Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Little Ones Win Out

Nothing world-beating to report this week. My dwarfs have been eyeing me guiltily for the past few weeks, as if to say, "Hey, dum dum- remember us?" I did start this blog originally with the completion of their army firmly in mind, and I have sadly drifted from them over the last few months. So, just to remind them that they are indeed loved, I added three very heavily-armored crossbowmen to their ranks this week. I know they'll appreciate the effort. Sculpts by Reaper.

After these, all I have left to complete the army is another six infantry models (including three crackers from the Perry Bros. / Fantasy Tribes era), a beer keg-laden baggage train, and two ancient gyrocopters; after that, they'll be off to visit a 3rd edition Warhammer tournament near you. You wouldn't happen to know of any, would you?

Sigh. If only. In any case, thanks for the look in. Take care, brethren.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Killing You With Ugly

To quoth the good book:

      This nightmare creature is loathsome beyond description and has no redeeming features. Its body resembles that of a huge, bloated buffalo. . . (its) neck is long and thin, and perched atop it is a big head uglier than that of a warthog. Its legs are thick and stumpy, much like a hippopotamus. . .In any case, the most horrid aspect of the catoblepas is its bloodshot eyes.
                                                                                 -Gary Gygax, Monster Manual, 1977

Ral Partha Catoblepas, vintage 1988

Ugly is right. Although this Ral Partha sculpt misses out on a few of the nicer details from D.A. Trampier's original art, like the fleshy bits 'round the eyes and the clubby tail, I think it hits a home run in the straight-up ugliness game. More importantly to me, it gave me the golden opportunity to really work on wet blending techniques. Serpent neck blending into hippopotamus armored flesh into hairy warthog bristles. I am very happy with the grey-to-flesh blending on the abdomen. I think I could probably have gone a little warmer with the greens, but I like the "natural" look I have now and I don't want to do anything that might screw that up.

It was a very productive week hobby-wise, as I also managed to prep all of the Otherworld Adventurers and Hirelings that I still have in my queue, along with the first batch of Redbox Games Kickstarter rewards. I finished off this OW ranger mid-week, and he will probably end up replacing the thief mini that my older son uses as his character in Barrowmaze. He's a big fan of the bow here.

And finally, I (admittedly) rushed the paint job on this (honestly) iffy sculpt of an undead dog from Grenadier just to get it off my desk. It's a Cthuhlu mini titled "Hound of Tindalos" and looking it up online, it appears mine is missing a big long tongue. Dunno, but I don't think a big long tongue would improve it much. Maybe a zombie in Barrowmaze will make this his Ol' Yeller. Woof woof.

Hope your own leaden pursuits are ticking along smartly. Take care, brethren.

Monday, January 19, 2015

"You Can't Tell Me This Woman Died By Falling Out of a Tree. . ."

"Well, what is it?"
Dunh dunh.      Dunh dunh.     Dunh dunh.


Well, Bulette by Grenadier, anyway. I believe they referred to this mini as a "Juggernaut," if memory serves me right. . .

I really wanted to paint something out of my normal earthtone comfort zone this week, hence the Smurfette blue scale tones. I need to find out if GW's Hawk Turquoise got remade during the most recent paint system re-ordering, as I discovered to my dismay while painting this guy that my pot was pretty much completely dried out. I'll try to save it, but if you know a good replacement, lemme know in the comments.

Have a great one, brethren. (And RIP, Belushi. You are missed.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

It's A Swamp Thing-You Wouldn't Understand.

I remember having a discussion with an art teacher back in my younger days, and it was one of those talks that has always remained entrenched in my memory. One of the things that this teacher told me was that it is folly to judge an artist by the works that are widely recognized as being their masterpieces. Truly great artists, this teacher opined, do produce those transcendent, once-in-a-lifetime works, but what makes them great is their consistency. My teacher's final comment on the topic was that anyone who pursues art will, from time to time, produce something great- the masters of the craft, however, produce greatness nearly every time they try.

Why this long preamble, you ask? Because, to put it bluntly: Kev Adams is the man.

I talked last year about how impressed I was with the Goblinmaster's Heartbreaker dwarf line. Now, I get to present my take on his Bullywugs/Boglings, sculpted for Otherworld. Pure awesome. Demonstrating that, even in our little niche art form, consistent greatness sets one apart.
Ribbit ribbit
Loaded with animated character, the set is a good mix of action and static poses. Great little details like pouches, salted fish, textured wood, and those fantastic Kev Adams mischievous faces. Just like the Citadel Night Goblins he infused with a sinister sense of humor way back in the 80's (would those be Kev's masterpiece?), these froggies ooze malice from every reptilian pore. Perfect encounters for a low-level party.

Mwahhh haaaa haaaa haaaa.

Cheers, lead brethren. Thanks for the look.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Love Me Some Glazed Reptile

As anyone who paid attention to this blog last year probably knows, I spent a lot of 2014 hobby time and energy painting up undead legions for our Barrowmaze campaign. Those painting sessions are finally paying off game-wise, as we've had a couple of cool dungeon crawls mowing through skellies, zombies, etc. One of the things that struck me as ironic, though, was how much Barrowmaze's author, Greg Gillespie, used swamp creatures (snakes, alligators, "boglings" AKA bullywugs, etc) to flesh out his wilderness encounters when travelling to and from the dungeon proper. In an effort to complete my players' experience mini-wise, I have turned my energies now to painting up a few proper bog creatures.

Case in point:

This giant snake from Grenadier will be attacking from a swampy hiding place soon. The stats for giant constrictors are pretty nasty in the original version of AD&D/Labyrinth Lord, so it won't surprise me if things get a bit hairy around the VeronaKid dinner table when he shows up.

Over my standard shaded undercoat, I applied a brown-green basecoat that, once drybrushed and highlighted, looked a bit too brown for my taste. Uber-light green ink glaze to the rescue!

The glaze really pulled the different highlight shades together and made the snake feel a whole lot more reptilian, to my eye anyway.

I also added a few blue and purple spots of ink glaze to the base, which is an old King's Minis trick from way back. I think it does add a nice sense of interest to an otherwise boring green-and-grass type of basing.

Cheers, lead brethren. Hope you are all well. Thanks for the look.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Year of the Monster

Well, 2015 is off to a very nice start hobby-wise, as I managed to get two monsters done after the champagne buzz wore off. A beautiful cockatrice sculpt from Otherworld and a cool frogman from Ral Partha (currently available as "Inchon" from Ironwind Metals) who will fill the role of slaad in my collection. Two nice big checkmarks in the "D&D Creatures of Note" done. Happy days.

Speaking of D&D, my family Barrowmaze campaign finally made it down underground to do some real dungeon-delving (at last!) which gave me the chance to, at long last, break out my new dungeon tiles. These were printed out from the Skulldred site, attached with spray adhesive to black foamcore, and cut out in lots of standard shapes for geomorphs. Easy to do and I think they make for a great tabletop dungeon crawl when combined with a few choice items from the old GamesWorkshop Dungeon Tiles, which are widely available as pdf's on the web.

Our adventurers trek through the mud and bog of my tea-laden board enroute

The first "real" dungeon room of Barrowmaze, complete with scratch-built block and tackle

Oh no! Not the old "portcullis drop and skeletons-in-a-closet" trap!

I hope your year is off to a smashing start as well, leadpeeps. Take care.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Rabbit, Rabbit

Happy New Year to all of you out there in leadland. To kick off 2015, I put the finishing touches this morning on what I was working on when I was so rudely interrupted by the greatest miniature of all time. Today's lead candy comes from the talented and long-toothed hand of Tony Ackland, he of "Grandmaster of Chaos" fame:
King F'yar of the heinous Kwae Karr orcs
Here's Citadel's TA3 Arcane Monstrosity-Orc War Wyvern, which got re-used as part of the Blood Bath at Orc's Drift scenario pack. He'll get added to my modest greenskins warband for use in larger games of Skulldred.

In the D&D campaign, the family made an interesting choice that I wanted to document here before it escapes my memory. On the way back from the barrows, the party was attacked by crocodiles. The two hirelings/meatshields were both grievously injured (poor Ardo got his leg bitten clean off) and ended up having to be stretchered back to town. When the party arrived back in Helix, they were stopped by the guild master who revealed that the priest of the only shrine in town had been found murdered while they were away. The family decided to turn detective and investigate. . . not rest and recuperate from their brief trip into undead land.

They made their way to the nearby town of Ironguard Motte, where the cleric of the much larger temple revealed that the rubbing they had secured from the barrows was virtually worthless without a means to translate it. . . a means that can only be found back in the tombs. No closer to determining the murderer, they hired a couple of experienced men-at-arms and headed back to Helix.

One of these days, we'll get to the dungeon. . .

Hope you are all well. Take care and thanks for the peep.