Plastic surgery disasters III

As promised here are my flagellants. The Warhammer version of these are loosely based on the real flagellants of history, who make an appearance in my book. The real flagellants were fanatics who thought the Black Death was punishment for the world’s sins, and that people needed to be baptized in their own blood to wash away these sins. If you happened to meet some on the road, they might try to force you to join them, or beat you to death trying. But at other times they simply demonstrated their rites and were applauded by locals. At times they also went on pogroms against Jews and massacred them. The temporal authorities were understandably annoyed with them disrupting trade and travel and bands of knights would sometimes go patrolling to find and kill bands of flagellants, but this was unusual. Eventually the Church condemned them as heretics and many were burned at the stake. In Warhammer, they appeared as special Empire troops that are fearless and subject to frenzy like Norse berserkers, fanatically seeking out the taint of Chaos.

The GW box only had 10 bodies, but lots of extra heads, arms, and accouterments. So naturally I wanted to create some extras.

First, here are the figures I assembled with the bodies in the box.

These guys are really extreme, compared to the original lead flagellants made for Warhammer back in the day. I couldn’t readily find any images, but they were just unkempt monks with flails, whips, and clubs. These newer versions use massive flail weapons (some of which I scaled back, like the second guy in the bottom row, whose weapon originally included a flail head in addition to the bell). I like their scourges, but the real standouts are the guys with flaming hair and the pilloried guy.

Anyway with the extra bits I modified a few Lionheart peasants:

And also a few Zvedza soldiers. The guy with the back banner in particular was modeled on Lancelot at the end of the movie Excalibur. The others are presumably also knights who have lost their minds.

I’m really looking forward to painting these at some point.

Published in: on June 22, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Plastic surgery disasters II

Here are few more works in progress.

First, a pair of leg swaps — the marauder on the left also has some additional conversion to change the position of his arms, which normally attach pretty close to the body, and I used one of the standard-bearer arms to give him a spear. His shield is an old Citadel chaos shield but I didn’t think to take a head-on shot. The angle of the photo makes his new legs look even shorter, relative to him, than they are. Maybe he’s part gorilla. The guy on the right has a nice pose IMO even if he seems a little long-legged.

For the next guy I used one of the elaborate shoulder pads included in the marauder kit as a skull mask. His head underneath is from the cultist set, as they are slightly smaller than the bare-headed option in the marauder box.

The Frostgrave cultists box is really a kitbasher’s dream, with a ton of extra heads and arms (though I wish there was more variety to the bodies). Anyway, one option in the box is to convert about half of the figures into zombies or skeletons. I gave this guy a zombie head and arms and he’d make a nice ghoul or wight. I’m tempted to give at least one thug a withered undead arm too.

The last one also more ambitious. I wanted to make an inquisitor or executioner with a sword, and the armored body from a Zvedza soldier gets a cultist head, a scroll from the flagellants box, and a sword made from a pin and a toothpick.

Published in: on June 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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Plastic surgery disasters I

I spent a couple hours kitbashing some plastic figures yesterday. The original intent was to create some figures in the vein of the old Citadel “chaos thugs.” Thugs were the weakest kind of chaos warrior in Warhammer, so I can’t be too surprised they were dropped from the Warhammer line. However they had a lot of character and I always liked the mix of influences they showed — many had a lot of John Blanche’s surrealism and punk aesthetic, while others might have wandered of the set of the Road Warrior or a Mario Bava horror film. Some peak thugs here and here if you are unfamiliar. When I realized how many of the thugs I’d collected over the years seem to have disappeared, and how hard to find original castings seem to be, I thought I’d cobble together some using parts of other sets I was already interested in or already had.  My main ingredients are the Games Workshop “chaos marauder” set from about 2008 and a set of “Frostgrave cultists” from North Star Military Figures, with some pieces supplied by the GW “Flagellants” set (which will get its own post), some Zvedza soldiers from their short-lived “Ring of Rule” line, a few figures from the Lionheart board game, and a handful of chaos thug archers from the Milton Bradley/GW Battlemasters game.

The main challenge has been that the marauders are much larger than the other figures, both in terms of scale (maybe 30 mm) and build (steroid freaks). There is also a dearth of bare heads, so not nearly as many as I’d like can have mohawks or other weird hair styles like the old thugs. Still, I’m happy with a lot of them so far. More than a few will remain cultists, though, since the hoods and masks look so good.

Skeletor here just has a head from the Cultists box and the rest from the Marauders.

Body and head from Cultist set; arms from Marauders, mohawk from Battlemasters.

The hourglass is from the Flagellants set and the cleaver blade is from the really old GW “Fantasy Regiments” set, indented for an orc.

Cultist head and body, flagellant arms, with modified weapon.

Cultist with scrolls from the Flagellant set

Another somewhat pinheaded thug with a cultist head.

Marauder head on a Battlemasters body. Though the Battlemasters archers are nice, their pose is really hard to convert, and the heads are so  so I’m not getting a lot of use our of them. Also this is the first time I noticed they don’t have quivers.

Zvedza head on a cultist

Cultist head on a Lionheart peasant. Not really related to the chaos thugs and cultists but it seemed like a good fit.

Cultist with modified arm and book from Flagellant set

Another Battlemasters thug, this time with a skull from the Zvedza “Orks” set for a head.

Lionheart body with Marauder head and arms. This figure had already donated both his arms and his head to other projects so I was glad to have extra parts to “save” him!

Cultist with flagellant arms and flail

Cultist with torch from the flagellants set

These all need to have mold lines and joints cleaned up, of course. I’ll post more later. In the meantime here’s a metal figure I rehabilitated while waiting for glue to dry.

I got this poor balrog with no wings and his sword and sword hand missing for $1 out of a bin of broken or just old miniatures. The marauders had one sword-armed arm and the hand seemed like a good match so I used it to replace his hand. I have never had much luck scratch-building wings so I decided to stay a bit truer to Tolkien and leave them off (IIRC the book just refers to “wings of smoke” or something like that, not actual bat wings). I used some plumber’s putty I’ve been hanging onto for too long to extend the mane, which I will paint as fire. Maybe I’ll add more later. Though I’m open to ideas for how to add “wings” of black smoke.

Coquina shoggoth

Among a bunch of shells of various sizes in our craft supplies I noticed a small piece of rock with tons of embedded mollusk shells. I rhought at first that it might be some kind of coral, but a little Google image searching led me to conclude it is more probably coquina, a kind of limestone consisting mostly of shells. I was initially thinking about using it for a base for a mermaid I was painting but it looked so irregular and gross that I realized it would make a much better Shoggoth. The coiled shells and holes suggested pseudopods and a bubbling chaos of mouths, eyes, and appendages.

The eyes are just beads I glued on and painted, and the mouths are formed from breaks in the shells. I just picked out teeth in white along the edges. The whole thing is washed with maroon, with additional brown washes in deeper crevices, then roughly  drybrushed with pink and white. The “mouths” had more maroon added to deepen their color. The whole thing took barely any time; I wish I had more of the stuff.  It will serve as a small shoggoth or gibbering mouther.

Published in: on June 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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Dwarf pirates

The last batch of dwarves I painted for an upcoming pirates themed game are these troops from a Warhammer boxed set (dwarves vs goblins, circa 2005).

These dwarves don’t have puffy shirts, or rapiers, or patches and peglegs, but the long coats are somewhat suggestive of the rain coats you might see on fishermen in the north Atlantic, and the horned helmets of course evoke fantasy Vikings, so with the guns they seem plausible as dwarf marines.

The cannon that came in the boxed set looks like a naval gun, from the shape of the carriage. The cannon crew includes one guy with a somewhat steampunk get up and a huge wrench/linstock gizmo. The cannon itself has what might be a gunlock in the form of a dragon head, but the whole thing is extremely ornate in the Warhammer style. I painted it as entirely bronze, as there was no wood grain on the carriage.

For the sake of completeness here are all the dwarfs for this project, now sequestered to their own case:

Apart from the MageKnight figure with the mortat on his back, and the two Grenadier sword & daggermen, these are all Citadel/Games Workshop. Actually the two on pink foam in the upper right I think were produced by Marauder, which was founded by Citadel alumni and possibly was a subsidiary of GW since they appeared in White Dwarf magazine long after GW stopped advertising anything but its own products.

Published in: on June 5, 2017 at 5:16 pm  Comments (2)  
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Plastic pirates

I’m a little shocked at how many figures in my backlog fall into the “pirates and swashbucklers” category. Doing another sweep I remembered I still had 20+ plastic pirate crew from the “Weapons & Warriors” game, 10 or so dwarves with guns and horned helmets that seemed seaworthy, and about a dozen Landsknechte (who technically would be a little early and landlocked for Age of Sail gaming but who are a) flashy, b) mostly unarmored, and c) armed with guns or Zweihanders, so they really fit in better here than Medieval fantasy or Modern/Sci-fi which are the other two categories I tend to put RPG minis into).

The plastic pirates were a challenge because there are so many and they ought to be non-uniform. What I ended up doing was limiting them to 20 and breaking them up into groups of five, each of these four groups getting a single color for their shirts and trousers. Then I chose five different colors for their bandannas and sashes, and used them on up to 1 from each group of four. Lastly I used dark brown on half and black on half for their vests and shoes. So, no two are exactly alike but I can easily form groups of various sizes (4 blue bandannas, or 5 blue shirts, or 8 blue anything, or 10 black vests, etc.). I will probably number their bases too.

I used a lazy but fast shading technique that I’ve been experimenting with a bit: a black wash (which I used to do back when I started painting, knowing no better) but with some Future Floor Finish mixed in to greatly reduce the surface tension and allow better pooling into crevasses than plain paint and water would. This basically creates an effect like black lining (which is very tedious) and adds a simple shading in one step. I’ve tried Minwax “Polyshades”for the same purpose (with has the added benefit of being a polyurethane varnish too) but it tends to make things look too dirty, like a regular black wash. The new wash mix is not perfect, especially on the orange and yellows, but pirates should be dirty so I’m OK with it. I can’t imagine getting 20 pirates done in three 1 hour painting sessions otherwise!

At some point I may add eye patches (to the ones with the sloppiest eyes) and mustaches (the figures look like they either have bushy mustaches or really heavy sneering lips). I might also go back and give half of them darker skin tones, since historically pirates could be from anywhere.

They all seem to have a pistol in one hand and a sword in the other, with what might be a knife tucked into their sash. (One detail that I like is that the swords are manifestly NOT cutlasses, which only became common in the early 19th century. In the golden age of piracy, the swords might be anything, and the short hangers they have look right).

Published in: on April 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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When you go into the woods tonight

Admittedly, some of my conversions and scratch-builds are goofy. My daughter was getting rid of some old “Care Bear” miniatures she’d been given by a friend, so I thought I’d do a quick paint-only conversion to make them Scare Bears. I’d already covered a few of their bellies with gore before it occurred to me that they could have crude icons of some kind similar to the symbols on the Care Bears’ bellies. Maybe later I’ll be inspired. They still need their bases flocked and perhaps some touching up, but for the minimal effort I’ve invested I’m pleased with the results.

Obviously I just base-coated them black and added a few grey highlights on the areas that had tufts of hair sculpted on. Then I added exaggerated eyes, teeth, and claws. They were about 2″tall and are based on 40mm bases, so they are approximately ogre sized compared to other D&D miniatures.

Now I just need to find a suitable mini for Prof. Cold Heart.

 

 

Published in: on April 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (5)  
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The skeleton crew

Still anticipating a swashbuckling game some time in the future, I painted all the undead pirates I picked up on clearance a few years ago and a couple of ghosts someone sent me gratis (Thanks Scottsz!). I spent a little less time than usual painting these, knowing that they would not see a ton of use and having so many to get through. A nice dark wash cures many sins and makes the undead look suitably grotty, though I regret some of the hamfisted highlighting I added on the bones which came out too heavy and covered too much of the shading.

 

Mostly Reaper, except for one stray Citadel plastic skeleton from the 1990s. The one in the red coat was painted some time ago but I added a little detailing on his coat now that I have a better sense of how the cuffs and lining can contrast with the rest. The two zombies and the plastic skeleton got a rust effect on their weapons (orange and brown mixed into the silver) but I wasn’t completely happy with it and did not do this to the others.

These guys were a lot of fun. The violinist was a musician for some fantasy army but makes perfect sense to me for a ghost ship. The jolly spirits are Rafm. The skeletons, Reaper.

Last yet more Reapers. The one on the far left has no jawbone, which makes skeletons so much more creepy IMO. The guy in the blue coat behind him is not shown at a very flattering angle but he has a crow perched on his shoulder and his face came out pretty good, honest.

Some day all the pirates and swashbucklers will get better basing — maybe sand or if I get ambitious, wooden planking to suggest a deck. I also thought about adding seaweed draped over some of them but haven’t thought of a good way to accomplish that.

Published in: on April 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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Classic Miniatures

As of this writing the website for Classic Miniatures is not operational, which is a shame. Mr. Thomas is producing excellent re-casts of much of the old Heritage Models line. It’s a hobby more than a business (he has a job, family, etc.) so we’ll just need to be patient. However after a conversation on the Heritage Yahoo group I purchased some of his recasts to fill some gaps in my collection and replace a few long-lost or broken minis. Here they are — I cleaned off a tiny bit of flash and put them 25mm square bases.

First up, a pair of Knights & Magick knights and two Dungeon Dwellers.  The mace-man must have been lost a long time. The knight next to him was always one of my favorites from that line because of the horned helmet and axe. My original lost the axe-head a long time ago and has had a series of replacements. It’s nice to have a complete one again. The dwarf is unarmored and just has an axe and a small bag in his hand. He was included in the original Crypt of the Sorcerer game and I lost mine a long, long time ago, so I was happy to find a replacement. I’m sure he’ll paint up nicely. Lastly the cleric is one I never owned but always liked — he looks more like a pilgrim or monk than a Templar.

There’s my other axe-knight below, painted green because of course a knight with a giant axe is the Green Knight.

A pair of knights from the Knights & Magick line; axeman’s axe is a replacement

Next are two knights with two-handed swords. They are from the Chivalry line and Knights & Magick, respectively. Apparently Chivalry was closer to true 25mm scale; K&M and the Dungeon Dwellers were closer to 28mm, like Grenadier or Citadel. These two are both new to me, and I really like the K&M knight’s pose and the fact that the sculptor (Max Carr?) thought to attach the plume on his helmet to the blade in order to create a sturdier model. While the Chivalry line was theoretically “historical” I seriously doubt you’d see two-handed swords in the 12th or 13th century, which these guys appear to be emulating.  Still, great for RPGs.

Finally some more Knights & Magick models I’d only seen online: on the far left, “The Warlord” (who also has a mounted version and a squire in the complete set; I just wanted him for a well-armored cleric) and three “Giant Knights.” They stand about 7′ next to other Heritage models (the warlord is comparatively tall too), but would be normal-sized compared to any modern miniatures. They look great though. The axeman has a “Norman” kite shield on his back and would make a great Huscarl. The guy with the flail is leaning in and looks ready to engage (never mind his flail is “resting” — at least it won’t break off). The last one with the mace looks a bit like an early Citadel chaos warrior. His mace-head has a face on it (not visible from this angle as it faces the back) and the ornate helm and spiked armor are good.

Here’s one next to Reaper Bones half-orc, which I’d call 30mm scale really. Next to the regular knight, the “giant” knight is pretty fearsome, but scale creep strikes again and he’s just a knight next to the Reaper mini.

Anyway here’s hoping the Classic Miniatures site goes live again soon. I should point out that these castings appear to be in lead/tin pewter — the flash was easy to remove and when rubbed on paper they leave a mark. I’d venture to guess they are a higher tin content than original Heritage castings though because some barely left any mark and they seem a bit shinier. They base markings are partly obscured or absent — whether that is intentional or not I couldn’t say; I don’t know if all Heritage models had them back in the day.

Published in: on March 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Busy, busy, busy (3) — almost all the pirates

I’ve been on a tear painting minis and haven’t kept up with photographing them. Lately I’ve been trying to get things a little more organized and the cheapest storage solution I’ve found so far are small “bead organizers” you can find at craft stores for about 2 or 3 dollars. The “Darice” ones are made in the US and often come with no shrink wrap, so I feel a lot better about the reduced environmental footprint too. Recently Michael’s had a 40% off sale on all “bead & jewelry making supplies” which also covered the organizers. I line them with foam sheets, mostly, saved from packaging. The 18-figure capacity is pretty ideal for sets of figures organized by types, and the one over-sized compartment accommodates bulkier figures nicely. I also have a number of larger tackle boxes that I started getting for storing my 1/72 armies, but a lot of them have been displaced by D&D stuff. I don’t often buy tackle boxes any more because they have gotten a lot more expensive and almost always are made in China.

So anyway here are almost all the swashbuckler and pirates minis now. I did cheat and buy a collection of used, and already painted, orcish pirates via Noble Knight. The price was good and I’ll just need to touch them up a bit. The modest sales of my book at DriveThruRPG funded that purchase, which is awesome. I still have a handful of swashbucklers, some civilian types, and box of undead pirates to go, but this project is very near completion.

First up, the pirates (in one of the larger tackle boxes)

 

Most of these have already been on the blog before. There are some unpainted dwarves with blunderbusses in the top left, which I’ll get to eventually. They’re actually Warhammer minis, so they have horned helmets and the backs of their coats show some mail, but they’ll do. The green lady on the bottom left is one of the minis I bought already painted. The two chunky guys with big ‘staches are cheapo plastic pirates from a bag at the dollar store. The one with orange pants is carrying a swivel gun which is from a 1/72 artillery set. These slightly over-sized guys look way out of scale next to true 25mm figures but the Reaper half-orc at the lower right is just as big as them. I originally intended them to be ogres or half-ogres though.

Next up, buccaneers and musketeers. The top row are some Heroscape Revolutionary War era soldiers. I got one of the core sets a long time ago when they were clearanced at Kay-Bee Toys and a booster or two later. They had some great stuff — the Revolutionary War guys came with four werewolves! The guy with a blunderbus is Reaper.  There is another plastic pirate on the lower left; the rest are Wargames Foundry, I think.

Next, some swashbucklers! Quite a varied lot, Ral Partha, Grenadier, Rafm, a Marauder dwarf, and the guy in the powedered wig is possibly Old Glory or Foundry.

Lastly, the orcs. Mostly West Wind “50 Fathoms” minis, though the top row includes a Reaper goblin and four Citadel orcs. I’ll need to repaint the West Wind guys some — giving them the more orange skin tone the top row uses, and I’ll probably swap out the sledge hammer on at least one of them for a boarding axe or belaying pin. The two shaman types are a little odd — they’re holding voodoo dolls that really look like gingerbread men, and funky wands. One of them will probably get a weapon swap too.

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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