Monday, 12 October 2020

Weekend Workbench - Cheap Giant Spiders

Just a quick post to show what I'm working on - a horde of giant spiders for Rangers of Shadow Deep, Dungeons & Dragons and various other miniatures games.

These are a great representation of one of my favourite parts of wargaming - transforming cheap toys (or in this case, Halloween decorations!) into figures for gaming! I needed additional spiders for some particular Missions in Rangers of Shadow Deep (each comes with a list of the amount of particular NPCs and enemy miniatures required as standard, although additional enemies can arrive during the game, so it's good to have some extras on top) and I can see them coming in handy for some games in Mirkwood-set games, recreated classic Warhammer Quest and maybe to add to the forces of some Lolth-worshippers if I ever take my D&D players to the Underdark...

These spiders came from the Sainsbury's Halloween range a couple of years ago - they're nicely detailed but all in one pose, scuttling along, and with a cavity on the underside of their thorax and abdomen. In order to add some variety to their poses I used some very hot water, submerged each spider one by one until there was a little more flex in the plastic I slightly twisted the legs. I had two aims with this - bringing the legs on most of them in a little tighter to fit on the bases and to make them look slightly different to each other - I'm particularly fond of the ones with their front legs rearing up in a classic "about to strike" pose. Once they'd had some time to dry from the hot water bath I lightly sprayed them from the top with light grey primer in order to be able to properly see the moldlines, then used a few fresh scalpel blades to clean up any that could be found. The hollows on their undersides were then filled with epoxy putty.

As for their bases, these are plastic ones that I'd removed various pre-painted Pathfinder monsters from in order to strip and mount on my normal lipped bases. It turned out that I had exactly the right amount for the spiders and it felt good to reuse them - the kitbasher creed comes to mind - "never throw anything away!". In order to have a good amount of the base connecting to the underside of the spiders for gluing I built up a little island of cork sheet along the middle of the base, with various chunks around the edges, followed by gravel and sand.

I added the skaven clanrat to the picture for scale - he's on a 25mm base, so these guys are pretty big... painting them should be a whirl, although I do keep finding additional moldlines!

Thanks for reading - completed pictures will arrive within the next couple of days!

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Spooktober & Scarevember

Hello again, long lost readers!

As us bloggers tend to do after we drift off to other platforms that tend to be easier to handle on our telecommunication devices, I've wandered back over to Blogger on numerous occasions, usually at the prompting of friends (Lewis most recently, Dave before that), only to fall at that dastardly final hurdle - consistency!

I’ve decided that I need to make a pledge, in the style of the previous monthly challenges I’ve taken part in - this should have a few different benefits: a) proper targets and themes to try and stick to b) feedback and accountability from friends and readers. Also, given that it’s almost the most wonderful time of the year (Halloween!) and the challenges I’ve been part of previously (Zomtober!), I chose a theme to reflect this but broadened it (as I’ve pretty much ran out of zombies to paint over the years!) - spooky and scary miniatures over the months of October and November, with a view to playing a bunch of games with my best friends towards the end of October/start of November (depending on the state of the ongoing plague and the various sensible restrictions that are in place).

So, what does Spooktober/Scarevember 2020 include?

My main aim is to complete the additions to my wargames collection required to play the first few missions from the brilliant Rangers of Shadow Deep, although I will be setting mine in Shyish, the Realm of Death from Age of Sigmar. Currently this stands at approximately two dozen figures and a few pieces of terrain.

Once this is achieved, I would like to complete enough terrain to be able to play some games of Dracula’s America. 

After this I’ll reassess the situation and decide where to go next (looking at you, big ol’ pile of ghouls!). Given the “paint and make scary things” overall theme, Strange Aeons/Unspeakable Cults may be the direction I take...

Pictures of actual wargames miniatures and terrain will arrive within the next couple of posts, I promise! My current plan is to update the blog every Friday for the two-month challenge (starting this Friday!) but I have lots of other stuff painted in the past couple of years that I’d like to add to the blog, so there should be a bunch of posts appearing!

Thanks for reading - comments, questions and suggestions would be most welcome!


Monday, 28 October 2019

State of Play

Hello folks!

I've recently started a new job which is a pretty wonderful development! I had some issues getting my tuition fees funded for university so I sadly had to drop out - instead, I've been volunteering some of my time with a wildlife charity (admin stuff mainly, in an office and from the comfort of my own home!) and I have finally secured a full-time job with them! It's a brilliant organisation and one of the biggest in the UK, with lots of nature reserves and conservation projects galore - it seems like a really worthwhile cause and I'm overjoyed to be part of helping British wildlife to survive and thrive!

In other recent news, my partner and I got a puppy - she's a proper Heinz 57 - Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, Pug and French Bulldog! She has so much energy and such a great nature - she's coming up 24 weeks old and she's coming along great!

Meet Matilda!

 In hobby news, I've half-painted tons of stuff lately, but it's a few weeks since I've finished anything off! I do have a little backlog of miniatures that need proper photographs taking, which I'll get around to soon.

Sadly, I'm lacking any zombies to paint to partake in Zomtober this year - that was always my favourite monthly event in the blogosphere and helped me pretty much complete my zombie apocalypse miniatures - now I just need to finish some of the MDF terrain I have in the queue and start playing some games!

Here's a few hastily-snapped pictures from a current project - repairing and updating a bunch of Oldhammer skeletons and wizarding types to meet up with an internet friend from Newcastle (where I'm based in the office) to play some games of Warcry! I'm very much looking forward to getting the Warcry boxed set for Christmas also!

Finally, some purchases from the always wonderful Tynemouth Market, which we attended on Saturday:

Some cars that are roughly a suitable scale for 28mm - these will be repainted for use with my Pulp/Lovecraftian collection. 

Some smaller Matchbox-scale cars - I got 10 in total. I'm really looking forward to Gaslands-ing these up!

More soon, including good pictures!

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

El Chupacabra - The Goat-Sucker - Dracula's America

I went utterly mad for the Dracula's America range from Northstar Figures and Osprey Games back when the game was announced - I ended up with a bunch of different gangs (or posses as they're called in the game) and I've been working on them over the past year.
 One of my favourite parts of various modern rulesets are "Random Encounters", like those in Frostgrave - Dracula's America also had an interesting Bestiary with various creatures from horror and cryptozoological urban legends, including one of my favourites - the fearsome Chupacabra!
 A relatively modern cryptid, but it very much fits in the time period the game is set in.
 The creature was an easy one to paint once I decided on a scheme I liked - I started with a more alien red and green combination, but decided to go for something more like the descriptions of the creature.
Lots more to come from this range plus more Gothic Horror and Lovecraftian horrors!