dispatches from terra incognita

Category: Paint Table Saturday Page 1 of 3

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.

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.

Hobby Giving II

The long-awaited parcel from Hasslefree (last mentioned here) arrived, all ordered figures present. On a whim, I checked again on the site an, lo and behold, Daphne and Velma were back in stock. So, I expeditiously ordered them, along with another go ’round of the whole Mystery, Inc. team (standard and post-apoc) so that I could paint them up for myself. They arrived in reasonable time, so it had been the holiday mail holding up things in December. The figures are a joy to paint — I’m hewing as close to the iconic livery as possible.

And so, my younger son’s gift was complete — just a few months after Christmas.

I also finished my elder son’s girlfriend’s gift — the duo from Supernatural:

I wanted them to have a monstrous foe; a little research turned up a “scarecrow” as a serviceable villain. They don’t look like that in the show, but this chap was one of my countless Reaper Bones, now gone on to a better home. (The next edition of Bones — is it 5 now? — was promised for this month, but likely won’t make it until May. Which, of course, is just as well, as I have to many yet to paint from the first four … )

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.

Hobby Giving

Heretofore, hobbying has been a personal pursuit for me. The vast majority of my time is consumed by painting miniatures, building terrain, and questing for the perfect organizational system for same. Occasionally I get in a game.

This year, my heart apparently expanded like the Grinch’s, and I was possessed to offer some of my work as gifts. Someone’s post on The Miniatures Page (I believe it was) alerted me to the existence of minis representing the cast of a favorite TV program from my youth.

While painting them, musing that they would likely be for display only as I wouldn’t have much of a gaming use for them, I was thunderstruck. My elder son is also a M*A*S*H* fan, and might enjoy the novelty of possessing these as his first miniatures.

A bit of spray-paint and a sadly-rendered door, and I had a suitable “Swamp.” Owing to the fact that I already possessed all the pieces for this gift, it was completed by the Big Day.

Inquiries uncovered that my son’s girlfriend is a fan of a show with which I am, alas, unfamiliar.

Dashing to the web for research and commerce, I was able to locate their iconic vehicle in two scales (1:64 and 1:43). To my surprise, Hasslefree do passably recognizable versions of the stars as well. Ordered in November, they remain, purportedly, winging their way across the seas.

My younger son has invariably drawn sustenance from Scooby-Doo. As recently as last month, when he spent both Thanksgiving and his 20th birthday isolating with a (thankfully) mild case of COVID-19, he could be found curled up in bed watching the original TV show.

A simple visit to Wal-Mart provided appropriate “wheels,” and as fate had it, Hasslefree also do appropriate miniatures, in both “stock” and “post-apocalyptic” poses.

Once the package arrives, I’m not entirely sure what will be inside. Several characters were marked “out of stock” and others as “pre-orders.” They did take my money for what I attempted to order, so we shall see. This gift may have to continue on to next Christmas …

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 …

An Unexpected, Though Pleasant, Diversion

Looking for a break from … well, everything I have been painting, with the added incentive of reducing the pile of boxes of unpainted Armies in Plastic, I reached for a box of Indian cavalry. They were from the AiP “Boxer Rebellion” range, “1st Skinner’s Horse.” I thought they’d make a nice addition to my Zafrarian army.

Now, I believe I was conflating them with these fellows, who I got in the same haul. The cavalry box had some less-than-helpful, monochromatic AiP art. I was thinking it would be a quick, mostly-khaki paint job, and another unit in the “completed” column.

Though I intended them for Imagi-nation use, I do like to do a little research when a unit is specifically identified. So, into Google went “1st Skinner’s Horse.” To my chagrin, they were not khaki clad at all. However, their uniform was a beautiful, intricate surprise, presenting an unexpected challenge.

Here’s the lot, poorly lit. I did try to be faithful with the uniform, but they would be hopelessly anachronistic in the late 18th-early 19th centuries, as the Imagi-nation of Zafraria is fully integrated. Thus, a panoply of races are represented (which doesn’t show up well in the poor lighting).

Command
Trumpeter
Lancer
Lancer
… and, Lancer.

Research took quite awhile as there were a variety of renditions of the uniform. Then, they were somewhat elaborate to paint — particularly the headgear. I also replaced the lances with wire, as the originals were unacceptably bendy.

So, they went into the “done” column, though not as expeditiously as I had hoped.

Mountains of the Moon

As promised, here are group vignettes of my Wargames Foundry “Mountain of the Moon Collection,” purchased about 20 years ago and only recently more-or-less completed.

The painting is passable at best, and the lighting was horrid, but I just wanted to create a record of the accomplishment. This band of souls intimidated me for about 18 years, with only a handful painted (Tarzan and Jane were two of the first, of all things). I’ve steadily knocked out the rest over the past two years.

Some of them got their eyes retroactively, as I’ve only felt comfortable painting them in the last couple years. As I notice on “the big screen,” it is clear I occasionally rushed. I’m still not 100% convinced that 28mm figures need eyes, but so many painters do it so well, I feel compelled to try.

DA1/1 “Eccentric Explorers,” now DA011 – Men of Substance
DA1/2 “Ardent Adventurers,” now DA012 – A League of Exceptional Gentleman. Note that Wilbur Vanhuysman (in dark glasses) has transformed into Teddy Roosevelt!
DA 1/3 “Askari Characters,” now DA013 – Askari Command
DA 1/4 “Askari Command,” now DA014 – Askari Characters
DA 1/5 “Heavily-Armed Askaris,” still (!) DA015 – Heavily Armed Askaris
DA 1/6 “Daughters of the Empire,” now DA016 – Deadlier than the Male
DA 1/7 “European Traders & Travellers,” now DA017 – Traders and Travellers
DA 1/8 “European Ladies,” now DA018 – Roses of the Empire
“Askari Rebels,” which I don’t find to be currently available …

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