Tuesday, 12 March 2019

CCXII. Kickstarter Launched!

Kickstarter for Harwood Hobbies' release of my 28mm sculpts is now live! You can go check it out  HERE.

Monday, 11 March 2019

CCXI. Sign Posts and Animal Skulls - My Sculpts in Metal

The final batch of my sculpts got a lick of paint. As you can see, these aren't standalone miniatures like the rest, but rather accessories for basing or scenery.





Monday, 4 March 2019

CCX. Moon Knight VS Tree-people

Couple months ago I introduced Sol and Luna, characters I made for trying out The Dolorous Stroke rules system. In the meantime, I've prepared a short adventure, painted a couple more gaming pieces for it, and at last played it  – with my brother Ivan as the player and myself as the GM.

Area 1: The Windmill. Luna finds a dead soldier and is attacked by a hostile tree-man.

I did not use the setting from the Dolorous Stroke book, preferring as usual to set the story in my own (Isles of Brume), where Sol and Luna are both members of a mystical order named Knights of the Firmament. The order is dedicated to a demon named Giger, who allegedly dwells in a subterranean palace beneath their keep. The knights travel around the Isles, spreading Giger's cult by doing great deeds, including interfering with schemes of other demons (using their followers for such tasks is is nothing out of the ordinary for demonkind). Ivan was free pick his knight from the two available, and he opted for Luna.

Area 2.1: The Well. Luna gets a chance to miraculously heal some of his injuries.
Luna's personality, gender, physical appearance, morality and motivations beyond the mission to spread Giger's religion were up to Ivan. 

Area 2.2: Wolf Den. Luna helps two soldiers, Hunald and Kottar, defeat a pack of wolves. The soldiers join Luna.
I mapped out several areas for him go through, like a dungeon. Monsters and allies await in different areas, with order of exploration impacting what is found. I used 50x50cm quarters of my modular board for the areas within the woods. Since the model count is really low, this was enough space for the action. I intended for it to be contained in the forest, but we ended up having part of the adventure take place in two other locations (village and local lord's keep) because it made sense for the narrative. That part was improvised without miniatures and boards, but since it it involved mostly talking to NPCs and no combat at all- that was perfectly fine.

The plan.

Stats for Luna and one of the monsters. The book has a decent guide for coming up with stats for custom characters.

After the first combat, one thing became evident: combat rules in this game look really cool on paper, but when you actually play - a fight can get tedious and go on for ages. For those who haven't got the rulebook: each character needs a standard poker deck, divided by suits into four piles. Two of those piles are 'Blood' and 'Injury'. When a character loses a round of combat and gets struck by the opponent, they lose a certain amount of blood cards from their pile (when these run out they're dead), and flip a card from the Injury pile to see if they've received an injury (such as 'Left leg ruined' or 'Smashed ribs' - each with its own extra effects). These injuries make fights more cinematic, and I like that. However, I feel that 13 hit points (Blood cards) on each character/creature is too many to keep the game flowing well.

Area 2.3: Luna finds fellow knight Sol, and learns the method to destroy the threat deep in the woods.
I immediately introduced house rules and some scenario changes for subsequent fights: most characters and monsters started out with reduced number of 'blood' cards, and some were automatically killed when they received any injury. That tweak helped. There is another reason why I wouldn't give each character/monster their own full deck of cards - it takes up way too much physical space. And I found myself limiting the number of miniatures I'm using in a scene not to go over the (not so large) number of poker decks I own, which I think is not a welcome sort of limitation. 

Area 3: The Treasure - a large construct of wood and bone, guarding the witch's buried treasure.
The system has its good and its bad sides. The bad are generally fixable with some tinkering. It has more in common with pen&paper RPGs than with tabletop wargame systems I'm used to (which is not surprising since it was meant to lean heavily on the narrative side, according to the author). 

The creature in the woods was successfully destroyed in the end, but not without Luna sadly losing both of his two newly-acquired soldier friends. All in all, it was fun to play for both of us.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

CCIX. Lesser Demons and a Wodewose - My Sculpts in Metal

Painted another batch of future Harwood Hobbies releases. 














Friday, 15 February 2019

CCVIII. Bloodfiend and Custodian Wraith - My Sculpts in Metal

If you follow me on Instagram you might have caught this yesterday: I've received a bunch of metal minis cast from my last year's sculpts. I'm quite thrilled about it. The minis will see a release by Harwood Hobbies soon, so if you like them you'll be able to get some for yourself.  I'll be painting one of each through the next couple weeks, and I'll definitely let you all know when they become available.

I've already painted the first two:




These ghosts are white metal miniatures, and 37-40mm tall. The bases I put them on are 32mm diameter, but they were designed to fit OK on 25mm slotta bases.

I'm actually really looking forward to seeing other people's paintjobs on these.

Friday, 8 February 2019

CCVII. Inq28: Sister Beata

Finally got round to painting this model. Bought Canoness Veridyan months ago, as she fit in perfectly with my Inquisitorial retinue. Since the mini was already based on a Blanche illustration, I ended up leaving her unconverted - a rare occurrence on my workbench. She was painted in the same loose style as the other characters. This is actually not faithful to the artwork (it's an actual illustration, not a sketch) but it was more important that she blends in with the warband. Here she is, with a paintjob and a new name:

Sister Beata.

*   *   *

Another thing I want to tell you about in this post is the launch of liminal, my new slow-burn project in a new setting. It involves miniatures but has no gaming component to it. It'll be me exploring further what I can do with scenic miniature photography, in bringing to life an eerie world and its denizens using as little accompanying text as possible. If you end up finding the content there to be murky and unclear, means I'm doing it right.

I want this project to have its own space, so I started a blog for it: HERE. This blog is not going to feature any WIPs or discussions of backstory, inspiration, etc., the way you're used to seeing from me. However, some 'behind the scenes' content about liminal may appear here on Gardens occasionally. By that I mean the technical stuff: how I set up and shoot my photos or craft the scenery and models, etc.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

CCVI. The Remains of Saint Talula

Saint Talula. 

Folk mystic, and later travelling death monk. Propagator of trepanning, for therapeutic as well as spiritual purposes. Invoked against headaches and demonic possession. 

Talula was strangled to death in retaliation for performing a botched trepanation procedure which resulted in the patient's demise.


*   *   *

Trepanning, or trepanation, is drilling or scraping a hole in the skull in order to expose the brain. This was usually done as a cure for various physical and mental ailments. Evidence of the practise goes back to the Neolithic times. 

Hieronymus Bosch.

This little mummy was a commission. I'm really happy with the result, it's better than my first attempt. I'd purchased some more colours of pigment powders and a pot of Agrellan Earth in the meantime, so I could really go to town on the cracked skin and dusty clothing. The sculpting is better as well. Dimensions of the box are once again 6,5 x 7,5 x 3cm.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

CCV. Hecate

The spirit of the Gardens...

I'm working on another mummified saint, but in the meantime I've finished the blog's 'mascot'. She's in a little bit larger box: 7x10x3,5 cm. Built with DAS clay, epoxy putties, roots, card, and other bits and bobs. Painted with acrylics.

I remembered to take some WIP shots during the sculpting process:

Friday, 25 January 2019

CCIV. The Husk of Saint Ottmer


Saint Ottmer is the patron saint of orators and preachers. He is also invoked against illnesses of the throat.

According to legend, St. Ottmer was speaking to a crowd when he was shot through the throat by an unknown assassin. Miraculously, he went on with his speech for several more hours, as if nothing had happened. When he was quite finished talking, he immediately fell dead.

St. Ottmer's remains reside in his shrine in Mirrogoi. The deadly arrow's shaft is on display with the body (or rather within the body), while the arrowhead is kept in a reliquary in the city he originates from.

This dry, dusty fellow is the first in an intended series of made-up holy relics from the Isles of Brume. 

The dimensions of the box are 6,5 x 7,5 x 3cm. The mummy's head and hand are sculpted in Milliput White, and the torso is DAS clay draped with some old cloth dipped in PVA. The red and green stuff you can see on the model are Martian Ironearth texture paint and Liquid Green Stuff. The broken arrow in Ottmer's neck is a piece of paperclip with fletching made of real feather. This pre-painting shot (above) actually looks pretty cool and eerie in itself, perhaps even more than the finished version. I'm looking forward to making more pieces in this format.