Saturday, 8 July 2017

Happy Heroic Birthday

As you may know if you follow this blog, I am quite a fan of Heroic Maps' work.  Three is just enough detail in them to provide an interesting play experience, and they build up to make fine terrain pieces, as I did here, for example.

Well they are having a birthday sale until Monday 11th July, so now is the time to pick up a bargain.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

5E Compliant Goblins

I've been painting some of the great Reaper bones goblins ready for future 5E D&D.
However, a quick browse through the Monster Manual shows that goblins are armed with scimitars and short bows, not spears and spiked clubs as on the minis.

Of course, it doesn't matter, but I do like to keep them as close to the book as possible.
So after painting three of the twelve goblins as a test colour scheme I decided to convert the remaining club and spear armed goblins.  I made scimitars and short swords out of the bonsium spre that the goblins were molded on.

Here is the process for making short swords; scimitars are just a slightly different shape.
Basic shape for the short sword blades.

The sprue is thick enough to make two blades.

Sliced in two to make two blades (I didn't make the halves quite equal, but for goblin blades it doesn't matter)

Two thin slices make the cross guards.  the guards are drilled through, and a hole is drilled into each blade.

The guards are threaded onto a thin brass wire, super glue added to the end and the blade attached.  The guard is then slid into place.

The original weapons are removed; with care the handles can serve as the pommels to the swords.
For some reason I cut the club off one of the painted goblins, never mind.

In case your'e wondering why the choice of weapon matters, in 5E goblins have a low strength, thus armed with clubs or spears they suffer a penalty to hit and damage, scimitars and short swords (finesse weapons) allow them to use their high dexterity giving them bonuses to hit and damage.  Win - win (as far as the goblins are concerned anyway.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Conan's Mummies

A long while back I got Monolith's conan board game.  After teasing you with some pics of the contents I promised a better look at some of the miniatures.
Well, I recently finished most of the mummies in the game (still four more to go) as I needed twelve human mummies for the current D&D adventure.  So here they are.

First pose (there are eight of these in the game)

and rear

Second pose (there are four of these in the game)

and rear

Third pose (and four of these)

and rear

Group shot of 12 of the 16 mummies in the game.

Its unusual for me to manage twelve similar miniatures without getting a little bored, but these were a joy to paint.  I kept the paint scheme simple, the bandages were khaki, the skin, where it shows through, was a purplish grey, and the cloth was a muted shade of green, red, yellow or blue.  I tried being clever with this, as the game organises monsters into groups by colours, but a closer reading of the rules suggests my idea isn't quite right, though it still gives a bit of variety.  Everything was washed with Army Painter strongtone ink, before drybrushing and highlighting and a bit of extra attention on the details like the jewelry and the rust on the sword blades (I'm particularly pleased with how this worked out).
I might base them on clear bases eventually, but this was about getting them ready for the game.
Detail wise they are very good for what they are.  As I said in my earlier post, I think they have the edge on Dungeon Saga, and about equal to the detail on The Walking Dead; All Out War.  they make great monsters for roleplaying.  I just have to decide what to do next.  I suppose I should finish the last four mummies, but there are some nice skeletons, great pirates, and the Picts (who have had an unpainted appearance in the D&D game) are full of character.

By the way, this is another photo-shoot using the home made light box.  I still don't think I've got the light levels right, but its an improvement on some of my earlier pics.

Friday, 12 May 2017

DS Furniture

To go with the doors, here is a sample of the Dungeon Saga furniture.

 The lighting isn't the best, I'm still experimenting with the lamps, but you get the idea.

Both shelf units are lovely pieces, very versatile and they paint up nicely.  The table is good, and I look forward to putting some of the pieces from Terrain Crate on it when that arrives next year.  I've used the barrels more than anything else, they provide interest, and cover, and in one game they were 'spawn points' for undead rat minions.
Painting was a simple overbrush of dark brown over black undercoat.  A further, lighter overbrush of a lighter brown, followed by drybrushes of Khaki and then bone.  Details were picked out in the relevant colours, usually with one highlight.  I might add a bit more shading with selective washes, but they will do for now.

DS Doors

I have (finally) got round to painting some of my Dungeon Saga furnishings.  I thought it was a good time to show them as Mantic's current Kickstarter, Terrain Crate is doing well and is close to ending; the stuff in there should fit very nicely with the DS stuff.

Double door about 2" wide.  I find this the most useful as I am currently using them with the Heroic Maps Ancient Dungeons set.

The doors were first washed then undercoated black.  I used the Vallejo black undercoat.  Its designed for airbrushing (and works great for that) but it also works well when brushed on.  The planks were basecoated with light brown.  I picked a few planks out on each door to paint lighter or darker, I think this gives a more naturalistic look; after all, they were presumably all made by hand (or claw), so I try to avoid too much uniformity.  A quick wash of sepia and the wood was just about done.
The bulk of the stonework was painted dark grey (VGC Charcoal?) then a few stone picked out in lighter colours.  The whole lot was drybrushed in light grey to tie the different colours together.  I'm not sure this works quite as well as the planks, and I'll try and tone it down a bit next time.
The ironwork was first painted in black, then picked out in chainmail.

I'll get some pics of the furniture up later today.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Moar Kickstarter Temptation

Well, it's been awhile, loads happening, not all game related.

I'll get back to posting more regularly, but I've not had much worth showing recently (at lest, that I can show before the players see it).

I'll just mention the following Mantic Kickstarter for RPG terrain, Terrain Crate.

The style seems similar to the 3D stuff included in Dungeon Saga, which has seen a lot of table top use in my D&D games, and it hasn't even been painted yet.

If it's at least as good as that, then I recommend it.  The Kickstarter price is certainly very good; you might not have an immediate use for everything includes, but it's well worth it if you use minis and like the 3D element.  I've found that the more you use this kind of prop, the more the players respond to it and use it within game.

I have just started painting the DS stuff, and it paints up very well.  I'll post some of it as soon as its finished.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sponge Painting Deadzone Part 2

Last post I started sponge painting a building for Mantic's Deadzone game.
The building should be looking reasonable, but just a bit more effort will make it look a lot better, and this time we get to use a brush as well.
Firstly the stripes.  I can't remember where I first saw this idea, but painting the raised vertical bands on some of the panels really helps by adding a bit of colour.  The test building was yellow, for this one I chose blue.  I try to go for different colours on the board, I think of it as individual owners adding a touch of personality to their otherwise quite drab and uniform buildings.

First mask off around the bits you want to paint.  Masking tape is cheap enough; for this you don't need the really good stuff, save that for airbrushing.  Just make sure it sticks down next to the area to be painted, but if its a bit loose towards the edge, that helps when you peel it off.  If you're careful you can even re use it.
For this I used my Vallejo Game Colours, a dark blue than a lighter blue to catch the edges.

Finally I mixed some VMC Oily Steel with black and painted the bits I wanted to look metal (with a brush!).  These were then highlighted with pure Oily Steel.

Other steps to consider; run very watered down black into the cracks to emphasise the shadows, Sponge (or drybrush) a sandy/dusty colour around the lower edges.
Add posters and/or graffiti.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Sponge Painting Deadzone Part 1

I recently posted a picture on Facebook showing my latest efforts at painting Deadzone scenery.

For speed (and as an experiment) I tried DM Scotty's sponge method, and I think it worked well.  A few people asked for details, so read on.
You will need; paints, I use cheap acrylic craft paints, they are quite good enough for this.  There are many brands, I just use what I can find.  For this colour scheme you will need dark and light grey, dark or mossy green and a reddish brown.  A very light grey (or white to mix in) is good for highlights, but by this stage using model paints isn't too expensive.  You will also need a sponge.  I use triangular make up sponges that I buy in a bag for £1 from a discount shop.  Anything with a medium texture will do; if you've got the sponge from a pack of figures that's about right, just cut it into a useful shape (triangular is good).  The triangular shape helps when adding detail and highlighting.  An old plate or takeaway container to hold the paint, and finally gloves, as this is a very messy process.

Firstly build, wash and black undercoat your Deadzone terrain piece.

Then give the whole building a fairly heavy sponge coat of dark grey.  I use a very dark shade, almost black, then gradually add light grey so the effect is mottled.  If you have a triangular sponge (and its easy to cut one to shape) use the largest side for quickest coverage.  The action is a dabbing motion rather than painting it on, and moistening the sponge first (though not soaking it) helps.  Dab the sponge onto some old newspaper or similar to take off the excess and get a good amount held within the sponge.  Be careful when applying; too heavy handed and you will end up with a smear rather than the subtle texture you want (and yes, you can see that several times on this).  If that does happen, repeated dabbing will diffuse the patch of colour somewhat and you can always go over with a darker colour again.  You can start to pay attention to where you want shade and highlights, but most of this comes in later stages. 

Rinse out the sponge and then add some different colours.  This gives a much more naturalistic result, as buildings are rarely one shade, even when made from just one material.   I sponged on patches of green and brown here, though I realised that I used a sandy brown rather than the reddish brown I prefer (wonder where that paint has got to?).  Looking at it now, I think this would give a good effect for any GCPS military vehicles, hmmm.
Don't worry about exactly where this goes, just aim for a fairly even coverage.  It's going to be mostly covered up in the next stage anyway. 
 You can just see the sponge I use to the right of the building.

Now sponge over again in a lighter grey.  This time pay attention to the areas you think would be highlighted.  You will be covering up some of those patches of green and brown, but if your sponging is light, some of the colour will show through.  If you have a triangular sponge, now is the time to use a smaller side to give better control, especially on those edges. 

Finally for now, highlight the edges and anything else you feel needs it with a near white (or very pale yellow or brown)  I used a craft paint that is very similar to Bone White for this, as I find pure white a bit stark.  I have tried to emphasise the tiled effect on the roof by catching the edges with the highlight. Use the edge of the sponge to catch these highlights.  With practice you have a good amount of control here, so quite delicate effects can be achieved (and yes, I did  rush this for the blog)

That gives a useable result, but a bit of detailing will really make the building pop.
Next time I'll show you how.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Sci-Fi Pipes

As you know I play Mantic's Deadzone, a game that requires a lot of scenery.  I have some of the new industrial stuff, but I'm always looking out for new ways to fill that table (and stop T'other One's Plague munching on my Enforcers).  Browsing Poundworld the other day I found these;
... and thought 'pipelines'.  

Now there are already some very nice pipes in the Industrial stuff, but at only 50p a pack I had to give them a go.

My main worry was that the bends and joins would be too soft to take paint properly, so I gave everything a light rub down with a wire brush before washing well in warm soapy water.

I cut the two longer pipes down slightly so that the whole structure would fit within 2 cubes.  The straws cut easily, just score round with a razor saw, then they snap cleanly.

Then I undercoated with Rust-oleum Surface primer, which promises 'superior adhesion'.

This is just a simple gunmetal and black colour scheme to see how they look.

And with some Pathfinders for scale.

I think they do the job, and I will be using more, some on the outside of buildings and others as ground structures like this.  I will be on the look out for something to use as a valve, as I think a big wheel on the 'T' junction above would be great.  I might even build some chemical storage tanks and have pipes like this connecting them, or running down into the ground.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

DIY Blade Barrier

Firstly, this is not one of my most successful builds.  It kind of works, but if I had had longer I would have approached it a bit differently.
I was trying to make monster minis for the Monday night D&D group.  In this case undead wraiths who spin loads of sword blades around, creating a whirlwind of steel.
I went for card 'blades' stuck in lumps of hot glue.  In the end I think they look a bit messy, but they did the job and chopped the heroes up nicely.
Initially I struggled to cut blades that looked right, then I though, nail clippers.  They make ideal curved blades.  You'll need a lot more of these than you think.

A blob of hot glue on a clear base to give the model some bulk.

Start sticking the blades into more hot glue

Carry on adding blades and hot glue, giving time for each lot to cool before adding more glue.

I made four of differing heights.

In play; the red rings indicated 'bloodied'.

In retrospect I would have been better using thin plastic rather than card as some of he blades are starting to bend at the tips.  It would be perfectly possible to use spare weapons from models, but thsi was quicker than finding enough and cheaper too.
Looking at them they would make good markers for the cleric spell Blade Barrier.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Flying Constructs

Yesterday's flying stands seem to have gone down well, so here's what I designed them for.
The current D&D adventure is set in an ancient catacomb.  It's been an age since anyone living has been in here, but the ancient safeguards may still be working.
For this construct I was thinking about a crystal, or a mass of crystals that can float in the air.  The base was the easy bit; I know how I was going to build those right at the beginning.
I looked around various craft shops for something to use for the crystal, but nothing, until I found a toy necklace.  (in fact a Frozen necklace) with nice plastic 'crystals' in three colours.  Bingo.
You've already seen how to make the stands, it was then literally a case of sticking the beads on in a more or less random pattern.  I used Evostick Serious glue, which seems to give a good strong bond on most surfaces.  it helps to glue a few beads together as sub assemblies, and take a bit of time.

 And here they are, all ready to give the heroes all sorts of pain.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Budget Flying Stands (or use the forks)

I am in the process of making some flying constructs for the Monday night D&D game.  They aren't finished yet (4 hours to go), but I thought you might like to see the stands I made for them.
I have been putting most of my minis on clear bases recently, and I wanted something similar for these flying monsters. I could hunt through my box of bases for old GW flying stands, but I had an idea.

I bought a bag of plastic forks, (100 for £1).  Straightened the tines of one after dunking in very hot water (usual cautions about working with high temperature stuff), then snipped off a couple of the right length.
I then filed a peg on the broad end and drilled an equivalent hole in a clear acrylic base. Then simply glued the tine into the base.

It's not fancy, but it works.

Next time i'll show you what goes on top.