Thursday, 17 May 2018

CLXXIV. Legen: Peasant House

Finished that crooked house from last time. It's done for now, that is. I might go back to it after I have all four of them, just to add another little detail here and there. I feel it could use a spot or two of red or reddish brown, being all pale like that.

The roof is thatched with strips of teddy bear fur, soaked with water and PVA.

The ladder is balsa wood and toothpicks. Fiddly work, but such details give the house extra character.

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I also wish to share some lovely sources of inspiration and reference art that took part in shaping the visual flavour of the Legen project for me.

The art of Olga Dugina and Andrej Dugin. They were such a wonderful discovery for me. For now, I have two fairy tale books they illustrated: Dragon Feathers and The Brave Little Tailor. For these books in particular, the two Russian artists drew a lot from Bruegel and Bosch, along with their own twist. The illustrations are masterfully executed. Each and every page is loaded with detail, and even though these particular volumes are slim (each book contains a single fairy tale), one can pore over them for hours. I heartily recommend these, and while you're at it do check out the rest of their work. Simply fantastic stuff.

Last week I attended an SF & fantasy convention here in Zagreb, where I met up with one of the Legen collaborators from abroad. Vladimir, whose work you can find on Instagram (@vmkuriljov), brought me a gift: The Book of Giants by Petar Meseldžija. The book is crammed with paintings and drawings of giants, which will undoubtedly come in handy as I craft the rest of Nerod's Gargant horde. My copy is in Serbian, but it is available in English as well, if you want to enjoy Meseldžija's stories about giants along with the artwork. Thanks again for the book and pleasant company, Vladimir!

Thursday, 10 May 2018

CLXXIII. Old-School Wose Sculpt and WIP Peasant House

Enthusiasm for sculpting has still not left me, and here's the latest model I've finished. A shambling wildman done in the style of old Citadel miniatures. At the moment, I'm back to working on the Countess' spirits: a better version of the Bloodfiend, as well as a Custodian sculpt. Eventually I'll do the others as well. 

This Wose was sculpted over a wire skeleton, using greenstuff , Milliput and a combination of the two. The tiny black spheres are micro glass balls from Greenstuff World. For size reference - the model is standing on a 20mm square base.

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Still more than two months left until the Legen game, but it's best to avoid having to do things last minute. During the next couple weeks I'll be making the four houses we need for our table. First I'm doing just this one, to test my plans and see if there are any problems so I can find solutions. Then it will be easier and quicker to go through the rest of them in a single batch. 

I carved and assembled the basic shape out of polistyrene. I want the roofs to be bumpy and curvy, since that looks more interesting than just straight lines. Hence the underlying structure of tape stretched over roughly cut polystyrene. The thatch will be done with teddy bear fur, but I needed to model the wood underneath. Just the parts on the edges will do, since the rest won't be visible in the end. I used balsa to represent the timber parts, and DAS clay for the wattle and daub areas which are framed by the timber. It didn't take a lot of time, and that's great since this part is the least interesting. Now I got to the detail work: the bit I enjoy the most.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

CLXXII. Legen: Pygmy Giant

Nerod's marauding herd got a new member: Slonus, a rather stunted specimen of the Gargant race.

Slonus' body donor was the Goblin King figure from Heroclix. Larger than the GW iterations, it's prepainted and made of bendy plastic material, but the mini is bulky enough for that not to be an issue. I replaced the head and right hand with plastic Citadel giant bits, patched up some parts, and sculpted more texture on his clothes (such as they are...).

He's much shorter than Nerod, but still has plenty of mass, an impressive goitre and a real mean attitude...

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

CLXXI. Bloodfiend Sculpt

The Great Unclean One from last week revived my ambition to get decent at sculpting. For practice, I made one of my own monsters from scratch. 

Ravenous Bloodfiends are spirits of ancient warhorses. According to legend, warriors of old used to feed their steeds with flesh, thus turning them into fierce carnivorous beasts. The Countess now summons them to do her bidding. These guys go far back. The original conversions featured in the blog's second post.

I'll do another one. I'm very satisfied with the skull, but I'm not happy with the legs. Constructive criticism is welcome, so if you have something to say fire away.

I speed-painted the beastie as soon as the putty was cured:

This is the sculpted Bloodfiend next to an old converted one. As one can see, the design itself slightly evolved in the meantime:

Friday, 20 April 2018

CLXX. Great Unclean One Sculpted

Wilhelminiatures blog is holding a Great Unclean One competition. It allows any version of the Greater Daemon of Nurgle model, custom sculpts, and even artwork. You can find the rules here: GUO COMP. Still a couple weeks left until the deadline, so if you have a potential entry you may still make it.

I saw this challenge as an opportunity to do some sculpting, and opted to make my own GUO from scratch. Now, I don't need a full-sized one for gaming (especially not the size they are now, with the latest plastic iteration), so I rather made a downscaled one. It will take up less space. If I ever want to use the model, it can be cast as some kind of lesser daemon. It's roughly Blightking-sized, and sits on a 40mm round MDF base.

The sculpting is not perfect, but I like what I've made here. Waiting for putty to cure so I can move on to the next bit is still so difficult! I wanna do everything at once, but I can't. Training patience.

I've seen some of the entries already, and they're excellent. I'm sure the comp will be a lovely collection of different GUOs. Wish me luck. :)

Saturday, 14 April 2018

CLXIX. Fae Serpent and a Kobold

Two new minis painted, one for each setting. The Gardens of Hecate Fairies get the Serpent, a Fae noble who likes to take sport hunting trips to the lands of man. The Isles of Brume, my AoS28 setting, get a Kobold warrior of Volmar.

The Serpent

Wanted to add this model to the faction for a while. It's a Rackham metal figure, S'erum. Lovely sculpt, didn't convert it at all. Originally I intended to paint his armour like white ceramics with blue detail. I could not make it look right, so I ended up going another way. His plain sleeves could use some freehand patterns, but that will be added at a later date, when inspiration strikes. For now I call him done.  

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Ogmen, Kobold Warrior of Volmar

I mentioned before that the people of Volmar consist mostly of Duardin and Kobolds. But the latter were not represented in the group of models I made. Now I bought the Doomseeker model from Silver Tower, and demonstrated what a Kobold equivalent of those Duardin would look like.

The easiest way to tell these two kinds apart is by looking at their face. Unlike Duardin, Kobolds have prominent noses and large, pointy ears. This is the reason why their ceremonial helmets must be slightly more open than the dwarven ones. The noses' size makes them rather vulnerable, and it is not unusual for a Kobold warrior to have a scarred snout, or even parts of it missing.

Kobold women can grow beards just like Kobold men, which is not the case with Duardin. This causes interesting shifts in Volmarian fashion, changing like the tide. Depending on the current trend, we either find Kobold women regularly shaving their faces, or Duardin women wearing finely crafted beard wigs. I should totally make some models of those ladies, but I fear this might demand full scratch-builds.

Kobolds lay eggs rather than birth live babies. During the incubation period, the mother will paint the egg shell with apotropaic patterns, colours and symbols, to help ensure that the Koboldling inside is safe and hatches alive and healthy.

I like this faction more and more. All sorts of interesting and messed up scenarios possible in their reclusive kingdom. Considering buying a box of Vulkite Berserkers to make a bunch of regular footsoldiers, half of them Kobolds, and half Duardin. I'm also trying to figure out their religion and social structure. Fun stuff.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

CLXVIII. Gardens of Hecate Deck Released

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may remember that back in February I shared a photo of my first printed deck. The printing was done in collaboration with Jesús, the author of El Soldado Tranquilo. This generated plenty of response, people expressing interest in getting a copy for themselves. Though pretty cool, I felt the deck wasn't good enough to offer it as a product, so I decided to do some editing to bring it up to an acceptable level of quality. 

This deck was first painted back in 2014/15, and its creation is discussed in these two posts: LXVII. and LXXIV. There was another, older version from 2013. This was when I came up with my custom suits, but it did not put any graphics on the cards other than suit symbols and numbers: XLIV.
The biggest problem when we got to having this printed was the format. The original cards were completely handmade, with no prior intention to be turned into a printed deck. They did not have rounded corners, so part of the card would get cut off to fit the standard poker card template. In that first print, this was solved by adding a solid colour 'frame' around the scanned card. I wanted to avoid that issue this time around, by constructing the cards digitally, within a poker card template.

Another bit that bothered me was the card numbers. They looked... meh. Their glaring imperfection is passable on the handmade item, but on a printed, neatly cut card it just sticks out. So this got replaced by something more professional-looking. The suit symbols got the same treatment. Basically, the only thing kept from the original deck scans was the artwork from the face cards, but they also got tidied up a bit before scanning. 

The handmade original has minimalistic Jokers: gold foil for Red Joker and a blank card for Black Joker. This was because of the way they function in the rules system I use: the Red Joker is the best card in the deck, and the Black Joker the absolute worst. Gold foil was not an option, so I made some actual Joker artwork for this printed release:

Finally, the design for the backs. The handmade original just has blank backs. I went for a version of the Gardens of Hecate banner for this; seemed the most fitting.

When I finished the editing, I ordered a test copy to see how it comes out. And now I finally have it in my hands. I'm happy to say it looks quite good, and I am perfectly comfortable offering this as a product. Pretty exciting!

This is how it compares to the hand-painted original (left) and the 'Jesús edition' (centre):


If you like it, you can purchase the deck on, following this link: MPC

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

CLXVII. Legen: More Willows and Livestock

Efforts to equip the table for my group AoS28 project continue. This week I bring the remaining three willow scenery pieces and a couple farm animals for the village.

I've shown a few WIP photos of the first willow earlier. This time I took more pictures during the process, for those interested.

Started by building up a little hill of polystyrene on top of an MDF base, which I then covered with DAS airdrying clay. For the clay to stick better, I always put some PVA glue on the surface first.

 I build up the tree trunks in layers over toothpicks. Again, PVA helps it all stick together better.

After two layers, they had some bulk. They look like a bunch of knobs, don't they... 

I sculpted the roots with DAS.

The final layer of DAS contains most of the texture. I use my sculpting tools and a large brush with stiff bristles to achieve the textures and details in wet clay.

 When all the sculpting was done and cured, I flocked the bases.

The flock then got a covering of water+plaster+PVA. The flock soaks this in, and when it dries it hardens. This can then be painted normally, and more flock, tufts and other foliage added on top.

The last thing to do was the branches. It's wire, cut to length and bent to look natural. I drilled a bunch of holes in the trunk and glued the branches into the holes. Mixed in a few roots as well.

This concludes the work on the willows and I can cross them off my list. Now I can move on to more interesting scenery, like the peasant houses of Dol, and the windmill.

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To add life and extra flavour to our rural battlefield, I wanted to include some farm animals. Now, there was a bit of a dilemma here. If I make them just mundane cows, pigs and chickens, I can use the same minis for my other setting as well. However, in that case I'm missing a chance to create new fauna unique to the Isles of Brume. The alien critters approach prevailed, and I set to work making up the first couple of minis. I had a toy cow and calf, which served as the base. I don't have a name for the species yet. Any ideas?

I've now run out of plastic farm animals, so I need to go look for cheap ones again in order to make more livestock for Dol. I find that I really enjoy painting animals.

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I'd also like to share some new developments from the others. Rebecca began putting together her warband of centaur-like people. Filip has made a gargant for Nerod's marauding herd and kicked off his warband with this Forest Knight.