Thursday 26 December 2013

XLIV. Fate Deck

Happy holidays, everyone!  : )

Now, let me introduce you to my own hand-made pack of cards:

 I wanted a custom card pack for the Gardens, based on the Fate Deck used for Malifaux, which is in turn based on the French deck. The first thing you can notice in the picture is that I replaced the Rams, Tomes, Masks and Crows of Malifaux with my own four suits. They are: Blood ( B ), Flesh ( F ), Bone ( O ) and Spirit ( S ). I spent a lot of time thinking about the symbols for the suits, and there were some funky ideas, but in the end I went with the simplest possible solution: spots. Partly because I can be incredibly lazy, partly because I really like the look of it. 
So, there are full spots for the solid Flesh and Bone, and empty spots for the more flowing Blood and Spirit. Blood and Flesh should be red, which leaves black for Bone and Spirit. Makes sense.

There are thirteen cards in each suit, each marked with Roman numerals and the number and type of spots corresponding to their suit and value. The only exception is the lowest card, with the value of 1, which is marked with an A. There are no face cards. There is a pair of Jokers, Black and Red, which have no writing on them; just a rectangle of their respectable colour covering most of the card's surface.

Flesh suit.

Bone suit.

Blood suit.

Spirit suit.
A little bit about how I made them. First, I cut them all out from A4 sheets of thick white paper, and then stained them with coffee and left to dry. The next step was painting all the spots, for which I used a little trick: a plastic tube. For the empty spots I just dipped the end of the tube into acryllic paint and stamped them on. The full ones demanded a bit more effort: that is filling the outline in. Next came the numbers, written by hand with a ballpoint pen. 
That only left the backs of the cards. I didn't want to leave them bare, so I went to a local hobby shop to try and find some nice printed patterned paper to paste on all the backs. I found nothing of use. However, I came across something else: stencils. I picked an arabesque motif. And it was on discount, too. : ) 
The cards' backs are not all identical (due to coffee staining and little flaws in the stenciled design), but that doesn't bother me since it will not be used in any kind of competitive play.  

Ace of Flesh, 13 of Spirit, 4 of Bone, 13 of Flesh, 10 of Bone, 9 of Blood, and the Red Joker.

And I'm going to need another one.

Thursday 19 December 2013

XLIII. Bell-Ringer and Graveyard Shrine

With the holidays coming up, I've finally got more time to spend on the hobby. So I'm happy to say I have two interesting things for you today:


For a while I've had this idea for one of the Bell-Ringers of Hades, whose body is in fact walking bagpipes- with bloated belly and pipes sticking out of his back. Conveniently, there's this cool loking aerophone instrument in the Plaguebearers kit that I could use. And his face could end with a pipe as well, like on the winged critter in this painting by Hieronymus Bosch:

Detail from the central panel of The Haywain Triptych. Hieronymus Bosch, c. 1516
So I got to work. All the bits apart from the head come from the Plaguebearers box. The head is a big skull from a Tomb Kings banner. At first I intended to give him a tall fur cap, which is why I left this thing sticking out of the head- to build the cap around it. But I changed my mind later and eventually cut it off:


I painted him green, and in the end gave him some warpaint because he somewhat lacked detail. Probably because this one doesn't have any ropes around his waist.
Here he is, ready to unleash his infernal music on the world of the living:

And here he is with his friend:

The friend went through a little change, as a matter of fact. There was something about his horns that bothered me, and I tried painting them differently a couple of times, but nothing worked. So I removed them and gave him a new pair.
I think a whole group of ten of these will look very nice indeed.



An update for my cemetery terrain piece. The old shrine was built on a round 50mm base out of balsa and wooden beads, with plastic details. This is it before painting:

It was painted to match the headstones:

It can work as a part of the graveyard terrain or stand on its own.

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Friday 13 December 2013

XLII. The Old Cemetery

Made an old graveyard. I used the base from the Citadel Wood kit. There were three slots for trees on it, and I got rid of two of them by filling them with a mix of sand and Vallejo heavy transparent gel. The texture I got this way almost perfectly matches the ground texture sculpted on the base. The remaining slot can be filled by any one of the Citadel trees, or a small shrine I am yet to make for this purpose. That way this piece of terrain won't have to look exactly the same every time I use it in a game.
Some of the headstones are plaster casts, and others are carved out of balsa. The symbols on top of some of them are High Elf bits. 
A dilapidated fence surrounds the burial grounds, so they can't be accessed from all sides.



I'm working on some smaller bits, too. I built a functioning wooden fence gate: it can be swung open or closed easily. There will be matching fence segments to accompany it. 

In front of the fence you can see more plaster barrels (like the ones I made before), as well as some plaster old wooden boxes. I put together the original out of balsa, thick paper and pins, and then made a mould.

I already have a couple painted. During the games they will be scattered around the board, with a possibility of containing an item or a small amount of coin.

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Another inspiring artist I would like to recommend: Keith Thompson.

THE PROPHET, by Keith Thompson

Keith's gallery is packed with intriguing concept art and illustration, and almost every piece of artwork is accompanied by a bit of backstory. I strongly suggest that you go through the entire gallery. Still, in the next few lines I'll turn your attention to some of my favourite pieces.
THE FOUR HORSEMEN  is a modern reinvention of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I love the fact Death is wearing a bodybag instead of a shroud, and the Totentanz  around a nuclear missile. And even the famous text from the Book of Revelation is rewritten so that computer files are opened in place of seals, instead of beasts monitors speak, the bow and sword carried by the first and second Horseman are replaced by a rifle and a great missile, and so forth.
A number of works feature some sort of fish-people, including PONTIFF, BROOD MERMAID, and PROPHET (shown above).
Several pictures thematize plague, my favourite being PESTILENTIAL ADVENT. I wish someone would turn that concept into a miniature. PLAGUE CART is also pretty neat. 
There is a number of unusual undead, including the especially repulsive FUNGAL ZOMBIE. 
And another one I really enjoy: the APOLLONIAN WIGHT. Especially because I normally find outer space quite scary, and would never like to be an astronaut. The concept of a skeleton in a spacesuit also reminds me of the Doctor Who episodes "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead". : )
There are many more captivating ones, and the short texts that accompany each picture always make it even more awesome.

What do you think?