Sunday, August 25, 2019

High Council of the Radiant Wheel

Today I bring you first miniatures that I got off a Kickstarter - some amazing pieces from Black Crab Miniatures, a very interesting collection made by Meridian Miniatures and inspired by amazing artwork by @blackcrabart. Those guys were right up my alley and made me finally use kickstarter for something - normally I am more than okay to wait for the stuff to get sold in retail. Second part of that Kickstarter ended not that long time ago and I also bought them, so expect them in the future!

From the moment I saw those guys, with their overall style and all the bones they have on them, I knew they would fit perfectly as mortal followers of the Death God, so I used here the same color scheme that I use for all my Death God-worshipping wights. I think it fits them quite well. The minis themselves were very well made, with sharp detail and very fun to paint so I am looking forward to some more minis from this series.

Right after being raised, Daremnych started with raising back his old commanders and additional troops for the wight army - but that was not enough in his opinion. To really secure their position in Varsavia in the long run, he needed the support of the mortals living in the land. The old faith in the Death God was reduced to myth and superstition - and to bring it back, the old Liche created the Cult of the Radiant Wheel. He took the old Kolovrat symbol the wights use and repurposed it as a wheel of birth, death and re-birth, to which all the creatures are bound, promising eternal life after death, forgiveness of misdeeds and protection from the enemies. People preaching it (and achieving quite a success) are fairly normal humans, but the High Council that Daremnych formed to steer the cult in the right direction are anything but. Their faces hidden behind ancient masks, wrapped in bangades, with pale, grey skin, they are a mystery. They reside in a hidden village deep in the forest where they write the sacred tomes, gather the bones of their saints and organize their faith, but their real motives are known probably only to Daremnych himself.

3 tabletop cultists miniatures from Black Crab Miniatures, seen from several angles and are painted with red and black robes, with some patinated metal masks.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sculpting Tips - Nurgle Tentacles

The third and last small tutorial made around my Blood Bowl Bloaters - this time about the legs of the 'Stand Firm' guy, ones made out of tentacles and worms. I will show my process and the general principles that work here - which work both here and in general when sculpting out of greenstuff. At the end of it, there are also some more concrete tips.

I started by putting a pin in his leg and then mounting it on a base - it's much easier to do a single connection than try to coordinate both pins so that they both stay in the right position.. When the glue was dry I covered the pin roughly with milliput - to secure the pin in place, they tend to rotate after applying too much force. While I was at it, I added a similar piece of milliput on the other leg - it would be much easier to sculpt the tentacles around something firm as the 'foundation'.

I started by adding two tentacles per leg, one in the front and one in the back. This way they were separated - I didn't want them to stick to each other before they were ready. The one on the right is a normal smooth tentacle rolled on an even surface - smoothened carefully with a big, round clay shaper after I set it up in its position.

The one on the left, the segmented, 'wormy' one started the same as the other one - only after I secured it to its position I added the grooves with a small, round clay shaper. The underside of the tentacle can get flattened through all the pressing while sculpting the grooves, so when everything else was done, I refined that from underneath using the pointy sculpting tool - raising the flattened part a bit and deepening the grooves there.

The same story on the backside. Now it has to cure completely before moving on.

Then it's time for more tentacles. The one on the far left is a variation on the segmented tentacle showed up earlier - only this time I used only the side of the pointy sculpting tool to add many thin ridges close to each other - all the other principles remain.

The one on the left is a fleshy, nurgly tentacle - made similar to the arm that I presented in the previous tutorial. I made a normal, smooth tentacle on an even surface, connected it to the main body, pressed various indentations and pits with the small, round clay shaper and smoothened it out a bit afterward. While it was still soft I pressed a ball of hard greenstuff into it, to create this 'egg lodged in the flesh' kind of effect. It can be a boil, a botfly egg or an eye.

When that was all cured, I added an extra tentacle between two existing ones - seen on the left. I prepared a round tentacle out of greenstuff, stick it between the existing ones and secured it to the ground by reaching into the crevice with the pointy tool, pressing the new tentacle into the ground. Then I just laid the new tentacle on top of the other appendage.

How it looks like from behind.

Now, even more tentacles. On the left, there's a new smooth tentacle with some additional flesh above (to make it mesh with the rest of the body a little better) and a slug tentacle on the right. To get this effect I prepared a tentacle with a triangular section - I made a normal, round one first and then pressed it to the table (with a piece of foil to unstick it easily) with two pinching fingers. Then I glued it between the legs and added many longish indentations on it, using the small, round clay shaper. I pressed it a little bit more close to the edge, spreading it around more, to create this 'skirt'-like effect slugs have, for a lack of a better word.

Now, when that has all cured, I added even more thin tentacles in every crack and crevice that I managed to find, to create this effect that it's a writhing mass of flesh. On the right, I added an extra fleshy fold at the spot where a tentacle joins with the body - I just pressed a blob of greenstuff over there and smoothened the connection with the body, but not with the tentacle. Now it's not yet another smooth tentacle, but one that comes from inside the body - it will stand out even more after it will get painted all slimy.

And now a small addition - short instruction how to easily make suction cups out of greenstuff, always useful when sculpting tentacles. They're not hard to do and improve the tentacles immensely. This guy here also has them, but quite underneath and hard to photo. Because of that, I did some of them separately.

The important thing to do is to sculpt them on a hard surface - I used a piece of plasticard here but cured greenstuff and the resin/plastic/metal miniature surface work well too. When I have that, I just roll some small balls of greenstuff (in whatever sizes I need them) and place them on the hard surface.

Then, using the big, round clay shaper, I pressed their sides into the hard surface and smoothened them out, merging them with the 'ground'. They look like pimples now - which can also be useful when doing Nurgle work!

And when that's done, all that's left is to use the same big, round clay shaper to press every pimple vertically with the point of the tool to create the hole. Small clay shaper will work just as well here, as well as the non-hairy end of the brush. And that's it, ready to disgust your opponents.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Drachitsa the Slayer

After Yarema I have yet another wight hero painted - or a heroine to be precise - Drachitsa the Slayer, the Fearless Maiden and the Killer of Dragons.

After all the wights that are basically the same with their patinated armor and patterned cloaks, this one has something special - a dragonskin cloak. Still, I didn't want her to stand out too much so I kept her in the same color palette, with only a slight tint of green added to the scales. Other than that, she was a rather standard fare for me.

Every society has its heroes. One such in Varsavia was Kiril the Woodsman, another one was Drachitsa the Slayer. From her earliest days thought to be without any fear, she was the only one to undergo a quest to find the legendary Oakspear and slay the terrible dragon Zmey that was terrorizing his countryside. She killed the beast, took it’s skin as a cloak and returned as a heroine. Since then she was slaying beasts and other enemies of Varsavia and the Death God and made many, many more tales about her, until finally succumbing to old age and a bitter rival. After an excavation under one of the mountains, ahe was found by the wights and subsequently raised. Thanks to the powerful enchantments on her tomb, she retained all of her memories, skills and famed weapons - and like Kiril, she joined her undead brethren to do what she did best - slaying.

Painted, kitbashed model of a Wight

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Blood Bowl Dark Elf Staff - Mallerion the Team Owner + WIP

Back when I gave a name for my Dark Elf Blood Bowl team, the Dreadspear Dragons, I came up with the idea that due to some legal shenanigans, the team is officially owned by a real dragon, becoming a gimmick that makes them famous. This was just to give some more meaning to their name and make the whole backstory a bit more interesting but it would be waste if I didn't represent it somehow! So I digged through various dragon miniatures and decided on using a Shadow Dragon from Reaper Miniatures - it had the good style, pose and size for me.

Besides that, I also thought that I could do banners for my teams (because I love banners) - which could be then paired with cheerleaders and/or mascots. Thankfully I had a dragonskin (?) banner in my bits collection, one from Mournfang Riders, so I mounted it on a base, covered in various Dark Elf bits and added several skulls for the evil factor. Now the Dragon can stay with the flag on the sidelines and represent the team better than ever!

The painting scheme was chosen to reference the players' colors - purple, dark red and blue, pale green, with silver/bright accents. I used numerous points for shading and highlights on both instances of dragonskin to simulate the scales - and I think it was actually easier to pull off than trying to go for smooth blending. The wing membranes also got a lot of dots to make them more visually interesting.

I plan to use him in the game as the equivalent of 4-5 cheerleaders - and that's why there are two giant pompoms laying on the ground, just in case someone had doubts what is the dragon's role on the pitch. Maybe I'll come up with some additional rules for him - if so, I'll post them here of course.

The Blood-Bowl-enthusiastic dragon Mallerion, a mascot of the Dreadspear Dragons was a known oddity in on the pitch, but he became especially noteworthy only after becoming the actual, official owner of the team (due to some desperate legal maneuvering on the part of the previous one). Being a dragon, he was neither interested nor capable of all the bureaucratic work needed, so there’s a wide array of assistants and representatives who do all the legwork for him. They may even set their own salaries and working conditions as long as the owner is happy. Thankfully, Mallerion is perfectly content with having enough food, being able to cheer from the sidelines (heightened statistical amount of deaths correlating with him being on the stadium is a coincidence!) and taking part in photo sessions. Not only he makes the press more interested in the team, but his presence on the sidelines can also motivate the players and the fans into a glorious rage much better than a whole team of cheerleaders! The only problem is that he personally terminates the staff who’s he displeased with - after which the unfortunates often don’t find a new job. Well, this isn’t strange, since it involves fire breath and being eaten alive by the dragon, but nobody gets into the Blood Bowl business expecting a long life and nice retirement!

First, the scaly lad himself:

Picture showing a dragon tabletop miniature, a Shadow Dragon from Reaper - with purple scales, reddish underbelly and dark blue wing membranes, standing on an oval base. The dragon has a golden medallion on its neck, bearing the Blood Bowl logo. The miniature is used as a team owner for a Blood Bowl Dark Elf team.

And the banner that I prepared to accompany him:

A compilation of two pictures showing both sides of a miniature banner - it is painted to look like a green dragon skin and has both the team's and Blood Bowl's logo freehanded on it. Skulls and spearheads are scattered around the base.

The conversion work that I did here was really minimal, but I've made a photo nontheless:

Unpainted versions of the miniatures shown above, showing the conversions done to both miniatures.