Archive for the ‘miniature painting’ Tag

The Lord of the Rings Strategy Game: Part Two   1 comment

An Unexpected Journey

So my positive experiences with the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game led me to start buying more figures so that I could try out more of the scenarios from the first Journeybook, The Fellowship of the Ring.

This in turn led me to start making terrain.  Although I’m a Graphic Designer, I had not attempted to make original structures for a game since way back in 1987-88 when I made two Hockey arenas to pimp out the boardgame, Strat-o-Matic Hockey.  They have been long since destroyed and I only recently found a photo of one of them:

Hockey Arena

That project was a lot of fun because I was trying to add a personal touch to my drafted team from Strato.  I then made a domed stadium (with open and closing roof) for a friend’s birthday but unfortunately I have no record of it.  This was my first taste of adding chrome to a boardgame.  Back then, my buddy and I also went to the local Radio Shack and bought wire, buttons, a buzzer, and a beacon light to pimp out my stand up Coleco Rod Hockey game.  I made the tower out of foamboard and hung the beacon from it.  The wiring and buttons allowed us each to trigger the buzzer and beacon whenever we scored.

Back to the Journeybooks. Each Journeybook comes with diagrams and instructions on making the various distinctive terrain pieces that adorn the playing areas for each scenario.   I found this encouraging for me to start to build structures again.  Sure, I could have bought a lot of this stuff, but cumulatively, the cost of making your own terrain is far less expensive than buying it, and some pieces are not available for purchase. Was I nervous about making terrain from scratch?  Yup!  There is a startup cost involved as well as a high cost in time commitment.  That and I still disliked painting.  Overall, there was this feeling of dread as I had no guarantee that the end result would look “decent”.  Online sources of “inspiration” usually contain pictures of awesome work done by experienced miniature gamers.  Although I’ve dabbled in it, I am far from being an expert.  Even so, I would hate to waste my time on something that didn’t look “table ready”.

Why go to the trouble then?  Is using the appropriate terrain pieces even necessary?  Well no, but here’s the “rub”.  Virtually any appropriately sized object can be used as terrain.  Even basic cut shapes. In fact, the rules for miniature games don’t ever require….”miniatures”.  Every miniature game can be played with plastic bases and either stand-up or flat cardboard chits on top.  (a simple “height” rating can be adopted for line of sight if using flat chits)    As long as the bases are relevant, you can even proxy entire armies with any like-sized miniatures or cardboard cutouts that you already have.  As long as you have access to the rules, you do not ever have to purchase or paint a miniature/terrain piece and you can still enjoy the tactics, the throwing of dice and the various combos between unit types.

So, would I ever seriously entertain this cost-effective way of playing miniatures games?  Absolutely not. Why?  Because of the main reason why I like playing miniature games. Aside from the rulebook, miniature gaming is all chrome. Miniature gamers spend all sorts of time and money on unnecessary details that offer nothing in terms of rules implementation and tactics.  However, chrome is everything when it comes to mood, and theme and personality.  It’s all about a game that “looks” good.  A game that catches your eye when you walk by a gaming table. A game that you have personalized in some way and is faithful to its subject matter.  Much like pimping boardgames!

I happen to think that chrome can be every bit as important as a ruleset.  Where else can you showcase your enjoyment of a hobby if not in the ability to add your own stamp to it?  My Orcs will look the way I want them to and even if I follow a colour scheme, they were hand painted by me!  My cliffs will be shaped the way I made them.  Every cut.  Every brush.  Every success and every mistake.

So the Fellowship of the Ring Journeybook has diagrams and suggestions to make rocks, walkways, stairs, rivers, Amon Sul, Amon Hen, Buckleberry Ferry…etc.  So I took the plunge and I made all of them!  🙂

Terrain built following the steps from the Fellowship of the Ring Journeybook.

Terrain built following the steps from the Fellowship of the Ring Journeybook.

I hadn’t had this much fun doing “crafts” since my  Hockey arena days.  I should clarify.  I have certainly enjoyed pimping out boardgames over the past 6 years or so.  But little of that involved making original pieces.  That side of the hobby involves painting figures, cannibalizing parts for use with a game and/or redesigning and printing out custom chits or boards.  Creative?  yes, but it’s still not quite the same thing as actually making something from scratch.

Now following diagrams in the Journeybooks is not an example of making something from scratch either.  What the Journeybooks did for me was help me get my feet wet again.  When I made the Hockey arenas, I did not plan them out.  I made them “on the fly” and I certainly didn’t paint them.  By making the “Fellowship” pieces, I became more confident to try something original. It taught me some of the skills I would need  to start making my own plans for a mod.  This time, I chose the boardgame Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery.  As it is also 28mm in scale, the Gladiatorial arena could be used as terrain as well!

Here is a record of the building process; from planning to completion.

Spartacus arena stage1 Spartacus arena stage2 Spartacus arena stage3a Spartacus arena stage4

Unexpected feedback!

On, I was asked by GaleForce9 for permission to use pics of my arena on the Facebook page for the Spartacus game.  I agreed of course, and they sent me a nice letter of thanks (Gratitude!) as well as the complete set of promo cards for the game.

I was also invited to submit my arena pics to the 29th Monthly Pimp My Boardgame Contest and at this very early stage, it seems to be doing well.

So in a sense, I’ve come full circle.  From Hockey Arena to Gladiatorial Arena.  A byproduct of gaming that remains exciting for me and my interest in both Miniatures and Boardgames!


I hate to paint #6   4 comments

Welcome to the (possible) last instalment of this series.  Life has gotten in the way of hobby so much that I just don’t paint at all anymore.


Snow Storm revisited

Snow Storm

– Several successions of dry drushing using a big brush and Space Wolves Grey to try and fix the disaster that was Asurmen Blue
– light white drybrush
– touched up some sloppiness on antlers
– wash of sepia on antlers

I am back to being happy with this model.  Disaster averted!

Alt Rasputina

Nice model…too bad I hate this game now too.

– Primed with gesso
– Based cloak in Shadow Grey

Warhammer Fantasy


– Primed with gesso
– Based with Codex Grey
– Generously washed with Badab Black.

Dark Age

Gazelle/Red Hot

Sorry about the odd perspective.

– Primed with white gesso
– washed with Gryphonne Sepia
– white dry brish from knee up to elbow and onto face
– Baal red wash on feet, hands, and tip of tail
– washed hair red and added red wash spots to calves and knees


A bit too dark.

– Primed black with Vallejo brush on primer
– Painted underbelly with Rotting Flesh
– Painted back down to a hard line on side (to clean up sloppy r.flesh painting) with Dark flesh


Acid Spraying Goliaths.

– Primed black with Vallejo brush on primer
– Blocked in flesh with Fortress grey
– planning on doing a purple wash…maybe…
– Leviathan Purple wash done, very lightly.
– Rotting flesh base on skirt.


The line trooper of the Brood.

– Primed black with Vallejo brush on primer
– Roughed in some codex grey on non-arm/non-armour plates

Unlikely to be another post after this one but if there is it will probably be about the Menoth starter for Warmachine… we’ll see.

All the best,


In the Shadow of the Beathacrann   Leave a comment

We have started our next Tale of Gamers focusing on Alkemy originally by Kraken Editions, now continued by Studio 38.  I originally encountered this game at Origins in 2008 or 2009.  A friend and I then direct ordered the whole line from Kraken  and managed to get the game played a few times.  As is the way with these things interest in the game dwindled, likely due to no one else having any models.  Fast forward to 2011 and Kraken has gone bust.  My FLGS has the entire line on clearance so I grab one of everything and dump it in my basement.  During the very brief interest in Heavy Gear Blitz I had traded the Jade and Khaliman portion of my Alkemy to Justin.  Justin and I get talking about the various things we have purchased and left to languish and the idea comes up to try to make use of the Alkemy stuff as a Tale of Gamers challenge.  And here we are finally starting.

Alkemy is a fairly run-of-the-mill fantasy Skirmish game with a few notable exceptions.  1) It is action point driven (gaining popularity now but at the time most games were IGOUGO or alternating), 2) reserving AP for your opponents turn is often critical, 3) Ranged shooting is quirky in that you need to guess the distance to be able to get a “boosted” hit, and 4) Close combat efficiency is determined by a rock-paper-scissors type card selection mechanic (this ties in to saving AP as the defender must pay AP to do something other than just take the hit).  I’ll get into more details about the rules in later posts when we get our first few games played.

I have taken the Kingdom of Avalon as my faction.  A quick synopsis of their fluff is that they were a people who were once under the banner of the Jade Triad and they declared their independence.  They gain their power through a diabolical pact with an ancient entity known as The Beathacrann, some form of Demonic Tree-God.  The Beathacrann infects the populace with spores that grow inside the people giving them unusual powers.  Most of the models in the faction seem to have limbs that have been partly replaced by tree limbs or vines.  I normally do not select the evil faction but in my previous plays a few years ago I focused on the Aurlocks (a somewhat “good” faction) so I wanted to try something different.

For the first phase of this Tale of Gamers we are all just working on the starters.  In addition to that I have a second starter (in french) and everything released up to Wave 3.  That is:  Lodegarius, Templar Novices, the Starter add-on, Lotharius and Retiari.  The point values in the starters do not match so when we start playing our first games we will have to figure out, as a group, what we should do to reconcile that.  I think the starters were intended to be played against each other ignoring point values, but I am not 100% sure.

When I first picked up these models I was in a painting mood and I got quite a ways through painting my original starter.  Due to work and family constraints the guys agreed that I could just continue where I left off to give me a bit of a head start (I tend to fall behind very easily).

Countryside Priest and Garlan at the start of this ToG

Recruits and Crossbowman

As you can see I am a fair ways along with the models.  The big problem I see is that I painted these years ago and will probably have a tough time matching the look.  My painting hasn’t really improved over that time but I definitely use different techniques and a completely different paint line.  I will probably need to touch up all the models to get them to look like they are part of the same army.

Aside from getting the models onto the workbench and starting to put some paint on them the next thing I need to do is sit down with the revised rules (“Genesis”) and give them a really good read.

Hopefully a rules overview will be my next post…and hopefully soon!

Thanks for reading!

I hate to paint #5   1 comment

Last time I said I was going to do smaller posts more often…yeah, that didn’t happen.

Lizardmen Saurus Warriors

I did a few test models to see if I could get a scheme that I like for the Lizardmen.  I didn’t want them to be the Hawk Turquoise that I am doing the Skinks.  I don’t want an entirely baby blue army.  I thought I would try for an Aligator skin look and it seemed to work ok.  Good enough for me to be happy with the result at least.  I won’t show a picture here because the photos of them made them look terrible, like a 2 year old painted them, but honestly they look ok.  Here is the recipe:

– Based with Dark angels green
– Metal bits done in Shining Gold
– Non-metal weapon bits done in Chaos Black.
– Dry brushed the scales heavily with Skull White concentrating on the back, face, and spikes.
– Washed the whole model with Thrakka green

Pretty simple.  The first 2 models took about 40 minutes to do.  Once I get going I could probably drop this down to 15 minute per model.  Maybe.

Snow Storm (Silent One)

“Snow”, or the Silent One that sits on the base in front of the nice model “Storm”, is a fairly plain model.  It is kind of unusual to take a really nice high detail model like Storm and plunk a low detail kinda plain model right in front of it…oh well…my paint job is certainly not going to show off the beautiful details anyhow.  Here is what I did so far:

– Primed with gesso
– Based her robes with Liche Purple being careful not to hit any of the fur but going over the laces.
– Washed the fur with Asurmen Blue then drybrushed it white
– Dragged a very dry white dry brush lightly over her robes to catch just the very edges if folds and to whiten the laces

Here is where she is at:

Progress on “Snow”

Snow Storm (Storm)

Here is the recipe I used for Storm which was both very successful and a complete failure… 😦

– Primed with gesso
– Base coat on antlers and hooves with Bleached Bone.
– Base coat on skin with Space Wolves Grey…washed over this with diluted SWG to catch missed spots and to smooth out the surface.
– Finger nails with Bleached Bone
– Dry brushed antlers and hooves with white
– Hit just the highest strands of fur with an almost dry brush to leave very white hi-lights.
– Washed fur with badab black.
– Washed nails and hooves with Gryphonne Sepia.

Here is where he is at:

Progress on “Storm”.

I am happy with Storm up until this point.  I just did a white drybrush on his skin and then washed him with Asurmen Blue and now I am unhappy with how he looks.  Not sure how to fix this.  Maybe a careful new base coat to leave some of the dark blue behind in the recesses, maybe a dry brush, maybe something else…


I am going to put “Snow” and “Storm” onto a scenic base.  If you can visualize it, Snow will be standing on the smaller of the three platforms and Storm will have a foot on each of the two other larger platforms.  Here is how I painted it:

– Washed then primed with gesso
– Based with Ice blue
– Heavy dry brush on tops of platforms with white, light dry brush everywhere else.

Ice base

That’s it for now.  Thanks for checking it out.  Next time will have a bit more on my Lizardmen, a finished Snow Storm (hopefully), and some Alkemy models (definitely!).

Lesson of the day.   3 comments

The #1 thing the Citadel Spray Gun taught me? …
There are no short cuts.
Looks like I will be using a brush to base coat my lizardmen.

I hate to paint #4   3 comments



Kaeris received a Badab Black wash coating everything except skin and hair.  I gave her skin a light wash of Ogryn Flesh.  I need to decide on what to do about her hair and then figure out how much more I want to do.  I may just liven up the colours that the wash muted and then call her done.

Here she is:

Kaeris - Almost finished.


I have managed to get the “skin” of the Gamin to a state where I am happy.  I am currently working on getting the base to look like there is lava flowing underneath the flagstones.  Not entirely successful, but not a miserable failure either.  I will probably start over on their legs and the base and try something new.  I am not fond of how white I got each models lower legs.  Oh well, live and learn.  Last thing I did was dot in some Chaos Black for some sort of definition to their eyes.  Again, not perfect but acceptable.  My next big decision is whether I paint in the loincloth as cloth or leave it “fiery”.  So my “to do” list for the Gamin is: fix the legs, repaint the base, decide on painting the loin cloth.  After that I am going to call these guys finished.

These Fire Gamin need some leg work.


Haven’t managed to get anywhere with these guys.  I pushed some Chaos Black around on them because I felt that they suited starting from a black base to give them a more muted colour scheme.  I did leave the female gunsmiths head white so that I could get her skin and hair vibrant as a contrast to her dark outfit.  Still thinking about these ones.  I like the black plus brown of the studio paint job but am worried that painting a convincing black is too difficult.  Need to give it more thought.

Barely even started!

Warhammer Fantasy – Lizardmen Army

Two things happened at just the right time to renew my interest in Warhammer Fantasy Battles.  I started painting Malifaux stuff and, in doing so, decide to also work on some Lizardmen that have been languishing in bare metal and plastic for far too long.  Justin, out-of-the-blue, sent me a message saying that he missed WHFB.  Well, I did too.  That begin a painting spree that started with a Salamander Hunting Pack, led to my Slann, and has progress to a second hunting pack and a Steg.

Salamanders and Skinks

The Skink Handlers are fairly low detail so I thought I would just try to get them done .  I primed them white with gesso and gave them a heavy base coat of Hawk Turquoise.  I did a light Skull White drybrush all over to get the details to pop a bit.  I then concentrated a bit heavier on the fins and scales.  The jewelry and prod metals were all done in Dwarf Bronze.  The prod was Scorched Brown.  The blade was Chaos Black then a light Fortress Grey drybrush.  Lastly I did their eyes, a tiny swipe of slightly dilute Sunburst Yellow.  Whats left?  Very little.  Maybe a drop of wash on the metal.  Then come up with some sort of basing strategy.  Fin.

The Salamander was just as simple.  Primed with gesso and based with Golden Yellow.  Then a very generous wash of Baal Red.  I left that overnight to dry completely.  I really liked how that look and so was a bit nervous to continue.  Be a shame to ruin it and have to start over again.  After much deliberation I decided that I needed to drop some black in on its scales.  This went surprisingly well.  I was sure I was going to slop paint somewhere.  I didn’t!  I let him dry completely and then gave him a pretty heavy drybrush of skull white.  Maybe too generous. I am thinking, and received supporting feedback, that I should have just drybrushed the black scales and left his skin alone.  I am going to try that on the next one.  I have a bunch of details left to do.  Eyes, metals, teeth/mouth, base, etc…

The other Hunting Pack is not nearly as far along.   The Skinks are Turquoise and the Salamander has had his Baal Red wash.

Just a few details left.

Some minor detail work left. Eyes, claws, base...


I started on the Slann’s palanquin without actually having it completed.  I was deliberating whether I would use the BSB part or the tiny plain top.  As you can see in the pictures below I opted against the BSB.  Seemed too unwieldy especially on an already unwieldy model.  I primed the chair with gesso up to the BSB attachment and started basing it in Fortress Grey.  While that was drying I stuck the Slann onto a bit of sprue and gave him a coat of gesso.  When I revisited the chair I had decided which build to use and finished the priming and base coat.  I left the tusks, leaves, and skink attendant white.  After that I started blocking in the leaves with various greens (Scorpion, Goblin, and Snot … specifically).  Not sure how well the two washes will work together, we shall see.

I was anxious to start seeing the chair come together so I decided to start putting in a black wash on the back of the chair.  So far I am pretty happy with how it is looking.  Painting in all those vines may be a challenge though.

The Slann got a base coat of Dessert Yellow careful to avoid his belly and cheeks; those were done in Bleached Bone.  He then got a generous wash of…uh…either Ogryn Flesh or Gryphonne Sepia.  I can’t remember.  I’ll have to do a little test to figure out which.  I think it was the sepia though as the flesh is a little red toned.  After the was had completely dried I carefully drybrushed the belly with Bleached Bone to restore the colour a bit.  I did the hands a little bit at the same time to lighten them.  That’s where I left off.

I’m really happy with my progress on this model.  That is a pretty good feeling for a change as often I am unhappy and discouraged.  Yay me!

Starting to paint in the leaves.

Base, wash, and touch ups.

Black wash.


I had a small amount of Skull White spray primer and it happened to be a fairly nice day here so I decided to skip the gesso this time and go the easy route.  I did a very generous wash of Thraka Green right over the primer and let that dry overnight.  I then did a coat of Bleached Bone on his belly feathered out to a light drybrushing on the edges to try to simulate a blend.  It worked ok.  I left this guy in the process of touching up all his horn with Skull White to get ready to paint then.  Not sure how I’ll do it.  Probably a sepia wash and then a drybrush.

Starting to look quite good.

GW Spray Gun

On a whim I picked up the GW spray gun.  The idea of hand priming and base coating a hundred or so Lizards was disheartening.  This should help.  I haven’t tried it yet.  I’m a little worried about sending gesso through it.  Anyone know if this would be a problem?

That is the state of the models on my workbench currently.  Since starting this post (and this has taken weeks to finally finish) all I have done is give the Gunsmiths a fairly heavy Fortress Grey drybrush.  It looks like it will make a good base for painting in some detail.  Anyhow, thanks for reading.  I know this is a long post but I had quite a bit to talk about, hopefully going forward I will have more regular progress and will be able to do smaller posts a bit more frequently.

I hate to paint #3 Update: Fire Gamin   4 comments

Just a quick update on my Fire Gamin progress. Sorry, I just don’t have time to do a detailed post. I’ll put up a workbench post in a day or two as I have started a number of new projects.

Halfway through the washing process.