Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fimir! ...and a couple WIP Orcs

Edit: Better pics!

Finally managed to complete a few HQ models. I'm trying to speedpaint my way through these guys but my perfectionist streak keeps surfacing. The fimir were some of my favorite models as a kid and with their resurgence in Storm of Magic and the Warhammer Forge models, I wanted to do the little guys justice. (Apologies for the dark pics!)

I may have gone a little overboard with the bluish "verdigris" on the bronze areas, but it was my first attempt at the technique. Basically just a light bluish-green wash over gold. 

I also tried doing something a little different with the bases and painting on some "stone block" patterns of varying size.

 Gotta love the "birthmark/brands" on their backs! We'll say someone stuck hot irons into them to keep 'em in their place. What a great sculpt.

I'm still working on those Warhammer Quest orcs as well as a few other projects. The plain-looking HeroQuest orc in the background is going to be my first attempt at "dipping"... I'm anxious to see how he's gonna turn out.

In the background you can just make out Malus Darkblade's cold one that I'm painting for my girlfriend's Dark Elf army, and another blood dragon vampire on foot in progress.
Thanks for looking! Comments and criticism are always appreciated.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Delving Into Magic: The Gathering Fiction

Those who knew me as a teenager will remember that I spent far too much time and money on the collectible card game, "Magic: The Gathering." It started out at summer camp Mi-Te-Na, and though the cards were banned the first year after they started appearing in the counselor's luggage, the bug had already bitten me. I sold my collection in college for far, FAR less than I had spent over a decade of playing the games, but I'm fortunate that my exhaustive collection of M:TG fiction novels has survived the passage of time.

While looking for inspiration for my Warhammer army, I decided to pick up a few of the old novels and see if the background was still as exciting as I remembered. The first was the one that stuck out most to me in the background... The Brother's War. I was pleasantly surprised that the book was just as good, if not better than I remembered. Jeff Grubb does a great job setting up the relationship between the brothers and making it plausible that two people who loved each other so dearly in their youth would end up leading opposing armies against each other. It was interesting to note how little of the book was devoted to the actual war, which seems to take up only a few chapters at the end. Most of the book is spent getting to know the characters and their motivations.

After The Brothers' War, which spent a good bit of time pondering ancient Thran artifacts and the culture that created them, I immediately had to reach for the novel that dealt with that culture, suitably titled "The Thran." I was less impressed with this novel. While it was interesting seeing the birth of Phyrexia and the man who created that artificial plane, Yawgmoth, the novel just didn't seem as enthralling to me. Maybe it's because of the overwhelming theme of politics in the novel, but it didn't seem as exciting to me. The motivations of the character on the cover, Rebbec, also seemed confusing to me, as did the concept of the power stones making people sick. Do they still have that effect? Was it all lies on the part of Yawgmoth? Are the intricacies of pseudo-grecian politics really that fun to read about if you're a twelve year old male in 1995? The answer to the last one is, "probably not." The heavy-handed scheming and persecution themes are interspersed with some big battle scenes which would probably make a good movie, but something about this one left me wanting more. Also, "Yawgmoth" is clearly an evil, evil name... probably oughtta call him something a bit more neutral sounding at the beginning of this novel if you don't want to telegraph that he's eventually going to turn evil. Maybe I'm missing the point.

A quick trip to the trusty ol' storage space reminded me that I had a couple mid-90's M:TG comic books done by Armada, an Acclaim imprint. (Wait, Acclaim the video game company? They had a comic division? Ah, the 90's.) So I grabbed them and have been trying to crank through them in the past few days, since I have SO MUCH to do lately and I really can't afford another distraction. Anyway the Antiquities War and Fallen Empires series left a bit to be desired. The artwork didn't impress me and the writing didn't hold my interest. Also whoever they got to do the letter was an amateur at best and downright terrible at worst. But I was pleasantly surprised by the Homelands comic. I've been scanning the MTG Salvation wiki lately, looking for connections between different parts of the fiction and trying to keep characters straight, and the site does not have a glowing opinion of the Homelands card set. It is described as a low point in game design for MTG, but a high point of background and storytelling, which seems appropriate given the comic. The brothers Hildebrandt did the cover, which I found interesting, but it's one of my pet peeves that the interior artwork looks nothing like the cover, which I've always found to be false advertising. Fortunately the interior art is by Rebecca Guay, and is PHENOMENAL, if you can get past her particular painterly style. It makes everything sort of mushy and watercolory, but is very beautiful, I think. The writing is also a high point of this one. All of the comics so far have jumped around in time and place, which from reading the editorial notes sounds like a conscious decision to allow Armada to "stake a claim" to all of the various settings in Magic's multiverse. It makes the books feel a bit rushed, as they introduce you to a character, kill them off, then move a hundred years into the future to show the results of said character's demise. While it made the Antiquities War series seem like more of a "highlight reel" of the events that take place in Grubb's "Brothers' War" novel, the Homelands comic seems to be working with a smaller universe and cast of characters that makes the chronological leaps feel more logical. The whole thing has a beginning, middle and end that leaves you wanting more, but there's a feeling of completeness to the story that I found refreshing after the Fallen Empires and Ice Age comics. Did I mention Rebecca Guay's art is FREAKIN' BEAUTIFUL?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

BattleMasters, HeroQuest, Warhammer Quest Projects

Just a quick post to show off some of my latest projects... these BattleMasters goblin wolves will find their way into my Vampire Counts army as spare dire wolves. In keeping with my "quick and dirty" painting strategy for getting all my BattleMasters stuff finished, I didn't bother trying to remove the saddles.

Next up are some greenskins and fimir I'm going to be trying out a couple new and different techniques on... for as long as I can remember I've been a drybrushing addict, but I'm attempting to move away from that. I'm hoping to get my ForgeWorld fimir painted soon but I wanted to see whether I could get some new techniques under my belt before doing so. I'm testing out white vs. black undercoating, and painting highlights rather than drybrushing. I'll also be trying out Army Painter "Dip" washing with their strong tone. I've heard mixed reviews but it'll be a boon to painting all my Battle Masters, that's for sure.

...and here's my HeroQuest wizard, finally out of the box and getting some color on! I think that when I painted his compatriots I basically chickened out on his "moon and stars" tunic because it seemed so fiddly so he never got the attention he deserved. I finally braved it out and after taking a stab at it I'd say it's pretty passable. Glad he can soon join his companions.

Lastly, here's the progress I've made with the Battle Masters chaos knights. They'll join the Blood Dragon in my Blood Knights unit once they're finished. I'm not too proud of the admittedly very simple paint scheme, but as far as getting things quickly I'd say they're a success.

As an added bonus, here's a few shots of my current painting workspace, complete with box covers for inspiration. Having the tackle box right in front of me keeps all my bitz handy, as well as raising my work surface up high enough to keep my back from hurting too badly.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

There Are Some Who Call Me... Tim?

 I was fortunate enough to have some timely inspiration from in the form of their monthly "turning the world undead" competition. April's challenge was to convert a necromancer, so I finally had to get this guy finished in time for the April 30th cutoff.

See two posts below for some construction notes. I bulked up the horns with liquid green stuff since then. I'm particularly proud of how the beard/moustache painting worked out, it wouldn't be Tim without the iconic skunk beard. This is also the first time I've tried painting eyes... I was a bit worried but they look pretty good for a first try, I think.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blood Knights & Black Knights

 I'm trying to use some of the old Battle Masters Chaos Knights as Blood Knights, both to get more of my existing Battle Masters collection painted and as a way to save money since I don't have the budget for the finecast versions.
I also did some speed painting the last couple days, trying to get the Black Knight kit integrated with the old metal ones. Did some head swaps with the older horses to add a little variety.

Friday, March 22, 2013

HeroQuest Zombies and TIM! WIP

 I was looking for an option to create a "Tim the Enchanter" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when I stumbled onto this old fella in my bitz box. I figured by removing his horny crown (hehe!) and building up some ram's horns out of wire I could get the proper look. I also dinged up his robes a bit with a dremel and removed the end of his staff. Can't wait to get some paint on this fella and see how he turns out.

 I'm also checking a couple quick projects off my to-do list... in making sure I had a complete HeroQuest set I found that I had one zombie left unpainted. I wanted to make sure he looked at least somewhat like the others I'd painted some twenty years ago. The left zombie is one of these historic ones. Got the skin tone a bit too green on my reconstruction but other than that he's pretty close.

It was actually pretty tough trying to speed-paint this guy in 20 minutes but I wanted them to look similar and I figured with no time limit I'd be temped to make him look too pristine. I'm glad to see that watering down my paint added some quick and natural shades and highlights that helped the mini out a bit compared to when I used to just brush right from the pot.

Here's the two speed-painted zombies with another one from chronologically in-between... yes he does look a lot better but he probably took me two or three days of batch painting to get looking that good. I accomplished what I set out to today, which was to (poorly) paint a complete model in a sitting, and I think it was good practice to get back into it.