Saturday, 18 February 2017

CXVI. The Cult of Vvolos: Skeletons and Apprentice



From left to right: Ieronym, Albrecht, Ikorid, Wilhelm, Kettelhelm.
The Cult warband steadily grows. Last time we saw the meatier fighters of the group. Now they are joined by miserable bone puppets. And one of their yellow-robed controllers. 

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IKORID, NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE


Ikorid follows his mistress and works hard on learning the craft. Some day, when the time is right, he will assassinate her and take over her House... 

The base was a classic chaos Stabb the Acolyte figure. I replaced his sword with a staff and did a few little changes here and there to make him unique.
His mistress, the Necromancer leader of the warband, will be converted from a Skaven model. What I need to achieve through conversion and paintjob is to make them fit together visually. A good trick, among others, is to repeat some details across both models. This will be very clear when I'm done with the Necromancer and I'm able to show them sidy by side.
Front and back shots.

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 SKELETON WARRIORS

Skeletal minions of the necromancers. Unlike living warriors, skeletons have the advantages of needing no food nor rest and never feeling pain. However, the magic that animates them requires a certain effort to maintain and their gear and bones ask for periodic cleaning and repairs. The latter is normally the task of apprentice necromancers. 
I really had fun painting them. I wasn't sure what to do with the quivers on the two archers. They begged for freehand but gave me a very limited and oddly shaped space. They ended up with tributes to two great artists: the left one has Albrecht Dürer's monogram, the rigth one a part of Hieronymus Bosch's signature. I took this into account when giving them names.
The archer pair used to be standard bearers. High elf bows and quivers replace banner poles. Pretty straightforward.
Kettelhelm's shield was painted before I even started the conversion. Shields are great for having fun with freehand.
The demonic face on the shield comes from this piece by Ian Miller. I just love this image. It's bonkers.
A group shot of skeletons with their higher undead comrades.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

CXV. The Cult of Vvolos: Undead Footknights and Barbarian


These three were first made some time ago, with no particular purpose in mind. I had a few old chaos minis lying around and the conversions just sort of happened. Late 2016 I started seriously considering making an undead-ish dark fantasy warband with an old-school look and feel to it. Not tied to any particular setting, just a bunch of cool-looking gaming pieces that are aesthetically coherent. The most obvious inspiration for this was the art of John Blanche and Ian Miller. Old one-piece metal minis have this two-dimensional quality. I perceive a similar two-dimensionality in the phenomenal work of Blanche and Miller. This is what I had in mind when I made the background scenery they are posing on in the above photo, and this is what I'll try to stick to with each new addition to the warband. For that reason most of the base models for conversions will be oldies. I have acquired enough material and started making the warband I imagined.
Then, quite recently, AoS28 happened. In the vein of INQ28, the movement aims to explore the world of the new Warhammer with the same approach. AoS28 is still in its early days, so in time we shall see in what direction it goes. This new project of mine fits in there perfectly, I think. Regarding the rules - nobody around me plays AoS in any form, but rules are not what defines the movement anyway. Cult of Vvolos will see the battlefield as a Frostgrave warband. Frostgrave is a campaign skirmish game akin to Mordheim, where each warband is led by a wizard. The core rules are simple, there are not many special rules and soldier types are very generic. All of this allows for tremendous creative freedom in choice of miniatures. There is an official line by North Star, but people are encouraged to use whatever they wish/have at hand. I find that immensely appealing.  
The minis came first, but I'm gradually developing context for them.
Where they come from people live in numerous small feudal kingdoms - many of them just a fortified town surrounded with villages that feed it. The rest is forests and hills and bogs, with monsters and barbaric, wild peoples roaming about. The kingdoms often fight amongst themselves. Some kingdoms are ruled by necromancers. The Cult of Vvolos comes from one such kingdom. They worship a mysterious demonic prince who calls himself Vvolos. The Cult's core is a council of necromancers.   

Sir Bosc Machen, a death knight (Templar).
Sir Cain de la Mare, a death knight (Knight).
Gorostas, an undead barbarian. (Barbarian)

Can you identify the bits I used?

Now that I look at them I feel the trio's paintjobs could be better. I guess I'll go back to them at some point. But first the warband needs to be expanded with more evil dead.
Material for future warband members. Two robed figures (necromancer cultists: Wizard and Apprentice), a bunch of skeletons (Archers, Xbowmen, Men-at-Arms, Infantrymen), a couple more chaos champions which will be converted to undead knights...

Saturday, 4 February 2017

CXIV. Swampfiends: First of the Catfish-People


To be ready for the upcoming Malifaux campaign at my club I have to paint a small starting crew (35SS). After a bit of thinking I came up with a list that includes Spawn Mother as the leader, Bad Juju, a Waldgeist, a Silurid and a Will o'the Wisp. I'll also need a few bases of Gupps because Mother can (and most certainly will) summon them during the game. This will gradually grow into a larger pool of models led by Zoraida.

 Two Silurids and a Wisp. They were all subtly converted - just changed some details I didn't quite like. The assembly was not too difficult, luckily. Malifaux plastics can be a real pain when it comes to that.
First Silurid painted. Most people go with green skin (I guess because box art suggests it). I wanted to take mine a different way.

I assembled Spawn Mother, too. She is smaller than I imagined. Even more now that I cut off her feet to make it look like she is wading through water. Again, there were some details that bothered me. Her claws and fangs were ridiculously long. And there was something about the shape of that dorsal fin that just didn't look right. I sculpted whiskers so that she would resemble Silurids more; Wyrd made her look like a completely different species for some reason... If you care to see exactly what I changed you can find good images of an unconverted version HERE for comparison.
Painting starts from a light undercoat.
Then I go crazy with washes and glazes. This is still early WIP.
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After reading my Crew's stat cards I realised I'll be able to generate Burning tokens as well as Poisoned... Took care of that right away:

And I made a second Scheme Marker, as you can see all the way at the beginning of the post. I like the idea of painting a new one to accompany each new post. They make neat thumbnails. I'll see if I can go through with that. 

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Before I sign off, just a small update on my Fae faction. Many thanks to Florian Wortmann for sending me 15mm Fairy swarms I originally wanted to use for the Piper's crew, only to find out they had gone out of print. He happened to have them and kindly offered to give them away. The Fairies arrived through the post recently and I quickly painted them so they can join their master. Thanks again, Florian!


Monday, 30 January 2017

CXIII. New Growths in the Garden

I've been neglecting the blog for too long... A new year is upon us and I have big plans for it. I'll briefly go through them, shall I.

  • I am to convert and paint a Zoraida crew for Malifaux in time for Agram Arena Summer in July, complete with a display base and all necessary markers and tokens. In the meantime I'll be taking part in a campaign, gradually adding painted models as the Crew develops from the starting 35 Stones. The image above is a 30mm Scheme Marker, first of about a dozen I aim to produce. It's a way to push myself to paint things other than miniatures. I need more practice making artwork.
  • A few of my clubmates and I are preparing to get into Frostgrave in the foreseeable future, so I'll be making a warband and some monsters for that. And custom gaming aids, of course.
  • I wish to make at least one display piece this year. I remember how much I enjoyed last year's attempts.
So the blog will expand in the subject matter it covers since I'll be documenting and publishing all those things here (and possibly more). The main worldbuilding project will be pushed into the background, but the plus is there might finally be some battle reports featured in my posts. And all of it will be aesthetically close to what I've shown so far.  

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I've already started working towards my goals. My first offering:

 CONDITION TOKENS for Malifaux


I've been plaing the game for years, yet I've never had gaming aids for keeping track of conditions on models. Making some was a fine opportunity to get creative. After some thought and several design ideas I opted for round, 25mm or smaller, two-sided and hand-painted. I set off to make twelve Poisoned tokens (1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8), three Defensive1/Defensive2, two Focused1/Focused2, three Paralyzed/Reactivate and four Slow/Fast. That should do for now. 

The tokens started as coins, with a thin layer of Milliput to cover the embossing. I like the weight of the coins.
When this cured I painted the faces of the tokens black. This was followed by some filing to clean up the metal edges and then a tidy-up of the black.
Doing the freehand writing was the most tedious part of the process.

The final step is applying Vallejo Still Water. It works as very thick gloss varnish in this case.
Poison tokens have an image instead of words. They were actually faster and easier to make, though before I started I expected it would be the other way round.

 Condition Token CONTAINER


Because I really like boxes, I painted one to carry my fancy new tokens.

The little box came unpainted, so first I glazed the light wood with diluted acrylic dark browns. I painted the interior black and covered some of the surfaces with black felt. This will make the tokens more comfortable inside.
I wanted to decorate the lid with some freehand. I masked off an area for that purpose.
Neat.
After sketching the design with a pencil I moved on to colouring it in. It's the same paints I use for miniatures.
 
 
 
Done. It looks too clean, though. Time for some Agrax Earthshade and Typhus Corrosion.
This is it. A couple coats of varnish to keep it protected and the box is done.
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Finished tokens and container.

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Just a small update for the end: the textured board I commissioned in mid-2016 finally arrived around Christmas. I took a shot of the Wilderness scenery on it. A big improvement, in my humble opinion.