Painting: W.I.P. and preparations

This week I’ve finally gotten back to painting my Space Marines from the Space Crusade board game, about 5 months after I nearly finished the other two squads. Once I do the main painting, which is pretty simple (part of the reason I got bored 5 months ago) I’ll finish off all the heavy weapons, and commander’s weapons. These weapons are all interchangeable, and I’ll need to do a little bit of mucking around to allow them to be swapped without any problems. A few have broken in the past because they fitted together too firmly and didn’t separate happily.

Today I dug through my figure boxes to locate all my skaven. I can clean them up in between painting, and the weather this week is good to take them all out and spray them with undercoat. Oddly enough, there a single orc who must have been abducted a decade or more ago. He can get painted too, and finally returned to his brethren.

The last squad of space marines is the Ultramarines, if the image hasn’t already given that away.

My skaven are: 12 Clanrats, 6 Stormvermin, 2 Assassins, 1 Lord, 1 Priest, 1 Seer, 1 Warlock. That isn’t an army by any stretch, but it was enough to keep my group occupied when we played Warhammer Quest.

I’m tempted to sell the Stormvermin. They don’t interest me greatly, whereas the rest can easily fit into D&D games as were-rats. Then again, I could introduce a variant of were-rats into my mega-dungeon. If I do that, the stormvermin will work as a heavier armoured support to the clanrats.

Hmm.. I think I’ve just decided to keep them all in the last minute of typing. I’ll now find myself stating out all the different figures using Pathfinder rules!

I’m enjoying a week’s leave from work, and painting and D&D planning are the two of the main things I aim to spend time on. Reading would be nice too, if I can find a couple of good books!

 

Late addition: I started cleaning the plastic clanrats and was very pleased at how little there is to do – almost no mold lines. Then I noticed the plastic bit underneath… How long have I had these figures? (Don’t answer that!)

I can’t believe I’ve never noticed this bit before. If I had surely I would have cut it off? Lol.

Painting – Hero Quest “Gargoyle”

This is the last of my Hero Quest figures to see paint, having taken about 30 years. This is the “Gargoyle”, who I’d say was second-rate Balrog given the pose, whip and sword. I think in Warhammer he’s now considered a Bloodthirster.

He hasn’t been touched for perhaps a decade, and now that he’s painted he might actually see use, but not as he was originally meant for. Being completely unlike any fantasy gargoyle, I decided he’d make a good statue. Now that he’s done, he’ll fit right in as a Stone Golem. He’s also an entrant to Ann’s “Neglected but not forgotten” Painting Challenge for March.

As a statue, he’d be a nice terrain piece, and potentially a construct (animated statue). I wanted the look of an old painted statue that hadn’t seen care for a long time, and I feel I’ve right sort of look. (Particularly with the thought that it just might step off the base and attack.)

I’d previously cut away the whip and undercoated the figure when spraying something else. Yesterday I started with a base coat of grey, then painted parts with gold, silver, red and black. After a light coat of brown ink, I stuck him together – breaking the wings in the process. (The head and wings were separate pieces.) I cleaned up the wings, and stuck them on, then took some time to chip, mark and scrape at the figure. Then some more grey to colour the exposed plastic, and fade the coloured detail. The weather has been quite cool this weekend, so there was plenty of time to make sure the paint dried at each step.

Today I’ve done highlighting and basing. Just after I’d sprayed the first coat of varnish, I had the thought that when I’d broken the wings, it would have been best if I’d cut/broken a large chuck of one wing, and positioned that on the base like it had fallen down. I could still do that, but now I’m happy to have it done and want to move on to something else. I could have ‘chipped’ and ‘cracked’ the statue further, and marked the base like stone blocks too, but it’s not a show-piece and I rarely spend that much time and effort on the figures that I really like!

I did try something new with the base today. Yesterday I’d been cutting out the foam insert for a small figure case to properly put away my DungeonQuest heroes, and had read an article on painting statue minis. They’d used bits of the foam as moss. I salvaged some of mine, and tore off a couple of tiny bits. Painted green they make great foliage/moss.

The finished mini is on a 40mm square base, and is 70mm high to the sword tip.

I’m determined to finish my Space Marines next. I’d like to clear the tray before I start filling it up with skaven.

DungeonQuest Heroes – Figure Painting #2

I finished the last couple of DungeonQuest figures this morning! The base characters don’t have any special abilities (except for the rangers being able to fire 4 arrows) and are played solely based on their characteristics. Most of these eight characters has at least one special ability, and generally that means lower characteristics. For those interested, these metal miniatures are by Bob Naismith.

Azoth the Faceless – Sorcerer. Minimal strength, can cast spells – Fear, Fireball, Invisibility, Stasis, etc.

Fhyll Madaxe – Dwarf Berserker. Likely to go berserk if hurt, doing more damage, but can’t search with raging. (Not pictured below)

Helena the Swift – Adventuress. Has a slingshot, can take an extra move on previously placed tiles.

Ironhand the Mighty – Gladiator. No special power, average stats, but has the highest life points.

Rildo the Crafty – Thief. Can throw daggers and take 2 cards when searching.

Serellia & Bright Flame – Elf Adventurer & Dragonette. Has a once-off heal & always-on light orb. BF may warn of danger and is good fighter.

Thargrim the Dark Lord – Warrior of Chaos. Can rest to regain LP’s, and his ‘Helm of Terror’ may scare off monsters.

Tori-Jima – Ninja. Has shuriken and can hide from monsters.

 

I’ve wanted to paint these since I got them, and I wouldn’t have done a good job of it at that time. They are all well detailed scuplts, that would be great for any other fantasy game too. (Ironhand was used regularly as a Pit Fighter in Warhammer Quest.)

Azoth is my favourite of these. I matched the character card almost 100%, and the colours and shading came out really well. Helena came with a plastic shield, that I don’t have any more. I found a shield from my bits, put a hole through the middle and tried something interesting for the front. The character card shows a very boring bronze or brass shield. This one, with the rim (and timber lined back, which you can’t see in the photos) is probably better than what the original was.

I really never liked the dwarf figure, which I haven’t painted. He’s been replaced with one of my GW metal troll-slayers painted in 2016. The pose of the actual figure makes him look like he has a beer gut, and its been sculpted in a way that makes basing difficult. Both weapons extend past the figures feet, so he can’t be placed in a standard slotta-base without bending the weapons (which wouldn’t look right) or some creative additional work. Here’s the painted GW figure from ‘Eavy Metal, with a modified base:

…and a group shot with all my sixteen game figures ready to head into Dragonfire Castle:

 

Final note: I’m not impressed by GW’s proof-readers, or whoever had over-sight. The “Heroes” characters cards say “Serellia” and “Bright Flame”, while the booklet states “Sarellia” and “Flame Bright” (repeatedly). The Catacombs booklet agrees with the character cards.

 

 

DungeonQuest Heroes – Figure Painting

Last night I played a four-player game of DungeonQuest, using an assortment of heroes. We used an optional rule (‘Torchlight’) that added to room tile placement. It don’t believe it made things any easier, but it did allow for a bit more choice of pathing. As is quite typical for the game, no-one got out alive!

Two of us found no treasure at all before we died. Congrats to my wife for getting Vikas Swordmaster to the Dragon’s treasure chamber, and making it back about four rooms away from the exit with 3,620 gold, before being killed by a scorpion.

I’ve nearly finished all of the game figures, and here are the original four that came with the base game, and their counterparts from the Heroes Expansion. The originals are plastic figures in simple poses and basic detail. The expansion provided metal slotta-base figures with more dynamic poses and better detail. I also think this set was the first time I saw slotta-base figures that came with a circular base. [I really grew to dislike the original 20 and 25mm square bases that seemed to be the norm on all my purchases in the 80’s and 90’s.]

All the heroes have a character card with an image, their characteristics, and a life point track. In each case I used the image to guide my painting. Vikas is the most notable change in colour choices – I’ve done green and white checks before (Zombicide BP) but not on a small hood, with so many curves and folds! With each pair, the figure on the left is the base game figure, and the one on the right the Heroes expansion figure.

These have been fun to paint. Most have been fairly easy to do. Sir Roland with his wolf pelt took more work than the others, with his mail, plate, and ‘dry-brushed’ fur. I chose not to green-tint his plate, since the Chaos Warrior in the group has the same colouring, I thought it more appropriate in his case.

The second set are El-Adoran & Farendil (Rangers), and Ulv Grimhand & Siegfried Goldenhair (Barbarians).

Interesting note: Online, I found a page from White Dwarf advertising the Heroes expansion, showing a set of painted figures (‘Eavy Metal, GW). This image has “Gunvor Greataxe” (A very Conan-like barbarian, with an oversized axe) while my set came with Siegfried. I much prefer the sculpt and pose of Siegfried. (Although what is meant to be two feathers on his necklace look more like unusual shells.)

Next up, the eight ‘unique’ heroes from the expansion.

DungeonQuest – Board Game Review

DungeonQuest is a game produced by Games Workshop in 1987, as an English translation of the Swedish board game DrakBorgen (“Dragon Fortress”, 1985). GW also released two expansions – “Heroes” and “Catacombs” in 1988, breaking the single Swedish expansion (1987) into two parts, presumably to make more money that way.

I got the base game and the expansions early in 1989. My friends and I played this quite a lot 1989-1990, again in 1996, and 2007 – evidenced by the “top scores” sheet that I’ve kept and updated on occasion.

A second edition was released only in Sweden, and then Fantasy Flight Games got the license and produced a Third edition (2010) with new combat mechanics and standardised cards, and then the Revised edition in 2014.

DungeonQuest GW, 1987

My interest in the game has been re-ignited because I’m currently painting all the figures for the game. (I’ve done ten of sixteen, so far.) The 3rd edition rules, and notes I’ve seen on the revised version made some minor rule changes to improve play, and included optional rules. I’m planning to write up all the original rules and incorporate some of the changes/additions and hopefully play the game a bit more.

The aim of the game: to enter the dungeons under Dragonfire Castle, find the dragon’s chamber and escape from the castle with treasure before the sun sets. (1-4 players, Ages 10+)

In each of the 26 turns, you pick a adjacent square on the board to move to, draw a random tile and move into that “chamber”. Each tile (in full colour) has a mark to show the entry location, and has from 0 to 3 exits. Tiles may be empty chambers, passages, have a cave in, chasm, bottomless pit, darkness, trap or even rotate. In most cases you draw a ‘room’ card to see if anything special happens. Most rooms are empty, but you might be attacked by a monster, find a trap, have your torch blow out, find a crypt/corpse, a potion or minor treasure. Instead of moving you can search – which is the only way you might get out of a dead end.

This isn’t an actual game, but tiles have been drawn and laid as if it was.

The base game comes with four characters – Adventurer, Barbarian, Knight and Ranger. Each has four characteristics: Strength, Agility, Armour & Luck, ranging from 1-10. In most cases you have to roll your stat or less on a d12 to lift a portcullis, move through a cave in, avoid a pit, etc.

Combat uses cards and is basically scissors-paper-rock. Heroes have 6-19 Life points, monsters have 1-8. There are options to escape and sometimes a monster will flee.

If you reach the treasure chamber in the middle of the board you get to take 2 treasure tokens, and then pick one of 6 cards to see if the dragon wakes. (5 show him asleep, 1 awake) The card chosen is NOT replaced until no-one is in that chamber, so the longer you stay to grab treasure the more likely he wakes. If he wakes, you lose all the treasure you picked up, take 1d12 damage and move out of the chamber!

Character card, Room and Corpse cards visible. Turn track on left edge of board.

Since tiles are random, it can be hard simply to get to the treasure chamber. Rotating rooms, doors, and portcullis may make it difficult, or impossible for you to return the way you came. The time limit, monsters and traps, in addition to the dragon, make it very hard to get out with treasure. In fact the game rules suggest you only have a 15% chance of surviving. You could choose to make this a bit easier, by taking out some monsters and traps.

No game is the same. Each character has different strengths and weaknesses. The base game has 115 room tiles, 68 counters, and 174 cards.

The first expansion “Heroes”, gives you 12 more heroes to use – four are “copies” of the original characters, but it also adds an Adventuress, Chaos Warrior, Dwarf Berserker, Elf (with baby dragon), Gladiator, Ninja, Sorcerer & Thief. “Catacombs” gives an alternate path under the dungeon. It’s a little bit safer, but you can’t control when you will find a way back up again. Both expansions also have extra tiles, room cards, etc. We use all the extra cards and tiles, but no-ones really been interested in actually going into the catacombs.

Overall, it’s a tough, but really fun game with a lot of replay-ability. If you do get out with treasure, it’s a great feeling. It can be played solo, but is much better with multiple players. It’s meant for a max of 4 players, but if you agree to “share” staring positions, you could have up to 8. A typical game takes an hour. Lots of fan produced content exists, with copies of cards, character sheets and alternate rules for combat and rooms.

My main complaint with the original is that the room cards are quite small (4 x 6.5cm, or 1.5×2.5″) and all the other cards (Corpse, Crypt, Door, Trap, Search, Rings, Amulets) each is a different size and shape. It looks like the FFG versions used a standard card size for all of these, with unique graphics on the card backs to tell them apart. Gameplay can become annoying with so much being random, but it’s easy to house-rule some changes to make the game a bit easier, or play more smoothly.

Suggestion: With 2-4 players, run through a number of games, and have each player add together treasure gained in each game for a final score.

RATING: I’d give this 5/5 for it’s replaybability and challenge, but only 3/5 overall because there’s a lot more luck than skill involved.

My Little Scythe #5 – Bears (Oh my!)

Painting of this pair was fairly basic. I picked colours close to those in the painting guide and steadily worked on them over the weekend.

The guide shows the lighter furred bear as being almost white – I’ve started with a very light brown, and then lighter again on the face. Both caps wear pictured as a dark grey, but I wanted more colour, so the caps became a similar colour as their pants.

 

I actually played ‘My Little Scythe’ on Saturday afternoon, for the first time. It’s a fun game, simple, but not basic or boring. You choose an action each turn – to move, look for diamonds/apples, or make something from the diamonds/apples already collected. To win the game you need to get four trophies, from eight possible categories. [Collect apples, collect diamonds, gain friendship points, win a pie fight, etc.] I only got two. My mate and my wife each achieved four trophies in the same turn, and she narrowly won by having more resources.

It was great seeing nearly all the figures in full colour, rather than the white and beige plastic they started with. We didn’t get to use the bears – or I’d have taken a group photo. (Maybe next week.)  The weather hasn’t been as good as other weekends, so while they were nearly done, I wasn’t rushing to finish them on Sat. I didn’t expect to get good weather to sit them outside, varnish and let them dry. I was asked to paint a white eye spot – which is meant to be a “light reflection”, not a pupil, based on the guide. This is the first figures that I’ve actually done that for. I could update the others if required at a later time.

I think I’ll touch up that yellow ear before they get varnished.

My Little Scythe #4 – Wolves

This pair I expected to be fairly easy to do, since at first glance, most of the figure is armour.

A closer look suggested they weren’t going to be quite so straight-forward. What they wear makes no sense (or is impossible) but it is a kids game, so whatever! Each wears a visor, but no helmet – it looks like it bolts straight into their head. They have elbow guards with no straps. The shoulder guards could join to the armour at the neck. The head plume would make sense if it was actually hair (or on a helmet), but it’s meant to be coloured and has a metal (?) ring that sticks on top of their heads.

 

The armour bits were pretty easy to paint, with a couple of careful bits of fur in between parts of it. Their pants were the hardest bit, with narrow gaps and awkward angles for a paint brush between shirt and boots, especially underneath. The painting guide had the armour in a dull grey, and a slightly orange-tinged yellow. I thought actual metallics would be much better and I think the silver and bronze came out well.

 

Only two bears to go… although they look rather more like mice to me.

Zombicide: BP – Painting Survivors #3

Photographed yesterday, but painting completed late August or early September!

 

Front view

From left to right:

Lady Grimm (by Special Guest, Mark Simonetti), Milo (by Special Guest, Naiade), Piper (Isabeau, played by Michelle Pfeiffer in “Ladyhawke”).

Rear View

Like the previous Zombicide figures, I’ve tried to keep colours close to that on their cards. Lady Grimm’s cloak, under-tunic (?) and hair got brightened up a bit, and I’ve left out the scar and odd left eye. I wasn’t likely to paint a scar as fine as that shown in the images, and making her more ‘normal’ looking makes the figure more useful. (My wife is currently using her in our new Pathfinder game, mostly because of the warhammer!)

Milo’s changes are his hair – red, not black or dark brown – and the blue band on his hat. (I wanted a bit more colour.) Piper was a simple paint scheme and finished quickly as a result. If there’s any difference from her card image, it’s that her skin isn’t bright and clean!

I’ve nearly finished painting ‘Klom’ and I’ve also got started on a few dwarves.

 

 

 

Zombicide BP: The Abominalpha

I finished painting the Abominalpha about three weeks ago and had hoped to finish the minotaur as well and post both of them. The minotaur is nearly done, but light was good this morning so I finally got some pics of the Alpha! The photos came up really well and show the colour and detail as I see the figure, with the only exception being that the claws are slightly darker (and flecked with black) in RL.

A long, hot and humid summer in Melbourne meant I really didn’t feel like painting for most of Feb/March and only got back to the last two Abominations in April. I really like the Alpha figure – good sculpting and lots of detail. It wasn’t until I started painting and paying a lot of attention to the box pamphlet image that I realised he’s wearing human skin – there’s two feet hanging down at the front!

 

Abominalpha – front

I started with a mid grey base coat, rather like my Wolf Abominations, and a dark blue-grey on the arms and back of the head with the longer ‘fur’. A little dark brown ink (or black – I can’t remember now) for shading. A mix of yellows and light browns for the skins, and some brown ink for detail. Then lots of white dry brushing all over – I like the white fur of the original image – and over the grey I feel the shading/highlight has worked really well. I wanted a dark constrast with the horns and thought black wouldn’t show the detail there, and tried red over the gray base-coat. This looked good and got some black paint that sits in most of the grooves. I’d had a few ideas for the claws that didn’t seem to work and after the way the horns worked, decided to do all the claws the same way.

 

Abominalpha – rear

I could have done some more work on the skins, but I’m happy with the look I have. I would have liked to do more with the shrunken heads, but anything better is beyond my current ability. Look at this site to see what someone has produced – I don’t know if their heads had better detail, or they have steadier hands to create the detail and better painting skills! (Probably the latter from looking at the claws.)

I might take him out this afternoon for another coat of spray varnish while the weather’s nice!

 

2016: The Year of Zombicide!

Looking back over 2016, I note that I painted from scratch about half as many figures as the year before (27 compared to 60). But it’s easy to see what I did spend a lot of time on – Zombicide: Black Plague! I spent more time playing Zombicide than any of my usual RPGs, or any other game. My game review of Z:BP was my most seen post, with 771 views (8 times as popular as the 2nd place comer) Of the figures I did paint – 12 were from Zombicide.

On New Year’s Eve, I ran my third playtest of Gamma World 4.5 (my d20 rule set is pretty much complete now) and played two games of Zombicide!

2016 was a pretty good year for the blog. Compared to 2015, I tripled my number of visitors (3041 views, 2045 visitors from 67 countries!) I had a lot of fun – revisiting old game systems that I hadn’t looked at for a decade or more (MERP, Gamma World), finishing a major part of the D&D campaign I run, and starting a Greyhawk/Pathfinder project for Hero Lab.

This year has started off with me enjoying my annual leave break (but I go back to work tomorrow) and I’ve spent a lot of it playing World of Warcraft, some more Zombicide, and a lot of sleeping in. I’ve been reading through the “Sword of Truth” series by Terry Goodking (in book four now) and had a couple of sessions of Pathfinder.

 

2017-01-16-abtroll-1

 

Yesterday I finished my first miniature painting of the year – the Abominatroll from Zombicide: Black Plague.

2017-01-16-abtroll-2

 

He was enjoyable to paint. Mostly a dark green base coat, some brown paint and dark tone ink for give some depth and shading, then a lighter “field grey” (more dull green than any grey) for highlighting. Touches of yellow, pink, red, white etc for various detail. Mostly flesh and white, then brown ink for finger & toe nails, with a distict “light olive” for the lumps. It’s a bit brighter in colour than the images make it look.

2017-01-16-abtroll-3

 

I still have the minotaur and wolf alpha to go – then I hope to get onto painting heroes/survivors!