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By Rob Dean
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…
By Rob Dean
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.
By Rob Dean
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.
By Rob Dean
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.
By Rob Dean
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.
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.