Monday, June 30, 2014

Zvezda tower

I've been thinking a lot about terrain and scenery. I'm of course impressed by the cool stuff people do with the likes of Hirst Arts or Dwarven Forge molds, but in addition to being fairly expensive, that sort of thing is too unwieldy and inflexible for what I want. I'm looking for terrain pieces that are either pretty small or useful in a lot of situations. That and cheap, of course!

So let's start our Cheap Fantasy Terrain with aplomb.

Sven vs. the evil red wizard.

This is a Zvezda 1/72 scale tower kit that I got pretty cheap from HobbyLinc. It's great for all sorts of classic fantasy scenarios: wizard's tower, damsel's prison, old ruins, frontier watchpost. I like the model a lot, though the kit is a little harder to assemble than need be. The round walls of the main part of the tower came on the sprue in quarter-sections, and it was tricky to glue these together. You can see that I couldn't quite get them to fit as nicely as one would like. Once assembled, though, it was a breeze to paint up, with nice stone detail that took drybrushing very well.

The kit came with a large conical roof that I didn't glue in place. For some extra detail, I took a trapdoor bit from Games Workshops' Mines of Moria set and added some additional stones made from Milliput. They could have turned out a little better, but overall I like the effect. You can perhaps also see that I based it on a 1.5" washer, which seems to fit perfectly.

The tower with the roof attached. The kit had impossibly tiny little plastic parts that were supposed to go in these small holes and join the roof halves together, which I simply couldn't manage. I wound up using a paperclip, gluing one end into a roof half, trimming it to size, and repeating for the other holes. I must have oversized one of these wire bits, because there was a gap at the tip of the roof which I had to crudely fill with Milliput. Plopping the roof on the model does give it a more refined look, and it's easily removable.

One curiosity, since this kit was intended to expand other Zvezda castle kits, is that there is no door at ground level. I may add one later, but I'm not sure it matters. Despite my grousing, putting together and painting this model didn't take much time at all. It's a solid, compact structure, and it should be useful for a lot of gaming situations.

Defeating the evil red wizard was the least of Sven's problems.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hobgoblins at last!

It took me long enough! The hobgoblin horde that I first mentioned back in October is finally complete. Something about these large groups of monsters that I keep making causes me lately to drag my feet, plus we've been in high newborn mode during much of this time. The various smaller side projects I've been doing were a welcome distraction and good for feeling like I was accomplishing things, but it's good to get these done.

Hobgoblins have basically evolved in D&D as more organized orcs, so that's what I've used. These are Caesar orcs with various modifications. Really, there's no reason these couldn't be used as orcs as well. The goal was to make them a look a little better armed and outfitted than my orcs, though they wound up looking a bit ragtag, as though they thoughtfully scavenged their gear instead of systematically making their own. They wound up with a few basic looks.
The captain and his elites. The armored bodies are Caesar "15th century knights." The spiked shield on the left is also from the orcs, while the green shield on the right is borrowed from the Italeri Barbarians set that I find so useful.

Leather and fur armor. The three guys in the middle are the same pose, with various weapon swaps from other orc figures. Another Barbarian shield can be seen on the left figure.

The artillery. The archers are of course all the same; the set has only two archer poses, and the other is too primitive-looking for my hobgoblin concept. The sorcerer was a standard-bearer; I clipped the banner and replaced it with a skull from the Caesar Undead set.
Comparison with Sven.
By the way, note that nearly everyone is in green or brown, with a little gray. I like my armies to have a limited palette, both to make deciding on colors easier and so they look more like a unit. The exception is the captain, whose color scheme makes him stand out a bit from all the mooks.

I still have a few small projects to complete, but my painting table looks a lot more empty than it did a few weeks ago. I'll need to come up with some new distractions.

Lawful Evil, Chaotic Evil, what does it matter? Don't you see that deep down inside, you guys are all just Evil at heart?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

CFM trolls for hits

Not the first troll pun on a mini/fantasy gaming blog, and probably not the last.

These are a couple of Reaper Bones trolls—I'm thinking of calling them Heinz and French. They were very quick to paint, as they are pretty much just troll skin with a loincloth and some other details. I've begun to use black spray primer instead of white, which is great for many reasons: the eyes and nostrils are untouched except for the primer and magic wash, for example, and I didn't have to tediously paint the bases. I also tried a simple repose on Heinz: the Bones plastic is soft and makes such mods very easy. Some woodglue and Milliput in the right places makes the change very hard to spot.

Comparison with Sven the 1/72 comparison viking. These aren't much bigger than the normal Reaper hero minis; they seem much more imposing and scary when confronting the smaller scale figure. I also like it when large figures appear to be looking down at punier antagonists.

Sven realizes that Trollheim was not just a colorful name on a map.
Coming soon: a heavily prolonged project is finally complete!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"War of the Ring" minis (Thanks Sam!)

I've been uncharacteristically productive hobby-wise lately, so I have a bunch of stuff to show off. But first, some cool news. My perennially popular (okay, click-baity) "Where to buy cheap minis?" post included a mention of the board game War of the Ring, a strategy board game based on the Lord of the Rings, which contained many true 25mm plastic fantasy figures. I said it was promising if the price ever came down, but probably didn't have enough stuff I was interested in to be worth it.

Sam, at the excellent Sam's Minis World blog, saw my post and was motivated to track these figures down. He was kind enough to send me some of the fruits of his search, for which I offer hearty and sincere thanks. He discusses his haul here. Really, this post is more of the same, with shots of the minis and comparisons (with special appearances by the One Inch Guild, among others). I'm just so pleased to finally have some of these figures, and at Sam's generosity, that I wanted to share.

Elves. The gray is supposed to be Legolas, the blue is rank-and-file. A Caesar figure is for comparison, as is Sven the comparison viking.
Various dudes with swords. The unpainted figures are the Witch King, Aragorn, and Boromir. Another Caesar fig and Sven are included. The Witch King will make a fine evil knight, which are kind of hard to find in this scale

Wizards! Gandalf and Saruman are on the right. An unpainted Caesar wizard and a couple repainted Arcane Legions figures are on the left. The War of the Ring figures are arguably a little big, but will look fine at the table.

The dwarves have the opposite concern, as they are generally noticably smaller than my other plastic dwarves. Caesar and Arcane Legions dwarves, then Gimli and some dwarf troops. Gimli looks particularly odd with his smaller size and pointed head.
Hobbits! Very exciting to have actual in-scale halfling figures in plastic. In the middle are Pippin, Merry, Frodo and Sam. Frodo and Sam share a base, but I may be able to separate them. They are flanked by a Games Workshop hobbit and a D&D halfling. They are both noticeably taller than the WotR figures, especially the GW one. But as they are all shorter than Sven, it shouldn't be a problem, unless I'm trying to make a halfling army for some reason.

The Nazgul, with a couple tan Age of Mythology figures for comparison. These are the 1st edition sculpts; the 2nd edition of the game has less top-heavy Nazgul. Sam gave me two of these: If I can find a way to remove the chibi wringwraiths, they'll make great generic monsters.
I should mention that Sam, in addition to just plain old giving me cool stuff and having an awesome blog, also nominated me for a Liebster, which is a sort of combination attaboy and chain letter that lets lesser recognized blogs get some attention. I probably won't be nominating anyone myself, because I'm pretty close to the bottom of the blogger pile. Anything in my links sidebars is certainly worth reading, if you're interested. Anyway, double thanks to Sam for being such a kind and generous fan in so many ways!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Party at CFM's!

You have no idea how long I've been sitting on that pun. Anyway, one of my many recent side projects was because I was getting a little tired of painting monsters all the time. So I wanted to see if I could wrangle a typical dungeon party. Behold, the one-inch guild!

From left to right, a Caesar Miniatures elf, dwarf, and adventurer; a repainted D&D halfling, and a Caesar "15th century knight." Yep, those earlier D&D halfling sculpts are quite suitable for 1/72 scale.

Heroes would feel pretty silly if they delved a dungeon and found there were no monsters there. So here they are!

A Caesar orc, D&D bugbear, and Caesar goblin. The goblin got a headswap because I wanted a commander figure, who I figure ought to have both a big axe and shiny helmet. Like the halfing, it seems the earlier bugbear sculpts were much more compatible with my preferred smaller scale. I've got a later D&D orc sculpt I'm painting that is very similar to this bugbear and is about the same size.

Comparison shots with Sven the 1/72 comparison viking.

I still have lots of projects I can slowly finish up as I scrounge for time. Watch this space!

Fight! Fight, fight, fight!