Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Citadel Great Spined Dragon

I am usually able to maintain a fairly disciplined approach to my painting projects. For the most part, I finish my projects once I start them- my painting table rarely has unfinished minis sitting around waiting for me to come back to them. If I am trying to tackle something really big, like say my dwarven army, I purposefully break up the project into bite-sized chunks that I intersperse with other projects so that things never get tedious. I have a queue of models that I want to get done, usually planning for whatever the next game is that I plan to play, and it is rare that a new, shiny acquisition gets to jump the queue and get head-of-the-line privileges.

Christmas morning, my family gave me the Citadel Great Spined Dragon by Nick Bibby. The queue was jumped.
I am still having a hard time believing that this is my dragon
I've mentioned before how much I've wanted this model- for years now, among the first things I looked at nearly every morning was my permanent "Spined Dragon" eBay search. Until last week, I had never even seen one in the flesh. I could tell by the pictures of it on the 'net that it was Mr. Bibby's fantasy masterpiece (he has, of course, gone on to considerable fame sculpting real animals, alas). Others have said it countless times before, but the sculpt really has to be examined up close to appreciate just how amazing the musculature and skin textures are rendered.

Wifey was nice enough to donate a few sheets of heavily textured stationery from an old diary to use for the wings. They took a full day's work to cut out, attach, and detail, but I am very happy with their realism.
I debated putting the holes in the wings for a while, but the examples online convinced me they were necessary
Here's how the model looked when I opened the package:

Thanks much,
I spent most of Boxing Day (See! We do pay attention!) toothbrushing this beast with a mixture of Pine Sol and oven cleaner to strip off all of the thick black paint and (mostly) the contact adhesive used to attach those canvas wings. Although it was a lot of work, I was very happy to see that all of my wing "skeletons" were intact. In fact, there was virtually no repair work that needed to be done short of some mould line removal and minor filing to get the head to attach properly.
Nary a scratch to be found
After much discussion with the family, and lots of online picture perusing, I opted for a green color scheme. As much as I love how Bibby's looks in Heroes for Wargames and the temptation to do an homage was strong, I decided to keep it simple with fairly basic techniques.

Here's a shot for scale to see how huge this fella is. That's the Citadel ogre from the Monster Starter Set for comparison.

Straight up huge
So, we haven't had a lot of time to continue the D&D campaign, but that will be remedied shortly.

I hope that all of your Christmas stockings were filled with leaden surprises as well. Happy New Year's, brethren.

Monday, December 22, 2014

First Blood

The morning of September 3rd dawned crisp and cold. A dry wind stirred the dead leaves as our fearless adventurers set off from sleepy Helix and headed out into the wet marsh of the Barrowmoor.

Lots of footprints being left in the soggy soil in these parts
 Led by the intrepid thief Balton and the hired local guide Ardo, our little group trudged through the mud and muck for several hours without event. The elf maiden Deirdra, the de facto brains of the party, marched in the middle of the column along with two holy men of St. Ygg, brothers Hengist and Fregrid. They were accompanied by the strange gnome Oddjob, whose vocabulary is limited to his name and nothing else. Remains to be seen what he is capable of. Bringing up the rear was the other village hireling "Cougar" alongside the group's norseman fighter, Fjell.

Fjell illustrates the danger inherent with a skirmish-level "charge" maneuver
A couple of hours outside of Helix, disaster struck (already?!) as the party was attacked by a small swarm of stirges. The first two swooped down at the foolishly-charging Fjell and immediately drained the brave Norsemen of several quarts of blood. He dropped like a stone, unconscious. The rest of the party was able to chop up the monsters without further casualty, and brother Hengist bandaged Fjell to staunch the bleeding. One of the party's precious Cure Light Wounds spells later, Fjell was back on his feet, but weakened, and the group decided to press on.

The rest of the trip to the barrows passed without incident, and the vast field of mounds spread out in front of the party. The group headed toward a mound topped by a single obelisk, as brother Hengist's purpose was to take a rubbing of the arcane script engraved there.

Brother Hengist copies the sacred script while an enormous Christmas tree looms in the background
Their mission's purpose complete, the party made the conscious decision to SPLIT UP AND EXPLORE THE VICINITY. I should say here that my family (i.e. the PC's in this adventure) are all pretty new at this. . .

One of the two groups quickly located the entrance to the large, "main" barrow, and peered down into the darkness. . .
I meant to ink that stupid "stone" door frame, dammit. Sigh.
Luckily, the group wised up, discretion got the better part of valour, and they all decided it was time to go. Good thing, 'cause as they were packing up, the silhouettes of a rival group of tomb robbers appeared through the mist, and started heading right towards our party.
Ruffians and ne'er-do-wells as far as the eye can see
Time will tell if they can make it back to Helix in one piece. And we haven't even gone into the dungeon yet. . .

Christmas holiday rules! Cheers, brethren.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wilkommen en Helix

The party got a little acquainted with their new home, the village of Helix, this afternoon.
Helix. . . now in 3D

Using Zhu's incredible map of the burg, I laid out all of my card buildings from the old Citadel "Blood on the Streets" pack, along with a handful of farm-style resin buildings that I have had since the early days of my hobby time (still dusty!).  The inimitable Dave Andrew's incredible watch tower stands in as the local wizard's ramshackle home at top right.

The board is half of a two-piecer I created a few years ago for Skulldred. A few years ago, Delaney King of King's Minis had a great tutorial about using used tea as a ground base for scenery (I can't locate the article now, otherwise I'd link ya to it). It takes a LOT of tea to cover a 4'X4' board, but the over caffeination is well worth it. With a little flock and a bunch of watered down PVA mixed in, it creates quite the grassy (and muddy) knoll.

Town Square

Wizard's Tower, complete with heinous fashion statement

These guys don't realize it now, but they aren't going to live much longer
A little shopping, a few hushed conversations over an ill-lit tavern meal, some travelling monks looking to hire some muscle to head off into the moors around the town. . . things progressing.

Enjoy your holidays, lead brethren. Roll some dice!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

And So It Begins

The family and I kicked off our Barrowmaze campaign this afternoon. Pretty much just background info, familiarization with character sheets and equipment, etc. so far, but it is very nice to be back playing again instead of just painting. As much as I love the creation part of the hobby, it gives it all a sense of purpose when dice start rolling and decisions start getting made. Yeehaw.

On the painting table this week, I was able to bang out two quick and dirty projects. The first were the next three dwarf crossbowmen. All three are from Reaper, and all three set new standards for the term "28mm Miniature." Huge, huger, and insanely huge.

I also think I found a fairly decent answer to the question "What should I do with these minis from that lot deal that I don't think I will ever want to paint, and all of these silly hex bases?" Answer: put 'em together and turn 'em into statues for using as dungeon scenery, of course.

Pretty much all of these are either duplicates or extras, and my guess is we all have a pile of these lurking in the shadows of our lead piles, no?

That's it for the first week of December. Hopefully my next post will feature pictures of dungeon delving in action. Cheers, lead brethren.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Here's Why You Need To Learn Your Color Wheel

When I read a few months back that Otherworld was doing a miniature for the Fighting Fantasy Fest, I was excited. When I saw the studio's painted example of the mini for the first time, I definitely knew I wanted to get my hands on one. But I was a bit confused as to why the colors used on the mini didn't match the colorized version of Russ Nicholson's iconic original.

Now I believe I know why.

Look at that original art again. It works in 2D for reasons unknown to yours truly. But translate that combination of lime green, cyan, magenta, orange, yellow, and gold into the third dimension and the results are . . . not my favorite painting project. I give you Zagor and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
Ahhhhhh! My eyes! They're bleeding!
He was fun to paint, though, so I think he'll stay un-stripped and not repainted. Plus, I haven't seen anyone else attempt to re-create the Nicholson color scheme, so for the time being, he's one of a kind, eh? Heh heh heh.

Take care, brethren. Thanks for the look.