Tabletop Games for the “holidays”.

Not much painting over the last few weeks. Lots of writing, reading and playing board games!

My work has only been closed on public holidays, but that’s still given me two long weekends with chances to catch up with friends and do stuff at home. My wife and I spent one week playing Kingdom Builder (2011+), and another playing Alhambra (2003+). Both of these are great games where its hard to be sure of who’s winning till the end, and every game plays very differently. Sadly to say, when it’s just the two of us, she wins about 3 of 4 games! When we have played these with 3+ players, wins are more evenly distributed.

For the New Years weekend I dug up some of my older board games: RISK Lord of the Rings (2003, Trilogy addition), The Lonely Mountain (1984) and Talisman (1985, 2nd Edn). I think she’s played Talisman with a larger group of us once before, but not the others.

We set up RISK yesterday and ran one long game. Long, because I’d completely forgotten all the rules and so both of us were learning. Turns mostly became a case of each of us assembling one or two concentrations of forces and claimed a lot of territory, then losing parts of it when the other player did the same thing. Our biggest mistake was not defending some areas enough and over-extending our forces in attacks. My wife got a slight advantage in territories (individual areas) early on, and then regions (a group of territories) which gave her more reinforcements. I realised about halfway through that I wasn’t likely to fight my way back.

This shows the board after seven turns at the main turning point. My wife (Yellow) has reinforced her troops and is about to sweep straight down through Rhovian (yellow area on right) and take 1/2 of Mordor. With only minor reinforcements for me (and lots for her) from here on, the game only lasted about four more turns.

We swapped sides for another game today, and had a very similar game. I only held her off in Eastern Gondor for an extra turn before being wiped out.

This is quite fun, with the LotR cards adding movie stuff into the game to give bonus reinforcements, or affect battles, and scoring. I’m hoping for a three player game next weekend, which should be very different. Tonight we play Talisman.

There are 400+ figures for the game, which is far too many to paint. They are also smaller than my usual 25-30mm figures, and not so detailed. I did decide to paint the shield tokens – each represents a leader. (Gives bonus to a dice roll.) Elven shields for the good armies, and orc shields for the evil armies. All were single colour plastic tokens, that will stand out a lot more on the board now that they are painted. It was easy to miss the detail on the front (particularly on the elf shields) when they were plain colours.

More Undead

Three more undead completed yesterday. These are all Citadel metal figures – Wraith, Ghost and Zombie.

Wraith, 1985 C18 (66) from ‘Night Horrors’; “Spirit 3” of the 1999/2000 Spirit Host (Vampire Counts) and  Zombie, 1988/89 130608 “Kand-Meet”.

The wraith is a typical “death” figure but would (I feel) have benefited from either holding a sword or scythe rather than the over-size sickle. I do like the absence of hands, feet and head. Painting was very straight forward being a mid-grey with black shading and then lighter gray highlight. This goes in a slotta-base very nicely, so that only a bit of robes actually seems to be in contact with the ground. I should have glued it to its final base much earlier – painting while it was held in its old base with ‘tack wasn’t balanced or steady.

The “Spirit”, which I’ve always termed a ghost was a gift from a friend who’d bought the full 3 figure spirit host. My web-search to identify the figure brought up Azazel’s painting of these and I used his painting as inspiration – just a bit more green! Also fairly simple to paint. I went for some lighting on the base (as if the spirit glows) which didn’t come out quite like I wanted but it’ll do!

The zombie took the most work since he’s fairly detailed. The plastic shield may or may not be the one I originally bought him with, but it had a depression for the nub on his arm and fitted perfectly. The armor is marked and has holes and rents, so I did the same for the shield. I thought some battered heraldry would also suit.

I dug up three metal and four plastic Daemonettes of Slaanesh for my painting tray earlier in the month. The metal ones probably got a bit of use for Warhammer Quest a decade ago. I had 8-10 plastic given to me back then that I assembled, and then sold most of on eBay. I rather doubt I’ll ever use them… ended up selling the three metal ones on Gumtree, and I’m down to the last four plastics. I may try eBay for these, or end up painting them. It’s time to dig through my figure boxes and see what isn’t painted… I know there’s still a few adventurers, and a bunch of Citadel Beastmen.

…and stay dead!

This isn’t the post I envisioned… this is a painting project that I’ve given up on before even spraying the figures with undercoat.

A long time ago, a mate bought a box of multipart plastic skeletons and assembled them. He gave me four, that haven’t seen much use in that time. As part of my three-day weekend, I decided to paint some more undead. I  cleaned up three metal undead and started work on the skeletons…

I’d say these fit most of the things I don’t like about multi-part figures – fiddly and fragile. (Why do this with Skeletons!) If I’d been the one assembling them I likely would have cleaned up the mold-lines, etc at the time. Doing that after they are assembled is much more of a mess. I’ve cut off a thumb, broken two in cleanly in half (at join points), and detached an arm. A third’s upper/lower torso is glued slightly out of alignment; just enough to annoy me that I want to break it and re-glue correctly. He also has the tip of his bow missing. (Probably me in the past, or moving around in storage.)

I’ve decided that I’m not happy with the way this is going, with the expectation that painting them would be annoying and I’d probably break something else. So, it’s into the bits box with them for future use as base decoration or whatever – skulls, bits of skeletons, bows and quivers.

The suns out, so I’ll spray the three metal undead so they’re ready to paint. Then maybe I get all my Warhammer Beastmen out of their storage trays and start preparing them.

Mantic Dwarfs

These guys are Mantic Dwarfs, multi-part plastic figures, that I was given (years ago?) by Azazel. (Mantic calls them Dwarfs, not Dwarves.)

I generally dislike multi-part figures, mostly because when I was first buying miniatures they were mostly metal, and awkward to assemble – often because parts didn’t fit smoothly together.

This lot were mostly assembled when I received them and look to have been two or three pieces – just enough to give a good variety of poses, weapons, etc. I have nine dwarfs, and while there are similarities, all are unique! I may have to watch out for some more of these. I like the style of Mantic’s dwarves; they were easy and fun to paint and it would be really nice to have more of them. I really like the idea of building a dwarf army, but I don’t know if I would ever get to do anything with it.

When I eventually decided to add these to my painting tray, I found I had three headless bodies, two loose heads, and two figures with no weapon. This is an excellent reason to put figures into plastics bags when you get them and not have them lying around on a shelf or mixed with other components in a box! I’m certain that I’ll turn up a dwarf head sometime in the near future.

I took the head-less body I liked the least, and cut his hand off to get a hammer for one of the other figures, and cut down a long spear in my parts box for the other. Heads were glued, a few small gaps were filled and many images of Ironclad, Sheildbreakers, etc were browsed on the ‘net.

I decided to try something different when undercoating – spraying with black from the sides, then white from overhead, aiming for the contrast of zenithal highlights that I’ve seen in many painting videos. (“A technique that quickly reproduces the light and shadows produced by an imaginary light source directly over the subject.”) I didn’t like the final effect. White undercoat makes detail stand out more – very helpful with my eyes when painting fine detail – and black means the final result is dark. I might go for this with monsters, but I don’t like the idea for characters. If do it again, it’s going to be with less black, and much more white.

Armour is primarily antique copper, with bright bronze for highlight. Gun-metal and silver highlight on some armour and weapons. Various browns, a few greens, some red and silver (chainmail) to add some variation.

I have very few decals left in my parts box, with nearly all of those being chaos related. At some point I think I need to look for some decal sets that would go with more “good” aligned forces, or that are more general in style. My free hand painting can’t do the fine detail that people like Azazel have achieved. I went with a variation of an online shield design. I’m glad I only had four shields too, not a whole unit… even when pencil lines marked in advance, trying to get all four looking the same wasn’t easy. A hammer or axe symbol on top would have been perfect.

These are also an entry in the Mo’vember challege by “Rantings from behind the Moustache

Back from the Dead…

The title reflects both the state of my computer and the undead I painted during October, while mostly not online.

It was a remarkable month for many reasons: my PC died, I had a Covid test & a day of working from home when one of the guys at work might have been exposed to Covid, the last of our three chickens got sick and died, and we had a windstorm that left lots of people in Melbourne without electricity, including us for 30 hours. Since we don’t have a gas connection, this meant no lights, hot water or cooking. Thankfully, the end of lock-down the week before meant we could go over to my Mum’s for dinner and a hot shower.

Being able to travel and visit people again is great, and with the fantastic assistance of a mate I now have my computer working (upgraded MB, CPU and RAM!) and everything on it working normally.

While I had no PC, I did a lot of reading and got back into some painting. Now I’ve got blogs to catch up on, and pictures to take and post myself. I was lucky enough to be able to bring a work laptop home to keep up on some of the forums I read. I’m determined to make more regular backups of stuff on my system, and not just to a secondary hard drive, but to a USB. An up-to-date printed page with logins, passwords and site references, etc is also a must.

The three undead today all came from the UK in a miniatures swap with Subedai of the Lost and the Damned. One had been painted before and needed a clean up first. All are metal.

The first is a Prince August figure (1984, SK6, Skeleton) This one is history revisited for me: There are seven figures in this range (SK1-7) and I bought a blister pack of three (SK5-7) in the late 80’s. I dug them out to make sure this guy was painted in the same style. I first thought I had a slightly different figure, then realized that he’s actually missing his right arm. After painting, he looks like he has an arm there. (Only a humerus, not a radius & ulna.) The last picture shows him on the far right with my original three.

The next two figures are Citadel (I think) – I did look at the slotta base before filing it down to fit a plastic base and all I recall about them now is that each said “Skeleton”. The internet suggests these two are both from GW Citadel: UN2 (20) Agog Deathblow (Skeleton Infantry) and C17 (CJ-07) Skeleton Gunner, both 1987.

These three figures were all fun to paint. I particularly enjoyed the “gunner”. I’m saving him for my Gamma World game, though he might fit into a fantasy game in the right circumstances. He has hints of fluoro green that the phone camera hasn’t really picked up. I’m particularly pleased with his left eye – I got a dot of fluoro green in that eye socket with one attempt that I couldn’t replicate in the other. (The right eye has some green, but its not a fine point, nor as bright.)

 

Painting Skaven #6: Warlock (Final)

Finally, the last skaven – unless there’s a figure or two in the wrong storage box! That’s a group of 24 all done.

This is a metal slotta-based Citadel (Games Workshop) figure from 1995 – #74472/2 “Skaven Warlock with skull”.

I’d considered doing his robes in purple, and when I got started on Friday night realised that there’s a separate jacket over the robes. The jacket was done in fushia with the lower robes in the same but lightened with white. Then I red inked the jacket, and purple inked the robes. Everything went smoothly from there, with colours suggesting themselves as I went along. A final bit of black ink over everything make the holes and folds were distinct, then highlighting. When taking the photographs this morning I noticed I hadn’t coloured the chaos symbol on the belt buckle. That’s now been fixed.

I’ve really enjoyed these last two skaven, and I like the warlock more than the plague monk. I’m very pleased to have got through the whole group, and they make a very nice force.

Last of all, a group shot. I had a lot of fun setting this up, which is a sure sign that it’s been way too long since I’ve done any table-top gaming. I already had planned to write these guys into my mega-dungeon. Now I want to set up something like this seen to play out a really big battle. You should be able to click on the pictures for a bigger image.

Painting Skaven #5: Plague Monk

I was determined to get another skaven painted this weekend and I’m very happy to have succeeded!

This is a metal slotta-based Citadel (Games Workshop) figure from 1993 – Clan Pestilens 74451/5 “Plague Monk”. I’d been planning red-brown robes, but saw some newer plague monks with yellow robes and black hoods. The yellow got my attention, but being plaguey, I wanted a dirty yellow. Once I got going other things fell into place.

Painting took longer than it should have, but I’ve interspersed that with some computer gaming, reading, housework and preparing another batch of figures.If the weather report is correct he can go out for a varnish spray tomorrow.

A number of years back I got some Mantic Dwarfs from Azazel, and last year (I think last year) I got some figures from Subadai (Lost & the Damned) and decided it’s a good time to get some of these done too. There are nine dwarfs, three skeletons and my last skaven ready to work on. (Only two skellies in the picture, the third didn’t need cleaning and undercoat like all these did.)

Yes, that’s a skeleton with a blunderbuss!

Painting Skaven #4: Grey Seer

I finished painting this guy yesterday, making this about four months since I started preparing all my skaven for painting. (Maybe two months since I did any figure painting… not encouraging.) He’s been sitting on my desk for way too long, but he’s not the last. There’s still two more to go!

This figure is a metal Games Workshop (Citadel) figure from 1993, 74464 “Grey Seer Thanquol”. I could have been a little fussier with some of the detail, but I reached the point where I’m happy and just wanted to say “done”.

My main problem with these last three skaven has been colors. I’ve learned that I do really well when I’m copying a card/comic/movie or whatever – an established color scheme – but struggle with individual figures where I have to choose everything myself. It doesn’t always happen, but it’s certainly why I haven’t gotten anywhere with these last few skaven.

It’s too cold for spray varnish this weekend. He can go back on the tray until probably Tuesday, when we are meant to reach 17 degrees and sunny! The next figure I’m hoping to start today is a plague monk, and I’ve decided on red/browns for his robe. The last, a skaven warlock (engineer) might get some type of purple.

Painting Skaven #3: Assassins and Warlord

Three more skaven. These are all metal single-piece figures produced in 1995 by Citadel (Games Workshop) for Warhammer: #74471/1 Skaven Assassin 1, #74471/3 Skaven Assassin 3 and #74465 “Warlord Queek”.

2021-04-11 Skaven-1

Assassin #1 (L), Assassin #3 (R)

The poses and detail are good. Assassin #3 has poison or something along the end of his blade which I’m not a fan of simply because its over-the-top. I trimmed it a little. I probably could have removed it entirely, but didn’t want to chance taking a chunk out of his leg or tail. In the end I’ve painted it up and had fun with it. Assassin #1 with his two blades makes for a nice rogue or warrior depending on what my game calls for.

2021-04-11 Skaven-2

Warlord Queek came with a large skull-topped “banner” that was to be attached to his back, which I found rather cumbersome. I filled down the stud it fitted on. It could be easily made into a hand-held banner, or a marker, so I might yet find a use for it. (I have a second, smaller banner too. I don’t know what figure it was associated with originally)

2021-04-11 Skaven-3

“Queek” is also quite detailed and took some time making sure I was getting everything done without mucking up something else. There’s all the chainmail, the plate/banded armour and assorted decorations! He has a belt with a satchel, 4 pouches, and horned rat belt buckle, a second rope belt with pouch and skull, gloves, necklace, and decorated weapons! I’d almost finished painting when I wondered about what supported all these pouches, and found that what I thought was part of his armour is a wide belt.

2021-04-11 Skaven-4

This is another submission to Anne’s April Painting Challenge.

 

Long distance miniatures…

I had a very nice surprise when I returned home from a very busy and annoying day at work today – there was a parcel waiting for me from the UK with miniatures!

Last month when sorting out Skaven to paint, I found a number of other figures that I didn’t really have a use for. Throwing them out is always a last resort, something I usually only do if a figure is a damaged or really bad sculpt. I didn’t want to try and sell them on eBay either, where covering postage and dealing with eBay/Paypal’s fees might not really make me any money assuming the figures are something someone might want. I had three squigs and a pair of goblin handlers, and I knew one of the bloggers I follow had painted night goblins. I quick look back soon clarified which of the couple of people my memory suggested.

After a short discussion, and some packaging, they were soon sent to Subadai (The Lost and the Damned) – who conveniently has just got back to painting squigs and night goblins! He offered to send some minis to me. So I now have five undead figures. One matches a set of three skeletons I already have (lower right) and will soon be painted up to go with them. The others look fun to do, and I’m getting ideas for using others. The last few likely join my other unpainted undead for the next time I’m looking for something to paint.

2021-04-07 Minis

This whole idea of swapping minis would be something I’d love to do regularly with the various bloggers I follow online… except that postage charges overseas, even for 100gm of tiny metal figures turns out to be rather expensive. Where once I could have got away with a “letter” my rather flat padded bag was automatically classed as a parcel and cost me nearly four times the letter price. I wouldn’t be surprised if both myself and Subedai spent more on postage now than we had on the figures originally.

I have a dwarf to mail off to Azazel when I can get to the post office, but at least he’s just on the other side of the same city as me!

Still, Subadai – thank you very much for a fun exchange! May we both have more fun painting, and fond memories when we look at these figures in the future.