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  1. This past month was so-so for painting. My multipurpose desk was generally cluttered with stuff other than painting, but I did have the opportunity to take a 10 day business trip which included a (mostly) non-work weekend. I packed up my travel paint kit and some 1/72 plastics destined for the “portable fantasy campaign”. I took a couple of things that had been bugging me, and got two of three of those grouping painted: a Dark Alliance orc warband of 8 and a baggage train group of cows. The trio of mounted knights remains “to do”. While in Tooele, Utah (pronounced 2-Ella, in case you’re curious), I stopped in at Game Haven, the FLGS there. I ended up with a Nolzur’s “Black Dragon Wyrmling” which looked to my eye to be about right for the 1/72 figures. It came with a giant’s skull objective marker, so I painted that too. In addition to the figures on group bases, I have a collection of individuals. These are as small as I am willing to play with so mounted. I finished up a few of them as well, a mixed bag of Caesar, Strelets, and Dark Alliance figures. For this forum, here’s the obligatory size comparison shot:
  2. Last fall I finished a stand of 1/72 scale civic militia, and started a second stand. In the usual way, that got set aside, and I just pulled them back out for work this week. I was making such good progress on them yesterday that I decided to push on and finish them up, so they ended up glued to the base just before I went to bed. I finished off the basing this morning, and gave them a quick coat of spray varnish. I was fairly happy with how they turned out. (The link to the first stand has a size comparison picture for the curious.) Here they are with the earlier stand:
  3. There is a more detailed report on my blog, but I tried some Army Painter Speed Paints yesterday. My test piece was a unit of 12 Caesar 1/72 scale plastic elves. I primed these after work, and then sat down with an oatmeal container lid and a single dubious #2 dollar store brush to see what I could do. Since I didn’t really plan ahead, I had the five colors above to work with. Hardened Leather and Camo Cloak were used for cloaks and tunics; Slaughter Red and Pallid Bone for trousers; Crusader skin was flesh tones; Pallid Bone hair and arrow feather in quivers; Hardened leather for boots and bows; Leather and Red for quivers. I used whatever random brown came to hand for belts, and there are a few metallic bits. I realized after I was partway through that lighter colors cannot cover darker, so the proper sequence of painting is light to dark, regardless of where on the miniature those colors fall. Total time from starting (with figures already primed) to adding grass to bases was about 1.5 hours. I let them dry overnight and varnished them with my usual spray varnish this morning. The above is an idea of how they’d look at the typical table top battle viewing distances, alongside some other archers speed painted using my usual techniques, and an elvish command stand in which each figure was painted as an individual to the maximum level I find amusing. So, honest opinions?
  4. I have been spending Minivember catching up a bit on my Portable Fantasy Campaign project. I’ve been chipping away at it as a campaign for five armies since early 2017, and it builds on a 2014 initiative to put a travel fantasy game in a box that will fit under an airline seat, so that I can take it to a convention regardless of my mode of travel. Anyway, I decided to have a little fun and paint an unplanned stand of figures as a reward for finally getting the first couple of stands of orcs for the orcish army finished. All three figures here are from the Caesar Miniatures Fantasy Adventurers box set, originally issued around 2010. As a result of early imprinting by the Airfix company, I have always had a fondness for the 1/72 plastic figures, and I bought a bunch of the initial release when Caesar started making fantasy figures. Unfortunately, they have been rather intermittantly in production, and don’t seem to be currently available. Even finding a box floating in the Bay of Ease would be a small miracle at the moment. But, I do have a bunch.* As you can see by Sir Forescale shimmed up so that his feet are about level with the feet of the sorceress et al., these women are pretty small by Reaper standards. (This does make finishing 30 in a month a somewhat easier task, counterbalanced a little by the level of brush control needed to work at that level. For whatever reason, Caesar packed a lot more of these sorceresses in their boxes than the second, left-hand-staff, figure. (See PSR article linked above.) We have played around in various ways with the large spheroid on the top of her staff. My sons have painted it into a skull; I sliced one off and added a rustic broom using some two-part epoxy, etc. For this one, I tried going with a plant theme, so I halved the staff head, painted a flower on top, and leaves on the sides. The flower theme is then echoed in her bodice embroidery and the bodyguard’s shield. That all seemed like a good excuse to use a flowering tuft on the base. Back to painting orcs…
  5. Being the timid fellow that I am, I wanted to be fairly sure that I had a chance of finishing a Minivember challenge before I announced it publicly. I enter miniatures into my painting log when the final basing and varnish coat are complete, and the “whatever” is ready for play. I’ve recently resolved to relax and not worry too much about where the Muse(s) lead, as long as I’m getting something done. So all plans are subject to change. That said, I’ve had two things on my mind recently. The first is that I was in a Rangers of Shadowdeep game at Barrage, our local miniatures gaming convention, back in September, and decided that it was time to try to get it on the table. For fun, I decided that I would fill out my small (1/72) plastic fantasy collection for this. I looked over the book, and found this was what was called for: I got a good start on this on a business trip last month. I am also working toward “finishing” the army lists I’ve drawn up for my Portable Fantasy campaign: But exactly what I’m going to end up painting is a bit unpredictable. As posted in the November Speed/Army/Tabletop goals thread, I’ve also got some vintage Broadsword Miniatures Rangers to round out a unit, and the much-deferred Goblin Carolers for my Winterfeast village. There are also orcs for the campaign mass battle, some human cavalry, some historical Bronze Age Nubians and some additional giant war trolls. I’ve already finished a couple of medieval(oid) human horse archers. (English and other mounted bowmen did not generally shoot from horseback, so these guys, Strelets plastics I’ve had sitting around since 2005 or so, are probably more at home in a fantasy setting anyway.) I also finished the zombies (plus a couple of smaller Reraper Bones 5 monsters): These were knocked out pretty rapidly with washes and drybrushing, with a deliberate choice to keep them subdued and semi-monochromatic. I doubt zombies spend much time on hygiene… For the trolls needed for Rangers, I had planned to use the Bones 1 (SKU 77159) Ghast. As a 1/72 scale figure, they end up being 8 or so feet tall, so look more to me like something a human might stand a chance of fighting than something like a Dark Alliance 12 foot tall War Troll. But, yesterday was apparently Trollfest, and I finished up the three troll/ghasts, a Dark Alliance War troll, and a Caesar Miniatures “something” from their currently-out-of-production “Adventurers” set. They are shown here with a Strelets medieval city militiaman from last month, for scale: That’s 18 figures down, so at least 12 to go. I’m on vacation with no particular plans this week, and I’m also off the week of Thanksgiving, so that should be achievable.
  6. I needed to travel for work, with an odd schedule where I was required to be in place for a preliminary event on Friday, with the real action (such as it is) starting today. So, I knew I was going to be halfway across the country with not much to do over the weekend. I packed up my travel paint kit and a bunch of 1/72 plastic. Some were already in progress, but mostly things had just been primed. I am aiming to run Rangers of Shadowdeep soon, and I intend to play it with my travel miniatures kit of 1/72 scale plastics. I’ll be using Caesar Miniatures orcs as the game’s “gnolls” and needed about of dozen, of which I had four done. I also needed a “burrow worm” (now a repurposed Bones 5 Core thing…), and a flesh golem (a paint scheme suggestion on a Bones 1 ghast). Since I’m on travel, i didn’t bring basing materials with me, so these guys are not completely finished, but I have gone as far as brushing on a varnish coat. That’s usually my last step prior to basing with these plastics. On Saturday, I got this done: The knight is a random addition; I am hesitant to paint horses (or, as my son notes, more likely I am hesitant to paint all the horse tack neatly), so I wanted to get over the cavalry block. He’s one of three for a mutli-figure stand, so it could be a while until he gets based. I should have actually worked on another knight on Sunday, but what I actually did was to finish the orcs and the flesh golem, and then add a few random humans on foot: If I had some bases and some scenery, I could now run a tiny little skirmish game. I’ll post the actual completion pictures here later this week.
  7. Last week I finished up a stand of medieval city militia using a 4-color limited Zorn palette. This turned out to be oddly calming, so I went ahead this week and prepared a second stand of 8 figures (mostly duplicate poses) from the same box of Strelets 1/72 scale plastics. I would ordinarily use 2 stands for something like a Dragon Rampant unit, so it’s nice to have them in matching pairs where possible. I started in on them Friday morning, and had them varnished by supper time on Saturday (when we headed out to a ballroom dance event). I finished up the basing and put a final spray coat on them this afternoon. When I clipped these 8 from their sprues, I collected a few of the more interesting poses for use on individual bases for contingency fantasy games. I finished one of the three this afternoon, still using a Zorn palette. As you can see, these are pretty small compared to the usual Reaper sizes. I was please with how the face came out, given the size. I don’t usually zoom in to the level where the individual brush strokes are showing, but there you are. Given the size, that’s more than you’ll actually see during a game, so it’s really just for my own amusement.
  8. I finally had the opportunity to get to a pending fun project this weekend. I heard about the Zorn palette, a limited set of four colors, a while back, and wanted to try this. So, this is the set of hobby paints I chose. The key is that the black has to be a blue-black, that will give a sort of faded denim when mixed with white. Here’s some playing around on the wet palette. Considering that the only brilliant color you’ll get is red, I thought that the best fit would be something medieval, where the subdued colors would look natural. I removed a batch of Strelets Medieval City Levy from the sprues a couple of weeks ago, because I needed some spearmen for my fantasy campaign, and they seemed like a good choice. So, yesterday morning I started. Knowing that these were going to end in a group, I didn’t worry too much about the occasional stray mold line. After I finished up the 8th figure, I posed them on the stand. I gave them my usual base treatment of sand and white glue, followed by a tuft and some flock. When all of that was dry, a coat of spray varnish: All of these pictures represent a much closer view that would be seen on the table. Anyway, an interesting exercise, and one that I will repeat. For travel painting, a four palette would be handy…
  9. I had the day off yesterday, and had 5 of 8 figures finished for a stand of mixed polearm and crossbow civic militia, drawn from the Ultima Ratio Italian Militiamen 1260-1392 box of figures I had picked up in June, so I decided to finish the last three. Let’s start with the results. Here’s the front view, with a Sir Ogre Forescale menacing the unti’s flank. RIght side three quarter view showing the shields on the front rank in particular. Back view. Now a little about the background of the project. As mentioned, I bought the box of figures during a trip to the brick and mortar Michigan Toy Soldier store while visiting my parents in June. Relatively shortly thereafter (as these projects of mine go), I decided to cut eight figures from the sprues and get started. My usual goal in mounting multiple figures on a base is to avoid overhang if at all possible. So I was unusually organized this time. I not only arranged them on a base of the proposed size, but also took a picture of the arrangement so that I would remember later. That was 19 August, according to photo data. I had finished one a couple of weeks ago, as posted in an earlier show-off thread, posted on 26 August. By Tuesday, I had finished four more, and and posted a  request for technical advice. Yesterday morning, I sat down with a fresh sheet of wet palette paper and finished the last three, mostly one at a time, but carrying colors across figures where appropriate (e.g., all shields got a yellow layer in one pass). I slapped a coat of thinned Liquitex gloss acrylic medium and varnish over them, and waited for them to dry. The flag is from my Portable Fantasy Campaign map; you can find the city of Candelon in the lower left corner. When they were dry enough to handle, I pulled out the arrangement picture, glued them in place, and disguided the integral bases with a layer of white glue and sand. I had a little extra room, so I planted a couple of tufts. At that point, it was time to go to the wargames club meeting, so I left everything to dry. When I got home, I carefully brushed on a thinned layer of white glue and added flock. This morning I did a final spray varnish coat (of Krylon Low Odor Matte Varnish), waited for that to dry, and took some pictures, as seen above. There’ a “Painting Faster” thread running elsewhere at the moment. I didn’t time the last three figures, but the first five were running about 40 minutes each (averaged, since I was working on more than one at a time). For appearances, I don’t really need to do detailed faces, and details on shoes and belts get lost in the overall effect. When deployed, this stand will probably be one of 20-30 stands on a small game table, so even more details will generally become invisible. So I could theoretically paint them faster by eliding details, knowing the gameplay end state. However, I’m generally painting for my own satisfaction and amusement, and therefore I paint them as much as I think is fun. In a game, I won’t see the work, for the most part, but I am comfortable with letting a civilian walking past a game pick up a stand and squint at it, and that’s the level that works for me. Other levels, of course, are possible. My son likes to do better; here’s a 1/72 Mycenaen chariot of the late Bronze Age he finished Wednesday or Thursday: I try not to get in painting competitions with him.
  10. I resolved recently to relax for a while and just paint whatever I felt like painting. So it turns out that Augusat has been terrain month mostly, but I started fiddling with some 1/72 plastic figures. These three were Monday and Tuesday’s lunch break project. (Since I tripped over my ice skates last week, this hasn’t been a good week for exercising at lunch…) There are a few places where I couldn’t see flash until I had primed. I expect these are all ending up as part of 6-8 man stands, so a few little irregularities will be hidden in the mass.
  11. This hasn’t been a particularly good month for painting. I had a week off back on the 9th, but, as shown here, my desk had gotten too cluttered to actually get much painting done. I’m also off this week, and decided that I would try just putting one task on the desk at a time, to see if that would help. My son has been diligently working on his Bronze Age DBA armies, so I decided that I would finally get started on the last stand of figures I needed to finish my 2nd DBA army. (DBA : De Bellis Antiquitatis, a popular set of ancient wargames rules for small figure collections to be played on a small table.) Earlier this year, I had managed to get all of my 13th C BCE Libyan infantry done, to match against my New Kingdom Egyptians, but I still needed a “chariot general” base. Son and I have been working this project intermittantly for about fifteen years, and we have a deep stash of Caesar Miniatures 1/72 scale plastic figures. There is no “official” Libyan chariot, so I cobbled one together using an Egyptian chariot body, horses from a different (Mitanni) chariot set, and a Libyan commander pose. He’s a little too wide to be able to fit a driver in as well, so, artistic rendering... We used to mount our chariots on a 40mm wide by 60mm deep base, but the DBA rules call for 60mm by 80mm. The single chariot looks a little lonely, and there isn’t room for a pair of them, so he and I agreed that we would generally mount a couple of “chariot runners” with each vehicle. Most of my Libyans are done with cloaks painted to represent hairy hides from spotted cows, in keeping with the modern painting guide depictions. However, searching around for actual contemporary Egyptian depictions of Libyans came up with this (I’ve cropped a single figure out of a group of four): I did my best to replicate the alternating rows of “eyes” and “arrows” on the general’s cloak, and echoed the pattern on the chariot body decorations because “why not?”. At least any historical nit-pickers are likely to have seen the same picture... Here’s the completed “army”. With the Egyptians, I can at least stage a remote game without using proxy figures, although we are starting to look forward to getting together for an actual games day sometime again (probably still six months off...). Maybe my next army, the Nubians, will be ready by then as well.
  12. You know what sort of year it’s been when you think to yourself that you played a game “recently”, only to find that it was last October. So, in a “recent” game of Dragon Rampant, I was using a scenario from the related game Lion Rampant which called for three “wagon” markers for one side to be escorting. I had two 1/72 scale plastic wagons or carts at the time, so I threw in a noblewoman (an old Airfix mounted Maid Marion figure) as a third element to be escorted. Afterward, I pulled some farm animals out of the plastics collection and decide to add some flock/herd bases to the baggage train. However, pandemic, etc...I finally got the sheep painted yesterday, deciding at the last minute (earlier this week) that they would look better with someone to keep an eye on them. The shepherd is another of the ubiquitous Robin Hood set figures. While I was at the desk and working, I also finished up an addition to the NPC/civilian/camp follower collection. This figure came from the Strelets/Linear-B Roman Transport set, and didn’t look particularly Roman, so she gets added into the general 1/72 fantasy pool. Sir Forescale would pass as an ogre with these guys. Anyway, it felt good to get something done, even small...
  13. Ok, gang, I’ll be honest. I shouldn’t post this now without all the well written explanation of what I’m about here, but it isn’t coming and I would like to get this posted... Earlier this year, in the before times, I did another of these stands. These are for a Hordes of the Things elvish army (primarily) and are expected to be “beast” stands — rapidly moving, at home in rough terrain. This was a speed paint; all three figures took an hour. With the 1/72s, I like to paint a little more than is necessary, for my own amusement. Here’s a closer crop of the sorceress: The leaf pattern freehand is a bit dodgy. Amazingly, the necklace is actually cast into the figure. But it’s all a bit irrelevant when the whole group is arrayed on the stand: A bit over contrasty; had to use a flash to take the pictures. A layer of sand and glue to hide the bases, a couple of tufts, some flock, and a spray varnish and they are as ready as they are going to get:
  14. A little expedient painting...I am still trying to finish my 12-stand De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA) army of 13th century BC Libyans, and they get a stand of mercenary Sea Peoples blades. So, here it is. As with the other Libyan stands, the figures are drawn from a Caesar Miniatures box set of ~40 figures in 12 poses, of which we have great store.
  15. The next piece of my DBA 3.0 Bronze Age Libyan army has ben varnished and is ready for battle...as soon as 5 more stands of things get painted.
  16. I finished this troop of Libyans over a couple of lunches last week, but it took until today to have time to finalize the bases. These will be skirmisher (psiloi) stands for a 12-stand De Bellis Antiquitatis army to oppose my New Kingdom Egyptians. I need to magnetize a new storage box, since the Bronze Age project has now overflowed the first 4-liter Really Useful Box.
  17. I had a fair amount of time to sit and paint yesterday, and I have been working recently on my portable fantasy game project. So, the muse decided to inspire me to do more. (I don’t like to argue with the muse, lest she depart unappreciated...) The two single figures are from an oldish Italeri Crusaders set. If the shields look rough, it’s probably because I needed to carve off the molded design to start. I need to increase my speed on horse painting, so I ended up finishing off the trio stand of Strelets knights, and was reminded how difficult Strelets is to work with. I will have to scrounge around and see what I have that would be easier; my campaign plan says I need a dozen stands of three, so I’ve got ten more to go.
  18. I started off last week to paint a few 1/72 scale plastics for my portable set. KISS, brighter colors, etc. Next step: use them in a game.
  19. I am not sure where to put this topic, so I have thrown it in general fantasy. My hobby goals for this month include painting some 1/72 scale plastics for what I call the Portable Fantasy Game. I am considering the question of what the shape of this project should be, because, like a lot of the things I do, it has mostly grown organically so far. To assist in planning, last week I unpacked the boxes and arrayed all the single-based figures for a photo inventory. I won’t add the small group closeups, but here is the overview: As of then, I had 112 pieces, and have finished up another 4 this week. After I finish this post, I am going downstairs to spray some primer on another dozen or so, including the start of the baggage train, a couple of carts. I am lucky enough to be able to attend several conventions most years, and I like to take a pick-up game with me, so the basic idea behind this was to have something portable (so size and weight limited) which would give me the flexibility to play different games, depending on the needs of the moment. Most of my miniatures storage is arranged in Really Useful Boxes, generally the 4-liter size. In working up this idea, I found that they sell a 12-liter box with dimensions allowing it to fit under the seat on full size airliners. The 6-liter box is half the height and nests, and I have found, as shown above, that a 12, a 6, and a 2.5 liter box can be strapped together and still fit in the overhead compartment. That was from last year’s trip to Gencon. The “Strap-a-handle” gives me something to hold it by, and I run one lateral nylon strap around orthogonal to it. That’s the outside of the boxes. For reasons that made sense at the time, having to do with a failed Kickstarter for a magnetic portable dungeon wall set-up, I based the individual figures for this game in the reverse of my usual technique, with the magnet stuff on the figures and the steel element in the box. So the figure storage is steel lined, as in this shot of the 2.5 liter overflow box: The 6-liter box is flex space. I have three of them, although, as shown above, only one at a time would fly. More would readily fit as part of a road trip. They are set up with my usual system, magnets in the box for steel bases. At Christmas this year, I loaded one of them up with two Dragon Rampant war bands (with some options) and fifteen or so Burrows and Badgers figures, all in 25mm metal, becuase that’s what my brother expressed interest in playing: As I type, the other two 6-liter boxes are currently loaded up with all of my multiple-figure-based 1/72 scale fantasy figures, from an earlier road trip. I generally try to keep the 6-liter boxes empty, and swap troops in and out as needed for a specific trip, but I haven’t re-stowed things since the move in November. Inside the 12-liter box, there are two figure storage boxes, a short one and a tall one. Here’s the short one: In addition to the two figure boxes, the 12-liter box is loaded with a 3-foot square double sided groundcloth, a set of four hills, a village of seven buildings and a bridge (all Dave Graffam card models, to keep it light), a dozen or so trees, a half dozen plastic rock formations which more or less nest, a couple of primitive stone head statues, some low walls, a bag of lichen, a bag of aquarium gravel, some rolled cloth roads and streams, various gamemaster stuff such as dice, rulers, status token, three or four sets of rules, and some laminated scenario force sheets for a few preplanned situations, to make pick up gaming easier. Here’s most of the scenery deployed, with the green side of the cloth and hills up. Here we are at Gencon in 2014, actually playing a game of Song of Blades and Heroes: So why 1/72 scale plastics? On the minus side of the ledger, the supply of typical fantasy things is somewhat limited. The figures are often irritating to clean up for painting. On the plus side, a box full of them is light. That also helps the magnets keep them in place while traveling. I wouldn’t want to turn the boxes upside down and shake them, but even if I did, the plastic pieces won’t damage each other as badly as metal might. They are on the low end of what it is practical to base and handle as individuals, so it would be difficult for me to imagine going with 15mm metal for this. On the other hand, they are big enough that I can paint some detail on them, so painting stays fun rather than being a burden. I have painted some of these guys with the travel paint kit, so it’s possible to get to the double portable levels, where all the support infrastructure is portable too...in case we ever take up RV nomadism, I guess. As individuals they are also broadly compatible with the 1/72 mass battle figures, a pre-exisiting project I share with both sons. So, that’s where things are now. The next question is what I want to fill out the remaining space in the 2.5 liter box with, which would allow support of a reasonable range of activities in a roleplaying game. I am thinking a few more non-human monsters, in particular, and then I can shape the scenarios to fit the figure collection. Thoughts and comments?
  20. I had a quiet enough lunch break yesterday that I pulled out some paint and pending miniatures. I had finished up a single figure on the stick last week, and the rest had just gotten a preliminary splash of skin: So, forty minutes or so later it was time to clean up, and this is where I was: The figure on the left (a random courtier as one of my sons described him) was still waiting for a coat of brush-on varnish to dry. After drying: These figures are miscellaneous 1/72 scale plastics that are being done for my travel set, which is, perhaps a post for a different time. My question for the rest of the crew is whether you also end up scattering some paint randomly on multiple figures while working, or whether you steadily keep to the main project?
  21. My goal in the Thanksgiving painting binge is to finish the last six 25mm home cast Saxons I need to deploy a war game army, to finish a dozen or so 1/72 plastic Vikings needed to deploy a different wargame army, and to start some momentum on a project to do a set of inter-related Middle Earth warbands for Dragon Rampant, to be done with vintage Minifigs from the early to mid-70s. For those who might not have heard this before, these figures were the first commercial fantasy figures produced, and therefore reach back to the dawn of time for the hobby of fantasy gaming. http://www.miniatures-workshop.com/lostminiswiki/index.php?title=Mythical_Earth Here’s what my desk looks like this morning:
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