Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Elemental Evil

One of the things I'm really enjoying about the Orsa the Fearless feature pack is that it's making me examine the lead mountain in search of suitable miniatures to play the three scenarios.

In this case it's for two of the major threats from the final scenario: Skadi and Ofarr.

Skadi, the big bad of Orsa the Fearless, is straight from a long line of antagonist sorcerers in 1980's fantasy movies that includes Thulsa Doom in Conan the Barbarian, Maax in Beastmaster and Queen Bavmorda in Willow. In fact, the official Skadi model bears more than a passing resemblance to Jean Marsh as Queen Bavmorda.

However, I've opted to use another Crooked Dice miniature, the gender swapped Mola Ram (from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) I picked up in the 7TV Pulp Kickstarter.

Mainly, this decision was fuelled by already owning the miniature, but also because when painted to match my Pulp cultists (the Ancient Order of Ahmabaddun) the miniature is more than suitable for epic barbarian fantasy and is vaguely reminiscent of a female Maax from Beastmaster.

Although Ofarr is meant to be a massive Ice Elemental, the fact that it's an Elemental took me back to my remaining unpainted miniatures for Descent.

The last Descent Elemental I painted was done just as a Fire Elemental, so I decided to have a go at mixing all four types on the same miniature as in the artwork from the game.

This was actually achieved fairly easily with contrast paints and washes over a white base. I just needed to be tidy as I went.

Fire: Casandora Yellow wash with a Ryza Rust drybrush.
Air: Apothecary White contrast paint.
Water: Drakenhof Nightshade wash.
Earth: Black Templar contrast paint with Administratum Grey drybrush.

They are an odd couple of miniatures, but they were both fairly straightforward to do.

Acquired: 132
Painted: 179

Sunday, 17 October 2021


In case you weren't aware, I'm a bit cheap at times.

This is one of those times.

These are War Trolls (pack 3) from the Dark Alliance (definitely-not-knock-off-Tolkein) 1/72 fantasy range. I've had my eye on them for a while for possible use with MESBG.

They are softish plastic and I got four of them for less than a tenner. Being larger models, the details are fairly crisp and the resemblance to the Cave Troll in The Fellowship of the Ring is more than passing.

I've painted them mainly with washes over Corax White. A coat of Seraphim Sepia all over was followed by two coats of Agrax Earthshade over everywhere but the chest. Layer on I did a light drybrush of Ushabti Bone.

Being soft plastic, there is a deal of mould line removal to do and even then, several are noticeable (including the one I completely missed on this guy's arm), and the model in the image below is probably the worst of the bunch for this.

I'd been toying with getting these for a while, but I was tipped over the edge by then need to get four 'Jotun' for the second episode of Orsa the Fearless. Given the usual cost of larger models, this seemed like a good time to try them out.

In terms of scale, they are smaller than GW Cave Trolls, but would certainly work in that roll in a Moria army, or as Hill Trolls in an Angmar force. They are certainly large enough for 7TV purposes where the shortcomings of the models can be explained as low budget SFX.

They'll do.

Acquired: 132 (I threw away a broken model)
Painted: 177

Friday, 15 October 2021

Lots of Places Have a North

In the Orsa the Fearless feature pack for 7TV, the action takes place in the frozen northern region of Valhannon, and the second scenario, Trollhold, features some of the ferocious denizens of the frozen mountains.

And so, in preparation I've painted two of them, a Ymir and a Polar Bear.

I know what you're thinking.

Well, it's like this...

I'd already decided that my collection of fantasy and historical miniatures and terrain doesn't really support the frozen North setting, but I do have an ancient Greek army which will suit a more Ray Harryhausen approach to the campaign. And so I decided to move my North a bit further South, and have the frozen lake become a swamp.

The Ymir are burrowing worms which automatically brought to mind my Plague Worms from the Descent expansion 'The Trollfens'.

I already had two of them painted from playing through a campaign and so I set about matching the paint job from 2018.

Erm...it didn't go as planned.

The main culprit for this was Carroburg Crimson wash, which, it turns out, is apparently not a suitable replacement for my empty bottle of Baal Red.

Having said that, it's not too much of a worry as Descent does actually need one of a group of monster to look different to be a master monster.

The other monster is also from Descent and is not, you'll be shocked to hear, a Polar Bear (although it is an aquatic predator, so it works for me). It is in fact a Merriod, or, as I like to call them, a Sharktopus.

In terms of painting, I really enjoyed doing this model. There's nothing clever going on, but the details on the sculpt really pop and I've tried to capture the colours of a great white.

Like the Plague Worms, I'd painted another Sharktopus three years ago, which is convenient given that the Orsa scenario needs two Polar Bears.

Again, the variation in the colour works for Descent, but this time it was deliberate.

I'm pleased to have not only painted a few more things for Orsa the Fearless but also cleared some of a previously overlooked backlog.

Acquired: 133
Painted: 173

Sunday, 10 October 2021

The Great Watchtower

Although my Quest of the Ringbearer campaign has not yet left Bree, my eyes are on the road ahead and one of the most significant pieces of terrain I need to create.

Amon Sul. Weathertop. The location of the Witch King's failed attempt to bring Frodo under his spell with a knife in the dark.

This is a 3d print, very kindly done for me by Pete using a free file of the the interwebz. I'm reliably informed that printing it took around 87 hours.

It was actually printed in four sections which needed to be glued together and clamped whilst it set.

I'd actually done the base coat and drybrush before sticking it together for ease of getting things covered. I used a tester pot of emulsion (it's called 'Thunder' from Homebase) that I had in the shed fir the base coat, and then drybrushed with Corax White, which is always a very dry paint that I don't like to use for regular painting.

After that came the process of filling gaps. I used almost a whole pot of partially dried up liquid greenstuff. It's not a perfect seal, but it was a massive improvement.

After that, I went over the greenstuff with the same painting process to leave a perfectly useable, but somewhat dull ruined watchtower.

Then came the rather enjoyable process of adding lichen and flock to give the model an overgrown look. I used the materials I had lying around, and so it's arguably a bit green given that Aragorn and the Hobbits arrived their in mid-Autumn, but I like the contrast.

I also added a Ziterdes statue to one of the plinths, painted in the same way as the test. Ziterdes actually do a good foam not-Weathertop, which I considered buying, but the kind offer of printing from Pete made this not only less costly, but also something I have a greater sense of ownership and pride over.

The Ziterdes model is still, however, massively cheaper than the Forge World one, which seems awkward to actually use in the games I've seen.

All in all I'm absolutely delighted with my Weathertop. Not only is it somewhat movie accurate, Pete's also printed it to be exactly the right size for the scenario in the Quest of the Ringbearer.

There is plenty of space for movement and the hobbits have the option of heading up the stairs or trying to get fallen masonry between them and the Nazgul.

Finally, I feel that this piece has given me a bit more confidence about being able to make some other large terrain pieces look good in the future.

The Chamber of Mazarbul, the seeing seat of Amon Hen and Helm's Deep beckon.

Unfortunately for me, despite its size it doesn't change my tally massively. I'll let Gimli explain...

Acquired: 133
Painted: 171

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Bear With Me

There might be more puns that you can bear in this post.

Last week the postman arrived bearing the newest 7TV Feature Pack, Orsa the Fearless, a three part campaign which riffs on sword and sorcery epics of the 80s such as Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja and Beastmaster.

Although it has less scenarios than Lurkers of the Deep, Orsa the Fearless has a more cohesive campaign. The central characters appear throughout the whole campaign and so the games will hopefully bear out more like a single movie.

Being, at source, a Fantasy gamer with a penchant for historicals, I have all the miniatures needed for scenario one, except one.

Shall I tell you which? Can you bear the excitement?

Orsa's animal companion Karhu is, as you may have guessed, a bear. This sculpt is a new one from Crooked Dice, released alongside the feature pack.

In terms of painting, Karhu was simple to do. A pale grey undercoat, contrast black all over, a light drybrush of grey and then details.

I decided to go for a black bear partly because of how easy it would be to do, but also I've identified that this model will make a suitable addition to another ongoing project.

Karhu will also double as Mum from Brave in my Magic Kingdom cast. A very slow burning project that 7TV Fantasy will be able to bring to the tabletop.

Here she is alongside my Hasslefree not-Merida.

And so only one painted and I took delivery of a pack of four miniatures which will be painted for the second scenario. More on them later.

Acquired: 133
Painted: 170

Look! A bear behind!

Monday, 4 October 2021

If you gotta go, go with a smile!

Zombies can't drive.

There's a 7TV Apocalypse day coming up in November, with an emphasis on vehicles.

My post-apocalyptic miniatures have a distinct bias towards the zombie-flavoured apocalypse.

This is a problem.

At least I can laugh about it...

As you might have guessed, the answer to my problem was my neglected BMG collection, and specifically my Joker crew. Not only do the clowns look suitably post-apocalyptic but they already have a van to drive around in.

This a Crooked Dice buggy that I picked up a few years ago when they were first released but never really worked out how to use.

A coat of purple paint with green details later and I now have a gun-buggy to run interference for my van full of clowns.

One of the elements I'm most pleased with are the 'HAs'. I'm never totally comfortable with freehanding lettering, but these have come out exactly as I wanted - scrawled in slightly unhinged strokes.

The driver isn't really the centre of attention but adds a splash of different colours. The face has been done as if he's wearing facepaint under his goggles and a bandana with a smile design on.

I've done better, but it works.

All in all this is an addition which kills several birds with a single stone. It allows me to complete a cast for an event, it makes use of something I already had and it allows me to break out some models I really like and haven't used for some time.

Acquired: 129
Painted: 169

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Back in the Saddle

My painting output always slows down in September. Mainly it's due to the new school year starting, but this year has had a wealth of other distractions, from gaming events to home improvement issues.

As ever, my route back in involves getting a couple of easy wins, and there are not many wins easier than Black Riders.

You might notice that these two are not GW models. Or at least they are not GW LotR models. I'm not actually sure of the manufacturer, and given the price I paid and the shinyness of the metal, I'm not entirely sure that they aren't recasts.

They aren't up to the same standard as the GW range, and there are some notable differences: wider hoods, lack of armour, and weapons.

Rather than try to ignore one of the major differences and paint the arms silver (which would have looked odd), I opted for doing them Matt black as an homage to the Black Riders in the Ralph Bakshi film.

However, I drew the line at adding the gleaming red eyes, but have done that on all of the horses, because they have red eyes in the Jackson films.

One of the two Riders also has a polearm, which is not only not film or book accurate, but also deeply impractical for cavalry.

I didn't bother making any conversions simply because this is all for the benefit of a single scenario in The Quest of the Ringbearer campaign.

Here they are with the official models, and there's a clear difference in quality and style, but at £7.50 for the pair, I'll live with it when the official models are £10 each. Cheaphammering does involve some sacrifices.

Just three more to go before Frodo can make his Flight to the Ford, but the hobbits still need to Escape from Bree and survive an Attack at Weathertop, so they might be a while.

More importantly, however, I'm making progress of another sort at last.

Acquired: 129
Painted: 168