dispatches from terra incognita

Category: Fantasy Page 1 of 4

Welcome, 2022

More time has passed than I would have wished. It seems I was more affected by my return to in-person teaching than I had anticipated. And, alas, my wife and I rang in this new year harboring an unwelcome omicronian infestation. We are both solidly on the mend and looking forward to better times in the New Year.

It seems my miniature collection has few two-faced denizens — please accept this Reaper ettin as a proxy Janus.

Despite my radio silence, I have been keeping up a steady pace of painting, 3D printing, and mdf construction (though I have been slower to finish painting my buildings). There remains little rhyme or reason to my regimen — one possible theme would be “try to paint a bunch of stuff that has been hanging around forever.”

To that end, I present a second dual-headed miniature, a blast from my past I have dubbed “Onward with Arne and Gax.”

I’ve had these chaps, unprimed and unloved, sitting in a box for 20 years. They were gifted to me during my brief stint as a voting member of GAMA (The Game Manufacturers Association), hoping to inveigle my vote for the Origins award, I believe. I’m still endeavoring to determine who made them. (Thus far, Googling and image searches have been for naught.) I’ve completed a couple of other minis from the same haul, along with three of my first-ever adulthood miniature purchases, all to be shared anon.

Anyhoo, my best wishes to one and all that 2022 will be a year of wonders.

Bones Day

Two Saturdays back (July 3) was “Bones Day” — I received my box of Bones miniatures from Reaper’s 5th Kickstarter. It took me almost a decade to learn, but I finally figured out how to work the Reaper Pledge manager. I opted not to get the Core Set (as I’ve done the previous four times), which has saddled me with a sizable collection of miniatures I don’t really want. This time I used my pledge to purchase various expansion sets and specific collections from the core set. Thus:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The loose bags contain constructs, Halloween, kid heroes, and townsfolk. The dangerous (to my bank account) news from Reaper is that they have reopened the Pledge Manager for 90 days, so, I could in fact go back and order the Core Set after all…

 

 

Spring Update: “Bits & Pieces of Everything”

While things do progress apace on the painting front, I have been a thoroughly lax chronicler of my activity… In addition, I’ve been recalled to the classroom for in-person kindergarten. I have to be grateful — my family remained healthy, employed, and educated. But, alas, my glorious anno hobbyoso has come an abrupt end.

For the past year, I managed to squeeze in an hour — and often twice that — of hobby time daily. I completed a number of “sets” of miniatures, along with odd bits of terrain. I began a Hirst Arts “ruined church” inspired by this one and resumed 3D printing — until the heat bed on my Monoprice Mini finally succumbed to a well-documented design flaw. I even built a battleship, based upon Bob Cordery’s directions.

I picked up the History of Wargaming Project reprint of Joseph Morschauser’s How to Play War Games in Miniature. I love his clear and engaging writing style, but was stung a bit by the lines:

It is up to you to decide which type and scale you prefer. Consider carefully all the advantages and disadvantages of each. Then, when you make your decision and start building up your collection, stick to your choice until you have two complete war game armies. If you start making changes mid-point in your program, you will end up with bits and pieces of everything, and nothing complete.

It is quite possible and perhaps desirable to own a number of different sets of armies, each of a different type, scale, and historical period. Many war gamers do. But collect them one at a time. Mid-point change is costly and wasteful.

Joseph Morschauser’s How to Play War Games in Miniature, p. 21.

The above heterogeneous mess represents a significant portion of my hobby labor over the past year. Some intention and persistence is evident; but also, alas, too much caprice.

The excellent Graham’s Wargames blog is entirely responsible for this flight of fancy. His “canal city” setup was just too, too tempting. The buildings are from TT Combat (I have some modern buildings of theirs) which is acquired through eBay. I’m planning a moire extensive “MDF Roundup” to review my purchases from various companies.

Here’s my Bob Cordery battleship, before painting. He built his by laminating many, many pieces of basswood. I took the measurements and attempted to cobble it together from scraps in the workshop. I’m going to make one or two adjustments on this one, and have another go to see if I can do it better.

The painted miniatures range from some 54s, a lot of 28s (mainly Reaper Bones, Super Dungeon Explore, and Zombicide), to the 1:700-ish ships from the Armada Starter Set. I did my Orc sails in dark blue rather than red (to make them look more raggedy) but I believe it was a poor decision.

I’ll put together a more thorough tour of this stuff in the near future.

Packing Away the Year

This one has been a mess for so many. I feel fortunate to have remained healthy, employed, and amongst family. I hope the new year brings better things to everyone.

Here is a good bit of my painting progress of late:

The Cthulhu Collection, Reaper Bones all.
A lovely suite of torturing stuff; also from Reaper.
Weird-lookin’ columns; Reaper.
Scatter terrain from Super Dungeon Explore.
This stuff sat primed for a LONG time!
Super Dungeon Explore kobolds and kobold-ogres.
I hate “mimic” monsters, but they make sense for SDE I guess.
I tried to go full “silly” by painting the handles to look like eyes.
Here’s the whole gang. People online describe them as “fun” to paint. I found this not to be so.
Another pair of poker players, from Monday Knight Productions, maybe? I shared the rest of the quartet awhile back.
Reaper Bones fantasy. Not bothered to straighten weapons, and ok with that …
Zombicide figures. These were kinda fun to paint.

Autumnal Splendour

Though working from home, I’m still working — and thus my poor hobby blog has suffered. One consequence of spending so much time à la maison is that the flora about the place has been pampered. Featured above are marigolds, zinnias, and lantana, showing out for fall.

Dipping in and out of various genres, time periods, and scales, I soldier on with painting. Here are a bunch of Foundry Old West figures, along with a couple of Reaper Bones who tower over them. These are some of the first miniatures I bought, based and primed for a score of years.

Next up are some poorly lit Armies in Plastic Woodland Indians. Inexplicably, I’m having a hard time finding suitable inspirational images online as models for the costume. Hence, I’m somewhat makin’ it up as I go.

Below are a quintet of winsome fantasy lasses, all Reaper Bones. I am storing the majority of the first four offerings from Reaper still unpainted, with the fifth offering arriving early next year. Enough to keep me painting for the balance of my days …

Next are plastic miniatures from the Zombicide boardgame. They are pleasingly characterful and paint up nicely. Once I get enough of them completed, I might even be able to try a zombie game.

These fellows came as an infrequent but pleasing surprise — a major miniature purchase that I did not recollect! I knew that I had some Foundry Darkest African native figures, but as I sorted through the blister packs, it became apparent that at some point, I had purchased the entire “Warchiefs & Witch Doctors” collection. I would have come into these soon after the Old West figures, nearly 20 years back. I am occasionally an impulsive purchaser, but I usually recall the caprice.

High Chief and Retinue: Marungu, Moobarik Bombay, and a chap in a “hideous mask”

Squigs. One of the many aspects of Warhammer goblinity that so tickle me. I bought a box of squigs a year ago, and have finally got ’round to painting them. Here are the herders. We’ll see the “beasts” themselves in the next update.

We’ll close with one of the rare metal Reaper miniatures I’ve acquired. I was reading through my Metamorphosis Alpha, 4/e RPG for the first time, really, since I bought it in 2006, and thinking putting together a game where characters awaken on a “colony ship” where things have gone mysteriously, and utterly, wrong. I would incorporate bits of Metamorphosis Alpha, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Planet of the Apes, Space Hulk, Mutants and Death Ray Guns, Traveller, and perhaps the kitchen sink.

50331 Rand Daingerfield, Space smuggler, apparently

Odd Trios

Ready for battle

Today we have a few recent completions, all of which came in groups of three. First up, some ancient Eureka Miniatures Hardlove Steam Driven Impervious Suits. Apparently unpopular or at least unphotogenic, inspirational searches for them on the web were fruitless. I also searched for “Steampunk mecha,” to no avail. I knew I didn’t want to paint them as mechanical Victorian redcoats … so, I was at a loss.

I eventually decided that they would be attached to an artillery brigade — and thus, would sport blue livery. A few metal steampunks gewgaws, and then a Union Jack on the right shoulder and a Roman numeral on the left (indicating their code in the Eureka catalog).

As a mournful coda, just after this photo was snapped, I placed them in their Plano storage box. The top could just close, but when I snapped the latches on the lid, it pressed down sufficiently to put a dent in each of those plastic helmets [sigh]. So, I’m looking for suitable little bubbles in packing material to replace them. If not one thing, it’s another.

All black is hard to paint.

Next up, three Reaper Bones gorillas. Two are standard issue, if immense in 28mm. The third, their presumed leader, armed and armored. I studied pictures, and gorillas really are mostly black, which turns out to be pretty hard (for me ) to paint. Then, my trust Chick Lewis Magic Wash had gotten imbalanced and extra-Futury, so they got a serious gloss coat that matte spray Could Not Tame. [I used to be able to Google and find the original web page with Chick Lewis’s recipe. I don’t find it now … ] Somewhere in my containers of unpainted Bones is Ape X, who shall make the fourth for bridge.

And finally … owlbears.

Whoo, whooo, grrr.

The rug, 3D printed, has already made an appearance. The other two are Reaper Bones. The owlbear is a fascinating beast. The individual components of the duality are each deservedly menacing, but the alloy seems … well, silly. I recall that Chris Palmer didn’t love the pose on the left — he did some repositioning, I think. I think it looks suitably ape$hite for an ursine avian, with a “cuckoo for Cocoapuffs” vibe, those of us of a certain American age should recall.

The middle fellow looks to me like a regular 28mm miniature wearing an owlbear suit. I’ve always wanted to do some type of a “costume party” scenario — he shall get an invitation.

Painting Progress

Here are my latest figures to go into the “completed” column:

An admittedly odd pair — a Blitz Bowl / Blood Bowl orc and a 3D-printed owlbear-skin rug from Fat Dragon Games.

Continuing with fantasy, we have two well-armed lasses from my horde of Reaper Bones.

And then I circled back to my goblin fetish, with two GW Night Goblin netters. I felt pretty good about adding them to the swelling ranks of my army:

Until I recalled that this is what remains to be painted:

The photo doesn’t do them justice, but these aged Reaper Bones turned out better than I expected. On the left is the iconic Deadlands cover boy by Brom; the skeletal fellow on the right had been a cavalryman, I decided.

“Blondie” was one of those metal figures I was too intimidated to paint for years. I don’t recall who made him. Flanking him are two Reaper Bones who turned out ok. I’m ever shocked that one can paint craft acrylics right on Bones plastic without primer.

And finally, to some 54mm denizens of my imagi-nation, Ascaria. First up are Zafrarian artillery. They came with both mortar and howitzer — I assume they wouldn’t man them both simultaneously.

… And their Ascodali counterparts. I’m getting in almost two hours of hobby time a day, which pleases me to no end. Alas, I’m soon to return to remote teaching, so I’ll likely have to forego one of the daily hobbying hours …

Sweet Jane

Here’s a roundup of some recent completions. First up is what I consider to be one of those silly Reaper fantasy figures that I will likely never use. A bard, I presume, whose “axe” is every bit a modern-day guitar, with a bunch of extra bass strings you could probably pick out were I a better painter. ‘Tis a better picture of the Stutz from my last post, though.

“Ridin’ in a Stutz Bearcat, Jim,
Those were different times…”

Next we have some sort of steampunky-chronomancer type fellow wearing a big Power Hand and goggles. Again, seems a bit silly. I did stick the steely-eyed gaze.

Two final Reapers for this post— tough lasses. I gave the witch really big yellow eyes, which make her otherworldly. Other painted examples of her online did the dress more elaborately, so I guess I took the easy way out on this one.

A fine pair.

On to a bit of history. Three fellows from Foundry’s Darkest Africa collection. I’m going to put the whole band together for my next post.

An Old Glory pirate captain, poorly lit.

Avast! This light is horrible!

And at long last, my Thos. Foss largess is complete. Two 10mm cardstock horse and wagons and one 54mm 18th Century chap. It seems the Skull & Crown store is up and running again. Alas, the comrades for this fellow or Queen Victoria’s Robot Wars remain elusive …

A bit of a jag

Even before the recent “sheltering in place,” I seem to have gone on a bit of a painting jag — the term is, apparently, an Americanism: “a bout of unrestrained activity or emotion, especially drinking, crying, or laughing.” There is no rhyme or reason, just a gentle swirl through the unpainted masses. In the spirit of sharing, we have:

This fellow was a gift from him creator, Thomas Foss. I’ve noticed that his Skull and Crown web store is unavailable; hopefully indicative of a big relaunch. I’ve been hoping more of these fellows to become available.

Let us stay with the big boys. These are the first five Franco-Prussian War Prussians. They are to serve as stock villains for my Isla Victoria VSF setting.

Next up, my current “new shiny object.” When I acquired my Vintage Christmas Haul of Armies in Plastic 54s, one benefit of buying in bulk (in addition to free shipping) was the extra bags of random miniatures. I had long thought that I would press some of these lads into service in an Imagi-Nation. That plan has been set into motion.

Picked from the fellows in the bags plus an additional bag of random AIP Napoleonics I purchased, I have the first unit of Ascodali infantry. I’ll do a subsequent post on what I’m dreaming up.

Now we’ll move on to smaller souls. I’ll note at the outset that my painting style (block colors with a wash) and my not-so-matte sealer make the minis appear a bit blotchy here on the silver screen. They look better— to my eyes, at least — in person.

Here are four adventurous ladies from Wargames Foundry’s Darkest Africa collection. I accidentally captured an appropriate mania in the missionary lass at left.

I tried to create a little vignette for this lone, piratical captive. (Old Glory). Would have been better if I put a little ship in the background, I suppose.

 

Here is a pulp-era Dame or Gun Moll, I suppose, looking quite blotchy. This was my second attempt at sheer fabric (her stockings) which look terrible in the photo and not much better in the flesh [sigh].

When I began painting this chap years ago, I didn’t understand who he was supposed to be. As often, it was likely Maestro Chris Palmer who informed me Reaper intends him to be “a hougan.” I’ve since become better acquainted with the Reaper Figure Finder for positive IDs.

Last historical stop, the Old West. A couple of entrepreneurs in dispute with a cow herder. No doubt, just a misunderstanding. (Foundry Old West figures).

On to the world of fantasy. The leader of my orc army along with a chariot, as yet un-crewed.

Some villagers (Reaper Bones) …

… and an elf, maybe? As I got into the color scheme, I imagined her as a fantasy Bridezilla. Perhaps adventurers will interrupt her nuptials and invoke her wrath …

This one is meant to be a paladin, I think. With my color choices, I asked: what would happen if the god she followed wasn’t obsessed with purity evinced by chastity? Hence, a “Hot Paladin.”

I don’t know if GW does any female dwarf characters at all. I imagined this young lady as a “Slayer-in-training.” Hence, not yet nude (a shirt skirt and training bra-type-thing you can’t see here) and just a bit of the orange dye in her hair.

This fellow has a silly, Peter Mullen-ish over the topness that appeals to me. I tried — and failed — to paint mystical swirlings on the crystal ball. Looks like a bad globe [sign, again].

The final two were “hate painting,” really, just to get them out of the queue. I recall that Chris Palmer didn’t like this lass when he painted her, either. She’s clearly running away from something — something BIG as she seems to be looking backwards and upwards. I’m hoping it’s whoever sold her that outfit …

Finally, Reaper’s “Mr. Bones.” I don’t get what this guy even is. Skull face, which Chris Palmer refers to as “a mask,” which, I guess, it is, as he has regular hands and feet. Who is he? What is he doing? WTF? I have the next-year’s-model on the desk now. At least he has boney hands and feet as well.

More GW Goblin Goodness … and a Guest

Fairly recent eBay sleuthing resulted in two pertinent finds, which I instantly acquired:

This Goblin Regiment was new, still in shrink-wrap, at a somewhat reasonable price.

Some may cry
A trio of Forest Goblins

The flanking fellows are — now that I think of it —my first, and so far only, metal GW minis. They were billed as Forest Goblin Standard Bearers. Anyhow, goofy and fun to paint. I imagine that my forest goblins catch and dismember colorful toucan-type birds, hence the brightly colored feathers.

The fellow in the middle comes from Shieldwolf Miniatures. I picked up a couple boxes of infantry (enough to make 50 goblins), a hero, master archer, and a master spearman. I’m looking to raise small armies of each goblin faction that I might hold a Gob Off, per the Hoodling’s Hole.

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