. these are by Jason Wiebe and the release date isn't mentioned on the site. For these and all the Reaper figs I followed a laborious basing procedure, cutting the top surface out of the base, trimming the sides of the thick Reaper bases, and embedding the one in the other. In summary, it feels great to polish these off and put them in the case, and be fully prepared for classic games of Mordheim, with figures if not with terrain. Between now and when I'm ready to host games here in San Diego I'll probably have a few opportunities to play with friends up north, as I did at Kublacon this year, and best of all this is one more project crossed off my unfinished list of shame!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Malifaux: Sabertooth Cerebus

Given my old school bent it may surprise you learn I'm nuts about the plastic Malifaux figures. I like everything about them and they scratch an itch other figures don't. 

This is the first one I painted but there will be more. This is from the Claw and Fang box for the Arcanists faction, lead by a guy named Marcus.


Malifaux Sabertooth Cerebus

Malifaux Sabertooth Cerebus

Malifaux Sabertooth Cerebus

Malifaux Sabertooth Cerebus

My plan for these was to have a muted, controlled, horror-vibe pallet after the painter Beksinski and games like Bloodborne. Following the artwork on the box, they will also have blue-green in the shadows or under-lighting. I haven't adhered to the plan entirely and getting them right has also contributed to the project going on to long.

In the meantime, I bought a set painted by someone else on ebay to play with, as I wanted to try the game and life is too short to play with unpainted figures, and I've noticed that bright, vibrant colors are the norm. The dark, horror aspect of the line tends to be downplayed. I'll share those figures in a future post.

However the figures turn out, I plan to go full bore for the Bloodborne pallet in a cemetery terrain set I'm making that is large enough to cover a board, be it for Malifaux, Mordheim or another game.

I decided that game-wise I had to concentrate on one thing if I was going to succeed and I made it my D&D campaign for now, and not sure if/when I'll play the actual Malifaux game again. The community in San Diego is great but the game is played very chess-like, whereas I need immersion to be wholly satisfied with the experience. "Someday" may try some RPG-like short scenarios linked as a campaign with backstory on the interactions between the masters involved and plots afoot in the streets.

Any readers collect and paint the Malifaux figures?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

3 Necromunda Scavvies

I continue to finish figures long languishing on the workbench. With the addition of these three, my scavvies could be put into action, though I'd like to have another scaly and some zombies first. WIP shots of two of these converted figs can be seen in my previous posts on scavvies.
 

Left to right these are a converted Marauder Miniatures scavvy (Aly Morrision), a converted Gorkamorka ork, and a lightly modified Grenadier Future Warriors figure (Mark Copplestone).






Seems I didn't get a pic of the figure with spiked mace before I primed him. At that point I had replaced his hands and weapons and added to his nose and chin to make it clear he was wearing a mask (I don't think that was the intent of the original sculpt). In this pic here I've cut him at the ankles and made him taller, and modified his raiment. After this picture was taken I also added a belt.
By now you know how I am about reference pics. Here's the reference I used for this figure's tabbard in case you're interested. His tabbard is a source of status and the envy of his peers, a relic from the world they're cut off from.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Talisman Swashbuckler, Sprite and Gipsy

I continue the Talisman series with three new figures to share.
Talisman Swashbuckler

Talisman Swashbuckler
Talisman Swashbuckler

Talisman Swashbuckler
The Swashbuckler sculpt is spot on, except he has no mustache.  I have to wonder if it was sculpted and fell off during the molding process. I'm pretty certain this has happened on other figures I have  that have half a mustache, as the only way I can think this could have happened was that the other half fell off at some point. And it makes sense that it would fall off, being a tiny bit of greenstuff sitting atop a smooth surface, probably added after the rest of the face was cured.

I sculpted a new one from greenstuff and thought that letting it stick out away from the face would add a bit of dimensionality that a straight casting couldn't offer. Thin greenstuff is usually flexible and durable after curing. I've sculpted cords with it that are thin and remain flexible after painting. But the mustache here turned out brittle, broke, and had to be glued. End result looks good, though.

Another feature I worked to bring out in the figure is the arrogant way he is literally looking down his nose at his opponent.

Talisman Sprite

Talisman Sprite
Talisman Sprite

Talisman Sprite

Talisman Gipsy

Talisman Gipsy
Talisman Gipsy

Talisman Gipsy


Saturday, May 19, 2018

D&D Harpies

I shared the harpies and the customizations I made previously while they were WIP. Today, here they are finished.



Grenadier and Ral Partha Harpies

I admire both sets of sculpts, the Grenadier ones by Sandra Garrity and the Ral Partha ones by Bob Olley, and what's better is how well they go together, even down to the exact same style base, with similar ground details sculpted on. I'm not sure which came first, but it's as if one sculptor had copies of the others work in hand while sculpting them.

I chose a straightforward color scheme. In my D&D campaign they guard a certain mountain pass and get a lot of sun. I could have got fancier with the wing coloration but kept it dark and minimal, and used vultures as reference.


Ral Partha Harpy

Ral Partha Harpy

Grenadier Harpy

Grenadier Harpy

Ral Partha Harpy


Ral Partha Harpy


Grenadier Harpy

Grenadier Harpy

Grenadier Harpy

Grenadier Harpy

From the time I put these on my wish list it took about five years of patiently sifting eBay listings before a promising lot of either the Grenadier or Ral Partha ones showed up. If you persist as a 25mm fantasy collector for very long you'll learn patience if you didn't have it to begin with. And then, as these things sometimes go, a lot of the other ones showed up, and then several more, and I wound up with at least six of the Grenadier and a dozen or more the Ral Partha ones, as well as several of the single Alternative Armies sculpt Olley sculpted for them in the exact scale and style as the Ral Partha ones. Enough for a good sized unit in a fantasy army. These are the first, but some day years from now I may get around to doing another round or two. In the meantime, five harpies are more than a match for any adventuring party likely to grace my dungeons.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

D&D Scratch-built Ogre

I finally finished the first of an ogre encounter group I started in 2012!


Ogre

Here's how I made him (pardon the crappy picture taken from too close):

Ogre WIP

The body is from a HeroClix "Bi-Beast" figure, with the legs cut and extended either side of the knee. The arms are GW orc arms with green/brown stuff to soften the muscle definition. The orc hands were too big even for an ogre, so I switched them for goblin hands (it was the era of big hands, what can we say). The feet are press-molded from a HeroClix "White Martian" figure. The "warty bumps" are to Monster Manual spec and are just sand glued on with superglue.  I imagined them as something like human keratosis pilaris and placed them in line with this. I sculpted the head and the rest of it.

HeroClix Bi-Beast


Back when I launched my D&D project I gave ogres a lot of consideration, but I had a particular vision of them with longer legs and a smaller head than the figures I was seeing. I don't like the long-running trend of making giant humanoids (except for fire giants) more dwarf like than human figures.

My first thought was to sculpt over Marx cavemen, which I think may have been used in the original games in Lake Geneva. I settled on this bi-beast "chassis," though, which I also used for a hook horror and umber hulks (still WIP).

The base was an experiment that took too long to be practical for other figures. I did a thin layer of concrete patch (which I do a part at time and then let dry or else the plywood base would warp), then green stuff stones as thin as I could make them. Looks great but takes too long. You can see I also changed my mind after initially going with an oval base. The round one is 33mm cut to order.

I like him a lot, especially how the face turned out, but would make a few changes if I did him again. I'd make the legs even longer, give him a paunch, change the ear design a little more in line with the Monster Manual illustration, and maybe do the neck a bit differently. I had put these choices into play in further ogres I'm working on, which I'll share in a future post, though I never made the legs fully as long as I would have liked. In a world of unlimited time and projects I would have a go at sculpting a range not using parts.