dispatches from terra incognita

Category: Warhammer

At Long Last …

Whoops! There went a year.

I was busy painting but not posting for the entire duration of 2022. I do hope to motivate myself to share some of my progress in 2023.

I shall begin with a major accomplishment — Warhammer 7th edition Battle for Skull Pass. I got this one when it came out in 2006 or so. It sat in my closet for years, until I underwent a conversion in mid-2019 and began painting.

At long last, I have finished it all! Here is the back of the box, which has served as my painting guide for all these years:

And, here are my armies. Forgive the photos; the tabletop seems to have washed out all of the colors.

I somehow acquired one extra Night Goblin spearman and an unfortunate fellow who couldn’t dodge the cannonball. I don’t recall if they came with the set, or I got them from another source.

As the goblins are my favorite, I’ve augmented their forces through the years. Here’s an additional regiment of Stabbas:

some Fanatics:

Squigs and their herders

Forest Goblins of varying provenance

And orcs from the 6th Edition starter set I bought on eBay, in early 2020

I’ve been endeavoring to complete some of my innumerable projects — it does feel good to have the Skull Pass set finished.

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 …

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.

Random Progress

Rather than working steadily towards an attainable goal, I seem to pick up miniatures to paint as they strike my fancy. Those in the “done” box this weekend include:

Four of the 6 chibi adventurers from one of my many Reaper Bones kickstarters. Two more to go, then the entirety of the Super Dungeon Explore game I bought years ago…

A Reaper Bones rat ogre, who, along with my Mordheim skaven, comprise my nascent Skaven army.

And, finally, a potpourri of 28mms. Left to right, a Foundry Darkest Africa explorer, a Reaper jock, a Funky Skull street warrior, and a Reaper Bones ghoul (I would imagine).

My Krylon matte sealer is definitely a bit shiny, which messes with all my photos.

Lots of Grots

I’ve sojourned so far down the goblin rabbit hole that I’m starting to look for non-Games Workshop sources for interesting, new miniatures. There are, as one would expect, a variety of interpretations of “goblin.”

For example, I have two different varietals from my Reaper Bones Kickstarters — one set look like I imagine D&D goblins to be, and who aren’t at all green, and another look like cinematic gremlins carrying torches. I am definitely partial to the slightly-silly, of course green, pointy-nosed, Old World aesthetic.

Alternative Armies has a 28mm High Fantasy range which includes a Goblin and Orc Horde. The Goblin Knights, of which there are a variety, don’t do it for me. There are Cros Goblins which are quite nice, but have a more small-nosed, D&D vibe. Of more interest to me are:

Black Tree Design , if I understand this correctly, sells “Harlequin Miniatures by Kev Adams” Goblins. These were initially Kickstarted here and here. Kev Adams sculpted Warhammer goblins back in the day, so these are delightfully old school. Note that BTD has “Nightlings,” too, which are clearly Night Goblins, but I have so many and they are easily sourced, so I’ll leave them for others.

Also, I must append a caveat emptor that I have run across reports by some customers who were less than satisfied with BTD’s service in 2019. I’ll make a small order (as the $6.38 process below are for items on sale) and report on my experience.

Impact! Miniatures has a resin Kev Adams 31 Goblin Army, 31 figures for $35. Impact also do many Blood Bowl teams, should one be in the market.

Old Glory Miniatures seem to have two separate lines of goblins, both under the West Wind section of their website:

  • Under the Dwarf Wars heading, we find the Gallowskrie Goblins. They appear sufficiently goofy.
  • Directly under the West Wind heading, we find the Terronus, Isle of Goblins collection. Alas, most of the pictures for these guys are broken — I’m especially intrigued by the Goblin Villagers.

Rebel Minis has a Dark Hold Fantasy Setting “to try and fill what we see is a void in RPGs and Tabletop Games, namely Goblin characters, personalities and classes.” They are 28mm metal, and I would lament, a tad pricey. Many come in packs of 4 unique sculpts for $14.95. You’ll find:

Shieldwolf Miniatures has recently Kickstarted a range of plastic Forest Goblins. They come from Greece, and I’ll list the prices in Euros as exchange rates vary:

Warmonger Miniatures, sister company to my old favorite Wargames Foundry, has a vast collection grotty goodness. I shall make no attempt to list them individually as they are all so good.

Odds & Sods

Missed the traditional Saturday, but I submit a brief painting update.

First up we have the first painted fellow from my recently-won WHFB 6/e starter set. I hereby revise my assessment of the sculpts from “aren’t my favorite” to “absolutely my favorite.” Wide swaths of uninterrupted plastic make them a joy to paint.

Orcky Mc Orkface

Next up is one of my inexhaustible Reaper Bones. Historically, I’ve been intimidated by larger figures, so I’m making an effort to tackle some of these giant-types. It’s just like painting a 54mm, really.

Finally, the penultimate figure from my antique store triumph. This chap is the sole nemesis for Her Majesty’s army, an unmarked 54mm Zulu flat:

… And please show your right profile…

This Doesn’t (Usually) Happen to Me II

I have sporadically dipped into the well of eBay through the years, either “Buy(ing) It Now!” or bidding in an auction or two. A decade or more ago, I recall having my heart broken, posting the high bid on some bit of rpg paraphernalia (likely a rare GURPS book would have been what I was after back then), only to see some far-flung soul bid a dollar more to win in the final seconds.

In the fine spirit of passing along the pain to another, I utilized the same tactic to win an auction for the FASA Crimson Skies miniatures game. In those days, one had to re-enter one’s eBay password to bid, so it was a testament to rapid typing that I won.

While recently perusing eBay for gobliny goodness, I unearthed a somewhat tattered looking 6th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle starter set — Empire versus Orcs. It was obviously incomplete, missing rulebook, range rulers and templates, and cardstock building. All the figures seemed to be there, though, assembled but unprimed.

These days, eBay has the convenient, and I think sensible, feature that one can enable “auto-bid,” setting the highest amount that you are willing to pay. Thus, if you let the machine handle your bidding, you won’t be tempted to match ridiculous raises in the heat of the moment. This auction ended way past my bedtime, so I set things for what I was willing to pay and turned in for the evening.

Why don’t I find yard sales like these…

Lo and Behold, morning revealed that I had won (and for a bit less than the maximum I had set). Perhaps due to pre-holiday shipping enthusiasm, I won the auction early Monday morning and the box traversed the North American continent, from California to North Carolina, by Wednesday afternoon. So, a ragtag bunch of greenskins and fellows mostly armed with handguns became mine.

About a dollar apiece.

I haven’t done anything with them as yet. They were adequately, if a bit ham-fistedly assembled and all the figures do seem to be present. The cannon was glued wrong — I’m not sure it’s even the one that came with the set — and somehow a single orc Bloodbowl player infiltrated the mix [This turned out not to be true … his helmet just looked Bloodbowl on first glance).  Overall, though, I’m exceedingly pleased. They aren’t my favorite sculpts, but it was a means to beef up available troops on the cheap.

A Man Out of Time

For whatever reason, I nearly always find myself out of step with current tastes. I do certainly fall prey to “shiny objects” dangled by miniatures companies. In general, however, I have definite interests — as well as strong dislikes — which do not align with what I find in game stores or discussed online.

It was twenty years ago I first encountered Games Workshop and Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I had been introduced to fantasy twenty years prior to that via The Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons. My taste, therefore, had always leaned towards the Serious and Epic.

I hadn’t yet acquired any fantasy miniatures; I began my adult era collecting Old West and Darkest Africa figures. The initial draw of Warhammer stuff for me was the terrain — GW provided some of the first “how to” tutorials that I encountered. (Following those by the beloved Major General, of course).

The Warhammer “Old World” fluff left me cold, however. I mustered a bit of appreciation for the Vampire Counts, but green soccer hooligans screaming “Waugh!” was just silly… “Squigs?” … Really? Now, I loved Victorian Science Fiction and its Rube Goldberg-esque technology. Warhammer, though, just didn’t speak to me. Compounding my aversion was the cost —Games Workshop / Citadel miniatures were breathtakingly expensive.

Forwarding fast to the present day, I have experienced a profound change of heart. I wrote awhile back how I had spied, perched atop a dusty shelf in my Hobby Shack, one of my few GW purchases —The Battle for Skull Pass starter set. I brought it down and set in to complete a painting task begun 13 years previous.

In doing so, I have become hopelessly and inexplicably enamored of the aforementioned greenskins — goblins in particular. And apparently, experience has finally forged within me a sense of humor. It is precisely grottastic ridiculousness that appeals to me!

As I started combing the internet for vintage miniatures I could finally afford, I discovered perfection such as fanatics. These people spin a huge metal ball around to launch themselves into the enemy? Could this really work? No need to care, as I can’t imagine a general who wouldn’t want his troops to do this…

Part of my “Out of Time” bit was the GW decision to kill Oldhammer in favor of the Age of Sigmar. If I already didn’t like elements of the Old World, the new, gossamer-warriors appealed even less.

I had misapprehended, however, that GW had replaced all the old models. I didn’t realize that they had simply renamed (and rebased) many of them. Humans and undead were new, but many greenskins and the Skaven were just in new boxes and on round bases.

So, I bought brand-new fanatics. I even bought brand-new squigs and their herders. (One of them playing bagpipes — looking forward to painting them!) I now see that the Skaven wield extremely VSF-style gadgetry so I will likely begin another army.

As I have pressed on with employment throughout the intervening years, I’m now financially secure enough to approximate the GW demographic. Should I admit this? — I recently purchased a charming wee “Loonboss” — who set me back nearly $30 for one plastic figure (?!)

I’m eager to share some of my recent adventures. For example, I have begun wielding the power of eBay. Being conveniently “Out of Time,” not that many people are “into” what I now find irresistible, so I find unearth bargains and sometimes win auctions.

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