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  1. I play in an RPG group that has been meeting weekly for a good long time. Our favorite setting is the Iron Kingdoms- we started back when it used the D&D rules and we've kept playing with the new system. The new system hasn't been around as long, and we often have to convert the old statlines into the new system ourselves- especially for some of the epic monsters that Privateer Press isn't ready to explore yet. Here is Chilon. He is a Giant of Bemoth who was captured by the Skorne and forced to labor for them. Last he was seen in official cannon, he refused to fight for the Skorne, but we felt that it was only a matter of time before his will was completely broken. I converted this mini from the Ultraforge Giant to match the IK artwork- so he lost his nose, and had to have his hands rexculpted. I also replace his weapon with something that looked a little more Skorne. So here he is- mounted on a CD (120mm base)
  2. On the left, for comparison and inspiration, we have "Helga the Conqueror" from Privateer Press -- the only known official miniature representing a female member of the "Farrow" (boar-man) race from the Iron Kingdoms (Warmachine / Hordes) RPG setting. In our ongoing "Unleashed" IKRPG campaign, I've been providing table space and minis, while the GM gives me hints about what we'll be up against next. In our campaign, our humble little ruined base is supposed to receive a visit from Helga the Conqueror -- our very first "big name" guest, and a representative of our benefactor, Lord Carver (the bandit lord of the Farrow). I already have an abundance of Farrow miniatures of various types painted up, largely thanks to the plastic minis included in the "Unleashed Adventure Kit," but a distinct lack of females. Enter Reaper Bones #77052, Aina the Valkyrie. Obviously, the original mini was meant to be human, but with a little bit of "brown stuff" epoxy putty, I gave her a snout and tusks. The figure as a whole is so conservatively dressed that I didn't feel the need to add a "piggy tail" or convert hooves since, well, they'd be covered. I did, however, replace the upright-held sword originally in the right hand. Although dunking the figure in boiling water did help to straighten out the sword significantly, it still had a slight curve to it, and also looked a bit puny by Warmachine/Hordes overblown standards, so I swapped it out and instead used a spare plastic axe (originally from a Warhammer Dwarf). The whole thing is a bit of a rush paint (as I have to get these things done in between game sessions), so mostly this consisted of base-coating the whole thing in a very light brown, then washing with "melted chocolate" brown. From there, I used "granite grey" for shadows, painted over areas of gunmetal and bronze, and built up color for the skirts and flesh tone areas with multiple applications. The exposed surfaces inside the "lipped" base will get some flocking, but I wanted to take a picture of the figures before applying an outer later of matte acrylic coating (and to apply the flocking AFTER the clear-coating). On the right is another conversion abomination: "Hungry Bertha" from the HorrorClix line. Originally, this figure was clothed in nothing but a bib, with only the rolls of fat providing any semblance of "modesty." Ewww. I used some more "brown stuff" putty to give her a loincloth, some iron cups, piggy tail, and something resembling a snout. The headdress was a random plastic bit (Warhammer, again -- I got lots of random bits at a local game store's "game bazaar" exchange) that I thought would help to contribute to the "Valkyrie / Opera Singer" vibe. I still left on the arm she's chewing on (although it gave me precious little space to squeeze in anything resembling a piggy snout), since that seems to fit the vibe of the "Unleashed" setting: there's an awful lot of cannibalism going on there. (In the case of the Farrow, this is literal. If one of their fellows dies, he's lunch. Waste not, want not. If you don't partake in the feast, they may be insulted -- What, did you think there was something WRONG with him? What, you think you're TOO GOOD for him?) The hooves (replacing the original little feet, which were partially hidden under folds of leg-fat) are left over from my Mage Knight Wereboar conversions into "Brute Boar" warbeasts. Waste not, want not! ;) Anyway, I suppose it's ironic that "Aina," having the slimmest figure, is the most conservatively dressed of the trio (and Bertha by far the least -- especially before I started adding putty). But then, that's probably wholly in keeping with the Farrow aesthetic, which goes for a more "Rubenesque" ideal.
  3. In the Iron Kingdoms RPG, if you want to have some ancient ruins/dungeons for the PCs to explore, your go-to ancient boogeymen tend to be the wicked "Orgoth" -- an ancient culture that was in some ways a sort of mish-mash of the bloodiest aspects of the Vikings and the Aztecs, who invaded the continent of Western Immoren from some mysterious fog-shrouded continent across the sea, employing necromancy and other dark arts to crush the local populace, but were eventually driven out when a convergence of events weakened them, and the locals finally rallied. So, crazy catacombs that are part temple, part tomb, part torture chamber, part treasure cache, riddled with secret passages, traps, dangerously magic items, and lingering undead -- that's the Orgoth dungeon in a nutshell, complete with a big-bad insane undead warrior and his eternal court in some cobwebby throne room. Furthermore, the Orgoth employed certain magics to delay natural processes of decay and ruin -- and these magics tend to become unstable over time -- so basically I have an in-universe reason to be inconsistent with how I depict the stage of decay of any particular part of the tomb (thus allowing for skeletons still wearing robes and/or armor, for instance). The way to make it distinctive, however, is to have lots of spiky bits, and for everything to have grimacing faces (perhaps out of anger, perhaps in torment, perhaps both). That goes for the models as well. Several of the new Bones undead figures are perfect for this. Reaper 77201 "Dragoth the Defiler" is great for the leader of the undead hordes -- the sort of character that, when a PC pokes his head into a chamber and sees him, anyone who has the least bit of sense starts contemplating the wisdom of a tactical retreat. To give him a more distinctive "Orgoth" look, I used some epoxy putty to sculpt a big ugly "frowny face" in the gap at the top of the throne, and another on his chestplate. The Orgoth are known for wielding larger-than-life swords, distinctive for having glowing embossed images of swarms of faces on each side of the blade; the figure already came with a sword held in the left hand, but for some reason even though it was posed as if the undead lord was resting his hand on the grip, with the blade tip downward, the plastic sword tip didn't actually touch the throne or base. I found a pewter sword blade that I think was originally from a Heartbreaker Hobbies Nepharite of Algeroth (Warzone / Mutant Chronicles), and attached an Ogre Kingdoms gauntlet, topped with a random head/skull as an over-sized pommel. (The gauntlet is way too large, but I imagined it could be a magical artifact enchanted to help wield that "surf-sword" with one hand. The other figures are a mix of Bones figures I picked either for being obviously undead (77237 through 77245), or some evil Pathfinder warrior-types (89029, 89030, 89032). For the skeletons, I added some putty to those with shields, to give them that Orgoth grimace. 89029 "Hellknight Order of the Scourge" just looks like an evil knight, but he's got the horns, and with a little bit of putty I was able to turn the strange shield design into another frowny face. 89030 "Hellknight Order of the Nail" is perfect for Orgoth right off with his grimacing chestplate. Even so, I added another ugly face to his shield. 89031 "Whispering Tyrant" isn't shown here, but I'm turning that one into an Orgoth "Excruciator" (ghostly torturer). 89032 "Anti-Paladin" is so perfect for an Orgoth warrior that I bought some extras. Not only is there a big hideous face on the shield, but he's got horns and skulls ... and the bare face is so exaggerated in its grimace that I've just painted it up as an Orgoth "death mask." I painted up the Deathless with glowing green on the blade, and tried to do a "cast light" effect on nearby surfaces. Somehow, a lot of the details ended up turning out a lot more yellow than I'd intended; while that's probably fine for the skeletons, the bit of human (?) skin on the front (with a visible hand) was meant to be more of a leathery brown. And here are most of the stars of the Orgoth court (various skeletons off-stage in varying degrees of progress). I am thinking of making a few "courtiers" of some sort, though most skeletal types would be wielding weapons and such. I may just have to dig through the Bones pile and find some models (I have an excess of "hero/adventurer" types) and do some conversions to make them undead servants (musicians, etc.) instead.
  4. In our current Iron Kingdoms / Unleashed RPG campaign, after my Nyss priest got one-shotted (and rolled 1-1-2 on the injury table -- a very bad thing, in case you aren't familiar with the rules) in our first combat, the GM came up with the idea that we each should have backup characters, just in case someone gets obliterated, or suffers another "Slow Recovery" result (as I did) and ends up effectively bedridden for long periods of game time while the plot demands that the others keep adventuring. I was inspired by a Hordes model, the Gobber Tinker. (Reference image.) ... And so I thought I'd try building my own. From a grab bag deal I got a while back, I ended up getting 3 or 4 copies of this same gobber model who's hauling warjack parts on his back (as part of the Cygnar Field Mechaniks unit). I imagined that one of them might work well to be the lucky guy hauling the cart ... and then I'd have the other copy to be the same figure, only minus the cart. (Sort of like having a mounted/unmounted figure pair, only "pulling a cart" vs. "riding a horse.") I started building a basic cart together with craft sticks, toothpicks, and craft "matchsticks." The wheels are some early attempts I made years ago at trying to make copies of a wagon wheel model with water putty. They really aren't sturdy enough to be used for a lot of things, but I did some patch-up work and textured the insides with some putty (which also served to reinforce them a bit), and held the wagon together with Tacky Glue (which seems to work pretty well for wooden pieces). My plan is to fill the wagon up with various "bits" left over from some of the plastic warjack conversion kits. (A friend of mine has a Khador army, and I've painted up several of his figures. He lets me keep leftover "bits," and the newer plastic kits in many cases have a base chassis and then you just swap out custom armaments for several of the different warjack types ... inevitably leaving a few extra weapon arms in the process.) ( ... picture forthcoming because "You are not allowed to use that image extension on this community" is giving me grief again via Google+ ...) In my bits box, I happened to have a mis-cast resin barrel. I had been keeping that around with the intent of "burying" it in a scenery piece or a base to represent some barrel half-buried in sand, but such an opportunity just hasn't come up yet. I figured I could use it just as well by stuffing it in the cart, where all the clutter might help obscure the fact that it's really only half a barrel. An idea occurred to me that hauling a cart full of mechanikal (deliberate misspelling) gear through the wilds is to put them at the mercy of the elements. Or, rather, I just happened to have a couple of little plastic/resin bits left over from some resin casts of a Hirst Arts Castlemolds shingled rooftop (a section had to be cut out to make room for a chimney), and I thought it might be interesting to make a little "roof" over the wagon. Sure, it's unwieldy, but the wagon is going to be more than a little unwieldy once I finish cramming it full of junk, and hanging all sorts of tools, lanterns, a sign or two, and various knickknacks on the sides. The matchsticks on the top are basically filler for the gap formed by the two (thick) pieces of rooftop resin coming together; I plan to use some putty to make a top ridge of shingles for the roof, but a bit of filler reduces the amount of putty that'll get used up as gap-filler. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to handle the removable gobber. Rather than permanently fixing one of the gobbers to the cart model, I'm pondering whether it might be feasible to remove a gobber from his base and put him on some sort of pegs, then alternate between plugging it into the cart base, or its own 30mm single-figure base. So far, it's just an idea; it remains to be seen what's practical.
  5. 14086 "Giant Eagle" (pewter) + 77208 "Anwyn, Elf Bard" (Bones plastic) When I saw the figure for Anwyn, I immediately thought of Dahlia Hallyr from the Hordes game, and her pet Tatzylwurm, Skarath. I had a mind to use her for my Iron Kingdoms campaign as an odd warlock encounter, and painted her up as a Nyss (winter elf) flutist. (In the Iron Kingdoms Unleashed RPG, Nyss don't get to be warlocks, but neither do Iosans (high elves), so if Dahlia gets to be a special snowflake, surely some GM-invented NPC can be as well.) And by painting her up pale and with dark hair and dark clothes, she could also stand in for an Infernal or Umbral in a pinch. Now, in our Unleashed campaign, I'm on the other side of the GM screen, and the current GM has been going through my miniatures supply for encounters ... and sadly quite often having to use proxies, since I just don't happen to have EVERY POSSIBLE monster he can imagine. Tsk! I've used this as an excuse to dig through a lot of my miniatures of various large beasties that I've yet to assemble and paint up, and stick them on 30, 40, or 50mm round bases (with facing markings) so they're ready to go JUST IN CASE the GM has need of a giant bird or a pack of rats of unusual size, or a few grizzly bears, or what-have-you. I picked up the Giant Eagle (14086) over a decade ago, with the vague idea of converting it as a phoenix for a World of Warcraft campaign I was running, but that wrapped up before I could get around to it, and the blister pack had difficulty holding together with the sheer WEIGHT of all those pewter pieces, so they ended up scattered around my minis box for years. Just recently, I decided to take on a token effort of organizing my boxes of Reaper minis (mostly Bones, but still a few pewter packs, and also some assorted "bits"), trying to group together Bones by some sort of loose theme (e.g., bag o' undead) in Ziploc storage baggies. In the process, I found a talon .. .then another talon, then a leg, then a tail fan, a couple of huge wings ... a body -- aha! A whole giant eagle! Before it could get scattered again, I decided to go ahead and try assembling it, and giving it a base. I love the detail on this figure! I suppose it's to be expected, given its large size, but I especially appreciate the fairly sensible order and symmetry of the wings. (This is in contrast to the trouble I ran into when trying to paint feather patterns on the Vrock -- who, it turns out, DOES NOT have symmetrical wings.) As is probably expected of a figure of this size, some putty was required to get the parts to fit. Also, due to the sheer size, I ended up having to assemble it a bit at a time; gluing everything at once and expecting it to hold together despite its own weight was ... unrealistic. One interesting detail I hadn't noticed before: The two talons/claws have "keyed" connections to the legs. One of the joints has a triangular key, while the other is round, so there's no risk of getting right on left or left on right unless you determinedly file down the keys to fit the wrong way. I'm not sure how much difference it would have made visually, but it was a nice bit of engineering. If assembled as it comes out of the blister pack, the figure "stands" on its tail feathers, which are directly (and thinly) connected to a "slotta" style tab at the bottom. At the angle it came in line with the tail feathers, assembling it on its original 40mm monster base would have the eagle leaning VERY far forward past the center of gravity, and topping forward; the only solution would seem to be to deliberately bend the figure pack on that point so that it's facing a little more upward, with its wings therefore being further back and closer to a point of balance in relation to the center of gravity. Here, I tried to account for this by attaching the tab at the tail-feather base further toward the back of the base (50mm round lipped), and I used some putty to build up a bit of "foliage" around the joining point. Still, that thin bit of metal has a bit of a challenge holding this much heavy pewter aloft, and I fear that at some point the tab is going to worry off and break. Eventually, some amount of pinning and a creative means of providing additional support will likely be necessary. Another challenge I had was that the combination of sharp highlights on the feathery texture and sheer weight of the model meant that in the process of handling the figure, paint on high points inevitably wore off (despite the best efforts of the base coat spray), so I had to keep going back and dry-brushing on more layers of white highlight -- and in one case it was bad enough that I had to paint the general area back to its base tone of grey, and then work back up to white highlights. Just as soon as I had the figure "good enough" and snapped a figure of it, I took it aside and put on the first layer of some brush-on matte acrylic sealer. I normally use a spray-on matte sealer, but I've found that sometimes results in an unfortunate "tacky" effect if the figures are plastic; I want to try out the matte sealer, to see just how "matte" it really is, and experiment with it on some of my painted Bones minis, to better protect the paint. For Iron Kingdoms, I have it in mind (should I ever get back on the GM side of the screen) to use the stats for one of the griffons, and apply the "Large Creature" template to it as a baseline for the stats for this creature, as an encounter. (I'll suggest as much to the GM -- he's a bit short on stats for monsters, as not much has really been published, and we can't easily "convert" the old d20 Monsternomicon over -- but it's of course his call whether we'll have need for one monster or another.) Regardless, I'm sure I'll find use for a giant bird in SOME campaign or another. :) The giant eagle is big, wonderfully detailed, and impressive on the table. I'd love to see this figure in Bones, though with the bendiness of Bones and the plastic still having a significant weight of its own when in bulky form, there would likely need to be some more structural support -- perhaps in the form of a "rocky outcropping" rising upward that just happens to "brush against" one of the claws, etc. Anwyn is, of course, already in Bones. :) Dealing with flash is a bit challenging in spots, but I don't suppose it's especially noticeable. It's a nicely detailed and posed figure that looks plausible as an adventurer bard type. My paint job really didn't do it justice; there are lots of details that could be played with, with the puffy-sleeved blouse and little trim details. I could probably make it more modest in attire by changing the midriff into a corset via creative painting, and if I wanted this to look more civilian, and less like a combatant, it looks like it would be a simple fix to trim off the dagger and scabbard strapped to the leg. It's a nice and versatile enough piece that I might have to get another some day, depending upon what campaign settings we try in the future (and what sorts of character concepts the players come up with). The basic sculpt, if painted up differently, is (I think) a pretty good contender as a proxy for Dahlia Hallyr for Warmachine/Hordes -- though what to do about Skarath the many-eyed serpentine Tatzylwurm is much more of a challenge.
  6. Among several bouts of re-purposing old Mage Knight minis, re-basing generic critters with IKRPG-friendly bases, and general kit-bashing over my extended holiday weekend (yay!), I attempted to make use of a Micro Art Studio "Wolsung" mini (#33 -- Phoenix) as a Nyss hero. I'm a fan of Micro Art Studio resin bases, but this is the first I've gotten from their miniatures line. My feelings are mixed. Assembly was surprisingly smooth for a multi-part figure: The parts consisted of the main body, a piece with the weapon and hands/fore-arms, and a ponytail. The ponytail segment, once I trimmed some flash, plugged into a socket onto the back of the figure's head and fit so well that it held by pressure alone even before I re-applied with glue. The weapon/hand piece wasn't quite so perfect, requiring glue and a bit of careful fitting, but it was still such a solid connection that no pinning was required. I rarely ever have such an easy time assembling a mini (I seem destined to get some glue on my fingers or an injury from the pinning drill), and if this is representative, I'm duly impressed by the engineering at Micro Art Studios. Detail level is nice and to the point: no fancy-schmancy filigrees or elaborate bits to wow me with the sculpt alone, but there is enough going on with the steampunk mechanical arm and the scowling features for me to work with. The problem was with the proportions: From certain angles, it's not so noticeable, but from others it's inescapable that the body has big buff manly proportions to the upper torso, but short halfling or dwarven proportions to the legs. The two just don't go together well. I'm hoping this isn't a common feature of Wolsung minis, and that it's just an unfortunate side-effect of the artist's attempt to make a super-dramatic "leaping with sword held high!" pose, with the sash suspending the figure. My first plan was to try to trim off the legs at the knees, pin, use wire to extend both upper and lower leg sections, then putty to gap-fill, and make some clumsy attempts at sculpting baggy cloth folds to hide the seams. The trouble is that this is a fairly hard and relatively brittle pewter mix, and one of the feet snapped off before I could make more than a little headway into the first leg. In an attempt to salvage things, I took one of the unassembled torsos from a pack of Nyss hunters, and some Instant Mold to get an impression off the legs. I then applied some putty and pressed the half-mold onto the lower portion of the Wolsung mini in hopes of extending the apparent length of the upper legs (stopping at the knees) -- and even adding a little more Nyss-specific armor detail while I'm at it. It's by no means perfect, but so far, so good. The real challenge is going to be to try to sculpt the lower portions of the legs -- which I'm going to try to do bent back underneath the upper legs. I can salvage the FEET at least, but for this sort of detail work I'll have to break out the green stuff (as Apoxie Sculpt is just too "crumby" to work well with such fine detailing of such small and delicate features as figure limbs without some considerable structural support). The style of the Nyss hunter outfit at least offers me a way out on some of this: All of the Nyss Hunter models have a back drape that pretty much covers the backs of the legs. I could possibly add such a drape to the long sash/support already on the figure, and thus obscure whatever ugliness goes on in my attempt to transform the mangled legs. More later as I tackle it some more.
  7. EDIT: Experimenting with linkage to see if I can fix browser compatibility issues ... maybe. Reaper 77215 Eregris Darkfathom modified to be a Cryx Journeyman Warcaster (with a Harrower 'jack) for an Iron Kingdoms Unleashed RPG campaign. It's not the paint job that I'm putting up proudly for show-'n-tell (it's just base-color, wash-and-dry-brush for the most part), but rather just that I'm happy that Bones figures -- with a bit of minor kit-bashing -- can work so well as starting points for characters in a number of settings. (Large-size version so you can see the sloppy paint job in painful detail here: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/GJhvNdkyt514MGN1hb8veAlp24sgCEq3nikUCaXL4OMo3vi2K62u0JHxxcavlTLcDKPo=w1920-h1080-no ) The GM's specs called for a guy in warcaster armor with a trident (chained to his right arm), with the left arm replaced with a blade. I used the fishy priest figure, obscuring the face inside the fish skull "mask" with a green necrotite glow, and painting up the figure under the conceit that this guy is either a Cryxian bog-trog "recruit," or else someone got creative when cobbling together his necrotech body. For the trident arm, I used a spare Warhammer Chaos Warrior arm-and-weapon bit to replace the bendy harpoon, and a section of chain from a Warhammer Flagellant pack. The harpoon tip ended up finding a second life as a replacement for the figure's left arm. To make him look more like a Cryxian warcaster, I needed a boiler and stovepipe on back of the armor, so I used part of the armored fore-arm I trimmed off from the Chaos Warrior bit. It formed a flanged shape that made for a pretty decent IKRPG-style smokestack, once I made a few regularly-spaced holes in the forward plate with the pinning drill, and then used some epoxy putty for gap-filler. The paint job is mostly just wash and dry-brushing, since, after all, this was a rush job for a single encounter. (I doubt we'll be running into fishy undead warcasters on a regular basis.) My main "innovation" was just the improvised "smokestack," since I think that captures the peculiar Iron Kingdoms look pretty well with just a minimal amount of work. (Well, that and the figure already having a rather top-heavy look to the armored chest piece and shoulder-pads.)
  8. Okay, if I were doing this properly, there are several stages I should have taken pictures at, but unfortunately this whole thing has been a "make it up as I go" business. Back-story: I'm running an Iron Kingdoms RPG campaign, and it mostly involves overland journeys punctuated by the occasional "dungeon" full of encounters. So far, the "dungeon" has typically been a big train full of cars (since Iron Kingdoms is a bit of a fantasy-steampunk hybrid), but now the PCs have reached the end of the rail and are venturing along an old road into the dreaded Thornwood. They'll need supplies, and since there's at least one steamjack in the party, a good portion of that will just be for all the COAL they have to haul along (and a way to cart the steamjack itself when it's not fired up). Toward that end, I'm working on making some wagons, Iron Kingdoms style. These aren't finished yet. This is just as far as I got over the weekend (time split up among various minis on my worktable as well). The Dancing Hut (WIP) This isn't really part of the wagon caravan, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the PCs might end up acquiring it at some point (unless they blow it up first, which is a very real possibility as well). So far, I've cobbled together the basic structure and slapped on the basic paints in a rush to have something that's "barely good enough for the table" in the event that I can't get any more work done on it before its time to come on stage in the campaign. The core body is made from a strange plastic mini Barbie house toy I found in a thrift store -- basically a hollow shell/facade that had a hinge where it would swivel open, but was totally empty inside, and had no floor. (So, it would be useless to serve as any type of container, it has no opening doors/windows, no interior decoration of any sort that would justify opening up as a "play set" and I'm no expert on Barbie -- nor can I guess at the magic keywords to get it to appear in a Google image search.) I used an inverted plastic Warhammer movement tray that just happened to be the right width to bridge the bottom of the house to serve as a support that I could attach the "chassis" and legs to. The legs themselves were made from pieces from yet another unidentified toy source -- some sort of construction set that looked vaguely ZOIDS-ish, but had a combination of joining types (square blocks that link together, plugs that fit together Micronauts-style for a degree of rotation, and clips that attach to bars to make swiveling joints), and not a brand or manufacturer or patent inscription to be found anywhere. But the important thing is, "Find small toy house, or vaguely house-like box-like shape. Affix giant robot legs. Find some sort of tubes or cylinders or domes or whatever to glue onto the back to look like a boiler." Tada! There are the basics. As for the rest, it's a mix of bits from a grab bag of Warhammer (Fantasy and 40K) and Platformer/Tehnolog/Robogear leftovers I acquired a while back, plus some craft sticks, with lots of epoxy putty for gap-filling, and a few brad nails for railing posts and such. For future steps: 1) Washes and dry-brushing so the red brick paint job isn't so "flat." I still intend to keep it roughly "Khador red" since this campaign is themed mostly on Khador (and Russian fairy tales). Also, it can use a bit of touch-up; some of the paint wore off during handling. 2) More bits and bobs and doodads. At the very least, I need some windows and maybe a hatch on the front. 3) Some "distress" for the roof. I'm thinking maybe some very light green applied as a wash in streaks in order to get a "verdigris" look, and some darker wash for "patina." 4) Some sort of paneling on the legs, along with some gunmetal and bronze dry-brushing here and there. 5) SOMETHING for the windows. Flat yellow panels just won't cut it. Either I need to gradient out to a golden brown near the frames, or cut out some sort of lattice-work screen to put down over them, or such. I don't think I'll try my hand at free-hand painting of any patterns, however. 6) Possibly some sort of a base. Presently it's shown standing on a terrain piece I put together from Hirst Arts "fieldstone" blocks from various molds, painted up in several layers of "dirty grey" dry-brushing and washes. Okay, for this wagon, I took the easy route: I actually found a plastic toy wagon in the thrift store. It only had two wheels (in the back), but I happened to find another pair of wheels with a metal rod axle, and hot-glued those up front. Unfortunately, I don't think I can count on finding more wagons (or passable facsimiles) in the thrift store on demand. This is the personal wagon and "home on wheels" for Tsarevitch Ivan, the kind-hearted, soft-headed, and a little bit vain and spoiled "protagonist" that our heroes are accompanying in sort of a big glorified "escort quest" that is the campaign (unless the players rebel, that is, which I must be mindful is always a possibility). In any case, it's the least practical of the designs -- its shape is actually loosely inspired by that of a pop-up camper that my family used to take up to Oshkosh for the EAA "Fly-In" (now "Airventure") when I was a kid. Or, rather, it's inspired by the shape of said camper when actually deployed; here, it's a rather unwieldy shape for actually taking on the road (and partly an excuse for why a week or so is passing in between each dungeon, giving the PCs time to heal up a bit, because it's a bear to get this thing down a partially overgrown forest road). The main body is made from foam-core illustration board held together with Tacky Glue adhesive, and more brad nails (the heads of which make passable rivets). The body of the wagon had a few plug-in holes that I imagine were once used for affixing some sort of Conestoga-type canopy top (not included), but I re-purposed them as spots to "pin" the housing in place. (Actually, both of these projects have an awful lot of pinning going on, as I don't want glued-on pieces popping off left and right as soon as things get handled.) Normally, I would've just gone with layered thin cardboard for the shingles, but this time around I decided to try a thin layer of epoxy putty, and just sculpt the shingles with a hobby knife and a dental tool. I still need to finish the rooftop "spine," though I am considering putting some rooftop spikes along there, if I can find any more of that Warhammer 40K "Chaos Tank Spiky Fencing" (not its official name, but that's what I think of it as) to put there. The rooftop hatch, platform, and hanging lanterns are Games Workshop terrain "bits" that I got in a grab-bag deal. The seat cushion is just epoxy putty where I took a hobby knife and made some diagonal impressions to suggest quilting. The flag is ... from a grab bag, so I'm really not sure what it's from, but it looks like someone went to the trouble of replacing the original flag post with a brass rod, so it's surprisingly sturdy. I printed off a sheet of "decals" at 600 dpi, including several Khador emblems, and used a couple of the emblems on the flag. As with the Dancing Hut, I'm considering taking some screen fabric and putting it into the side bay windows (even if it means I have to pop off the window pieces, and glue the screen down BEHIND them before replacing them). ... For the remaining wagons, I have a few goals: 1) Have something that looks like a wagon (two of them) done in time for this Saturday's game. It needn't necessarily be pretty. After all, players are players, and they could well decide to break down a wagon for kindling, or drive it off a cliff, or blow it up. Or, like the last time I spent all this work on a travel caravan for a fantasy setting (World of Warcraft campaign, papercraft wagons patterned after the Darkmoon Faire wagons), the druid whipped out this spell that nearly rendered overland journeys moot, because the entire party could step into a plant and then pop out of any other plant "of the same type" ON THE SAME PLANE, REGARDLESS OF DISTANCE, thus instantly bypassing whole intervening regions I'd worked on, because there was no good reason there WOULDN'T be a convenient tree of the same general type in the target location, and.... Grrr. What, me bitter over that after all these years? NAHHHHHH. ;) 2) One of the wagons needs to be able to carry a steamjack, preferably via a tilting platform in the back, as per the engineer's stated design plan (as in, the steamjack backs up onto this L-shaped thing, and then the whole thing tilts back to put the center of weight of the 'jack over the rear axle, so the whole thing won't upend when the support legs are retracted). I think I might use a few Tehnolog/Robogear/Platformer panels for this, since those have a very clunky '80s tech aesthetic (lots of frames, lots of rivets) that could be adapted to the steam-fantasy feel of IKRPG as long as I add some big gears and paint lots of bronze. 3) The other wagon needs to be a "portable confessional" for our traveling Priest of Menoth and his squishy followers (NPC minions). Just about anything will do, but bonus points if I can slap some symbols of Menoth and such on it. Various Warhammer 40K Space Marine bitz will probably work fairly nicely (what with those purity seals and scrolls and whatnot). Maybe even some bitz leftover from a Warhammer Fantasy "flagellant" pack. Alas, I'm kind of short on wheels right now, unless I cannibalize other wagon projects. I have an old (incomplete) Vampire Counts wagon, but I don't think anyone wants to ride around in what amounts to a coffin-shaped horse-drawn hearse. (And, besides, it really only seats the driver and ONE passenger.) I have a Mage Knight "Atlantean Ram" chariot that might be incorporated into a wagon; right now it only has two wheels, and they have very conical "hubcaps." Somewhere in my garage is a Mage Knight "Black Powder Rebellion War Wagon," but ... I have to actually FIND it, and after all these years (I think I put it out there a DECADE ago), prospects are not high. I expect that I may have to dig into my cache of spare HeroClix/Mage Knight bases (I've cut off bunches, as Clix minis made for my primary supply of cheap plastic minis before Bones came out) for alternative wagon wheels. The rims of those things have an interesting look, and as long as I come up with a suitable "hubcap," I think they might make for plausible wheels for a steampunk-ish wagon. That might be more of interest to other hobbyists than "Look at the thing I found in the thrift store that I repainted, and which I will probably never find again even if I wanted to," so I'll try to take some pictures of that along with a few items for improvised wagon wheel covers. Oh yeah. Tangential wish for Bones: WAGON WHEELS. Okay, so maybe selling wagon wheels alone would be too "niche," so maybe a Wooden Cart that just happens to come with four wagon wheels on it. Or, if it simply must be a creature ... an Oboroguruma! (Japanese cart-ghost.) Yeah, I could work with that. :)
  9. Reaper Bones 77160: Judas Bloodspire, Vampire (converted) For my first Iron Kingdoms RPG session, we spent a good portion of the time writing up character sheets, and not everyone came to the table with a concept -- so I didn't have everyone's custom minis ready (not knowing any better than the players what they were going to play). One of the players decided to go with a Gun Mage -- basically a spellcaster/gunslinger who specializes in infusing his pistols (and the ammunition therein) with special effects. I used a cowboy proxy for the first game, but to get the proper Iron Kingdoms look, I needed something with a long button-up, coat, tricorn hat, and very antique-looking pistol. There are official Gun Mage minis from Privateer Press, but none of my friendly local game stores had them in stock, and I wearied at the thought of putting in a mail order for ONE pricey miniature that might or might not arrive in time for the next game. So! Time to dig into the Box o' Bones! I wanted somebody with a fancy coat, and I'd already put the Bones Captain Barnabus Frost to use (as a Khadorite conversion), but Judas looked like a possibility with a few tweaks. My figure had a very bendy sword, so my initial plan was to chop it off and put the gun in that hand, but I decided to give the "dip it in boiling water" method another go. I've had spotty results with it in a few cases, but here it worked PERFECTLY -- it was rather uncanny, the way the blade straightened out on its own once dipped into very hot water. (Note: The right arm is actually a separate piece that comes glued on, but it's fairly easily snapped free. Therefore, I was able to dip JUST the sword into hot water, without having to subject the whole figure to the treatment.) Given that the sword looked just fine now, I decided to make the mini a lefty. That was accomplished by chopping the left arm off right at the joining point with the shoulder pauldron, drilling pin holes, then reattaching with wire at an adjusted angle. The trickier part was in taking a sharp hobby knife to the outstretched hand -- originally in a sort of "reaching out for something" pose, but I managed to extend the thumb, shave down the inside of the cuff, and hollow out the palm and thumbpad area so that a pewter "dwarf pistol" (from a Warhammer Fantasy sprue) fit nicely in, with the index finger going over the trigger, and bent-out thumb fitting behind the stock. For another conversion project, I had transformed a few plastic Clix "Crimson Skies" aircraft into passable starfighters -- and starfighters don't need props in space! (Technically, they don't need WINGS, either, but that's beside the point.) That left me with a few little clear plastic circles that were used to represent spinning props, and I've kept those around just in case they might be handy. I used one to slip over the barrel of the flintlock, and painted Khador runes (it's a letter substitution code) around the circumference. I've picked up quite a few HeroClix and HorrorClix minis on the cheap, including quite a few that were acquired simply for any translucent plastic "special effects" on the figures that I might be able to use for other purposes. One of these was a figure called "Shaman" -- basically a guy sitting in the lotus position, supported by translucent blue "lightning" effects. While that's a cool enough thing on its own, I don't need all that many people in spandex, so I got this just for the lightning. ;) I trimmed off a strand with an interesting-looking crook to it, and inserted the narrow tip into a hole that I'd bored down the barrel of the flintlock. (Thankfully, the flintlock was actually thick enough in diameter for me to do that!) The intended effect is that we've got the character firing off an enchanted bullet, and in my imagining, this one is some sort of lightning effect ... although I confess that I don't even know if that's an option for a Gun Mage under the rules, so -- artistic license!
  10. Before he was a warcaster, Coleman Stryker was a palace guardsman, protecting the throne from enemies foreign and domestic. One fateful night,when the oppression of King Vinter Raelthorne had finally come too much to bear, his brother Leto lead his own forces in a coup that set brother against brother, and changed the fate of Cygnar forever... "The Lion's Coup" was kind of an odd duck for Privateer Press, four minis released under the "Iron Kingdoms" line and supported with a scenario in No Quarter where two players could reenact that fateful night with Warmachine rules. I picked up all four minis* when they first came out, back in '06, intending to proxy them into my Cygnar army somehow - but never did. Eventually, I dropped out of Warmachine and my minis were heaped into various nooks and crannies of my house, occasionally pulled out and fondled and then consigned to dust again. Last year, my on-again-off-again gaming group started playing the new, non-D20 Iron Kingdoms RPG... combined with my renewed interest in painting miniatures, this was the perfect impetus to break out these old figures and finally try to do them justice. Royal Guard Stryker here is intended to be a Cygnaran Duelist/Aristocrat, if my current character should fail for whatever reason - or if we start up a new game. I'm not particularly picky. I didn't quite follow the studio scheme, but as a nod to his heritage I kept him a ginger. The vast majority of paints used were P3s, but Stryker's skin and hair were both MSPs - the Rosy Skin triad and Red Hair Triad respectively. The tile base was part of my Secret Sophie gift from Bonwirn, and many thanks are given. Thanks for reading. C&C welcome. *Royal Guard Stryker, King Vinter, Prince Leto, and "The Knight of the Prophet." No clue as of right now if I'll be painting up the other three any time soon, as I have a couple other projects on my mind... but it could be fun!
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