Sunday 9 December 2012

VII. Sphynxes Finally Ready; Pale Horse Approaches

Both Crimson Sphynxes are now done and ready for action:

 And this below is my Dead Rider.  The design was vaguely inspired by Jakob Rune Nielsen's awesome Duchess Death.  The parts used are the following: Lord of Nurgle's steed and hands, Bloodletter torso and arms, old horse skull banner top and a Bretonnian shield. I had a lot of trouble finding the right angle for photographing this guy. In the end I decided  to show him from all sides...

"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him."

Sunday 25 November 2012

VI. Strategy and Scheme Cards

I haven't really done much painting this week. Crimson Sphynx 2 is about half done. So no new miniatures to show off.

However, I've been working on accessories - the Scheme and Strategy cards for my Malifaux games. There already are decent ones out there, free to download and print (this is where you'll find them: LINK), but I had to go and make my own. I can't help it. :P The design is done and all I need to do now is fill them with appropriate text. As soon as they're ready I'll put them up for download.



I'm trying to design my own Stat cards as well. But I can't seem to decide which technique would be best for the illustrations... Watercolour paintings? Pen drawings that mimic old woodcuts? Photographs? I gave them all a try but I still can't make up my mind. But that's ok, I'm in no hurry.

Moody photos, like this one of the first version of Bloodfiends, would be neat.

Saturday 17 November 2012

V. Crimson Sphynx

The Sphynxes are among the most powerful spirits in service of the Countess. And probably the most impressive-looking models in my Malifaux crew - being all big and red and winged.

I play them as Shikome- incredibly swift heavy hitters. They usually choose one enemy model as their prey and proceed to hunt it down until it's dead, which they can also do very successfully in pairs. As with Onryo and Gaki, Kirai is able to summon them.  

On to the actual miniatures. As the maximal number of Shikome I can field is two, that's how many I intend to make. The left one is completely finished, and the right one is still waiting for a paintjob.

As you can see they possess features of both the mythological Sphinx, as well as draconian ones. I tend to call them sfinga (sphinx) , but some of the members of my gaming group call them zmaj (dragon).  
The design was inspired by an illustration Santiago Caruso made for the book La Condesa Sangrienta by Alejandra Pizarnik. It was really cool that Rackham's Tiger of Dirz miniature stands in nearly the same pose - obviously I used that mini as the base. The wings are from Tyranid Gargoyles.  

Copyright Santiago CARUSO © 2011 Used without permission.

By the way, you should definitely check out Mr Caruso's website. His illustrations for the La Condesa Sangrienta (Bloody Countess) book are terrific, and have provided me with tons of inspiration for this project. Of course, the rest of his work is awesome as well.

Oh, and this is what the encyclopædia of mythology from my bookshelf says about the Sphinx (or Sphynx) according to Greek mythology :

The Sphinx was the daughter of Echidna, either by Typhon or Orthus. She was a trecherous and merciless monster with the face and breasts of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird, who was sent as a curse on the city of Thebes by the godess Hera. The Sphinx guarded a pass to the city, asking anyone who wished to pass a riddle and devouring those who failed to give the correct answer. She met her end when Oedipus came along and gave the correct answer; she hurled herself over a cliff and died, the poor thing...  

Sunday 11 November 2012

IV. The Crew Carry Case

Since I'm not a fan of carry cases with foam trays, I had a go at making a magnetised one. I found a suitably sized MDF coffer at a hobby store, and picked up some 0.6 cm thick balsa and strips of red and black felt along with it. This is what I ended up with:

The case with its contents. And my favourite pipe.

The inside is divided into two major compartments- a slightly bigger one for the miniatures, and another one to hold all the gaming accessories- the playing cards, stat cards, rulebook, soulstones, etc. The latter is divided further into quarters. The former has a thin metal plate on the bottom and a metal strip on one of the sides; it's for the magnetised bases to stick to.  

The tied up rulebook holds in place the small accessories in the compartments underneath it.

I made the dividers out of balsa, and most of the inside is covered in red felt. There's a weathered painting in there, too. I played around a bit with acryllics and crackle medium. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

The painting.

Monday 5 November 2012

III. More Spirits


You can see them grim apparitions just before dark- floating above the grey fields. They can do you no harm, but best not disturb them. Their masters might be close by...

Gheists are generally tiny, harmless spirits, wisps of a kind, who serve as messengers and eyes to the more powerful inhabitants of the Underworld. They accompany the Countess, circling around her and keeping her from harm.
In Malifaux I play Gheists as Seishin. 
The choice of miniatures was easy, and no actual converting was necessary. I simply took the flying skull bits from VC Coven Throne/Mortis Engine kit. They were painted as white smoky things. Very simple.

The Übergheist is a unique Gheist. He is the Countess' "totem" on her travels through the spirit world. 
In Malifaux I play him as Lost Love.
It's another flying skull bit, but with a Chaos Warrior banner top for a head. At first I intended the miniature to be white like the others, but I ended up painting it black for practial reasons- the spiky halo alone was not enough to distinguish it from ordinary Gheists at tabletop distance...

And in the end a group picture of all the Bloodfiends finished so far.

Saturday 3 November 2012

II. On Ravenous Bloodfiends, And Something About Malifaux


They are spirits of warhorses from ancient times. Legends say that warriors of old used to feed their steeds with flesh, thus turning them into fierce carnivorous beasts...

Behold the Bloodfiends! They are, as the quote above says, spirits of ancient steeds. I came up with the design for these conversions purely by experimenting with bits, and I love how unusual their bipedal, armless figures look. Also, I really love the look of horse skulls. These are actually banner tops from GW Clanrat/Skeleton/Goblin command sprue, oop now- which is bad because I used up all I had, and I still need several more copies. The bodies are from plasticTzeentch Horrors. There are two more finished Bloodfiends, and another one still in conversion stage; so there will be more pictures soon.

In Malifaux I play these miniatures as Gakis. They are cheap, swift in movement, summonable minions. They have no ranged attacks and aren't much durable, though. Best used in groups, they are able to devour enemy models whole, or tear them apart in a feeding frenzy.  They can also pick up corpse counters and use them to heal themselves.

I always liked the idea of carnivorous horses. There is mention of carnivorous equines in classical mythology: in the tales of the Twelve Labours of Heracles the Mares of Diomedes, also called the Mares of Thrace, were four wild, man-eating horses. Podagros, Lampon, Xanthos and Deimos were their names, and to complete his eighth labour Heracles was to steal them from their master - the giant Diomedes. Classical mythology is rich with awesome concepts, and you will often see me borrow from it.


So what exactly is Malifaux? Well, it's a fun 32mm skirmish miniatures game by Wyrd Miniatures. There is a link in the sidebar which will take you to the game's official website, so you can check it out.
Malifaux provides this project with two things: a set of rules for my custom miniatures to play by, and a group of fine people to play with- the Malifaux players from my local club UMS Agram (you can find the link to Agram's official website in the sidebar as well.). The rest - the Malifaux setting and the original miniatures- is discarded and substituted with those of my own creation.


Friday 2 November 2012

I. So What's This All About, Then?

Welcome to Gardens of Hecate!

The main aim of this blog is to document and display the progress on my ongoing art/gaming project. In the beginning it was supposed to be a set of converted tabletop miniatures, but then wild things began growing from it. It's still sprouting more and more twisted roots and gnarled branches. :)

To better set the mood, the blog has an appropriately eerie soundtrack, composed by my friend Foox. I understand, of course, that there are such readers who would prefer to explore my blog in silence; for your convenience there is a nice little pause/play button in the sidebar on the left. The music won't start until you want it to.