Painting Chaos Warriors (GW Space Crusade)

After painting my Genestealers, I got my Chaos Warriors ready from ‘Space Crusade’. At this rate, I may end up painting the Space marines too!

The five figures – three standard warriors, one with a heavy weapon, and a commander were all simple black plastic. The three marine squads in the game are blue, red and yellow. I didn’t want black painted figures. I wanted the detail on these figures (which is quite good for a board game) to be noticeable, and decided on green as a contrast to the actual marines.

Space Crusade is the closest I’ve ever come to playing anything Warhammer 40,000, though I have read a fair number of novels. So, I don’t really know (or care much) about chapters and colours. Oddly enough, a little bit of digging on the web turned up a renegade chapter of chaos space marines with a basic colour matching what I was planning on. (Green isn’t a popular colour apparently, and I only found two separate posts with painted figures.)

The Children of Purgatos: Their Power Armour is painted emerald green trimmed with gold. They often decorate their armour with images of golden flames projecting from their armour’s golden trim. A renegade Chapter of Chaos Space Marines of unknown Founding and origin, that was declared Excommunicate Traitoris for reasons that are not listed in Imperial records.

I could have tried hand detailing flames on armour plates, but as it is I’ve spent a lot of time on them over a week and I’m very pleased with the results.

 

Star Wars painting finished!

It’s taken me three years to finally have all of my Star Wars boxed figure sets painted. (3 boxes of 10) I started with Stormtroopers back in June 2017. Of course, I’ve owned these figures for just over thirty years! This weekend I decided to just get the last few finished, regardless of anything else happening. They have been on my desk/painting tray for way too long.

From the 1988/89 25mm figure sets released by West End Games (sculpted and cast by Grenadier) here are:

SW25 Zardra (Bounty Hunter from ‘Tatooine Manhunt’ adventure)

SW28 Boushh (Leia in disguise from ‘Return of the Jedi’)

SW29 Rebel Merc

SW80 Kid

and…. I have absolutely no idea who the male with a blaster is. He’s not actually meant to be in any of my boxed sets! His base says Ral Parth 1988. He fits in perfectly with all my Star Wars figures and I hadn’t realised until today he wasn’t one. I guess someone gave him to me at some point. My best guess is shadowrun. If anyone has an idea, I’d like to know!

EDIT: A friend helped find him! #20-963 Battletech, Dropship Crewman – Marik.

Most of these sat around because I didn’t have an idea of how to paint them. Boushh was easy and finished back in July, but I couldn’t come up with a colour scheme for the others. In the end I went with simple stuff and haven’t fussed about detail. They aren’t aliens, and if they are used in any of my games it’s likely to be as NPCs standing around in the background. So, no fuss, no highlighting, no eye detail, done. I did enjoy doing the female rebel merc, once I decided to paint her in camouflage. Hers is the only figure I spent a lot of time on.

This leaves seven figures on my tray, but I expect to double that once something arrives in the mail this week. This will also mean the tray is full of stuff I want to paint.

My Little Scythe #2 – Painting board game figures

Another four figures painted for the board game “My Little Scythe”. My mate and I managed to workout a way to exchange figures during stage 4 restrictions. (It helps when someone is a nurse working at a hospital very close by.) A pair of monkeys and muskoxen. The monkeys were fairly simple to paint. The muskoxen are carrying a lot, so there was a bit more to do with them.

The only tricky part with any of these figures has been getting to the lower bits of the figures – like behind robes/cloaks, and the bottom side of jackets or pants. The figures are standing low on the base, and there’s not much room to get a brush in underneath. The only complaint raised with my painting (from by the young lady receiving these) has been that the “girls” should have eyelashes. Otherwise they are “so pretty!” I did consider eyelashes, but even on figures this size, that a stretch for my skill and brushes.

Eight painted and six to go: wolves, tigers and bears… oh my!

RPG Settings… and Shadowrun Australia

“A setting is the time and geographic location within a narrative, either non-fiction or fiction. The setting initiates the main backdrop and mood for a story. The setting can be referred to as story world or milieu to include a context beyond the immediate surroundings of the story.” (Wikipedia)

Settings can be as important as the game itself that you are playing. They can define the type of game you are playing, the expectations that the players have about the game and what sorts of elements will be encountered within the game. If your players are familiar with that setting, they may get more out of the game as they recognise some of the things they see, or have knowledge about a place, a legend, or the history of a thing encountered.

This isn’t always the case, and it can depend on your players, and the type of game. Personally, I feel the setting is most important to the GM, as you are the one putting the game together and both the setting and the game rules help you structure everything. It’s not always as important to your players.

Say I start a new D&D fantasy campaign, regardless of edition/version. I can choose to run my campaign in Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Golarion, Glorantha (who says I have to play Runequest?), Middle-Earth, Westeros, the Discworld, or Foraldoorei. (The last doesn’t exist, I just made up a name.) I may impose race/character restrictions, or limited magic items, or whatever I choose to better suit that setting – but in this case the game edition sets the rules, and the fact that it’s D&D pretty much sets the tone/style of the game.

My current D&D campaign is set in Greyhawk. I’m quite certain that only one of my players really knows anything substantial about the Greyhawk world (and he knows FR too), a few may know some Dragonlance, Westoros and/or Discworld. Most of them don’t know Greyhawk and that doesn’t effect their enjoyment of the game. If there’s history/legend/detail that they need to know, they will either find it, or I’ll give it to them if they research, make a Knowledge roll, or ask people who would know.

Our Gamma World campaign is set in north-eastern America. This is only because I started with published adventures (Famine in Far-Go, Legion of Gold, Mutant Master) that happen in a specific location. I could have easily chosen Australia and started near Melbourne or Sydney – just changing names and drawing my own maps (or ignoring large scale maps entirely). When you are gaming in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, one devastated country is much like another.

I have ideas for a Call of Cthulhu campaign set in England in 1922. I’m much happier to run this set in the UK rather than America because I know the history and culture of the UK. I own good maps of the area – I’ve been there and seen it myself. I’ve never been to the USA; I don’t understand their politics, I know little of their history and it’s too big a country to know much about specific areas that are the main focus of published CoC adventures.

When a game is set in the real world (past, future or alternate reality), there is a much greater chance that all your players know something about that location they are in, especially if it’s their country, or another major country like America, Australia, Canada, China, the UK, etc. It can make it easier on the GM because you don’t have to tell the players as much about what’s happening – you can assume they already know most of it.

This whole post has come about because I’m looking at a new setting for Shadowrun. My group has gamed perhaps once in the last five months, and that likely won’t change for at least another month. I’ve spent a lot of time writing up single session games using a variety of RPG’s and settings. One is Shadowrun (3rd edition), set in Canberra, Australia based on the ‘Olympus has Fallen’ movies. I really like the 10 sample characters I have, and thought it would be fun to keep them for other one-session adventures. While I don’t think I’ll actually run a SR campaign, that hasn’t stopped me starting to build an Australian setting. If I have details on a few decades of alternate-history/future, notes on what has changed, and little things like an alternative to Lone Star, then I can easily run published material based in Melbourne or Sydney.

Published SR material on Australia seems to be very basic. I did find someone on Reddit who put together a heap of material for an Australian campaign, mostly based on a Mad-Max wasteland. I’m slowly working over his material (13 pages long) to make changes that suit my idea of future Oz. It’s not so desolate. Lake Eyre is a freshwater inland sea, with both the Simpson and Strezlecki deserts now fertile plains. ‘Alice’ is the new capital of the Northern Territory. The ACT is gone, Canberra is now on the border of Victoria and NSW. The only known people in Tassie are at research stations in the ruins of Devonport and at Port Arthur.

I’ve spent time on the weekend making a map of the Republic of Australia in 2050, and here’s basic timeline of what I’m working on:

2010 VITAS.

2011 UGE. Mana storms in central & eastern Australia. Tasmanian tigers reappear.

2021 Goblinization.

2022 Lake Eyre expands outwards and the Northern Territory becomes a ‘First Nations’ state. (After the Great Ghost Dance & Treaty of Denver in the Americas, things don’t get as nasty here.)

2023 Following earthquakes, more manastorms, and political negotiation, state borders are redrawn.

2026 Tasmania abandoned as the wilderness comes alive. Storms, buildings collapse, wildlife attacks.

2029 World-wide computer virus, Matrix Crash.

2030 The Republic of Australia formed.

Afterthought: If Covid-19 is anything like VITAS (Virally Induced Toxic Allergy Syndrome), do we get UGE (Unexplained Genetic Expression) next year?

[Following incubation, initial symptoms include fever, chills, and vomiting. If unchecked, VITAS progresses into anaphylactic shock, with an increase in histamine levels causing bronchospasms and vasodilation. Most deaths occur from bronchoconstriction, leading to suffocation.]

“If only I knew someone who could paint…”

I’ve just finished four figures for a board game that I don’t own, and have never played! “My Little Scythe” is essentially a children’s version of the 2016 adult board game “Scythe” – both of which have nice figures to use. A mate recently stocked up on some board games to play with his daughter and this was one of them. Soon after getting the games, he told me about them, and figures, etc. His email ends with “PS Scythe has some nice miniatures, and a painting guide for them. If only I knew someone who could paint…”

There are seven pairs of figures – each representing a humanoid animal in the game. He was able to drop two pairs in to me to paint just before our stage 4 Covid-19 lock-down began.

Each figure is about 45mm high, which makes them a nice size to paint. The game also comes with a “Painting Guide” which has coloured images of each figure. I found quite a number of people have painted these and posted pictures on-line, so there were a number of variations to compare. I’ve used the guide as exactly that, not a template. I found (after starting painting and looking at online examples) that using lighter and brighter colours than the guide suggests give a better looking effect. It’s a family board game – why use dark colours, or worry about texture and shadows?

They have been fun to paint and look great. I just don’t know when I’ll have a chance to swap them over and paint some more!

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Painting Genestealers (GW Space Crusade)

Back in 1990, Games Workshop got together with Milton Bradley and released ‘Space Crusade’: a Warhammer 40K inspired board game for 2-4 players. While it’s possible that I bought it myself, I think it’s more likely that it was a birthday or christmas gift. I have played it quite a bit, and enjoyed it, and often thought about painting the space marines. It has mostly been collecting dust most of the last decade until I started raiding the box for various figures to use in my Gamma World game.

Both the Dreadnought and androids (Necrons) have been painted and appeared on my blog in the past. Recently Dave brought a You-tube video to his readers attention that involved painting genestealers in five different styles. This promptly got my genestealers located and put on my desk to paint. I was disappointed to find I only had three! (I haven’t lost any pieces; the game only comes with three.) I had hoped for five or six so I could follow two of the paint schemes.

 

I started with a basic ultramarine blue as a base coat, and then mixed a purple into that and went back over most of the model. A mix of flesh & purple on the head, hands, feet, and the ribbed bits on back, legs, arms, etc. Still following the video, a lightly watered down light tone (Army Painter ink), some (slightly lighter) blue highlighting, and gun-metal on the claws instead of a dark grey. Fushia for the tongue and head detail, white teeth and eyes, followed by a spot of red. I did highlight most of the claws with a bit of mid-grey (which is visible, though not obvious from the photo), and a lighter pink on the top of the fingers – which appears after drying not to have been light enough to actually stand out. Some of the blue highlighting isn’t particularly noticable either, so next time I try this I need to go even lighter, or simply do a second round with more white mixed in. I’m very happy with the final look in any case.

I’ve got the chaos marines from the set on my desk now too. A few of the people (thanks again Dave!) I follow have been using “the Tray” as a way of storing works-in-progress and a visible plan of what they want to paint in the “near” future. The figures I plan to paint, normally just sit on my desk. I’m thinking a tray of some sort will both encourage me to complete some figures, and stop me having to move the figures on my desk around when I need to take photographs, have books on the desk as I look up rules, or write adventures, etc, or my wife wants to take over part of the desk. A tray can be picked up entire and moved out of the way more easily than individual figures.

So here’s the tray – or what will be the tray once I actually find or make one:

Nolzur’s Minis: Beauty is in the eye of…

I finished this Nozlur’s Marvelous Miniatures “Beholder Zombie” last week, but I wasn’t happy with the colour/lighting. Today photography has worked out better and I included a standard mini in one shot for scale. Mold lines weren’t much of a problem with this figure, and the pose and detail is great.

I bought this figure planning to paint it as a standard (ie living) beholder, and then while looking at images on-line I decided to stay with the undead version. Dr Faust’s Painting Clinic was my inspiration for this figure, although I went with a different colour scheme.

 

I had a lot of fun painting this figure. I don’t think I’ve put as much work into a single mini since I was painting the Zombicide BP Abominations. Being a large figure certainly makes things a bit easier. This (and the other Nolzur’s Beholder) come with replaceable eye-stalks (4 on this one) that are the same but with clear resin ‘spell effects’ protruding from the eyes. I’ve kept those for other projects and a little glue made sure the ‘normal’ eyes stayed in place. Since undead beholders are meant to have damaged and/or non-functioning eyes, I did a little extra damage to the figure.

Overall, I feel this is a great mini and I’m really happy with the final product. I also look forward to getting the other Nozlur’s beholder to work on now. Lastly, here’s some home-made beholders that I created a decade ago. They aren’t happy with the idea of being replaced!

Next project: Genestealers!

More Nolzur’s/Deep Cuts D&D Miniatures

The past two weeks have been fairly busy for me painting wise. During the last week I’ve completed two Yuan-ti (snake-men), two air elementals and a cage. The weather was great this morning for drying figures, and photography.

These five figures are all from the Wizkids line of “high defintion” pre-primed figures. The Yuan-ti “Malisons” are Nolzur’s D&D figures, the others are from Pathfinder Deep-Cuts. All required a little bit of cutting and filing to remove mold lines. Being a nearly-transparent plastic/resin, I couldn’t remove the line completely from the air elementals. It might be possible with a really fine file and fine sandpaper, but likely not wortth the time required.

I’ve had a number of Yuan-ti being encountered in my FalsKrag D&D adventure, so adding to the two Reaper snake-men (that I painted in April last year) with actual Yuan-ti figures is a bonus. (Especially at the price of Nolzur’s pack of two compared to Reapers single metal figures.)

Both figures have nice detail and were fun to paint, using a colour scheme based off my previous snake-men. I’m considering going back to the one with the snake tail and darkening the rivets on the chest belts. “Malison” appears to be the D&D 5th edition name for what were previously “halfbloods”; Yuan-ti with both human and snake body-parts. Here’s a group shot with the Reaper figures:

Next the Air Elementals. Following a friend’s post with the same figures, I tried a light wash of white with a hint of blue. I could have left them ‘as-is’ but I hoped to bring out the swirls of the figure a bit more. It didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, but it’s definitely fit for purpose as a game piece. I think you’d need a fine detail brush and actually paint along many of the lines to get a really impressive effect, and the time and interest to do so.

Last, the cage. I’ve wanted a cage for a while, and bought this after seeing Azazel’s work. (Thanks for bringing all these figures to my notice and your notes on painting them! Like your original post I’ve forgotten to photograph it with the “wooden” base.) It was pretty fast & easy to paint – mid grey inside, black outside and then a not very precise silver over the top – leaving some of the black still visible. The bits in between each bar took a bit longer. A little ink, mostly on the corners to bring out some of the bars and rivets. The three figures with it are just to show it’s size. If I end up getting another cage, I’ll paint it rusty. This also came with two ‘piles’ of chains that have gone aside into a box. I don’t see a use for them now, but you never know…

Summer of Scenery Challenge – Nolzur’s Pillars

Wargame Sculptor’s Blog has a Summer of Scenery Challenge (July-August) – or the ‘Not-so-Summer’ challenge for those of us in the middle of Winter. When I was planning my last lot of figure purchases I noticed that WizKids Nolzur’s Mavellous Miniatures line had a set of pillars. I’ve generally used discs or tokens in game play to mark impassable terrain or pillars and thought these would be an excellent replacement. So here’s my scenery/terrain entry.

This is a simple set of four identical stone pillars and a collapsed pillar. Each of my pillars is slightly different because my original base coat of dark grey had a bit less black and a bit more grey as I did each one. The one of the right (above) would have been the first. Some ink, then two dry brushing of lighter greys to bring out the uneven surface of the blocks got them done pretty quickly. They did come with a hole in each to fit a banner, which I filled and painted over. I’ve kept the banners which could always be painted and blue-tacked on if I wanted.

Overall, these are a really nice set from Nolzur’s, that were easy and quick to paint. They are likely to get a lot of use, and I’m tempted to get another set in future. Lastly, here’s a different shot with a few standard figures to show scale. (The images can be clicked on for a larger version)

The good, the bad, and the not-so ugly…

I recently bought a second group of WizKids Nolzur’s/Deep Cuts Miniatures. I think they are getting better! My complaints the first time around were about mold lines and obscured fine detail. The detail has generally been very good, but something like a medusa’s snake hair with mold lines is ridiculous. Cleaning up the mold lines is fairly easy, but not when you risk damaging some feature of the figure. The mold lines on this set are mostly in places that are easy to clean up without messing up detail. On the cage and pillars, they are all on corners. Once I’d cleaned them up I wanted to start painting…

Azazel painted a Deep Cuts cage a while back, which sent me looking at the new range. I’ve wanted a cage like that for a long time, and now I have one, plus a bunch of pillars, two air elementals and two Yuan-ti malisons (snake men). I should have bought two cages, one to look shiny and another rusted. (Maybe next order?) I got one other figure that isn’t in the shot above. Considering that my players aren’t likely to see it in use for at least another 2 months, it probably isn’t worth keeping it a secret. When it’s painted, I’ll want to post it anyway! The pillars are a set of four, a broken pillar, and four banners that socket into the standing pillars. I can’t see myself using the banners, so I’ve filled the hole in each pillar. If I change my mind it will be easy to blue-tack a banner on when I want it. The snake men will be a great addition to my two reaper snake men, and I’ll paint the snake parts with the same colour scheme.

One of the snake men surprises me. It’s got great detail with the scales, but its a five part figure stuck together; torso, two arms, and a two part tail. I don’t think I’ve seen more than two pieces to other Nolzurs figures. It’s a pity there’s a mold line right along the tail, but it doesn’t marr the scale effect much. I’m more concerned that the joins aren’t the best, but a little filing, filling and paint should cover those up. I’m very happy that the mold line across the head goes from side to side (not through his face) and that he has no hair. The lighting on the pic is a bit bright, but it does make the gaps more obvious.

 

Coronavirus and lock-downs haven’t had any direct effect on me up to this point, except that my D&D group hasn’t been getting together. I’ve still been going in to work every day while two-thirds of the staff work from home. The newest lock-down here in Victoria (Australia) has had an unexpected effect of making something I was going to be doing next week much more complicated and now I’ll be spending nearly all next week at home. Since I can only do a small part of my normal job at home, I’ll have more time to write and paint. These figure arrived in perfect timing in a sense. I really want to paint these (and finish the last few Star Wars minis) and I have time to do so!