Flagellants I

So I started painted some of those plastic flagellants. As I mentioned before, Warhammer took the very real phenomenon of flagellants (religious fanatics who scourge themselves and passersby in a religious frenzy) and made them a troop type for the Empire. Apart from the usual exaggeratedly massive weapons, these are not bad figures at all.

The first three are pretty much as intended by the kit — wielding massive flails or scourges (I wish there more of these provided). The bell-ringer also had a massive flail head attached but I removed it as silly. A big bell like that on a rope would be an effective, if loud and clumsy, weapon anyway. I liked blind-folded heads, which is an great idea for someone with an already hazardous weapon like a multiple-headed flail. I do wish at least one body had more tattered clothes so it would look like he’d been scourging himself, but the center guy I just added a lot of blood stains.

I would have preferred to have a few more poses that aren’t running, but the style of Warhammer plastics seems to be action poses.

The great thing about the kit though was the extras — way more heads, arms, and accouterments than you need to assemble the ten bodies provided. So I made nearly as many variants with bodies borrowed from another kit (Zvedza soldiers) and from Lionheart peasants, mixing in a few pieces from the Frostgrave cultist kit and so on.

The guy on the far left is one of my favorites. He’s basically a foot soldier from the Zvedza kit with a flagellant head and banner. I had Lancelot, as he appeared late in Excalibur, wild and fanatical, in mind. The next guy has flagellant arms and head on a man-at-arms body, and the other two are Lionheart peasants with head transplants and modified weapons.

So this is seven of the 18 or so total I’m working on. I find myself stopping a lot though, because they have so many layers of clothing and small details they are kind of a pain to work on. When I get inspired to work on them again I’ll get to them.

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Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 10:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Manticores and minotaur

A few things from my painting desk.

These two manticores are from the first edition Descent game. For variety, I painted one in a tiger pattern and the other as a lion. They were very quick to paint — I primed them one night and did everything else the next while half-watching SNL on TV.

Wizard for scale, though in hindsight he’s a bit nearer the camera.

The theory I’ve read is that manticores were based on accounts of tigers, so the tiger striped version might be more authentic.

Next up a minotaur of unknown (to me) provenance. Comment if you recognize her. The hands and spear are wire, putty, and assorted spare bits because I got this model without the intended hands.

The minotaur is female. I would have gone with udders rather than human breasts, and given it a tail, given the cow hoofs etc. The furry butt cracks me up. But it’s the last of my unpainted minotaurs! (No counting a few pre-painted MageKnight figures I might redo someday.)

Published in: on January 15, 2018 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Clubs

Not exactly swords but in that domain.
I amused myself this fall whittling and varnishing a bunch of walking sticks, which I thought I’d give as gifts but never did. I used a variety of sticks I’d gathered from my property, friends or relatives. and even parks. Theses are some clubs I made from shorter scraps. Not the best photos, sorry.

This first one, my favorite, is made from part of last year’s Christmas tree, and is probably the only one I’ll hang on a wall.

Being from a conifer, it’s extremely light and although the head looks intimidating it would likely break if you used it in anger. I was going to carve it into an Iroquois-style club with a rounded knob but I like all the stumps as spikes.

The next one is more sturdy; it’s from a piece of an overgrown red maple I pruned. Being hardwood it’s pretty strong, and while the head wasn’t large enough to carve, I love the way it handles. Ultimately it’s just a smoothed out branch though so I’ll probably take it apart eventually.

The last one is made from a bush of some kind I removed two years ago. It has extremely strong, yellowish wood under a grey-brown bark, and I think it might have been an overgrown boxwood of some kind. (The previous owner of my house must have done zero maintenance of the yard for at least a decade before we moved in.) It’s a very dense wood too, and seemed perfect for a club. I added some spikes for fun — the blade was the top-spike from an Indian wall-hanger axe (see the last axe on this page) I remounted on a new haft. The other spikes are just small carriage bolts with their heads ground off.

This one is slightly curved along both axes so that it’s really not very comfortable in your right hand but feels right in your left — I’m left handed. I’m sure I’ll disassemble this eventually when I think of a better use for the blade but it was fun to make.

 

Published in: on January 5, 2018 at 10:56 pm  Comments (1)  
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Cultists

The latest batch are mostly plastics, and all meant to stand in for cultists.

Left to right, a MageKnight figure, a modified Frostgrave cultist, Grenadier’s Grima Wormtongue, and two Descent figures, a PC and a modified warlock.

The Grima figure is very small — he might be 4 foot tall, in scale, if he wasn’t hunched over. The Guy in red is from the Descent game, and is some sort of character type, maybe a monk or necromancer. Skull-face has a head from a GW skeletons kit (which will eventually be showing up) but otherwise unmodified.

The lady in black needed a little repainting and though it’s not visible here, she has a white streak in her hair, Elvira style. The cultist next to her has a head from the Zvedza soldier kit but is otherwise all Frostgrave.

Leftmost, a Frostgrave cultist. His right arm is the archer pose, but with the dagger hand swapped in. He’s holding a book from the GW Flagellants kit. Next to him is a Zvedza soldier body with a Frostgrave cultist head, flagellant scroll, and sword made from a pin and a toothpick. Third up is a Descent warlock, unmodified. The last is the same guy with a head swap.

The last four here are all Frostgrave cultist parts except for the mace-man’s arms and weapon, the scroll, and the torch — all flagellants parts.

Here’s a full container of cultists. The remaining guys are older GW chaos sorcerers, a Grenadier evil high priest, and a couple of WOTC figures. I still have some more plastic and metal to paint — including two more Grenadier priests — but this should do it for now.

Published in: on December 13, 2017 at 6:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Advent Die Geburt Krampuskind

Just noticed my #shamelesscommerce in the last few posts is being frustrated by the fact that the publisher’s site is down (though you can still cop a pdf at DTRP). Anyway here’s another seasonal repost.

nat-der-kra-2

In just eighteen days we’ll be celebrating the nativity of the Krampuskind!

Left to right we see a manger animal (Reaper Miniatures), an angel (Ral Partha), Krampusjoseph (Heritage Models), the Krampuskind (Dollar Tree),  Krampusmary and two magi (all Metal Magic), and a third magi (Grenadier).

Krampus gloriam in excelsis!

Amen!

Click the image below to embiggen…

nativity der krampuskind

Published in: on December 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy feast day, Saint Nicholas, wherever you are (or, This is clearly not a repost to remind people buy The Poor Pilgrim’s Almanack, but now that you mention it, it makes a great gift!)

Readers of my book will know that St. Nicholas has a grave in Myrna, Turkey, a tomb in Kilkenny, Ireland, and shrines in Bari and Venice, Italy — each of the Italian shrines containing fully one half of his skeleton. He also has a sacred cave near Bethlehem and an island named after him which is known for its ever-sharp tools. I assume there are suitable festivities going on in all those places right now, December 6th, his feast day. Among his miracles are saving ships from storms and raising three boys who had been mummified* from the dead.

Image result for st nicholas

*or pickled, in some versions of the story.

#shamelesscommerce

 

Published in: on December 6, 2017 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Maybe you’re on the market for a piece of the True Cross?

Well then you’re in luck. (Link to catalog listing where you can request a quote.)

But wouldn’t you rather get your relics the old-fashioned way — plundering catacombs?

If so, you should buy The Poor Pilgrim’s Alamanck. Tons of information to help you add relics, miracles, pilgrimage, and catacombs to your D&D game.

Makes a great gift for Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, birthdays, Hanukkah (buy eight!), or Decemberween.

 

Published in: on December 2, 2017 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  

No elf rangers or druids

I could probably develop this into a more detailed and nuanced argument, but here goes with some thoughts as I kill ten minutes at my desk, when I should be on my way home but have an after-hours union meeting to wait around for.

Just a contrarian thought. Elves always seem to be a go-to choice for rangers because most versions of D&D give rangers some extra skill with bows, and elves have bonuses to hit with long bows at least in AD&D. Rangers are also associated with the outdoors, and elves love nature, right?

Going back to the first instance of rangers in a D&D manual (the AD&D PHB), we just have this laconic description before jumping into their abilities and powers: “Rangers are a sub-class of fighter who are adept at woodcraft, tracking, scouting, and infiltration and spying.” Their powers revolve around killing “giant class” monsters (generally speaking, humanoids/goblinoids, and not including giants but including ogres and trolls), tracking, and some spells. Their increased chance of surprise would make them pretty deadly with bows under first edition surprise rules. But apart from limited druid spells and attracting woodland followers, I’m not really seeing the nature-loving aspect to them. They look a lot more like Tolkien’s rangers, who protected mankind by patrolling the frontiers. Rambo more than Robin Hood.

Why would elves be protectors of mankind? The first edition restriction that elves can not be rangers makes sense in this light, especially if you mix in some of the Poul Anderson ideas about elves being not so friendly to humans.

D&D druids are fleshed out a bit more, but the basic idea is that they are throwbacks to Celtic druids (as described by Julius Caesar?), and worship trees, the sun, and moon. Bearing in mind that AD&D elf characters are always high elves, the shouldn’t be druids. Druids sound rather backward; a refined elven culture certainly wouldn’t be worshiping nature directly, but would have developed a pantheon of gods, as we see in Deities & Demigods. Even if wood elves are allowed per Unearthed Arcana and post-1st edition versions of D&D, wood elves don’t seem any wilder or more primitive than high elves, just different.

Druids are tied, minimally, to a certain kind of semi-barbaric human civilization. (OK, barbaric according to Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which was propaganda, but we’re buying the myth anyway by making them tree-worshipers). Elves are not Celts or Gauls. Rangers are also tied to human civilization, as a sort of frontier defender of humans. Again, not a role you would see taken by up non-humans.

In this light, half-elf rangers make a little more sense (and really half-orc rangers make more sense than elves, while we’re at it) — half-human outcasts might be deployed to the frontiers, hidden from prejudiced eyes and laboring to defend a wold they are not really accepted by.

So whenever I see people say it just “makes sense” to allow elves to be rangers and druids, I shake my head. It makes sense only if you divorce those classes from they actually represent and focus solely on the “nature” part of their roles. But both classes actually serve humanity; they simply do so on the fringes of civilization, in the wilds.

 

 

Published in: on December 1, 2017 at 4:27 pm  Comments (3)  
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Saurians

When I bought a bag of broken minis and assorted spare parts at a convention, among the bits were parts for five Games Workshop lizardmen (I think at one point they were called “Saurians” or “Saurus”?), and a bunch of the smaller lizardmen (“Skinks”). The skinks were mostly used as kobolds. It took me a while to get around to doing anything with most of the Saurians, though, because they were lacking arms and one had no head. When I picked up a couple of plastic GW kits, I figured out a plan. Using parts from the Chaos Marauders box (arms, standards, a shoulder pad, and a shield) and the flagellants box (another arm), as well as a spare arm from a Lionheart figure, I came up with these.

I’m not 100% happy with the feathers yet but I went ahead and sealed them knowing I am unlikely to do much more painting between now and Yule.

I think of the one with the standard as a shaman. I was quite pleased with the look of the other fellow with what is obviously part of the standard as his head/mask/helmet.

And here’s the whole set of lizard folk in my collection now.

Top row: kobolds (skinks, and Grenadier and Heritage, and a handful of plastic WOTC figures).

Second row: old Grenadier lizard men. Painted blue to be troglodytes.

Third row: later Grenadier lizardmen and the GW Saurians.

Bottom row: three WizKids recasts of a Ral Partha lizardman, a couple of WOTC plastic troglodytes, a Grenadier “Salamanewt,” and a Grenadier Champions supervillain/cobraman.

 

Published in: on November 30, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rats!

I was inspired to paint most of my were-rats. Actually a couple were repainted — I decided that I’d like them all to look similar, and the paint jobs on two of them were pretty bad. I also have a few other were-rats, ratmen, or Skaven that were painted adequately, or at least didn’t need to be redone. They were completed in two sessions over Thanksgiving weekend, along with a few other figures that will appear later.

First up, the two oldest sculpts, which are also the least equipped. On the left, a Heritage Dungeon Dweller. I’m not sure if his sword is broken or miscast; I have never seen an example with a longer sword but based on the hilt it look like it must have been longer; possibly the sculpt was intended to represent a broken sword? On the right, a Grenadier were-rat dating from the Wizzards and Warriors line. I didn’t risk straightening out his sword, because those old Grenadiers break a lot. He came in the “Dungeon Monsters” box which was also sold as part of the AD&D line.

Next up, some slightly later Grenadier were-rats, from the AD&D line. There are two poses in the original blister I don’t have, and the leftmost is the were-rat leader is from the boxed “Action Art” set that came with paints and various monsters designed by TSR staff.

I especially like the one with a falchion. The kitchen knife in his belt and small keg, and especially the tassel on his cap, all give him a lot of character. Both the leftmost figures have giant rats at their feet, and the leader has another on his shoulder, which is a great touch. He originally had a separate scimitar to glue on, which seems excessive given that he already has a warhammer in his belt, but since he was sculpted with a flattened area to attach the sword to, I gave him a replacement gladius. The spearman’s spear was also broken, so he’s got a bill now. All three of the figures from the blister pack were sent in by blog readers. Some time back a couple of guys sent me a bunch of old minis they were not going to use, and a few others also traded some figures to me for books I was done with. The Heritage were-rat was one I got in trade, I think.

Finally, a Skaven assassin of some kind. He’s a Games Workshop plastic and was in a bag of spare parts and broken figures I picked up as Origins one year.

Like many GW Skaven, he has a mace head on his tail, which is kind of silly since rats don’t have a lot of control of their tails. Maybe Skaven tails are more prehensile.

And here’s the lot, ready to go back on the shelf. There are ten plastic Skaven from the old GW “Regiments” box that had ten each of wood elves, orcs, goblins, Skaven, dark elves, and dwarves. There are also two more metal Skaven (top row), and a Ral Partha rat man (middle row far left), and a later Grenadier were-rat (far left bottom row). 20 were-rats ready for battle!

Published in: on November 29, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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