Sunday, February 17, 2019

Blood Bowl Team - The Dreadspear Dragons

The third Blood Bowl team is finally painted, here are some Dark Elves! The assassins from Forge World and star players need some more attention so they will come later.

Like I mentioned in one of the previous posts, I bought them because my wife really liked their playstyle in the video games and we wanted some diversity in our teams either way. The team was also quite recently released when I bought them, they looked sharp and I certainly didn't mind painting some Dark Elves for a change!

If I were to paint them as my first team I would probably choose black and red for them because I really like the druiichi in that scheme, but Orcs were already sporting those colors. So I choose the official paintjob - that makes them stand out really well amongst the other teams and it was a good opportunity to paint something purple. Last time I used that color in any appreciable quantity was with Tzeentch Horrors, around 2006 - so it quite refreshing to try that out again. It was also the first time when I decided to cheat and "paint" their eyes using a 0.05 pen instead of a brush - I expected wonders, but in the end, it was almost the same - it's just too damn small! I really admire people that can paint irises and reflections there.

I'm glad how they turned out and liked working on them, even if the elven cleanliness and the striking colors aren't really my forte.

The Dreadspear Dragons were founded several years ago by a Dark Elf noble Slyther “Sly” Maldevs, who was lucky enough to find a young dragon that enjoyed watching Blood Bowl. Sly used it as a team mascot, cheering from the sidelines, sometimes rampaging through the stands or the pitch - guaranteeing high popularity of the team thanks to the gimmick itself. Unfortunately for him, he completely neglected the players - and when they started constantly losing and the novelty of the dragon wore off, Sly was forced to get into more and more debts to support his new, lavish lifestyle. When the situation became dire and the creditors were (literally) ramming down his doors, he transferred the ownership of the team to the dragon mascot, all to avoid the legal responsibilities of his debt. Still, this being a Dark Elf society, nobody gave a damn about such tricks and Sly got ritually tortured and sacrificed as anyone else in his position. As for the Dreadspear Dragons, the new draconic owner quickly “found” a new sponsor, manager and a coach - all the players were changed and the team rushed strong into the new season with high hopes. Not unwarranted too! The new players are much better than the previous dregs and there are two gimmicks now: the team mascot is both a live dragon and also the team owner!

First, some photos of the whole team:

And all the individual Dragons:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Haughr of Förghann

Now, this was a tough project. Converting it was fun and quick, but then it lingered on the shelf quite a while. When I finally started painting it, I just applied the base colors and then it lingered again when I was getting distracted with other projects. Still, the deed had to be done, so recently I sat and finished the damn thing - and actually enjoyed it in the end!

I think the biggest problem was that I didn't have a concrete idea how to paint all those flat areas on his robes - whether they should just be dirty, covered with runes or something else entirely. In the end, I went with some subtle, washed-out runes and a lot of dirt - I think this fits the character quite well. Almost all the blending and shading on this model was done by stippling it with the brush - both to reinforce the necromancer's dirty, non-smooth aesthetics and to make the blending on such large, flattish surfaces much easier.

The whole model is a converted Chaos Sorcerer from GW, which I turned into a mounted Necromancer (kinda inspired by Doctor Doom, with his green robes and metallic mask). The pictures of the unpainted, converted model can be found HERE.

When Alexander Hautfell was at the turning point of his life, before he murdered his own sisters, when he could still turn away from the path he had taken, he was found and contacted by a strange, hooded figure. This… creature called itself Haughr of Förghann and offered help with the young mage’s situation. It was from this being that Alexander learned about Necromancy and the dark arts - and since then, the wizard would just keep going further that shady path. Haughr didn’t take anything in exchange - it only promised to collect the debt later. The creature showed up again when Hautfell fell from both the vampires’ and the wights’ graces in Varsavia - but instead of collecting the debt, it offered even more help. Alexander knew that it wasn’t a good idea to trust the hooded monster, but he went with it anyway - sure that he will find a way to subvert it somehow. After all this, very little is known about the creature - only that it is ancient, clever and very skilled in necromancy. Beyond that, nothing is sure - not even if Haughr is its personal name or a name for the whole species...

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Underworlds Warband - The Faceless - WIP

Finally, the converting part of my Warhammer Underworlds Stormcast team is finished - now it should be much easier.

The idea went through several stages and evolutions, but the source of it was Ana's (from Gardens of Hecate) brilliant take on the same kit, which can be found HERE. I wanted to do something similar, but also not copy it blatantly. Then I saw THIS artwork and I realized that I can make heavily armored counterparts to the cultists that I made for my zombie legion. At that point, I decided to get a Shadespire box to try this idea out. There are only 3 Stormcasts there, a perfect amount to test out this idea. Besides, I heard good things about the game itself, so trying it out was a bonus. Then I spent several months developing the idea in my head, sketching various options and looking for inspiration on the internet.

The Faceless were the final result of all that deliberation. Heavily inspired by Dark Souls aesthetics, I made my Stormcasts into creepy, otherworldly knights that hide their faces and identity behind elaborate, sculpturesque armor. Each one has a leading motive, starting with the helmet which then affects all other parts of their equipment. As their name suggests, there will be no faces on their helmets - only animals or geometric/abstract shapes, the more inhuman, the better. I have many, many more helmets/themes planned, should I someday decide to expand on this idea.

As a side note, this was probably the first time when I was doing so much precise sculpting on such (relatively) small infantry miniatures. It required different methods and I learned a lot during this whole work. Hopefully, future projects will benefit from this.


The whole warband, the Faceless:

As a comparison, the original ones, as envisioned by Games Workshop (not painted by me, pictures taken from GW's website).

Now, the individual knights. First comes the leader, the Crusader. He is obviously inspired by the Pyramid Head from the Silent Hill franchise (especially the movie version) and the artwork I linked above - but he was also thought as a knightly variant of my zombie cultists. In the beginning, I wanted to make the whole team look like that, but I had too many interesting ideas for other knights to just dismiss them like that - the Crusader remains as the only one left from that first idea.

The second one is the Bull. It was this idea that made me scrap the concept of making everyone a pyramid head. He was partly inspired by Smough from Dark Souls, especially the part with the 'fat armor' and helmet visors being hidden in its 'neck'. The rest are my original ideas.

And the third one, the Vulture. This one I made the last and was inspired by THIS and THIS artwork. I had the least ideas for her and made her last, but as the sculpting progressed I was getting more and more into it and I am pretty happy with the final result.

And a bonus, here are the renderings of some of the more geometric helmets that I have in mind for the future, mostly the ones that I could model digitally. Many of them are taken from various pictures found on Pinterest. It's also a quick example of what color I have in mind for the Faceless - well, maybe a bit rusted than that, but you get the idea.

And to add even more to this already long post, this is a 52nd regular weekly post. This means, that I managed to keep up the pace and have at least a bit of progress every Sunday for a whole year. Let's wish for another year like this!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Blood Bowl Big Guy - Sir Blubb the Ogre

While I was painting the other Blood Bowl Big Guy, Chompa the Troll, I decided to paint the ogre for the human team too. And because I stylized them as Bretonnians, the ogre had to be converted a bit - you can see it HERE. The rest of his team can be seen HERE.

The painting was somewhat unusual and interesting to me because it was probably the first time when I had so much human (not-decayed, not-vampire) skin to paint! I even had to buy a paint pot specifically for that reason. It was also a good opportunity to try painting some stubble, as well as some chest hair sticking from underneath the shirt. The rest was the same as on the rest of the players. Overall it was an enjoyable model - and looking at our last game, a true MVP too!

While it is widely known that no Bretonnian will ever stoop so low to employ mercenaries, there’s nothing wrong in being a bit creative when wrecking peasants is on the line! When the Cavaliers found themselves a bit overwhelmed with some of the more ‘aggressive’ teams, they decided to add some more serious muscle to their team. Using famous Bretonnian pastries, they convinced a brutish ogre called Blubb to be knighted - after which they promptly incorporated him into their ranks, bypassing the rule about unhonorable mercenaries. Sir Blubb may lack a bit in his manners and knightly conduct, but as long as he keeps playing this well and keeps answering every question with ‘FOR THE LADY’, no one will suspect a thing!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Zombie Legion - Forest Treasures

Part of the Zombie Legion

Yet another batch of old zombies to show, this time under a vague description of heavy containers / scenery pieces that zombies stand on or try to move. It was mostly a way to use some of the larger bits that I had laying around and without any good use for them - making them probably the most classical 'fillers' that I have in the legion.

People in Kislev say sometimes, that Varsavia is a perfect place to lose something. By means natural and unnatural, people, armies and whole cities can disappear without a trace. Remains of those can be then found much later, their original purpose already forgotten. Using his zombies’ eyes, Constantin patrols Varsavia for those lost treasures, because sometimes they can be really valuable. If not, they can be used as vantage points - or at least as a curiosity for Eshnuu, who really likes to deduct how some of those artifacts end up in Varsavian forests.

First is an ogre Leadbelcher Cannon that I made as an abandoned scenery piece in the middle of the forest. Adding various sorts of weathering to it was quite interesting. It was also dubbed once as 'zombies with guns'.

Next comes a dwarven wagon, next scenery piece left in the forest - taken from the Battle for the Skull Pass set. I decided to try out some water effects resin at least once in the legion, so I prepared a shallow hole in the base, filed off some of the wagon's wheel and submerged it in some sickly green 'water' - with a ghoulish zombie on top. A mini-diorama, I guess.

And the last one, two zombies dragging a treasure chest, because who said undead couldn't be used as menial labor? This piece is meant to be used in the legion together with the Stegadon. The monster's tail sticks out a little further than the base and it was difficult to find a zombie that would fit behind the monster without it looking weird - so I placed a small chest on the ground with two zombies beside it. Now the tail doesn't interfere with anything. Besides, I could use that rather cool-looking chest.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Underworlds Warband - Sons of Skalv

Second Warhammer Underworlds warband is now ready - this time, one based on Garrek's Blood Reavers. You can see the conversions HERE. The whole idea was to get rid of all the ornaments and make them look more like low-fantasy Vikings, turning them into raiders that do worship Khorne and believe is piling skulls for his throne, but know him under a different name and don't know anything about the 'mainstream' cult.

Besides simplifying their sculpts and changing some bits, I wanted to differentiate them from normal Khorne warriors through paint too. I choose pale, desaturated colors and painted their clothes in many different hues, not only red and brown. Their weapons are also simpler and dirtier than the ones proposed by GW. To make them extra special I freehanded some Norse- and Celtic-inspired tattoos on them.

In the end, work on them was a fun experience and I think they turned out pretty well. It was also probably the first time in my life when I painted so much human skin! Now all that remains is the Stormcast warband - they are easily taking much more effort than both other teams combined, several times over!

Another reality that’s reflected in the Withered King’s dreams is the appearance of the barbarian hordes living on the northern coasts of Vechernya. Speaking an alien language, warlike, unwilling to cooperate and worshipping Khorne in all but name, they are almost always at war with their southern neighbors. Sometimes they are pushed back and brought to heel by an organized effort, but they always come back under one name or another. The newest ones are just starting on their own Path to Glory, as warbands rampaging through the southern lands to earn the favor and respect of both gods and their ancestors. One particular group, all sons of a great warchief Skalv is particularly successful. If they will prove their worth and survive, future Vechernyans will tremble before hordes of bloodthirsty raiders, all claiming to be descendants of Skalv.

First, all the brothers together as a whole warband:

Next, the singular warriors, with Garrek Gorebeard and Bloodbeast Sarrek going first:

And last, but not least, the rest of them - Karsus, Targor and Arnulf:

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Monster Slaughter - The Triton Family

And now for something different, once again!

Some time ago we visited our friends here in Berlin and they always have a whole pile of new board games to try out. That one time we tried something called "Monster Slaughter" - a game by French company Ankama that got funded through Kickstarter in 2017. It centers around a "cabin in the woods" horror movie plot where a group of teenagers explore a creepy, abandoned shack with monsters trying to murder/eat them - with the players controlling the monsters. Everything is represented by pretty good miniatures.

Each monster group is a family - a dad, a mom and a child - and there is a crazy amount of them: vampires, ghosts, clowns, werewolves and many others. I played Tritons, the fish-people, the ones you can see below. After the game, I asked if I can take them home to paint because I got to like those guys. That, and they are also probably the least stylized family of the whole bunch, which also was a plus for me. Most of them are pretty comical, which fits with the comedic style of the game, but it isn't really my taste that much. Besides, they are green and dirty, and that's exactly how I like my miniatures!

They were pretty fun to paint and our friends were happy with the results. The only thing I didn't like about them was the material, which is kinda soft and bendy, like the ones used by Reaper Bones. It was a real challenge to get the mother's trident straight and removing the mold lines was also pretty tough - but besides that, they are fine minis. They were also first board game minis that I painted, so that's something too.

And here are the cards with their stats that are used in the game - I used them as instruction how to paint them. This picture was taken from the Kickstarter page.