Friday, 24 January 2020

CCXLIX. AoS28: The Iron Legs

The Iron Legs are a group of adventurers working for the figurehead Queen of Eagelroc. This warband was designed by my brother Ivan and executed by me. This band of rascals will be used this Sunday in our first playtest of the rules system Fabula, which was written for the Sunhold game.



Lukas the Fortunate.

Lukas is the leader if the warband. He is a mercenary, treasure hunter and explorer, whose accomplishments are more often than not the product of inexplicable luck rather than skill or wit. He was built using mostly plastic Perry parts. The pistol is from Freebooter Miniatures. The sword and helmet have been heavily modified with wire and putty, and the ruff around his neck is sculpted from scratch.

Padre Ambrosius.

This character is a corrupt priest of Sigmar. The model was based on a WH40k Astropath. The head came from Warlord plastic Zulu warriors kit.

Sebastianus.

Sebastianus is a soldier with an appetite for human flesh. Perry plastics with some sculpting.

Narses.

Narses is a rifleman, and a notorious coward. Also a Perry plastics kitbash with a bit of green stuff.

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The first few public posts from Sunhold participants have been shared by @shavigrad (LINK), @vmkuriljov (LINK), @frigidus_sanguis (LINK) and @totally_not_panicking (LINK). Follow #aos28sunhold for future updates on the project.

Friday, 17 January 2020

CCXLVIII. Sunhold: The First Triumvirate - Introduction

This summer I will once more be organising an AoS28 multiplayer event game at UMS "Agram" in Zagreb. The project has only recently reached production stage, and I'll be documenting its development here on the blog - perhaps it will help someone who is interested in organising something similar.

Before I started inviting potential participants and collaborators, I had to do a certain amount of work and planning by myself.  The venue and date of the event were both provided to us by UMS "Agram" from the start, so I didn't have to deal with that. I did, however, have to come up with the setting and the premise of the game. This took more than I expected, but I settled for the following:

The story of The First Triumvirate takes place in a territory freshly liberated from occupation by Chaos. The huge and mighty Stormhost is gone to fight somewhere else, and people are working on resettling the area: rebuilding, repopulating, starting new kingdoms on ruins of old. A small contingent of Stormcast Eternals remains to coordinate and lead these efforts. Although armies of Chaos are gone, these lands are not fully safe yet. Wild beasts, the undead and small groups of servants of Chaos are still roaming about. Each city-state and country are painstakingly reclaimed for mankind, and the execution of this effort is organised as a series of reclamation projects. Sunhold is a sprawling ruined city surrounded by plains,forests and marshes. The events of our game will take place within Sunhold's walls.

Each player will take command of a small warband, representing groups that entered the city to fulfil their individual goals. They may be a part of the reclamation project and want to exterminate enemies of humanity to make the city once more habitable, or they may be a party of adventurers or bandits who wish to loot the ruins and fill their own pockets. The warbands may make alliances and collaborate, or betray and eliminate each other on their path through the ruins.
The setting is a loot-littered, monster-infested ruined city; a familiar concept we've seen before in Mordheim, Frostgrave, Shadespire and others. 

The next step was to determine which rules system we would use, as that would have some effect on future decisions. I went to my brother for advice on this one, since he's my usual rules guy. After some discussion he suggested writing a fully custom rules system, and that is what we ended up doing. I will discuss the system in a separate post, as it's a topic worth examining on its own.

Now that we had a setting and an idea what the game will play like, I turned to the matter of the table and scenery. Since I have no more than six months to prepare, I will rely mostly on plastic kits as opposed to elaborate scratch-built terrain. It's the kind of scenery I intend to use for many games in the future, and that re-usability is a big bonus. I have a fine amount of unbuilt Warcry ruins as well as a few sets of Garden of Morr (or whatever they call it these days). I will need the help of others with scatter terrain, though.

The kits have been taken off the sprue and about half of them have been cleaned up already. When that's done, we commence assembly.

This was the moment I had enough to start inviting folks to the game. Some of them are friends I've collaborated before and even met with at past events, but many are people I hadn't been in direct contact with before I invited them. I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of them around the same table on the day of the game. I will talk more about them and show off their progress here as they start working on their models. You can follow the project on Instagram under #aos28sunhold.

In order to keep the team on the same page regarding the setting and overall aesthetic of the game, I needed to create two documents: Background&Guidelines and the Mood Board. The former lets the participants in on what the event is about and the size and composition of their warbands. The latter consists of images that help convey the colours, shapes, notions and overall atmosphere the game aims to achieve through its visual design. Since there are so many artist working on the project, this is a must if it is to possess a consistent and recognisable look. I crammed the whole crew into a dedicated FB group so we can all communicate, share and discuss about the project.

Background&Guidelines

Mood Board

 That's all for now. Watch this space (as well as Instagram and Facebook) for further updates.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

CCXLVII. AoS28: The Order of the Twin-Tailed Comet

For my first post of the new year we have a new pair of Templars to join the existing two. Now they have the numbers to be a warband on their own.

Two Knight Brothers, Commander, Chaplain.

Knight Commander.

I wanted the Commander to stand out from the Knight Brothers. The helmet design reminiscent of the twin-tailed comet is something I wanted to include from the start.

The conversion is a mix of Perry plastic parts, a GW comet symbol (don't remember exactly where it came from) and green stuff.
 
Chaplain.

The conversion is a combination of Perry plastic knight parts and North Star plastic wizard (plus putty).

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On a related note, I'm happy to announce that this summer I will once again be hosting an AoS28 event in Zagreb. The custom rules system written by my brother Ivan is nearly ready for a test drive, and I'm busy preparing the briefing document and fearfully glancing at the pile of terrain that needs to be built and painted over the coming months. 

More information coming soon. 

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

CCXLVI. AoS28: Orthros the Defender and a Monk

First of all, merry Christmas!


ORTHROS THE DEFENDER


Orthros the Defender is a Stormcast Sequitor. I got rid of the giant pauldrons and weapon, as well as the helmet halo. This mini was a commission, so he's not staying with me for long. He is likely to eventually get a twin who will remain in my possession.



Orthros and Avananta.



THE MONK


The monk is a mini from the Reaper Bones Black range. First time working with bones black, and it's an improvement over the original bones plastic. Less bendy, for sure. The mould lines are still a bitch to remove, since the material is still not great for filing or scraping. 
It's a really cool model straight out of the blister. I only slightly altered the cross he's wearing to make him better fit into the AoS setting. Not sure yet what his role will be in the games (NPC or playable character), but he is a Sigmarite monk. Painted him to match my Mordheim MMXIX flagellants, which will also be modified and incorporated into my AoS28 collection eventually.



He's a huge man, who will surely strike fear into the rotten hearts of the enemies of Sigmar.

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The minis I sculpted for the Harwood Hobbies Kickstarter earlier this year are now available in the Harwood Hobbies online store: LINK. There is an end of 2019/beginning of 2020 sale on right now. You can use the coupon End2019 for 20% off your purchase.

That's all for today. Back to feasting on holiday delicacies! 

Thursday, 12 December 2019

CCXLV. Arkbald the Accursed and Ghouls

My brother wanted a Wight King model for Icorax the Insomniac's undead warband, and here it finally is. 

Arkbald the Accursed
Arkbald was a king whose reign was marked by disaster. Crops failed, war ravaged his kingdom, and a plague decimated the population. Arkbald only exacerbated these problems by being a particularly cruel and selfish ruler. The histories do not remember how he died, but the turmoil left by his reign almost toppled his kingdom. Ichorax the Insomniac, a lich and collector of famous remains, couldn't resist adding the ill-fated king to his collection of morbid curiosities. Now animated by powerful necromancies, Arkbald has retained much of his vile personality in death, including his tendency to bring misery and ill fortune to all who cross his path.




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I received my package from Bad Squiddo Games this morning, and immediately got to work on the two minis that came inside. They're here to expand my Flesh-eater Courts pool of minis. Slightly converted to better blend in with the rest... These are rather disturbing, I gotta say. I don't think I'd ever painted dead infants before.




Friday, 6 December 2019

CCXLIV. AoS28: Arcanist, and Basing Explained

Another Arcanist figure for my Order warband. Unarmoured and armed with only a hand weapon, this specialist is an expert in ancient lore and languages.






The mini was built using the new plastic female wizards kit from North Star. It's the first plastic Frostgrave kit I've bought, and it's pretty good. The bodies will be useful for all kinds of robed figures, there are dozens of female heads, a whole bunch of empty hands, and some other nice bits.

The sprue.

The box contains two identical sprues, and a sprue of plastic bases.
Since I preordered the kit through a Nickstarter, I got a few metal extras - including a new metal wizard. She's good material for another Conjuror. I love the little hooded familiar.


The plastic wizards can be mixed with Perry bits, which is very important to me right now. They lean a bit more towards heroic scale, but when combined with Perry parts they fit well in my collection of AoS28 humans.




BASING

I've been asked quite a few times about my current basing method, and now I'm at last delivering the tutorial I promised. 

I've changed my basing several times over the years. For quite a while I used to put my fantasy minis on grassland bases that matched my Wilderness board and scenery collection. You can find the step-by-step here: CXXVI. I'm still fond of this method, but its drawbacks became apparent when I started planning other scenery environments. When you put a grassy-based mini on a stone tile board, it sticks out and works against overall coherence of the tabletop. 

There were several solutions to this problem I could think of. First, there are transparent acrylic bases. That looks really good on scenic shots. However, I see the base as the background and frame of a miniature, and when photographed in a non-scenic context I would totally miss a "proper" base. Another solution is to make swappable bases for the minis, but I did not consider that very long due to all the extra effort and cost. 
I came to the conclusion that I would have to come up with basing that is subtle enough to fit more than one type of terrain, as well as being more detailed than a simple sand texture in order to offset the minimalistic paintjob.

After some testing I ended up with a recipe that is quick and easy to reproduce each time.


Step one: I apply PVA glue to the base, and then a layer of DAS air-drying clay. I use the pictured tool to work the clay. The glue enhances durability.

While the clay is still wet, I brush on a layer of watered-down PVA. Using tweezers, I place shards of miniature bricks on the base. I sink them partly into the clay. Additional texture is achieved by selectively sprinkling a little bit of rough basing sand. I use the tool from the first step to push the sand grains into the clay.

The paintjob is truly quick. I mix ochre with matt black to get this dark, poorly saturated, greenish tone. I daub that thick on the entire base.   

Highlights are produced by adding a light grey into the mix from the previous step and stippling it on while still wet. As it's wet on wet, I can do a bit of painterly blending and texture this way. As the final step, I use thinned black to darken the area beneath the model and around its feet. 

This is the sort of brush I employ for the task.
 
That is all. When I have a pre-sculpted base, I simply apply this painting formula over the entire base, disregarding the "natural" colour of the details: like you can see in this example: Dathalus.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

CCXLIII. The Bronze Bulls Warcry Warband

In my second take on the Iron Golems I did more conversion work, and gave them an alternative background. 

Ogor Breacher

The Bronze Bulls wear horned helmets, in honour of ther sigil. I sculpted the horns out of Magic-sculpt, which has the best properties for the task. I doesn't bend when cured, and was easily shaped, bent and installed on the helmets at different stages of curing.

Signifer

The symbol on the signum is the symbol for theZodiac sign Taurus. I sculpted it with Magic-sculpt.

Dominar

The minis were primed using my usual method of white over black spray, and then painted using very thin paint.

Drillmaster

The abundance of details that makes the models busy is toned down by not accentuating certain details of the sculpts, and by keeping them rather flat and murky.

Armator
This monotony is broken by the individual armour scales, one per model, picked out in vivid red. This is a trick used by this warband to gain advantage in combat. The tiny spot of red instinctively attracts the eye - distracting the enemy, if only for a split second. Sometimes that moment is enough.


Legionaries

Another way of confusing the foe by employing colour is through one of the Legionary models. In contrast to the other warband members, her armour is painted red. It screams for attention, potentially making the foe focus on the lowly Legionary while the more powerful warriors use that confusion to their advantage. These Red Legionaries are highly regarded by their peers for their valour, as they tend to have a high mortality rate.



The Bronze Bulls' gimmicky use of red was inspired by this bracelet designed to protect against the evil eye, which I found in a book about folk medicine:




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In other news, I bought a model from the amazing @ingrimmson. It was love at first sight and I simply had to add it to my collection. Luckily, he agreed to part with it. The plan is to paint it and use it in my AoS28 games. :)